high quality swiss replica watches for ladies and men on sale.

Any Major Orange

October 20th, 2020 2 comments

There is a saying that when the USA catches a cold, the world catches the ‘flu. Economically that may be true, but these days, when the USA catches Covid-19, the world shakes its head and says: “These clown are even crazier than we are.”

US voters will go to the polls in a couple of weeks’ time with an opportunity to get rid of the spraypainted blustermachine of venom and lies which has turned their country into an international laughing stock. And that is of vital interest to the world as well, because a United States that is run sensibly and with something approaching ethics (which, granted, it is only about 30% of the time) is better for the world than one that is so weak that it empowers Russia and China, and so hate-filled that it emboldens Nazis everywhere.

And while they are at it, US voters should also send packing those craven and spineless reptiles in the Houses of Congress who have enabled that racist, women-sexually-assaulting, truth-destroying, hatemongering, psychopathically misanthropic sphincter-mouth in the White House. Do it for your country, and do it for the world. And if you think others will do it for you because Biden has such a great lead: remember 2016!

And all this leads us into the Any Major Orange mix. A random mix (and aren’t they sometimes the best?) of songs that somehow riff on the theme of orange.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes an orange cover. PW in comments, where you might like to add “Orange Songs” to the list.

And, for the sake of love, vote that madman out of office!

1. Earth, Wind & Fire – Evolution Orange (1981)
2. The Attack – Lady Orange Peel (1968)
3. Lemon Pipers – Jelly Jungle Of Orange Marmalade (1968)
4. Peter Sarstedt – Frozen Orange Juice (1969)
5. Love – Orange Skies (1966)
6. Trash Can Sinatras – Orange Fell (1993)
7. Alexi Murdoch – Orange Sky (2002)
8. 10,000 Maniacs – Orange (1992)
9. John Prine – Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow) (1978)
10. Johnny Cash – Orange Blossom Special (1969)
11. Bright Eyes – Bowl Of Oranges (2002)
12. R.E.M. – Orange Crush (Live) (2003)
13. Brian Wilson & Van Dyke Parks – Orange Crate Art (1995)
14. Tori Amos with Damien Rice – Power Of The Orange Knickers (2005)
15. Erykah Badu – Orange Moon (2000)
16. Mr. & Mrs. Garvey – Orange Nickelodeon (1968)
17. Bob Dylan & The Band – Orange Juice Blues (Blues For Breakfast) (1975)
18. Nat ‘King’ Cole with Stan Kenton – Orange Colored Sky (1950)
19. Eddie Burns – Orange Driver (1961)
20. Gilbert Bécaud – L’orange (1964)
21. Sesame Street – Fuzzy And Blue (And Orange) (1981)

GET IT! or HERE!

More Mix CD-Rs

Categories: Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Beatles Recovered: Please Please Me

October 8th, 2020 7 comments

On 9 October, John Lennon would have turned 80. It’s a troubling math: the original rock & rollers are all octogenarians, or are inexorably heading that way (some, of course, already are nonagenarians). But then, almost all original punks are in their sixties now. And the punks would have been children when The Beatles first hit the scene in 1962/63.

After the initially stuttering success of first single, Love Me Do, the four lads from Liverpool suddenly exploded to become a phenomenon. Nobody had an idea about what incredible history would be launched when The Beatles — aged between 22 and 19 — entered the EMI studios in London’s Abbey Road in 1962 to record their first couple of sides, nor even when they returned on 11 February to record the rest of their debut album.

For the accomplished George Martin, it apparently was an act of penance to be assigned the job of producing these raw amateurs. It didn’t matter much that they didn’t have much material of their own; it was standard to record cover versions as fillers, and that first album was full of them: Anna, Chains, Boys, Baby It’s You, A Taste Of Honey, Twist And Shout (hear the originals of these at …..).

But they also had self-written songs which suggested that these boys McCartney and Lennon had something special. Love Me Do, Please Please Me, I Saw Her Standing There, Do You Want to Know A Secret, or PS I Love You are all excellent to very good songs. Even Ask Me Why, There’s A Place and Misery are not bad, though quite forgettable.

Most of the album was recorded, almost as a live set, on that single day on 11 February 1963. By then, Love Me Do had peaked at #17, and Please Please Me was climbing up the charts, were it would peak at #2. The album cover still suggested Love Me Do was the drawcard, but more or less coinciding with the LP’s release, From Me To You broke big, the first of 11 consecutive #1s.

So here we have Please Please Me recovered, with Carole King singing her composition Chains — which The Beatles covered from The Cookies — and Sonny Curtis giving Do You Want To Know A Secret a flamenco treatment. Towards the end it all becomes a bit novelty, with Mae West drawling her way through From Me To You in the Christmas spirit — you want to hear it, but not for the appreciation of excellence of vocal.

I’m adding the non-album single tracks of the Please Please Me era, particularly She Loves You. Here it is performed by 1980s English comedian Ted Chippington, whose stand-up relied on his delivery of jokes so bad that some idiots would heckle him — and these trapped dupes would be the subject of his jokes. Seeing Chippington in action was a delight. As is his She Loves You, which fuses the Peter Sellers of the past with the Richard Cheese of the future. (The teutonic Sellers version is included as a bonus track.)

As always, CD-R length, home-yeah-yeahed covers. PW in comments.

1. Jerry Garcia – I Saw Her Standing There (1982)
2. Flamin’ Groovies – Misery (1976)
3. The Tams – Anna (Go To Him) (1964)
4. Carole King – Chains (1980)
5. Lee Curtis & The All Stars – Boys (1965)
6. Les Lionceaux – Je suis fou (Ask Me Why) (1964)
7. Mary Wells – Please Please Me (1965)
8. Sandie Shaw – Love Me Do (1969)
9. Keely Smith – P.S. I Love You (1965)
10. Smith – Baby, It’s You (1969)
11. Sonny Curtis – Do You Want To Know A Secret (1964)
12. Sarah Vaughan – A Taste Of Honey (1965)
13. The Smithereens – There’s A Place (2008)
14. The Miracles – Twist And Shout (1963)
15. Mae West – With Love From Me To You (1966)
16. Ted Chippington – She Loves You (1986)
17. The Merseyboys – I’ll Get You (1964)

GET IT! or HERE!

More Beatles Recovered:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Revcovered: Let It Be

Categories: Beatles, Covers Mixes Tags:

In Memoriam – September 2020

October 1st, 2020 3 comments

This was a relentlessly nasty month, as the number of 12 write-ups shows — in a month when I really didn’t have much time for that! It was particularly bad for soul singers and bassists. Still listing deaths from Covid-19, because as the orange commander of the Proud Stormtroopers said: “It is what it is.”

The Reggae Legend
To reggae fans, the question of Maytals or Wailers is akin to pop fans arguing about Beatles or Stones. Certainly, the Maytals’ leader Toots Hibbert, who has died at 71, was the one to give the genre its name with his 1968 song Do The Reggay. A gifted multi-instrumentalist — it is said he could play every instrument on his records — Hibbert was also a superb vocalist. Had he been born in the US, he might have been a soul singer. Having grown up in a Christian family before turning to Rastafarianism, he had a background in gospel music, which also found expression in some of his lyrics.

The Inspiration for Michelle
The incredible 93-years-long life of French chanteuse and actress Juliette Gréco has come to an end. As a teenager in occupied France during World War II, Juliette was involved in the Resistance, with her mother and sister. All three were arrested. Juliette was tortured by the Gestapo, but evaded internment in a concentration camp, unlike the other two. Instead, the 16-year-old was kept in jail for several month.

After the war, Gréco became part of the bohemian scene is Paris’ St Germain district (now more famous, alas, as the oligarch propaganda plaything football club owned by the state of Qatar), where she joined up with people like Sartre, Camus and Cocteau (who gave Gréco her first film role). In the 1960s, she was the inspiration for Paul McCartney’s song Michelle.

Gréco had a string of high-profile affairs (with, among others, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Sacha Distel, and Albert Camus), was married three times, and received the highest honours France bestows on civilians.

The Brother of Kool
Ronald Bell co-founded the legendary Kool & The Gang with his brother Robert, whose nickname gave the band its name. And while “Kool” gave his name to the band, Ronald was a musical force behind it, as a saxophonist, as a songwriter and as a producer. He wrote such classics as Jungle Boogie, Open Sesame, Ladies’ Night, Get Down On It, Big Fun, Hi-De-Hi Hi-De-Ho, In The Heart, Cherish, and Celebration. The latter was the song Bell regarded as his favourite, having been inspired to write it after picking up a bible in a hotel room. And that is interesting since Bell was a convert to Islam who took the name Khalis Bayyan.

The Honey Cone
On September 10 I posted the ABC of Soul Music mix, on which the letter H was represented by The Honey Cone. Two days later the lead singer of the featured track, Want Ads, died. Edna Wright, the younger sister of Darlene Love, started out as a backing singer for the likes of The Righteous Brothers, Johnny Rivers, and Ray Charles.

She released one unsuccessful single under the name Sandy Wynns, but her break came when Holland-Dozier-Holland, fresh from leaving Motown, discovered Wright as she filled in for her sister on the Andy Williams Show in 1969. Wright declined a solo deal but took the lead in The Honey Cone. Two years later the group had two mega hits with Want Ads and Stick-Up. After the Honey Cone, she resumed her career as backing singer, but did release one solo LP in 1977, the title track of which features here.

She Was Woman
With her hit I Am Woman, Australian-born singer Helen Reddy carved her name into the pantheon of female singers who articulated the demand for the emancipation of women. It was all the more powerful a statement in a time of rising feminism that Reddy didn’t look like the caricature of bra-burning activists that scared the supposedly silent majority; she actually looked like one of them — as did many other feminists. For a generation of women, I Am Woman (written by a man) became a statement of self-assertion.

The Australian-born singer had her first hit in 1970 with her second single, I Don’t Know How To Love Him, from Jesus Christ Superstar. It was actually the b-side of a track called I Believe In Music, written by Mac Davis, who died on the same day as Reddy. Many more hits followed, especially Delta Dawn, over the next decade. Reddy retired from the music business in 2002, returned to Australia, and became a hypnotherapist there.

The Humble Singer
Before he made it as a country singer, Mac Davis was a songwriter — and he started with quite a splash. For Elvis he wrote several tracks, including In the Ghetto (originally offered to Sammy Davis Jr, who’d record it a year later), Don’t Cry Daddy, and A Little Less Conversation. He also wrote the above-mentioned I Believe In Music, which eventually became a hit for Gallery.

In the mid-1970s he became a singing star, with hits like Baby Don’t Get Hooked on Me, One Hell Of A Woman, Stop And Smell The Roses, and Rock ‘n’ Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life). But perhaps his most famous song is a novelty sing-along number, It’s Hard To Be Humble.

The Cash Drummer
As Johnny Cash’s long-time drummer, W.S. ‘Fluke’ Holland can be heard on most of the great man’s classic recordings, starting in 1960, when Holland joined Cash’s Tennessee Three. Holland was the last survivor of the original trio, with guitarist Luther Perkins having died in 1968, and bassist Marshall Grant in 2011 (Perkins’ successors, Carl Perkins and Bob Wootton are also dead).

Before joining Cash, Holland was drumming at Sun Records for Carl Perkins on such classics as Blue Suede Shoes, Honey Don’t, and Matchbox, and he was the drummer on duty when the Million Dollar Quartet — Perkins, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis (Cash only came in to say hello) — recorded their famous session.

The Jersey Boy
As a founder member of what would become The 4 Seasons, Tommy DeVito was one of the two older guys in the group, along with Nick Massi (Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio were more than ten years younger). The baritone vocalist and lead guitarist was there when his group took in the teenage Valli, and he was still there when other members were replaced by Gaudio and Massi. And DiVito was there throughout the big times of The 4 Seasons until 1970, when he sold his rights to the band’s name to Gaudio and Valli.

The Emotion
Three days before the 21st day of September, Pamela Hutchinson of The Emotions died at 61. The surprising thing is just how young she was in the soul band’s heyday, when they were produced by Maurice and Stephen Stepney of Earth, Wind & Fire. Her sisters and fellow Emotions Wanda and Sheila were 5-7 years older than her, and Pamela joined in 1977 only when older sister Jeanette left the trio to have a child.

The timing was good for Pamela: The Emotions, who had already made a mark by appearing in the 1973 Wattstax concert, were getting ready to make some soul classics, especially the impossibly joyous Best Of My Love and Boogie Wonderland with EWF. For The Emotions, that was the zenith. After 1978’s Sunbeam album, Jeanette returned to the group, and Pamela carried on as a backing singer for other acts.

The Marvel
Georgia Dobbins career stopped before it could even begin — and yet she left an indelible mark on music history. In the early 1960s, Dobbins was the lead singer of the girl-group that would find fame as The Marvelettes. And with her high school friends in what was still The Marvels, Dobbins auditioned at the still young Motown label. Berry Gordy was interested but sent the group away with the advice to write their own songs.

Dobbins took that advice. She asked her friend William Garrett for an unfinished song he had written, and with his permission reworked it to create Please Mr Postman. But before Dobbins could record it with the newly-renamed Marvellettes (and Marvin Gaye on the drums), she bowed to her father’s wishes and left the music industry before she could even enter it. But her song became a mega-hit in 1961 for her old friends, and Motown first chart-topper. It was later covered by The Beatles and the Carpenters. It was also recycled for a song titled, presumably by Dan Quayle, Mashed Potatoe Time, for which Dobbins got a writing credit.

For many years, Dobbins kept her contribution to music history quiet. In fact, she felt that she had let her old friends down by leaving the group…

The Impeacher
Soul singer Roy C Hammond had a long career in soul music without ever quite reaching legendary status. His 1965 song Shotgun Wedding was a Top 10 hit in the UK, and it has been covered by the likes of Rod Stewart. In 1973 he wrote a song about Richard Nixon titled, reasonably enough, Impeach The President, which he recorded with a group of kids called The Honey Drippers. It became one of the most sampled records, including on Janet Jackson’s mega hit That’s The Way Love Goes and Mary J Blige’s Real Love (for which he even got a co-writing credit).

In his later years, Roy C pretty much stuck to themes of sex and infidelity, with all the amorous joys and suffering that involves (let’s say that Roy C was not a militant feminist), with the occasional shot of social commentary.

The Roller
His contribution to rock & roll was negligible, but for two years Ian Mitchell lived what looked like a dream but probably was more of a nightmare. Mitchell was only 17 when he became the bassist of the Bay City Rollers in 1976, just at the end of Rollermania. He replaced co-founder Alan Longmuir, who left the band after being burnt out. Longmuir, who died at 70 in 2018, was a decade older and thus much more mature than the Mitchell, and he couldn’t handle the pressure, so the teenager didn’t really stand a chance. Within less than a year, Mitchell quit the Bay City Rollers in what was an acrimonious split. Mitchell then rejoined his old band from Northern Ireland, Rosetta Stone, who were also managed by the Rollers’ sex-pest manager Tam Paton. Touted as the next big teen band sensation, Rosetta Stone had a couple of minor hits in Europe before Mitchell jumped ship in 1979, and soon after rejoined the now over-the-hill Rollers. He would release a few records intermittently — the last a Christmas album in 2001 — but to no great attention.

 

Erick Morillo, 49, house DJ, producer and label owner, on Sept. 1
Reel 2 Real feat. The Mad Stuntman – I Like To Move It (1993, as Reel 2 Real)

Ian Mitchell, 62, Irish bassist, on Sept. 1
Bay City Rollers – Yesterday’s Hero (1976, as member)
Rosetta Stone – (If Paradise Is) Half As Nice (1977, as member)

Alexander Priko, 46, singer, keyboardist with Soviet dance group Laskovyi Mai, on Sept. 2

Bill Pursell, 94, composer and pianist, of Covid-19 on Sept. 3
Bill Pursell – Our Winter Love (1963)

Lucille Starr, 82, Canadian country singer, on Sept. 4
Lucille Starr – Cajun Love (1968)

Gary Peacock, 85, jazz double-bassist, on Sept. 4
Robert Kaddouch/Gary Peacock – Gary’s Line (2016)

Sterling “Mr Satan” Magee, 84, soul and blues singer, Covid-19 on Sept. 6
Sterling Magee – Keep On (1965)

Bruce Williamson, 49, singer with The Temptations (2006-15), Covid-19 on Sept. 6

Simeon Coxe, 82, synth-player of electro-rock band Silver Apples, on Sept. 8
Silver Apples – You And I (1968)

Sid McCray, singer of reggae-punk band Bad Brains, on Sept. 9
Bad Brains – Stay Close To Me (1980)

Ronald Bell, 68, saxophonist of Kool & the Gang, songwriter, producer, on Sept. 9
Kool & the Gang – Chocolate Buttermilk (1970)
Kool & The Gang – Jungle Boogie (1973, also as writer)
Kool & The Gang – Get Down On It (1979, also as writer)
Kool & the Gang – Big Fun (1982, also as writer)

Roberto Franco, 75, Argentine singer-songwriter and guitarist, Covid-19 on Sept. 10

Diana Rigg, 82, English actress and sometime singer, on Sept. 10
Diana Rigg – Forget Yesterday (1972)

Toots Hibbert, 77, Jamaican reggae pioneer singer and songwriter, on Sept. 11
The Maytals – Do The Reggay (1968)
Toots & The Maytals – Louie Louie (1972)
Toots & The Maytals – Pressure Drop (live) (1980)
Toots & The Maytals with Willie Nelson – Still Is Still Moving To Me (2004)

Reggie Johnson, 79, jazz double-bassist, on Sept. 11
Art Blakey & The New Jazz Messengers – Buttercorn Lady (1966, on double-bass)

Edna Wright, 76, singer with soul band Honey Cone, on Sept. 12
Sandy Wynns – The Touch Of Venus (1964, pseudonym)
Honey Cone – While You’re Out Looking For Sugar (1969)
Honey Cone – Blessed Be Our Love (1971)
Edna Wright – Oops! Here I Go Again (1977)

Joaquín Carbonell, 73, Spanish singer-songwriter and poet, Covid-19 on Sept. 12

Peter Starkie, 72, Australian rock guitarist, on Sept. 14

Al Kasha, 83, Oscar-winning songwriter, on Sept. 14
Aretha Franklin – Operation Heartbreak (1961, as co-writer)
Maureen McGovern – The Morning After (1972, as co-writer)

Alicia Maguiña, 81, Peruvian singer and composer, on Sept. 14

Doak Snead, 70, country singer-songwriter, on Sept. 16
Doak Snead – Come & Get Your Rock (2018)

Roy C Hammond, 81, soul singer-songwriter, on Sept. 16
Roy C – Shotgun Wedding (1965, also as writer)
The Honey Drippers – Impeach The President (1973, as writer and producer)
Roy C – Great, Great Grandson Of A Slave (1977)
Roy ‘C’ – I’m Not Going To Eat A Thing (1987)

Pamela Hutchinson, 61, singer with soul band The Emotions, on Sept. 18
The Emotions – Best Of My Love (1977)
The Emotions – My Everything (1978, also as co-writer)
Earth, Wind & Fire – Touch (1983, on backing vocals)

Georgia Dobbins, 78, early singer with The Marvelettes, songwriter, on Sept. 18
The Marvelettes – Please Mr. Postman (1961, as co-writer)
Johnny Halliday – Mashed Potatoe Time (1963, as co-writer)

Terry Clemson, lead guitarist of English blues-rock band Downliners Sect, on Set. 19
Downliners Sect – Don’t Lie To Me (1966)

Lee Kerslake, 73, English drummer of Uriah Heep, on Sept. 19
Uriah Heep – The Wizard (1972)
Uriah Heep – Free Me (1977)

Dave Kusworth, 60, member of English indie group Jacobites, on Sept. 19
Nikki Sudden & Dave Kusworth, The Jacobites – Shame For The Angels (1985)

Tommy DeVito, 92, founder member of The Four Seasons, Covid-19 on Sept. 21
The Four Lovers – You’re The Apple Of My Eye (1956)
The 4 Seasons – Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye) (1964)
The 4 Seasons – Girl Come Running (1965)
Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons – Any Day Now/Oh Happy Day (1970, on guitar solo)

Roy Head, 79, blue-eyed soul singer, on Sept. 21
Roy Head – Treat Her Right (1965)

Ira Sullivan, 89, jazz trumpeter, on Sept. 21
Ira Sullivan Quintet – When Sunny Gets Blue (1958; released 1970)

Ramona Galarza, 80, Argentine folk singer and actress, on Sept. 22

Gerson King Combo, 76, Brazilian funk singer, on Sept. 22
Gerson King Combo – Mandamentos Black (1977)

Juliette Gréco, 93, French singer and actress, on Sept. 23
Juliette Gréco – Sous Le Ciel de Paris (1951)
Juliette Gréco – Jolie Môme (Live at Olympia, 1966)
Juliette Gréco – Ta jalousie (1974)

S. Holland, 85, drummer with Johnny Cash’s Tennessee Three, on Sept. 23
Carl Perkins – Matchbox (1957, on drums)
Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire (1963)
Johnny Cash – Big River (1968, live at St Quentin, on drums)

Guitar Crusher, 89, blues singer and guitarist, on Sept. 23
Guitar Crusher – Why Oh Why (1963)

Max Merritt, 79, New Zealand musician, on Sept. 24

Brent Young, founding bassist of metal band Trivium, on Sept. 25

Eddy Pumer, 72, guitarist of UK psychedelia band Kaleidoscope/Fairfield Parlour, on Sept. 25
Kaleidoscope – Flight From Ashiya (1967, also as co-writer)

Masayoshi Kabe, 70, Japanese bassist and guitarist, on Sept. 26

Jimmy Winston, 75, first keyboardist of the Small Faces and actor, on Sept. 26
Small Faces – What’Cha Gonna Do About It (1965)

Mark Stone, founding bassist of Van Halen, on Sept. 26

Jackie Dennis, 77, Scottish teenage pop singer, on Sept. 28
Jackie Dennis – La Dee Dah  (1958)

Geoff Swettenham, 72, drummer of Beatles protégés Grapefruit, on Sept. 28
Grapefruit – Dear Delilah (1968)

Mac Davis, 78, country singer-songwriter, on Sept. 29
Sammy Davis Jr – In The Ghetto (1970, as writer)
Mac Davies – Rock ‘N Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life) (1975)
Mac Davis – It’s Hard To Be Humble (1980)

Helen Reddy, 78, Australian-born singer, on Sept. 29
Helen Reddy – I Believe In Music (1970, written by Mac Davis)
Helen Reddy – Delta Dawn (1973)
Helen Reddy – Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady (1975)

Rocco Prestia, 69, pioneering bassist with funk band Tower of Power, on Sept. 29
Tower Of Power – What Is Hip (1973)
Tower Of Power – You Ought To Be Having Fun (1976)

GET IT! or HERE!

Previous In Memoriams

Keep up to date with dead pop stars on Facebook

 

 

Categories: In Memoriam Tags:

Any Major Cole Porter Vol. 2

September 24th, 2020 5 comments

Cole Porter - Any Major Collection Vol. 2

Rarely will you hear a vocal performances that merits a good flogging (not literally, of course. We are not savages). I’m not talking about bad warbling to a bad song. I mean singers who have the talent to sing a good song well but deliver a performance of such monumental abomination that the only reasonable punishment would be the metaphorical violence.

I am talking the territory of Michael F. Bolton murdering soul music and then molesting opera territory (though since he appeared on John Oliver’s show I have softened a little on Bolton). But the man I would be leading to the flogging post personally is our old friend Bono. What is Bono’s offence? His part in the duet with Frank Sinatra of I’ve Got You Under My Skin, recorded for the mostly deplorable Duets album in 1993.

Rarely has there been as risible a performance as when our smug friend revealed the full range of his jackassery by croaking his part in tandem with Sinatra and then proceeding to assault the big band break with an aggressively tuneless falsetto. In his delusional mind, Bono doubtless imagined he was improving on a perfectly good instrumental arrangement with what he might describe as harmonies, but which we readily recognise to be a wretched effort at attention-seeking.

Of course, the blame for this is not Bono’s alone. Bono tried his luck, as any one of us might in his position. Bono was just like the fools who stick out their tongue or make goofy handsigns when they take selfies with celebrities. The Duets producer ought to have told Bono, politely but firmly, as you would indulge an overacting child: “That was all very interesting, Bono, and I’ll see how we can use that in the final mix. But no promises, all right champ?” And yet, Bono’s disharmonies made it into the final mix. It is too late now to ask Phil Ramone or Sinatra for an explanation to shed light on what possessed them to submit to the kind of vocal stylings of the sort you or I could do better while driving in the car or crooning drunkenly in the shower, for both men are now dead.

The scene of the crime.

The scene of the crime.

The stupid singing is enough to convict Bono in the Supreme Court of Music. But a merciful judge might take pity on the fool in the way that witlessness is sometimes applied as an extenuating circumstance. What makes the severest sentence absolutely inevitable, however, is one of the most egregious instances of an egomaniac singer changing the words which the writer, in this instance Cole Porter, so carefully chose in his endeavour to convey the song’s full meaning. Bono croakingly croons:

“Don’t you know, Blue Eyes, you never can win…”

Bono had form with this kind of stuff. At Live Aid, held on a hot mid-summer day in July 1985, he ad-libbed during the Do They Know It’s Christmas finale the insane words: “Do they know that springtime is coming?” Yes, the Ethiopians did. Even extreme hunger could not rob them of the necessary ability to tell apart the seasons. “Springtime is coming” nine months from July, though. It is an extravagant prediction to make when spring is still to be preceded by the end of summer, and the full duration of autumn and winter.

Bono had sung this spontaneous ad-lib at every U2 concert throughout early 1985. By July, singing these words presumably was the unconscious reflex of an unthinking mind. There is no such excuse, however, for “Don’t you know, Blue Eyes, you never can win…”

Changing the lyrics to address a third party — in this case “Blue Eyes” — doesn’t make any sense in the song. In that line the singer is referring to himself, not to somebody else. The words for I’ve Got You Under My Skin are not Bono’s lyrics. They are Mr Porter’s lyrics. Even if he has been dead for a long time, Bono had no licence to turn his carefully crafted lyric into ingratiating doggerel, unless his intent was to satirise them in the manner the comedian Richard Cheese did with the U2 song Sunday Bloody Sunday (“Tonight we fiesta while tomorrow they die”). Was Bono trying to be a funny guy when he was singing with Frank Sinatra?

Moreover, I doubt that Sinatra was called Ole Blue Eyes by anybody else but the press and those entertaining the illusion of his friendship (he also hated being called the “Chairman of the Board”).

Frank Sinatra tenses up as a man with an earring hugs him.

Frank Sinatra tenses up as a man with an earring hugs him at the 1994 Grammys.

 

And all this leads us to a mix of covers of Cole Porter songs. The first Cole Porter Collection comprised performances from the black-and-white era of music; this one covers the technicolour era, with tracks ranging from the 1970s to the present. Some of them go for Nelson Riddlesque arrangements, other reinvent Porter songs in more modern genres.

As always: CD-R length, covers included, PW in comments.

1. John Barrowman & Kevin Kline – Night And Day (2004)
2. Barbra Streisand & Ryan O’Neal – You’re The Top (1972)
3. Bobby Caldwell – I Get A Kick Out Of You (1993)
4. Conal Fowkes – Let”s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love) (2011)
5. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – Anything Goes (2014)
6. Bryan Ferry – You Do Something To Me (1999)
7. Dionne Warwick – I Love Paris (1990)
8. Grady Tate – Don’t Fence Me In (1974)
9. Jane Birkin – Love For Sale (1975)
10. Alex Chilton – All Of You (1993)
11. Lisa Stansfield – Down In The Depths (1990)
12. Freda Payne – You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To (2014)
13. Helen Reddy – Blow, Gabriel Blow (1998)
14. Claire Martin – Too Darn Hot (2004)
15. Cybill Shepherd – Let’s Misbehave (1974)
16. Dianne Reeves – I Concentrate On You (2003)
17. Simply Red – Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye (1987)
18. Robbie Williams – It’s De-Lovely (2004)
19. Rosemary Clooney – Get Out Of Town (1982)
20. Linda Ronstadt – Miss Otis Regrets (2004)
21. Carly Simon – In The Still Of The Night (2005)
22. George Harrison – True Love (1976)
23. Seether – I’ve Got You Under My Skin (2009)

GET IT! or HERE!

More Songwriter Collections

More Mix CD-Rs

Categories: Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Any Major ABC of Soul

September 10th, 2020 2 comments

 

These ABCs of… mixes are a great way to spend some time: making them and, I hope, listening to them.

The concept is simple: one artist per letter (with solo artists going by the first letter of their first name), from A-Z. And that’s where the fun comes in: for most letters there are so many different acts one can choose, and from those so many different songs. My method was easy: instead of surveying every soul artist beginning with B or S, I went for the acts that first came to mind. For X, the search went on for a bit longer…

I set myself a challenge: it was my goal to limit the running time of the mix to fit the whole thing on to a standard CD-R. All the while keeping in mind that I’ll have to enjoy the end result. Well, I’ve listened to the result many times over, and I do enjoy it very much.

PW in comments.

1. Arthur Conley – Sweet Soul Music (1967)
2. Blackbyrds – Walking In Rhythm (1974)
3. Chairmen Of The Board – Pay To The Piper (1970)
4. Denise LaSalle – Trapped By A Thing Called Love (1972)
5. Earth, Wind & Fire – Sing A Song (1975)
6. Flirtations – Nothing But A Heartache (1969)
7. Geno Washington – Michael (1966)
8. Honey Cone – Want Ads (1971)
9. Irma Thomas – It’s Raining (1962)
10. Jimmy Ruffin – Its Wonderful (To Be Loved By You) (1970)
11. Keni Stevens – Never Gonna Give You Up (1988)
12. Laura Lee – Wedlock Is A Padlock (1972)
13. Marlena Shaw – Liberation Conversation (1969)
14. Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – If This Ain’t Love (Don’t Know What Is) (2005)
15. O’Jays – Love Train (1972)
16. Peaches & Herb – Close Your Eyes (1967)
17. Quincy Jones – Betcha’ Wouldn’t Hurt Me (1980)
18. Randy Crawford – Tender Falls The Rain (1980)
19. Sly and The Family Stone – Everyday People (1969)
20. Temptations – Since I Lost My Baby (1965)
21. Una Valli– Satisfaction (1968)
22. Velvelettes – Needle In A Haystack (1964)
23. Windjammer – Tossing And Turning (1984)
24. Xscape – Who Can I Run To (1995)
25. Yellow Sunshine – Yellow Sunshine (1973)
26. Zulema – You Changed On Me (1974)

GET IT! or HERE!

More Mixes:
More ABCs
More ’60s Soul
More ’70s Soul
More ’80s Soul

Categories: 60s soul, 70s Soul, 80s soul, ABC in Decades Tags:

In Memoriam – August 2020

September 3rd, 2020 7 comments

This month we lost one of my favourite contemporary singers, and one of the last survivor of the 1921 Tulsa pogrom. The latter died at 100 on August 18, when this list records seven music deaths in one day.

There’s a lot great music to discover this month; I am surprised that the drum break that opens Steve Grossman’s Zulu Stomp has not been widely sampled. As in the last few months, I’ve created playlists in order of the listings below, and a playlist I have made for myself. This month’s is particularly good.

The Saint Of Lost Causes
The law of averages dictate that most of our favourites musicians tend to die when they are past their prime. It’s very rare that I’m looking forward to the next album of a newly-departed performer, even in the case of somebody like Prince. But in August I was devastated by the sudden death of Justin Towne Earle, one of the few contemporary singers I’d call myself a fan of, more so even than I am of his father, Steve Earle.

He never made a bad album I heard, and his Harlem River Blues album is a contender for my favourite of the 2010s, and Track 2 from it, One More Night in Brooklyn, one of my favourites of the decade. Last year’s The Saint Of Lost Causes was solid with some fine moments. It has his typical warmth and tinge of sadness, and is an agreeable companion. Justin Townes Earle’s music is generally classified as “Americana”, and Earle did justice to the concept: he drew his influences from almost every musical genre of the USA.

Earle was just 38, younger even than the fine musician he was named after, Townes van Zandt. Police say it might have been a drug overdose that claimed Earle, and reportedly he had been on-and-off drugs since he was 12.

The Texan Mexican
Strange paths crossed with Trini Lopez, the son of Mexican person growing up in Texas. In the mid-1950s, Lopez and is band played in the Dallas nightclub owned by Jack Ruby, who’d later murder Harvey Oswald. Then it was Buddy Holly’s father at whose advice Lopez and his band, The Big Beats, were recorded by Buddy’s producer Norman Petty in 1957. They released one instrumental single, and Trini tried his hand at a solo career as a singer. A long string of singles went nowhere, and an idea for Trini to succeed Buddy Holly as the singer of The Crickets fell through. So he returned to club singing — where he was discovered in 1962 by Frank Sinatra.

Sinatra signed Lopez to his Reprise label, and Lopez rewarded Sinatra with a hit, a live recording of If I Had A Hammer. He continued to have a run of hit singles through the 1960s. In between that he designed two guitars for Gibson, both models now much sought-after by collectors, and appeared in a handful of movies, including The Dirty Dozen.

The Rock Opera Writer
We can thank Mark Wirtz and his collaborator Keith West for the concept of the rock opera, one which they pioneered in 1967 with their unfinished A Teenage Opera, from which West released the track often called Grocer Jack, which became a #2 hit in 1967. Wirtz — who was born in in the French city of Strasbourg, grew up in Cologne and moved to England in 1962 — also wrote and recorded the infectious A Touch Of Velvet-A Sting Of Brass in 1966 under the moniker Mood Mosaic (with vocals by The Ladybirds). It later served as the theme of the legendary German music TV show Musikladen.

In 1970 he moved to the US, where he arranged for a number of big-name acts, but left the business in the late 1970s. He tried his hands at various careers: working a telemarketer, maître d’, blood-stock agent, interpreter, voice-over artist, undercover agent, seminar leader and sales manager. He then moved into comedy, with success, and also became an award-winning newspaper columnist and writer.

The Pogrom Survivor
As a toddler, Hal “Cornbread” Singer survived the Tulsa race massacre, when whites razed a whole thriving district in the black suburb of Greenwood in a pogrom against African Americans. When he died at 100 on August 18, he was one of the last survivors of that act of genocide.

Singer grew up in Greenwood before he became a jazz musician, especially as a tenor saxophonist. He played with acts like Oran “Hot Lips” Page, Roy Eldridge, Marion Abernathy, Coleman Hawkins and Wynonie Harris and recorded under his own name, scoring a 1948 hit with the instrumental Corn Bread, which gave him his nickname.

The Hard Rock Producer
Martin Birch, who has died at 71, was a young recording engineer when he twiddled the buttons for the blues-era Fleetwood Mac, and more as they transitioned towards AOR (he played an acoustic guitar solo on their 1973 track Keep On Going, which he produced and has Christine McVie on vocals). But he made his name as the producer and engineer on all the great Deep Purple albums, and the successor bands such as Rainbow and Whitesnake. From Deep Purple he moved on to Iron Maiden, producing their golden 1980s run. He also worked on albums by Black Sabbath, Wayne County and Blue Öyster Cult.

The Mindbender
As the nominative frontman of ’60s British pop band The Mindbenders, Wayne Fontana has legitimate expectations of striking it big as a solo artist. So after a couple of UK Top 10 hits in 1964 and ‘65 (both featured here), Fontana left the band to go solo. While Fontana had a pair of Top 20 hits (on the Fontana label, coincidentally), the band he left behind scored a huge hit in 1966 with A Groovy Kind Of Love. That’s as good as it ever got for Fontana, by 1976 he quit the music business.

And if you ever thought Austin Powers was anything less than a documentary, listen to the Coca-Cola jingle featuring Fontana and The Mindbenders included in this collection.

The Last Hatchet Man
With Steve Holland, the last of the original line-up of Southern Rock outfit Molly Hatchet has died. The guitarist stuck with the band from its founding until a big fall-out moved Holland and two other members to drop out of a tour in 1983. Two decades later they joined up with former Molly Hatchet singer Jimmy Farrar to form Gator Country, named after their old band’s great 1978 song. They released one live album in 2008. All founding members of Gator Country are now all dead.

The Dealer
The contribution made by Cathy Smith to the canon of music is negligible — backing vocals for Hoyt Axton (harmonising with Nicolette Larsson) and Dan Hill — but her unexemplary life story is tied in with various acts, not always for the better. Born in 1947 in Canada, she went to the US as a teenager and hooked up with Levon Helms and his pre-Band group The Hawks, and then with members of The Band. When the paternity of her newborn couldn’t be established, the kid was known as “The Band Baby”. She had an on-off affair with fellow Canadian Gordon Lightfoot, whose big hit Sundown is about his troubled affair with Smith (the possessive Lightfoot was not just a victim of Smith’s wiles but also an abuser, once breaking Smith’s cheekbone).

In 1976 Smith became a heroin addict and dealer. Among her clients, according to Bob Woodward in his book Wired, were Ron Wood and Keith Richards. Another client was John Belushi, into whom she injected the drug cocktail that killed him. In a contender for Greatest Backfires of the 1980s, Smith gave an interview about it in the National Enquirer, under the headline “I killed John Belushi. I didn’t mean to, but I am responsible”. As a result of that, she was charged with murder and drug-dealing. Out on bail, she fled to Canada. She later served a 15-month sentence in a plea bargain.

 

Randy Barlow, 77, country singer, on July 30
Randy Barlow – No Sleep Tonight (1978)

Wilford Brimley, 85, actor and singer, on Aug. 1
Wilford Brimley – My Funny Valentine (1990)

Larry Novak, 87, jazz pianist, on Aug. 2

Steve Holland, 66, guitarist with Molly Hatchet, Gator Country, on Aug. 2
Molly Hatchet – Gator Country (1978)
Molly Hatchet – Bloody Reunion (1981)

Michael Peter Smith, 78, singer-songwriter and author, on Aug. 3
Steve Goodman – The Dutchman (1972, as writer)
Michael Smith – Three Monkeys (1987)

Tony Costanza, 52, drummer with metal bands Machine Head, Crowbar, on Aug. 4

Billy Goldenberg, 84, TV theme writer, musical director (Elvis ‘68), on Aug. 4
Barbra Streisand ‎- If I Close My Eyes (1973, as co-writer, arranger, producer)
Theme of ‘Kojak’ (full version) (1973, as writer)

FBG Duck, 26, rapper, shot dead on Aug. 4

Jan Savage, 77, guitarist of garage rock band The Seeds, on Aug. 5
The Seeds – Pushin’ Too Hard (1965)

Agathonas Iakovidis, 65, Greek folk singer, on Aug. 5
Koza Mostra & Agathonas Iakovidis – Alcohol Is Free (2013)

Vern Rumsey, 47, bassist and recording engineer, on Aug. 6

Wayne Fontana, 74, English singer, on Aug. 6
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – Um, Um, Um, Um (1964)
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – Game Of Love (1965)
Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – Coca-Cola commercial (1960s)
Wayne Fontana – Pamela, Pamela (1966)

Mark Wirtz, 76, French-born musician and producer, on Aug. 7
Mood Mosaic – A Touch Of Velvet-A Sting Of Brass (1966)
Keith West – Excerpt From ‘A Teenage Opera’ (1967, as co-writer, producer)

Alain Delorme, 70, French singer, on Aug. 7
Alain Delorme – Romantique avec toi (1975)

Paul Dokter, 59, singer, guitarist of Dutch indie band The Serenes, on Aug.7
The Serenes – Rebecca (You’re Gonna Be Alright) (1990)

Martin Birch, 71, British producer and engineer. On Aug. 9
Deep Purple – Hush (1968, as engineer)
Fleetwood Mac – Keep On Going (1973, as producer, engineer and on acoustic guitar)
Rainbow – Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll (1978, as producer/engineer)
Iron Maiden – Run To The Hills (1982, as producer/engineer)

Salome Bey, 80, Canadian jazz singer, on Aug. 9
Salome Bey – Hit The Nail Right On The Head (1970)
Salome Bey – Lover Man (1992)

Don Martin, bassist of New Zealand new wave band Mi-Sex, on Aug. 10

Waldemar Bastos, 66, Angolan musician, on Aug. 10
Waldemar Bastos – Teresa Ana (1983)
Waldemar Bastos – Sofrimento (1998)

Trini Lopez, 83, singer and actor, on Aug. 11
The Big Beats – Clark’s Expedition (1957, as member on guitar)
Trini Lopez – A-me-ri-ca (1963)
Trini Lopez – Lemon Tree (1964)

Pat Fairley, 76, bassist of Scottish pop band Marmalade, on Aug. 11
Marmalade – Baby Make It Soon (1969)

Belle du Berry, 54, singer of French group Paris Combo, on Aug. 11
Paris Combo – Moi, mon âme, ma conscience (1997)

Carlos Burity, 67, Angolan semba musician, on Aug. 12

Steve Grossman, 69, jazz saxophonist, on Aug. 13
Steve Grossman – Zulu Stomp (1974)

Ewa Demarczyk, 79, Polish singer and poet, on Aug. 14

Pete Way, 69, bass guitarist with rock band UFO, on Aug. 14
UFO – Young Blood (1980, also as co-writer)

Valentina Legkostupova, 54, Russian pop singer, on Aug. 14

Ron Heathman, guitarist with rock band Supersuckers, on Aug. 18
The Supersuckers – Rock-n-Roll Records (Ain’t Selling This Year) (2003)

Jack Sherman, 64, guitarist with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (1983-84), on Aug. 18
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes (1984, also as co-writer)

Sean Pentecost, drummer of Australian metal band Superheist, on Aug.18.

Roger Quigley, 51, singer-songwriter with indie duo Montgolfier Brothers, on Aug. 18
The Montgolfier Brothers – Between Two Points (1999)

Steve Gulley, 57, bluegrass singer-songwriter, on Aug. 18

Cathy Smith, 73, Canadian-born backup singer, on Aug. 18
Hoyt Axton – Evangelina (1976)

Hal ‘Cornbread’ Singer, 100, jazz tenor saxophonist, on Aug 18
Wynonie Harris – Good Rockin’ Tonight (1947, on tenor sax)
Hal Singer Orchestra – Easy Living (1953)
Hal Singer – Cloud Nine (1964)

Lou Ragland, 78, soul singer and producer, on Aug. 19
Lou Ragland – Understand Each Other (1978)

Todd Nance, 57, drummer of rock band Widespread Panic, on Aug. 19

Justin Townes Earle, 38, singer-songwriter, on Aug. 20
Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues (2010)
Justin Townes Earle – Am I That Lonely Tonight (2012)
Justin Townes Earle – Burning Pictures (2014)
Justin Townes Earle – The Saint Of Lost Causes (2019)

Piotr Szczepanik, 78, Polish singer and actor, on Aug. 20

Frankie Banali, 68, drummer of Quiet Riot, WASP, on Aug. 20
Quiet Riot – Metal Health (Bang Your Head) (1983, also as co-writer)
W.A.S.P. – Mean Man (1983)

Ron Tudor, 96, Australian producer and label owner (Fable Records), on Aug. 21

Bryan Lee, 77, blues musician, on Aug. 21
Bryan Lee – I’ll Play The Blues For You (1993)

Steve Sample Sr., 90, jazz bandleader, arranger and educator, on Aug. 22

J. Rogers, 72, soul singer and producer, on Aug. 22
D.J. Rogers – Listen To The Message (1973)
D.J. Rogers – Say You Love Me (1975)

Ulla Pia, 75, Danish singer, on Aug. 22

Walter Lure, 71, guitarist with The Heartbreakers, on Aug. 22
Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers – To Much Junkie Business (1992, also as writer)

Giannis Poulopoulos, 79, Greek singer-songwriter, on Aug. 23

Charlie Persip, 91, jazz drummer, on Aug. 23
Dizzy Gillespie Sextet – Devil And The Fish (1954, on drums)
Dinah Washington – Someone’s Rocking My Dreamboat (1957)

Peter King, 80, English jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, on Aug. 23
Everything But The Girl – The Night I Heard Caruso Sing (1988, on saxophone)

Riley Gale, 34, singer of metal band Power Trip, on Aug. 24

Itaru Oki, 78, Japanese jazz trumpeter and flugelhornist, on Aug. 25

Mick Hart, Australian folk-rock musician, on Aug. 25
Mick Hart – Watching It Fade (2001)

Gerry McGhee, 58, singer of Canadian rock band Brighton Rock, on Aug. 25

Chet Himes, 73, recording engineer, reported on Aug. 26
Christopher Cross – Ride Like The Wind (1979, as engineer)

Mike Noga, 43, Australian rock multi-instrumentalist, on Aug. 27
The Drones – The Minotaur (2008, as member on drums)

Ronnie Kole, 89, jazz pianist, New Orleans French Quarter Festival founder, on Aug. 27

Mark Colby, 71, jazz fusion saxophonist, on Aug. 31
Mark Colby – On And On (1979)

GET IT! or HERE!

Categories: In Memoriam Tags:

The Originals: 1980s Vol. 2

August 25th, 2020 5 comments

In this instalment of The Originals, we return to the 1980s with a second volume. As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, plus a handful of bonus tracks, coming to a playlist of 32 lesser-known originals of 1980s hits.

 

Holding Back The Years
Simply Red’s Holding Back The Years sounds like a cover version of an obscure 1960s soul number, and the versions by Randy Crawford and Angie Stone show just how good a soul song it is. But it is, in fact, a Mick Hucknall composition.

Before Hucknall became Simply Red (would you recognise any of the other interchangeable members in the street?), he was the lead singer of the Frantic Elevators, a punk group whose formation was inspired by the Sex Pistols’ 1976 Manchester gig. They stayed together for seven years of very limited success, releasing four non-charting singles and recording a Peel session at the BBC.

The last of their four singles, released in 1982, was Holding Back The Years, a song Hucknall had mostly written as a 17-year-old about his mother’s desertion when he was three (he added the chorus later). Their version is understated and almost morose, in a Joy Division sort of way. Although released independently, as the cut-and-paste artwork on the slightly disturbing sleeve suggests, they had high hopes for the single. Ineffective distribution dashed those hopes.

In 1983, Hucknall left the Frantic Elevators and went on to found Simply Red (who before arriving at that name were called World Service, Red and the Dancing Dead, and Just Red). The first single, Money’s Too Tight To Mention — a cover version of The Valentine Brothers song (featured on Any Major Originals Vol. 1) — was an instant hit. The follow-up single but one was a remake of Holding Back The Years, now rendered as a soul number. On its first release in late 1985 it flopped. Re-released in 1986, it became a worldwide smash, even topping the Billboard charts.

Talk Talk
Another act covering (part of) itself was Talk Talk who recorded their 1993 hit Talk Talk from an original titled Talk Talk Talk Talk. The song was written by the late Mark Hollis, and originally recorded by his previous band, Reaction. It appeared on the Beggars Banquet punk compilation Streets, which was released in late 1977.

I’ve Never Been To Me
The song that has invited much ridicule, especially regarding what exactly a woman isn’t supposed to see, has been widely covered. Among those who’d never been to themselves were Nancy Wilson, Walter Jackson, The Temptations, and Howard Keel. But the first to lament her lifetime of non-hedonism was Randy Crawford, who released it in October 1976 on her debut album, Everything Must Change. Soon after it was recorded by Charlene, a Motown singer.

I’ve Never Been To Me was co-written by Motown songwriter Ron Miller, whose hits included Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life, A Place in the Sun, Yester-Me Yester-You Yesterday, and Heaven Help Us All, and Diana Ross’ Touch Me in the Morning.

Charlene was a singer for Motown who also wrote songs and produced. Part of her job was to record demos of songs. In 1976 she teamed up with Miller to release her debut album. Released in December that year, it included three singles which just about reached the 90s in the US Top 100 each. The third of these was I’ve Never Been To Me.

While the song was a minor hit by singer Marti Caine in Canada in 1978, and was recorded by Nancy Wilson and Walter Jackson, both in 1977, for Charlene commercial failure meant the end of the dream of hedonistic stardom. She quit her job and emigrated to England. Then in 1982, a DJ in Florida played I’ve Never Been To Me on the radio, and listeners loved it. Motown re-released the single, and it became a worldwide hit. For Charlene, it would be the only big hit. She scored a minor hit with a duet with Stevie Wonder in 1982.

 

Pass The Dutchie
A drug anthem sung by children, Pass The Dutchie was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic, which was unusual for a reggae number.

Pass The Dutchie was a cover of Pass the Kouchie by the Mighty Diamonds (a trio of adults singing about sharing a marijuana pipe), also from 1982. And both can be said to have borrowed their hook from 1969’s instrumental Full Up by the Sound Dimension.

Tom Hark
A staple these days on English football grounds, the impossibly catchy Tom Hark had its origins in South Africa. There was no Tom Hark: the song’s title was either a pun or more likely a sloppy mis-heard rendering of the word tomahawk, the axes gangs in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township used to carry.

Composer “Big Voice” Jack Lerole and his mates used to record in the pennywhistle-based kwela genre, though it was not yet known by that name — the contemporary term was marabi or pennywhistle jive. The word kwela is Zulu for “Get up”, and as kwela-kwela it was also a township term for a police van (after the cops” command “Kwela! Kwela!”, meaning “get in”), the unwelcome approach of which often was signalled by a lookout blowing his tin flute.

Lerole, commonly known as Jake, learnt to play the pennywhistle as a little boy, observing the flautists from Scottish regiments that often played near Alexandra and which influenced a generation of pennywhistlers who adapted the complex techniques of flute-playing to the simple pennywhistle, thereby enhancing its versatility.

Lerole and his bandmembers recorded under several names, mostly as Alexandra Black Mambazo (mambazo is Zulu for axe — or tomahawk), but were signed by EMI in 1956 as Elias and His Zig Zag Jive Flutes; the Elias of the moniker being Lerole”s brother.

Having recorded Tomahawk, or Tom Hark, EMI sold the rights to the song to British TV to serve as the theme for a series called The Killing Stone. On the back of that, the song became a British hit, reaching #2 in 1958 (a concurrent version by bandleader Ted Heath reached #24). Lerole and his band received £6 for recording the song and not a red cent in royalties, even when the song became an international hit again in 1980 with an affectionate cover by the British ska band The Piranhas, whose frontman Bob Grover put lyrics to the song (“The whole things daft, I don’t know why, you have to laugh or else you cry”). On the single cover The Piranhas paid tribute to the original by emblazoning it with the word “kwela”.

After the Alexandra Black Mambazo split in 1963, Lerole enjoyed a fair career, though more as a gravelly baritone singer and saxophonist than as a pennywhistler, having followed the lead of pennywhistle king Spokes Mashiyane into the new mbaqanga style of music. He made a comeback in the 1980s as a member of the multiracial group Mango Groove (which recorded Tom Hark with their own lyrics), on whose first hit, Dance Sum More (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nlom0-Z0RBE), Lerole provided his distinctive growling vocals. Before Mango Groove became famous in South Africa, he left the group.

In 1998 he and the reformed Alex Black Mambazo were invited by South African-born Dave Matthews to perform with his group in the US. The band performed to international acclaim and total indifference in their home country. Leralo died in 2003 at the age of 63.

In The Army Now
Also from South Africa, though from a very different cultural context, were the Bolland brothers, Rob and Ferdi. The year 1986 was lucrative for the brothers. First their song Rock Me Amadeus, performed by the Austrian cult singer Falco, topped the UK charts (having been a huge hit in Europe the previous year), and then Status Quo hit the UK Top 10 with their cover of the brothers’ 1981 song In The Army Now.

Born in Port Elizabeth, the Bolland brothers had emigrated to the Netherlands, and started their recording career in 1972 as a folk-rock duo. When that genre became passé they hooked into the electronic sounds of the late 1970s. In The Army Now was a big hit in South Africa, where conscription applied to only white men, many of whom were sent to fight in the war with Angola, apartheid’s Vietnam. The single did only moderately well elsewhere, and the Bolland brothers became record producers, counting among their clients Falco, Amii Stewart, Samantha Fox, Suzi Quatro and Dana International.

Meanwhile, Status Quo’s Francis Rossi had heard In The Army Now on the radio while driving in Germany, and proposed it to his band, which by now had lost bassist Alan Lancaster and drummer John Coughlan. The song took the Quo to #2 in the UK.

 

That’s What Friends Are For
Two songs here appeared on the soundtrack of the 1982 comedy Nightshift. That’s What Friends Are For was written by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer-Sager, and first appeared on the movie’s soundtrack as a filler in a version by Rod Stewart.

Three years later it was revived by Dionne Warwick, with her friends Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder, as a fundraiser for AIDS research. It was a huge hit and won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, as well as Song of the Year. The notion of supporting AIDS research in the 1980s was laudable, but musically I prefer Rod’s version.

Harden My Heart
One song from the Nightshift soundtrack that did trouble the charts was Harden My Heart by Quarterflash. By then it already had been a huge hit for the band. Written by its guitarist Marv Ross, the song was first recorded in a sparser arrangement by Seafood Mama, which was a predecessor band for Quarterflash.

Both bands featured Ross on guitar, and his wife, Rindy Ross on vocals and — hello, the 1980s — saxophone. Rindy can be seen holding a saxophone on the single cover of the original Harden My Heart.

Self Control
In Italy one might argue that the original is better known than the internationally more famous cover. The original by Italian singer Raf (or Raffaele Riefoli, as his mom knew him), who also co-wrote it, topped his country’s charts as well as that of Switzerland in the summer of 1984. US singer Laura Branigan’s version was a hit in Europe at the same time, competing with Raf’s version. Her take, for which arranger Harold Faltermeyer traded Raf’s keyboard hook with a guitar riff, became a huge US hit.

Branigan had enjoyed previous success with Italian pop music: her big 1982 hit Gloria was originally recorded in 1979 by Umberto Tozzi, whose 1977 hit Ti Amo she also recorded.  All three songs were co-written by Giancarlo Bigazzi, which explains how Branigan got to record it in time to compete with the original.

 

I Wanna Be Loved
For a prolific songwriter, Elvis Costello has covered other people’s songs widely. His best-known cover perhaps is George Jones’ A Good Year For The Roses, itself a country classic. Others were I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down was first done by Sam & Dave (featured on Any Major Originals – 1980s Vol. 1), and (What’s So Funny ‘bout) Peace, Love and Understanding, covered from the Brinsley Schwarz original.

I Wanna Be Loved, a Costello single in 1984 which appeared on the otherwise underwhelming Goodbye Cruel World album (and features Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside on backing vocals), was plucked from obscurity. That’s what Costello said, and he was not exaggerating.

There is very little information about the song’s original artists, Teacher’s Edition, or about Farnell Jenkins, who wrote the song. I Wanna Be Loved was released in on the Memphis-based Hi Records (which counted Al Green, Ann Peebles and O.V. Wright among its roster) in 1973 as a Willie Mitchell-produced b-side to a song titled It Helps To Make You Strong. For the Teacher’s Edition, that second single was the end of the road.

Jenkins had been around for a while already. Previously his band had been called The Conservatives, but that name was changed after Richard Nixon’s election. Jenkins brought out a gospel album in 1977, and continued to be a Chicago-based writer of Gospel songs.

The Only Way Is Up
Another soul singer who tried to make his way at Hi Records at the same time as Jenkins was Otis Clay. Recording since 1967, Clay had a run of well-received but modestly successful records on Hi. The best-performing of these was Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You, which hit #24 on the R&B charts in 1973. In 1981, Bob Seger scored a big hit with a cover of the song, which is added here as a bonus track.

By then, Clay had changed record labels a couple of times. In 1980 he released his records on his own label, Echo Records. Among these was the single The Only Way Is Up, co-written by soul singer-songwriter George Jackson, whose previous credits included the Osmonds hit One Bad Apple and Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock and Roll. The Only Way Is Up wasn’t a hit, but was popular enough to prompt Clay to name his 1982 album after it.

Eight years after Otis Clay recorded the song, it was picked up by English house outfit Coldcut which turned it into a pumping dance number for Yazz and the Plastic Population. It became a mega hit in the UK and in Europe, though it didn’t do much business in the US.

As for Otis Clay, he continued to record and earned himself a reputation as one of the finest blues singers, culminating in a Grammy nomination in 2007 for his album Walk a Mile in My Shoes. Clay died in 2016 at 73.

Wind Beneath My Wings
Between the first recording by whistling apartheid fan Roger Whitaker in 1982 and Bette Midler’s huge hit with it in 1988 on the back of the film Beaches, Wind Beneath My Wings had been recorded by many artists, including Sheena Easton, Gladys Knight and The Pips (as Hero), Lou Rawls, B.J. Thomas, Willie Nelson, Patty LaBelle, and Ray Price. Rawls and Knight, as well as country singer Gary Morris, saw some chart action with their versions.

For Midler, the song was a critically-acclaimed worldwide hit, and US #1. It won the Grammy for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

 

1. Otis Clay – The Only Way Is Up (1980)
The Usurper: Yazz and the Plastic Population (1988)

2. Rod Stewart – That’s What Friends Are For (1982)
The Usurper: Dionne Warwick & Friends (1985)

3. Seafood Mama – Harden My Heart (1980)
The Usurper: Quarterflash (1981)

4. Raf – Self Control (1984)
The Usurper: Laura Branigan (1984)

5. Charlie Dore – You Should Hear (How She Talks About You) (1981)
The Usurper: Melissa Manchester (1982)

6. The Textones – Vacation (1980)
The Usurpers: The Go-Go’s (1982)

7. The Mighty Diamonds – Pass The Kouchie (1982)
The Usurper: Musical Youth (1982, as Pass The Dutchie)

8. Elias & His Zigzag Jive Flutes – Tom Hark (1956)
The Usurper: Ted Heath (1956), The Piranhas (1980)

9. Kirsty MacColl – They Don’t Know (1979)
The Usurper: Tracy Ullman (1983)

10. Bolland & Bolland – You’re In The Army Now (1981)
The Usurper: Status Quo (1986)

11. Reaction – Talk Talk Talk Talk (1977)
The Usurper: Talk Talk (1982, as Talk Talk)

12. Frantic Elevators – Holding Back The Years (1982)
The Usurper: Simply Red (1985)

13. Cherrelle – I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On (1984)
The Usurper: Robert Palmer (1986)

14. Randy Crawford – I’ve Never Been To Me (1976)
The Usurper: Charlene (1976)

15. Teacher’s Edition – I Wanna Be Loved (1973)
The Usurper: Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1984)

16. The Applejacks – I Go To Sleep (1965)
The Usurper: Pretenders (1981)

17. Four Preps – Love Of The Common People (1966)
The Usurpers: Nicky Thomas (1970), Paul Young (1983)

18. The Crickets – More Than I Can Say (1960)
The Usurpers: Bobby Vee (1961), Leo Sayer (1980)

19. Barry Mann – Don’t Know Much (1980)
The Usurper: Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville (1989)

20. Albert Hammond – To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before (1975)
The Usurper: Julio Iglesias & Willie Nelson (1984)

21. Roger Whittaker – Wind Beneath My Wings (1982)
The Usurper: Bette Midler (1988)

22. George Benson – Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You (1985)
The Usurper: Glen Medeiros (1987)

23. Bonnie Tyler – The Best (1988)
The Usurper: Tina Turner (1989)

Bonus:
Otis Clay – Trying To Live My Life Without You (1973)
The Usurper: Bob Seger (1981)

Jon & Vangelis – State of Independence (1981)
The Usurper: Donna Summer (1982)

Neil Diamond – Red Red Wine (1968)
The Usurper: UB 40 (1983)

Priscilla Bowman & Spaniels – A Rockin’ Good Way (1958)
The Usurper: Shakin’ Stevens & Bonnie Tyler (1983)

Jack Lee – Come Back And Stay (1981)
The Usurper: Paul Young (1983)

Hall & Oates – Everytime You Go Away (1980)
The Usurper: Paul Young (1985)

Dionne Warwick – Never Gonna Let You Go (1982)
The Usurper: Sérgio Mendes (1983)

Floy Joy – Weak In The Presence Of Beauty (1986)
The Usurper: Alison Moyet (1987)

O’Chi Brown – Whenever You Need Somebody (1985)
The Usurper: Rick Astley (1987)

GET IT! or HERE!

More Originals:
The Originals: The Classics
The Originals: Soul
The Originals: Motown
The Originals: Country
The Originals: The Rock & Roll Years
The Originals: 1960s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1960s Vol. 2
The Originals: 1970s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1970s Vol. 2
The Originals: 1980s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1990s & 2000s
The Originals: Beatles edition
The Originals: Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 1
The Originals:  Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 2
The Originals: Carpenters Edition
The Originals: Burt Bacharach Edition
The Originals: Rat Pack Edition
The Originals: Schlager Edition
The Originals: Christmas Edition

Categories: The Originals Tags:

Any Major Falsetto Vol. 1

August 13th, 2020 9 comments

 

The heyday of the falsetto was the in 1970s, when every vocal soul group worth its name had at least one guy who’d hit the high register, much a relic of doo wop. For some groups, such as The Stylistics or Blue Magic, it was a selling point. Giants in falsetto singing like Eddie Kendrick or Philip Bailey raised the already mighty output of their respective groups — The Temptations and Earth, Wind & Fire — with their falsetto.

Erotic though the growls of Barry White might have been, the sex was on when Bailey would hit the high notes on Reasons or I Write A Song For You. According to a recent podcast by insider.com, we are “hardwired to have a strong response to falsetto in music because of the way our brains process pitch and because of the unique relationship between falsetto and emotion”. It is, apparently, in our DNA.

“According to the music cognitive psychologist David Huron, when you hear high-pitched, loud singing your brain releases excitatory hormones that increase your arousal state and make you more attentive. So falsetto gets your attention. But that’s not the only way it affects you. It also ignites your emotion.”

So with this mix, get those excitatory hormones ready for some arousal — and hopefully you are with the one you love when those emotions get ignited.

On the mix, I included the studio version of EWF’s Reasons, for purposes of keeping the mix down to CD-R length. But also hear the live version from the Gratitude album. Being blessed with a pretty good vocal range, I can sing the studio version alright, but the live one in some parts shreds my vocal chords.

Philip Bailey recently appeared on the Grammy Tribute to Prince, where he sang the late singer’s Adore. It was as marvellous performance. I was thinking of including Adore here, but went for The Most Beautiful Girl In The World instead, on strength of Prince suddenly dropping down to the lowest baritone (or is it bass by then?). A superb vocal performance.

I have tried to be purist in this collection and include only songs that feature falsetto, rather than head voice. Experts in the field of singing may confirm that I succeeded in my endeavour, or point out where I didn’t (I think the Buckley track might feature head voice). Here’s a teaching opportunity for y’all vocal coaches.

But that doesn’t really matter. Just enjoy the music and, if you are blessed with a decent falsetto, happy crooning along!

As mentioned, CD-R length. Home-eunuched covers (featuring renowened 1980s soul singer Prince Rahotep). PW in comments.

1. The Four Seasons – Sherry (1962)
2. Eddie Holman – Hey There Lonely Girl (1970)
3. The Dells – Oh What A Night (1969)
4. The Chi-Lites – Stoned Out Of My Mind (1973)
5. Eddie Kendricks – Keep On Truckin’ (Part 1) (1973)
6. Marvin Gaye – Got To Give It Up (Part 1) (1977)
7. The Bee Gees – Love You Inside And Out (1979)
8. Earth, Wind & Fire – Reasons (1975)
9. Heatwave – Always And Forever (1977)
10. Prince – The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (1994)
11. Lenny Kravitz – It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over (1991)
12. Jeff Buckley – Everybody Here Wants You (1998)
13. The Rolling Stones – Fool To Cry (1976)
14. Darondo – True (c.1973)
15. Curtis Mayfield – No Thing On Me (1972)
16. Jimmy Helms – Gonna Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse (1972)
17. The Delfonics – Think It Over (1973)
18. Blue Magic – Sideshow (1974)
19. The Stylistics – I’m Stone In Love With You (1972)

GET IT! or HERE!

More CD-R Mixes

Categories: Mix CD-Rs Tags:

In Memoriam – July 2020

August 4th, 2020 5 comments

The month started off quite brutally, with July 6 being particularly harsh. Things eased as the month neared its end. I’m still noting where people died of complications from Covid-19, since there are still idiots who think that protecting others from catching this virus is unimportant or incompatible with their screwed ideologies. Not masking up kills people. Be decent. Wear those masks.

The Maestro
You know a musician’s lifework is universally beloved when it is hailed by music fans of every genre, a top football club and the Vatican. The AS Roma football team got it right when it wore on its sleeves the legend “Grazie, Maestro” below the outline of the face of film composer Ennio Morricone by way of tribute. Readers of this blog needn’t be instructed about the genius of Morricone, nor be subjected to a tortured list of my favourite pieces of Morricone compositions — such a list would never end. But should there be anybody left who is uncertain what the Morricone fuss is all about, let me refer them to the exquisite soundtrack of Once Upon A Time In America, a masterpiece which guides you through an emotional journey (one of the featured tacks is from that soundtrack).

The Big Mac
Readers of this corner of the Internet also needn’t be reminded that before Fleetwood Mac were coked-up million-sellers in sunny California, they were a blues-rock band in grimy England (possibly experimenting with a variety of drugs, but more of that in a bit). The first incarnation had at its centre guitarist and songwriter Peter Green, whose blues guitar chops moved BB King to issue highest praise. For Fleetwood Mac, Green wrote Black Magic Woman (later a hit for another gifted guitarist, featured on Any Major Originals – The Classics), the instrumental mega-hit Albatross, Oh Well, The Green Manalishi, and others.

Green wasn’t into the stardom or the money that came with it. His experimentations with LSD also had an effect on his mental state. He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. Green left Fleetwood Mac in 1971. He continued to record here and there, but faded into obscurity (though his 1979 album In The Skies was very good). In 1979 his old pals from Fleetwood Mac included Green, uncredited, on the song Brown Eyes from Tusk.

The Devil’s Competitor
Will there be a rematch for a fiddle after the death of Charlie Daniels? The country-rocker became a sorry example of the hateful culture-warrior that brought the world the Disaster Express that is Donald Trump. But in his younger day, Daniels was a member of the counterculture and a supporter of Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign. Let us remember that Charlie Daniels objected to the KKK’s use of his poorly-titled Southern Rock anthem The South’s Gonna Do It Again.

Before he broke through as a headliner, Daniels was a session musician, playing for the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Al Kooper, Flatts & Scruggs, Ringo Starr and, especially, the Marshall Tucker Band.

The Jazz Singer
With the death of Annie Ross, all three of the pioneering jazz vocalese trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross are gone, with Dave Lambert having died already in 1966, and Jon Hendricks in 2017. Ross left the trio in 1962, succeeded by Yolande Bavan, the sole survivor of either line-up. Born in London as Annabelle Short, Ross came to the US as a child. In 1943 she played Judy Garland’s sister in Presenting Lily Mars. A year later she won a songwriting contest, with Johnny Mercer recording her song, Let’s Fly. She joined Lambert and Hendricks in 1957, having earlier worked alongside Lambert. Initially they wanted to record with different female singers, but Ross so impressed them that she was invited to join the group.

While with the trio, she also recorded solo albums, and in 1962 left the group. She went on to found a high-class jazz club in London, and had a good career as a film actress.

The Synth Pioneer
Remember that strange keyboard solo on Del Shannon’s Runaway (a song with so many delightful touches)? That was played on a musitron by its inventor, Max Crook. The musitron was an early type of monophonic synthethiser which, according to Wikipedia, was “a clavioline heavily enhanced with additional resistors, television tubes, and parts from household appliances, old amplifiers, and reel-to-reel tape machines”. It influenced the likes of Berry Gordy, Joe Meek, Ennio Morricone, John Barry and Roy Wood.

Crook was operating his invention on stage as a member of Del Shannon’s backing group when he played a chord-change from A-minor to G. The singer and the keyboardist used that as the basis for Runaway, which turned out to be a million-seller.

The Toto Father
I imagine growing up in the Porcaro household must have been a blast, at least from a music point of view. Joe Porcaro, who has died at 90, was a session drummer and percussionist in the Wrecking Crew, and all three of his sons — Jeff, Steve and Mike (two of whom Joe outlived) — became sought-after session musicians themselves, and founders of the group Toto. Porcaro Sr did percussion work on all Toto albums in their heyday (including percussions and marimabas on their 1982 mega-hit Africa). Joe Porcaro also made it a point to teach budding musicians: he was a co-founder of the Los Angeles College of Music.

Porcaro also played on the scores of films such as Kelly’s Heroes, Enter The Dragon, The Color Purple, E.T., Romancing The Stone, The Right Stuff, Alien Resurrection, Independence Day, Taps, The Abyss, Empire Of The Sun, Die Hard, Joe Versus The Volcano, The Naked Gun, Edward Scissorhands, Dances With Wolves, and many more.

The Soul Singer
The news came too late for inclusion in last month’s In Memoriam, so we pay tribute to Tami Lynn here. The New Orleans soul singer didn’t have the long career her talent deserved. Her only hit, I’m Gonna Run Away From You, came in the UK six years after she first recorded it. Lynn did frequent backing vocals for Dr John as well as for The Rolling Stones.

The Glee Singer
Naya Rivera is the third main cast member of the TV series Glee to die young (a subject she sang about in Season 5 of the show). Preceding her tragic death in a drowning were those of Cory Monleith (of suicide) and Mark Salling (also of suicide, after being convicted of possessing child porn). Even before Rivera’s apparent death, there was talk of the “Curse of Glee”. Rivera died heroically, saving her four-year-old son from drowning in a lake, but not able to save herself. It seems a cruel irony that at the time of her death, Rivera was a star on a TV series titled Step Up: High Water.

The text above and the list below is included as a PDF file.

Tami Lynn, 77, soul singer, on June 26
Tami Lynn – I’m Gonna Run Away From You (1965)
Dr John – Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya (1968, on backing vocals)
Tami Lynn – Wings Upon Your Horn (1972)
The Rolling Stones – Let It Loose (1972, on backing vocals)

Max Crook, 83, American keyboardist and songwriter, on July 1
Del Shannon – Runaway (1961, as co-writer and on musitron)
Maximilian – The Snake (1961, as Maximilian)
Brian Hyland (1970, on keyboards)

Marvin Brown, 66, falsetto singer of soul group The Softones, on July 3
The Softones – Maybe Tomorrow (1977, on lead vocals)

Sebastián Athié, 24, Mexican actor and musician, on July 4

Silvano Silvi, 83, singer of Italian pop group Gli Erranti, on July 4
Silvano Silvi e gli Erranti – Tenendoti per mano (1963)

Cleveland Eaton, 80, jazz bassist, producer, composer, publisher, on July 5
Ramsey Lewis Trio – Wade In The Water (1966, on bass)
Cleveland Eaton – Bama Boogie Woogie (1978)

Tiloun, 53, Réunionese singer, on July 5
Tiloun – Regninay

Ennio Morricone, 91, Italian film composer, on July 6
Ennio Morricone – The Man With The Harmonica (1968)
Ennio Morricone – My Name Is Nobody (1973)
Ennio Morricone – Childhood Memories (1984)
Ennio Morricone – Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Joe Porcaro, 90, session drummer and percussionist, on July 6
Nancy Sinatra – Sugar Town (1966, on percussions)
Boz Scaggs – Lido Shuffle (on drums)
Cheryl Lynn – You’re The One (1978, on percussions)
Toto – Pamela (1988, on percussion)

Charlie Daniels, 83, country singer-songwriter and musician, on July 6
Bob Dylan – Lay Lady Lay (1969, on electric guitar)
Charlie Daniels Band – Long Haired Country Boy (1975)
Charlie Daniels Band – High Lonesome (1976)
Charlie Daniels Band – Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye (1985)

Lane Tietgen, 74, musician and songwriter, on July 7
The Serfs – Evil Days (1969, on guitar and bass, as writer)

Naya Rivera, 33, actress (Glee), singer and author, drowned on July 8
Naya Rivera – Valerie (2010)
Naya Rivera – If I Die Young (2014)

Patricia Majalisa, 53, South African singer, on July 9

Eddie Gale, 78, jazz trumpeter, on July 10
Eddie Gale – The Rain (1968)
Sun Ra and His Arkestra – Flamingo (1979, on trumpet)

Gordon Stone, 70, bluegrass musician, on July 10
Gordon Stone – Alabama Banjo Dream (1981)

Phil Ashley, 65, session keyboardist, on July 10
Debbie Harry – French Kissin’ In The USA (1986, on keyboards)

Cosmas Magaya, 67, Zimbabwean mbira musician, of Covid-19 on July 10

Rich Priske, 52, Canadian bassist, on July 11
Matthew Good Band – Strange Days (2000, as member)

Lil Marlo, 30, rapper, shot dead on July 11

Benjamin Keough, 27, backup singer and Elvis Presley’s grandson, suicide on July 12

Rod Bernard, 79, swamp pop singer, on July 12
Rod Bernard – This Should Go On Forever (1959)

Jarno Sarkula, 47, member if Finnish avant garde group Alamaailman Vasarat, on July 12

Judy Dyble, 71, English folk singer-songwriter, on July 12
Fairport Convention – I Don’t Know Where I Stand (1968, as member on lead vocals)
The Conspirators with Judy Dyble – One Sure Thing (2008)

Raúl Pagano, Argentinian rock keyboard player, on July 14

J. Lionel, 72, Belgian singer, on July 14

Rudy Palacios, 74 member of Tejano group Sunny & the Sunliners, of Covid-19 on July 14

Jimmy Walker, drummer of 1960s pop group The Knickerbockers, on July 15
The Knickerbockers – Lies (1965)

Jamie Oldaker, 68, session drummer and percussionist (Eric Clapton), on July 16
Eric Clapton – Lay Down Sally (1978, on drums and percussions)

Víctor Víctor, 71, Dominican singer-songwriter, Covid-19 on July 16

Ken Chinn, 57, singer of Canadian punk band SNFU, on July 16
SNFU – She’s Not On The Menu (1986)

Emitt Rhodes, 70, singer-songwriter and musician, on July 19
The Merry-Go-Round – Live (1967, as writer and on lead vocals)

Dobby Dobson, 78, Jamaican reggae singer, producer, of Covid-19 on July 21
Dobby Dobson – Loving Pauper (1970)

Annie Ross, 89, singer jazz trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, songwriter, and actress, on July 21
Charlie Parker And His Orchestra – In The Still Of The Night (1957, on vocals)
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross – Twisted (1959, also as co-writer)
Annie Ross with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet – All Of You (1959)

Tim Smith, 59, English rock singer-songwriter, musician, producer, on July 22
Cardiacs – Is This The Life? (1988, as singer and writer)

Dominic Sonic, 55, French rock singer, on July 23
Dominic Sonic – When My Tears Run Cold (1989)

Regis Philbin, 88, TV personality and entertainer, on July 24
Regis Philbin – You Make Me Feel So Young (2004)

CP Lee, 70, English musician, on July 25
Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias – Gobbing On Life (1977)

Peter Green, 73, English blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist, on July 25
Fleetwood Mac – The Green Manalishi (1970)
Peter Green – A Fool No More (1979)
Fleetwood Mac – Brown Eyes (1979, uncredited on guitar)

Miss Mercy, 71, singer with Zappa project The GTO’s, on July 27
The GTO’s – Circular Circulation (1969)

Denise Johnson, 56, singer with Scottish rock group Primal Scream, on July 27
Primal Scream – Don’t Fight It, Feel It (1991, on lead vocals)

Richard Wallace, 80, singer and guitarist with The Mighty Clouds of Joy, on July 27
The Mighty Clouds Of Joy – Stoned World (1974)
The Mighty Clouds Of Joy – In These Changing Time (1979)

Bent Fabric, 95, Danish jazz pianist and composer, on July 28
Bent Fabric – The Alleycat (1962, also a writer)

Renato Barros, 76, Brazilian singer and guitarist, on July 28
Renato e seus Blue Caps – Darling (1971, as frontman)

Malik B., 47, rapper with The Roots, on July 29
The Roots – Section (1996, on rap)

Balla Sidibé, 78, bandleader of Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab, on July 29
Orchestra Baobab – Balla Daffe (2001, also as writer)

Juan Ramón, 80, Argentine singer and actor, on July 30

Bill Mack, 88, country singer, songwriter and radio DJ, of Covid-19 on July 31
Bill Mack – Drinking Champagne (1966, also as writer)
LeAnn Rimes – Blue (1996, as writer)

GET IT! or HERE!

Categories: In Memoriam Tags:

The Originals – 1960s Vol. 2

July 30th, 2020 7 comments

 

In this second volume of Lesser-known Originals of 1960s hits (get Vol. 1 HERE), we look at the first recordings of songs made famous by the likes of The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel,  The Animals, The Mamas & The Papas,  Cilla Black, The 5th Dimension,  Harry Nilson, The Byrds, and many others…

 

Louie Louie
There are people who like to designate The Kingsmens’ 1963 version of Louie Louie the first-ever punk song. One can see why: its production is shambolic, the drummer is rumoured to be swearing in the background, his diction is non-existent, the modified lyrics were investigated by the FBI for lewdness (the Feds found nothing incriminating, not even the line which may or may not have been changed from “it won’t be long me see me love” to “stick my finger up the hole of love”), and by the time the song became a hit — after a Boston DJ played it in a “worst songs ever” type segment — the band had broken up and toured in two incarnations.

Originally it was a regional hit in 1957 for an R&B singer named Richard Berry, who took inspiration from his namesake Chuck and West Indian music. In essence, it’s a calypso number of a sailor telling the eponymous barman about the girl he loves.

Louie Louie was originally released as a b-side, but quickly gained popularity on the West Coast. It sold 40,000 copies, but after a series of flops Berry momentarily retired from the recording business, selling the rights to Louie Louie for $750. In the meantime, bands continued to include the song in their repertoire. It was a 1961 version by Rockin’ Robin Roberts & the Fabulous Wailers which provided The Kingsmen with the prototype for their cover.

 

Hang On Sloopy
The McCoys hit it big in 1965 with Hang On Sloopy, a cover version, of The Vibrations’ 1964 US Top 30 hit My Girl Sloopy, written by the legendary Bert Berns and Wes Farrell. The Vibrations were a soul group from Los Angeles which kept going well into the 1970s; one of their members, Ricky Owens, even joined The Temptations very briefly. Several of their songs are Northern Soul classics (which basically means that they were so unsuccessful that their records are rare).

The McCoys version was originally intended for The Strangeloves, who did the original of the Bow Wow Wow hit I Want Candy. While on tour with their group, the producers decided that My Girl Sloopy, the backing track already recorded, should be the band’s follow-up to I Want Candy. But the Dave Clark Five, on tour with the Strangeloves, got wind of it, and said they’d record Sloopy, too.

So the trio, afraid that the Dave Clark Five might have a hit with the song before they could release theirs, acted fast to scoop the English group. They recruited an unknown group based in Dayton, Ohio, called Rick and the Raiders, renamed them The McCoys, and in quick time released the retitled Hang On Sloopy.

But it wasn’t all the McCoys playing on the single. Only singer Rick Zehringer (later Derringer) performed on it — his vocals having been overlaid on the version already recorded by the Strangeloves, and a guitar solo added to it. The single was a massive hit, reaching the US #1. In 1985 it was adopted as the official rock song of Ohio (honestly).

 

Dedicated To The One I Love
The “5” Royales’ name screams 1950s novelty band. But that they were not. Indeed, they were cited as influences by the likes of James Brown (who recorded their song Think), the legendary Stax musician Steve Cropper, and Eric Clapton. By the time the band from Salem, North Carolina, released Dedicated To The One I Love in 1958, their heyday was past them, and the single did not do much in two releases. It deserved better, alone for that great guitar.

Likewise, The Shirelles’ cover (with Doris, not Shirley, doing lead vocals), recorded in 1959 initially flopped. It became a hit only on its re-release in 1961 to follow up the success of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, reaching #3 in the US pop charts.

The Mamas and the Papas’ 1967 cover did even better, getting to #2. As on the Shirelles’ recording, the second banana took lead vocals; it was the first time Michelle Phillips, not Mama Cass, sang lead on a Mamas and Papas track.

 

Turn! Turn! Turn!
For all their collective songwriting genius, The Byrds were something of an über-covers band. Few acts did Dylan as well as The Byrds did. Some songs they made totally their own. One of these was Turn! Turn! Turn!, a staple of ‘60s compilation written by Pete Seeger (co-written, really: the lyrics are almost entirely lifted from the Book of Ecclesiastes).

Before Seeger got around to record it in 1962, or The Byrds were even formed, a folk outfit called The Limeliters put it out under the title To Everything There Is A Season. The first post-Seeger cover was by Marlene Dietrich as Für alles kommt die Zeit, recorded during the actress’ folk phase which also saw her record German versions of Blowin’ In The Wind and Where Have All The Flowers Gone.

The same year, 1963, Judy Collins also issued a version, arranged by Jim McGuinn, who had played on The Limelighters recording. After Collins’ version, McGuinn co-founded The Byrds, for whom Turn! Turn! Turn!, released in October 1965, became their second hit. Jim turned turned turned into Roger in 1968.

 

I Am A Rock
After the disappointing sales of Simon & Garfunkel’s Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. album, the dup split and Paul Simon went to England on his own. He played gigs (some with Garfunkel), made friends, fell in love, and wrote a handful of future classics, including Homeward Bound, which was first recorded by folk-duo Chad & Jeremy (but released after Simon & Garfunkel’s version).

Simon also released a solo album in Britain, The Paul Simon Songbook, which was recorded in June 1965 in Levy’s Recording Studio in London. The LP, which featured girlfriend Kathy Chitty on the cover, included three future S&G staples: I Am A Rock (which also was released as a single, to no chart action), April Come She May, Kathy’s Song, as well as A Most Peculiar Man, Patterns, A Simple Desultory Philippic, and a re-recording of The Sound Of Silence. The LP did little business, and later Simon resisted re-releases until 1981, when it came out as part of a boxed set of albums by the singer.

When a remix of The Sound Of Silence from Wednesday Morning by producer Tom Wilson became a hit, Simon abandoned his solo career and joined up with Garfunkel again.

 

A Different Drum
A breakthrough hit in 1967 for Linda Ronstadt as the singer of The Stone Poneys, A Different Drum was written by Mike Nesmith in 1964, before he became a fourth of The Monkees. He gave the song to his friend John Herald, singer of the folk-bluegrass band The Greenbriar Boys, who recorded it as an album track in 1966.

Once Nesmith was a Monkee, he offered the song to the group, but the producers of the TV show rejected it. Nesmith got to feature it briefly in one episode, but only for comic effect. He’d eventually record A Different Drum in 1972.

By then, The Stone Poneys had enjoyed their big hit with it. Their recording was aided by session musicians such as jazz great guitarists Al Viola and future Eagles co-founder Bernie Leadon on guitar, and the legendary Wrecking Crew drummer Jim Gordon wielding the sticks (read his bizarre story HERE and HERE)

 

Leaving On A Jet Plane
Recorded three times by its writer, John Denver, Leaving On A Jet Plane was still the biggest hit in the hands of another act: folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary, who had their biggest, and last, hit with it in 1969. Originally Denver recorded it as Babe I Hate To Go in 1966. Three years later he re-recorded it for his Rhymes & Reasons album, and again in 1973 for his Greatest Hits LP.

The song also earned Denver a songwriting credit on a New Order song, when he sued the English band for their use of his guitar break on Jet Plane for their 1989 track Run 2. The matter a settled out of court.

 

There Goes My Everything
This song is probably most famous in its incarnation as Engelbert Humperdinck’s gaudy 1967 hit, or maybe Elvis’ 1971 cover. In its original form, however, it is a country classic, written by Dallas Frazier.

It was first recorded in 1965 and released the following year by that great purveyor of unintentionally funny songs and owner of the hickiest of hick accents, Ferlin Husky. His version was an album track; fellow country singer Jack Greene turned it into a hit in 1967. Elvis’ version, which appeared on the quite excellent 1971 Elvis Country album (after being a 1970 b-side of I Really Don’t Want To Know) and was a UK top 10 hit that year, certainly draws from the song’s country origins — though surely more from Greene’s hit than from Husky’s original.

 

Limbo Rock
One of the most iconic songs of the early 1960s was the result of a bet, and the subject of contempt by its writer. The story goes that in 1960 the Wrecking Crew session guitarist Billy Strange and a friend heard what they thought was a particularly terrible song on the radio. Strange suggested that he could write something better than that in five minutes, whereupon the friend put on a bet, for $100, that Strange couldn’t. But Strange could and did.

Strange didn’t rate his composition: for every line, the lyric was “What a monotonous melody” for every line, and pocketed the money. Later, during a recording session, Strange was asked if he had any songs that could be used. He didn’t, other than “What A Monotonous Melody”, which he offered as a joke. Others thought more of the melody than its composer did, and in 1961 an instrumental calypso version was recorded by The Champs, of Tequila fame.

Some time later Chubby Checker’s manager, Kal Mann, asked Strange if he could add proper lyrics to the song. Permission granted, Mann wrote the lyrics (under a pseudonym), and Checker had another mega hit.

 

Keep On Dancing
For The Gentrys, Keep On Dancing was the one shot at having a big hit. Unusually, their hit was the same sing played twice, to make it stretch to single-length (listen out for the mid-song drum fill, which signals the repeat of the first half). Six years later the song served as the first UK hit for the pre-teenybopper Bay City Rollers.

Written by Allen Jones — the producer of Albert King and the Bar-Keys, and writer of the Sam & Dave and later Elvis Costello song I Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down — Keep On Dancing was first recorded by a soul act called The Avantis (not to be confused with the surf rock act by that name).

 

By The Time I Get To Phoenix
Johnny Rivers is mostly remembered as the ’60s exponent of rather good rock & roll covers, especially on his Live At The Whiskey A Go Go LP. He was also the owner of the record label which released the music of The 5th Dimension. In that capacity, Rivers gave the budding songwriter Jimmy Webb his first big break, having The 5th Dimension record Webb”s song Up, Up And Away and thereby giving Webb (and the group and the label) a first big hit in 1967.

By The Time I Get To Phoenix is another Webb composition, and this one Rivers recorded himself first for his Changes album in 1966 (when Webb was only 19!). Rivers’ version made no impact, nor did a cover by Pat Boone.

The guitarist on Boone’s version, however, picked up on the song and released it in 1967. Glen Campbell scored a massive hit with the song, even winning two Grammies for it. In quick succession, Campbell completed a trilogy of geographically-themed songs by Webb, with the gorgeous Wichita Lineman (written especially for Campbell) and the similarly wonderful Galveston (originally recorded by Don Ho).

Another seasoned session musician took Phoenix into a completely different direction (if you will pardon the unintended pun). Isaac Hayes had heard the song, and decided to perform it as the Bar-Keys’ guest performer at Memphis’ Tiki Club, a soul venue. He started with a spontaneous spoken prologue, explaining in some detail why this man is on his unlikely journey.

At first the patrons weren’t sure what Hayes was doing rapping over a repetitive chord loop. After a while, according to Hayes, they started to listen. At the end of the song, he said, there was not a dry eye in the house (“I’m gonna moan now…”). As it appeared on Ike’s 1968 Hot Buttered Soul album, the thing went on for 18 glorious minutes.

See also the Song Swarm of By The Time I Get To Phoenix.

 

1. Richard Berry & The Pharaohs – Louie, Louie (1957)
The Usurper: The Kingsmen (1963)

2. Chan Romero – Hippy Hippy Shake (1959)
The Usurper: The Swinging Blue Jeans (1963)

3. The Vibrations – My Girl Sloopy (1964)
The Usurper: The McCoys (as Hang On Sloopy, 1965)

4. Joe Jones – California Sun (1961)
The Usurper: The Rivieras (1963)

5. The Ronettes – I Can Hear Music (1966)
The Usurper: The Beach Boys (1969)

6. Sugar Boy Crawford & The Cane Cutters – Jock-A-Mo (1953)
The Usurpers: The Dixie Cups (as Iko Iko, 1964), Natasha England (1282), Belle Stars (1982)

7. The Tempos – See You In September (1959)
The Usurper: The Happenings (1966)

8. The Four Seasons – Silence Is Golden (1964)
The Usurper: The Tremeloes (1967)

9. The Limeliters – Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) (1962)
The Usurper: The Byrds (1965)

10. Paul Simon – I Am A Rock (1965)
The Usurper: Simon & Garfunkel (1966)

11. Greenbriar Boys – Different Drum (1966)
The Usurper: Stone Poneys (1967)

12. John D. Loudermilk – Tobacco Road (1960)
The Usurpers: The Nashville Teens (1964), The Animals (1964)

13. Ferlin Husky – There Goes My Everything (1966)
The Usurpers: Jack Greene (1966), Engelbert Humperdinck (1967), Elvis Presley (1971)

14. Johnny Rivers – By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1966)
The Usurpers: Glen Campbell (1967), Isaac Hayes (1969)

15. Fred Neil – Everybody’s Talking (1966)
The Usurper: Harry Nilsson (1969)

16. John Denver – Babe I Hate To Go (1966)
The Usurpers: Peter, Paul and Mary (as Leaving On A Jet Plane, 1969), John Denver (1969 & 1973)

17. Melina Mercouri – Ta Pedia Ton Pirea (Never On Sunday) (1960)
The Usurper: The Chordettes (1961)

18. Gilbert Bécaud – Et Maintenant (What Now My Love?) (1961)
The Usurper: Shirley Bassey (1962)

19. Patti Drew – Workin’ On A Groovy Thing (1968)
The Usurper: The 5th Dimension (1969)

20. The Ever-Green Blues – Midnight Confessions (1967)
The Usurper: The Grass Roots (1968)

21. The Avantis – Keep On Dancing (1963)
The Usurpers: The Gentrys (1965), Bay City Rollers (1971)

22. The Drifters – Sweets For My Sweet (1961)
The Usurper: The Searchers (1963)

23. Umberto Bindi – Il Mio Mondo (You’re My World) (1963)
The Usurper: Cilla Black (1964)

24. Glen Campbell – Turn Around, Look At Me (1961)
The Usurper: The Vogues (1968)

25. Johnny Smith – Walk, Don’t Run! (1954)
The Usurper: The Ventures (1960)

26. The ‘5’ Royales – Dedicated To The One I Love (1957)
The Usurpers: The Shirelles (1959), The Mamas & The Papas (1967)

27. Little Darlings – Little Bit O’Soul (1965)
The Usurper: The Music Explosion (1967)

28. Bruce Bruno – Venus In Blue Jeans (1962)
The Usurper: Mark Wynter (1962)

29. The Champs – Limbo Rock (1961)
The Usurper: Chubby Checker (1962)

30. David Dante – Speedy Gonzales (1962)
The Usurper: Pat Boone (1962)

GET IT! or HERE!

 

More Originals:
The Originals: The Classics
The Originals: Soul
The Originals: Motown
The Originals: Country
The Originals: The Rock & Roll Years
The Originals: 1960s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1970s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1970s Vol. 2
The Originals: 1980s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1990s & 2000s
The Originals: Beatles edition
The Originals: Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 1
The Originals:  Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 2
The Originals: Carpenters Edition
The Originals: Burt Bacharach Edition
The Originals: Rat Pack Edition
The Originals: Schlager Edition
The Originals: Christmas Edition

Categories: The Originals Tags: