Any Major Favourites 2019 – Vol. 2

January 16th, 2020 4 comments

This is the second compilation of tracks that appeared on mixes posted in 2019 (and, in one case, in the last days of 2918), with links to the particular posts — just in case you missed something good, following the first collection posted last week.

I have been wondering if I should switch this operation to the posting of Spotify playlists, to keep up with the times. Do you, the reader, have any opinions either way on such a move?

As always, this mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R, but this time without covers. PW in comments.

  1. The Who – Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) (1991)
    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Recovered
  2. Steely Dan – Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More (1975)
    NYC: Any Major Mix Vol. 3
  3. Giorgio Moroder – Arizona Man (1970)
    The Originals: Schlager edition
  4. Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne – Dance Across The Floor (1978)
    Any Major Disco Vol. 7 – Party Like It’s 1978
  5. New Order – Shell Shock (1986)
    Life In Vinyl 1986 Vol. 1
  6. Chris Rea – On The Beach (Summer ‘88) (1988)
    Any Major Beach Vol. 3
  7. Lucinda Williams – Are You Alright? (2007)
    Any Major Music from ‘The Sopranos’ Vol. 2
  8. Mindy Smith – Fighting For It All (2004)
    Any Major ABC: 2000s
  9. Rusty Wier – High Road, Low Road (1976)
    Any Major ABC of Country
  10. George Harrison – You (1975)
    Beatles Reunited 77 (1977)
  11. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Turn Your Lights Down Low (1977)
    Any Major Babymaking Music Vol. 1
  12. Sly and the Family Stone – Stand! (1969)
    Any Major Woodstock
  13. Tammi Terrell – All I Do Is Think About You (1965)
    Any Major Originals – Motown
  14. The Young Rascals – A Girl Like You (1967)
    Any Major Blue-Eyed Soul
  15. Laura Nyro – Wedding Bell Blues (1967)
    The Originals – 1960s Vol. 1
  16. Arthur Alexander – Anna (Go To Him) (1962)
    The Originals: Beatles
  17. Louis Jordan – Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby (1944)
    Any Major Hits From 1944
  18. Sarah Vaughan – You Never Give Me Your Money (1981)
    Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
  19. Edith Piaf – Notre-Dame de Paris (1952)
    Any Major Churches

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Any Major Favourites 2019 – Vol. 1

January 9th, 2020 3 comments

As every year, the mixes of the past year are revisited by the choice of one favourite song from them — like an annual Greatest Hits of Any Major Dude. I hope it is useful to provide a link to the relevant mix in the playlist, so that you might discover a mix here or there which you missed.

The past year I have focussed especially on the series of lesser-known originals of famous hits, sorted by themes. I’ve posted one a month, except in December and the preceding month, when I posted a mix of samples used in famous hits. I plan to continue with The Originals.

I’ve also been asked to carry on with the Any Major Soul series, which is going to hit the 1980s. One series which is inevitably coming to a close in 2020 is the Beatles Recovered series, whereby I have marked the 50th anniversary of the release of a Beatles LP with a mix of covers of the songs on that album. The final Beatles LP, Let It Be, came out in 1970, so in April that series will end. Or will it? I started the series with A Hard Day’s Night in 2014; so there are two uncovered albums, Please Please Me and With The Beatles. I might still cover them.

Another series I’ll terminate is Life In Vinyl, which saw two volumes for 1986 last year. I might still do a 1987 mix, marking ten years on from the first of these compilations. But I don’t think these mixes are popular anymore.

So, to the first of the Any Major Favourites of 2019 mixes.

  1. Camille Yarbrough – Take Yo’ Praise (1975)
    Any Major Original Samples Vol. 1
  2. Shuggie Otis – Strawberry Letter #23 (1971)
    The Originals – Soul Vol. 1
  3. Jimi Hendrix – Angel (1971)
    Any Major Babymaking Music Vol. 2
  4. Alex Harvey – Delta Dawn (1971)
    Any Major Originals: The 1970s Vol. 2
  5. Jerry Jeff Walker – Mr. Bojangles (1968)
    Any Major Dogs
  6. Robber Barons – Music For A Hanging (2004)
    Any Major Murder Songs Vol. 2
  7. Neil Young – Harvest Moon (1992)
    Any Major Moon
  8. Bruce Springsteen – Growin’ Up (1978)
    Any Major Teenagers
  9. Keith Whitley – When You Say Nothing At All (1988)
    The Originals: 1990s & 2000s
  10. Michael McDonald – Sweet Freedom (1986)
    Life In Vinyl 1986 Vol. 2
  11. Carole King – It’s Going To Take Some Time (1970)
    The Originals: Carpenters edition
  12. Chaka Khan – Any Old Sunday (1981)
    Any Major Week Vol. 1
  13. Kool & the Gang – Too Hot (1979)
    Any Major Soul 1979
  14. Lou Rawls – The Alphabet (1970)
    Any Major Sesame Street Pops
  15. Richie Havens – Lady Madonna (1968)
    Beatles Recovered – Yellow Submarine
  16. Country Joe McDonald – Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die Rag (Live, 1969)
    Any Major Woodstock
  17. Stuart Hamblen – This Ole House (1954)
    The Originals: Rock & Roll Years
  18. The Bobettes – Mr. Lee (1957)
    Any Major ABC: 1950s

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In Memoriam – December 2019

January 2nd, 2020 3 comments

As it was last year, a relatively benign year ended with rich harvest for The Reaper. Here’s hoping 2020 won’t be a repeat of the ghastly year 2016, when music lost so many big names, foreshadowing the disaster that would befall the world in November that year.

The Joyrider
Not too long ago I happened to hear a Roxette song on the radio. It was The Look. I listened with interest, seeing whether I’d warm to it in ways I simply could not 30 years ago. My mind was open, given the appreciation even discerning pop fans have been directing at the Swedish twosome. Alas, I still didn’t warm to it. And I was disappointed by that, because I can also see that Roxette’s pop music was, objectively, well-crafted exponents of the art. And singer Marie Fredriksson seemed a good sort, and certainly had the kind of pop charisma I admire. And so I shall remember her fondly for being a fine pop star whose music brought joy to a lot of people. And I shall try again to like her music. Maybe not with The Look, though.

 

The Moogie
In October, The Originals 1970s – Vol. 2 mix included the first version of Popcorn, a 1972 mega hit for Hot Butter, by Gershon Kingsley. In the linernotes, I mentioned that at 97 Kingsley is still with us. He no longer is. The son of a Jewish father and Catholic mother fled his native Germany just before the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, first joining a kibbutz in Palestine before emigrating to the US. There he wrote classical music and scores for TV and movies, arranged and conducted Broadway musicals, and pioneered electronic music, particularly through the Moog synth. As half of the electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley and on his own, he wrote avant garde music (including Popcorn).

 

The Writer
Do you remember the 21st night of September? Next year, you can on that day remember Allee Willis, who wrote that line. Willis, who has died at 72, had her first hit as a lyricist with that great Earth, Wind & Fire song, and followed it up with Boogie Wonderland (which featured on last week’s Any Major Disco Vol. 8 – Party Like It’s 1979 mix), and most of the group’s I Am album, including In The Stone, Star, Let Your Feelings Show, and Wait. She also co-wrote the lyrics for The Pointer Sisters’ Neutron Dance, Patti LaBelle’s Stir It Up (for which she got a Grammy), and What Have I Done To Deserve This, the 1987 hit duet by the Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield, and contributed to the Friends theme, I’ll Be There For You.

Having trained as a journalist and working as a copywriter for Columbia Records, Willis tried her luck as a singer in 1974 with an LP. It had good tunes (it’s up on YouTube) but Willis did not have the voice of a superstar. Realising that the singing game was not for her, she became a songwriter, penning lyrics for the likes of Bonnie Raitt before she became involved with Earth, Wind & Fire. Her other big claim to fame was to co-write the award-winning musical The Color Purple. A woman of humour who was grounded in reality, she told the New York Times in 2018: “I, very thankfully, have a few songs that will not go away — but they’re schlepping along 900 others.” Here she is talking about co-writing September.

 

The Rutle
Known as the “seventh” member of Monty Python, Neil Innes delighted Beatles members by portraying Ron Nasty (the John Lennon parody) in the “Prefab Four” spoof band The Rutles. His association with The Beatles went back to the 1960s, when his song Death Cab For Cutie (later the name of an US indie band) featured in the TV film Magical Mystery Tour. A Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band song, it was written as an Elvis parody, with co-writer Vivian Stanshall on vocals. McCartney co-produced the band under the moniker Apollo C. Vermouth. With Monty Python he was one of only two non-members ever credited. For the Monty Python And The Holy Grail film, he wrote the songs Brave Sir Robin and Knights Of The Round Tables. And on Always Look On The Bright Side of Life in The Life Of Brian, he contributed the whistling. In the 1990s, third-rate Beatles tribute band Oasis had to give Innes a co-writing credit after the Gallagher lads ripped off his aptly-titled How Sweet To Be An Idiot for their song Whatever.

The Vibes Man
Listen to the theme of The Simpsons. Can you hear the xylophone? That’s Emil Richards. The percussionist and vibraphonist also provided finger snaps for the theme for The Addams Family. He contributed to scores of films like Doctor Zhivago, The Color Purple, Twilight Zone: The Movie, and Gorillas In The Mist, and the TV series Roots. He played on many of the Phil Spector produced girl band songs, backed people like Frank Sinatra, George Harrison, Frank Zappa, Peggy Lee and Stan Kenton in the studio and on stage, collaborated with the legendary drummer Hal Blaine on an album, appeared on hits like Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On and Blondie’s The Tide Is High, and played the percussions or vibes for acts like Sam Cooke, George Shearing, Julie London, The Monkees, Neil Diamond, The Doors, Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Diane Schuur, Paul Anka, Michael Bublé and many others. The vocals on the Emil Richards track featured are by future Little Feat singer Lowell George.

 

The Musicals Man
There is always something slightly spooky, albeit statistically unavoidable, about contributors to Christmas culture dying at Christmas. There were two such deaths this year: Lee Mendelson, producer of A Charlie Brown Christmas (and the other Peanuts classics) died on December 25; a day later we lost musicals composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, who wrote We Need a Little Christmas, originally sung by Angela Lansbury in the Broadway hit Mame, which earned Herman a Grammy Herman also wrote for the acclaimed musicals Hello, Dolly! (the longest-running musical for its time; the title song won him another Grammy) and La Cage aux Folles, which produced the showstopper I Am What I Am.

 

The Big Bird
We rarely saw his face, but generations heard the voice every day. Caroll Spinney was the puppeteer and voice for Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for 49 years, from the show’s inception in 1969 until his retirement in 2018 (though his last performances were broadcast in 2019). And by dint of that, he may feature here, since these characters were prone to break out into song periodically. A couple of those featured on the Any Major Sesame Street Pops mix which I posted in November to mark the 50th anniversary of that great programme, and where we hear Spinney duetting as Oscar with Johnny Cash and with James Taylor.

The Rock & Roller
The name of Canadian rock & roll singer Jack Scott might not shine the brightest on the marquee of the genre’s legends, but he had a remarkable string of US single releases in the late 1950s and early ‘60s: 19 within 41 months, more than any other artist other than Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Connie Francis and The Beatles. All but one of them were written by Scott; four were US Top 10 hits. So at home in the US was Scott (born Giovanni Domenico Scafone) that in 1959 he briefly joined that country’s army, just after he had a Top 10 hit with, appropriately, Goodbye Baby. By 1961, his chart action was over, but Scott continued recording, including a session in 1977 with BBC disc jockey John Peel.

 

The Photographer
Last month we marked the deaths of three photographers who produced iconic LP covers. November ended with the death of another one, the news of which became public only after the last In Memoriam dropped. It is necessary that this corner of the Internet should pay tribute to Raeanne Rubenstein, who took the photo on the cover of Steely Dan’s 1974 album Pretzel Logic. Her photography also graced cover art by acts like Kiss, Cameo, Dolly Parton, The Fat Boys, and The Who. She photographed the greatest names in pop and popular culture, with her work being published widely, and in ten books. According to Wikipedia, the cover for Pretzel Logic was shot just above the 79th Street Transverse (the road through Central Park) at the park entrance called “Miners’ Gate”.

 

The Mystery Death
Then there is the mysterious case of English rock & revivalist Rocky Sharpe, who with his Replays scored a 1978 hit with a cover of The Edsel’s Rama Lama Ding Dong. His death after a very long illness was widely reported on Facebook, by family members, friends and other associates. Tribute concerts were held. But search the web for any mention of Rocky Sharpe’s death, even Wikipedia, and you’ll find nothing. In my ten years of doing In Memoriams, I have never encountered a case when the death of a relatively well-known musician is reported on social media but nowhere else on the web, even weeks afterwards. Usually I don’t include unverified deaths reported on social media (as it is this month with Paul Fleming of The Mutants), but in this instance I shall presume that the family would know best.

 

Raeanne Rubenstein, 74, photographer, on Nov. 30
Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic (1974, as cover photographer)

Matt Chipchase, singer of British indie band Young Rebel Set, on Dec. 1
Young Rebel Set – If I Was (2009)

Greedy Smith, 63, member of Australian pop band Mental As Anything, on Dec. 2
Mental As Anything – Live It Up (1985)

Joe Smith, 91, music industry executive, on Dec. 2

Jimmy Cavallo, 92, rock & roll musician, on Dec. 2
Jimmy Cavallo and The Houserockers – Rock, Rock, Rock (1956)

Jacques Morgantini, 95, French blues producer and promoter, on Dec. 2

Rosa Morena, 78, Spanish flamenco pop singer, on Dec. 4
Rosa Morena – Échale guindas al pavo (1971)

Jerry Naylor, 80, lead singer of The Crickets (1961-65), on Dec. 5
The Crickets – Don’t Ever Change (1962)

Rocky Sharpe, leader of Rocky Sharpe & The Replays, reportedly on Dec. 5
Rocky Sharpe & The Replays – Rama Lama Ding Dong (1978)

Herbert Joos, 79, German jazz trumpeter, on Dec. 7

Joe McQueen, 100, jazz saxophonist, on Dec. 7

Caroll Spinney, 85, Sesame Street puppeteer, on Dec. 8
Big Bird – ABC-DEF-GHI (1970)
Oscar the Grouch – I Love Trash (1970)

Juice Wrld, 21, rapper, on Dec. 8

Marie Fredriksson, 61, singer-songwriter of Swedish pop group Roxette, on Dec. 9
Roxette – Dressed For Success (1988)
Roxette – Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave) (1991)

Gershon Kingsley, 97, German-born composer and electronic pioneer, on Dec. 10
Perrey & Kingsley – Baroque Hoedown (1967)
Gershon Kingsley – Norwhere Man (1969)

Danny Aiello, 86, actor and occasional jazz singer, on Dec. 12
Danny Aiello – Besamo Much (2004)

Jack Scott, 83, Canadian singer and songwriter, on Dec. 12
Jack Scott – Goodbye Baby (1958)
Jack Scott – You’re Just Gettin’ Better (1974)

Roy Loney, 73, singer and guitarist of Flamin’ Groovies (1965-71), on Dec. 13
Flamin’ Groovies – The First One’s Free (1971, also as writer)

Terrell Winn, guitarist of The Jim Carroll Band, reported on Dec. 13
The Jim Carroll Band – People Who Died (1980)

Anna Karina, 79, Danish-born French actress and singer, on Dec. 15
Anna Karina – Rollergirl (1967)

Irv Williams, 100, jazz saxophonist, on Dec. 14

Monique Leyrac, 91, Canadian singer and actress, on Dec. 15
Monique Leyrac – La Manikoutai (1972)

Popa Wu, 63, rapper and spiritual mentor to Wu Tang Clan, on Dec. 16
Wu-Tang Clan feat. Poppa Wu & Uncle Pete – Wu-Revolution (1997)

Emil Richards, 87, percussionist and vibraphonist, on Dec. 16
Frank Sinatra – In The Still Of The Night (1961, on vibraphone)
Emil Richards & The Factory – No Place I’d Rather Be (1967)
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On (1973, on percussion)
Paul Anka – Lovecats (2005, on vibraphone)

Alain Barrière, 84, French singer, on Dec. 18
Alain Barrière & Noëlle Cordier – Tu T’en Vas (1975)

Patxi Andión, 72, Spanish singer-songwriter and actor, in traffic accident on Dec. 18
Patxi Andion – Soneto 70 (1970)

Kenny Lynch, 81, English singer and actor, on Dec. 18
Kenny Lynch – You Can Never Stop Me Loving You (1963)

Arty McGlynn, 75, guitarist of Irish folk group Patrick Street, on Dec. 18
Patrick Street – The Man With The Cap (1988)
Van Morrison – Have I Told You Lately (1989, on guitar)

Allee Willis, 72, songwriter and lyricist, on Dec. 24
Allee Willis – I Don’t Know How (1975)
Earth, Wind & Fire – Star (1979)
Patty LaBelle – Stir It Up (1984)
Pet Shop Boys & Dusty Springfield – What Have I Done To Deserve This (1987)

Dave Riley, 59, bassist of punk band Big Black, on Dec. 24

Maurice Newton, 81, lead singer of doo-wop band Fidelitys, on Dec. 25
The Fidelitys – Wishing Star (1960)

Kelly Fraser, 26, Canadian Inuk pop singer-songwriter, on Dec. 25

Jerry Herman, 88, composer and lyricist, on Dec. 26
Louis Armstrong – Hello Dolly
Shirley Bassey – I Am What I Am (1984, as writer)

Sleepy LaBeef, 84, rockabilly singer, on Dec. 26
Sleepy La Beff – All Alone (1957)

Don Imus, 79, shock jock and recording artist, on Dec. 27

Jack Sheldon, 88, trumpeter singer and voice actor on Schoolhouse Rock, on Dec. 27
Jack Sheldon – Just In Time (1995)

Garrett List, 76, free jazz trombonist, singer and composer, on Dec. 27

Art Sullivan, 69, Belgian singer, on Dec. 27
Art Sullivan – Petite Fille Aux Yeux Bleus (1973)

Thanos Mikroutsikos, 72, Greek composer and politician, on Dec. 28

Norma Tanega, 80, US-born singer-songwriter and artist, on Dec. 29
Norma Tanega – Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog (1966)
Norma Tanega – Illusion (1971)

Neil Innes, 75, comedian, musician and songwriter, on Dec. 29
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – Death-Cab For Cutie (1967, also as co-writer)
Mike Innes – How Sweet To Be An Idiot (1973)
Monty Python – Knights Of The Round Tables (1975, as writer)
The Rutles – I Must Be In Love. (1978, on lead vocals)

Vaughan Oliver, 62, designer of cover art on Britain’s 4AD label, Pixies, on Dec. 29
Pixies – Where Is My Mind (1988, as album cover designer)

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Any Major Disco Vol. 8 – Party Like It’s 1979

December 27th, 2019 1 comment

 

As every year, we anticipate New Year’s Eve with a disco mix. Like last year, the theme is the stuff the people boogied down to 40 years ago. So put on your best satin trousers, say goodbye to the heady 1970s and dance into the 1980s.

Some of the songs have run on previous disco and funk mixes.

And so I wish you a good journey into the 2020s. May it be a year and decade of fulfilled dreams, good fortune, excellent health and always good music for us all!

As always, CD-R length, home-shuffled covers, PW in comments (which are also useful for saying hello)…

1. Amii Stewart – Knock On Wood
2. Edwin Starr – H.A.P.P.Y. Radio
3. The Gibson Brothers – Que Sera Mi Vida
4. Earth, Wind & Fire and The Emotions – Boogie Wonderland
5. Al Hudson & The Partners – You Can Do It
6. Deniece Williams – I’ve Got The Next Dance
7. Isaac Hayes – Don’t Let Go
8. Roy Ayers – Don’t Stop The Feeling
9. The Neville Brothers – Sweet Honey Dripper
10. Jackie Moore – This Time Baby
11. Ashford & Simpson – Found A Cure
12. Shalamar – The Second Time Around
13. Sister Sledge – We Are Family
14. Chic – My Feet Keep Dancing
15. Diana Ross – No One Gets The Prize
16. Narada Michael Walden – Tonight I’m Alright
17. Inner Life – I’m Caught Up In A One Night Love Affair
18. Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer – No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

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Music Deaths of the Decade: Behind the Scenes

December 24th, 2019 2 comments

 

In the previous review of the significant music deaths of the past decade, we remembered 30+ recording artists with their recordings, and listed a whole lot more by way of honorary mention. Here we pay tribute to the people behind the scenes — shamefully almost all men — who made the music happen: songwriters, producers, session musicians and so on.

Several songs chosen here to pay these tributes cover various men in one go. And still, there are many who others who were shortlisted, and whose names should not be forgotten, my subjective and somewhat random choices notwithstanding: Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Otis, Bill Strange, Marvin Hamlisch, Vince Montana, Shadow Morton, Andy Johns, Johnny Allen, Bob Crewe, Michael Masser, Harold Battiste, PF Sloan, Alphonse Mouzon, Robert Stigwood, Leon Ndugu Chandler, Lewis Merenstein, Larry Muhoberac, George Young, George Avakian, Norman Gimbel, Henri Belolo, Dave Batholomew, Tony Hall, Donnie Fritts, Robert Hunter, Bob Esty, Motown Funk Brothers Bob Babbitt, Gil Askey, Eddie Willis and Melvin ‘Wah-Wah’ Ragin… (and apologies for any big name I left out).

All of them featured in the In Memoriam series, with songs and most of the time, an abstract on their musical achievements.

Some became the subject of retrospectives of their work (all of the mixes are still live, as far as I can tell): Nick Ashford, Bobby Keys, Ricky Lawson, Rod Temperton, Louis Johnson, Joe Osborne. The great Hal Blaine got his tributes, in Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, before he died this year.

Admittedly, picking one song to sum up a person’s career is not always fair. Take Chips Moman, reduced here to co-writer status. The man wrote several classics, produced many others, and founded the founding the American Sound Studio in Memphis. I initially picked Elvis’ Suspicious Mind for this collection, but since there was another Elvis song that had to run, we have Moman being represented by Aretha Franklin.

Likewise Rick Hall, reduced to the producer of the Candi Staton song. Hall changed Aretha Franklin’s career to turn her into a soul diva. He founded the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals which was a hit machine for Aretha, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Clarence Carter, Etta James, and others. Among the session people he worked with in the 1960s was drummer Jerry Carrigan, whom we encounter doing stick-work on George Jones’ 1980 hit He Stopped Loving Her Today. In the way the wold of music is small, Hall wrote for George Jones in the 1950s. There are many crossed paths over these two mixes.

EDIT: On the day I posted this, we also lost songwriter Allee Willis who co-wrote the theme of Friends, Pointer Sisters’ Neutron Dance, and a whole bunch of Earth, Wind & Fire hits, including September, In The Stone and Boogie Wonderland.

The mix exceeds the CD-R length, so again no home-waked covers. PW in comments.

1. MFSB – Soul Train Theme (1973)
Don Cornelius (Presenter) February 2012

2. Al Green – So Tired Of Being Alone (1972)
Willie Mitchell (Producer, label owner) January 2010
Andrew Love (Tenor Sax; half of Memphis Horns) April 2012
Wayne Jackson (Trumpet; half of Memphis Horns) June 2016

3. Carpenters – Goodbye To Love (1972)
Hal Blaine (Drums) March 2019
Joe Osborn (Bass) December 2018
Tony Peluso (Lead Guitar) June 2010

4. George Jones – He Stopped Loving Her Today (1980)
Curly Putman (Co-writer) October 2016
Jerry Carrigan (Drums) June 2016

5. Warren Zevon – Mohammed’s Radio (1976)
Bobby Keys (Saxophone) December 2013

6. Carole King – Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (live, 2008)
Gerry Goffin (Co-writer) June 2014

7. Barbra Streisand – One Less Bell To Answer/A House Is Not A Home (1971)
Hal David (Co-writer) September 2012

8. Aretha Franklin – Do Right Woman, Do Right Man (1967)
Chips Moman (Co-writer) March 2016

9. Al Jarreau & Randy Crawford – Your Precious Love (1982)
Tommy LiPuma (Producer) March 2017
Nick Ashford (Co-writer) August 2011
Ricky Lawson (Drums) December 2013

10. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Back Together Again (1979)
Reggie Lucas (Co-writer, Guitar) March 2018

11. Billy Joel – Rosalinda’s Eyes (1979)
Phil Ramone (Producer) March 2013
Ralph MacDonald (Percussion) December 2011
Hugh McCracken (Guitar) March 2013

12. The Pointer Sisters – Yes We Can Can (1973)
Allen Toussaint (Writer) November 2015

13. The Blues Brothers – Everybody Needs Somebody (1980)
Donald “Duck” Dunn (Bass) May 2012
Matt “Guitar” Murphy (Guitar) June 2018

14. Human League – The Things That Dreams Are Made Of (1981)
Martin Rushent (Producer) June 2011

15. Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five – The Message (1982)
Sylvia Robinson (Producer, Co-writer) September 2011

16. Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979)
Rod Temperton (Writer) October 2016
Louis Johnson (Bass) May 2015
George Duke (Synth) August 2013

17. Dave Grusin – Friends And Strangers (1980)
Larry Rosen (Producer) October 2015

18. Candi Staton – I’m Just a Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin’) (1972)
Rick Hall (Producer, studio owner) January 2018
Jimmie Haskell (Arranger) February 2016

19. Baby Washington – I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face (1964)
Jerry Ragovoy (Writer) July 2011

20. Etta James – At Last (1960)
Phil Chess (Producer, label owner) October 2016

21. Elvis Presley – I Want To Be Free (1957)
Jerry Leiber (Co-writer) August 2028
Scotty Moore (Guitar) June 2016
J.D. Fontana (Drums) June 2018
Gordon Stoker (Backing vocals, with Jordanaires) March 2013

22. Johnny Cash – Ballad Of A Teenage Queen (1958)
‘Cowboy” Jack Clement (producer, co-writer) August 2013

23. The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)
George Martin (Producer) March 2016
Geoff Emmerick (Engineer) October 2018

24. The Rolling Stones – Shine A Light (1969)
Clydie King (Backing vocals) January 2019

25. Simon & Garfunkel – 7 O’clock News, Silent Night (1969)
Bob Johnston (Producer) August 2015

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BOOKMARK IN MEMORIAM

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Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 3

December 17th, 2019 1 comment

It’s already six years since I dropped the second volume of Any Major Smooth Christmas — and nine years since Volume 1. A few tracks here weren’t even released then.

So, like the first two volumes, this mix includes seasonal songs by soul and smooth jazz acts. So kick off those boots, take off that coat, light a (virtual) fire, pour yourself a glass of eggnog, and relax.

By my reckoning, all links to previous Christmas mixes going back to 2009 should work. If they don’t, feel free to alert me.

The first Christmas mix for the year dropped a couple of weeks ago.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes ho-ho-home-made covers. PW in comments. And have a merry Christmas!

1. Earth, Wind & Fire – Winter Wonderland
2. The O’Jays – Merry Christmas Baby
3. Luther Vandross – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
4. John Legend – This Christmas
5. Boney James feat. Chanté Moore – Santa Baby
6. En Vogue – With My Honey
7. Isley Brothers – What Can I Buy You
8. Marilyn McCoo – White Christmas
9. Gregory Porter – The Christmas Song
10. Laura Fygi – Merry Christmas Darling
11. Dianne Reeves – I’ll Be Home For Christmas
12. New York Voices – I Wonder As I Wander
13. Angela Winbush – All I Want For Christmas
14. Al Jarreau – Christmas Time Is Here
15. Alexander O’Neal – My Gift To You
16. Dave Koz feat. Johnny Mathis – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
17. Musiq Soulchild – The First Noel
18. Toni Braxton – This Time Next Year

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More Christmas Mixes
Any Major Christmas Favourites
Any Major 1980s Christmas
Any Major 1970s Christmas
Any Major 1960s Christmas
Any Major 1950s Christmas
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Christmas Bells
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Doop Wop Christmas
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
Any Major Christmas ABC
Song Swarm: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Music Deaths of the Decade: Performers

December 10th, 2019 2 comments

As the 2010s draw to a close, I have made a shortlist of musicians whose death during the decade made me particularly sad, from a musical legacy and human point of view (there were many tragic deaths, of course. Suicides, murders, accidents, tsunamis and so on).

With the In Memoriam series I’ve kept a pretty close eye on music deaths every month for the past ten years (and no year was more horrible than 2016, the year in which the devil took Prince and Bowie and gave us President Trump). So my idea was to make a couple of mixes honouring the musicians whose passing I was particularly saddened about. The list became too long. I decided to do one mix of 30 tracks for recording artists, and another mix of 30 to honour the behind-the-scenes people (producers, songwriters, session players etc), which will run later.

Of course, tribute was paid to all of them at the time of their death, and to some by way of special mixes: cover mixes for Leonard Cohen, Chuck Berry and Walter Becker of Steely Dan, a mix of Aretha Franklin singing covers, a mix of songs Prince said he would play as a DJ.

But before I launch into the mix, it is only right to give a shout-out to those who remained on the list even after I cut the featured artists and those artists I put on the list because I felt I had to. We are left with: Teddy Pendergrass, Tony Schilder, Sandra Wright, Solomon Burke, Alex Chilton (all 2010), Gary Moore, Nate Dogg, Loleatta Holloway, Gene McDaniels (2011); Etta James (who’ll feature on the second mix), Davy Jones, Doc Watson, Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Lillian Lopez of Odyssey, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, Kitty Wells, Terry Callier, Major Harris (2012), Kevin Ayers, Donald Byrd, Marvin Junior, Trevor Bolder, Clarence Burke Jr, Darondo, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, JJ Cale, Tompall Glaser, George Duke, Lou Reed (2013), Pete Seeger, Ronny Jordan, Horace Silver, Idris Muhammad, Jimmy Ruffin, Udo Jürgens (2014), Don Covay, André Crouch, Little Jimmy Dickens, Steve Strange, Joe B. Mauldin, Erroll Brown, Louis Johnson (who’ll feature in the second mix), BB King, Billy Joe Royal, William Guest of The Pips (2015), Glenn Frey, Black, Papa Wemba, Guy Clarke, Bernie Worrell, Ralph Stanley, Kashif, Jean Shepard, Mandoza, Toots Thielemans, Colonel Abrams, Bap Kennedy, Leon Russell, Rick Parfitt (2016), Leon Ware, David Axelrod, Joni Sledge, Valerie Carter, Clyde Stubblefield, Cuba Gooding, Daliah Lavi, Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks, Bob Wooton (Johnny Cash’s guitarist), Bunny Sigler, Joy Fleming, Fats Domino, Don Williams, Tom Petty, Mel Tillis, David Cassidy, Malcolm Young, Della Reese, Keely Smith, Jaki Liebezeit  and Holger Czukay (2017), France Gall , Denise LaSalle, Dolores O’Riordan, Nokie Edwards, Clarence Fountain of the Blind Boys of Alabama, Jabo Stark, Tony Joe White, Alan Longmuir, Nancy Wilson (2018), James Ingram, André Williams, Scott Walker, Doris Day, Dr John, Jerry Lawson, Joao Gilberto, Rik Ocasek, Jackie Moore (2019)…

The decade wiped out:
• All of the classic Motörhead line-up (Phil Taylor in November 2015, Lemmy Kilmister in December 2015, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke in January 2018)
• Two-thirds of Cream (Jack Bruce in October 2014, Ginger Baker in October 2019)
• Two-thirds of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (Keith Emerson in March 2016, Greg Lake in December 2016)
• Three of The Temptations taking lead on Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone (Richard Street and Damon Harris in February 2012, and Dennis Edwards in February 2018)

• In the space of two months, three-fourth of the classic Manhattans line-up (Sonny Bivins and Blue Lovett in December 2014, Kenny Kelley in February 2015).
• Most of The Valentinos/Womack Brothers (Cecil Womack in February 2013, Bobby Womack in June 2014, Curtis Womack in May 2017. Harry was shot dead in 1974; only Friendly Womack survives)
• Two-thirds of The Holmes Brothers (Popsy Dixon in February 2015, Wendell Holmes in June 2015)
• The legendary drumming team of James Brown’s The J.B.s, Clyde Stubblefield February 2017 and Jabo Stark in May 2018.

The decade also saw the accelerated passing of the German singers with whom I grew up in the 1970s. Even if I cannot commend the artistry of much the music created by them, I do have a nostalgic attachment to the memory of watching them on TV. Usually they were introduced by the presenter of the monthly ZDF Hitparade, Dieter Thomas Heck, who died in August 2018.

Other ’70s Schlager singers who died in the 2010s include Bert Berger of duo Cindy & Bert, who in some circles are now best-known for their German cover of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, in July 2012; Bernd Clüver in July 2011; Udo Jürgens in December 2014; Daliah Lavi in May 2017; Gunter Gabriel in May 2017; Chris Roberts in July 2017; Joy Fleming in July 2017; Jürgen Marcus in May 2018; Abi Ofarim in May 2018; Costa Cordalis in July 2019; Karel Gott in October 2019.

Finally: The prophet Gil Scott-Heron, whose incisive lyrics 40-odd years ago still have application today. The indictment of entertainment as a diversion from effecting systemic change in The Revolution Won’t Be Televised retains its currency today, even if the characters have changed in the intervening 48 years. And as Scott-Heron’s H2Ogate Blues marked the legal troubles of the corrupt Nixon regime, so does it anticipate the corruption of Donald Trump’s election five years after the singer’s death: “How much more evidence do the citizens need that the election was sabotaged by trickery and greed? And, if this is so, and who we got didn’t win… Let’s do the whole goddamn election over again!”

And so to the mix. With 30 songs, it exceeds the CD-R length; so no home-grieved covers. PW in comments.

1. Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go (1964)
Chuck Berry: March 2017

2. The Miracles – You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me (1962)
Marv Tarplin: September 2011
Warren ‘Pete’ Moore: November 2017
Bobby Rogers: March 2013
plus: Eddie ‘Chank’ Willis (Funk Brother on guitar): August 2018

3. Ben E. King – Stand By Me (1961)
Ben E. King: April 2015

4. The Everly Brothers – Crying In The Rain (1962)
Phil Everly: January 2014

5. Glen Campbell – Galveston (1969)
Glen Campbell: August 2017

6. George Jones – From Here To The Door (1966)
George Jones: April 2013

7. Merle Haggard – Always Wanting You (1975)
Merle Haggard: April 2016

8. Richie Havens – Morning, Morning (1968)
Richie Havens: April 2013

9. Gil Scott-Heron – H2Ogate Blues (1974)
Gil Scott-Heron: May 2011

10. Grady Tate – Be Black (1968)
Grady Tate: October 2017

11. Billy Paul – Am I Black Enough For You (1972)
Billy Paul: April 2016

12. Bobby Womack – Harry Hippie (1972)
Bobby Womack: June 2014

13. David Bowie – Changes (1971)
David Bowie: January 2016

14. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Rosalita (live) (1975)
Clarence Clemons: June 2011

15. Steely Dan – Any Major Dude (1974)
Walter Becker: September 2017

16. Prince – Starfish And Coffee (1987)
Prince: April 2016

17. Cesária Évora – Nho Antone Escaderode (1999)
Cesária Évora: December 2011

18. Hugh Masekela – Thuma Mina (Send Me) (2006)
Hugh Masekela: January 2018

19. Crusaders – Keep That Same Old Feeling (1976)
Joe Sample (Keyboards): September 2014
Wilton Felder (Tenor sax): September 2015
Wayne Henderson (Trombone): April 2014
Robert Popwell (Bass): November 2017

20. Donna Summer – On The Radio (1979)
Donna Summer: May 2012

21. Earth, Wind & Fire – Love’s Holiday (1977)
Maurice White: February 2016

22. Natalie Cole – This Will Be (1975)
Natalie Cole: December 2015

23. Aretha Franklin – I’m In Love (1974)
Aretha Franklin: August 2018
(Written by Bobby Womack)

24. Joe Cocker – It’s A Sin When You Love Somebody (1974)
Joe Cocker: December 2014

25. George Michael – Kissing A Fool (1987)
George Michael: December 2016

26. Al Jarreau – Spain (1980)
Al Jarreau: February 2017

27. The Band – Up On Cripple Creek (live) (1978)
Levon Helm: April 2012

28. Leonard Cohen – Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye (1967)
Leonard Cohen: November 2016

29. Georges Moustaki – Ma Liberté (1970)
Georges Moustaki: May 2013

30. Robin Gibb – Gone Gone Gone (1970)
Robin Gibb: May 2012

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In Memoriam – November 2019

December 5th, 2019 4 comments

November was a bad month for English photographers of pop legends. And we lost the man who brought the calypso into the mainstream.

The Calypso Pioneer
Few people can claim to have written pop classics and a national anthem, as could Irving “Lord Burgess” Burgie, who has died at 95.  A World War II veteran of West Indian and US parentage, Burgie wrote classics such as Island In The Sun, Jamaica Farewell and Angelina, and co-wrote the Harry Belafonte version of the Jamaican work song Day-O (The Banana Boat Song). While he kept writing music, Burgie rarely performed after Belafonte scored hits with his songs. Burgie used the wealth he accumulated from royalties to found a magazine for the community in Harlem, and to engage himself in the civil rights movement. He also wrote the lyrics for the national anthem of Barbados, after the Caribbean island gained independence in 1966.

The French Chanteuse
French singer and actress Marie Laforêt, who has died at 80, was intent on becoming a nun when she entered a talent contest, standing in for her sister. It came as it had to: Marie won and was discovered by director Louis Malle. She made her film debut opposite Alain Delon in René Clément’s 1960 film Plein Soleil. In her second film, Saint Tropez Blues, she sung the title song, launching a career in music. Laforêt drew more from chanson and folk than pop, though she gave in to the pressure to record material aimed at the commercial end of the market. She had some success in the 1970s (when she covered several German schlager in French, usually improving them) but she lost interest in her music career, and concentrated on acting. Laforêt made a brief musical comeback in the 1990s. Last month we heard Czech singer Karel Gott cover the Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black; this month we have Marie Laforêt do it.

The Precious Soul Singer
There is always something poignant when I have a mix prepared, and one of the artists on it dies before it gets posted. So it is with soul singer Jackie Moore, who will feature on the annual disco mix which drops in the last week before New Year’s Eve. Moore is best-known for her 1970 soul hit Precious Precious, or perhaps for 1975’s Make Me Feel Like A Woman. And to some, especially GTA gamers, her 1979 cover of the O’Jays’ song This Time Baby might be the defining Moore song.

 

The Beatles Photographer
You have seen the work of British photographer Robert Freeman, who has died at 82. He took the photos for the covers of four Beatles albums: With The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles For Sale, Help, and Rubber Soul. A track on the latter was Norwegian Wood; rumour has it that Lennon wrote the song about his affair with Freeman’s wife.

The cover photo of Beatles For Sale is probably my favourite of all Fab Four pics. The lads look as tired (because they were exhausted) as half of the hurriedly compiled album sounds. The photo evokes late autumn, mainly because it was taken at that time of the year during a session in London’s Hyde Park.

Almost exactly a year after Beatles For Sale came out, on 3 December1965, the Beatles released another LP, Rubber Soul, with cover art that also evoked autumn. I’ve always imagined that on the photo the four were looking down into a well. What actually happened was that Freeman projected a series of photos he had taken at Lennon’s place on an LP sleeve-sized cardboard, to give an idea as to how each option would look as a cover. At one point, the cardboard had slipped, and the image was projected at an angle. According to Paul, the Beatles really liked the effect, and asked Freeman whether he could recreate it. As we know, he could.

The great monochome photo for With The Beatles, the group’s second LP, was taken on 22 August 1963 in a corridor in the Bournemouth Palace Court Hotel, not an establishment generally associated with great moments in rock & roll. Freeman was given instruction to recreate the shadow-and-light effect often employed by their Hamburg-days friend Astrid Kirchherr, the girl in whose arms original Beatle Stu Sutcliffe died. Freeman achieved the effect by using natural light coming through a window at the end of the corridor.

The Elton John Photographer
It was not a good month for Beatles photographers: legendary British camera wielder Terry O’Neill also departed for the Great Darkroom in the Sky. He was well-known for his photos of acts like the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Elton John. The latter used O’Neill photos for several of his LP covers, including 1974’s Greatest Hits, Rock Of The Westies, A Single Man, and Ice On Fire, as well as for singles such as Nikita. Other cover photos taken by Faye Dunaway’s ex-husband include The Who’s Who Are You?, Michelle Philips’ 1977 album Victim Of Romance and the Police’s Wrapped Around Your Finger single.

The High Voltage Photographer
That darkroom must have got pretty crowded with British photographers when Michael Putland died at 72. You’ll have seen his work on covers of albums such as Harry Nilsson’s Son Of Schmilsson, AC/DC’s High Voltage, and Madness’ 7. And the photo collages in the booklet of The Who’s The Kids Are Alright album includes photos by both Putland and Terry O’Neill.

 

The Sutherland Brother
We had the original of the Rod Stewart hit Sailing in Any Major Originals: 1970s Vol. 1, performed by the Sutherland Brothers (incidentally, it was conceived as a song about seeking God, not about romantic maritime adventures). The band was brothers Gavin and Iain Sutherland; the latter of whom we lost this month at the age of 71. The Sutherland Brothers, who joined forces with the rock group Quiver for a while, had their biggest success in the ULK with The Arms Of Mary; in the US they were best known for (I Don’t Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway.

The Doors’ Bassist
For a couple of albums, Doug Lubahn was The Doors’ unofficial bass player during the recording sessions for Strange Days and Waiting For The Sun (though the great Larry Knechtel did, uncredited, bass work for The Doors at the same time). He was actually invited to join the group but declined, citing his commitment to the rather less successful psychedelic rock band Clear Light. Lubahn later joined a succession of bands that had limited success — Dreams, Pierce Arrow, Riff-Raff — and worked with acts like Pat Benatar (with whom he wrote her breakthrough hit Treat Me Right), Billy Squier and Ted Nugent.

The Punk Robber
We have covered singers who became lawyers and even judges; the kind of leave music to become robbers are the other side of the coin. One of those was Gilles Bertin, whose career path moved from being the singer of French punk band Camera Silens to robbing a cash transport in 1988. And it wasn’t a spontaneous act of criminal hubris: Bertin and his gang had planned the heist for two years. Most of the 11,5 million Francs (about €1,7 million in today’s value) was never found. Bertin’s conspirators were caught, but Bertin escaped to Spain and then Portugal, where he ran a record shop. He returned to France in 2016, and received only a suspended sentence.

 

Waller ‘Sonny’ Collie, 68, drummer of power-pop band The Explosives, on Nov. 1
The Explosives – A Girl Like You (1981)

Marie Laforêt, 80, French-Swiss singer and actress, on Nov. 2
Marie Laforêt – Manchester et Liverpool (1966)
Marie Laforêt – Marie Douceur, Marie Colere
Marie Laforêt – Viens, viens (1973)

Bart Walsh, 56, rock guitarist, on Nov. 2

Wake Self, 30, hip-hop artist, traffic collision, on Nov. 3

Kelley Looney, 61, bassist in Steve Earle’s band, on Nov. 4
Steve Earle – Copperhead Road (1988, on bass)

Vaughn Benjamin, 50, Antiguan singer with reggae band Midnite, on Nov. 4
Midnite – Jubilees Of Zion (2000)

Timi Hansen, 61, bassist with Danish metal bands Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, on Nov. 4

Michael Sherwood, 60, keyboardist and singer, on Nov. 5
Lisa Loeb – Underdog (2001, on keyboards)

Gilles Bertin, 58, singer of French punk band Camera Silens and robber, on Nov. 7
Camera Silens – Pour la gloire (1983)

Robert Freeman, 82, photographer (Beatles) and graphic designer, on Nov. 8
The Beatles – In My Life (1965, as cover photographer)

Jackie Moore, 73, soul singer, on Nov. 8
Jackie Moore – Precious Precious (1970)
Jackie Moore – Make Me Feel Like A Woman (1975)

Fred Bongusto, 84, Italian pop singer, songwriter and film composer, on Nov. 8
Fred Bongusto – Doce Doce (1962)

Bob Szajner, 81, American jazz pianist, on Nov. 9

Kehinde Lijadu, 71, half of Nigerian duo Lijadu Sisters, on Nov. 9
Lijadu Sisters – Orere Eljigbo (1984)

Jan Byrczek, 83, US-Polish jazz bassist and journalist, on Nov. 10

Lisa Kindred, 79, folk and blues singer, on Nov. 11
Lisa Kindred – I Like It This Way (1965)

Bad Azz, 43, rapper, on Nov. 11

Papa Don Schroeder, 78, producer and songwriter, on Nov. 15
Webb Pierce – Those Wonderful Year (1963, as writer)
James & Bobby Purify – I’m Your Puppet (1966, as producer)

Éric Morena, 68, French pop singer, on Nov. 16

Browning Bryant, 62, singer-songwriter, on Nov. 16
Browning Bryant – You Might Say (1974)

Fabio XB, 44, Italian trance DJ, producer and remixer, on Nov. 16

Terry O’Neill, 81, English music photographer, on Nov. 16
Elton John – Song For Guy (1978, as cover photographer)

Michael Putland, 72, English music photographer, on Nov. 19 (unconfirmed)
AC/DC – The Jack (1976, as cover photographer)

Lloyd Watson, 70, English rock guitarist, on Nov. 19
Brian Eno – Some Of Them Are Old (1973, on guitar)

José Mário Branco, 77, Portuguese singer-songwriter, producer, on Nov. 19

John Mann, 57, singer-guitarist with Canadian folk rock band Spirit of the West, on Nov. 20
Spirit of the West – Home For A Rest (1990)

Doug Lubahn, 71, rock bassist, on Nov. 20
The Monkees – Porpoise Song (1968, on bass)
The Doors – Hello, I Love You (1968, on bass)
Pat Benatar – Treat Me Right (1980, as co-writer)

Donna Carson, 73, half of folk-rock duo Hedge and Donna, on Nov. 21
Hedge & Donna – Wings (1967)

Eduardo Nascimento, 76, Angolan singer, on Nov. 22
Eduardo Nascimento – O vento mudou (1967)

Eddie Duran, 94, American jazz guitarist, on Nov. 22
Vince Guaraldi Trio – Surfin’ Snoopy 1968, on guitar)
Tania Maria – Come With Me (1982, on guitar)

Clive James, 80, Australian broadcaster, writer and songwriter, on Nov. 24
Julie Covington – The Magic Wasn’t There (1970, as co-writer)

Iain Sutherland, 71, member of Scottish band Sutherland Brothers, songwriter, on Nov. 25
Sutherland Brothers & Quiver – You Got Me Anyway (1973, also as writer)
Sutherlands Brothers & Quiver – Arms Of Mary (1975, also as writer)

Martin Armiger, 70, singer, guitarist, songwriter with Australian band The Sports, on Nov. 27
The Sports – Who Listens To The Radio (1979)

Juninho Berin, 38, Brazilian samba singer-songwriter, on Nov. 28

Irving ‘Lord Burgess’ Burgie, 95, songwriter, on Nov. 29
Harry Belafonte – Jamaica Farewell (1956, as writer)
Harry Belafonte – Angelina (1961, as writer)
Lord Burgess – Island In The Sun (1984, also as writer)
Barbados National Anthem – In Plenty And In Time Of Need (as lyricist)

Micheal Smotherman, 71, country musician and songwriter, on Nov. 29
Glen Campbell – For Cryin’ Out Loud (1977, as writer)
Micheal Smotherman – Do I Ever Cross Your Mind (2003)

Stuart Fraser, Australian guitarist, on Nov. 30
Noiseworks – Take Me Back (1987, as member)

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Any Major ABC of Christmas

November 28th, 2019 5 comments

 

This year we use the ABC compilation concept for Christmas. One artist each representing the letters A through to Z. So it’s all a bit random, and great fun. I’m really enjoying this mix.

Some of the tracks here are pretty interesting. Take The Qualities, a Chicago doo wop band in the mid to late 1950s. They were produced by a young Sun Ra, whose acquaintance with LSD had by then progressed to a friendship. And it shows on this doo wop Christmas track, which sounds like nothing you’d expect.

Four tracks later, we have the Universal Robot Band celebrating a Disco Christmas. Released in 1977, it may sound like a horrible cash-in, especially if I tell you that it includes a conversation between Santa and Rudolph. But don’t skip the track! Recorded by the soul-disco band Kleeer, the groove is solid, and the conversation between our heroes is amusing. Santa decides to “add a little soul to this white Christmas”, and Rudolph affirms, “I can dig it, boss.”

You have to love the idea of a song title that takes the unsnappy route of declaring: “I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You” (I hope there was a swinging, finger-clicking answer record titled: “I reciprocate your determination to realise the objective of forestalling the absence of seasonal companionship”). The song by French singer Claudine Longet, then Andy Williams’ wife, is bright and quintessential 1960s fare. It was written for Longet by jazz songwriter Margo Guryan at the request of producer Tommy LiPuma.

There are a couple of slightly curmudgeonly tracks here. South African-born British comedian Paddy Roberts’ Merry X-Mas You Suckers (And A Happy New Year) pokes fun at the commercialism and revelry of the season. “You’ll be spending your money on cartloads of junk, and from here to new year you’ll be drunk as a skunk.” But in the end, you might as well party down: “But stick to it suckers, go swallow a pill, for this is the season of peace and goodwill. While we patiently wait for that nuclear blast… Merry Christmas you suckers, it may be your last.”

The Everly Brothers are quite morose about Christmas. “Christmas Eve can kill you when you’re trying to hitch a ride to anywhere… A car goes running by, the man don’t even turn his head. Guess he’s busy being Santa Claus tonight. The saddest part of all is knowing if I switched with him I’d leave him stumbling ragged by the road.” Written by Dennis Linde (who also wrote the Elvis hit Burning Love), this is not comedy.

Comedy is provided by the marvellous Richard Cheese, whose shtick is to rework well-known songs in the way of a cheesy nightclub singer (hence the name). Cheese does so with much wit and musical flair. The featured track, Christmas In Vegas, is the only original track on his 2006 Silent Nightclub album (which features a quite unsettling version of Silent Night). The lyrics are quite savage: “Christmas in Las Vegas, Decorate your tree with chips. Let’s roll a yo beneath the mistletoe while that angel strips.”

As ever, CD-R length, homemistletoed covers. PW in comments. Another Christmas mix will drop in two weeks.

1. Aaron Neville – Louisiana Christmas Day (1993)
2. B.B. King – Merry Christmas Baby (2001)
3. Claudine Longet – I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You (1968)
4. Dean Martin – The Christmas Blues (1953)
5. Everly Brothers – Christmas Eve Can Kill You (1972)
6. Fountains of Wayne – I Want An Alien For Christmas (1997)
7. Granville Williams Orchestra – Santa Claus Is Ska-Ing To Town (1964)
8. Hot Chocolate – Brand New Christmas (1980)
9. Isley Brothers – Winter Wonderland (2007)
10. Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners – You’re My Christmas Present (1990)
11. Kylie Minogue – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (2015)
12. Leadbelly – Christmas Is A-Coming (1940s)
13. Mel Tormé – Sleigh Ride (1992)
14. Neil Diamond – You Make It Feel Like Christmas (1984)
15. Otis Redding – Merry Christmas, Baby (1968)
16. Paddy Roberts – Merry X-Mas You Suckers (And A Happy New Year) (1962)
17. Qualities – It’s Christmas Time (1956)
18. Richard Cheese – Christmas In Las Vegas (2006)
19. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Please Come Home For Christmas (2015)
20. TLC – Sleigh Ride (1993)
21. Universal Robot Band – Disco Christmas (1977)
22. Ventures – Blue Christmas (1965)
23. Wilson Phillips – Warm Lovin’ Christmastime (2010)
24. XTC (as Three Wise Men) – Thanks For Christmas (1983)
25. Yellowman – Santa Claus Never Comes To The Ghetto (1998)
26. Zee Avi – No Christmas For Me (2009)

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More Mix-CD-Rs
More ABCs in Decades

More Christmas Mixes
Any Major Christmas Favourites
Any Major 1980s Christmas
Any Major 1970s Christmas
Any Major 1960s Christmas
Any Major 1950s Christmas
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Christmas Bells
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Smooth Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Doop Wop Christmas
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
Song Swarm: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Original Samples Vol. 1

November 21st, 2019 2 comments

 

 

The art of the sample has been diluted by the lazy poaching of popular grooves, hooks and riffs, but it hasn’t always been like that. Some of the best-known samples aren’t even known to be the work of other people.

Not many people know, for example, that the hook of Grandmaster Melle Mel’s White Lines was lifted from a rather obscure piece called Cavern by Liquid Liquid (like all tracks mentioned here, it features on this mix). Or that Tupac & Dr Dre’s California Love took the whole chorus (“California knows how to party, in the city of LA…”) and more from a 1982 track by Ronnie Hudson and The Streetpeople.

A well-deployed sample can suck over the life out of the song it has been taken from. If you listen to the horn blast on the Chi-Lites’ Are You My Woman, try not to do the “oh-oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” hic-cupping thing in Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love. Or try not launching into Lauryn Hill mode when the wonderful Fifth Dimension track kicks in, or avoid conversing about sex when you hear the horn hook in The Staple Singers’ I’ll Take You There.

And if you manage to not do any of those, you will still go, “All I want to do is zoom-a-zoom-zoom-zoom and a poom-poom” when you hear the Lafayette Afro Rock Band’s Darkest Light.

 

A couple of songs were more than sampled. Fatboy Slim reworked performance-poet Camille Yarbrough’s delicious 1975 sex anthem Take Yo’ Praise as Praise You, but it’s more cover (though not quite) than sample. In fairness, Yarbrough has received the full writing credit.

Even more a virtual cover is Mariah Carey’s mega-hit Fantasy, which reworks the Tom Tom Club’s 1981 anthem to black musicians, Genius Of Love. Of course, Tina Weymouth and colleagues got a co-writing credit

Some of the tracks that are sampled include themselves samples. For example, the widely-sampled (Not Just) Knee Deep by Funkadelic (for example in De La Soul’s Me Myself And I) references James Brown’s Ants In My Pants.

The mix closes with the godfather of sampled tracks, by the Godfather of Soul: Funky Drummer, by James Brown & The J.B.s., which has provided drum breaks for Public Enemy’s Fight The Power and the Powerpuff Girl’s theme song. Clyde Stubblefield, who played the drum break, didn’t get a writer’s credit on Funky Drummer — the most-reused bit of music, and the creator went empty-handed.

As ever, CD-R length and home-hooked-and-riffed covers. PW in comments.

 

1. Ronnie Hudson and The Streetpeople – West Coast Poplock (1982)
The Borrower: 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love (Vocals/Lyrics)
Also: Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang (Vocals/Lyrics)
Also: N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton (Vocals/Lyrics)
Also: Mos Def – Habitat (Vocals/Lyrics)

2. Leon Haywood – I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You (1975)
The Borrower: Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang (Multiple Elements)

3. Liquid Liquid – Cavern (1983)
The Borrower: Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Multiple Elements)

4. The Chi-Lites – Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) (1970)
The Borrower: Beyoncé – Crazy In Love (Multiple Elements)
Also: Kool G Rap & DJ Polo feat. Big Daddy Kane – #1 With A Bullet (Hook)

5. The Moments – Love On A Two-Way Street (1970)
The Borrower: Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind (Multiple Elements)

6. The 5th Dimension – Together Let’s Find Love (1971)
The Borrower: Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) (Hook)

7. Pete Rodriguez – I Like It Like That (1967)
The Borrower: Cardi B – I Like It (Multiple Elements)

8. Peggy Lee – Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay (1969)
The Borrower: Beastie Boys – Ch-Check It Out (Multiple Elements)

9. Bill Withers – Grandma’s Hands (1971)
The Borrower: Blackstreet – No Diggity (Multiple Elements)

10. The Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There (1972)
The Borrower: Salt-N-Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex (Hook)
Also: Eazy-E – Boyz-N-The-Hood (Hook)

11. Camille Yarbrough – Take Yo’ Praise (1975)
The Borrower: Fat Boy Slim – Praise You (Vocals/Lyrics)

12. Kool & the Gang – Summer Madness (4:17)
The Borrower: DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – Summertime (Multiple Elements)
Also: Snoop Dogg – Doggy Dogg World (Sound Effect)

13. Tom Tom Club – Genius Of Love (1981)
The Borrower: Mariah Carey – Fantasy (Multiple Elements)
Also: Mark Morrison – Return Of The Mack (Drums)

14. Aerosmith – Dream On (1973)
The Borrower: Eminem – Sing For The Moment (Multiple Elements)

15. The Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Darkest Light (1974)
The Borrower: Wreckx-N-Effect – Rump Shaker (Hook)
Also: Jay-Z – Show Me What You Got (Hook)

16. Funkadelic – (Not Just) Knee Deep (1979)
The Borrower: De La Soul – Me Myself and I (Multiple Elements)
Also: Snoop Dogg – Who Am I (What’s My Name)? (Bass)
Also: Black Eyed Peas – Shut The Phunk Up (Multiple Elements)

17. Sly & the Family Stone – Trip To Your Heart (1967)
The Borrower: LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (Multiple Elements)

18. James Brown – Funky Drummer (1970)
The Borrower: Public Enemy – Fight The Power / Bring The Noise (Drums)
Also: Dr. Dre – Let Me Ride (Drums)
Also: N.W.A – Fuck Tha Police (Drums)
Also: LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (Drums)
Also: Fine Young Cannibals – I’m Not the Man I Used To Be (Multiple Elements)
Also: The Powerpuff Girls Theme (drums)

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More Originals:
The Originals: The Classics
The Originals: Soul
The Originals: Motown
The Originals: 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: Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 1
The Originals: Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 2
The Originals: Beatles Edition
The Originals: Carpenters Edition
The Originals: Burt Bacharach Edition
The Originals: Schlager Edition
The Originals: : Christmas Edition

Categories: Mix CD-Rs, The Originals Tags: