In Memoriam – May 2020

June 4th, 2020 No comments

Another relentless month, and not just because Covid-19 (though that virus was a factor in several deaths). May claimed a number of innovators and trailblazers — Little Richard, Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider, Betty Wright, Mory Kanyté. But the deaths we should mourn more than others is that of Turkish musicians Ibrahim Gökçek and Helion Bölek, who have died of hunger strike in protest against the persecution of their group by Turkey’s Erdoğan regime.

The Superstar
Little needs to be added to the many tributes for Little Richard, other than to note that without him, we’d not have had The Beatles as we knew them. I can only imagine how explosive the sounds of Little Richard, and Elvis’ Hound Dog, must have sounded to teenagers in the 1950s. In a tweet, British music journalist Simon Price summed up most fittingly Little Richard’s position in the history of rock ‘n’ roll: “Little Richard was the firecracker who set it all off. Right there at rock ‘n’ roll’s Big Bang, this ungovernable force transcending race, gender and sexuality. Literally a screaming queen. I met him once and it was like touching the hand of God. We owe him everything. RIP (it up).”

The Beatles certainly owed him a lot. When the young Liverpool quartet was supporting Mr Perriman on his England tour in 1963, Little Richard taught Paul McCartney to scream — s skill Macca put to good use in tracks such as I Saw Her Standing There and I’m Down to Helter Skelter and Hey Jude. And, of course, The Beatles borrowed their “wooo” from Littler Richard.

And, of course, check out Little Richard singing Rubber Ducky on Sesame Street.

The Robot Pioneer
It seems entirely in keeping with Florian Schneider’s ways that his death on April 21 would remain unreported for more than two weeks. With his band Kraftwerk, human emotion was unimportant, to the extent that in 1978 the members were replaced by identikit robots whom one could barely tell apart from the living men. In person, Schneider was said to be warm and funny. It is good that his death was met with many warm tributes.

Kraftwerk (properly prtonounced CRUFT-vairk) weren’t the only pioneers of electronic music — the German scene had several of those — but they had the greatest impact on the international mainstream pop that was to follow, be it Eurodisco, the post-punk synth pop in the UK, dance and electronica, or the Neue Deutsche Welle in Germany. And that influence manifested itself not only in music but also in image. David Bowie was an early adopter: the instrumental on his Heroes album (and b-side of the single of the title track) is named V2-Schneider in tribute to Florian — even if the war reference in the title sounded a bit insulting.

The Soul Allrounder
For a generation of strong, independently-minded and put-upon women, Betty Wright articulated the right responses to often inferior men — and the right to be satisfied. A songwriter and an accomplished singer — she could hit notes every bit as high as later pretenders such as Mariah Carey — Wright also had a strong stage presence. Witness her command of the audience on Tonight Is The Night.

She won a Grammy for Best R&B Song for Where Is The Love?, then discovered disco-funkster Peter Brown, with whom she duetted on the 1978 dance classic  Dance With Me. In 1988, Wright became the first black female artist to score a gold album on her own label, with her album Mother.  Later she went into vocals arranging and producing for acts like Gloria Estefan, Tom Jones, Jennifer Lopez and Joss Stone. And she also sang backing vocals on Stevie Wonder’s hit Happy Birthday and All I Do, which featured earlier this month on Any Major Soul 1980.

The Beatles’ Friend
It’s rare that non-musicians feature in this series, but the death of Astrid Kirchherr a week before her 82nd birthday needs to be noted. Kirchherr was a young photographer when she met the yet unknown and even younger five Beatles in Hamburg in 1961. Of the Fab Five, one absconded to be with her — Stuart Sutcliffe died a year later (and Pete Best was later replaced). At her intervention, the group changed their Teddy Boy hairstyles to the moptops they became famous with. Kirchherr would reject the idea that she had “invented” these hairstyles, saying that lots of German boys had been wearing them. Still, if any hairstyle ever had any pivotal role in changing pop music, it was the one Astrid Kirchherr prescribed The Beatles.

The Prog Punk
Even people who have no truck with the grimy pub-rock of The Stranglers might have grooved to the sounds of the band’s keyboardist Dave Greenfield: his keyboard sounds dominate Waltz In Black, the theme of TV cook Keith Floyd’s alcohol-drenched programmes. Greenfield’s prog-rock keyboards transformed the pub-rock of The Stranglers (they never really were punk). Consider their hit No More Heroes: without the swirling keyboards, it’s a sneering rock song with a guitar solo. And hear what Greenfield does with The Strangler’s version of Walk On By, a truly unattractive cover until he goes all Isaac Hayes on it, turning it into an impressive work.

Greenfield was often compared to The Doors’ Ray Manzarek, whose work similarly transformed the sound of his band. Greenfield claimed that he had never heard of Manzarek before The Stranglers. He cited as his decidedly non-punk influences Rick Wakeman of Yes.

Miles’ Drummer
For nearly three decades, jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb was the last man standing of the Miles Davis Sextet which recorded the seminal Kind Of Blue album. Davis died in 1991, John Coltrane in 1967, Paul Chambers in 1969, Wynton Kelly (who played piano on Freddie Freeloader) in 1971, Cannonball Adderley in 1975, Bill Evans in 1980. Cobb played on many Miles Davis albums, including on the marvellous Sketches Of Spain and Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall. A drummer known for his subtlety and restraint, Cobb backed many jazz greats, including Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, both Adderley Bothers, Wayne Shorter, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Dorothy Ashby, Hubert Laws and many others.

The One-hit Pioneer
For a one-hit wonder, Millie Small’s brief residence in the limelight with her hit My Boy Lollipop was significant. She was the first Jamaican to have a worldwide hit with a song made in Jamaica, and the first to have an international smash with a song in the bluebeat genre, which fused R&B, pop and ska, and is regarded an ancestor of reggae. Alas, Millie said she never received royalties from her mega-hit, and eventually slid into poverty. She received honours later in life; and apparently Island Records founder Chris Blackwell gave her some financial sustenance to keep her going.

The Griot Man
With his song Yé ké Yé ké, Guinean singer Mory Kanté scored the first million-seller by an African artist in Europe. The album it came from, Akwaba Beach, also became the best-selling African record at the time. Kanté came from the hereditary West African griot tradition, in which families of storytellers, praise singers, poets or musicians pass the local culture down the generations. Kanté never repeated the success of the much-remixed Yé ké Yé ké, possibly because it was seen as a novelty dance hit. But he remained a fixture in African music, with a dozen albums released between 1981 and 2017. In 2014 he and other African stars came together to record a charity song to support Doctors Without Borders’ anti-ebola activities. It sold 250,000 copies.

The Executive Rapper
The man who jump-started the careers of the likes of Puff Daddy, Mary J. Blige, Notorious B.I.G., Jodeci, Zhané, Soul For Real, Heavy D. and other icons of 1990s R&B has passed away at only 58. Andre Harrell started his career as a rapper as the first half of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, a hip hop duo that stood out for dressing in business suits. At that point he already was a budding music business mogul — a natural progression for a business management major. By age 25 he was vice-president and general manager of Def Jam records; by the end of the 1980s he had founded Uptown Records. That label declined when many of its stars decamped elsewhere, but Harrell landed on his feet, becoming CEO of Motown Records in 1995. More recently, he executive produced Robin Thicke’s rape anthem Blurred Lines.

The Irish Legend
Irish singer Brendan Bowyer had the distinction of once having The Beatles opening for him and his Royal Showband at a gig in Liverpool (in 1962, before the Fans had their first record out. History doesn’t record whether he issued McCartney any after-hours singing tips). Later, when Bowyer was performing in Las Vegas, he counted Elvis Presley among his fans. In Ireland, he and his group became the first Irish to top the country’s charts, in 1963 with Love Me Quick. Three more Irish #1s would follow, with 1965’s The Hucklebuck being the biggest hit, also charting in Australia.

The Spotnick
With the death of co-founder Bob Landers (or Bo Starander), Swedish guitar band The Spotnicks have only one surviving member of the classic 1960s line-up, drummer Ove Johansson (and his various drumming successor). The band lost lead guitarist Bo Winberg only in January. Named as a pun on the Russian Sputniks and playing Ventures-style guitar instrumentals, The Spotnicks were the first Swedish band to have international success, with tracks like Orange Blossom Special, Hava Nagila, and Rocket Man.

The Blues Protégé
As a five-year-old protégé of blues legend Willie Dixon in the late 1960s, Lucky Peterson was billed as “our future” and appeared on US national TV shows such as on The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and What’s My Line?, no doubt with a look in the direction of Michael Jackson. Two child-star LPs came out before he hit puberty.

Peterson reappeared in the record shops in 1984 as a 20 year old blues musician. It was the start of a prolific career, as a singer, a keyboardist on the Hammond organ and guitarist. He recorded and performed solo, but also collaborated with stars like Mavis Staples, B.B. King, Wynton Marsalis, Rufuys Thomas, Etta James, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland and Little Milton. In March this year, Peterson was so upset about his European tour being cancelled that he recorded a “Coronavirus Blues” in his hotel room. A few weeks later he was suddenly taken ill and died.

The Axeman
As a guitarist Bob Kullick backed several bands, in the studio and on stage, but he didn’t release a solo record until 2017, when he was 67. I remember seeing him play with Meat Loaf in 1985 in London. I was in the first row, right in line of his sight. As I was watching this bald, unobtrusively charismatic guy, we made eye contact and he flashed me a smile. A great moment for me – I’d never had experienced a personal kind of connection like that with somebody performing on stage. Kullick recorded with Meat Loaf, Kiss, Lou Reed, WASP, Janis Ian, Diana Ross, Todd Rundgren, Tim Curry, Michal Bolton, Alice Cooper, Was (Not Was) and more.

The Slide Guitar Guy
If you followed the career of Bob Dylan in the 1990s or Steve Earle in the mid-to-late 1980s, then you’ll probably have heard the pedal steel guitar of Bucky Baxter, who has died at 65. The father of alt.country singer Rayland Baxter (whom Bucky also backed) also played with the likes of Ryan Adams, R.E.M., Ben Folds, Joe Henry, Los Lobos, and Cerys Williams.

 The Martyrs
The death of Ibrahim Gökçek, bass player of Turkish band Grup Yorum, and that last month of bandmate Helin Bölek, should shock us: both died of starvation at the culmination of hunger strikes in protest of the treatment the politically-minded group had received from Turkey’s Erdoğan regime. That treatment for the internationally-known band included alleged harassment, raids, arrests, torture and a performance ban. In 2018 several group members were put on the “Grey List”, with a bounty of 300,000 Turkish lira (about US$ 42,000) on their heads.

In February 2019, Gökçek was detained without trial; in detention he and Gökçek and fellow detainee Bölek went on hunger strike in June 2019 which they continued after their release (Bölek in November; Gökçek in February this year). Bölek died on April 3; she was 28.

As last month, there are two playlists: the traditional one of the tracks below, and a select one I made for my own entertainment. Another innovation is to present this post in PDF booklet format for easy off-site reading, replacing the old *.txt files. It takes a bit of effort to create; let me know in the comments if I should continue with it.

The famous photo of the yet unknown Beatles taken by Astrid Kirchherr in Hamburg. The lads are yet to get the hairstyle which Kirchherr prescribed them. Stu Sutcliffe (far right) soon left the band to have a relationship with Kirchherr, cut short by Sutcliffe’s sudden death. Pete Best (far left) would later be replaced with Ringo Starr.

 

Florian Schneider, 83, co-founder of German pioneer group Kraftwerk, on April 21
Kraftwerk – Ruckzuck (1970)
Kraftwerk – Kometenmelodie 2 (1974)
Kraftwerk – Die Roboter (1978)
Kraftwerk – Tour de France (1983)

Will Theunissen, 65, guitarist of Dutch jazz rock band Elevator, on May 1

Tavo Limongi, 52, guitarist of Mexican nu-metal band Resorte, on May 1

Jonathan Kelly, 72, Irish singer-songwriter, on May 2
Jonathan Kelly’s Outside – Yesterday’s Promises (1974)

Cady Groves, 30, American singer-songwriter, on May 2
Cady Groves – Oil And Water (2015)

Gilbert Sigrist, 82, French pianist, on May 2
Gilbert Bécaud – Nathalie (live) (1967, on piano)

Richie Cole, 72, American jazz saxophonist and composer, on May 2
Richie Cole – New York Afternoon (1977, also as writer)

Dave Greenfield, 71, keyboardist of The Stranglers, of Covid-19 on May 3
The Stranglers – Peaches (1977)
The Stranglers – Walk On By (1978)
The Stranglers – Golden Brown (1981)
The Stranglers – Waltz In Black (1985)

Bob Lander, 78, founder member of Swedish guitar band The Spotnicks, on May 3
The Spotnicks – The Spotnicks Theme (1961)
The Spotnicks – The Rocket Man (1963)

Aldir Blanc, 73, Brazilian songwriter, of Covid-19 on May 4

John Erhardt, member of Indie bands Wussy, Ass Ponys, on May 4
Ass Ponys – Earth To Grandma (1994)

Frederick C. Tillis, 90, jazz saxophonist and composer, on May 4

Alfred “Uganda” Roberts, 77, New Orleans percussionist, on May 5
Allen Toussaint – Soul Sister (1972, on congas)

Kiing Shooter, 24, American rapper, of Covid-19 on May 5

Sweet Pea Atkinson, 74, singer with Was (Not Was), on May 5
Sweet Pea Atkinson – Don’t Walk Away (1982)
Was (Not Was) – Spy In The House Of Love (1987, on lead vocals)

Sonny Cox, 82, jazz saxophonist, on May 5

Millie Small, 72, Jamaican singer, on May 5
Millie – My Boy Lollipop (1964, German version)
Millie – Melting Pot (1970)

Ciro Pessoa, 62, Brazilian singer-songwriter, of Covid-19 on May 5

Brian Howe, 66, lead singer of Bad Company (1986-94), on May 6
Bad Company – No Smoke Without A Fire (1988)

Ibrahim Gökçek, 41, bass player of Turkish band Grup Yorum, suicide by starvation, on May 7

Ty, 47, British rapper, of Covid-19 on May 7
Ty – Oh, You Want More? (2004)

Andre Harrell, 59, producer, founder of Uptown Records, on May 8
Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde – Genius Rap (1981, as Dr. Jeckyll)
Heavy D & The Boyz – Now That We Found Love (1991, as executive producer)

Mark Barkan, 85, songwriter and producer, on May 8
Connie Francis – I’m Gonna Be Warm This Winter (1962, as co-writer)
Manfred Mann – Pretty Flamingo (1966, as writer)

Little Richard, 87, rock & roll singer, pianist and songwriter, on May 9
Little Richard – Ready Teddy (1956)
Little Richard – Ooh! My Soul (1958)
Little Richard – I’m Trampin’ (1959)
Little Richard – Get Down With It (1967)

Carlos José, 85, Brazilian singer-songwriter, of Covid-129 on May 9
Carlos José – Ee E Deus (1958)

David Corrêa, 82, Brazilian samba singer-songwriter, on May 10
David Corrêa – Menino Bom (1974)

Aldo Bassi, 58, Italian jazz trumpeter, on May 10

Betty Wright, 66, soul singer, on May 10
Betty Wright – Clean Up Woman (1971)
Betty Wright – Where Is The Love? (1973)
Betty Wright – Tonight Is The Night (live) (1978)
Richard ‘Dimples’ Field feat. Betty Wright – She’s Got Papers On Me (1981)

Moon Martin, 69, American singer-songwriter, on May 11
Moon Martin – Bad Case Of Lovin’ You (1978, also as writer)

Jean Nichol, 75, Canadian pop singer, on May 11

Alberto Carpani, 64, Italo-disco DJ and singer, of Covid-19 on May 11
Albert One – Hopes & Dreams (1987)

Richard Lane, founder of Australian garage rock band The Stems, reported on May 12
The Stems – At First Sight (1987)

Renée Claude, 80, Canadian singer and actress, of Covid-19 on May 12

Derek Lawrence, 78, English producer, on May 13
Deep Purple – Hush (1968, as producer)
Labi Siffre – I Got The… (1975, as co-producer)

Astrid Kirchherr, 81, German photographer of The Beatles, on May 13
The Beatles – I Saw Her Standing There (1962, live in Hamburg)

Yoshio, 70, Mexican singer, of Covid-19 on May 13

Jorge Santana, 68, Mexican guitarist (brother of Carlos), on May 14
Malo – Suavecito (1972, as member)

Joey Giambra, 86, jazz musician, actor, of Covid-19 on May 14

Phil May, 75, singer of English rock group The Pretty Things, on May 15
The Pretty Things – Don’t Bring Me Down (1964)
The Pretty Things – She Says Good Morning (1968)

Sergio Denis, 71, Argentine singer, songwriter and actor, on May 15

Denny DeMarchi, 57, Canadian multi-instrumentalist, producer, on May 15
Alias – More Than Words Can Say (1990, on keyboards)

Donn Trenner, 93, jazz pianist and arranger, on May 16
Les Brown And His Band Of Renown – Girl Of My Dreams (1955, on piano)

Lucky Peterson, 55, blues singer, guitarist and keyboardist, on May 17
Lucky Peterson – Our Future (1969)
Lucky Peterson – Compared To What (1993)
Lucky Peterson – Purple Rain (1997)

Chris Stewart, 73, session bass guitarist, reported on May 17
Joe Cocker – Where Am I Now (1975, on bass)

Peter Thomas, 94, German soundtrack composer, on May 17
Peter Thomas Sound Orchester – Raumpatrouille Theme (1966, also as composer)

Willie K, 59, Hawaiian blues musician, on May 19

Bobby ‘Digital’ Dixon, 59, Jamaican reggae and dancehall producer, on May 21
Gregory Isaacs – Wailing Rudie (1989, as co-producer and co-arranger)

Mory Kanté, 70, Guinean singer and kora player, on May 22
Mory Kanté – Yé ké yé ké (1987)
Mory Kanté – Djalla (1996)
Mory Kanté – Oh Oh Oh (La Guinéenne) (2012)

KJ Balla, 23, rapper, shot on May 22

Klaus Selmke, 70, drummer of East-German rock band City, on May 22
City – Am Fenster (1977)

Steve ‘Thee Slayer Hippy’ Hanford, 50, drummer of punk band Poison Idea, on May 22
Poison Idea – Just To Get Away (1989)

Jimmy Cobb, 91, jazz drummer (Miles Davis), on May 24
Dinah Washington – You Let My Love Grow Cold (1952, on drums)
Miles Davis – Saeta (1960, on drums)

Lily Lian, 103, French singe, on May 24
Lily Lian – La femme aux bijoux

Otto de la Rocha, 86, Nicaraguan singer and songwriter, on May 25

Al Rex, 91, bassist with Bill Haley & His Comets (1955-58), on May 25
Bill Haley & His Saddlemen – Rocket 88 (1951)

Bucky Baxter, 65, folk-rock guitarist, on May 25
Steve Earle – Someday (1986, on pedal steel guitar)
Bob Dylan – Tryin’ To Get To Heaven (1997, on acoustic guitar)
Ben Folds – Give Judy My Notice (2005, on pedal steel guitar)

Charlie Monttana, 58, Mexican rock singer, on May 28
Charlie Monttana – Vaquero Rockanrolero (1993)

Bob Kulick, 70, session guitarist, on May 28
Diana Ross – Why Do Fools Fall In Love (1981, on guitar with solo)
Meat Loaf – Piece Of The Action (1985, on guitar with solo)

Brendan Bowyer, 81, Irish showband singer, on May 28
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal Showband – Kiss Me Quick (1963)
Brendan Bowyer & The Royal Showband – The Hucklebuck (1965)

Lennie Niehaus, 90, jazz saxophonist, film composer (Clint Eastwood), on May 28
Lennie Niehaus – Little Girl Blues (1957)

Evaldo Gouveia, 91, Brazilian MPB singer and songwriter, of Covid-19 on May 29

John Nzenze, 80, Kenyan pop and jazz musician, on May 30
John Nzenze – Angelike Twist (1961)

Don Weller, 79, English jazz saxophonist, on May 30
David Bowie – Absolute Beginners (1986, on saxophone)

Bob Northern, 86, jazz flautist and French hornist, on May 31
Gil Evans – El Toreador (1964, on French Horn)

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PROTEST!

June 3rd, 2020 2 comments

At the beginning of the poisonous presidency of Donald Trump, I posted two mixes of soul tracks demanding racial justice. Given recent events, it is overdue that I should make a third one, which I will in due cause.

The need for the consciousness of social justice will not go away, and #BlackLivesMatter will remain an acute issue even when (if?) the racist president gets turfed out at the end of this awful year. George Floyd’s name will never be forgotten, but no doubt there will be more George Floyds. The struggle continues.

In the interim, the two previous mixes are up again.

Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Protest Soul Vol. 2

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Any Major Power Ballads Vol. 1

May 28th, 2020 9 comments

 

 

This mix, dear reader, is going out to Any Major Dudette, who expressed her wish for a mix of power ballads. And with the critical rehabilitation of the genre lately, I shall feel free to share the fruits of her request with you.

And here we don’t need to concern ourselves with the inconvenient truth that her desire was expressed upon hearing a Céline Dion song on the radio (not the Titanic one. The other one). It doesn’t matter, since the stylings of Ms Dion are not to my taste, and therefore do not feature on this mix.

Also very much excluded are Jennifer Rush’s Power Of Love, which I loathe with a special depth of repulsion.  The same applies to Chris de Burgh’s Lady In Red, which I wouldn’t call a power ballad anyway.

The long-time reader may wonder: “But, Any Major Dude With Half A Heart, did you find a place for Michael F. Bolton?” And funny that you should ask, but… no. Having said that, the same wretched radio station which Any Major Dudette tunes into recently played Bolton’s breakthrough hit “How Am I Supposed To Love Without You”. And, I must confess, I was sort of singing along. Not so enthusiastically that I’d include it here, nor to turn me into one of the Bobs from Office Space. Still, I suspect that had it been sung by somebody else, it might have… no, enough. Shudder.

But that is the key to the good power ballad: it allows you to like something by an artist you’d otherwise not engage with.

Surveying the present collection of songs, I find that I own albums by only nine of them; just over half. Half of my total collection of REO Speedwagon’s catalogue is represented here. The other one is also a power ballad.

Let’s not forget: power ballads are white people’s baby-making music. People conceived to Track 4 might have conceived their offspring to Tracks 13, 15 and 16.

So, yes, the power ballad is pop music’s joker: the occasion when even the purist can get out that lighter and wave it from side to side without having to write an excuse to the taste police.

I have enough power ballads for a second volume, if there’s a demand for it. But tell me your favourite power ballads in the comments.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-powerchorded covers. PW in comments.

1. Aerosmith – I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing (1998)
2. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart (1983)
3. Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) (1984)
4. Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin (1967)
5. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man (1973)
6. Boston – Amanda (1986)
7. Styx – Babe (1979)
8. REO Speedwagon – Keep On Loving You (1981)
9. Heart – Alone (1987)
10. Journey – Open Arms (1981)
11. Whitesnake – Here I Go Again (1987)
12. Meat Loaf – I’m Gonna Love Her For Both Of Us (1981)
13. Maria McKee – Show Me Heaven (1990)
14. Toto – I’ll Be Over You (1986)
15. Roxette – It Must Have Been Love (1990)
16. Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville – I Don’t Know Much (1989)
17. Prince – Purple Rain (1984)

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Any Major Soul 1980

May 21st, 2020 3 comments

By popular request, the Any Major Soul series will go into the 1980s. And by popular request I mean the two people who expressed their wish to this effect.

The Any Major Soul 1980/81 mix showed that soul was still in good health as the 1970s turned into the ’80s. Bass and synth-driven disco had already made its impact on soul, and the harmonising falsettos and strings of just five years earlier were out of fashion.

But by then disco was dying, living on by whatever name in black music, without the distractions of the cultural appropriation by white suits and Ethel Merman. It was a happy marriage between funky dance music and balladeering soul.

A good example of that is Positive Force, whose We Got The Funk (as featured on Any Major Funk Vol. 1) was a minor hit in many parts of the world — except in the US. Here they feature with a fine mid-tempo number. The eight-piece band recorded on Sugar Hill Records, and the party ambience on that label’s breakthrough hit, Rapper’s Delight, was created by them. After an unsuccessful second LP, the force turned negative, and the band was done.

The set opens with a track by a singer who deserves to be better known than she is. Sylvia St. James was a backing singer and member of Side Effect before going solo in 1979. Her two albums of sophisticated soul were very good but brought no commercial success. St. James returned to session work, backing acts like Stevie Wonder, George Duke, Barbra Streisand, Harry Connick, Jr. and Michael Bublé.

Her previous band, Side Effect, also feature here, with a song from the LP they released after St. James departed. The group was produced by the Crusaders’ Wayne Henderson, and at one point featured singer Niki Howard on vocals.

Two acts here have singers whose voices you may recognise (if you don’t already know that these singers fronted the bands). It is well-known that Jeffrey Osborne sang with L.T.D., who had 1970s hits with Back In Love Again and Love Ballad. The other group is Zingara, who featured James Ingram on the lead vocals.

The expert and the eagle-eyed student of ID3 tags will notice that the Zingara album from which Love’s Calling comes was released in 1981; the song itself was issued as a single in 1980. The same applies to the Debra Laws song featured here.

Debra Laws, who featured on Any Major Disco Vol. 4 with the wonderful On My Own, comes from a famous jazz/soul family: she is the sister of Eloise, Ronnie and Hubert Laws. Two albums, in 1981 and 1993, and a bunch of singles accounted for Laws’ career.

Ty Karim is an insider’s tip for quality 1960s soul especially her 1967 song Lightin’ Up, but commercial success eluded her; she never even released an LP. In the 1970s she briefly recorded as Towana & The Total Destruction. Karim’s 1980 collaboration with George Griffin, Keep On Doin’ Whatcha Doin’, which features here, enjoyed some popularity on the UK club circuit, but didn’t provide a hit either. Karim died in 1983.

One singer who featured on previous Any Major Soul mixes died this month, and is represented here on backing vocals on the Stevie Winder track — quite by coincidence; this mix was put together well before the death of Betty Wright. She featured on Any Major Soul 1968, 1970-71, 1972 and 1974 as well as on Covered With Soul Vol. 5Any Major Disco Vol. 6

As always, CD-R length, home-souled covers, PW in comments. If you’re digging this mix, thank readers Wolfgang and JOI for asking me to carry Any Major Soul into the 1980s.

1. Sylvia St. James – Can’t Make You Mine
2. Randy Brown – We Ought To Be Doin’ It
3. L.T.D. – You Gave Me Love
4. Positive Force – Tell Me What You See
5. Crown Heights Affair – Tell Me You Love Me
6. The Manhattans – Shining Star
7. Zingara – Love’s Calling
8. George Benson – Midnight Love Affair
9. Stevie Wonder – All I Do
10. Earth, Wind & Fire – Sparkle
11. Debra Laws – Be Yourself
12. Chaka Khan – Papillon (AKA Hot Butterfly)
13. Edmund Sylvers – Beauty Of Nature
14. Sister Sledge – All The Man I Need
15. Dee Dee Sharp Gamble – If We’re Going To Stay Together
16. Odyssey – Never Had It At All
17. Larry Graham – One In A Million
18. Side Effect – The Thrill Is Gone
19. Ty Karim & George Griffin – Keep On Doin’ Whatcha Doin’

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Germany’s Hitparade 1938-45

May 14th, 2020 17 comments

This is the second part of the recycled German hitparade of the era just before and during the war. Again, if you dig genocidal fascism and want this mix to have a Nazi party, please go somewhere else. This mix was not made for your sorry Nazi asses. Part 1, covering 1930-37, was posted on Tuesday.

In 1944, the Third Reich’s propaganda and culture minister Joseph Goebbels issued a list of artists who were exempted from military duty. The list included individuals deemed too valuable for sacrifice on the battlefield — and friends of the regime. The Gottbegnadeten-Liste (God-gifted list) included authors, architects, painters, sculptors, composers (including 80-year-old Richard Strauss), conductors as well as singers and actors. Those included on that list have featured on these two compilations included Willy Fritsch, Paul Hörbiger (soon to be arrested for resistance activities), Hans Albers, Wilhelm Strienz, and Heinz Rühmann.

These artists enjoyed protection because of their sometimes unwitting collaboration in Goebbels’ endeavours of feeding a positive mood among an increasingly demoralised German population that had lost its youth on battlefields, its homes in bombed cities and its comforts with shortages in food, heat and clothing.

It had long been Goebbels’ strategy to distract the German population from the less savory sides of life under Nazism. Throughout the Nazi-era, he actively promoted light and apolitical feel-good films and songs (much as Hollywood did during the Depression). This meant that artists who were critical of the regime could work in the German film industry without troubling their conscience. Most probably did not realise that they were being used.

 

In the notes to the German Hitparade 1930-37 we encountered the affable Heinz Rühmann, who demonstrably differed with the Nazis on notions of racial purity. Yet it was he who prepared Germans for the war and the encouragement to see it through stoically when his signature hit Das kann doch einen Seemann nicht erschüttern (That can’t rattle a seaman) was released just a month before the invasion of Poland. The song came from the film Paradies der Junggesellen (with Josef Sieber and Hans Brausewetter, who also appear on the song; watch the clip and note the swastika on the walls of the hall). It seems more of a coincidence, however, that Lale Andersen recorded her famous Lili Marlen, the original, almost exactly a month before the start of World War 2.

Zarah Leander confidently predicts that there will be a miracle in the 1942 film Die grosse Liebe.

 

During the war, many songs that ostensibly dealt with matters of romance had a rather unsubtle subtext that exhorted Germans to endure the war until the inevitable final victory. As the news from the fronts became increasingly troubling, so these songs became more frequent. While Bomber Arthur Harris destroyed German cities, Zarah Leander sang Davon geht die Welt nicht unter (Cheer up, the Volk, it’s not the end of the world) and the optimistic Ich weiss, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh’n (I know there’ll be a miracle one day). In the clip of the song from the film, note the angels. They are SS officers.

Lale Andersen suggested that everything will pass eventually. By then, Read more…

Categories: Black & White Music, German stuff Tags:

Germany’s Hitparade 1930-37

May 12th, 2020 19 comments

This mix was first posted in 2010, but with last week’s 75th anniversary of the the end of WW2 in Europe and the end of the Third Reich, the era covered by this collection and its follow-up is of heightened interest again — and maybe more so the stories behind the artists on this mix. Obviously, if you want this mix because you are nostalgic for the Third Reich, you are not welcome to it. As Indiana Jones so memorably put it: “Nazis. I hate these guys.” The 1938-45 mix follows on Thursday.

This is the first of two compilations of German hits covering the era from the rise of Nazism to its demise. The first compilation leads us through the latter years of the Weimar Republic to 1937, just before war became an inevitable prospect. The second mix will start in 1938 — the year of the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria — through the war to 1944 (there were no hits in 1945, it seems).

None of the pre-war Schlager featured here are of the Nazi propaganda sort, and even the propaganda of the war-period songs is subtle, framing national optimism and encouragement in romantic song (with sentiments such as “I know one day there’ll be a miracle” and “Everything must pass”), which was very much in line with Goebbels’ propaganda strategy which used film and song to distract the Volk‘s mind from matters of war.

The careers of some of the artists featured in the first mix ended with the advent of Nazism. Marlene Dietrich (1901-92), whose Ich bin die fesche Lola comes from Der Blaue Engel (filmed simultaneously as The Blue Angel in 1929), launched her Hollywood career before Hitler assumed power on 31 January 1933. While Dietrich agitated against the Nazis from the safety of Hollywood, her sister ran a cinema near the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, frequented mainly by SS guards. Marlene renounced her sister as a result, yet after the war helped her financially. In post-war West Germany, Dietrich was long regarded by many as a traitor on account of her support for the Allies in WW2. At a 1960 concert in Düsseldorf, an audience member threw an egg at her (in fairness, other audience members gave the offender a good beating for his troubles).

Comedian Harmonists

The sextett Comedian Harmonists created many pre-Nazi classics which became German standards (such as Veronika, der Lenz ist da; Wochenend und Sonnenschein; Ein Freund, ein guter Freund; Mein kleiner Kaktus). Half of the group comprised Jewish members, and the group struggled soon after the Nazis took power. In 1934 Read more…

Categories: Black & White Music, German stuff Tags:

Beatles Recovered: Let It Be

May 8th, 2020 8 comments

Fifty years ago on May 8, the final Beatles album was released, almost a month after Paul McCartney had announced that the band had split. If proof was needed that The Beatles had reached the end of the road, this uneven set seemed to provide it.

Of course, most of it was recorded before the masterful Abbey Road, so who can tell how much juice was still in that apple. Be that as it may, Let It Be was the swansong. The last bit of work was done in February 1970, with Paul and George doing some tinkering with I Me Mine, which had been recorded in January 1970, without John’s contribution.

Few fans will list Let It Be as their favourite Beatles album, and only a few tracks on it were widely covered. Naturally, the three stand-out McCartney were liberally covered: Get Back, The Long And Winding Road and the title track. Others found few takers: Dig A Pony, I Me Mine, One After 909, For You Blue…

Still, what we have here is a pretty decent compilation. Even the superfluous Dig It, from Laibach’s song-by-song copy of Let It Be, is, at least, interesting.

One of the artists featured here as a cover act actually played with The Beatles during that period. Billy Preston was even co-credited on Get Back, though that song is featured here in the cover by Motown songstress Chris Clark (released after the single was out and before the LP was released). On his 1970 LP Encouraging Words, Preston covered I’ve Got A Feeling (he also played, uncredited, on the Beatles version), as well as Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and the first recording of My Sweet Lord.

Harrison’s song For Your Blue is covered here by his son Dhani; and on David Bowie’s cover of Across The Universe, we have John Lennon playing guitar.

One track here isn’t even a cover, but precedes Let It Be by 13 years. The version of Maggie Mae — a traditional song from Liverpool which was the first non-Beatles composition the group recorded since Act Naturally on Help! — is by the The Vipers Skiffle Group, a very popular skiffle outfit in the 1950s that was at times produced by… George Martin. Their Maggie May was the b-side of the Top 10 hit The Cumberland Gap; it seems plausible that the young Beatles were familiar with this recording.

So this brings to an end this series of Beatles albums covered song-by-song, all posted on the 50th anniversary of each album. But I got into it only in 2014 with A Hard Days’ Night. I’m playing with the thought of recovering the first two albums.

1. R. Dean Taylor – Two Of Us (1970)
2. California Guitar Trio – Dig A Pony (2016)
3. David Bowie – Across The Universe (1975)
4. Beth Orton – I Me Mine (2010)
5. Laibach – Dig It (1988)
6. Bill Withers – Let It Be (1971)
7. The Vipers Skiffle Group – Maggie Mae (1957)
8. Billy Preston – I’ve Got A Feeling (1970)
9. Willie Nelson – One After 909 (1995)
10. Ray Charles – The Long And Winding Road (1971)
11. Dhani Harrison – For You Blue (2013)
12. Chris Clark – Get Back (1969)

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

Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70

More Beatles stuff

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In Memoriam – April 2020

May 5th, 2020 9 comments

What a horrible month! Even without Covid-19, April would have been a cruel month. I count 16 coronavirus-related music deaths this month (excluding classical and national folk music musicians). Disclaimer: in many cases, as I understand it, Covid-19 is not the only or primary cause of death. Where it states that somebody died of Covid-19, it does not exclude associated causes of death.

The Soul Legend
The news of Bill Withers’ death took a while to be announced. He died on March 30, but his death was made publicly known only on April 3. I paid tribute to the great singer with a mix of cover versions of his songs. A couple of days later I caught up on Netflix on an excellent documentary about the backroom fixer Clarence Avant. Featured in the film was Bill Withers, who had been discovered by Avant when the singer was still an airplane mechanic.

The Singing Mailman
A few days after Withers died, another giant fell in John Prine, whose death I also marked with a tribute and mix of covers of his songs. Like Withers, Prine was a working man when he was discovered. The mailman in Chicago became something of an overnight sensation in 1971 with his astonishing self-titled debut album. It was the foundation for an impressive body of work which deserves to be much better known. Among Prine’s fans were gifted songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Kris Kristofferson (who namechecked Prine in the title of one of his songs). Prine beat cancer twice, but died of Covid-19 after having had a hip operation.

A Funky Drummer
Disco had many pioneers, but among those who most notably put the stomp on the dancefloor was Hamilton Bohannon. The luxuriously coiffured funkmaster cut his teeth in the 1960s as Little Stevie Wonder’s drummer and then Motown’s tour bandleader. In 1973 he started to release his drum-driven funk under the banner of his surname (occasionally giving his first name an airing). A devout Christian, he saw it necessary to issue a disclaimer to the effect that the title of his album Dance Your Ass Off was not profane.

The Drumming Pioneer
Nigerian drummer Tony Allen is regarded by many of his peers as the greatest exponent of his craft. He was the long-time drummer for Fela Kuti’s Africa ‘70, the outfit that is credited with being the primary founder of Afro-pop, a genre which fused African jazz, traditional African rhythms, US jazz, funk, soul and pop. Kuti said that the genre would not exist without Tony Allen.

The drummer left the band in 1979 to form his own band. In the 1980s he moved to London and then Paris where he backed African acts such Kuti, King Sunny Adé, Ray Lema, Khaled, and Manu Dibango (whom we lost in March), as well as French acts such as Charlotte Gainsbourg and Air, plus Jimmy Cliff, Groove Armada, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Neil Finn, Grace Jones and, somehow, Irish Foster & Allen. On Blur’s 2000 single Music Is My Radar, Damon Albarn repeats the phrase “Tony Allen got me dancing”. Later Albarn got to collaborate with Allen.

The Award Winner
Another Covid-19 victim was Adam Schlesinger of the underrated Fountains of Wayne. With his group, the anthem is the impossibly catchy Stacy’s Mom, but Schlesinger had great success also outside the band. In his career, he won three Emmys, a Grammys, and the ASCAP Pop Music Award, and was nominated for Academy, Tony and Golden Globe awards. He wrote and co-produced the title song of the Tom Hanks film That Thing You Do!, and three tracks for the Hugh Grant film Music & Lyrics, among other film works. He wrote many opening numbers for awards shows and contributed eight songs to the classic 2008 A Colbert Christmas special. The resultant album won him a Grammy.

The Statler Brother
A founding member of The Statler Brothers, the much-loved country-gospel group, Harold Reid provided the bass voice, and wrote several of the group’s songs, including hits like 1970s Bed Of Rose’s and 1978’s Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?. None of the brothers where called Statler, and only two of the four were brothers — Harold and lead singer Don. They got their name from a box of tissues. The Statler Brothers regularly backed Cash — one of their songs is even titled We Got Paid By Cash.

The Fever Man
In 1955, songwriter Eddie Cooley was stuck with the basics of a song. So he went to his friend Otis Blackwell, who helped him finish it, using a pseudonym for contractual reasons. That song was Fever, one of the most recognisable song in pop music, having been covered throughout the generations. To be fair, most people know the finger-snapping arrangement, which was inaugurated in Peggy Lee’s 1958 version, to which Lee added the lyrics about Romeo and Juliet and Pocahontas etc. The original, featured in The Originals – The 1950s, by Little Willie John, who didn’t really the song. He had a big hit with it. Cooley also scored a mid-size hit in his own right in 1956, with Priscilla.

The Great Sideman
Principally known as a jazz guitarist and sideman to many great names in that genre, Bucky Pizzarelli, who has died at 94 of Covid-19, played on several classics, including Solomon Burke’s Cry To Me, The Drifters’ Save The Last Dance For Me and This Magic Moment, Roberta Flack’s The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, and many of the Phil Spector Wall of Sound tracks (it’s difficult to say who played on which song). He backed artists as diverse as Carly Simon, Carmen McCrae, Paul McCartney, Michael Franks, Neil Sedaka, Rufus Wainwright, Anita Baker, Robert Palmer and a very young Aretha Franklin. He joined the houseband of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1964, and tuned Tiny Tim’s ukulele on the day the singer married Miss Vicki on Carson’s show.

The Hitwriter
Another songwriter of a classic hit left us in Kenny Young, who died on April 14 on his 79th birthday. Young’s big hit was The Drifters’ Under The Boardwalk, which he co-wrote with Artie Resnick. He also wrote hits such as Mark Lindsay’s Arizona and Silver Bird, Come Back and Shake Me by Clodagh Rodgers, and Ai No Corrida (with Chaz Janckel; it was a hit for Quincy Jones). As a musician, he had hits in the UK with his band Fox (Only You Can; Imagine Me, Imagine You; S-S-S-Single Bed) and Yellow Dog (Just One More Night). In the early 1980s, Fox reformed to record the Electro People, the theme music for the anarchic comedy programme Kenny Everett Show. In later years, Young became an environmentalist.

The Motown Man
We rarely feature the bureaucrats of music, but an exception must be made for Barney Ales, who as a young (white) man joined the newly-founded Motown label as promo man. Much as Berry Gordy is credited with the vision of making soul music for everybody, Ales made it happen commercially between 1961 and 1972. After a three-year hiatus, he returned as Motown executive, just in time to back Stevie Wonder on his ambitious Songs In The Key Of Life project.

The number of tributes this month is rather big, so this package includes a second playlist I made for my on entertainment.

Bill Withers, 81, soul singer-songwriter, on March 30
Bill Withers – Grandma’s Hands (live) (1972)
Bill Withers – Lean On Me (live) (1973)
Bill Withers – Love Is (1979)
Bill Withers – Oh Yeah (1985)

Cristina, 64, pop singer, of Covid-19 on March 31
Cristina – Disco Clone (1978)

Adam Schlesinger, 52, songwriter, producer, musician (Fountains of Wayne), of Covid-19 on April 1
The Wonders – That Thing You Do! (1996, as writer and co-producer)
Fountains Of Wayne – Stacy’s Mom (2003)
Fountains Of Wayne – Fire In The Canyon (2007)
Neil Patrick Harris – Broadway Is Not Just For Gays (2013, as co-writer)

Harold Rubin, 87, South African-born Israeli jazz clarinettist, on April 1

Bucky (John) Pizzarelli, 94, jazz guitarist, of Covid-19 on April 1
Bucky Pizzarelli – The Astronaut (1961)
The Drifters – Save The Last Dance For Me (1962, on guitar)
Roberta Flack –  The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (1969, on guitar)

Ellis Marsalis Jr., 85, jazz pianist, father of Branford and Wynton, of Covid-19 on April 1
Ellis Marsalis Jr. – A Moment Alone (1994)

Guus Smeets, 71, Dutch singer, of Covid-19 on April 2

Vaughan Mason, 69, funk musician, producer and songwriter, on April 2
Vaughan Mason & Crew – Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll (1979)

Tweedy Bird Loc, 52, rapper, on April 3

Patrick Gibson, 64, drummer and singer with the Gibson Brothers, of Covid-19 on April 4
Gibson Brothers – Come To America (1976)
Gibson Brothers – Ooh What A Life (1979)

Alex Harvey, 79, singer, songwriter and actor, on April 4
Alex Harvey – Delta Dawn (1973, also as writer)

Helin Bölek, 28, singer of Turkish political group Grup Yorum, from hunger strike on April 4

Timothy Brown, 82, R&B singer, actor, and American football player, on March 4
Timmy Brown – I Got Nothin’ But Time (1962)

Barry Allen, 74, singer, musician, producer, on April 4
Barry Allen – Love Drops (1966)

Luis Eduardo Aute, 76, Spanish protest singer-songwriter, on April 4
Luis Eduardo Aute – Al Alba (1978)

Onaje Allan Gumbs, 70, jazz pianist, composer and bandleader, on April 6
Onaje Allan Gumbs – Quiet Passion (1988)

Black the Ripper, 32, British grime MC and rapper, on April 6

Betty Bennett, 98, jazz singer, on April 7
Charlie Ventura And His Orchestra – Yankee Clipper (1949, on vocals)

Eddy Davis, 79, jazz banjo player, guitarist, drummer, of Covid-19 on April 7
Leon Redbone – Sweet Sue (Just You) (1978, on drums, produced by Hal Willner)

Hal Willner, 64, producer, of Covid-19 on April 7
Iggy Pop – Evil California (1993, as producer)

John Prine, 73, legendary singer-songwriter, of Covid-19 on April 7
John Prine – Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore (1971)
John Prine – Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (1986)
John Prine – All The Best (1991)
John Prine – When I Get To Heaven (2018)

Travis Nelsen, drummer of rock band Okkervil River (2003-10), on April 7
Okkerville River – For Real (2005)

André Stordeur, 79, Belgian electronic musician, on April 7

Steve Farmer, 71, rock musician and songwriter, on April 7
The Amboy Dukes – Journey To The Center Of The Mind (1968, also as co-writer)

Chynna Rogers, 25, rapper and model, on April 8
Chynna – Selfie (2013)

Glenn Fredly, 44, Indonesian R&B singer, on April 8

Peter Ecklund, 74, jazz cornetist, on April 8

Carl Dobkins Jr., 79, pop singer, on April 8
Carl Dobkins Jr – My Heart Is An Open Book (1959)

Andy González, 69, jazz double bassist, on April 9

Jymie Merritt, 93, bassist with The Jazz Messengers, on April 10
Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers – Are You Real? (1958)

Big George Brock, 87, blues harmonica player and singer, on April 10
Big George Brock – No No Baby (2006)

Tim Brooke-Taylor, 79, British comedian and songwriter, on April 12
The Goodies – The Funky Gibbon (1975, as member)

Moraes Moreira, 72, guitarist, singer with Brazilian band Novos Baianos, on April 13
Novos Baianos – Acabou Chorare (1972, on lead vocals)

Ryo Kawasaki, 73, Japanese jazz fusion guitarist, composer, on April 13
Ryo Kawasaki – Sometime (1976)

Kenny Young, 79, songwriter, singher, musician and producer, on April 14
Skeeter Davis – Under The Boardwalk (1966, as co-writer)
Reparata and the Delrons – Captain Of Your Ship (1968, as writer)
Fox – Only You Can (1974, as member & writer)
Yellow Dog – Just One More Night (1978, as member & writer)

Kasongo wa Kanema, 73, Congolese soukous musician, on April 14
Orchestra Super Mazembe – Samba (Part 1) (1978)

Gary McSpadden, 77, gospel singer and TV pastor, on April 15

Lee Konitz, 92, jazz saxophonist, composer and arranger, of Covid-19 on April 15
Miles Davis and His Orchestra – Godchild (1949, on alto sax)
Lee Konitz & Warne Marsh – I Can’t Get Started (1955, on alto sax)

Henry Grimes, 84, free jazz double bassist and violinist, of Covid-19 on April 15

Brad Dickson, 38, guitarist of Australian metal group Darker Half, on April 15

Eddie Cooley, 87, songwriter and singer, on April 15
Little Willie John – Fever (1956, as co-writer)
Eddie Cooley and the Dimples – Priscilla (1956)

Christophe, 74, French singer-songwriter, on April 16
Christophe – Aline (1965)

Giuseppi Logan, 84, free jazz reed player, of Covid-19 on April 17

Barney Ales, 85, executive with Motown, on April 17
Marvin Gaye & Mary Wells – Once Upon A Time (1965, as co-writer)

Matthew Seligmann, 64, bassist and songwriter, of Covid-19 on April 17
Whodini – Magic’s Wand (1982, as co-writer)
Thompson Twins – In The Name Of Love (1983, on bass)

Ian Whitcomb, 78, English singer-songwriter, producer and author, on April 19
Ian Whitcomb – You Turn Me On (1965)
Mae West – Men (rec 1968/rel. 1972, as writer and producer)

Jacques Pellen, 63, French jazz guitarist, of Covid-19, on April 21

Derek Jones, 35, guitarist of rapcore band Falling in Reverse, on April 21
Falling In Reverse – Popular Monster (2019)

Bootsie Barnes, 82, jazz saxophonist, on April 22

Fred the Godson, 35, DJ and rapper, of Covid-19 on April 23

Harold Reid, 80, bass singer and songwriter with The Statler Brothers, on April 24
The Statler Brothers – Flowers On The Wall (1965)
The Statler Brothers – Bed Of Rose’s (1970, also as writer)
The Statler Brothers – Your Picture In The Paper (1976)

Mike Huckaby, 54, deep house and trance DJ, of Ciovid-19 on April 24

Hamilton Bohannon, 78, funk songwriter, producer, percussionist, on April 24
Bohannon – Run It On Down Mr DJ (1973)
Bohannon – South Africa 76 (1975)
Hamilton Bohannon – Disco Stomp (1975)
Bohannon – Let’s Start The Dance (1978)

Phil Broadhurst, 70, New Zealand jazz musician and composer, on April 24

India Adams, 93, singer and actress, on April 25
India Adams – New Sun In The Sky (1953, dubbing for Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon)

Ray Repp, 77, Christian music singer-songwriter, on April 25

Big Al Carson, 66, blues and jazz singer, on April 26
Big Al Carson – Take Your Drunken Ass Home (2002)

Scott Taylor, 58, guitarist of British pop band Then Jericho, on April 27
Then Jericho – The Motive (Living Without You) (1987)

Troy Sneed, 52, gospel singer, of Covid-19 on April 27

Young Jessie, 83, R&B singer, on April 27
Young Jessie – Mary Lou (1955, also as writer)

Bobby Lewis, 95, R&B singer, on April 28
Bobby Lewis – Tossin’ And Turnin’ (1961)

Stezo, 51, rapper and producer, on April 29
Stezo – It’s My Turn (1989)

Óscar Chávez, 85, Mexican singer-songwriter, of Covid-19 on April 30

Tony Allen, 79, Nigerian Afro-pop drummer, on April 30
Fela Ransome Kuti & His Africa ‘70 – Who’re You (Part 1) (1971)
Tony Allen – City Girl (1989)
Tony Allen & Hugh Masekela – Never (Lagos Never Gonna Be The Same) (2010)
Tony Allen feat. Damon Albarn – Go Back (2014)

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Any Major Happy Songs Vol. 2

April 30th, 2020 2 comments

 

 

In these times of coronavirus it’s easy to fall into moods of anxiety and depression. As every reader of this corner of the Internet will know, music is a good medicine in times of dejection — and also a superb means of accompanying feelings of misery. But right now, we are in need of the former more than of the latter.

So here is a second mix of songs that make me feel happy (or, when I’m down, at least happier). These are tracks that uplift me. Some do so just by the cheerfulness of the sound; others because they make me want to dance, others yet because they make me laugh. The Labi Siffre song, for example, combines all three elements. In one way or another, these are songs that make my heart soar. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

I still return to Any Major Happy Songs Vol. 1 quite frequently; that mix is still up, in case you need more happy music.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes covers made while I was wearing my facemask to avoid any risk of infecting you. And whatever you do, don’t listen to idiots and don’t inject the bleach!

1. Blackstreet – Happy Song (Tonite) (1996)
2. Outkast – Hey Ya (2003)
3. Junior Senior – Move Your Feet (2002)
4. Odyssey – Use It Up And Wear It Out (1980)
5. Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out (1980)
6. New York City – I’m Doing Fine Now (1973)
7. Robert Knight – Love On A Mountain Top (1968)
8. Mango Groove – Special Star (1989)
9. Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World (1977)
10. Poco – A Good Feeling To Know (1972)
11. Ambrosia – The Biggest Part Of Me (1980)
12. Rufus & Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody (1983)
13. Sadao Watanabe & Roberta Flack – Here’s To Love (1984)
14. KC & the Sunshine Band – I Betcha Didn’t Know That (1979)
15. Samantha Sang – Emotion (1978)
16. Minnie Riperton – Lovin’ You (1974)
17. Gene Chandler – Groovy Situation (1970)
18. Shalamar – A Night To Remember (1982)
19. Labi Siffre – Love-A-Love-A-Love-A-Love-A-Love (1975)
20. Hello Saferide – I Was Definitely Made For These Times (2007)

GET IT! or HERE!

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Any Major Week Vol. 2

April 23rd, 2020 1 comment

 

Last year — time really flies — I promised a follow-up to the mix of songs about the days of the week, in sequence until time of the standard CD-R runs out; which here is on a Friday night.

And that Friday song is a version of the song that started the idea in 2011, when I wrote a defence of Rebecca Black’s YouTube hit Friday. Here the song — a composition of negligible merit — is performed by Steven Colbert on Jimmy Fallon’s show. It is quite catchy, actually.

If your country is in lockdown, as mine is, you might need to be reminded of the way “the week” used to work. You see, there’s Monday, when we used to go back to work after two days off. It used to be a ghastly day. Then came Tuesday, when things got into swing again. On Wednesday we started to look at the calendar (a numbered chart that gave the days of the week in a sequential order) to behold Friday. On Thursday we might give our work another push, and download the latest mix from Any Major Dude With Half A Heart. Friday would be time to slowly wind things down for the weekend. That period comprised Saturday and Sunday, when we might go to the park, or stroll through the city or the mall, or watch sporting events, or visit friends. And on Monday we’d be back sat work with that nagging sense of inertia. Oh, happy days. Will we ever see them again?

As ever, CD-R length, home-trudged covers, PW in comments

1. Earth, Wind & Fire – Saturday Nite (1976)
2. Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Hello Sunday! Hello Road! (1977)
3. Fleetwood Mac – Monday Morning (1975)
4. The Pogues – Tuesday Morning (1987)
5. Majic Ship – Wednesday Morning Dew (1970)
6. Morphine – Thursday (1993)
7. The Easybeats – Friday On My Mind (1966)
8. Cass Elliot – Saturday Suit (1972)
9. Diane Schuur – Louisiana Sunday Afternoon (1988)
10. Stealers Wheel – Monday Morning (1975)
11. Dylan LeBlanc – Tuesday Night Rain (2010)
12. America – Wednesday Morning (1998)
13. Johnny Otis – Thursday Night Blues (1949)
14. Bell & James – Living It Up (Friday Night) (1978)
15. Neil Diamond – Save Me A Saturday Night (2005)
16. Labelle – Sunday’s News (1972)
17. Freda Payne – Rainy Days And Mondays (1973)
18. Stevie Wonder – Tuesday Heartbreak (1972)
19. Emiliana Torrini – Wednesday’s Child (1999)
20. David Bowie – Thursday’s Child (1999)
21. Stephen Colbert feat. Taylor Hicks – Friday (2011)

GET IT! or HERE!

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