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Any Major Cole Porter

October 31st, 2013 9 comments

Any Major Cole Porter

Today something quite different: A collection of songs by Cole Porter; not covered with post-modern irony “” as if many of Porter”s lyrics weren”t full enough of that already “” but delivered straight by vocalists treating the songs as Porter envisaged them, with humour or emotion, or both.

The music is, of course, glorious, but it”s the lyrics that give the performers so much room for interpretation. I need not sell Porter”s wit, but it often is overlooked that among the endless bon mots and sharp turns of phrase, Porter was also a romantic poet.

“Why the gods above me, who must be in the know, think so little of me, they allow you to go”¦.”

Of course, Porter denied being a poet of romance by way of his opening verse to “De-Lovely”:

At words poetic, I’m so pathetic
That I always have found it best,
Instead of getting ’em off my chest,
To let ’em rest unexpressed,
I hate parading my serenading
As I’ll probably miss a bar,
But if this ditty is not so pretty
At least it’ll tell you
How great you are.

Pure self-deprecation by a man who knew his worth, of course. Even when Porter”s lyrics were obsessive and creepy, they sounded rather sweet, as they did in “All Of You”:

I’d love to gain complete control of you
And handle even the heart and soul of you
So love, at least, a small percent of me, do
For I love all of you

So, here are 26 Cole Porter tracks, recorded between 1933 and 1965. Includes covers. PW in comments.

1. Cole Porter – You”re The Top (1935)
2. Anita O”Day – It”s De-Lovely (1959)
3. Benny Goodman Orchestra with Peggy Lee – Let”s Do It (Let”s Fall In Love) (1941)
4. Billie Holliday – You”d Be So Easy To Love (1952)
5. Tony Bennett and Count Basie & his Orchestra – Anything Goes (1959)
6. Mel Torm̩ РAll Of You (1956)
7. Sarah Vaughan – Ev”rytime We Say Goodbye (1961)
8. Lena Horne – What Is This Thing Called Love (1952)
9. Jo Stafford – Begin The Beguine (1950)
10. Ethel Ennis – Love For Sale (1955)
11. Eddie Fisher – So In Love (1955)
12. Julie London – I Love You (1965)
13. Frank Sinatra – You”d Be So Nice To Come Home To (1956)
14. Chris Connor and the Stan Kenton Orchestra – I Get A Kick Out Of You (1953)
15. Louis Prima and Keely Smith – I”ve Got You Under My Skin (1959)
16. Louis Armstrong and his All Stars with Velma Middleton – Don”t Fence Me In (1956)
17. Sammy Davis Jr – In The Still Of The Night (1961)
18. Ella Fitzgerald – Too Darn Hot (1956)
19. Dinah Washington – I Concentrate On You (1961)
20. Mabel Mercer – Ace In The Hole (1955)
21. Fred Astaire – Night And Day (1934)
22. Marlene Dietrich – You Do Something To Me (1957)
23. Bing Crosby – Just One Of Those Things (1945)
24. Ray Noble and his Orchestra with Al Bowlly – Experiment (1933)
25. Artie Shaw and his Orchestra with Helen Forrest – Do I Love You? (1939)
26. Carol Burnett – Blow, Gabriel, Blow (1960)

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Any Major Soul 1970

October 17th, 2013 6 comments

Any Major Soul 1970

And so we tumble into the 1970s, with a mix of soul songs that came out in 1970. Still a year before Marvin Gaye issued his meditation on social justice and the ecology, the consciousness is very much evident here, albeit in sometimes rather more upbeat terms. So we have The Chi-Lites and The Main Ingredient calling for brotherly love as the solution. Curtis Mayfield can be relied on to be more incisive in his observations.

And almost four decades before Barack Obama coined the campaign slogan,  Lee Dorsey pronounced, “Yes We Can”. Dorsey could have been Obama”s scriptwriter; read this verse in POTUS” oratory voice: “Make this land a better land than the world in which we live, and help each man be a better man with the kindness that we give.”

Dusty Springfield”s inclusion in a soul mix might raise some eyebrows. I”ve said so before, and I”ll do it again: when Dusty sang soul, she was a soul singer. And her version of Jerry Butler”s “Brand New Me” provides ample proof of that.

The links for the previous season of “70s soul songs, and those from the 1980s, are all up again.
1. The Chi-Lites – Love Uprising
2. Willie Henderson and the Soul Explosions – Can I Change My Mind
3. Marvin Gaye – Gonna Give Her All The Love I’ve Got
4. Jerry Butler – I Could Write A Book
5. The Main Ingredient – Brotherly Love
6. The Moments – Lovely Way She Loves
7. 100 Proof Aged In Soul – I’ve Come To Save You
8. Billy Paul – Ebony Woman
9. Nancy Wilson – Joe
10. Vivian Reed – Yours Until Tomorrow
11. Syl Johnson – Black Balloons
12. Willie Hutch – Trying To Understand A Woman
13. Gene Chandler – Simply Call It Love
14. Curtis Mayfield – The Other Side Of Town
15. Lee Dorsey – Yes We Can (Part I)
16. Eugene McDaniels – Welfare City
17. Freda Payne – Unhooked Generation
18. Ronnie Dyson – I Don’t Want To Cry
19. The Chairmen Of The Board – Since The Days Of Pigtails & Fairytales
20. Hearts Of Stone – It’s A Lonesome Road
21. Marie ‘Queenie’ Lyons – Your Thing Ain’t No Good Without My Thing
22. Dorothy Morrison – Rain
23. David Porter – One Part Two Parts
24. Clarence Carter – Getting The Bills (But No Merchandise)
25. Jean Knight – Pick Up The Pieces
26. Dusty Springfield – A Brand New Me
27. The Lovelites – My Conscience
28. Maxine Weldon – Grits Ain’t Groceries (All Around The World)

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(PW same as always; if you need it, look here)

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In Memoriam – September 2013

October 3rd, 2013 5 comments

im-sep13When we think of the great producers of Philly soul, the names Gamble, Huff and Bell will readily spring to mind. Not as famous but equally influential was the producer and arranger Bobby Martin, who also was an accomplished pianist, coming from a jazz background.

Martin arranged for many Philadelphia groups, such as The O”Jays (“Love Train”, “For The Love Of Money”), Billy Paul (“Me And Mrs Jones”), Archie Bell & The Drells (“There”s Gonna Be A Showdown”), Lou Rawls (“You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine “, “Groovy People”), The Manhattans (“There”s No Me Without You”), Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (“If You Don”t Know Me By Now”, The Love I Lost”), The Intruders (“I’ll Always Love My Mama “),The Three Degrees (“Dirty Old Man”, “When Will I See You Again”), Teddy Pendergrass (“I Don’t Love You Anymore”) and more. He also arranged Dusty Springfield”s wonderful version of Jerry Butler “Brand New Me”.

In the 1960s it was Martin who encouraged a young singer named Patti Holt to change her name to LaBelle. And it was Martin who did the arrangement for the great theme of Soul Train, which became the Three Degree”s worldwide megahit “T.S.O.P.”.

With the kind of pals he had, one might have expected English rock & soul singer Jackie Lomax to have had a great career. In the event he didn”t, though he did write, record and perform to the end. The landmark album of his career was 1969″s Is This What You Want?, which was released on Apple and featured three Beatles (though not Lennon) as well as Wrecking Crew greats Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel and Joe Osborn. He also had Eric Clapton and Nicky Hopkin performing for him.

Lomax wrote all songs but one on the LP; maybe I”m being unfair by featuring the one track written by somebody else: George Harrison”s “Sour Milk Sea”. Harrison had previously offered Lomax his composition “Something”, which he also tried to pass on to Joe Cocker before squeezing it on to Abbey Road. Lomax, incidentally, also contributed to the backing vocals of The Beatles” “Hey Jude” and “Dear Prudence”.

Fans of golden period Elton John will have been saddened to learn of the death of Roger Pope, Read more…

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