Archive for May, 2014

The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2

May 29th, 2014 8 comments

Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2

This is the second part of the Hal Blaine collection.

Blaine obviously was a polished and imaginative drummer. He appeared on countless songs we now regard as classics, from The Ronettes” “Be My Baby” to Sonny & Cher”s “I Got You, Babe” to The Mamas and the Papas” “California Dreaming” and The Byrds” “Mr Tambourine Man” to The Association”s “Never My Love” to The Supremes” “The Happening” to Dean Martin”s “Everybody Loves Somebody” and the two Sinatras” “Something Stupid” to the Carpenters” “Close To You” to Neil Diamond”s “Song Sung Blue” to Barbra Streisand”s “The Way We Were” and so on. He drummed for artists as diverse as Count Basie, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Steely Dan and, er, The Partridge Family.


Wrecking the Partridge Crew: (from left) Larry Knechtel, Tracy Partridge, Tommy Tedesco, Hal Blaine, Joe Osborne and Mike Melvoin.

Wrecking the Partridge Crew: (from left) Larry Knechtel, Tracy Partridge, Tommy Tedesco, Hal Blaine, Joe Osborne and Mike Melvoin.


Blaine was also an innovator in percussive sound effects. That big banging sound in Simon & Garfunkel”s “The Boxer”, after the “ley-la-ley”, is Blaine sitting at the bottom of an elevator shaft hitting a snare drum (a better story has it that it”s the sound of a refrigerator landing at the bottom the elevator shaft). To “Bridge Over Troubled Water” “” as much the opus of Wrecking Crew keyboard man Larry Knechtel as it is for Art Garfunkel “” Blaine contributed not only the beautifully judged drums but also the distant percussion sounds by slamming snow chains on to the cement floor of a microphone storage room (coming in at 3:05).

On Dean Martin”s “Houston”, featured on Volume 1, Blaine spontaneously used a glass ashtray, its content of old cigarette butts hurriedly emptied, for a drum to create the sound of a hammer hitting an anvil.

Herb Alpert”s “A Taste Of Honey” was saved by the drummer, at least in Blaine”s version. Apparently the recording just didn”t want to come right until Blaine”s bass drum beats after the slow intro signaled the introduction of the horns.

Incidentally, Wrecking Crew guitarist Tommy Tedesco’s son Denny has produced an excellent documentary on the session collective his father was part of. It was completed, but could not be released because there were not enough funds for the licensing of the music. A appeal was successful, so it can now be seen on very limited release. More money is needed for a DVD release; US citizens can make tax-deductable contributions. Read more about the film and upcoming screenings, and how to make a donation or buy merchandise HERE.


cover gallery

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-skinned covers.

1. Meat Loaf – Whatever Happened To Saturday Night (1974)
2. Mama Cass – It’s Getting Better (1969)
3. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – A Taste Of Honey (1965)
4. Jackie Lomax – Baby You’re A Lover (1969)
5. Harpers Bizarre – Come To The Sunshine (1967)
6. Tommy Roe – Dizzy (1969)
7. The Crystals – He’s Sure The Boy I Love (1962)
8. Sam Cooke – Another Saturday Night (1963)
9. Connie Francis – Where The Boys Are (1960)
10. Lorne Greene – Ringo (1964)
11. Mason Williams – Baroque-A-Nova (1968)
12. The Monkees – A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You (1967)
13. Paul Revere & the Raiders – Hungry (1965)
14. Love – Andmoreagain (1968)
15. Neil Diamond – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (1970)
16. America – Don’t Cross The River (1975)
17. Harry Nilsson – Foolish Clock (1977)
18. Steely Dan – Any World (That I’m Welcome To) (1975)
19. Tanya Tucker – Lizzie & The Rainman (1975)
20. Rosanne Cash – Baby, Better Start Turnin’ Em Down (1979)
21. Leonard Cohen & Ronee Blakley – True Love Leaves No Traces (1977)
22. Albert Hammond – Down By The River (1975)
23. Captain & Tenille – Honey Come Love Me (1975)
24. Ray Charles – A Girl I Used To Know (1966)
25. Gerry Mulligan – The Lonely Night (1965)



Previous Session Musicians:
The Roy Bittan Collection
The Larry Carlton Collection
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 1
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 3
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Graham Collection
The Louis Johnson Collection
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Keys Collection
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 1
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 2
The Joe Osborne Collection
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 2
The Ringo Starr Collection

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Any Major Paris

May 22nd, 2014 16 comments

Any Major Paris

Today I shall travel to Paris for a few days, so it seems right to make a mix of songs about the city. To give myself a bit of a challenge, I used only English-language songs, though a couple are recordings of French originals, such as those by Dassin and Legrand (Tony Joe White’s Paris Mood Tonight is a Dassin song as well).

Sensitive listeners are advised to skip Country Joe McDonald’s Quiet Days In Clichy due to sexual content and language.

So I shall leave you, Gitane in my mouth (unlit; I quit a few years ago) till next week. As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes covers. PW is the same as usual.

1. The Waterboys – Going To Paris (1982)
2. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – Give Paris One More Chance (1983)
3. Tony Joe White – Paris Mood Tonight (1995)
4. Corinne Bailey Rae – Paris Nights, New York Mornings (2010)
5. The Style Council – The Paris Match (1984)
6. Julie London – Lonely Night In Paris (1960)
7. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Love Paris (1958)
8. Michel Legrand – Paris Was Made For Lovers (1969)
9. Trini Lopez – Made In Paris (1966)
10. Sandie Shaw – Monsieur Dupont (1969)
11. Lee Hazlewood & Suzi Jane Hokum – Girls In Paris (1967)
12. Joe Dassin – Champs Elysées (1969)
13. Joni Mitchell – Free Man In Paris (1974)
14. Al Stewart – The Palace Of Versailles (1978)
15. Gary Moore & Phil Lynott – Parisienne Walkways (1979)
16. Little River Band – Seine City (1979)
17. The Pogues – Paris St. Germain (1992)
18. The Housemartins – Paris In Flares (1987)
19. Elliott Smith – Place Pigalle (c.1998)
20. Country Joe McDonald – Quiet Days In Clichy (1970)
21. The Moody Blues – Boulevard De La Madelaine (1969)
22. Buffy Sainte-Marie – Guess Who I Saw In Paris (1970)
23. Marianne Faithfull – Paris Bells (1965)
24. Abba – Our Last Summer (1980)


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More Mix-CD-Rs

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Song Swarm – Sunny

May 15th, 2014 2 comments


Bobby Hebb, the writer of “Sunny”, had a quite remarkable early life, which after 72 years came to an end in 2010. Born to blind parents, both musicians, Nashville-born Robert Von Hebb progressed from being a child musician to becoming one of the earlier black musicians to play at the Grand Ole Opry, as part of Ray Acuff”s band. In the early 1960s Hebb even had a minor hit with a country standard recorded by Acuff, “Night Train To Memphis”. When “Sunny” became a hit in 1966, Hebb was touring with The Beatles “” he was among the support acts at their last ever concert, in San Francisco”s Candlestick Park.

The genesis for “Sunny” was in a dual tragedy: the assassination of John F Kennedy and the following day the fatal stabbing in a mugging of Hebb”s older brother Harold, with whom he had performed in childhood. The song was a conscious statement of meeting the trauma of these events with a defiantly positive disposition. In 2007, he told the Associated Press about writing Sunny: “I was intoxicated. I came home and started playing the guitar. I looked up and saw what looked like a purple sky. I started writing because I”d never seen that before.”


Still, it would be almost three years before Hebb would release the song himself “” and een then he wasn”t the first. In a quite curious twist, it was first recorded in Japanese by the singer Mieko “Miko” Hirota, who had made her debut in her home country in 1962 with a cover of Connie Francis” “Vacation”. Within three years, the by now 18-year-old singer became the first Japanese artist to appear at the Newport Jazz Festival (the line-up of which included Frank Sinatra), having just recently discovered her talent for the genre thanks to a chance meeting with American jazz promoter George Wein. The same year, in October 1965, she was the first of many to release “Sunny”, scoring a hit with it in Japan with her rather lovely jazzy version.

By the time Hebb got around to releasing it, apparently having recorded it as an after-thought at the end of a session. Hebb”s rightly became the definitive and most successful version. Apparently it is the 18th most performed song in the BMI catalog.

There”d be no Song Swarm of 65 songs of “Sunny” was not so adaptable. Of those, 45 were recorded within the first two years of its release. The genres cover pop (from Georgie Fame over Cher to Manfred Mann), soul (Marvin Gaye, Billy Preston “” especially super “” Stevie Wonder, Wilson Picket etc), country (Eddy Arnold, Floyd Cramer), jazz (Les McCann, Wes Montgomery, Young-Holt Trio), easy listening (Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Andy Williams), Latin (Willie Bobo, Trini Lopez, Johnny Colón) “” and a few actors got into it as well: Robert Mitchum plays it straight, Leonard Nimoy tries to play it straight, and Bill Cosby plays it”¦well, that whole LP is bizarre, though his “Sunny” is among the least peculiar on it.


1966: Mieko Hirota “¢ Bobby Hebb “¢ Les McCann (Part 1) “¢ Georgie Fame “¢ Young-Holt Trio “¢ Cher “¢ Chris Montez “¢ Willie Bobo “¢ Wes Montgomery (alternate take) “¢ Del Shannon “¢ The Walker Brothers “¢ Marvin Gaye “¢ Chuck Jackson “¢ Billy Preston “¢ 1967: Andy Williams “¢ Booker T. & The MG’s “¢ Dusty Springfield “¢ The Ventures “¢ Herbie Mann & Tamiko Jones “¢ Johnny Rivers “¢ Blossom Dearie “¢ Robert Mitchum “¢ Wilson Pickett “¢ Frank Sinatra & Duke Ellington “¢ 1968: The Four Tops “¢ Manfred Mann “¢ Bill Cosby “¢ Eddy Arnold “¢ Floyd Cramer “¢ Mary Wells “¢ Leonard Nimoy “¢ Stevie Wonder  “¢ Frankie Valli “¢ José Feliciano “¢ Maxine Brown “¢ Shirley Bassey “¢ Nancy Wilson “¢ Brother Jack & David Newman “¢ George Benson “¢ Trini Lopez “¢ Johnny Colón and his Orchestra “¢ Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers “¢ 1969: James Brown & Marva Whitney “¢ Electric Flag “¢ Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Bra “¢ 1970: Ella Fitzgerald “¢ Tom Jones & Ella Fitzgerald “¢ Melba Moore “¢ “¢ “¢ Pat Martino (1972) “¢ Yambú (1975) “¢ Bobby Hebb ’76 (1976) “¢ Boney M (1976) “¢ Hampton Hawes (1978) “¢ Stanley Jordan (1986) “¢ Joe McBride (1992) “¢ Nick Cave (1995) “¢ The Head Shop (1996) “¢ Jamiroquai (2000) “¢ John Schroeder Orchestra (2000) “¢ Paul Carrack (2003) “¢ Noon (2005) “¢ Elisabeth Kontomanou (2005) “¢  PillowTalk (2012) “¢ Hippie Sabotage (2013)

Song Swarm – Sunny – Part 1
Song Swarm – Sunny – Part 2
(PW here)


Previous Song Swarms:
These Boots Are Made For Walking
Sunday Mornin” Comin” Down
Like A Rolling Stone
Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Over The Rainbow
Georgia On My Mind
Blue Moon
Light My Fire

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Any Major Summer Vol. 2

May 8th, 2014 5 comments

Any Major Summer Vol. 2

In January I posted the first summer mix to chase the northern hemisphere winter blues away. Here is the second summer compilation to prepare the northerners for summer, and for us southerners to say goodbye to the heat. Of course there will be at least one more mix, in the summertime.

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

1. The Temptations – It’s Summer (1972)
2. The Blackbyrds – Hot Day Today (1974)
3. Love – Bummer In The Summer (1967)
4. Bruce Springsteen – 4th Of July Ashbury Park (live) (1986)
5. Bob Seger – Night Moves (1976)
6. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – That Summer Feeling (1983)
7. The Stranglers – Peaches (1977)
8. Jimi Hendrix Experience – Long Hot Summer Night (1968)
9. The Isley Brothers – Summer Breeze (1973)
10. The 5th Dimension – On The Beach (In The Summertime) (1970)
11. The Beach Boys – All Summer Long (1964)
12. Eddie Cochran – Summertime Blues (1958)
13. Jerry Keller – Here Comes Summer (1959)
14. Brian Hyland – Sealed With A Kiss (1962)
15. The Tempos – See You In September (1959)
16. Betty Everett – June Night (1964)
17. Sam Cooke – Summertime (1959)
18. Carolyn Franklin – Sunshine Holiday (1976)
19. The Dramatics – Hot Pants In The Summertime (1972)
20. Don Henley – The Boys Of Summer (1984)
21. Jay Ferguson – Thunder Island (1977)
22. Chris Rea – On The Beach (1986)


More Mix CD-Rs


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In Memoriam – April 2014

May 1st, 2014 7 comments

In Memoriam - April 2014Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith nearly received no credit for his most successful composition. Owing to its inclusion in the film Deliverance, “Dueling Banjos” became a pop hit, spending four weeks at #2 on the Billboard charts. But Smith had to sue for the credit that initially was denied him, because “Dueling Banjos” was in fact his 1955 song “Feudin” Banjos”. He had recorded that with Don Reno, who features also on the track included in tribute to bluegrass guitarist George Shuffler, who has died at 88. Smith was hardly an obscurity: as a country guitar player he influenced acts like The Ventures and Glen Campbell. His songs were recorded by acts like Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Boots Randolph and Tom Petty. And at his funeral on April 12, The Avett Brothers were among those performing,

Berry Gordy called Gil Askey “the glue that held Motown together”. Askey, a jazz trumpeter by trade, served as a musical director and arranger for Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight etc, and also worked with Curtis Mayfield and The Staple Singers. He was part of Motown”s grooming department, and was the conductor when The Supremes played at New York”s Copacabana club, which yielded a live album. He received an Oscar nomination for writing the score of the 1973 Diana Ross film The Lady Sings The Blues. In 1980 he married an Australian woman and moved down under.

With the death on Wednesday of Paul Goddard, we have buried three members of the Atlanta Rhythm Section since March 2011. First singer Ronnie Hammond (member from 1972-82; 1988-2001) went , then in May 2012 we lost drummer Robert  Nix (1971-79), and now bass player Goddard, who was with the band from  1971-83 and rejoined in 2011.

I fear my curse has struck again: On Saturday I played Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock”s 1988 hip hop classic “It Takes Two” (I had a retro rap day); the following day DJ EZ Rock died. Read more…

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