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Archive for December, 2014

Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2

December 18th, 2014 14 comments

Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2

I posted much of this mix six years ago, and several people have asked me to re-post the 2008 compilation. This isn”t the exact same mix, but what I hope is an improved version. Some tracks on the old mix have been used on others since, and a few songs included now are much better than those they replace.

The Beatles song comes from a 1968 recording for their fan club. It”s not quite in the class of, say, Strawberry Fields, but it is The Beatles, singing an original Christmas song most people have not heard.

Six years ago I suggested that Rosie Thomas” Why Can”t It Be Christmas All Year, then newly released, should become a Christmas pop standard. That hasn”t happened, though it still should. In fact, she has released only one album since her lovely A Very Rosie Christmas, partly owing to illness. Spresad the word about the song; it really is great.

Neil Diamond”s Christmas song is a bit unusual: it riffs on titles from his songs, from Cherry Cherry to the wonderful Amazing Grace in 2005.

This is the 17th Christmas mix I”ve posted. Here are the previous 16 in one pic. Find them all HERE or look at the end of the post for the individual links.

Xmas gallery

As always, CD-R length, home-wrapped covers, PW the same as every time.

Here”s wishing you a merry Christmas; see you in the New Year. I will be out of here until January 8.

1. Twisted Sister – Deck The Halls (2006)
2. Smashing Pumpkins – Christmastime (1997)
3. Manic Street Preachers – Last Christmas (live) (2003)
4. Rosie Thomas – Why Can”t It Be Christmas All Year? (2008)
5. The Temptations – This Christmas (1980)
6. The Jackson Five – Give Love On Christmas Day (1968)
7. Take 6 – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1999)
8. Carpenters – Merry Christmas Darling (1970)
9. She & Him – I”ll Be Home For Christmas (2011)
10. Ron Sexsmith – Maybe This Christmas (2002)
11. The Weepies – All That I Want (2003)
12. Neil Diamond – Cherry Cherry Christmas (2009)
13. Chris Isaak – Christmas On TV (2004)
14. El Vez – Santa Claus Is Sometimes Brown (2000)
15. Bruce Springsteen – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (1985)
16. Dana – It”s Gonna Be A Cold Christmas (1975)
17. B.B. Jeans & the Bobby Sox – Here Comes Santa Claus (1963)
18. Koko Taylor – Merry, Merry Christmas (1992)
19. Nicole Atkins – Blue Christmas (2008)
20. Chris Rea – I”m Driving Home (1985)
21. They Might Be Giants – Santa”s Beard (1988)
22. Weezer – Christmas Celebration (2000)
23. Sufjan Stevens – Come On! Let”s Boogey To The Elf Dance! (2003)
24. The Beatles – Christmas Time (Is Here Again) (1968)

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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
Song Swarm: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

Categories: X-Mas Tags:

In Memoriam – December 2014 – Part 1

December 15th, 2014 4 comments

In Memoriam - December 2014I will be unable to post a complete In Memoriam for December until late in January. But the Grim Reaper has wreaked havoc in the first half of this month (five listed deaths on December 3 alone!), so the first half of the month will be covered now; the second half, hopefully less lethal, will go with the January round-up.

As December began, the Rolling Stones received a double shock with the deaths first of long-time saxophonist Bobby Keys, and next day of ex-Small Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan, who also recorded with them. McLagan played on the 1978 hit Miss You, but the saxophone is played not by Keys but by Mel Collins.

With Ian McLagan”s death, only one of the Small Faces is still alive; drummer Kenney Jones is the last man standing. McLagan was active in the music industry till the end, most lately playing on Lucinda Williams” new album. In the interim he appeared on albums by old Faces pals like Rod Stewart (starting with Gasoline Alley) and Ronnie Wood, as well as on albums by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt and John Mayer.

Adding to the overlap, Bobby Keys also played for McLagan”s Faces, and on McLagan’s 1979 Troublemaker and 1981 Bump Into The Night albums. Bobby Keys” story is covered by last Monday”s post with a collection of songs he played on.

Quick: how many of the big soul groups of the 1960s or “70s can you think of who can still come together in their classic line-up? With the death of Sonny Bivins of The Manhattans on December 3 and Winfred “Blue” Lovett a week later Read more…

Categories: In Memoriam Tags:

Any Major Christmas Carols

December 11th, 2014 14 comments

Any Major Christmas Carols

This year a new Christmas mix: pop artists (using the term broadly) doing traditional  Christmas carols. There”s not much by way of irony going on here, though the levels of sincere religious sentiment obviously vary. I suppose the Staple Singers, who were primarily a gospel act, are more sincere than the Crash Test Dummies, whose vocals might startle grandmother a little.

Many of the artists, of course, give the carols some interpretation that relate to their genre. I have avoided the insufferable wispy songbirds who breathe through their sensitive versions of Silent Night. What songbirds are featured here do not breathe their carols, and Silent Night is covered by The Temptations, who are not wispy at all. As far as interpretative chops go, I particularly love The Gaylads” delightful soul version of We Three Kings from 1970.

One might be pedantic and question whether Go Tell It On The Mountain is really a Christmas carol, in the traditional sense of the word. It is really a spiritual, but I see no reason why these should not also form part of the canon of carols. So should Mary”s Boy Child, written in the 1950s, What Child Is This, from 1962, and arguably even When A Child Is Born, from the 1970s. If it refers to the religious element of the feast of the Nativity, then it”s a Christmas carol. If it doesn”t, then it isn”t. But where would that rule leave the traditional English carol from 1850, Here We Come A-Wassailing, which makes no reference to the birth of Christ?

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-baked covers. Password in comments. Feel free to add to the comments! Next Thursday: a Christmas pop mix.

1. The Bird And The Bee – Carol Of The Bells (2007)
2. Musiq Soulchild – Deck The Halls (2008)
3. Earth, Wind & Fire – Away In A Manger (2014)
4. Luther Vandross – O Come All Ye Faithful (1995)
5. Aaron Neville – O Little Town of Bethlehem (1993)
6. Harry Belafonte – The Son Of Mary (What Child Is This) (1958)
7. Ella Fitzgerald – The First Noel (1967)
8. Nat King Cole – O Holy Night (1963)
9. Bobby Darin – While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (1960)
10. Johnny Cash – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (1980)
11. Jewel – Hark, The Herald Angels Sing (1999)
12. Etta James – Joy To The World (1998)
13. Mel Torm̩ РGood King Wenceslas (1992)
14. Crash Test Dummies – God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen (2002)
15. Don Grusin – Angels We Have Heard On High (2005)
16. Nils Landgren – Ding Dong Merrily On High (2012)
17. Vanessa Williams – The Holly And The Ivy (2004)
18. Kate Rusby – Here We Come A-Wassailing (2008)
19. Sufjan Stevens – Lo How A Rose E”er Blooming (2002)
20. Robin Gibb – Once In Royal David”s City (2007)
21. The Gaylads – We Three Kings (1970)
22. The Staple Singers – Go Tell It On The Mountain (1962)
23. The Temptations – Silent Night (1980)

GET IT!

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:

The Bobby Keys Collection

December 8th, 2014 8 comments

Bobby Keys Collection

Saxophonist Bobby Keys, who died on 2 December just a couple of weeks short of his 71st birthday, may be best remembered for his contributions with the Rolling Stones, but he also appeared on hundreds of records by others, including some of the biggest names in rock.

His death came a day before that of Ian McLagan, the keyboard player of the Small Faces, with whom Keys collaborated on Faces records, on McLagan solo LPS, and on occasion with both serving on session duty on records by others.

Keys also crossed paths in the studio with the two Wrecking Crew drummers featured in this series, Hal Blaine and Jim Gordon, especially the latter.

Bobby Keys was born on 18 December 1943 in Slaton, Texas, and began his music career as a teenager, hanging out with neighbour Buddy Holly and touring with the likes of Bobby Vee and Little Eva. He claimed to have played the saxophone solo on Elvis” Return To Sender, but that story is unlikely. Certainly, RCA has no record of his participation (with that in mind this mix includes only songs that specifically credit Keys).

bobby keys gallery

In the 1960s he worked in the Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama, where some of the greatest soul was produced. It”s also where the Rolling Stones recorded their Sticky Fingers album in 1970, which features Keys on Brown Sugar (recorded in one take), Bitch, Can’t You Hear Me Knocking, and I Got The Blues. The year before he made his debut for the Stones on Live With Me, from Let It Bleed.

He had first met the band in 1964, but it was an encounter with Mick Jagger at a Delaney and Bonnie session in the late 1960s that initiated the long relationship with the band, with whom he”d be touring till the end of his life.

He got on well with the Stones personally; Keef and he were born on the same day and had a close bond, which included meeting rock & roll clichés like throwing TV”s out of hotel windows. This month Richards called Keys “greatest pal in the world”¦ We were thick as thieves.” Read his appreciation HERE.

Jagger and Keys also had a close personal friendship. But in the mid-“˜70s Keys was fired from the Stones backing band for missing gigs after Richards found him with a bathtub filled with Dom Perignon champagne, a French lady of uncertain virtue and a stash of hash. Still, he maintained a loose relationship with the Stones over the years until he rejoined their roster of backing players in 1982. He toured with them on every tour  until this year.

Keys was also close to the ex-Beatles, especially with John Lennon, in whose famous “lost weekend” Keys played his partying part, having previously played with the Plastic Ono Band on tracks like Power To The People. He also played for Ringo Starr (on whose Ring O” label he released the funky Gimmie The Key) and George Harrison.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes covers. PW in comments (you are invited to leave a comment there).

1. Bobby Keys – Gimmie The Key (1975)
2. Martha Reeves – Storm In My Soul (1974)
3. The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar (1971)
4. Warren Zevon – Poor, Poor Pitiful Me (1976)
5. Ringo Starr – Photograph (1973)
6. Barbra Streisand – Space Captain (1971)
7. Carly Simon – Night Owl (1972)
8. Graham Nash – There’s Only One (1971)
9. Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Kiss And Say Goodbye (1975)
10. Delaney & Bonnie – When The Battle Is Over (1969)
11. Faces – Had Me A Real Good Time (1970)
12. Humble Pie – Big George (1971)
13. John Lennon – Whatever Gets You Thru The Night (1975)
14. Harry Nilsson – Down (1971)
15. Ron Wood & Ronnie Lane – Tonight’s Number (1976)
16. Keith Moon – Back Door Sally (1975)
17. Third World War – Working Class Man (1971)
18. B.B.King – Caldonia (1971)
19. Eric Clapton – Lonesome And A Long Way From Home (1971)
20. Audience – Seven Sore Bruises (1972)
21. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (1970)

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Previous session musicians’ collection (all drummers, so far):
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 2
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 1
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 2
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2

Categories: Mix CD-Rs, Session Players Tags:

In Memoriam – November 2014

December 4th, 2014 8 comments

Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn”¦ Big Bank Hank has died (say what?). The first member of the Sugarhill Gang, whose Rapper”s Delight was the first ever rap hit, to go. Big Bank Hank, or Henry Lee Jackson, had studied oceanography and sought a career in that field. When that didn”t pan out, he became a bouncer, a pizzeria manager and a rap act manager. It was in the latter function that he was discovered by singer and producer Sylvia Robinson (of Pillow Talk fame), who was trying to get a hip hop thing going. Not being an MC himself, Hank got some rhymes from his friend and client Grandmaster Caz, who said he received neither credit nor royalties, and not even a thank you for his troubles. So it was really Caz (as in CASA-NOVA) who “got more clothes than Muhammad Ali” and dressed “so viciously”.

In Memoriam - Nov14This Christmas you may well hear the classic 1973 hit “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” by Roy Woods” Wizzard. When you do, remember the saxophonist on the song, Mike Burney, who has died at 70. Burney was not only a member of Wizzard but also a session musician, playing on stage or in the studio for the likes of Chaka Khan, The Beach Boys, Sammy Davis Jr., Petula Clark, Steve Winwood, Cliff Richard, Dionne Warwick and Matt Monro.

Jimmy Ruffin“s mercurial younger brother David might have had grabbed all the headlines, but Jimmy was a great soul singer in his own right. His great hit, What Becomes Of The Broken-Hearted, is a highlight among all those outstanding songs produced by Motown in 1966, in no small measure due to Ruffin”s vocals. Jimmy almost joined The Temptations before they hit the big time, but when Motown”s bosses heard the younger brother, David got the gig instead. It must have been vexing when Jimmy”s Beauty Is Only Skin Deep was covered by The Temptations, Read more…

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