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Archive for August, 2015

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 5

August 27th, 2015 6 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 5

Still not feeling guilty and the music is still great. Several artists here have featured before in this series; some more than once, such as Boz Scaggs, Bill LaBounty, Player, Michael McDonald, Rupert Holmes or England Dan & John Ford Coley. A fair few appear for the first time, and some of those are not very well known.

Rick Mathews is the most obscure of the lot. All I have on the guy is that he released two albums, 1981″s California Cologne and in 1991 Only The Young. California Cologne is a very good AOR album which seems to have made a bit of an impression in Japan. And that”s all I know. Does anybody know more?

The AOR genre was very male-orientated, and these mixes reflect that. Here we have three female voices: those of Stevie Nicks, Valerie Carter and Cathy Cooper. The latter teamed up with Jimmie Ross as Cooper & Ross, both members of a later version of doo wop group The Skyliners. As Cooper & Ross they released a sole LP in 1982, titled Bottom Line. Ross had been a member the Jaggerz, who had a hit in 1969 with The Rapper (he shared vocals with Donnie Iris, who will possibly feature on Volume 6). He has the reputation of being a fine blue-eyed soul singer, but is also a member of the Beaver County Musicians Hall of Fame. He still performs with the reunited Jaggerz. Cathy seems to be the same Kathy Cooper who co-wrote, with Rupert Holmes, the wonderful Echo Valley 2-6809 for The Partridge Family, which featured on Any Major Telephone Vol. 1.

Silver also released only one LP, a country-rock effort in 1976, produced by Clive Davis with the cover designed by the late comedian Phil Hartman. Their label, Arista, didn”t fancy any of the album”s tracks for single releases and instead gave them a song called Wham Bam to record. Given that these guys were serious musicians, they must have felt a bit silly singing “We”ve got a wham bam, shang-a-lang and a sha-la-la-la-la-la thing”. Still, they turned out a very catchy song with which they had their solitary hit, reaching #16 in the US.

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

1. Ace – The Real Feeling (1975)
2. Boz Scaggs – Still Falling For You (1977)
3. Bill LaBounty – Trail To Your Heart (Sailing Without A Sail) (1979)
4. Chris Christian – Don’t Give Up On Us (1981)
5. Ambrosia – You’re The Only Woman (1980)
6. Valerie Carter – Crazy (1978)
7. Rupert Holmes – One Born Every Minute (1981)
8. The Beach Boys – Sail On, Sailor (1973)
9. Cooper & Ross – You’re The One (1982)
10. Greg Guidry – Are You Ready For Love (1982)
11. Bill Champlin – I Don’t Want You Anymore (1978)
12. Robbie Dupree – Hot Rod Hearts (1980)
13. Silver – Wham Bam (1976)
14. Rick Mathews – Movin’ On Up (1981)
15. Player – It’s For You (1980)
16. Paul Davis – I Go Crazy (1977)
17. England Dan & John Ford Coley – Love Is The Answer (1978)
18. Michael McDonald – That’s Why (1982)
19. Dan Fogelberg – Hard To Say Lyrics (1981)
20. Stevie Nicks & Don Henley – Leather And Lace (1981)
21. Firefall – You Are The Woman (1976)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 4

Any Major B-Side

August 20th, 2015 17 comments

Any Major B-Sides

This mix of great b-sides to (mostly) hit singles will be a one-off from my side. If you nominate enough b-sides in the comments section or on Facebook, I might do a reader”s compilation.

As usual, I set myself a few rules in selecting tracks. The b-side must not have become a hit after being flipped, as many classic songs have been. So, for example, Gloria Gaynor”s I Will Survive, originally the b-side to Substitute, doesn”t qualify. I also discounted double a-sides, such as Elvis” Don”t Be Cruel which in some countries was an actual b-side (and here one might pick an argument whether I ought to have disqualified The Jams” The Butterfly Collector). B-sides that are famous in their own right, such as The Beatles” Rain or Beth by Kiss, or are famous album tracks were also excluded.

One track here actually was initially an a-side: The Beach Boys” Don’t Worry Baby was released in 1964 as the lead, backed with I Get Around. The radio DJs quite rightly flipped the single; as a consequence I Get Around was the a-side in countries outside the US.

Some singles had different b-sides in different countries. My German copy of Blondie“s X-Offender was backed with Man Overboard, but in most countries the flip side was the excellent In The Sun. The single version was a shorter mix of the song that appeared on the debut album. The sublime X-Offender, which was a commercial flop, later appeared as a b-side itself, on the Rip Her To Shreds single.

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Fleetwood Mac“s Silver Springs is perhaps the finest non-hit, non-on-classic-album-featuring b-sides ever. Written by Stevie Nicks for the Rumours album, it was dumped for length, much to Nicks” frustration, and instrsad used as a b-side to Go Your Own Way. On that great album, it would have been a highlight (maybe instead of Oh Daddy or Gold Dust Woman); latter CD releases include it as a bonus track.

Color Him Father “” which featured on Any Major Fathers and Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 1 “” was the Grammy-winning 1969 hit for The Winstons, but it was the b-side that had the impact. The drum break of Amen Brother, an instrumental interpretation of Jester Hairson”s Amen song in the film Lilies of the Field, is said to be the most sampled piece of music ever. Played by Gregory Coleman, it”s 1:23 minutes into the song.

And that”s almost the length of Culture Club“s That”s The Way. A longer version appears on the Color By Numbers album; the version included here is the actual b-side of Karma Chameleon, which ends rather abruptly before Helen Terry”s vocals kick in. I admit that on my own version of this mix, I”m using the LP version.

Al Green“s Strong As Death has a tragic back story. Apparently he wrote the song for his girlfriend Mary Woodson and recorded it on the very day “” 18 October 1974 “” she threw a pot of boiling grits at the singer, causing the singer second-degree burns on his arms, stomach and back. She then ran to the bedroom and allegedly killed herself with Green”s gun (there are some who claim it wasn”t a suicide). It was this episode that made Green become the Singing Reverend. Other sources say Green recorded Sha La La (Make Me Happy), but that”s not as good a story as a lyric that goes: “We don”t have that much time, there’s no need in us crying. Hey baby, I”m in the mood for love.”

gallery2For a whole bunch of soul b-sides, the “B” Side blog is your treasure trove.

Now over to you: tell me which b-sides you think should go on Volume of 2! The comments section is yours!

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

1. Blondie – In The Sun (1976 – b-side of X-Offender)
2. The Jam – The Butterfly Collector (1979 – Strange Town)
3. Depeche Mode – But Not Tonight (Extended Remix) (1986 – Stripped)
4. Culture Club – That”s The Way (1983 – Karma Chameleon)
5. Fleetwood Mac – Silver Springs (1977 – Go Your Own Way)
6. Bruce Springsteen – Shut Out The Light (1984 – Born In The USA)
7. Harry Nilsson – Gotta Get Up (1972 – Without You)
8. Steely Dan – Any Major Dude Will Tell You (1974 – Rikki Don”t Lose That Number)
9. Badfinger – Carry On Till Tomorrow (1970 – No Matter What)
10. Nancy Sinatra – The City Never Sleeps At Night (1965 – These Boots Are Made…)
11. The Beach Boys – Don”t Worry Baby (1964 – I Get Around)
12. The Walker Brothers – But I Do (1965 – Make It Easy On Yourself)
13. The Rolling Stones – Long Long While (1966 – Paint It, Black)
14. The Troggs – I Want You (1966 – With A Girl Like You)
15. The Winstons – Amen Brother (1969 – Color Him Father)
16. Otis Redding – The Happy Song (Dum Dum) (1966 – Open The Door)
17. Al Green – Strong As Death (Sweet As Love) (1975 – Oh Me Oh My)
18. Hot Chocolate – You”re A Natural High (1974 – Disco Queen)
19. KC & the Sunshine Band – I Betcha Didn”t Know That (1979 – Don”t Go)
20. Wham! – Blue (1983 – Club Tropicana)
21. David Bowie – Velvet Goldmine (1972 – on 1975 reissue of Space Oddity)
22. New Order – 1963 (1987 – True Faith)
23. The Smiths – Jeane (1983 – This Charming Man)
24. The Pogues – Wild Rover (1985 – Sally MacLennane)

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More Mix-CD-Rs

 

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Covered With Soul Vol. 21

August 13th, 2015 3 comments

Covered With Soul Vol. 21

Are soul tracks covered by other soul artists much different from the original? On this mix, they are.

This series has shown that soul, more than any other genre, offers the flexibility to interpret a song. Take The Dells” version of Otis Redding”s Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay; more known for their balladeering The Dells give it a funk twist, with an interlude that sounds inspired by The Beatles or Beach Boys. It”s the dock of the bay, but not as Otis knew it.

Baby Huey reinvents Sam Cooke”s A Change Is Gonna Come, investing the sort of drama which Isaac Hayes lent his interpretations of Bacharach/David songs. It”s glorious.

And check out New Birth turning Rufus Thomas” novelty hit Do The Funky Chicken into a jam.

As always, this mix will fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-covered covers.

1. Mary Wells – Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie (1968)
2. Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band – Hold On I”m Coming (1966)
3. Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Band – Get Ready (1968)
4. Lyn Collins – Mr. Big Stuff (1973)
5. The Dells – Dock Of The Bay (1969)
6. Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – Let”s Stay Together (1972)
7. Bunny Sigler – Love Train (1975)
8. Penny Goodwin – Trade Winds (1973)
9. Major Harris – Sideshow (1974)
10. Brother To Brother – I Wish It Would Rain (1974)
11. Zulema – If This World Were Mine (1972)
12. Eddie Floyd – Warm And Tender Love (1967)
13. Baby Huey – A Change Is Going To Come (1971)
14. The Chi-Lites – Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) (1972)
15. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) (1973)
16. Smoked Sugar – I”ve Found Someone Of My Own (1975)
17. The New Birth – Do The Funky Chicken (1970)

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(PW in comments)

More Covered With Soul

 

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Help! Recovered

August 6th, 2015 9 comments

Help Recovered front

Today, exactly 50 years ago, The Beatles released their Help! album in Britain . In the US, a different version was issued a week later. It was a great time for music. A month earlier the Beach Boys released their Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) album; Bob Dylan issued his Highway 61 Revisited on August 30, and two weeks later Otis Redding”s Otis Blue came out.

A few years ago I conducted an experiment to discover which Beatles album was the best, song-by-song. That is obviously different to an album”s conceptual, cultural or historical value. By that token, I might instinctively go for Abbey Road, or Sgt Pepper”s, or Revolver, or Rubber Soul. But here I rated each song on an album out of ten and arrived at an average.

Help! won, just ahead of A Hard Day”s Night, followed by Abbey Road. Song for song, Help! is a most satisfying and likeable album. Even the least great songs (You Like Me Too Much, Tell Me What You See, Another Girl) are pretty good. Only Dizzy Miss Lizzy is a regrettable throwback to the first two albums. (Bottom of the table was With The Beatles).

Cover versions of most songs on Help! are relatively scarce. So I”m rather pleased with this lot. Tim Rose”s version of You”ve Got To Hide Your Love Away especially is quite wonderful, with its organ backing by Gary Wright and the insistent guitar and by rolling drumming by Wright”s fellow Spooky Tooth members Mick Jones and Bryson Graham.

Vanilla Fudge go all Summer-of-Love psychedelic on their version of Ticket To Ride, while The Sunshine Company, also in 1967, slow down Harrison”s jaunty I Need You (The Beatles” original, incidentally, was released as a single in Italy).

You”re Going To Lose That Girl is represented in a French version by an act of which I”ve found out little. Their name, Les Mersey”s, does little to hide their influence. The Quebec foursome issued their first LP in 1964 and their last, of course, in 1970. It seems they frequently covered The Beatles, but they were no cover band.

Help Recovered back

And before the year is out, there”ll be a Recovered version of Rubber Soul to mark that album”s 50th anniversary. But for today, here”s Help! Recovered, with home-made covers, made the night before. PW in comments.

1. José Feliciano – Help (1966)
2. Herbie Mann – The Night Before (1966)
3. Tim Rose – You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (1972)
4. The Sunshine Company – I Need You (1967)
5. George Martin Orchestra – Another Girl (1965)
6. Les Mersey’s – Je lai perdue cette fille (You’re Going To Lose That Girl) (1966)
7. Vanilla Fudge – Ticket To Ride (1967)
8. Leon Russell – Act Naturally (1971)
9. Bryan Ferry – It’s Only Love (1976)
10. Hugo & Osvaldo Fattoruso – Me gustas demasiado (You Like Me Too Much) (1969)
11. Teenage Fanclub – Tell Me What You See (2001)
12. Johnny Rivers and his L. A. Boogie Band – I’ve Just Seen A Face (1973)
13. The Dillards – Yesterday (1970)
14. Flying Lizards – Dizzy Miss Lizzie (1984)

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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
Beatles Revcovered: Let It Be

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
Any Bizarre Beatles

Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)
Beatles Reunited: ’77 (1977)
Beatles Reunited: Let It See (1980)

 

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In Memoriam – July 2015

August 3rd, 2015 7 comments

gallery_1The man who probably played guitar on Marvin Gaye”s Let”s Get It On has passed away (he was long uncredited, until a CD release listed him and a few others as guitarists). Arthur G. Wright died some time in early July at the age of 78. He played on lots of Motown and soul tracks (including the Foxy Brown soundtrack), as well as for jazz artists like Jimmy Witherspoon or David Axelrod and vocalists like Lee Hazlewood or Jackie DeShannon. As an arranger, he hit it big with Thelma Houston”s version of Don”t Leave Me This Way and Diana Ross” Lovin”, Livin” & Givin”. He also arranged, wrote or produced for the likes of the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, Billy Preston, Syreeta, P.J. Proby, Righteous Brothers, Bettye Swann, Clydie King, Little Richard, Jerry Butler, The Fifth Dimension, Mary Wilson, Stephanie Mills, Jermaine Jackson, The Supremes and even David Bowie (on Hunky Dory“s Fill Your Heart). Very briefly, he also sang, as leader of the Wright Brothers Flying Machine, on their self-titled album, issued in 1979. Their song Leatherman”s Theme appeared on the Thank God It”s Friday soundtrack, on which Wright also produced Sunshine”s Take It To The Zoo.

One of the most prolific songwriters of middle-of-the-road “˜80s soul left us. Michael Masser co-wrote hits for Diana Ross such as Diana Ross” Do You Know Where You”re Going To, It”s My Turn, I Thought It Took A Little Time and Touch Me In The Morning. Whitney Houston had success with Masser compositions Saving All My Love for You (originally for Marilyn McCoo), All At Once, Hold Me, The Greatest Love of All (originally for George Benson), Didn”t We Almost Have It All, You”re Still My Man and After We Make Love. For George Benson he wrote In Your Eyes, You Are The Love Of My Life and Nothing”s Gonna Change My Love For You (which was a mega-hit for Glen Medeiros). Other hits included Tonight I Celebrate My Love for Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson and Miss You Like Crazy for Natalie Cole.

In April we lost the songwriter Sid Tepper, who wrote so prolifically for Elvis Presley in the 1960s. In July, his songwriting partner Roy C. Bennett died at the age of 96. Together they wrote more than 300 songs in a partnership that spanned the years 1945 to 1970. Their 1948 breakthrough hit, Red Roses For A Blue Lady, a hit for Vaughn Monroe, was included as a tribute to Tepper in April. In the 1950s they scored hits like Suzy Snowflake for Rosemary Clooney, Naughty Lady of Shady Lane for both Dean Martin and the Ames Brothers, Nuttin” For Christmas for both Art Mooney and Ricky Zahnd, and Kewpie Doll for Perry Como. The 1960s saw a slew of songs for Elvis soundtracks and perhaps their most abiding hit, Cliff Richards” The Young Ones. Tepper retired after a heart attack in 1970; Bennett continued writing songs “” and computer programmes!

gallery_2There are not many people still alive who had a hand in producing hits in 1938. With Van Alexander‘s death at the age of 100 there is one less. Alexander arranged Ella Fitzgerald’s 1938 hit A-Tisket, A-Tasket (1938). He was already a veteran Read more…

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