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Any Major Disco Vol. 6

December 28th, 2017 3 comments

It is becoming something of a tradition here to close the year with a disco mix to see out the old year and in the new. So don your boogie shoes and shake that booty like it”s 1978.

One track here is quite remarkable: the Boney M. song here was recorded before there was a Boney M. Schlager singer and producer Frank Farian recorded Baby Do You Wanna Bump, basically a remake of Prince Buster”s Al Capone “” doing all the vocals himself, the deep voice and the falsetto. But because Farian was having as string of hits as a Schlager singer he couldn”t really release this thumping disco number under his own name, so he borrowed the title of an Australian TV series popular at the time in West-Germany, and stuck a meaningless M to it, because, he reasoned correctly, it sounded good. Odd thing is, Frank Farian isn”t the guy”s real name either; it”s Franz Reuther.

Baby Do You Wanna Bump was a hit in Belgium and the Netherlands, inspiring Farian to keep Boney M going with real band members. He”d still do the voices of two of those members, including dancer Bobby Farrell. And that is the amazing thing about Boney M: half of it was a pallid German guy pretending to be a black woman and a black dancer.

It was widely known that Farian was the voice of Bobby and Maizie Williams; the greater deception came a decade later with another Farian act, Milli Vanilli.

On the Minnie Riperton track (co-written by Stevie Wonder), check out the proto-house piano groove, played by the multi-instrumentalist and producer Sonny Burke, who also played on the albums which the tracks in this mix by Lenny Williams and Harvey Mason come from. I couldn”t ascertain that he played on those particular tracks. Let”s just imagine he did.

As always, CD-R length, home-bootyshaken covers, PW in comments. And have a Happy New Year!

1. Empress – Dyin” To Be Dancin” (1981)
2. Minnie Riperton – Stick Together (1977)
3. Peter Brown feat. Betty Wright – Dance With Me (1978)
4. Harvey Mason – Groovin” You (1979)
5. Cerrone feat. Jocelyn Brown – Hooked On You (1981)
6. Deniece Williams – I”ve Got The Next Dance (1979)
7. Fat Larry”s Band – Looking For Love (1979)
8. Linda Clifford – If My Friends Could See Me Now (1978)
9. Debbie Jacobs – Don”t You Want My Love (1979)
10. Musique – Keep On Jumpin” (1978)
11. Ritchie Family – American Generation (1978)
12. Gary”s Gang – Do It At The Disco (1978)
13. Boney M. – Baby Do You Wanna Bump (1975)
14. Carl Douglas – Run Back (1977)
15. The Choice Four – Come Down To Earth (1976)
16. Lenny Williams – Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh! (1977)
17. Crystal Grass – Dream On (1975)

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Any Major 1960s Christmas

December 20th, 2017 17 comments

Last year we had Christmases mixes covering the 1950s and 1970s; this year we have the yulevibes of the groovy 1960s.

Not too long ago it seemed that things cultural changed in the course of a decade. 1962 looked nothing like 1968; 1971 nothing like 1977; 1980 nothing like 1989. Then, in the 1990s, time seemed to start moving more slowly. Today, it seems to me, 2017 might as well be 2007; Bieber and Perry and Beyoncé and Swift are still megastars”¦ And Any Major Dude is still with you, as her was ten years ago”¦

The 1950s were the decade of seismic change in popular culture, what with the rise of rock & roll and the advent of The Teenager. But the 1960s probably saw the fastest developments in pop. The Beatles and the Beach Boys saw to that, as well as Stax, Motown, Atlantic et al in soul music.

This mix features The Beatles and The Beach Boys, and a few other exponents of the sounds of the latter 1960s. But the Christmas vibes find their most joyous, carefree, festive expression in the tracks from the early, more innocent parts of the decade, when Bing could still sing about “noggins” in the snow.

The Bee Gees are represented twice here: on their own with the rather melancholy sounding Thank You For Christmas. Before they come in, The Majority perform the Gibb Brothers composition All Our Christmases.

One song here featured on the Any Major Christmas Bells mix from two weeks ago, albeit in a different version. The Bacharach-David song The Bell That Couldn”t Jingle appears here by Bobby Vinton. A track that failed to make the bells compilation has been shifted to this mix: The Royal Guardsmen“s Snoopy”s Christmas. Seeing as this is the last centenary of a World War I Christmas, it seems appropriate to run it now.

Talking of war, the penultimate track is not very joyous: The Charmels want their man to come home from Vietnam. A similar theme “” wanting a soldier boyfriend home at Christmas “” is handled by Toni Wine in the closing track, though Toni is more Army Wives than Nam protester. Which makes some sense, since Wine”s track, recorded in 1963, precedes the heat of the Vietnam War. How might her song have panned out had it been recorded five years later?

At Christmas it might not be nice to make people feel old, but here”s a disturbing thought: The baby of whose first Christmas Connie Francis is crooning is now a grandparent aged 56.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes covers made by indentured elves. PW in comments, wherein you may wish me a merry Christmas.

Don”t forget: next week, before New Year”s Eve, I”ll post the now traditional Any Major Disco mix.

I wish you a Merry Christmas, or “” in the words of Lou Rawls “” I hope Santa socks it to you.

1. JB – Let’s Make Christmas Mean Something This Year (1967)
2. Ike & Tina Turner – Merry Christmas Baby (1965)
3. The Ronettes – Sleigh Ride (1963)
4. The Majority – All Our Christmases (1968)
5. Bobby Vinton – The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle (1964)
6. Bobby Vee – Christmas Vacation (1962)
7. The Debonairs – Christmas Time (1961)
8. The Drifters – Christmas Song (1964)
9. Jackie Wilson – Silver Bells (1963)
10. The Soul Stirrers – Christmas Means Love (1968)
11. Nancy Wilson – That’s What I Want For Christmas (1963)
12. Lou Rawls – Christmas Is (1967)
13. Bing Crosby – The White World Of Winter (1964)
14. Doris Day – Be A Child At Christmas Time (1964)
15. Connie Francis – Baby’s First Christmas (1961)
16. Jim Reeves – An Old Christmas Card (1963)
17. The Echoes – Merry Christmas Baby Blue (1961)
18. The Bee Gees – Thank You For Christmas (1967)
19. Chad Mitchell Trio – The Marvelous Toy (1963)
20. Lisa Miller – The Loneliest Christmas Tree (1968)
21. Claudine Longet – I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You (1967)
22. The Playboys – The Night Before Christmas (1963)
23. King Curtis – What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve (1968)
24. Canned Heat – Christmas Blues (1968)
25. The Beatles – Christmas Time (Is Here Again) (1967)
26. The Royal Guardsmen – Snoopy’s Christmas (1967)
27. Beach Boys – The Man With All The Toys (1967)
28. Four Seasons – Christmas Tears (1962)
29. The Dynamics – Christmas Plea (1962)
30. The Charmels – Please Uncle Sam (Send Back My Man) (1966)
31. Toni Wine – My Boyfriend’s Coming Home For Christmas (1963)

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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:

All The People Who’ve Died 2017

December 14th, 2017 10 comments

The past year has been, thankfully, much gentler than the cursed 2016 was. Still, we lost some big names such as Chuck Berry, Steely Dan”s Walter Becker, Glen Campbell, Al Jarreau, Tom Petty, Fats Domino, Gregg Allman, David Cassidy, AC/DC”s Malcolm Young, funk legend Junie Morrison, Don Williams, Chris Cornell, Cuba Gooding Sr, etc.

Two deaths prompted me to post a special mix in tribute: a mix of covers of Chuck Berry songs and with the death of Walter Becker a mix of covers of Steely Dan songs. I was playing with the idea of doing a mix of tracks produced by Tommy LiPuma, but time restraints prevented me from doing so.

The most significant deaths of 2017 (up to November 30) by my estimation are listed below; if there”s a name you”re missing it most likely featured in the monthly In Memoriam round-ups (so, yeah, not really “All The People Who’ve Died” here; the title borrows from this great tack by the Jim Carroll Band). Read more…

Categories: In Memoriam, Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Any Major Christmas Bells

December 7th, 2017 17 comments

Regular readers, in their detective ways, may have deduced that I love Christmas music, as the 20-plus mixes posted over the past decade show. And if a Christmas song has bells in them, I”m particularly happy.

Peggy Lee in the song that opens this collection shares that view: “Some folks like to hear a Christmas song, but I like Christmas bells that go ding-dong, jingle-jangle, ding-a-ling or just bing-bong; I love to hear “em ring.”

Of course, many of the greatest Christmas songs don”t need them — imagine Nat King Cole ringing the bells in The Christmas Song! — and yet, no sound signals Yuletide quite as those jingling, jangling bells. Maybe that”s why Mel Tormé, who co-wrote The Christmas Song, used them in his 1992 version of it.

Reader Fred is himself a keen collector of Christmas songs, and has quite a collection of tracks in that genre that are about bells. So he suggested that I make such a mix myself. Helpfully, Fred sent an extensive list of some songs on that theme he has in his collection. I didn”t consult it in case he offers to do a Volume 2 next year. Our respective lists coincide in 11 songs.

The qualification for this mix is fairly simple: have a jingle or a bell in the title (strangely, some promise bells and feature none); or include bells, such as Winter Wonderland, which in any case is alternatively titled Sleigh Bells Ring. Likewise, The Emotions” melancholy What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas features the jingling of cheerful bells throughout.

Another Christmas mix will drop in the week after next. All mixes listed below should have live links.

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

1. Peggy Lee – Ring Those Christmas Bells (1953)
2. Nat “˜King” Cole – Caroling, Caroling (1963)
3. Dean Martin – Jingle Bells (1966)
4. Bing Crosby – I Heard The Bells (1956)
5. Mel Tormé – The Christmas Song (1992)
6. Andy Williams – Kay Thompson”s Jingle Bells (1963)
7. Burt Bacharach – The Bell That Couldn”t Jingle (1968)
8. The Beach Boys – Bells Of Christmas (1967)
9. Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz & Peter Tork – Christmas Is My Time Of Year (1976)
10. Johnny Cash – I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day (1963)
11. The Four Seasons – The Carol Of The Bells (1962)
12. The Funk Brothers – Winter Wonderland (1968)
13. The Emotions – What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas (1978)
14. The Trammps – Sleigh Ride (2000)
15. The Temptations – Santa Claus Is Comin” To Town (1980)
16. Stevie Wonder – Silver Bells (1967)
17. Bobby Nunn – Christmas Bells (1951)
18. Freddy King – I Hear Jingle Bells (1961)
19. Bill Haley and his Comets – Jingle Bell Rock (1957)
20. Barry & Highlights – Xmas Bell Rock (1960)
21. The Modernaires – Jingle Bell Polka (1947)
22. The Penguins – Jingle Jangle (1955)
23. Burl Ives – Jingle Jingle Jingle (1961)
24. The Sinatra Family – The Bells Of Christmas (1968)
25. The Chieftains – The Bells of Dublin-Christmas Eve (1991)
26. George Harrison – Ding Dong, Ding Dong (1974)
27. Lenka – All My Bells Are Ringing (2008)
28. Smashing Pumpkins – Christmastime (1997)
29. The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don”t Let The Bells End) (2003)

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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 – November 2017

December 4th, 2017 3 comments

November was a brutal month. Women of a certain age will have mourned David Cassidy, whose image adorned many a teen girl”s bedroom wall in the early 1970s (Like Tiger Beat in the US, Germany’s Bravo magazine had loads of them). An exceptionally handsome young man with talent, a great voice and good manners, he was the full package. In The Partridge Family TV series, he and step-mom Shirley Jones were allowed to make music, alongside members of the Wrecking Crew. The quality of the pop music from that show has outlived the natural resistance to it: there are some great pop songs from that show (which was, it must be said, a pretty good sitcom. Of course, some of the songs were also awful). As a one-time teen idol it was tough for Cassidy to forge a career as a serious singer, sporadic hits like 1985″s The Last Kiss notwithstanding. In the 1980s he re-invented himself as a stage musical star. I saw him in a not very good show called Time in London. In the end he suffered from dementia.

On the day Cassidy died, we also saw the death of Wayne Cochran, another artist who had success with a song called Last Kiss. Cochran”s composition became a hit for J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers and later for Pearl Jam. Cochran was famous for being a white soul singer, and even more so for his white pompadour, which looked like a spoof Newt Gingrich haircut long before that horrid asshole arrived. He was friends with Otis Redding, for whom he played bass guitar on a couple of tracks. More importantly, he was friends with Elvis, who styled his jumpsuit Vegas costumes on Cochran, and included the blues classic C.C. Rider in his set as a tribute to Cochran”s erstwhile backing band. Cochran retired from music in the 1970s to become an evangelical minister.

Just a month after the death of his older brother George, AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young died at 64. He had been suffering from dementia, like David Cassidy, so death was probably a sweet release. As a rhythm guitarist, Young is regarded as one of the greats in rock. That was rather overshadowed by younger brother Angus” antics and lead guitar (Angus said his brother was actually the better lead guitarist), but Malcolm was said to be the driving force behind AC/DC.

In The Miracles, Warren “˜Pete” Moore was the bass to the high tenor of Smokey Robinson. Lesser known is his contribution as uncredited arranger of many of those great Miracles hits. And rather overlooked is his co-writing role with Smokey and Marv Tarplin of such great Motown hits as The Tracks of My Tears, Going To A Go-Go, Ooo Baby Baby, Ain”t That Peculiar, I”ll Be Doggone and Since I Lost My Baby, and later the huge Miracles hit Love Machine, co-written with Bully Griffin.

When Mel Tillis wrote about “that crazy Asian war” in 1967″s Ruby Don”t Take Your Love To Town, he supposedly meant the Korean war “” but it was released at the height of the Vietnam War (see the story of that song in The Originals Vol. 24). First released by Johnny Darrell in 1967, it was a hit for Kenny Rogers & The First Edition in 1969. Tillis recorded it himself in 1969, on the Life Turned Her That Way LP (with that great title song). Tillis revisited Ruby in 1976 to even better effect, with a blistering banjo solo. His singing success was preceded by a long songwriting career. He scored his first songwriting hit in 1957 with Webb Pierce”s I”m Tired (which Tillis later had a hit with himself), and later a big one with Bobby Bare”s Detroit City (a.k.a. I Wanna Go Home). Tillis also appeared in movies, including the Cannonball Run movies and Smokey And The Bandit II. And if musicians were patron saints, Tillis might be the one for people with speech defects: he was a stutterer.

Arriving at the pearly gates with Moore and Tillis on November 19 was the singer and actress Della Reese “” after her role in TV”s Touched By An Angel, it was perhaps a homecoming. And it”s as the managing angel Tess that Reese is perhaps remembered by most, but before that she was a mighty jazz singer. She was discovered by Mahalia Jackson and was equally comfortable in gospel (she formed her own group in that genre) and jazz. By force of talent and personality she was an African-American icon (though she was also half Cherokee) by the early 1960s. The second part of Martha Reeves” band”s name, The Vandellas, is a tribute to Reese. In the late 1960s she also began acting and that would become her major gig as time went on.

Some people are central in changing music but do so quietly. Producer and record executive George Avakian, who has died at 98, was one such pioneer. Read more…

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