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Any Major ABC of Christmas

November 28th, 2019 5 comments

 

This year we use the ABC compilation concept for Christmas. One artist each representing the letters A through to Z. So it’s all a bit random, and great fun. I’m really enjoying this mix.

Some of the tracks here are pretty interesting. Take The Qualities, a Chicago doo wop band in the mid to late 1950s. They were produced by a young Sun Ra, whose acquaintance with LSD had by then progressed to a friendship. And it shows on this doo wop Christmas track, which sounds like nothing you’d expect.

Four tracks later, we have the Universal Robot Band celebrating a Disco Christmas. Released in 1977, it may sound like a horrible cash-in, especially if I tell you that it includes a conversation between Santa and Rudolph. But don’t skip the track! Recorded by the soul-disco band Kleeer, the groove is solid, and the conversation between our heroes is amusing. Santa decides to “add a little soul to this white Christmas”, and Rudolph affirms, “I can dig it, boss.”

You have to love the idea of a song title that takes the unsnappy route of declaring: “I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You” (I hope there was a swinging, finger-clicking answer record titled: “I reciprocate your determination to realise the objective of forestalling the absence of seasonal companionship”). The song by French singer Claudine Longet, then Andy Williams’ wife, is bright and quintessential 1960s fare. It was written for Longet by jazz songwriter Margo Guryan at the request of producer Tommy LiPuma.

There are a couple of slightly curmudgeonly tracks here. South African-born British comedian Paddy Roberts’ Merry X-Mas You Suckers (And A Happy New Year) pokes fun at the commercialism and revelry of the season. “You’ll be spending your money on cartloads of junk, and from here to new year you’ll be drunk as a skunk.” But in the end, you might as well party down: “But stick to it suckers, go swallow a pill, for this is the season of peace and goodwill. While we patiently wait for that nuclear blast… Merry Christmas you suckers, it may be your last.”

The Everly Brothers are quite morose about Christmas. “Christmas Eve can kill you when you’re trying to hitch a ride to anywhere… A car goes running by, the man don’t even turn his head. Guess he’s busy being Santa Claus tonight. The saddest part of all is knowing if I switched with him I’d leave him stumbling ragged by the road.” Written by Dennis Linde (who also wrote the Elvis hit Burning Love), this is not comedy.

Comedy is provided by the marvellous Richard Cheese, whose shtick is to rework well-known songs in the way of a cheesy nightclub singer (hence the name). Cheese does so with much wit and musical flair. The featured track, Christmas In Vegas, is the only original track on his 2006 Silent Nightclub album (which features a quite unsettling version of Silent Night). The lyrics are quite savage: “Christmas in Las Vegas, Decorate your tree with chips. Let’s roll a yo beneath the mistletoe while that angel strips.”

As ever, CD-R length, homemistletoed covers. PW in comments. Another Christmas mix will drop in two weeks.

1. Aaron Neville – Louisiana Christmas Day (1993)
2. B.B. King – Merry Christmas Baby (2001)
3. Claudine Longet – I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You (1968)
4. Dean Martin – The Christmas Blues (1953)
5. Everly Brothers – Christmas Eve Can Kill You (1972)
6. Fountains of Wayne – I Want An Alien For Christmas (1997)
7. Granville Williams Orchestra – Santa Claus Is Ska-Ing To Town (1964)
8. Hot Chocolate – Brand New Christmas (1980)
9. Isley Brothers – Winter Wonderland (2007)
10. Jimmy Beaumont and The Skyliners – You’re My Christmas Present (1990)
11. Kylie Minogue – It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (2015)
12. Leadbelly – Christmas Is A-Coming (1940s)
13. Mel Tormé – Sleigh Ride (1992)
14. Neil Diamond – You Make It Feel Like Christmas (1984)
15. Otis Redding – Merry Christmas, Baby (1968)
16. Paddy Roberts – Merry X-Mas You Suckers (And A Happy New Year) (1962)
17. Qualities – It’s Christmas Time (1956)
18. Richard Cheese – Christmas In Las Vegas (2006)
19. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Please Come Home For Christmas (2015)
20. TLC – Sleigh Ride (1993)
21. Universal Robot Band – Disco Christmas (1977)
22. Ventures – Blue Christmas (1965)
23. Wilson Phillips – Warm Lovin’ Christmastime (2010)
24. XTC (as Three Wise Men) – Thanks For Christmas (1983)
25. Yellowman – Santa Claus Never Comes To The Ghetto (1998)
26. Zee Avi – No Christmas For Me (2009)

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More Mix-CD-Rs
More ABCs in Decades

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:

Any Major Original Samples Vol. 1

November 21st, 2019 2 comments

 

 

The art of the sample has been diluted by the lazy poaching of popular grooves, hooks and riffs, but it hasn’t always been like that. Some of the best-known samples aren’t even known to be the work of other people.

Not many people know, for example, that the hook of Grandmaster Melle Mel’s White Lines was lifted from a rather obscure piece called Cavern by Liquid Liquid (like all tracks mentioned here, it features on this mix). Or that Tupac & Dr Dre’s California Love took the whole chorus (“California knows how to party, in the city of LA…”) and more from a 1982 track by Ronnie Hudson and The Streetpeople.

A well-deployed sample can suck over the life out of the song it has been taken from. If you listen to the horn blast on the Chi-Lites’ Are You My Woman, try not to do the “oh-oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh” hic-cupping thing in Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love. Or try not launching into Lauryn Hill mode when the wonderful Fifth Dimension track kicks in, or avoid conversing about sex when you hear the horn hook in The Staple Singers’ I’ll Take You There.

And if you manage to not do any of those, you will still go, “All I want to do is zoom-a-zoom-zoom-zoom and a poom-poom” when you hear the Lafayette Afro Rock Band’s Darkest Light.

 

A couple of songs were more than sampled. Fatboy Slim reworked performance-poet Camille Yarbrough’s delicious 1975 sex anthem Take Yo’ Praise as Praise You, but it’s more cover (though not quite) than sample. In fairness, Yarbrough has received the full writing credit.

Even more a virtual cover is Mariah Carey’s mega-hit Fantasy, which reworks the Tom Tom Club’s 1981 anthem to black musicians, Genius Of Love. Of course, Tina Weymouth and colleagues got a co-writing credit

Some of the tracks that are sampled include themselves samples. For example, the widely-sampled (Not Just) Knee Deep by Funkadelic (for example in De La Soul’s Me Myself And I) references James Brown’s Ants In My Pants.

The mix closes with the godfather of sampled tracks, by the Godfather of Soul: Funky Drummer, by James Brown & The J.B.s., which has provided drum breaks for Public Enemy’s Fight The Power and the Powerpuff Girl’s theme song. Clyde Stubblefield, who played the drum break, didn’t get a writer’s credit on Funky Drummer — the most-reused bit of music, and the creator went empty-handed.

As ever, CD-R length and home-hooked-and-riffed covers. PW in comments.

 

1. Ronnie Hudson and The Streetpeople – West Coast Poplock (1982)
The Borrower: 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre – California Love (Vocals/Lyrics)
Also: Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang (Vocals/Lyrics)
Also: N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton (Vocals/Lyrics)
Also: Mos Def – Habitat (Vocals/Lyrics)

2. Leon Haywood – I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You (1975)
The Borrower: Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg – Nuthin’ But A ‘G’ Thang (Multiple Elements)

3. Liquid Liquid – Cavern (1983)
The Borrower: Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Multiple Elements)

4. The Chi-Lites – Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) (1970)
The Borrower: Beyoncé – Crazy In Love (Multiple Elements)
Also: Kool G Rap & DJ Polo feat. Big Daddy Kane – #1 With A Bullet (Hook)

5. The Moments – Love On A Two-Way Street (1970)
The Borrower: Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind (Multiple Elements)

6. The 5th Dimension – Together Let’s Find Love (1971)
The Borrower: Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) (Hook)

7. Pete Rodriguez – I Like It Like That (1967)
The Borrower: Cardi B – I Like It (Multiple Elements)

8. Peggy Lee – Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay (1969)
The Borrower: Beastie Boys – Ch-Check It Out (Multiple Elements)

9. Bill Withers – Grandma’s Hands (1971)
The Borrower: Blackstreet – No Diggity (Multiple Elements)

10. The Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There (1972)
The Borrower: Salt-N-Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex (Hook)
Also: Eazy-E – Boyz-N-The-Hood (Hook)

11. Camille Yarbrough – Take Yo’ Praise (1975)
The Borrower: Fat Boy Slim – Praise You (Vocals/Lyrics)

12. Kool & the Gang – Summer Madness (4:17)
The Borrower: DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – Summertime (Multiple Elements)
Also: Snoop Dogg – Doggy Dogg World (Sound Effect)

13. Tom Tom Club – Genius Of Love (1981)
The Borrower: Mariah Carey – Fantasy (Multiple Elements)
Also: Mark Morrison – Return Of The Mack (Drums)

14. Aerosmith – Dream On (1973)
The Borrower: Eminem – Sing For The Moment (Multiple Elements)

15. The Lafayette Afro Rock Band – Darkest Light (1974)
The Borrower: Wreckx-N-Effect – Rump Shaker (Hook)
Also: Jay-Z – Show Me What You Got (Hook)

16. Funkadelic – (Not Just) Knee Deep (1979)
The Borrower: De La Soul – Me Myself and I (Multiple Elements)
Also: Snoop Dogg – Who Am I (What’s My Name)? (Bass)
Also: Black Eyed Peas – Shut The Phunk Up (Multiple Elements)

17. Sly & the Family Stone – Trip To Your Heart (1967)
The Borrower: LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (Multiple Elements)

18. James Brown – Funky Drummer (1970)
The Borrower: Public Enemy – Fight The Power / Bring The Noise (Drums)
Also: Dr. Dre – Let Me Ride (Drums)
Also: N.W.A – Fuck Tha Police (Drums)
Also: LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (Drums)
Also: Fine Young Cannibals – I’m Not the Man I Used To Be (Multiple Elements)
Also: The Powerpuff Girls Theme (drums)

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More Originals:
The Originals: The Classics
The Originals: Soul
The Originals: Motown
The Originals: Rock & Roll Years
The Originals: 1960s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1970s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1970s Vol. 2
The Originals: 1980s Vol. 1
The Originals: 1990s & 2000s
The Originals: Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 1
The Originals: Elvis Presley Edition Vol. 2
The Originals: Beatles Edition
The Originals: Carpenters Edition
The Originals: Burt Bacharach Edition
The Originals: Schlager Edition
The Originals: : Christmas Edition

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Any Major Week Vol. 1

November 14th, 2019 3 comments

 

This is one of the earlier themed mixes I’ve posted, back in 2011 when young Rebecca Black got heaps of ugly abuse for liking Fridays and ordering seating arrangements in cars (read my defence of Black). I’m re-upping this mix because it’s so good that I still return to it occasionally — what a trio of starter tracks! I’ve made myself a follow-up mix which I also enjoy; it will be posted some time in the future.

The theme is obvious: songs about the days in the week, in sequence until time of the standard CD-R runs out, on a Saturday night.

As always, CD-R length, home-dated covers, PW in comments.

1. Marvin Sease – Friday (2001)
2. Dee Dee Warwick – Another Lonely Saturday (Baby I’m Yours) (1965)
3. Chaka Khan – Any Old Sunday (1981)
4. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – Monday Monday (2006)
5. Cat Stevens – Tuesday’s Dead (1971)
6. Simon & Garfunkel – Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (1964)
7. Harry Nilsson – (Thursday) Here’s Why I Did Not Go To Work Today (1976)
8. Steely Dan – Black Friday (1975)
9. Nick Drake – Saturday Sun (1970)
10. Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning (1967)
11. John Prine – Long Monday (2005)
12. Chairmen Of The Board – Everyday’s Tuesday (1970)
13. Ronnie Dyson – A Wednesday In Your Garden (1973)
14. Matt Costa – Sweet Thursday (2006)
15. The Pale Fountains – Beyond Fridays Field (1984)
16. Josh Rouse – Saturday (2005)
17. Laura Nyro & Labelle – I Met Him On A Sunday (1971)
18. Fats Domino – Blue Monday (1956)
19. Yazoo – Tuesday (1982)
20. Lisa Loeb – Waiting For Wednesday (1995)
21. The Futureheads – Thursday (2006)
22. Jens Lekman – Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo (2007)
23. Walker Brothers – Saturday’s Child (1966)

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More CD-R Mixes

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In Memoriam – October 2019

November 5th, 2019 2 comments

October’s deaths included a legendary drummer, a barrier-breaking soap star, the Communist Sinatra, and another Kris Kristofferson collaborator.

The Drummer Legend
By all accounts, Cream drummer Ginger Baker, who has joined Cream colleague Jack Bruce in the great beyond, was a volatile and unpleasant person to many people. But the tributes rightly concentrated on the influence he had on many other great stickmen who followed him. Baker brought jazz and African rhythms to rock drumming in ways that scores of English drummers would copy and build on. Long before he was in Cream, Baker had been a jazz drummer; and his love for African music would see him live in Nigeria in the 1970s and record with Fela Kuti. Baker is credited with having a huge influence on heavy metal — a genre the old grump passionately hated.

The ‘First Bitch’
For people of my generation, the first encounter with Diahann Carroll likely was through her role on the 1980s soap Dynasty. It was a groundbreaking for several reasons; one was that Carroll was allowed to be a successful AND unlikeable black woman on a prime-time TV show. She said herself: “I want to be the first black bitch on television.”

Her character played a former singer, and it was reported at the time that the actress once was a singer of some sort, but I didn’t quite understand until much later just how accomplished she was. She was a fine jazz singer, and also a good stage musical vocalist. She became the first black woman to win a best actress Tony for the Rodgers/Hammerstein musical No Strings in 1962. She also was nominated for an Oscar for 1974’s Claudine. The same year she recorded an album on Motown, which included the featured track, I Mean To Shine, a song written by pre-Steely Dan Donald Fagen and Walter Becker.

Guitar Feats
The son of Hollywood stars Paul and Claudia Bryar, Paul Barrere joined Little Feat in 1972, just as the band was hitting its stride, as the second guitarist and backing singer. He also contributed his own compositions, such as All That You Dream, Skin It Back, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now, and Down On The Farm. When Little Feat was reformed after Lowell George’s death, Barrere took over lead vocal duties. As a guitarist, he also played with the likes of Robert Palmer, Nicolette Larsson, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, John Cale, Taj Mahal, and Travis Tritt. In the 1980s he released three solo albums; he was still performing with Little Feat until this year. Four days before Barrerre died, producer Ed Cherney passed on; he had produced Little Feat, with Barrere on lead vocals, in the 1990s.

 

The Venture Guitarist
His guitar work is among of the most iconic in the game of TV themes: Gerry (or Jerry) McGee played the lead on the theme of Hawaii Five-O, just months after he had replaced Nokie Edwards in The Ventures. Edwards then replaced McGee in 1972, and in 1985, McGee again replaced Edwards. He’d stay with the band until 2017.

The son of the famous Cajun fiddle player Dennis McGee, he played guitar (with other guitarists) on classic Monkees tracks such as their theme song, Last Train to Clarksville, Saturday’s Child, Valleri and others. He also did guitar work for people like Kris Kristofferson (whose erstwhile collaborators are having a hazardous 2019), Rita Coolidge, Nancy Sinatra, John Mayall, Delaney & Bonnie, Everly Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, Mac Davis, Jimmy Buffett, Gene Clark, Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Dwight Yoakam, Michael Franks and more. McGee died four days after collapsing on stage during a gig in Japan.

Oh My Gott!
I previously wrote about the Czech singer Karel Gott in relation to his demented German-language and Slavic-tinged cover of the Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black. The ambitiously surnamed singer was the second-squarest of the squarest crooners on the German schlager scene. But if grannies loved him for being such a nice boy, German kids loved him for singing the theme song for the animated Maja the Honey Bee series. Gott had mega hits with his German covers of two movie love themes, Lara’s Theme from Dr Zhivago and Where Do I Begin? From Love Story.

Few people — least of all Germany’s grannies — really knew that Gott was also a communist, loyal to his principles even after the regime fell in 1989. But he was no hardliner. Gott was so disgusted by the Soviet crushing of the Prague Spring in 1968 that he later recorded a protest song about the self-immolation of dissident Jan Palach, a Czech cover of All By Myself titled (Kam tenkrát šel) Můj bratr Jan, and before that even considered defecting to West-Germany.

That fact didn’t deter the Czech people from celebrating the life of Karel Gott, who was also an exhibited artist. An estimated 300,000 people turned out for his funeral in Prague, a city of 1,2 million! Voted 42 times Singer of the Year in Czechosvakia/Chech Republic, Karel Gott released around 100 albums.

The Eddie
Just a few weeks ago, Barrie Masters featured on the Any Major Teenagers mix as the singer of Eddie & The Hot Rods. For a brief moment, Eddie & The Hot Rods were riding the punk wave, though they were really a pub rock band. Still, the Sex Pistols played their first London gig supporting the Hot Rods at the Marquee, and the Hot Rods toured the US with the Ramones in 1977.

The band had a UK #9 hit in 1977 with the likable Do Anything You Wanna Do; another minor hit in early 1978, and the band went cold as a charts act. But in changing line-ups around Masters, the band continued to tour and record up to this year. Earlier this year, a one-off gig brought together past and present members.

The Chamber Brother
The Chambers Brothers didn’t do much, but they gave the direction of popular music a mighty push when they scored a 1968 hit with Time Has Come Today, a track that fused soul and funk with psychedelic and acid rock, helping to pave the way for acts like Sly & The Family Stone and The Temptation who were on the same trip. Of the four Chamber Brothers, bassist and oldest sibling George Chambers is the first for whom the time has come. Non-brother and drummer Brian Keenan died in 1985.

 

Beverly Watkins, 80, American blues guitarist, on Oct. 1
Dr Feelgood & The Interns – Mr Moonlight (1962, as member on guitar)
Beverly ‘Guitar’ Watkins – Impeach Me Baby (2007)

Bat McGrath, 73, singer, musician and songwriter, on Oct. 1
Bat McGrath – Blue Eagle (1976)

Karel Gott, 80, Czech schlager singer, on Oct. 1
Karel Gott – Weißt du wohin (1967)
Karel Gott – Rot und Schwarz (1969)
Karel Gott – Můj bratr Jan (1977)

Barrie Masters, 63, singer of English rock band Eddie and the Hot Rods, on Oct. 2
Eddie and the Hot Rods – Do Anything You Wanna Do (1977)
Eddie And The Hot Rods – Telephone Girl (1977)

Morten Stützer, 57, guitarist of Danish trash-metal band Artillery, on Oct. 2

Kim Shattuck, 56, singer, guitarist and songwriter, on Oct. 2
The Muffs – Sad Tomorrow (1995)

Vinnie Bell, 87, guitarist and electric sitar inventor, on Oct. 3
Vinnie Bell – Airport Love Theme (1970)

Diahann Carroll, 84, singer and actress, on Oct. 4
Diahann Carroll – Rebel In Town (1956)
Diahann Carroll, The André Previn Trio – The Party’s Over (1960)
Diahann Carroll – Goin’ Out Of My Head (1966)
Diahann Carroll – I Mean To Shine (1974)

Glenmore Brown, 75, Jamaican reggae musician, producer, on Oct. 4
Glen Brown – Tell It Like It Is (1974)

Ed Ackerson, 54, singer-songwriter of ‘90s rock band Polara, on May 4
Polara – Is This It? (2002)

Peter Stone Brown, 68, singer-songwriter, on Oct. 5
Peter Stone Brown – Before I Go (1996)

Ginger Baker, 80, legendary English drummer, on Oct. 6
Terry Lightfoot And His Band – (What Did I Do To Be) So Black And Blue (1958, on drums)
Cream – Deserted Cities Of The Heart (1968)
Blind Faith – Well All Right (1969)
Public Image Limited – Ease (1986)

Larry Junstrom, 70, bassist of rock band .38 Special, on Oct. 6
.38 Special – Caught Up In You (1982)

Martin Lauer, 81, German schlager singer and athlete, on Oct. 6

Malcolm ‘Molly’ Duncan, 74, Scottish saxophonist of the Average White Band, on Oct. 8
Average White Band – Cut The Cake (1975)
Average White Band – Shine (1980)

Gerry (Jerry) McGee, 81, lead guitarist of The Ventures (1968-72), on Oct. 8
The Monkees – Hey Hey We’re The Monkees (1966, on guitar)
The Ventures – Hawaii Five-O (1968)
Kris Kristofferson – Shandy (The Perfect Disguise) (1974, on guitar and backing vocals)

Thomas Lück, 76, (East-) German schlager singer and actor, on Oct. 10

George Chambers, 88, bassist and singer with The Chambers Brothers, on Oct. 12
The Chambers Brothers – Time Has Come Today (1968)
The Chambers Brothers – Funky (1970)

Dallas Harms, 84, Canadian country musician, on Oct. 12

Kenny Dixon, 27, session drummer, in car crash on Oct. 12

Steve Cash, 73, singer-songwriter with Ozark Mountain Daredevils, on Oct. 14
Ozark Mountain Daredevils – If You Wanna Get To Heaven (1973, also as co-writer)

Cacho Castaña, 77, Argentine singer and actor, on Oct. 15

Ray Santos, 90, Afro-Cuban jazz saxophonist, arranger and composer, on Oct. 17

Peter Hobbs, 58, singer-guitarist of Australian metal band Hobbs’ Angel of Death, on Oct. 21

Garry Koehler, 64, Australian country musician and songwriter, on Oct. 22
The Bobkatz – The Man In The Picture (2006, as writer)

Ed Cherney, 69, producer and engineer, on Oct. 22
Pops Staples – World In Motion (1992, as producer)

Don Baskin, 73, singer of garage-rock band Syndicate of Sound, on Oct. 22
Syndicate of Sound – Little Girl (1966)

Walter Franco, 74, Brazilian singer and songwriter, on Oct. 24
Walter Franco – Feito Gente (1975)

Joe Sun, 76, country singer, on Oct. 25
Joe Sun – Old Flames Can’t Hold A Candle To You (1978)

Paul Barrere, 71, singer, guitarist, songwriter with Little Feat, on Oct. 26
Little Feat – All That You Dream (1975, as songwriter)
Robert Palmer – Every Kinda People (1978, on guitar)
Paul Barrere – Fool For You (1983)
Little Feat – Drivin’ Blind (1995, produced by Ed Cherney; see Oct. 22)

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