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Any Major Southern Soul

November 19th, 2020 7 comments

 

After last week’s (pleasingly popular) freebirding mix of Southern Rock, it seems right to follow that up with a dose of soul music. I had two concepts in mind: keeping it geographically consistent with a set of Southern Soul, or congratulating Philadelphia for pushing President-elect Joe Biden over the needed 270 electorate votes. Well, there will be a Philly soul mix before too long, but here we are keeping it south.

Southern Soul is not an easy thing to define, less so because migration north saw similar sounds being created in places like Chicago. There isn’t really one Southern soul sound, though when you hear it, you usually can place it. When you hear horns, especially those striking jubilant tones followed soon by mournful minor notes (or vice versa) by the Memphis Horns, you might have a Southern Soul record. If it features a funky bass even on ballads, you might have a Southern Soul record. If the singer sounds like he or she is shouting, even when they aren’t, you might have a Southern Soul record. And so on…

Or use King Curtis’ recipe for Memphis Soul Stew: half a teacup of bass, a pound of fatback drums, four tablespoons of boiling Memphis guitars, just a little pinch of organ, and half a pint of horn…

For the purposes of this mix, all artists were born in the south, and their songs were recorded in the south, for labels such as Stax, Hi, Goldwax, Murco or Atlantic. I didn’t investigate whether every song here satisfies these criteria (Mitty Collier, for example recorded on Chess in Chicago, but came from the south); if they don’t, return to the previous paragraph.

Some obvious acts are missing — notably Aretha Franklin and Sam & Dave. But Aretha’s sister Erma is represented. And two singers here are cousins: Percy Sledge and Jimmy Hughes.

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

1. The Soul Children – Super Soul (1969)
2. Wilson Pickett – Don’t Fight It (1965)
3. Brenton Wood – Baby You Got It (1967)
4. Clarence Carter – Getting The Bills (But No Merchandise) (1970)
5. Spencer Wiggins – The Power Of A Woman (1967)
6. Bettye Swann – Tell It Like It Is (1968)
7. James Carr – A Lucky Loser (1967)
8. Syl Johnson – That’s Just My Luck (1975)
9. Phillip Mitchell – Turning Over The Ground (1973)
10. Jackie Moore – Precious Precious (1970)
11. Al Green – What a Wonderful Thing Love Is (1972)
12. Erma Coffee – You Made Me What I Am (1973)
13. Eddy ‘G’ Giles – Happy Man (1967)
14. Otis Redding – You Don’t Miss Your Water (1965)
15. Percy Sledge – The Dark End of the Street (1967)
16. Carla Thomas – A Woman’s Love (1964)
17. Don Covay – Everything Gonna Be Everything (1966)
18. Johnnie Taylor – Who’s Making Love (1968)
19. Bobby Rush – Bowlegged Woman, Knock-Kneed Man (1972)
20. Eddie Floyd – Things Get Better (1966)
21. Otis Clay – Brand New Thing (1971)
22. Marion Ester – Not Guilty (1969)
23. O.V. Wright – You’re Gonna Make Me Cry (1965)
24. Mitty Collier – It Looks Like Rain (1965)
25. Reuben Bell & The Casanovas – It’s Not That Easy (1968)
26. Erma Franklin – You’ve Been Cancelled (1969)
27. Jimmy Hughes – Neighbour Neighbour (1964)
28. King Curtis – Memphis Soul Stew (1967)

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Any Major Southern Rock

November 12th, 2020 11 comments

After the events of last week, I thought some people may need a little solace through the medium of music. So here’s a mix of Southern Rock songs which should unite the blue and the red and the orange in displays of face-contorting air-guitar solos.

Of course, one of the great air-guitar songs is Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. That doesn’t feature here. Nor does this mix feature their southern pride anthem Sweet Home Alabama. Nor Charlie Daniels’ The South Is Going To Do It Again — though both acts feature here, naturally.

The closest we come to Confederation flag-waving here is the opening track, which became an earworm whenever US election coverage mentioned Alleghene County in Pennsylvania. I had to remind myself that the song is about the land Dewey Crowe’s cousins from Justified (how would they have voted, I wonder).

Molly Hatchet’s Gator Country cites many of the fellow Southern Rock acts who appear on this mix, by way of humorous one-upmanship in defence of Florida’s superiority. “I’ve been to Alabama, people ain’t a whole lot to see; Skynyrd says it’s a real sweet home but it ain’t nothing to me. Charlie Daniels will tell you the good Lord lives in Tennessee, ha! But I’m going back to gator country where the wine and the women are free.”

Richard “Dickey” Betts gets namechecked, too. The guitarist with The Allman Brothers Band takes the lead vocals and lead guitar on the track featured here, which is also mentioned on Gator Country.

And how exactly do we define Southern Rock? According to Wikipedia, it drives from rock & roll, country and blues, and is focused generally on electric guitars and vocals. So far so easy, but who qualifies for inclusion and who doesn’t? Well, one condition ought to be origin in the southern states of the US, and some kind of lyrical affinity with the region. Some acts that are often (but not invariably) included in lists of Southern Rock acts are Creedence Clearwater Revival (from California) and The Band (Canada). Of course, the latter included Levon Helms, who was from Arkansas and sings lead on the featured track. How purist should one be about such things? I don’t know, but I excluded the Atlanta Rhythm Section and Orleans, because they don’t really sound like the others.

If this mix is popular, there will be a second volume. If so, I might extend it beyond the 1970s (which I do here once) to include acts like Drive-By Truckers, .38 Special, Doc Holliday, Georgia Satellites, Bishop Black or the Black Crowes. If that happens, rest assured that Kid Rock will not feature.

No Confederate flags may be flown while listening to this mix. As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-gatorwrestled covers.  PW in comments.

1. Molly Hatchet – Gator Country (1978)
2. Wet Willie – Country Side Of Life (1974)
3. Little Feat – Dixie Chicken (1973)
4. Marshall Tucker Band – Can’t You See (1973)
5. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man (1973)
6. Charlie Daniels Band – High Lonesome (1976)
7. Boondoggle & Balderdash – I’ve Been Delayed (1971)
8. The Allman Brothers Band – Ramblin’ Man (1973)
9. Ozark Mountain Daredevils – If You Want To Get To Heaven (1973)
10. Black Oak Arkansas – Uncle Lijiah (1971)
11. Barefoot Jerry – Smokies (1975)
12. The Band – Up On Cripple Creek (1969)
13. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Someday Never Comes (1972)
14. Blackfoot – Diary Of A Workingman (1981)
15. The Outlaws – Green Grass & High Tides (1975)
16. Edgar Winter’s White Trash – Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo (1972)
17. ZZ Top – Tush (1974)
18. Elvin Bishop – Have A Good Time (1975)

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NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 2

September 11th, 2018 7 comments

 

 

This is Volume 2 of the New York mixes, though it is really the third, after the first mix and the New York in Black & White collection.

The photo on the cover comes from a beautiful series of colour photos of New York in the 1940s from the Charles W Cushman collection.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and, as mentioned above, includes home-bronxed covers. PW in comments, where you are invited to say hello.

1. Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Jules Munchin – New York, New York (excerpt) (1949)
NYC hook: It’s our three sailor friends’ first time in New York, and having just arrived on shore leave (happily in New York, not in LA where they might have gone on to beat up Mexicans), they already presume it to be “a helluva town” because “the Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down”. Additionally, “the people ride in a hole in the ground” (as they do in many other cities, so big deal, chums).

2. Frank Sinatra & Tony Bennett – New York New York (1994)
NYC hook: Let’s face it, our boy from Hoboken was a promiscuous man when it came to American cities. Chicago? His kind of town! L.A.? It’s a lady he can’t say goodbye to. Las Vegas? He made it! And New York? Well, more of a challenge than a love affair; it seems. By the way, the song needs no high-kicks, party goers.

3. Theme – Seinfeld (1989)
NYC hook: Would Seinfeld have worked had it been set anywhere else? Nah!

4. Klaatu – Sub-Rosa Subway (1976)
NYC hook: The song that caused speculation about a clandestine Beatles reunion. Alas, it was just a bunch of Canadians with a funny name singing about Alfred Beach, the man who built America’s first subway in New York, based on the London Underground. (More on Beach)

5. NRBQ – Boys In The City (1972)
NYC hook: You might leave New York for the country, but you’ll still sing about “the trees in the Park”.

6. Harry Nilsson – I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City (1969)
NYC hook: New York as the new Jerusalem instead of its usual role as a fetid Babylon. So Harry makes his pilgrimage to the city permanent, leaving all his sorrows behind. Same year, he soundtracked Hoffman and Voight’s exit from bad, bad NYC.

7. John Lennon – New York City (1972)
NYC hook: The Statue of Liberty told Lennon to come. Come to the city where he would be murdered…

8. Kevin Devine – Brooklyn Boy (2006)
NYC hook: The eponymous lad is doing coke on his birthday, prompting Kev – rarely a herald of rampant cheer – to launch into an apocalypso.

9. Ian Hunter – Central Park N West (1981)
NYC hook: Hunter obviously hates living in stinky, crime-ridden, burning New York City. Except he doesn”t: “You’ve got to be crazy to live in the city, and New York city’s the best.”

10. Donavan Frankenreiter – Spanish Harlem Incident (2007)
NYC hook: A rather decent cover of Dylan’s 1964 song about having steamy, casual interracial sex.

11. Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street (1972)
NYC hook: 110th Street is the street that divides Harlem and Manhattan. Bob is not painting a pretty picture of what lies at the other side of Manhattan: pimps and hookers, pushers and junkies jostling on the streets of “the capital of every ghetto town”.

12. Billy Joel – New York State Of Mind (1976)
NYC hook: The New Yorker might leave the city for Miami Beach or for Hollywood, but if they are anything like Bronx-born, Long Island-raised Billiam, they’ll miss the New York Times and Daily News (but not the Post, it seems) so much, they’ll feel compelled to return.

13. Ella Fitzgerald – Manhattan (1956)
NYC hook: On his wonderful radio show, Bob Dylan described the Rodgers & Hart song as a love letter to New York City. Who knew that Zimmerman had a way with words? Ella is full of giddy tenderness as she provides us with a partial road map of the city. Are pushcarts still gliding gently on Mott Street?

14. Hem – Great Houses Of New York (live) (2006)
NYC hook: Native New Yorkers Hem don’t need to mention the city in a song that incorporates its name in the title to prove that it’s set there. It suffices to refer to NYC’s winter climate as a metaphor for a dying relationship, a recurring theme in Hem’s beautiful songs.

15. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968)
NYC hook: The Mamas and the Papas lived in New York before moving to Hawaii and then to California. It seems fair to say that they didn’t dig New York – “every thing there was dark and dirty ” – and this is their fuck-you note to the city. Most likely, the Daily News won’t be enough to lure them back.

16. Odyssey – Native New Yorker (1977)
NYC hook: Two decades before Carrie Bradshaw in Sex And The City made her, erm, acute observations about the politics of sex, Odyssey had it already figured out: “No one opens the door for a native New Yorker.” So, like, take charge of your life yourself, girl!

17. Elkow Bones & The Racketeers – A Night In New York (1983)
NYC hook: A sadly ignored club gem whose horns sounds like New York traffic to me. Delicious.

18. Nicole with Timmy Thomas – New York Eyes (1985)
NYC hook: What in the name of all that’s ophthalmological are these New York Eyes that have short-lived soul starlet Nicole attracted to ’70s soulster Timmy Thomas (who I presume provides the groovy keyboard here)? Whatever they are, reciprocally gazing at Nicole’s NY eyes, they make Timmy feel good inside.

19. Beastie Boys – An Open Letter To NYC (2005)
NYC hook: And it’s another love letter: “Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten, from the Battery to the top of Manhattan. Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin, black, white – New York you make it happen.”

20. LL Cool J feat. Leshaun Williams – Doin’ It (1995)
NYC hook: Six people are credited with writing this droll ode to physical intimacy. None of them have sought to distance themselves from this lyrical gem which surely provides all the required evidence to support the notion that ladies really can’t help themselves but love NCIS agent Cool James. Mr Todd  rattles off the specials on today’s hum menu: “It’s the first time together and I’m feeling kinda horny, conventional methods of makin’ love kinda bore me. I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off, blow your socks off, make sure your G-spot’s soft” (you get hard G-spots? And, more importantly, how do you get away rhyming “off” with “soft”?). With Cool James, sex is a matter of territorial chauvinism, not unlike the so-called World Series. He points out that he represents Queens, whose residents may well jostle for prime bedside seats, the better to cheer on their local stud muffin. Cool James’ hopefully softly G-spotted friend was raised “out Brooklyn”, where she learnt to yearn for a “Big Daddy” who might “pull my hair and spank me from the back” and finish off with some “candy rain”. Just as the contender from Queens might, if his dick is as big as his braggadocio. Yuk!

21. Jay-Z feat Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind (2009)
NYC hook: The national anthem of NYC for the millennial generation.

22. Ben Folds – Rock This Bitch (NYC version) (2004)
NYC hook: Some “motherfucker in Chicago” once shouted out “rock this bitch” at a Ben Folds gig, giving rise to a tradition whereby Folds (evidently reluctantly) improvises a new “Rock This Bitch” version on the spot. As he did in this recording from the 2004 Summerstage concert. “R.O.C.K. with your C.O.C.K. out, in N.Y.C.”

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Any Major Whistle Vol. 2

April 19th, 2018 14 comments

And here is part 2 of the whistling mixes, following Any Major Whistle Vol. 1, which was also recycled from 2009. As before, I’ve tried to mix the obvious (and avoiding some of the more notorious candidates) with the unexpected. As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CR-R (hence two bonus tracks). Home-blown covers included.* * *

1. Beach Boys – Whistle In (1967)
Yes, the Beach Boys feature twice. You can’t have a whistling collection and not begin it with a song called Whistle In, can you?
Whistletastic moment: 0:01 Dum-dum-dum-dum-dum and whistle.

2. Peter, Bjorn And John – Young Folks (2006)
I have avoided the inclusion of many an obvious song. No Scorpions. No Don’t Worry Be Happy. No apartheid-boycott-busting Roger Whitaker. But this one had to be included. It’s Swedish, it’s cheerful, it’s earwormy.
Whistletastic moment: 0:08 Everybody purse your lips and whistle along! Or play the percussion bit on your thigh.

3. David Bowie – Golden Years (1976)
I cannot hear this song without thinking abut the bizarre dance sequence with Heath Ledger and Never-heard-from-again Actress in the quite wonderful medieval caper A Knight’s Tale.
Whistletastic moment: 3:03 Chameleon-like, the former Ziggy trades his guitar for lips and air.

4. Lovin’ Spoonful – Daydream (1966)
The Lovin’ Spoonful really covered about every genre in popular music, and then mashed them up. Here we have a bit of 1920s pop and a bit of blues. Gotta love the Spoonful.
Whistletastic moment: 1:14 Chirpy whistle solo, which returns at 2:06 to see the song out.

5. Otis Redding – Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (1968)
The last song Otis Redding recorded before getting on that plane, apparently. Otis didn’t whistle on here; the job was done by a session man of whom Redding inquired after a poor first take whether he knew what he was doing. We know he did.
Whistletastic moment: 2:19 Perhaps the best ever whistle solo in pop.

6. Simon & Garfunkel – Punky’s Dilemma (1968)
This is Simon & Garfunkel 201 — the sort of song you get into once the many great hits have become boring.
Whistletastic moment: 1:50 A breezy whistle solo, not by Paul Simon (whom we hear talking in the background), takes us to the song’s end.

7. The Beatles – Two Of Us (1970)
Recorded during the turbulent Let It Be sessions, this is one of the rare (and I think last) post-mop tops era occasions when John and Paul duetted. How nice then that the song ends with a cheery whistle solo before I Dig A Pony kicks in.
Whistletastic moment: 3:14 I suppose this is Lennon whistling, as was his wont some of his solo tracks.

8. Bobby Bloom – Montego Bay (1970)
Anyone remember Amazulu’s cover in the 1980s? That probably had no whistling (nor showtune segment). Bobby Bloom’s original has a recurring whistle hook.
Whistletastic moment: 0:01 The hook kicks off the song.

9. Earl Hagen – Theme of the Andy Griffith Show (1960)
As doubtless whistled across America once upon a time while washing-up, sweeping the driveway, doing the paper round or constructing a skyscraper. Whistletastic moment: 0:01 The whole thing consists of whistling.

10. The Steve Miller Band – Jungle Love (1977)
Underrated ’70s rock band which deserve to be remembered for more than The Joker and Abracadabra.
Whistletastic moment: 2:46 Freestyle whistling!

whistling11. The Fratellis – Whistle For The Choir (2006)
Jangly guitars recall the early ’70s. Irresistibly catchy.
Whistletastic moment: 2:26 Whistle interlude

12. Liliput – Die Matrosen (1980)
Neue Deutsche Welle with ska sensibility searching for the young soul rebel, in English.
Whistletastic moment: 0:52 Song-defining communal whistle interlude, repeated 50 seconds later, and again at 2:32 and 3:33.

13. The Flaming Lips – Christmas At The Zoo (1995)
Let’s go slightly weird: what do you think Coyne and his gang are doing in a zoo at Christmas?
Whistletastic moment: 2:27 Whistle solo comes in helpful when you have no lyrics but the music still goes on.

14. Grizzly Bear – Deep Blue Sea (2007)
This sounds so like a country song. It was recorded at home by Grizzly Bear Daniel Rossen.
Whistletastic moment: 2:41 Whistle bridge.

15. Guster – All The Way Up To Heaven (2003)
Guster toured and performed with Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright. This song, vaguely reminiscent of Sgt Pepper’s and Pet Sounds, is very lovely indeed.
Whistletastic moment: 0:50 You almost think they are about to break out into the Colonel Bogey March.

16. Cat Power – After It All (2005)
One of the songs that make me appreciate 2005’s The Greatest album. And, I noticed only now, the only woman in the mix.
Whistletastic moment: 0:06 The piano and a couple of guitar chords set up the song for the recurring whistle hook.

17. Sammy Davis Jr. – Mr Bojangles (1972)
The song that Sammy took over. As we covered in The Originals series, the song was written by Jerry Jeff Walker.
Whistletastic moment: 0:20 Sammy whistles (unlike the other performers of My Bojangles) and does so again later to see the song out.

18. Gene Pitney – Only Love Can Break A Heart (1963)
Gene Pitney Fun Fact 1: He wrote Hello Mary Lou for Ricky Nelson, Rubber Ball for Bobby Vee and He’s A Rebel for The Crystals. Gene Pitney Fun Fact 2: The Crystals’ version of He’s A Rebel kept Pitney’s version of Burt Bacharach Only Love Can Break A Heart from reaching the US#1. Gene Pitney Fun Fact 3: He was the first singer from the rock idiom of pop to sing at the Oscars, performing Town Without Pity in 1962.
Whistletastic moment: 0:16 Tremelo whistle.

19. Roxy Music – Jealous Guy (1981)
Roxy Music”s cash-in “tribute” released double-quick after John Lennon’s murder. Hunting Tory greaseball Bryan Ferry whistled better than Rolls Royce socialist Lennon.
Whistletastic moment: 3:25  Ferry cross the whistle.

20. Leonard Cohen – One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong (1967)
Don’t dig Cohen? Gentlemen, remember this: when Cohen sings about love and sex, it is intensely sensual. If you want to impress a poetry-loving girl, don’t forget to include Leonard Cohen on your mixtape. This song, for example.
Whistletastic moment: 3:19 Laughing Len affords himself a bit of levity by seeing the song out with a (less than accomplished) whistle solo, backed by recorder and the sound of singing hangers-on presmably being interrogated by the Spanish Inquisition..

21. Tom Waits – Green Grass (2004)
As I am playing this song, Any Minor Dude inquires: “What the hell is this?” I reply: “Son, it”s an acquired taste, like Gin, Brussels sprouts or the philosophy of Sören Kierkegaard.”
Whistletastic moment: 2:29 Tom stops groaning to sweeten the song with a melancholy whistle solo.

22. Billy Joel – The Stranger (1977)
It all starts so prettily until the cynical guitars kick in to introduce Billy’s cynical ruminations on the alienation of the self, or something. When he’s done, he reprises the pretty part, just to show that he’s not all cynical, as he’ll soon demonstrate on the LP with a soppy love song imploring Elizabeth not to go changing her hair or trying some new fashion, only to dump her a few years later for a fashion model with lovely hair. Clearly he didn’t let her see the stranger in himself.
Whistletastic moment: 0:26 The whistle joins the pretty intro until the cynical guitar comes in. It returns later, with the pretty outro.

23. Glen Campbell – Sunflower (1977)
Nothing cynical in Campbell’s sunshiney, optimistic song; a catchy number even if you hate it.
Whistletastic moment: 2:15  Just in case we didn’t catch in just how a good mood Glen is, he sees the song out with a jolly whistle.

24. Monty Python – Always Look On The Bright Side of Life (1979)
You didn’t think I could avoid including this, did you?
Whistletastic moment: 0:30 The first whistled response to Eric Idle’s appeal to buoyancy.

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Any Major New York City – Vol. 1

January 23rd, 2018 20 comments

I am among the many who are profoundly fascinated by New York. Without ever having been there, I feel an affinity with the place (at this point I might invite the multi-millionaires among my loyal readers to come forward with offers for an all-expenses trip to NYC for me and my family). Obviously I’m not alone.

When I first made up this collection in 2009, I thought I’d even make it two mixes. Then I began shortlisting. The list grew longer and longer. Then I culled, ruthlessly. I ended up with five mixes, including the New York in Black & White mix I re-posted a couple of years ago.

So, how much do I love NYC, without ever having been there? Well, consider this: a large framed print of the photo below, bought almost 25 years ago, hangs above my bed. As I said, wealthy benefactors…..

 

1. Billie Holiday – Autumn In New York (1954)
NYC hook: When Harry repeatedly met Sally, his creepiness was relieved by the beauty of NYC’s fallen, brown leaves. I’m not sure that match-making via Harry Connick is what Billie had in mind. It’s beautiful nonetheless. No wonder the creep eventually managed to hook the rather attractive Sally, playing lovely music like this for, to and at her.

2. Ray Charles – New York’s My Home (1961)
NYC hook: Well, it’s his favourite city, not just a visiting place. It’s, as the title shrewdly implies, his home.

3. Bobby Darin – Sunday In New York (1964)
NYC hook: Ah, those innocent days when shops would be closed on Sundays, and there’d be nothing better to do than window shopping – and sing infectiously upbeat songs about it.

4. Ad Libs – Boy From NY City (1964)
NYC hook: Well, there’s a boy, and he’s from New York City, and a girl named Kitty, for reason of rhyme, is urged to tell us about him. We learn that he is no clown, which is a relief.

5. Harpers Bizarre – 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy) (1967)
NYC hook: Slowly following the S&G city map, Harpers Bizarre are finding cause to feel pretty good – or groovy, in the era’s vernacular. As the title might have told you. What else can make you feel groovy?

6. Gerard Kenny – New York, New York (1978)
NYC hook: It’s safe to say that Gerard Kenny likes New York. In his enthusiasm, he claims inaccurately that on account of how good the city is, it was named twice, like the pederast in Nabokov”s Lolita. Of course we know that his Sesame Street level assertion does not correspond with reality, yet we would feel guilty disabusing him of his error. It would crush him.

7. Russ Ballard – New York Groove (1975)
NYC hook: A little under a decade after people were feeling gently groovy, Russ thumped us with the NY GROOOVE, symbolising the transition from weed to coke. Ex-Argent member Ballard wrote the song, but didn’t release it. Instead, Hello in 1975 and Ace Fehley of Kiss in 1978 had hits with it.

8. Nicole Atkins – Brooklyn’s On Fire (2007)
NYC hook: It’s Independence Day and, Nicole counsels us, Brooklyn is on fire. Not literally, even though the chorus does sound deceptively alarming. It’s the fireworks, and romance is in the air.

9. Ramones – Rockaway Beach (1977)
NYC hook: Joey and his “brothers” hitch a ride to the Beach. The Surfin’ USA for New Yorkers.

10. Bruce Springsteen – Sherry Darling (1980)
NYC hook: New York traffic is a bastard, and more so when you have to ferry around your nagging future mother-in-law. Our Bruce likes his Sherry, but one more word out of her Mom, and she walks.

11. Ryan Adams – New York New York (2001)
NYC hook: Ryan loves New York a lot, and this is his declaration of love. The video for this song was filmed four days before 9/11, and apparently the song played on loop for days after the attack. Apologies to New Yorkers in whom this track evokes horrible memories.

12. Elliot Smith – Amity (1998)
NYC hook: This mix is like a soap opera. Remember Kitty who told us about the boy from New York City? Well, it seems the Boy from New York City has returned to New York City, with Kitty. “Hello, hello Kitty, happy in New York City.”

13. Bright Eyes – Old Soul Song (For The New World Order) (2005)
NYC hook: The only song in this mix not to mention New York, its geography or landmarks. But it is set in New York, describing the big February 2003 demonstration against George W Bush’s illicit, indefensible declaration of war against a state that posed no threat to his country’s security. As we knew then, if we were ready to refuse to believe the brazen lies peddled by Dick, Don and Dubya, and their gurning poodle in Britain. Remember them? These evil fucks seem so innocent in Trump’s 2018…

14. Rosie Thomas – Much Farther To Go (2007)
NYC hook: A broken heart in New York City, with the Statue of Liberty as a prop. Without wishing to engage in undue hyperbole, this is a most beautiful song.

15. Rufus Wainwright – Chelsea Hotel No 2 (2006)
NYC hook: Casual celebrity oral sex; it’s the New York way. The cover may be even better than Laughing Len’s original.

16. Everything But The Girl – The Only Living Boy In New York (1997)
NYC hook: One person leaves New York, the other stays behind. The second Simon & Garfunkel cover in the mix, and I have two more of their songs lined up”…

17. Mondo Kané feat. Georgie Fame – New York Afternoon (1986)
NYC hook: We”ve had Billie Holiday in autumn and Rosie Thomas in winter; here Mondo Kané and Georgie Fame (produced by the soon-to-be-evil-but-still-excellent Stock Aitken Waterman) enjoy a nice summer afternoon in various New York landmarks.

18. Prefab Sprout – Hey Manhattan! (1988)
NYC hook: And coming in on the flight after Mondo Kané’s are wide-eyed tourists Prefab Sprout, admitting to being entirely star-struck. Brooklyn Bridge, 5th Avenue (where Sinatra walked), JFK hang-out The Carlyle”… But look out for the denouement as our tourist friends become aware of New York’s class division.

19. Neil Diamond – Brooklyn Roads (1968)
NYC hook: Neil grew up in Brooklyn. No dazzled observations about famous landmarks and celebrities here. Reminiscing on his childhood, Neil is smelling cooking in the hallways of his block; I get the scent of Mrs Diamond’s boiled cabbage. Wistfully, he imagines a new generation of children living in his old room, perhaps dreaming, as he did, of busting loose.

20. Gil Scott-Heron – New York City (1976)
NYC hook: You’d think angry Gil would hate New York. But he doesn’t. He loves it. Not quite sure why. Nothing much wrong with it, he says. And that’s just as well, seeing as the city reminds Gil of himself.

21. Steely Dan – Brooklyn (1972)
NYC hook: The charmer under me is… the guy who lived below Fagen and Becker in Brooklyn. All there is to it.

22. Lou Reed – Dirty Blvd. (1989)
NYC hook: Face it, Lou Reed could sing ice cream commercials on a gondola or pack a surf board on a beach surrounded by gaggle of busty blondes, and whatever he was singing would still be about the grime of New York City’s underbelly. The Venetian gondolier would be a pimp, the surfer a pusher and the busty blondes junkie hookers. It’s what Lou did.

23. Bob Dylan – Hard Times In New York Town (1961)
NYC hook: Young Bobby Zimmerman escaped from cold Minnesota to Greenwich Village and joined the folk circuit. Recorded before he released his (not terribly good) debut album, we can sympathise here with the complications he is facing in his adopted home.

24. Bob James – Angela (Theme from ‘Taxi’) (1978)
NYC hook: What would a series of songs about New York be without reference to the yellow cabs. Taxi was, of course, the show about, well, taxis which brought together Danny DeVito, Tony Danza, Jeff Conaway, Carol Kane, Randall Carver, Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, Christopher Lloyd and Andy Kaufman.

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Any Major Whistle Vol. 1

July 17th, 2017 19 comments

Here I am recycling a mix on whistling in pop I posted in 2009. As a vigorous (and in-tune!) whistler, I appreciate the art of musical blowing of air. I presume that most of the whistling was perpetrated by the performers themselves, but there have been moments when an act has made use of session whistlers. For example, the fade out whistling on Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay (not featured here) is not Otis Redding’s lipwork; in fact, he berated the session whistler for being out of tune in the first take.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on to a standard CD-R.

1. Elvis Presley – A Whistling Tune (1962)
The perfect opener: it”s got the right title, it starts with a whistle, it”s Elvis (though I don”t know if it is him whistling). Elvis doesn”t strike me as the whistling type). Whistle-tastic moment: 0:01 Whistling right off the bat.

2. Roger Miller – England Swings (1965)
London was swinging, as TIME magazine established, so country singer Roger Miller imagined its swingingness. Oh yeah, the Bobby is on a leisurely beat. It’ll take Plod two years to work out that Mick and Keef are smoking naughty stuff in the privacy of their own home.
Whistle-tastic moment: 0:01 From the top and returning throughout.

3. Johnnie Ray – Just Walking In The Rain (1956)
Poor old Johnnie Ray. Sounded sad upon the radio. He moved a million hearts in mono. Here he is crying, believe it or not. And, happily, whistling a catchy blow-air riff.
Whistle-tastic moment: 0:01 Johnnie lets blow from the start before singing, just like our fathers.

4. Pat Boone – Love Letters In The Sand (1957)
Pat Boone was never very cool. But I can forgive him his reactionary pop posing for his whistle solo in Love Letters In The Sand, proudly wearing his Bing Crosbyness on his lips.
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:27 And all the girls play air whistle.

5. The Mamas & The Papas – Dream A Little Dream Of Me (1968)
If by 1968 anybody had a doubt who the star of the Mamas And the Papas was, here’s the proof: Cass gets a special intro. Glorious.
Whistle-tastic moment: 2:58  Enough of the ad-libbing da-da-da-ing; give a little whistle.

6. Rilo Kiley – Ripchord (2004)
If there had been Indie rock in 1928, Ripchord (from the excellent More Adventurous album) would have been the hit.
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:44 The whistling is not very good, and yet entirely charming.

7. Badly Drawn Boy – You Were Right (2002)
Why do some people not like Badly Drawn Boy? This is perhaps the wolly-hatted one’s best song, with great lyrics. I like his obliviousness to the deaths of stars, and his rejection of Madonna’s possible romantic designs on him.
Whistle-tastic moment: 4:03  The boy can whistle as well as Roger Whitaker (sorry, apartheid-boycott-busting fans; he won’t feature): a great 23 second solo.

bogartbacall

You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together, and blow.

8. Andrew Bird- Masterfade (2005)
It’s obvious a singer named Bird should make the whistle a regular element of his music. Happily, the whistling does not define Bird’s kicked-back indie sounds.
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:39 Vibrato whistling!

9. Loose Fur – The Ruling Class (2006)
I”ve been told that the recurring whistling here is committed by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, for whom Loose Fur was a side-project and takes the vocals on this track. It’s a good riff.
Whistle-tastic moment: 0:09 Take care; the whistle riff might become a constant earworm.

10. The Lemonheads – If I Could Talk I’d Tell You (1996)
It took me a while to decide whether to use this version or Evan Dando’s solo live cut  (I love this song in either incarnation). Dando live is amusingly off-key on the first note of the whistle solo, an error I’ve tried hard to replicate. If I could talk I’d tell you why I went with the Lemonheads’ take (OK, put away your waterboard: it’s a question of sound quality).
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:53  One of the birds flying around Snow White’s head must have had some of the evil queen’s bad apples and turned up totally goofed at the Lemonheads’ recording studio.

11. Tenpole Tudor – Wünderbar (1981)
The indiscriminate use of the umlaut notwithstanding, this is still a great song — I”d have thought that 28 years on it would be vaguely embarrassing. Not so, I’m jiving to it as I write.
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:38 An extended group whistle solo. Wonderful.

12. XTC – Generals And Majors (1980)
Post-punk new wave was not a fertile soil for the art of whistling. Except if you were XTC, who rocked the whistle more than once.
Whistle-tastic moment: 0:41  The whistle interlude sets the scene for tempo change (listening closely, is it the synth whistling?).

13. Dexys Midnight Runners – Until I Believe In My Soul (7:01)
I held this one over from the flute series. If I was planning a series of fake laughing in pop — and I am not — or one about irritated mumbling interludes in music (ditto), this would be a contender too.
Whistle-tastic moment: 5:05 After lots of emotional build-up, the song goes silent for a second; then Rowland whistles reassuringly to introduce the fiddle-backed mumblinations that precede the repeated YESes.

14. Eels – I Like Birds (live) (2006)
E insists that the song is about his appreciation of our feathered friends. The feeder for you to perch on is — for birds?
Whistle-tastic moment: 0:37 The whistle represents a bird.

15. Jens Lekman – A Man Walks Into A Bar (2005)
Oh Jens, you”re so ironic. The memories of a childhood amateur comedienne makes you sad, years after. Just beautiful.
Whistle-tastic moment: 0:54 The whistle interlude allows us to reflect on Lekman’s irony and wallow in his melancholy. And he repeats the trick. And gives us a harmonica solo to boot.

16. Josh Rouse – Quiet Town (2007)
Josh Rouse left Nashville, found love and settled in a quiet town in Spain which sounds like a relaxing place, with much leisure and contentment. And what do you do when you”re leisurely contented? Why, you whistle, contentedly.
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:13  Josh is leisurely contented.

17. John Lennon – Nobody Loves You When You’re Down (1975)
It may seem impossible to imagine, but John Lennon had moments of self-pity. Oh yes, but he did. Rarely in his solo career did the self-pity serve him better than on this bitter song, extracting from Lennon fine, understated vocals.
Whistle-tastic moment: 4:27 ohn goes into resigned  “oh fuck it” whistling mode, repeating his party trick from Jealous Guy..

18. Shawn Phillips – Steel Eyes (1971)
Phillips is an unjustly ignored long-hair folk merchant now living in South Africa. Steel Eyes comes from the wonderful Second Contribution album (worth looking up just for the title of the opening track).
Whistle-tastic moment: 2:12 You think the song is over; then, after a three-second silence, Phillips gives it a whistle interlude. Forty seconds later, it ends. But it doesn’t; he starts again. Oh how you tease, Shawn.

19. Sun City Girls – The Shining Path (1990)
And today’s prize question: Which famous melody are the unfeminine Sun City Girls ripping off here? And what on earth are they singing?
Whistle-tastic moment: 0:01 Unlike your average spaghetti western, Sun City Girls don”t let you wait long for whistle action.

20. The Beach Boys – Disney Girls (1957) (1971)
The moment the Beach Boys, led here by Bruce Johnstone, turned into Paul McCartney. It has whistling and flute. Gorgeous.
Whistle-tastic moment: 3:47 The whistling comes in randomly at the end.

21. Paul Simon – Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard (1971)
Paul Simon once said he didn”t really know what Mama saw. Still, it seems obvious that an act of a sexual nature was observed. But let”s put to rest the idea that Rosie was the leading administrator of favours to matters phallic because she was the queen of something sharing the name with a cigar — Corona is a New York neighbourhood.
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:12  Simon lets blow. Good job. Bad pun.

22. Danyel Gerard – Butterfly (French version) (1971)
I’ve posted the German version of this before, and I shall do so again. The German, English and French versions all have the whistling interlude. The song? Yeah, it is cheesy. And quite wonderful.
Whistle-tastic moment: 3:17 After establishing a sing-along party atmosphere, our floppy-hatted friend wistfully (look, Ma, no puns) whistles the song out.

23. Richard Cheese – Creep (2006)
It”s so mother-fucking special.
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:07  Cheese announces it: WHISTLE SOLO!.

Bonus: Mrs Miller – Downtown (1966)
You have to love Mrs Miller: she was deadly serious about her singing, yet she knew that to everyone else it was amusing. Hear Mrs Miller fluff her line, get flustered, and then gamely catches herself to take us to perhaps the most disturbing whistle solos in the history of popular music “” after which she fluffs the lyrics some more.
Whistle-tastic moment: 1:07  Mrs Miller is so stoked about her whistling chops that she gives us an encore.

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Any Major Flute Vol. 4

May 25th, 2017 12 comments

This is the fourth flute mix. When I first posted these eight years ago, I declared myself officially fluted out. But I think there should be at least a fifth mix. I bend my one-artist-per-series rule a bit: the Carpenters, Gil-Scott-Heron and The Beatles are allowed to reflute on this compilation.

As ever, CD-R length, flutilicious covers, PW same as always..

1. Carpenters – This Masquerade (1973)
Flute moment: 2:40  The flute is there right at the beginning, stays with us, and then, at 2:40, takes charge with a hard-rocking solo. Leon Russell”s original also has some flute, but nothing on this, one of the great flute tracks in pop.

2. Julie London – Light My Fire (1969)
Flute moment: 0:01  The only song featured twice, though quite a few might also have qualified. The flute sets Julie up to do with the song what the Doors couldn”t “” make it as seductive as the words suggest. Go on, kiss somebody while the solo (starting at 1:58) plays.

3. Roberta Flack & Quincy Jones – On A Clear Day/Killer Joe (1973)
Flute moment: 5:04   Sammy Davis Jr introduces Roberta and Quincy at the Save The Children concert. Flack sings On A Clear Day better than Streisand ever did, and when Quincy”s Killer Joe comes in, the medley rocks. In between, there”s a one-minute flute solo.

4. Gil Scott-Heron – The Bottle (1975)
Flute moment: 2:49   Brian Jackson”s flute in Scott-Heron”s songs are the sound of the “70s ghetto and blaxploitation. Introducing the solo, Gil calls on Stick to “hit me one more time”. Funny that the Poet Laureate of the ghetto, the English popsters and the whitebread siblings should share the honour of being featured twice in this series.

5. P.P. Arnold – It”ll Never Happen Again (1968)
Flute moment: 0:15  Vastly underrated soul singer, who should have been given the entire Bacharach catalogue to sing. The flute accompanies us throughout this gorgeous song.

6. The Beatles – The Fool On The Hill (1967)
Flute moment: 2:43  Flute AND recorder, Paul? Well, it works.

7. Gilbert B̩caud РNathalie (1965)
Flute moment: 0:19   C”est la flute.

8. Cat Stevens – Katmandu (1970)
Flute moment: 1:43  Flute interlude by Peter Gabriel, fact fans.

9. The Four Tops – Still Water (Love) (1970)
Flute moment: There is none. The flute is floating in the background. I included the song only because it is so lovely.

10. Fantastic Four – I Don”t Wanna Live Without Your Love (1967)
Flute moment: 0:09   There is, however, flute on this 1967 soul track, which sounds a lot like a Four Tops song. Again, the flute gets no centrestage time, but among the backing instrumentation, it stands out.

11. Left Banke – Walk Away Renee (1966)
Flute moment: 1:22  On my first draft of this playlist, I unconsciously paired the Left Banke with the Four Tops, who covered Walk Away Renee to fine effect.

12. Boz Scaggs – Lowdown (1976)
Flute moment: 0:18  The song has a funky bassline, a great guitar part, and a fantastic flute riff which bosses the tune and occasionally heckles poor Boz…

13. Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love (1978)
Flute moment: 1:35  The flute solo takes us to the bridge.

14. Smokey Robinson – Quiet Storm (1975)
Flute moment: 1:52  The song that started a genre which provided the soundtrack for the conception of millions of babies. When Smokey commands: “Blow baby!”, he presumably means the flute.

15. Neil Sedaka – Bad Blood (1975)
Flute moment: 0:40  A pretty mediocre song is redeemed by a bit of fine flute.

16. The Blues Project – Flute Thing (1966)
Flute moment: the whole song. Well, it does take nine seconds for the flute to start.  It is so flutish, the band needed no better title than Flute Thing.

17. Genesis – Get “Em Out by Friday (1972)
Flute moment: 1:59  It starts off terribly prog-rockish. But it gets bearably pleasant when the flute comes in to accompany Peter
Gabriel (who presumably is not playing the flute at the same time). Then, after two minutes it becomes proggish again, and when the song slows down next, no flute! I blame Phil Collins, the bald man”s Bono. Happily, the flute returns at 4:57, for more than a minute.

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Any Major Flute Vol. 1
Any Major Flute Vol. 2
Any Major Flute Vol. 3

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Any Major Flute Vol. 3

September 29th, 2016 13 comments

Any Major Flute Vol. 3

When I initially made these mixes in 2009, I had noted down songs featuring the flute for about a year, and I still stumbled across flutes that had previously passed me by, even in songs I know very well, such as Kris Kristofferson’s Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I Ever Did Before) and The 5th Dimension’s Up Up And Away, a song I have loved since I was a little boy. In the case of the latter I picked up the flute only while watching a clip of the song being performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. There will still be more flute mixes.

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1. Van McCoy – The Hustle (1975)
Flute moment: 0:35 Well, this is the soul anthem of flutology which everyone knows how to whistle, straight after chanting “Do the hustle!”

2. The 5th Dimension – Up-Up And Away (1967)
Flute moment: 1:43  The flute creeps in almost unnoticed in the background at 0:52, disappears and then asserts itself almost a minute later.

3. Dusty Springfield – I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face (1967)
Flute moment: 0:01 The alto flute sets up the song with a 17-second intro. The job done it lets Dusty do her lovely thing. Check out Baby Washington”s equally flutetastic version.

4. Aretha Franklin – Until You Come Back to Me (1973)
Flute moment: 2:27   On Aretha”s cover version of Stevie Wonder”s much-neglected song, the flute serves as an occasional member of the rhythm section until it gets to show off its solo chops in the final third.

5. The Style Council – How She Threw It All Away (1988)
Flute moment:0:01  The flute comes in right away and returns periodically throughout, and gets a cool 15-second solo at 2:01, and from 3:41 stays with us till the end.

6. The National – So Far Around The Bend (2009)
Flute moment: 0:49  In 2009, The National show that the flute is not out of fashion. It has the flute (well, I”m not totally convinced it”s a flute, but something flute-ish) and the xylophone. Reader Itallstarted suggested this track in the comments section; thanks for alerting me to my new current favourite song.

7. Mercury Rev – Something For Joey (1993)
Flute moment: 1:57  Amid all the multi-instrumental wall of sound, the flute pipes up merrily, as was Mercury Rev”s wont.

8. Golden Earring – Back Home (1970)
Flute moments: 0:10 & 2:38  Traffic did it. Jethro Tull did it. Moody Blues did it. Why shouldn”t hoary Dutch rock acts?

9. Jeremy Steig – Howling For Judy (1969)
Flute moment: All of it. It is cheating a bit to include a flute-jazz track here, but this is fantastic and more rock than jazz: two flutes and a bit of bass. This tack was the basis for the Beastie Boys track on Any Major Flute Vol. 1. Steig passed away on April 13, 2016 “” exactly a week after I re-posted the flute mix with his sample on the Beastie Boys track.

10. Joe Walsh – Days Gone By (1973)
Flute moment: 3:55   The future Eagle kicks off with flute, returning to the flute hook periodically before giving the instrument the opportunity to take over for a minute. Thanks to Johnny Bacardi for sending this to me.

11. Blood, Sweat & Tears – Sometimes In Winter (1969)
Flute moment:0:22  The flute is with us from the start on this track, but really helps set the scene after 22 seconds, staying prominently with us through out the first minute, taking a break for another minute, and returning after the 2-minute mark and never leaves us again.

12. Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her Was Easier (1971)
Flute moment: 0:20  Blink and you might miss it. For a long time, I did not take notice of the three moments of brief flutesomeness, all within in the first minute. And I have listened to this song, an all-time favourite, more than most KK songs.

13. The Dillards – Listen To The Sound (1968)
Flute moment:0:01  The flute is not particularly big in country. But here we”ve had KK and now The Dillards, the hugely influential but largely forgotten country/bluegrass band.

14. The Association – Windy (1967)
Flute moment: 1:07  Flute solo! And the flute returns at 2:27, staying until the song fades out.

15. Billy Joel – Get It Right The First Time (1977)
Flute moment: 0:16  This is possibly the only Billy Joel that features the flute. I can”t think of any other. Funny then that it is my least favourite song from The Stranger.

16. The Isley Brothers – For The Love Of You (1975)
Flute moment: 0:01  Early ’70s soul music frequently incorporated the flute to great profit. For The Love Of You signalled the advent of the much-maligned Quiet Storm genre (named after the Smokey Robinson album, the title track of which will feature in Volume 4). The lovely flute hook accompanies the song discreetly throughout.

17. S.O.U.L. – Burning Spear (1973)
Flute moment: 0:18  Where the flute was inhibited on the previous song, on this funk instrumental it takes the centre stage and sounds as sexy as any wind instrument ever did (oh dear, one could manufacture a terrible double entrendez from that statement).

18. Procol Harum ““ Pandora”s Box (1975)
Flute moment: 1:39  Borrowing liberally from the Tull, the rock legends turn to the flute in an interplay with the guitar.

19. Stackridge – To The Sun And Moon (1974)
Flute moment: 1:19   Fun fact: Folk outfit Stackridge were the first act to play at the very first Glastonbury Festival. A flute-friendly act, they take their time to bring in the instrument here.

20. Focus – Hocus Pocus (1971)
Flute moment: 4:14  When I asked earlier why Dutch rock bands shouldn”t use the flute, I merely restated what Focus pondered almost 40 years ago. The flute takes its time to turn up in this entirely strange strong which includes prodigious yodelling, a momentary lapse of the singer”s mental faculties as he does speaking in tongues, and all manner of other madness. Odd then that it is the flutes that are best remembered “” after the yodels, obviously.

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Any Major Flute Vol. 1
Any Major Flute Vol. 2

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Any Major Flute Vol. 2

May 12th, 2016 27 comments

Any Major Flute Vol. 2

The first volume of the flute in pop (rock and soul) was well received. Perhaps there was a gap in the market. So here”s the second volume, with a third one in the works. Thank you to those who have given some very good ideas “” in the comments section, on Facebook (become my friend) and elsewhere “” seven years ago, when I first posted this, and on the recycled Any Major Flute Vol. 1, which ran in early April. You”ll find some suggestions from the first time around incorporated here, or in Volume 3. I think I will do fourth mix at some point of tracks recommended by readers (in 2016 and 2009). And, yes, I”ve caved and included the Tull. What next? Glockenspiel in rock?.

As ever, CD-R length, home-blown covers. PW in comments.

1. Manfred Mann – Mighty Quinn (1968)
Flutastic Moment: 0:01 Appropriately, the mix kicks off with the flute. What came first, the Mighty Quinn or Come Together?

2. The Coasters – Love Potion No 9 (1970)
Flutastic Moment: 1:38 The flute starts up suddenly and quite frantically as the whole Leiber & Stoller classic goes into funk mode.

3. Canned Heat – Going Up Country (1968)
Flutastic Moment: 0:01 The flute introduces the song until Alan Wilson’s odd counter-tenor vocals begin, making the occasional cameo appearance throughout.

4. Jethro Tull – Up To Me (1971)
Flutastic Moment: 0:02 The Tull giggle as though they are high (surely not!), and the almost percussive flute comes in.

5. Donovan – Sunny Goodge Street (1965)
Flutastic Moment: 1:33 Alas, poor Donovan. History underrates him dreadfully. But hear this and tell me he did not profoundly influence Nick Drake. The flute solo is quite lovely.

6. Minnie Riperton – Light My Fire (1979)
Flutastic Moment: 1:59 The interplay between keyboard and flute is impressive. José Feliciano comes in later to duet on this (superior) cover of his interpretation. One wonders how big Riperton might have been had cancer not claimed her. She had one of the most beautiful, sexiest voices in music, apart from her ability to surf the octaves.

7. Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. – You Don’t Have To Be A Star (1976)
Flutastic Moment: 0:04 The flute hook introduces the song by these two former 5th Dimensions, who by then had gone soul.

8. Albert Hammond – It Never Rains In Southern California (1972)
Flutastic Moment:0:08 The brief flute interlude, which recurs at 1:56, sets the scene for the vocals.

9. George Harrison – Dark Horse (1974)
Flutastic Moment: 1:08 The flute is going discreetly in the background until it decides to let its presence felt.

10. Marshall Tucker Band – Take The Highway (1973)
Flutastic Moment: 0:05 The flute drives this song from the start. A flute rock classic.

11. CCS – Whole Lotta Love (1970)
Flutastic Moment: 0:35 The purring flute holds its own against the thumping rhythms in the Collective Consciousness Society”s fantastic cover of boring old Led Zep, which British readers may know better as a theme for Top Of The Pops.

12. The The – Uncertain Smile (1982)
Flutastic Moment: 1:21 I don”t know if The The ever appeared on TOTP. For the flute in this, they (well, he) should have. Hear where Lloyd Cole got his ideas from.

13. Men At Work – Down Under (1981)
Flutastic Moment: 0:03 One of the most famous flute songs in pop, with perhaps the most recognisable flute riff. Men At Work are often seen as a naff “80s outfit (and written off as “” calumny! “” a one-hit wonder). They were fronted by Colin Hay, who is not in any way naff. And his recent letter of advice to the ghastly Ted Cruz was quite satisfying.

14. Saint Etienne Nothing Can Stop Us (1991)
Flutastic Moment: 1:17 The whole thing is a chilled-out house thing, but when the flute comes in, the song gets soul.

15. Esther Williams – Last Night Changed It All (1976)
Flutastic Moment: 0:30 Dance music in the mid-“70s made great use of flute hooks (and, yes, The Hustle will feature in Volume 3). What a groove!

16. The Chiffons – Just For Tonight (1968)
Flutastic Moment: 1:14 The alto flute solo gives the latter-day girl-band a whole new sound.

17. Marvin Gaye – Stubborn Kind Of Fellow (1962)
Flute Moment: 1:04 But the flute solo also did a fine job in early Motown.

18. Love – Orange Skies (1966)
Flutastic Moment: 0:31 The flute comes in to echo and emphasise the singers declaration of love. When he sings about how happy he is, the flute responds as if it was a cartoon bird. It”s like Mary Poppins for love-struck hippies.

19. Chicago – Color My World (1970)
Flutastic Moment: 1:54 Damn, Chicago were good before the group was hijacked by the extravagantly coiffured Peter Cetera. The flute solo takes a long time coming, but when it arrives, it is quite beautiful and it sees out the remaining minute of the song.

20. The Guess Who – Undun (1969)
Flutastic Moment: 2:15 The Guess Who might have given English teachers nightmares, but they knew how to use a flute to good, albeit far too brief, effect.

21. Lou Reed – Sad Song (1973)
Flutastic Moment: 0:01 Is the flautist trying to get to the melody of Somewhere Over The Rainbow?

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Any Major Flute Vol. 1

April 6th, 2016 33 comments

A reader asked nicely whether I might re-up the Any Major Flute series. Over the next couple of months, I will do just that, leaving the format unchanged from when I first posted it seven years ago. But now I’m including home-blown covers. Like this one:

Any Major Flute-1

I may have mentioned once or twice that if a song features a bit of flute, I”ll like it. So it seems to me that mix celebrating the flute in pop is necessary and desirable. I know that some people hate the idea of flute in rock “” perhaps this mix will disabuse them of such odd notions. Should one or the song feature a piccolo or recorder instead of the flute, please enjoy the respite and don”t shout at me. If this mix is popular enough, I”ll put together a second mix of songs I”ve held back. And, look Ma, no Jethro Tull!
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1. Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Winter in America (1974)
Flute Moment: 3:57 ““ Gil goes “stick”, and Brian lets rip with his flute.

2. Baby Huey – California Dreamin” (1971)
Flute Moment: 2:10 ““ After the flute does it alone for the long intro, the instrumental party kicks off.

3. Josh Rouse – James (2003)
Flute Moment: 2:47 ““ Rouse captures the sound of 1972, as the album title promises, when the flute goes into a conversation with the guitar.

4. Bobby Bland – Ain’t No Love In the Heart Of The City (1974)
Flute Moment: 2:06 & 3:22 ““ Listen closely or you”ll miss it.

5. Eddie Rabbitt – Suspicions (1979)
Flute Moment: 2:14 ““ Hail the flute solo

6. Carpenters – Road One (1972)
Flute Moment: 2:14 ““ Spookily, the flute solo here commences at the same time as that in Suspicion.

7. MJ – I Wanna Be Where You Are (1972)
Flute Moment: 1:47 ““ The flute backs young Michael funkily, and then gets its solo spot.

8. Blackbyrds – Walking In Rhythm (1974)
Flute Moment: 1:55 ““ Flute solo in rhythm.

9. The Mamas & the Papas – Creeque Alley (1967)
Flute Moment: 2:23 ““ Like the Carpenters, The Mamas & The Papas liked a bit of flute.

10. Frank Sinatra with Count Basie – Fly Me To The Moon (1966)
Flute Moment:0:35 ““ You don”t really expect to hear the flute in Sinatra”s music. In this live recording, Count Basie gives this standard a flute signature.

11. David Bowie – Moonage Daydream (1972)
Flute Moment: 1:54 ““ Bowie goes all Jethro Tull on us for a minute.

12. Cardigans – Sick & Tired (1994)
Flute Moment: 0:02 ““ The background flute never leaves us.

13. Van M. – Everyone (1970)
Flute Moment: 1:48 ““ After being with us throughout, the flute gets a 30-second solo.

14. Traffic – John Barleycorn (1970)
Flute Moment: 1:07 ““ The prog rock flute classic that”s not by Jethro Tull.

15. Carole King – So Far Away (1971)
Flute Moment: 3:16 ““ Carole gamely resisted the urge to include the flute for much of the song.

16. Simon & Garfunkel – So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright (1970)
Flute Moment: 1:18 ““ The flute takes the lead, accompanied by acoustic guitar, strings and percussion.

17. The Beatles – You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (1965)
Flute Moment:1:47 ““ The flute sees out my favourite Beatles song.

18. The Beach Boys – Feel Flows (1971)
Flute Moment: 1:44 ““ Aah, there”s the flute.

19. Beastie Boys – Sure Shot (1994)
Flute Moment: 0:01 ““ The cool flute hook, sampled from Jeremy Steig’s Howling For Judy, stays with us through almost all of the song.

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