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Any Major ABC: 2000s

July 11th, 2019 1 comment

 

The second decade of the 21st century is coming to an end, but, like an old man fighting off change as if it was the Grim Reaper himself, I’m still coming to terms with this new-fangled millennium. I still have clear memories of the Y2K scam, and to me the Noughties (is that what they called?) are still new territory.

The rapid advance of time is unsettling. Today I noticed that the film The Hangover is ten years old! The 2000s, the timespan covered in this instalment of the ABC in Decades, raced by so quickly, I missed time’s transition to the 2010s.

At least with the Noughties, I have a measure of time: it began when Any Minor Dude was a pre-schooler, looking like a pre-schooler, and ended when he was a teenager in full pubescent swing. In the Noughties, the little dude changed a lot physically. Since 2010, he’s not changed that much physically, the occasional facial hirsuteness, a more muscular body and the obligatory tattoos aside.

Talking of tattoos: I suspect that my son’s generation will rebel against body art. Tats will be like the mullet, the stuff of embarrassing dads.

When the timespan of the present mix began, tattoos were not quite mainstream thing yet. I remember seeing a video of some alt.rock band around 2001; the member had tattoo sleeves. I was quite appalled, wondering what these young gentlemen had been thinking when they disfigured their limbs. Against my hopes, that kind of thing caught on.

So, here are 26 songs from A-Z that cover the 2000s, some by long-forgotten acts. If in the late 1970s everything from the 1960s were “oldies”, then all the tracks here are, strictly speaking, oldies. Except, with instant access to any old song through the Internet, nothing released since the MP3 revolution has had the chance to acquire the necessary distance in time to attain the status of “oldie”. Perhaps some forgotten track may evoke nostalgia, such as the Lucy Peal number here.

Because acts in the 2000s didn’t know the virtue of brevity, this mix doesn’t fit on a standard CD-R. I have made a home-zeroed cover anyway. PW in comments.

1. Amy Winehouse – Love Is A Losing Game (2006)
2. Ben Folds – Trusted (2004)
3. Common – Real People (2005)
4. Darkness – I Believe In A Thing Called Love (2003)
5. Eels – Blinking Lights (For Me) (2005)
6. Farryl Purkiss – Better Days (2006)
7. Gabe Dixon Band – All Will Be Well (2004)
8. Hello Saferide – The Quiz (2006)
9. Ian Broudie – Song For No One (2004)
10. Johnny Cash – Hurt (2002)
11. KT Tunstall – Other Side Of The World (2005)
12. Lucy Pearl – Don’t Mess With My Man (2000)
13. Mindy Smith – Fighting For It All (2004)
14. Neil Diamond – Save Me A Saturday Night (2005)
15. OutKast feat. Sleepy Brown – The Way You Move (2003)
16. Phoenix – Long Distance Call (2006)
17. Queens Of The Stone Age – Gonna Leave You (2002)
18. Rilo Kiley – Portions For Foxes (2004)
19. Scarface – On My Block (2002)
20. Tim McGraw – Live Like You Were Dying (2004)
21. Uncle Kracker – Follow Me (2000)
22. Von Bondies – C’mon C’mon (2003)
23. Wilco – Misunderstood (live) (2005)
24. Xavier Rudd – Better People (2007)
25. Yael Naïm – New Soul (2007)
26. Zero 7 – In The Waiting Line (2001)

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Any Major ABC of Country

February 14th, 2019 1 comment

Having been asked a few times, I’ve re-upped the whole History of Country series, which I put together between 2010 and 2012. The eBook of the series is still up as well; the eBook and series are what I hope is a decent and brief primer for country music. My idea was that the series might attract people to dig a bit deeper into country.

So to announce the re-upping of the series, here’s an ABC of Country. In absence of any country acts starting with X, the playlist is a letter short. The artists were chosen more or less at random, though I was conscious of including at least one black country singer (the superb O.B. McLinton), and to have some very old and some newer material. The oldest song here is by Uncle Dave Macon, who was born in 1870, and was already 57 when the present song was recorded in 1927, only a couple of years after the first country track was put down on shellac.

Get your free copy of the A Brief History of Country Music eBook.   (RG link)

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

1. Alison Krauss – When You Say Nothing At All (1995)
2. Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys – Bubbles In My Beer (1947)
3. Carter Family – Broken Hearted Lover (1935)
4. Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner – The Last Thing On My Mind (1967)
5. Emmylou Harris – Boulder To Birmingham (1975)
6. Flying Burrito Brothers – Farther Along (1970)
7. George Jones – From Here To The Door (1966)
8. Hoyt Axton – Never Been To Spain (1971)
9. Irene Kelly – My Sun And Moon (2004)
10. John Prine – Hello In There (1971)
11. Kris Kristofferson – Darb’s Castle (1970)
12. Lefty Frizzell – Shine, Shave, Shower (It’s Saturday) (1950)
13. Merle Haggard and The Strangers – (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers (1969)
14. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band feat. Merle Travis – Dark As A Dungeon (1972)
15. O.B. McLinton – Obie From Senatobie (1973)
16. Patsy Cline – A Church, A Courtoom, Then Goodbye (1955)
17. Quartette – Lost Between Barren Shores (1994)
18. Rusty Wier – High Road, Low Road (1976)
19. Skeeter Davis – Gonna Get Along Without You Now (1964)
20. Tompall Glaser – When It Goes, It’s Gone Girl (1975)
21. Uncle Dave Macon – Walking In The Sunshine (1927)
22. Vern Gosdin – Chiseled In Stone (1988)
23. Woody Guthrie – This Land Is Your Land (1944)
24. Yonder Mountain String Band – Half Moon Rising (1999)
25. Zac Brown Band – All The Best (2017)

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Any Major ABC: 1950s

January 22nd, 2019 4 comments

 

The ABC of the 1950s might be a random selection of songs, with each artist representing a letter of the alphabet, but there are some interesting tracks here.

Listen to The Orioles‘ 1951 song Baby Please Don’t Go, which James Brown surely took more than just a dollop of inspiration from for Please Please Please. That song, better known as the soul classic that had James Brown fall to his knees in exhausted despair, features here in its initial version, which still had to acquire the raw soul of later interpretations.

Singing in 1959 about securing a date with the school’s prettiest girl, during biology class, is Tony Perkins, who a year later would use his formal name as an actor in the Alfred Hitchcock romantic comedy Psycho (I only got as far as just after the girl checks into the hotel run by the slightly geeky but nice young man played by Perkins. I left it when she takes a shower, which I’m sure will lead to screwball comedy stuff. No Spoilers, please).

 

The Hollywood Flames. In front are (left) Bobby Day and Earl Nelson.

 

The lead singer of R&B and doo wop band Hollywood Flames on their hit Buzz-Buzz-Buzz was Earl Nelson, half of the 1960s R&B duo Bob & Earl. And the writer of the song was fellow Hollywood Flame Bobby Day, who went on to be the original Bob in Bob & Earl. By 1962, Nelson recruited a new Bob and had a hit with Harlem Shuffle. By then Byrd had already a hit under his belt with Rockin’ Robin (later covered by Michael Jackson). Byrd also wrote the hits Over and Over by The Dave Clark Five and Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris. He died in 1990 at 60.

The singer of Real Wild Child, a cover of Australian rock & roller Johnny O’Keefe’s original and precursor of Iggy Pop’s version, is called just Ivan. That was Jerry Ivan Allison, drummer of The Crickets, who is backed here by Buddy Holly on guitar.

Few people on this mix were really likely to score a disco hit two decades after the setting of this ABC. Yet, this is just what R&B singer Dee Clark did in 1975 when he reached #16 in the UK charts with Ride a Wild Horse. Here, in 1959, he still fantasises about the content of high school girls’ sweaters. Clark died in 1990 at only 52.

Fifty-two was also the age at which Amos Milburn died, in 1980. Initially a jazz pianist and singer of those blues and boogie and jump songs that helped pave the way for rock & roll, Milburn’s line was good-natured songs about women and drinking too much which in his day were timeless stuff. His biggest fan was the similarly good-natured Fats Domino, who often cited Milburn as a major influence.

Even younger at the time of her death was Una Mae Carlisle, who was only 40 when she passed on of pneumonia in 1956. A performer since the age of three, the singer-pianist was discovered in the 1930s by Fats Waller. A bandleader in her own right (Lester Young was among her sidemen), Carlisle had as radio show, toured internationally, and wrote many songs, which were covered by the likes of Cab Calloway and Peggy Lee.

 

The Bobettes, whose record company made them turn their contempt for a teacher into a song of inappropriate infatuation.

 

And younger yet was Jannie Pought of the teenage R&B group The Bobettes, who was stabbed to death in a random killing at the age of 34 in 1980. Her group’s Mr Lee is about a schoolgirl’s crush on the eponymous teacher, though their song was initially intended to satirise their teacher, who apparently was indeed a Mr Lee. Atlantic Records ordered that the lyrics be rewritten. The song became a huge hit. The Bobettes continued to record into the early 1980s and performed together even longer. By now four of the five members are dead.

This mix was prepared before the death on December 28 of Christine McGuire of The McGuire Sisters, whose Rhythm ‘n’ Blues (Mama’s Got The Rhythm, Papa’s Got The Blues) is rather more entertaining than their dreary signature tune Sincerely.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-brylcreemed covers. PW same as always.

1. Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chickenshackers – Bad, Bad Whiskey (1951)
2. Bobettes – Mr. Lee (1957)
3. Connie Francis – No Other One (1956)
4. Dee Clark – Hey Little Girl (In The High School Sweater) (1959)
5. Everly Brothers – Bird Dog (1958)
6. Four Aces – Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (1956)
7. Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps – Be Bop A Lula (1956)
8. Hollywood Flames – Buzz-Buzz-Buzz (1957)
9. Ivan – Real Wild Child (1958)
10. James Brown with The Famous Flames – Please Please Please (1956)
11. Kirby Sisters – Red Velvet (1956)
12. Little Richard – Ooh My Soul (1958)
13. McGuire Sisters – Rhythm ‘n’ Blues (Mama’s Got The Rhythm, Papa’s Got The Blues) (1956)
14. Nutmegs – Story Untold (1955)
15. Orioles – Baby Please Don’t Go (1951)
16. Penguins – Earth Angel (1954)
17. Quin-Tones – Ding Dong (1958)
18. Roy Orbison – Go! Go! Go! (1956)
19. Spaniels – Goodnight Sweetheart (1954)
20. Tony Perkins – Prettiest Girl In School (1959)
21. Una Mae Carlisle – Long (1950)
22. Valentines – The Woo Woo Train (1955)
23. Wrens – Come Back My Love (1955)
24. Xavier Cugat & Abbe Lane – Cuban Mambo (1955)
25. Youngsters – You’re An Angel (With The Devil In Your Eyes) (1956)
26. Ziggy Talent – Please Say Goodnight To The Guy, Irene (1950)

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Any Major ABC: 1960s

October 18th, 2018 8 comments

 

No other decade offers as much fun in the task of compiling music as the 1960s. Indeed, the idea for the concept of this series — whereby we go through a decade through the medium of the alphabet, from A-Z, each letter getting a song — was prompted by the first song on this mix. One morning on my way to work I heard Amen Corner’s If Paradise Was Half As Nice, and I thought: “How would I accommodate this in a standard CD-R mix with home-made covers; PW in comments”?

This is the result: a jukebox of 1960s joy, completed by a suggestion from reader rntcj (try saying that when you’re drunk) who filled the X-shaped gap. Reader Randy T. has been helpful with filling gaps in other decades; so before I die, I seek to cover the ABCs from the 1940s to the 2000s.

For the most part, the song choices are a bit random. How do you choose between Mamas & Papas, Monkees, Marvin Gaye, Manfred Mann, Marvelettes, Moody Blues, Martha Reeves, McCoys or Mindbenders? There were some difficult choices, often made of the spur-of-the-moment variety. And after sampling a lot of favourites along the way.

And then which Mamas & Papas song? Well, the one featured has always intrigued me: as a declaration of sexual liberation by women in the 1960s, Go Where You Wanna Go must have seemed revolutionary. But there is also the payback of John Philips, who had his wife sing about her affair with songwriter Russ Titelman (other stories suggest that it was about Philips’ affair with Papas singer Denny Doherty). John Philips had a habit of doing that sort of thing to his bandmates.

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

Amen Corner – (If Paradise Was) Half As Nice (1968)
Bar-Kays – Soul Finger (1967)
Chris Andrews – Pretty Belinda (1969)
Doris Days – Move Over Darling (1963)
Equals – Soul Groovin’ (1968)
Foundations – Baby Now That I’ve Found You (1967)
Gene Chandler – Duke of Earl (1962)
Hollies – Bus Stop (1966)
Impressions – It’s Alright (1963)
Jay & the Americans – Come A Little Bit Closer (1964)
Kinks – Dandy (1966)
Lemon Pipers – Green Tambourine (1968)
Mamas & The Papas – Go Where You Wanna Go (1966)
Nancy Sinatra – The City Never Sleeps At Night (1965)
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas – Bring It On Home To Me (1967)
Procol Harum – Homburg (1967)
Quicksilver Messenger Service – Dino’s Song (1968)
Ronettes – (The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up (1964)
Supremes – The Happening (1967)
Tom Jones – It’s Not Unusual (1965)
Unit 4 + 2 – Concrete And Clay (1965)
Velvelettes – He Was Really Saying Somethin’ (1964)
Walker Brothers – The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (1966)
X-Cellents – Hey Little Willie (1965)
Young Rascals – Lonely Too Long (1967)
Zombies – She’s Not There (1964)

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Any Major ABC: 1970s

July 26th, 2018 13 comments

 

This week we launch a new series of mixes which take us through a decade through the medium of the alphabet: from A-Z, each letter gets a song. So it”s all quite random and great fun; a bit like listening to an oldies station.

And it was fun — and torture — to choose songs for this mix. None of these are necessarily the best or even favourite tracks by the acts whose name begins with the particular letter. The only set song was the one that will kick off the A-Z of the 1960s, which gave me the idea for the concept.

 

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

1. Archie Bell & The Drells – Let’s Groove (1975)
2. Bay City Rollers – You Made Me Believe In Magic (1977)
3. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen The Rain (1970)
4. Darts – Come Back My Love (1977)
5. Electric Light Orchestra – Livin’ Thing (1976)
6. Fortunes – Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again (1971)
7. Giorgio Moroder – From Here to Eternity (1977)
8. Hues Corporation – Rock The Boat (1974)
9. Ike & Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits (1973)
10. Jam – The Eton Rifles (1979)
11. Kiss – Beth (1977)
12. Love Unlimited – It May Be Winter Outside (1973)
13. Mr. Bloe – Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe (1970)
14. New York City – I’m Doing Fine Now (1973)
15. Osmonds – Crazy Horses (1973)
16. Python Lee Jackson feat. Rod Stewart – In A Broken Dream (1972)
17. Quantum Jump – The Lone Ranger (1979)
18. Rodriguez – I Wonder (1970)
19. Sweet – Fox On The Run (1975)
20. T. Rex – Metal Guru (1972)
21. Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces Sometimes (1970)
22. Vicky Lawrence – The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia (1975)
23. Wings – Live And Let Die (1973)
24. XTC – Making Plans For Nigel (1979)
25. Yvonne Elliman – If I Can’t Have You (1977)
26. ZZ Top – Tush (1974)

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