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The Originals Vol. 39

August 6th, 2010 9 comments

Here are five more lesser-known originals, covered in four entries: Wild Thing, Sunny, Angel Of The Morning, Under The Influence Of Love and It May Be Winter Outside. Incidentally, look at the tabs on top to find an alphabetical index of Originals that have featured so far, with links to the relevant posts.

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The Wild Ones ““ Wild Thing (1965).mp3
The Troggs ““ Wild Thing (1966).mp3
Senator Bobby ““ Wild Thing (1968)
Jimi Hendrix ““ Wild Thing.mp3
Marsha Hunt ““ Wild Thing (1971).mp3

One of rock”s most iconic songs was written by actor Jon Voight”s younger brother,  James Wesley, who took the name Chip Taylor. He had a prolific songwriting career before turning to recording records himself in 1971 as a country artist. The first version of Wild Thing, by the New York band The Wild Ones, was released in 1965. Headed by one Jordan Christopher, they are said to have been the houseband of what has been called New York”s first disco, The Office. Taylor wrote Wild Thing for them as a favour for A&R man Gerry Granagan.

It”s not very good, certainly not in comparison to The Troggs version, which replaced the Wild Ones” whistle interlude with an ocarina solo (the ocarina is an ancient ceramic wind instrument). Taylor has recalled that he wrote the song in a few minutes (“the pauses and the hesitations are a result of not knowing what I was going to do next”) and had a low opinion of it. Likewise, The Troggs recorded it in 20 minutes, during the same session that produced their follow-up hit With A Girl Like You. They worked from Taylor”s demo, rather than the Wild Ones” version.  Due to a licensing issue, The Troggs” version of Wild Thing was released on two labels, Fontana and Atco. It is the only time a record has topped the US charts under the simultaneous banner of two labels.

Wild Thing was covered frequently after that. Jimi Hendrix famously set his guitar on fire at Monterey after playing his version of it. In 1968 the comedy troupe The Hardly Worthit Players released a version of Wild Thing being performed by “Bobby Kennedy”, with a producer giving him instructions. Robert F Kennedy was voiced by the comedian Bill Minkin (it”s a myth that it was Jon Voight). That novelty record  was one of the last releases by the Cameo-Parkway label, a noteworthy footnote in light of the next song. Marsha Hunt”s version featured on the Covered In Soul Vol 2 mix.

Also recorded by: The Capitols (1966), The Standells (1966), The Kingsmen (1966), Manfred Mann (1966), Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band (1967), The Memphis Three (1968), Fancy (1974), The Goodies (1976), The Runaways (1977), The Creatures (1981), The Meteors (1983), X (1984), Cold Chisel (1984), La Muerte (1984), Sister Carol (1986), Amanda Lear (1987), Unrest (1987), Sam Kinison with Jessica Hahn (1988), Cheap Trick (1992), Divinyls (1993), Stoned Age (1994), Hank Williams, Jr (1995), The Muppets (1995), Acid Drinkers (1995), Chip Taylor (1996), Popa Chubby (1996), Danny and the Nightmares (1999), Sky Sunlight Saxon (2008), Trash Cans (2010)

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Evie Sands – Angel Of The Morning (1967).mp3
Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts  – Angel Of The Morning (1968).mp3
P.P. Arnold – Angel Of The Morning (1968).mp3
Skeeter Davis  – Angel Of The Morning (1969).mp3
Nina Simone ““ Angel Of The Morning (1971).mp3
Juice Newton – Angel of the Morning (1981).mp3

The one-night stand anthem was also written by Chip Taylor (perhaps the angel of the morning was last night”s wild thing). Indeed, he told Mojo magazine in its September 2008 edition that Angel is Wild Thing slowed down: “I heard some guy playing Wild Thing real slow on a guitar. It sounded nice. So I did the same, lifting one of my fingers off a chord to create a suspension.” He also credited the Rolling Stones” Ruby Tuesday for inspiration.

The song was first recorded in 1967 by New York singer-songwriter Evie Sands (pictured), for whom Taylor wrote several songs (he also wrote I Can”t Let Go for her; it became a hit for The Hollies). It was on its way to becoming a hit, with good radio airplay and 10,000 copies selling fast. Then the label, Cameo-Parkway (of the Bobby Kennedy novelty record above) went bankrupt, and Sands” record sank. A few months later, Memphis producer Chips Moman picked up Angel Of The Morning (which in the interim had also been recorded by English singer Billie Davies) and had the unknown Merrilee Rush record it, backed by the same session crew that played with Elvis during his famous Memphis sessions that produced hits such as Suspicious Minds (itself a cover, as detailed in The Orignals Vol. 21). The Seattle-born singer had a massive hit with it, even receiving a Grammy nomination. It soon was covered prodigiously, with P.P. Arnold scoring a UK hit with it in 1968.

Angel Of The Morning was revived in 1981 by Juice Newton, who previously featured in The Originals Vol. 26 with her cover of Queen Of Hearts.  Her version sold a million copies in the US and reached #4 in the US charts. Like Rush, Newton was Grammy-nominated for her performance.

Also recorded by: Billie Davis (1967), Joya Landis (1968), Percy Faith (1968), Ray Conniff (1968), Liliane Saint Pierre (as Au revoir et à demain, 1968), I Profeti (as Gli occhi verdi dell’amore, 1968), Dusty Springfield (1969), Skeeter Davis (1969), Bettye Swann (1969), Connie Eaton (1970), Olivia Newton-John (1973), Merrilee Rush (re-recording, 1977), Guys n’ Dolls (1977), Mary Mason (as part of a medley, 1977), Thelma Jones (1978), Rita Remington (1978), Melba Montgomery (1978), Pat Kelly (1978), Elisabeth Andreassen (as En enda morgon, 1981), The Tremeloes (1987), Barnyard Slut (1993), Chip Taylor (1994), The Pretenders (1994), Ace Cannon (1994), Position (1997), Juice Newton (re-recording, 1998), Bonnie Tyler (1998), Thunderbugs (1999), Shaggy (as Angel, 2000), Maggie Reilly (2002), Blackman & The Butterfly (2003), The Shocker (2003), Chip Davis & Carrie Rodriguez (2006), Girlyman (2007), Jill Johnson (2007), Vagiant (2007), Gypsy Butterfly (2008), Barb Jungr (2008), Michelle (2008), Randy Crawford with Joe Sample (2008), Iván (as Angel de la mañana, 2009)

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Felice Taylor – It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring) (1967).mp3
Felice Taylor – I’m Under The Influence Of Love (1967).mp3
Love Unlimited – It May Be Winter Outside, But In My Heart It’s Spring (1973).mp3
Love Unlimited – Under The Influence Of Love (1973).mp3

Before becoming an icon of baby-making music, Barry White was something of an impresario. He discovered and produced the girl band Love Unlimited (which included White”s future wife Glodean James), whose success in 1972 set him off on his successful solo career. Just a decade or so earlier, White had been in jail for stealing the tyres of a Cadillac (he credited hearing Elvis Presley singing It”s Now Or Never for turning his life around). After leaving jail, he started to work in record production, mostly as an arranger. Among his early arrangement credits was Bob & Earl”s 1963 song Harlem Shuffle. By 1967, White worked for the Mustang label, owned by Rob Keane, the man who first signed Sam Cooke, Richie Valens and Frank Zappa. In that job, White wrote for Bobby Fuller (of I Fought The Law fame), Viola Wills and  a young soul singer named Felice Taylor.

Felice Taylor, born in 1948 in Richmond, California, had previously released a single as part of a trio with her sisters, The Sweets, and a solo single under the name Florian Taylor. White”s It May Be Winter Outside provided Taylor with her only US hit, reaching #42 in the pop charts. It is a rather lovely version that sounds a lot like a Supremes song (with a break stolen from the Four Tops” Reach Out I”ll Be There). White also wrote and arranged Taylor”s I”m Under The Influence Of Love. The arrangement and Taylor”s vocals are inferior, and the single failed to make an impact. Taylor”s biggest success was with another White song, I Feel Love Comin” On, a bubblegum pop number that reached #11 in the UK charts in late 1967.

By the early 1970s Taylor had ceased to record. In 1973 Love Unlimited recorded totally reworked, luscious versions of It May Be Winter Outside and (title shortened) Under The Influence Of Love for the sophomore album. Both were released as singles, with Winter reaching #11 in the UK charts.

Also recorded by: (Under The Influence) Lori Hampton (1968), Kylie Minogue (2000)

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Mieko Hirota ““ Sunny (1965).mp3
Chris Montez ““ Sunny (1966).mp3
Bobby Hebb ““ Sunny (1966).mp3
Dusty Springfield ““ Sunny (1967).mp3
Johnny Rivers –  Sunny (1967).mp3
Stevie Wonder ““ Sunny (1968).mp3
Boney M. ““ Sunny (1976).mp3

Bobby Hebb died on Tuesday, August 3 at the age of 72. The man had a quite remarkable early life. Born to blind parents, both musicians, Nashville-born Robert Von Hebb progressed from being a child musician to becoming  one of the earlier musicians to play at the Grand Ole Opry, as part of Ray Acuff”s band. In the early 1960s Hebb even had a minor hit with a country standard recorded by Acuff, among others, Night Train To Memphis. Subsequently, afer the success of Sunny, he headlined the 1966 Beatles tour.

The genesis for Sunny was in a dual tragedy: the assassination of John F Kennedy and soon after  the fatal stabbing in a mugging of Hebb”s older brother Harold, with whom he had performed in childhood. The song was a conscious statement of meeting the trauma of these events with a defiantly positive disposition. In 2007, he told the Assiociated Press about writing Sunny: “I was intoxicated. I came home and started playing the guitar. I looked up and saw what looked like a purple sky. I started writing because I”d never seen that before.”

Still, it would be almost three years before Hebb would release the song himself. It was first recorded by the Japanese singer Mieko “Miko” Hirota who made her debut in her home country in 1962 with a cover of Connie Francis” Vacation. Within three years, the by now 18-year-old singer became the first Japanese artist to appear at the Newport Jazz Festival (the line-up of which included Frank Sinatra), having just recently discovered her talent for the genre thanks to a chance meeting with American jazz promoter  George Wein. The same year, in October 1965, she was the first of many to release Sunny, scoring a hit with it in Japan with her rather lovely jazzy version. By the time Hebb got around to releasing it, apparently having recorded it as an after-thought at the end of a session, there already were a few versions, including Chris Montez”s featured here. Hebb”s rightly became the definitive and most successful version, though Boney M scored a huge hit with it in Europe ten years later.

Also recorded by: John Schroeder Orchestra (1966), Cher (1966), Chris Montez (1966), Del Shannon (1966), Dave Pike (1966), Georgie Fame (1966), The Young-Holt Trio (1966), Roger Williams (1966), Richard Anthiny (1966), James Darren (1967), Horacio Malvicino (1967), Billy Preston (1967), Herbie Mann & Tamiko Jones (1967), Johnny Mathis (1967), Andy Williams (1967), Sam Baker (1967), John Davidson (1967), The Amazing Dancing Band (1967), Jackie Trent (1967), Booker T. & The M.G.’s (1967), Gordon Beck (1967), Joe Torres (1967), Nancy Wilson (1967), Dusty Springfield (1967), The Ventures (1967), Shirley Bassey (1968), Eddy Arnold (1968), Leonard Nimoy (1968), Frankie Valli (1968), José Feliciano (1968), Bill Cosby (1968), Mary Wells (1968), Frank Sinatra & Duke Ellington (1968), Paul Mauriat (1968), Gary Lewis & the Playboys (1968), Stevie Wonder (1968), Ray Conniff (1968), George Nenson (1968),  The Head Shop (1969), Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (1969), The Electric Flag (1969), Classics IV (1969), Ray Nance (1969), The Lettermen (1969), Ella Fitzgerald (1970), Del Shannon (1971), Pat Martino (1972), Bobby Hebb (as Sunny ’76, 1975), Hampton Hawes (1976), Boney M. (1976), Stanley Jordan (1987), Cosmoalpha (1994), Günther Neefs (1997), Ottottrio (1998), Kazuo Yashiro Trio (2000), Clementine (2000), Twinset (2003), Christophe Willem (2006), Michael Sagmeister (2006), Dwight Adams (2007), Cris Barber (2008), Giuliano Palma & the Bluebeaters (2009) a.o.

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More Originals

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Twattery in Pop: Rush Limbaugh

July 3rd, 2009 6 comments

What, you may demand imploringly, connects sweaty, saliva-dispersing self-parodist Rush Limbaugh with the world of pop (of course there is no question as to what connects the putrescent pusbucket to twattery)? Has Rush recorded an album of his favourite Motown songs, adding his own twist to the lyrics; perhaps adapting Smokey Robinson & the Miracle”s hit named after Mickey Stephenson autobiographically to read Cheney”s Monkey? Has Limbaugh praised the humanitarian work of Bono, or the operatic stylings of Michael Fucking Bolton, or the art of Yoko Ono (well, obviously not, though he seems psychotic enough to own the complete canon of MFB”s artistry)? Was Rush perhaps ghastly to some of my favourite artists, such as the Weepies or the Carpenters?

Rush Limbaugh

No, on Wednesday Rush Limbaugh contrived to wind his fusilli mind into a palomar knot by virtually blaming Barack Obama for the death of Michael Jackson. Spunk-silo”s take on MJ”s death: “Jackson”s success, if you stop and think of it [amusingly Limbaugh listeners are being asked to THINK!] and this is going to really irritate some people, which I will enjoy doing “” Jackson”s success paralleled the rebound of the United States under Ronaldus Magnus [that would be Ronald Reagan whose decomposed salad Sweat-wit is tossing]. Michael Jackson”s biggest successes, and as it turns out his final successes, real successes took place in the eighties. That was Billie Jean, Thriller and all this. I mean he was as weird as he could be [says Rush fucking Limbaugh!] but he was profoundly, because of his weirdness, an individual. He wasn”t a group member [except when he was, of course. Rush evidently couldn”t feel it]. He reached a level of success that may never be equalled. He flourished under Reagan [but his best record, the wildly successful Off The Wall, was a hit under Carter, pop fans]; he languished under Clinton-Bush; and died under Obama. Let”s hope the parallel does not continue.” (Full story here)

I actually don”t think that Limbaugh is as stupid as to believe the ignorant, noxious shit he is disgorging upon the public. His “hilarious” shtick is to try and wind up liberals with such associations. If it wasn”t a sideshow, there”d be no reason why he has not been committed to a caring institution for lobotomised patients. In fairness, he signals his pitiful intent when he says: “this is going to really irritate some people, which I will enjoy doing”. It isn”t really what Limbaugh is saying that is irritating “Them Liberals”; it”s the idea that there are some very dull-witted people who take him and his likes seriously.

I must concede though that the clammy wankmonster “” who in older times would have made an accomplished ass-raping bishop of Bath and Wells “” might be on to something. Think about all the great celebrity icons who have died. Almost all of them kicked the bucket on the watch of a Democratic president. Jimmy Carter”s reign was particularly grim: Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Bing Crosby, Charlie Chaplin”¦ Bill Clinton has Frank Sinatra, Princess in the Wind and, er, Kurt Cobain to answer for. JFK died during the JFK presidency, as did Marilyn Monroe and Patsy Cline, while Jim Reeves crashed under LBJ. Lately only Johnny Cash, being Johnny Cash, bucked the trend. And there Madonna was happy that Obama was elected.

But Limbaugh”s theory of Democratic culpability in celebrity mortality does fall flat. Consider the victims of the Nixon presidency: Hendrix, Morrison, Joplin, Parsons and Elliott. Of those, only Cass died a natural death (and even that is disputed by ham sandwich conspiracists). Makes you think, no?

In the case of Michael Jackson, however, I am disinclined to indict Obama. More likely, on the morning of Thursday, 25 June, MJ found his transistor radio had been mistuned. As he surfed the dial he stumbled upon the depraved sound of Rush Limbaugh vomiting his bigotry all over the airwaves, and decided that he could no longer live in a world where that anal itch on humanity “” and his idiot listeners “” are allowed to exist. And here”s the kicker: my theory makes a zillion times more sense than any of Limbaugh”s deranged splutterings.

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And to celebrate dead celebs:

Frank Sinatra – High Hopes With John Kennedy (1960).mp3
Marilyn Monroe – Happy Birthday, Mr President (1962).mp3
Patsy Cline – I Fall To Pieces (1961).mp3
Michael Jackson – Ain”t No Sunshine (1972).mp3
Cass Elliott – I’m Coming To The Best Part Of My Life (1973).mp3
Elvis Presley – Heartbreak Hotel (Alternate Take 5) (1956).mp3
Jimi Hendrix – Star Sprangled Banner (1969).mp3
Gram Parsons – Big Mouth Blues (1973).mp3

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More Twattery in Pop

Songs by the dumped

May 22nd, 2009 12 comments

karaoke manWomen have I Will Survive to articulate for them how all men are bastards. Nottingham”s Mr Sex of the brilliant Todger Talk blog, which dispenses superb sex and relationship advice to men, pointed out to me at the star-studded gala for the Any Major Blogs Awards earlier this year that men have few equivalent karaoke songs which convey to the nasty ex that he”s well over her “” and perhaps at the same time signal his availability to the lucky laydees who might be so fortunate as to hear him croon such songs. So Nottingham”s Mr Sex set me a challenge: find ten suitable songs which dumped guys can sing with dignified defiance, and he will come up with his own list.

It proved more difficult than I had thought. Dumped guys don”t do gracious much, they don”t do that “who do you think you are, buster?” wiggly neck thing Aretha Franklin does in The Blues Brothers. As we have seen in this series of songs about love, men typically wallow in the dejection of rejection, hoping that their pathetic puppy eyes “” or, worse, an emo outburst “” will extract just enough pity to be taken back. Or they use their heartbreak as an excuse to drink prodigiously and discard the basic doctrines governing personal hygiene and housekeeping.

But that most certainly won”t win her back, nor probably attract a new romance. Much better to jump on stage, grab the mic, and let rip with whichever of these ten songs characterises your back-bouncing emotions.

This being an MP3 blog, I”ve posted links to the music files; the Todger Talk version of this cross-blog has links to video files to all 20 songs, except the Tom Waits track (and a couple not of the originals, though the Garth Brooks karaokist gives it his best shot).

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Ben Folds Five ““ Song For The Dumped.mp3
Song For The Dumped really is the national anthem of embittered dumpees. Ben Folds has been discarded with pitiless diplomacy: “So you wanted to take a break, slow it down some and have some space”¦” He stood no chance; you can”t argue yourself out of that one. How would you respond? And how would you like to respond. Probably like Folds: “Well, fuck you too.” Less than considerate? Perhaps. But, man, he had just BOUGHT HER DINNER. Now he wants his money back, “and don”t forget to give me back my black T-shirt”. Yeah! Give him back the black T-shirt! The new girlfriend is getting cold!

Tom Waits ““ Who Are You.mp3
Ben Folds wants to her to give back the T-shirt; Waits wants her to TAKE back what she gave him: lies. And he”s only getting started in what might be the greatest fuck-off song from the male perspective. “Did my time ““ in the jail of your arms.” Oooh! “Go on ahead and take this the wrong way, time”s not your friend.” Ouch! “Are you pretending to love? Well, I hear that it pays well.” Oooof!

Godsmack ““ I Fucking Hate You.mp3
It is fair to say that Godsmack”s repertoire of scathing zingers is rather more slender than that of Waits and they do lack Ben Folds cutting drollness, but they sing from the heart. Not only was that horrid ex apparently lying to Mr Smack, but she also impugned his good character (and we must trust that his integrity was entirely unimpeachable before), as the lyric suggest: “And every day I”m gonna blame you, even if you justify every fuckin” bullshit lie”¦it only makes me want to break you.” Inarticulation often accompanies a broken heart, which might explain the lyrical descend to the levels subsequently occupied by Paris Hilton on her excursion into the world of popular music: “Don”t ever look my way. Don”t even think I”m playin”, cause I fuckin” hate you. You”re such a liar; I love to hate you” (punctuation is mine; as conceived by the lyricist, none might have been intended). And with that out of the way, we can finally deliberate on the heart of the song: “Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!” And why not? Sometimes that is all that needs to be said.
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.Justin Timberlake ““ Cry Me A River.mp3
The song apparently was a riposte to Britney Spears” alleged infidelity. Likewise, our notional karaoke singer might have been the blameless party in a split generated by a betrayal. He might have done the dumping, but the betrayal was hers. Either way, the relationship is over, no matter how much she begs. “Girl I refuse, you must have me confused with some other guy. Your bridges were burned, and now it”s your turn to cry, cry me a river.” The sentiment, of course, borrows from a much greater song by the same title. That one is more commonly sung by women (best heard in Julie London”s version).

Hank Williams ““ Your Cheating Heart.mp3
Where Timberlake is piqued over Britn”¦ the girl”s infidelity, Hank Williams (the first one, not the McCain-lovin” son) navigates the byways of false empathy as he sketches out what emotional turmoil awaits the indiscreet ex. “Your cheatin” heart will make you weep. You”ll cry and cry and try to sleep.” Just reward for cheating on the doubtless scrupulously faithful Hank. Of course Hank may just be hoping or projecting; the girl might well be pleased to be rid of him, and perhaps with good reason. But just in case she isn”t, he adds: “You”ll toss around and call my name.” And wouldn”t that just settle the score?

Lou Rawls – You”ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.mp3
Where Hank Williams” wishes psychological suffering upon his ex, Lou is more sanguine about love lost “” and he can afford to be, since he was only rejected, not cheated upon. His cheer obviously is a mask: when he says she won”t ever find anyone as good as him, he is bathed in anguish, and not making an intrepid foray into the dark art of divination, his rebuff of “ifs and buts and maybes” notwithstanding. He”s not “bragging on myself, baby”; it”s just inconceivable that anyone can love her as tenderly and completely as he has. She”ll regret rejecting him. “Late in the midnight hour, baby “” you”re gonna miss my lovin”. When it”s cold outside “” you”re gonna miss my lovin”.” His whoa-whoas serve to underline the hopeful taunt. He”ll get over her in good time, and when she realises what she has lost, it”ll be too late. Take that, you wretched waster of good love!

Any rejected fool in love will know precisely what Lou is talking about. Twenty years ago, I was such a fool, suffering from unrequited love, a distressing case of frienditis, with Elizabeth (not necessarily her real name). One night at a club, You”ll Never Find… came on. While she was dancing with some random other, I whispered to my friend: “And I dedicate this song to Elizabeth.” Our mutual friend emphatically agreed with the sentiment. Well, Elizabeth just didn”t love me that way. The way she did love me was expressed by ramming a stake through my heart while cackling viciously like a particularly sinister witch in Macbeth as portrayed by an overacting diva as she told me that we should just be friends. I recently caught up with Elizabeth. She is happily married to a nice man who clearly adores her, and she him. So Lou proved to be less than prescient. But at the time, his anthem of defiant self-validation in which she, not he, was the big loser helped to shake the heavy dust of lovelorn despondency off my shoulders. And within only a year and a half, I was even over her”¦

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Whitesnake ““ Here I Go Again.mp3
Some men are accumulating experience at being dumped, much like our present friend as he goes again here. He won”t waste much time mourning the old relationship. In karaoke mode, he is proclaiming himself ready to be swept off his feet by the next knightess in shining lycra. And what woman of compassionate spirit would fail to give the man a chance when he philosophies: “I”m just another heart in need of rescue, waiting on love”s sweet charity. And I”m gonna hold on for the rest of my days, “cos I know what it means to walk along the lonely street of dreams.” Sure, the poetry is risible, but he probably will get laid tonight.

Garth Brooks ““ Friends In Low Places.mp3
Being dumped for reasons of economic class just isn”t right-on. But this is what has happened to Garth Brooks (or the song”s first-person protagonist). He confronts her for a final time on her wedding day. And as he might in the rejected script for a rom-com, Brooks trespasses on the nuptials in his cowboy boots (and perhaps a 12 gallon Stetson), intimidates the alarmed groom, and tells the bride that he”s down with her new life “” as turning up uninvited to an ex”s wedding invariably communicates. “I toasted you, said, “˜honey, we may be through”, but you”ll never hear me complain.” With bravado he celebrates having found refuge in drink among the flies at his local bar (here we imagine a joint where Achy Breaky Heart commands respect) populated by the cohort of low social expectations in the title. Brooks is, as we and his ex can guess, fooling himself. But at least he can get in a little dig as he makes his declaration of emotional independence: “Hey, I didn”t mean to cause a big scene. Just give me an hour and then”¦well, I”ll be as high as that ivory tower that you”re livin” in.” At which point his lowly-placed pals join in the rousing, presumably alcohol-fuelled chorus.

Prefab Sprout ““ When Love Breaks Down.mp3
The dumped karaoke song for the more introspective, analytical man. It isn”t even clear yet that he has been dumped, or that the relationship is over. But our hero is already making plans for that eventuality, which he seems to regard as virtually inevitable. So, what happens when love breaks down? Firstly, you stop the truth from hurting you. Secondly, you lie to yourself (as some of our friends in the preceding songs have done). Thirdly, “you join the wrecks who leave their hearts for easy sex”. Which is why we are presently singing karaoke songs about failed relationship in a bar populated with women in first place.

New York City ““ I”m Doing Fine Now.mp3
At the beginning of the post I flagged Ben Folds Five”s Song For The Dumped as the national anthem for the dumped, but the real song of recovery, of liberation from the cast irons of a broken heart, is this glorious soul number from 1973. The protagonist is at a more advanced stage of recovery than our notional karaokist, but projecting an aspirational confidence that happiness will return with a new love certainly would do no damage to the prospect of getting laid or, depending on your temperament, strike up a rewarding relationship with a very nice girl. The opening verse updates us comprehensively: “Remember the day you up and left? I nearly cried myself to death, oh yeah. And then I met someone else. She made me stop and get a-hold of myself.” And here comes the taunt: “Oh girl, I”m doin” fine now, without you, baby.” Repeated often enough to drive home the message: what the hell was I doing tormenting myself over you for?

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More songs about love

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todger_talk_heading

And seeing as Nottingham”s Mr Sex set me a challenge, it was only fair that he should show his hand. Here then is his list of 10 male variations on the I Will Survive theme, with Mr Sex”s links to video files, to which I”ve added MP3s (Mediafire was playing up, so all but one are on DivShare). Incidentally, go to Todger Talk to read Mr Sex”s introduction to this cross-blog “” it”s much better than mine, and very funny. Besides, you will need to if you want to understand the Crazy woman reference.

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Black Sabbath – Iron Man.mp3
Video
This song might sound like a big metal robot getting ready to kick the world”s face in, but don”t be fooled ““ the sentiments are as close as it gets to the male version of IWS. Ignore the rammell about being turned to steel in the great magnetic field ““ that”s Ozzy trying to say that he”s been chucked by a bird without his mates twigging and taking the piss out of him. Perfectly male sentiments, too ““ while Gloria gets over her ex by finding someone better, Ozzy can only purge his feelings of rejection by pretending to be 100 feet tall and putting his metal Doc Martens through a building. Because we”ve all thought that, haven”t we, chaps?
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Isaac Hayes ““ By The Time I Get To Phoenix (full version).mp3
Video
And yes, it has to be the full Isaac Hayes version. While Glen Campbell sounds like a deadbeat Dad making a midnight flit with a barmaid half his age, Black Moses takes the time to explain that his ex was a right slapper who made him work triple-time so she could get her nails done, and only now does she realise how mint he is, ha ha. Problem is, he takes eleven minutes to lay this all out before he sings note number one, so you”re going to have to work your arse off to prevent a bum-rush by Crazy woman and a hail of empty WKD bottles. Wearing a dressing gown made of gold chains might help.
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Soft Cell – Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.mp3
Video
Marc Almond might not be the most aggressively masculine singer in this list (and the opening line forces you to state that a) you”ve had a bit of a roar and b) you knock about in a pub called The Pink Flamingo), but don”t let that put you off, because the glee with which he lays into his rubbish ex is a joy to behold. Bonus points for the subtle allusion that you”re after a “˜nice little housewife”, as the pub will be full of “˜em. I”d mention the David Gray version, but I”d rather not, as I”ve never heard it.
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Smokey Robinson & the Miracles – Who”s Gonna Take The Blame.mp3
Video
Poor old Smokey seems to have spent the vast majority of his life being pissed about by women, but he clocked what the girl in this song was all about ages ago; a window-smashing, abusive cow who needed getting shot of. Naturally, said harridan becomes a “˜woman of the street”. Smokey charitably alludes that he tried his best, but he”s bragging, really. Moral ““ you”re going to end up having sex for money in graveyards for dumping me, you rotten cow.
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Jimi Hendrix – Stone Free.mp3
Video
It was either this or Roadrunner by Junior Walker and the All-Stars, because the sentiments are the same: I”m single because I go round the country (possibly as a sales rep), I can”t be doing with women putting me in a plastic cage (my making me stay in and watch Strictly Come Dancing), and I”m a wild spirit who needs to live his life the way he needs to, in order to be spiritually fulfilled (by downloading porn torrents, watching back-to-back episodes of Top Gear, and playing Football Manager until 3am next to a stack of pizza boxes).

Cliff Richard – Devil Woman.mp3
Video
The standard get-out clause for any dumped male: She Was Mental. And Cliff (who has allegedly not had it off since rationing was stopped in the UK) is in full-on warning mode about his ex, who sounds a bit like that cat-woman in Conan The Barbarian who turns into a ball of flame after that romp in the cave, advising any other bloke sniffing around to LEG IT. Whilst subtly bragging that he”s been there, of course.

Lee Dorsey – Get Out My Life Woman.mp3
Video
As you”ve noticed, the tone is changing very quickly from “˜I will grow stronger without you” to “˜Oh, bollocks to you, then”. And this is probably the most eloquent, understated OBTYT I”ve ever come across.
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Jilted John ““ Jilted John.mp3
Video
The most joyous, cathartic, triumphant I”ve-been-dumped song ever. She is a slag. And he”s a creep. She is a tart. He”s very cheap. She is a slut. He thinks he”s tough. She is a bitch. He is a puff. (and Kid Jensen can shut his gob, the cheeky bastard).
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Wayne County and the Electric Chairs – Fuck Off.mp3
Video
Say no more. But be aware the singer in question ended up having a sex change.
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Cake – I Will Survive.mp3
Video
Sod it, why not? 99.99999% of songs don”t have genitals, and the ones that do can easily be operated on.

So, which song would you nominate?

The Originals Vol. 7

September 28th, 2008 3 comments

Sutherland Brothers – Sailing.mp3
Rod Stewart – Sailing.mp3
Our friend RH has supplied me with scores of lesser known originals. The biggest surprise of these perhaps was that Rod Stewart”s Sailing was in fact a cover version. Written in 1972, it was first recorded by the Sutherland Brothers. Having joined forces with the band Quiver, the brothers were also responsible for another possible inclusion in this series, Arms Of Mary, which readers of a certain vintage are more likely to associate with Danny Wilson”s1988 hit (and others, perhaps, as a hit for Chilliwack in the “70s). The Sutherland Brothers” version has a apposite shanty feel, with the keyboard player especially having fun experimenting with his toy. Rod”s version is richer and warmer. The old soul lover recorded it, and the rest of the ludicrously cover-designed Atlantic Crossing, in that incubator of great soul music: Muscle Shoals, Alabama. As I mentioned in my Pissing Off The Taste Police With Rod Stewart post last week, I”ve had an emotional attachment to Rod”s Sailing ever since it facilitated my first slow dance as an 11-year-old, so I instinctively love the song. Frankly, I can think of no good reason, other than its overexposure, why Rod”s Sailing seems to be so widely reviled.
Also recorded by: Joe Dassin (as Ma Musique, 1975), Robin Trower (1976), Joan Baez (1977), The Shadows (1981), Richard Clayderman (1988), Rock Against Repatriation (1990), The Gary Tesca Orchestra (1995), Khadja Nin (1998), Stina Nordenstam (1998), Smokie (2001), fucking Helmut Lotti (2003) a.o.
Best version: Holding the lovely Antje in my arms to the sounds of Rod Stewart singing Sailing”¦what do you think?

Jacques Dutronc – Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi.mp3
Mungo Jerry – Alright Alright Alright.mp3
This one is a bit of a contentious inclusion. Mungo Jerry didn”t so much cover Jacques Dutronc”s song as re-write it. There are songs billed as original compositions that bear a greater resemblance to another song than Alright Alright Alright does to Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi. Both are first-rate songs. Dutronc”s 1964 hit anticipates Plastic Bertand by 14 years and probably is more punk than the Belgian ever was. Mungo Jerry are often remembered as a bit of a novelty act or ““ worse and inaccurately”“ as a one-hit wonder. Fine songs, every bit the equal of In The Summertime, such as Lady Rose or Baby Jump, are often forgotten. Summertime”s b-side, Mighty Man, should be regarded as a classic, if only for singer Ray Dorset”s ad libbing sound effects. As for Dutronc, the man married Francoise Hardy. He is a lucky man.
Also recorded by: Nobody I”ve heard of.
Best version: Oh, they”re both so different”¦ At a push, Mungo Jerry”s for the way Dorset sings “Awride awride awridaridaride”. And the Boo-pee-doop-doops.

Tommy James & The Shondells – I Think We’re Alone Now.mp3
Tiffany – I Think We’re Alone Now.mp3
Teenage singer Tiffany scored her 1987 debut hit I Think We”re Alone Now by performing it at malls. One wonders if the kids” parents, seen in the video looking on bemusedly at Tiffany”s exploits, recognised the song as Tommy James & the Shondells” 1967 US #4 hit (apparently described by Lester Bangs as “the bubblegum apotheosis”). Curiously, Tiffany”s cover was followed at the US #1 by another Tommy James cover, Mony Mony by Billy Idol. And before that, Joan Jett had a hit with a cover of Tommy James” Crimson And Clover. Tiffany at 16 was the youngest female singer to top the US charts.
Also recorded by: The Rubinoos (1977), Lene Lovich (1978), “Weird Al” Yankovic (1988, as, “hilariously”, I Think I’m a Clone Now), Kanda (2003), Girls Aloud (2006), The Birthday Massacre (2008) a.o.
Best version: I used to loathe Tiffany”s version on principle but rather like it now. Still, Tommy James” original is far superior.

Carson & Gaile – Something Stupid.mp3
Frank & Nancy Sinatra – Something Stupid.mp3
Sung by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy, Something Stupid is just a little less creepy than Natalie Cole duetting with her long-dead father (I note that she”s at it again). Lee Hazlewood, who produced it, recalled that he phoned Frank to tell him that he was going to duet the song with Nancy if Frank wasn”t. It seems that in the mid-“60s people were not freaked out by such things yet, so Frank called dibs on hisdaughter. And you can”t really argue with the result: it”s a lovely easy listening production. It had been recorded by several artists in the months between its first recording in early 1967 by the song”s composer C. Carson Parks with Gaile and the Sinatras” production in September that year (including a version by Marvin Gaye with Tammi Terrell in August). But it is Frank and Nancy”s version that is remembered. Carson & Gaile”s original recording ““ posted here courtesy of our man RH ““ isn”t wildly different; it has the acoustic guitars and tempo of the Frank “˜n Nancy production. Come to think of it, there isn”t much one can do it, as Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman showed when they returned the song to the UK #1 in 2001.
Also recorded by: The Amazing Dancing Band (1967), Ray Conniff (1967), Sacha Distel & Joanna Shimkus (as Ces mots stupides, 1967), Tino Rossi (as Ces mots stupides, 1967), Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (1967), Tammy Wynette & David Houston (1967), Andy Williams (1967), Artie Butler (1968), Ali & Kibibi Campbell (1995), Lu Campbell (1998), Dana Winner & Jan Decleir (1998), The Mavericks with Trisha Yearwood (2001), Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman (2001), Steve & Lauryn Tyrell (2005) a.o.
Best version: Sideshow Bob and Selma Bouvier

The Leaves – Hey Joe, Where Are You Going.mp3
Love – Hey Joe.mp3
Tim Rose – Hey Joe (You Shot Your Woman Down).mp3
Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe.mp3
The genesis of Hey Joe is disputed, with some claiming it is an old traditional folk song. There seems to be wide consensus, however, that it was written in the early 1960s by a folk singer called Billy Roberts, who may well have borrowed from a 1950s country song by the same title written by Boudleaux Bryant. Something of a cult classic on LA”s live scene and reportedly propagated by David Crosby, Roberts” song was eventually recorded by The Leaves (though some claim that the Surfaris recorded their version first, but released it after the Leaves” version came out). Where The Leaves rock out in a psychedelic fashion, Jimi”s version”s, recorded in December 1966, is said to have been based on the slower folk-rock treatment by Tim Rose (who once was part of a folk trio including someone called Jim Hendricks, as well as Mama Cass Elliott), though Arthur Lee insisted it was the Love recording of September 1966 that inspired Hendrix (which with the Leaves” version shares a riff very reminiscent of the Searchers” Needles And Pins). Whatever the stimulant ““ Rose”s vocals certainly seem not to dissimilar to Jimi”s interpretation, and also compare the drumming ““ it turned out to be a claustrophobic affair which communicated the intensity of the lyrics: friends discussing a murder of passion.
Also recorded by: Swamp Rats (1966), The Cryan’ Shames (1966), The Surfaris (1966), The Standells (1966), The Byrds (1966), Love (1966), The Shadows of Knight (October 1966), The Music Machine (1966), Cher (1967), Tim Rose (1967), Johnny Hallyday (1967), Marto (1967), Johnny Rivers (1968), Marmalade (1968), The Mothers of Invention (as a satire titled Flower Punk in 1968), King Curtis (1968), Deep Purple (1968), Wilson Pickett (1969), Fever Tree (1970), Les Humphries Singers (1971), Roy Buchanan (1973), Patti Smith (1974), Alvin Lee (1979), “Weird Al” Yankovic (1984), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (1986), Seal (1991), The Offspring (1991), Willy DeVille (1992), Buckwheat Zydeco (1992), Paul Gilbert (1992), Reddog (1992), Eddie Murphy (1993), Band of Joy (1996), The Hamsters (1996), Helge & The Firefuckers (1999), Medeski, Martin and Wood (2000), Roy Mette (2001), Popa Chubby (2001), Robert Plant (2002), Cassie Steele (2005), Gabe Dixon Band (2005) a.o.
Best version: Gotta be Jimi Hendrix”s