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In Memoriam – September 2022

October 4th, 2022 2 comments

After last month’s carnage, the Reaper mercifully returned to the normal swing of things. He still took at least three artists who made a huge difference in their respective fields.

One artist who doesn’t get listed is Rommy Hunt Revson, who was a nightclub singer but never released any records (as far as I can ascertain). Her claim to fame resides outside the world of music: she invented the scrunchie, the fabric-covered elastic hair tie. After a year-long marriage to Revlon heir John Revson, then 43-year-old Rommy fashioned the tie to manage her brittle hair for a job interview in 1987. She patented the idea and made millions of it, until the patent expired in 2001. She never needed to return to the stages of smokey nightclubs.

The Game-changer
It can be argued that Coolio helped break a mold when his Gangsta’s Paradise became a massive hit. For the first time, a G-Funk rapper who actually knew life in the ghetto and rapped about it topped the US charts, and his song even became the year’s biggest hit. He was by no means the first credible hip hop artist to have a hit, nor even the first G-Funk rapper. Dr Dre preceded Gangsta’s Paradise in the Top 10 by a couple of years. But the mega-success of Gangsta’s Paradise helped make “gangsta rap” acceptable in polite society and white executives’ offices.

Coolio, despite his uncool name, came from the gangsta rap pool that was inhabited by the likes of Ice Cube and Dr Dre. But Dre wasn’t scoring soundtracks of mainstream movies, Snoop didnkt have Michelle Pfeifer, in his videos, and Ice Cube was yet to become a domesticated family movie actor. After Gangsta’s Paradise was a crossover hit, the mainstream doors were opened for others.

Before he embarked on his solo career, first blowing up with 1994’s great Fantastic Voyage, Coolio had been a member of gangsta rap outfit WC & The Maad Circle, which at one point toured with Ice Cube. Coolio still had a few hits after 1995’s Gangsta’s Paradise, but his career had fizzled out by the end of the 1990s. By 2004, he took part in a German talent TV show featuring artists trying out for a comeback, going up against the likes of Haddaway and eventual winner Smokie singer Chris Norman. Coolio, a man who had his share of legal and drug problems, then made more reality TV appearances than albums, but he remained a stage performer till the end.

The Jazz Hitmaker
Eight years to the day that we lost jazz keyboard legend Joe Sample, another jazz keyboard legend departed in Ramsey Lewis. In the 1960s, Lewis was among the few jazz artists to cross over into the mainstream, enjoying million-selling hits with his interpretations of songs like Wade In The Water, Hang On Sloopy, and especially The In-Crowd (the latter a US #5 hit).

Among the latter members of the Ramsey Lewis Trio was a young Maurice White, who’d go on to lead Earth, Wind & Fire to massive success. White would later produce and co-write Sun Godess, a 1975 hit for Lewis. For a few years Lewis toured with Earth, Wind & Fire, whose members would also guest on his albums.

Lewis wasn’t always loved by the critics or jazz purists, with his eclectic approach and supposed commercialism a source of regular criticism. The musician was unapologetic about “diluting” his jazz with other forms of popular music.

Apart from releasing more than 60 albums, Lewis also hosted a popular smooth jazz radio show from Chicago, and in 2006 presented a 13-episode Legends of Jazz TV series. A keen mentor to younger musicians, he set up a foundation to foster musical education among children.

The Freestyler
There are moments in compiling this monthly feature that I fear: the death of a giant in a field of music with which I have no affinity. This month, this is the case with jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, who has died at 81. I like jazz, but I have little interest in the avant-garde side of the genre, nor in the dissonant interplay of free jazz, even as I acknowledge that these sub-genres require an artistry much greater than my capacity to appreciate it. But there is a flip-side to my apprehension: it forces me to look into the life and work of such an artist.

No doubt, Sanders was a pioneer in his field. He joined John Coltrane’s band just as “Trane” (as his fans call him) went avant-garde. As a solo act, Sanders introduced spiritualism and African rhythms into his free jazz, influencing and playing with many young musicians along the way. There are many who regard as Sanders’ masterpiece the 30-minute free-jazz workout “The Creator Has A Master Plan” from 1969’s Karma LP. I’d never have listened to it had Sanders not died (or if I’d never started this series 12 years ago). But I listened to it, and I‘m very glad I did. This led me to seeking out more of Sanders’ music. Man, I’ve missed out on a lot, just because of that, at least in this instance, misleading “free jazz” label!

In the latter parts of the 1970s, Sanders experimented with a more commercial jazz-fusion and R&B sound, collaborating with the great soul singer Phyllis Hyman, but the great commercial success never came. In addition, Sanders had perpetually strained relationships with the many labels that signed him.

The Doobie Drummer
As a drummer of The Doobie Brothers, which he co-founded, John Hartman played on all the great hit albums and singles throughout the 1970s. Hartman recorded almost exclusively with the Doobies, a two-track excursion on Carly Simon’s 1976 album Another Passenger aside — and those included other Doobie Brothers.

As the group’s co-founder and thanks to his presence, the physically imposing Hartman was considered the Doobies’ leader in the early years of its success. He left the group after the 1978 Minute By Minute album, in order to breed horses. He briefly returned for a tour and two albums in the later 1980s. But Hartman’s dream was to become a policeman. He attended police academy, but his past association with drugs — and presumably having led a band named after drug slang — meant that no police department was willing to give him a job…

Here’s a bizarre twist: Hartman’s death was announced on September 22, but it appears that he had died almost nine months earlier, on December 29, 2021!

The Singing Actress
The noted Greek actress Irene Papas is best known for her roles in films such as as The Guns of Navarone (1961), Zorba the Greek (1964) and Z (1969), but she also was a recording artist, mostly in collaboration with Jon Vangelis, whom we lost in May this year. It was with Vangelis that Papas caused controversy in 1972, when she laid down an orgasmic-sounding chant of “I was, I am, I am to come” to the awkwardly-titled Aphrodite’s Child track ∞ (Infinity). Previous to that, Papas had released an album of songs by Mikis Theodorakis, whom we lost last year in September.

By then she was already in exile. Papas left Greece in 1967, when the right-wing military junta grabbed power. Over the following seven years, Papas campaigned for a cultural boycott of Greece. She returned home after the junta fell in 1974, and never moved away again.

The Reggae Man
Born in London as Angus Gaye to parents from Grenada, Drummie Zeb became a pivotal figure in the UK’s reggae movement as the lead singer and drummer of Aswad. He played on all of the band’s 15 albums. Apart from his work with Aswad, Drummie Zeb also did session work — notably on Janet Kay’s 1979 UK #2 hit Silly Games — and produced other acts, including Ace of Base’s 1994 hit cover  of Aswad’s own Don’t Turn Around. He is the first Aswad alumnus to leave us.

The Nashville A-Teamer
Whenever a member of a session collective dies, there’ll be an opportunity to list loads of pop classics they appeared on. So it is with Ray Edenton, a session guitarist associated with Nashville’s ‘A’ Team, who has died at the age of 95. You may not know the names of these musicians, but you’ve heard the songs. Edenton played on classics such as the Everly Brothers’ Bye Bye Love and Wake Up Little Susie, Johnny Cash’s Orange Blossom Special, Roy Orbison’s In Dreams and Dream Baby, Brenda Lee’s Break It To Me Gently, Patsy Cline’s Sweet Dreams, Roger Miller’s King Of The Road, Lyn Anderson’s Rose Garden, Mac Davies’ It’s Hard To Be Humble, Don McLean’s Crying — and many others on which he wasn’t credited. He also played on clean-shaven Willie Nelson’s recordings of Hello Walls, Crazy and Funny How Time Slips Away, and later on several bearded Nelson albums.

Edenton also backed acts like Marty Robbins, Elvis Presley, Loretta Lynn, Roy Orbison, Chet Atkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, George Jones, Ray Price, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Faron Young, Country Joe McDonald, Tom T. Hall, Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge, Leon Russell, The Statler Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Don McLean, Charlie Rich, Neil Young, Crystal Gayle, B.J. Thomas, Reba McEntire, Sammy Davis Jr., Merle Haggard, J.J. Cale and many others.

A WW2 veteran, Edenton was closely associated with 1950s country legend Webb Pierce, whom he backed on almost all hits. As a regular backing guitarist at the Grand Ole Opry and a player known for his innovation, especially as a rhythm guitarist, Edenton was a highly sought-after country session musician until his retirement in 1991.

The Holly Writer
Buddy Holly wrote several stone-cold rock & roll classics, but two of his bigger hits were not by his hand. Oh Boy and Rave On were written by rockabilly singer Sonny West with Bill Tilghman. Producer Norman Petty arbitrarily attached his name to the credits, as was his custom.

Previously West — who has died at 85, just weeks after Crickets drummer Jerry Allison — had tried to sign with Sun Records in Memphis, but was rejected. Staying with his sister near Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, Texas, West looked around for other opportunities to make it as a musician, and eventually found one with Petty in his remote studios in Clovis. There he recorded one self-penned single, Rock-Ola Ruby, as Sonee West, before he bumped into Bill Tilghman, who proposed collaborating on songs for which he already had some basic lyrics.

When West presented Oh Boy — initially titled All My Love — to Petty, the manager declined to have the writer record it for release (a demo was recorded in February 1957, but remained unreleased until 2002, when it appeared on West’s Sweet Rockin’ Rock-Ola Ruby album). Instead, Petty gave the song to Buddy Holly and The Crickets. West reported having been a little bitter about it, because he had written the song for himself, not for Holly. Petty also gave Rave On, a song he didn’t rate, to Holly. West’s original recording of that is on The Originals: The 1950s.

West’s recording career would never take off, with a number of cuts remaining unreleased.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

John Hartman, 72, drummer of the Doobie Brothers, on Dec. 29, 2021 (announced Sept. 22)
Doobie Brothers – Rockin’ Down The Highway (1971)
Doobie Brothers – Another Park, Another Sunday (1974)
Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute (1978)

Angus ‘Drummie Zeb’ Gaye, 62, lead singer, drummer of UK reggae band Aswad, producer, on Sept. 2
Aswad – Back To Africa (1976)
Janet Kay – Silly Games (1979, on drums)
Aswad – Pull Up (1986)

Pat Stay, 36, Canadian rapper, stabbed on Sept. 4

John Till, 76, Canadian guitarist of Janis Joplin’s backing group Full Tilt Boogie Band, on Sept. 4
Janis Joplin – Cry Baby (released 1971, on guitar and backing vocals)

Art Rosenbaum, 83, folk banjo player and filmmaker, on Sept. 4

Dave Sherman, 55, bassist and singer of doom metal band Earthride, on Sept. 7

Sonny West, 85, roackabilly songwriter and musician, on Sept. 8
Sonee West – Rock-Ola Ruby (1956, also as writer)
Sonny West – All My Love (Oh Boy) (1957, also as co-writer)
Buddy Holly – Rave On (1958, as co-writer)

Marciano Cantero, 62, singer of Argentine pop band Enanitos Verdes, on Sept. 8
Los Enanitos Verdes – Tus Viejas Cartas (1986)

Carol Arnauld, 61, French singer-songwriter, on Sept. 9
Carol Arnauld – C’est pas facile (1986)

Herschel Sizemore, 87, bluegrass mandolinist, on Sept. 9
Hershel Sizemore – Rebecca (1979, also as writer)

Trevor Tomkins, 81, drummer with UK jazz-fusion group Gilgamesh, on Sept. 9
Gilgamesh – Darker Brighter (1978)

Ramsey Lewis, 87, jazz pianist and composer, on Sept. 12
Ramsey Lewis Trio – The ‘In’ Crowd (1965)
Ramsey Lewis with Earth, Wind & Fire – Sun Goddess (1974)
Ramsey Lewis – Whisper Zone (1980)
Ramsey Lewis – Keys To The City (1987, also as co-writer)

Dennis East, 73, South African singer, songwriter and producer, on Sept. 12
Stingray – The Man In My Shoes (1979, as member on lead vocals & as writer)

PnB Rock, 30, rapper, shot in a robbery on Sept. 12
PnB Rock -Selfish (2016)

Jesse Powell, 51, R&B singer, on Sept. 13
Jesse Powell – You (1996)

Brother Cleve, 62, keyboardist of neo-lounge act Combustible Edison, announced Sept. 13
Combustible Edison – Dior (1998)

David Andersson, 47, guitarist of Swedish metal band Soilwork, on Sept. 14

Irene Papas, c.93, Greek actress and singer, on Sept. 14
Aphrodite’s Child – ∞ (Infinity) (1972, on vocals)
Irene Papas – Little Orange Tree (1979)

Paul Sartin, 51, English folk singer, musician and composer, on Sept. 14

Jim Post, 82, folk singer-songwriter, on Sept. 14
Friend & Lover – Reach Out Of The Darkness (1968, as member and writer)

Cherry Valentine, 28, English drag artist, on Sept. 16

Marva Hicks, 66, soul singer and actress, on Sept. 16
Marva Hicks – Never Been in Love Before (1991)

Eddie Pleasant, 95, country songwriter and producer, on Sept. 17

Diane ‘Belgazou’ Guérin, 74, Canadian singer and actress, on Sept. 18
Belgazou – Entre Mozart et Jagger (1987)

Jamie Roy, 33, Scottish DJ and producer, on Sept. 20

Kyle Maite, 37, guitarist of pop-punk band Hit The Lights, on Sept. 20
Hit The Lights – All Messed Up (2018)

Anton Fier, 66, drummer, bandleader, composer and producer, on Sept. 21
The Golden Palominos – Alive And Living Now (1991, as leader; Michael Stipe on vocals)

Ray Edenton, 95, country session guitarist, on Sept. 21
Kitty Wells & Red Foley – One By One (1959, on guitar)
Willie Nelson – Hello Walls  (1962, on rhythm guitar)
Country Joe McDonald – Roll On Columbia (1969, on guitar)

Stu Allan, 60, English dance music DJ, mix compiler and producer, on Sept. 22

Robert Marlow, 60, English new wave singer, on Sept. 22
Robert Marlow – The Face Of Dorian Gray (1983)

Gord Kirchin, 60, lead singer of Canadian metal band Piledriver, on Sept. 22

Pharoah Sanders, 81, jazz saxophonist, on Sept. 24
Pharoah Sanders – Thembi (1971)
Pharoah Sanders feat. Phyllis Hyman – As You Are (1978)
Pharoah Sanders – You’ve Got to Have Freedom (1987)

Sue Mingus, 92, producer and manager, wife of Charles, on Sept. 24

Boris Moiseev, 68, Russian pop singer and dancer, on Sept. 27

Coolio, 59, hip hop artist and actor, on Sept. 28
WC & The Maad Circle – Dress Code (1991, as member)
Coolio – Fantastic Voyage (1994)
Coolio – C U When U Get There (1997)

Joe Chambers, country guitarist, songwriter, Musicians’ Hall of Fame founder, on Sept. 28
Randy Travis – Old 8×10 (1987, as co-writer)

Prins Póló, 45, Icelandic singer-songwriter, on Sept. 28

John Mortensen, singer and bassist of rock band Mono Men, on Sept. 28
Mono Men – Watch Outside (1992)

David Malachowski, 67, blues rock guitarist, on Sept. 29
Savoy Brown – When It Rains (2004, on rhythm guitar)

Keith ‘Wonderboy’ Johnson, 50, gospel singer, on Sept. 30

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Any Major Lamont Dozier Songbook

September 27th, 2022 3 comments

 

A few weeks ago we marked the death on August 8 of Lamont Dozier with a mix of songs he wrote at Motown with the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland. This is a sequel to the Any Major Holland-Dozier-Holland Songbook, covering almost exclusively the post-Motown era, during which Dozier still worked with the Hollands, but also with others and on his own.

Holland-Dozier-Holland split from Motown acrimoniously. Having founded the Invictus label, which created some of the greatest early-‘70s soul music, the trio were precluded by a lawsuit from crediting themselves for the songs they wrote. That’s how the fictional Edith Wayne, a pseudonym for HDH, came to co-write soul classics such as Band Of Gold, Give Me Just A Little More Time, Dangling On A String, Everything’s Tuesday, Westbound No. 9, Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup), and others.

The legal strife with Berry Gordy Jr was nasty business, but according to Dozier it was exactly that: just business. So by the mid-1970s, the Hollands worked with Motown again, in a delightful twist producing The Supremes, the band which in the 1960s they had produced to superstardom (and listen to Freda Payne’s Deeper And Deeper to hear some of that residual Supremes-like magic). On The Supremes’ 1976’s hit album High Energy, only Mary Wilson was left of the classic line-up. Sharing the lead by then was Scherrie Payne, Freda’s younger sister. But on the featured track, the Dozier co-written Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You, Wilson takes the lead.

Before Scherrie joined The Supremes in 1973, she was in the Invictus band The Glass House, featured here with the gospel-funk track Heaven Is There To Guide Us, for which she received a co-writer’s credit, as she did for Crumbs Off The Table, a Glass House track covered here by Dusty Springfield.

There are two other songs with a faith-based theme here, both glorious grooves. The Sylvers’ Touch Me Jesus and Harrison Kennedy’s Sunday Morning People (which attacks the hypocrisy of people in the pews). In their original versions, by The Glass House (actually recorded by Darlene Love’s The Blossoms) and The Honey Cone respectively, both songs featured on the excellent Saved! The Soul Edition mix.

Perhaps the second-most surprising cover artist here, after Motörhead, is Donny Osmond. He covers the Chairmen of the Board’s glorious Dangling On A String. One might fear the worst, since Donald’s artistic reputation did not hinge on his powress as a traditional soul man. In the event, it is an agreeable interpretation — and not surprisingly, since co-writer Brian Holland produced the 1977 album this comes from.

Motörhead’s contribution from 1977, Leaving Here, is the only song here that belongs firmly in the Holland-Dozier-Holland Motown era. It was one of the trio’s earliest compositions, having been first released as a single in 1963 by Eddie Holland. It made no commercial impression, but in 1977, Lemmy and his pals Phil and Eddie recorded the song as their debut single. It’s not like Motörhead were deep-tracking obscure Motown material; their inspiration was a 1965 recording by the group The Birds, which counted among its members a fresh-faced Ronnie Woods.

The mix kicks off with Odyssey’s magnificent version of Going Back To My Roots, a song Dozier wrote on his own and recorded in 1977. Hugh Masekela helped Dozier infuse the song with its Afro-pop sensibility, which the Odyssey cover retained (including the Yoruba chant). It had already been covered by Richie Haven, but Odyssey had a huge hit with it in Europe in 1981. It topped the charts in South Africa, the home which Masekela could not return to… Dozier’s original featured on Any Major Originals: Soul Vol. 1).

Most tracks here were co-written by Dozier with others; the writing credits can be found in the ID3 tags of the song files. On 12 of the 30 tracks here, Ron Dunbar got a co-writing credit, mostly alongside that of Edith Wayne. Dunbar left us in April 2018. Dozier later claimed that Dunbar, an A&R man for Invictus, served as a composing front for Brian Holland, again because of the legal troubles with Motown. Dozier and Dunbar can sort that out in pop heaven.

This mix features 30 tracks. If you want to cut it in a standard CD-R, take tracks 1-22. The mix includes home-produced covers, and the above in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. Odyssey – Going Back To My Roots (1981)
2. Angela Clemmons – Give Me Just A Little More Time (1982)
3. Donny Osmond – Dangling On A String (1977)
4. Lamont Dozier – Why Can’t We Be Lovers (1974)
5. Flaming Ember – Westbound No. 9 (1971)
6. The Honey Cone – While You’re Out Looking For Sugar (1969)
7. Ronnie Dyson – Band Of Gold (1970)
8. Chairmen Of The Board – Everything’s Tuesday (1970)
9. 100 Proof Aged In Soul – Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup) (1971)
10. McKinley Jackson & Politicians – Love Machine (1971)
11. Dusty Springfield – Crumbs Off The Table (1972)
12. Harrison Kennedy – Sunday Morning People (1972)
13. Freda Payne – Deeper And Deeper (1970)
14. The Glass House – Heaven Is There To Guide Us (1971)
15. The Sylvers – Touch Me Jesus (1972)
16. The Blossoms – Cherish What Is Dear To You (1972)
17. The Jones Girls – Come Back (1972)
18. James Gilstrap – Put Out The Fire (1975)
19. Millie Jackson – You Created A Monster (1977)
20. Ben E. King – Let Me Live In Your Life (1978)
21. The Supremes – Don’t Let My Teardrops Bother You (1976)
22. Holland-Dozier – New Breed Kinda Woman (1973)
Bonus Tracks:
23. Syreeta – Mind, Body And Soul (c.1969)
24. Dionne Warwick – Don’t Burn The Bridge (That You Took Across) (1973)
25. The Originals – Sweet Rhapsody (1975)
26. Margie Joseph – All Cried Out (1976)
27. Alison Moyet – Invisible (1984)
28. Boy George – To Be Reborn (1987)
29. The Style Council – Hanging On To A Memory (live) (1984)
30. Motörhead – Leaving Here (1978)

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Previous Songbooks:
ABBA
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Holland-Dozier-Holland
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

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Any Major Charlies

September 15th, 2022 2 comments

Here’s a mix that riffs on a current event, in as far as that event inspired the theme: songs by people called Charles or derivations of that name. It’s basically an excuse to put together a collection of good songs that span various genres. You’ll know some of the Charlies featured, and you may discover a few you might not have known.

As for the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha chap (Windsor is really a made-up stage name), well, good luck to him. After 70 year of his mummy on the throne, the poor sap can’t really succeed. Not that I care much for the robber baron institutions that drain public purses, whether in Britain, Thailand or Eswatini. All systems of inherited privilege are objectionable. I’d not want to take part in the servility that props up aristocracies, with the bowing and scraping and bootlicking and letting miscreants of various levels of sweatiness get away with rape and murder. In the words of a Chuck not featured on this mix: Fight the Power!

But you don’t come here for my outbursts of civic sagacity, but for the music. So here’s the mix of people called Charles, Charley, Charlie, Chuck, Chas, Chaz, Charlotte or Carla, including a track featuring Inez Foxx (with brother Charlie), who died last month. And, fittingly, the Chuck Jackson track was produced by Carole King.

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

1. Carla Thomas – Stop Thief (1967)
2. Inez & Charlie Foxx – Hurt By Love (1964)
3. Chuck Jackson – I Don’t Want To Cry (1961)
4. Chuck Berry – No Particular Place To Go (1964)
5. Charlie Rich – Rebound (1959)
6. Charles Brown – Trouble Blues (1947)
7. Charles Trenet – La Mer (1946)
8. Charlie Watts Quintet feat. Bernard Fowler – My Ship (1993)
9. Ray Charles with Willie Nelson – Seven Spanish Angels (1984)
10. Bobby Charles – I Must Be In A Good Place Now (1972)
11. Chuck Pyle – Colorado (2007)
12. Charlotte Kendrick – Feels Right (2007)
13. Charlie Dore – Pilot Of The Airwaves (1980)
14. Charles & Eddie – Would I Lie To You (Acoustic Version) (1992)
15. Charlie Singleton – Sorry Charlie (1989)
16. Chas & Dave – Ain’t No Pleasing You (1982)
17. Charley Pride – Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger (1967)
18. Charlie Daniels Band – Long Haired Country Boy (1974)
19. Sonny Charles & The Checkmates – Black Pearl (1969)
20. Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – Road Without An End (1970)
21. Carla Whitney – Wisdom Song (1975)
22. Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers – Come On And Boogie (Part 1) (1980)
23. Tina Charles – I Love To Love (1976)
24. Chaz Jankel – Without You (1983)

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In Memoriam – August 2022

September 7th, 2022 6 comments

This In Memoriam drops a bit later than usual due to travel commitments. In as far as this unpaid gig is concerned, the travelling couldn’t have been worse timed (though it otherwise was a great trip), for August was harvest time for the Reaper, with ‘60s soul taking a hit in particular. Especially poignant: The Seekers’ lead singer Judith Durham died just ten days after Tom Springfield, the man who wrote all those hits that made her and The Seekers so famous in the 1960s. Tom’s life story is also quite something… Also worth noting: The Grim Reaper claimed the singer of a band called Grim Reaper.

The Cricket
The music has finally died with the passing of the final surviving member of Buddy Holly’s Crickets. Jerry Allison, who has died at 82, was the man who gave Holly’s great hit Peggy Sue its title. Buddy initially had as the song’s heroine Cindy Lou, but Allison asked him to rename it Peggy Sue, because that was the name of his estranged girlfriend — and future wife. This earned Allison a songwriting credit, and quite rightly, because Holly couldn’t have made those percussive P and G sounds with the name Cindy. The drummer also co-wrote That’ll Be The Day (credited) and Not Fade Away (uncredited).

Allison stuck to drumming on the Crickets’ records, but also tried his hand at singing — which clearly was not his most potent power — on a couple of singles. In 1958 he released the single Real Wild Child — a song he had heard Johnny O’Keefe play on stage in Australia — under the moniker Ivan, and with Buddy Holly on guitar. It featured on Any Major ABC of the 1950s. His second single, with a b-side titled That’ll Be Alright, was released, coincidentally, the day after Buddy Holly died in the plane which Allison didn’t take.

After Buddy’s death in 1958, bassist Joe B. Mauldin (died 2015) and guitarist Niki Sullivan (died 2004) soon left the group, but Jerry successfully continued the Crickets franchise — which Mauldin rejoined in 1976 — performing until his retirement in 2016. The Crickets were no hit machines, but they were influential, releasing original versions of future hits, such as I Fought The Law (written by guitarist Sonny Curtis, on The Originals: The Classics) and More Than I Can Say (Curtis and Allison, The Originals: 1980s Vol. 1)

The Hitmaker
With the brothers Holland, Lamont Dozier formed a veritable hit-machine for Motown. The landmark hits Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote and produced for acts like The Supremes, Four Tops, Martha And The Vandellas are listed in the notes for Holland-Dozier-Holland Songbook, which dropped a week after Dozier’s death.

It was with Motown that the young Dozier got his first break as a singer, releasing a few singles, mostly co-written by Berry Gordy, on the subsidiary Anna label, first as Lamont Anthony and eventually under his own name. These went nowhere, but by 1962 Gordy teamed the young singer up with another young vocalist, Brian Holland, who’d already scored hits as the co-writer of Please Mr Postman and Little Stevie Wonder’s Fingertips. They released some singles as a duo that went nowhere. But the two were also put to work behind the scenes, being entrusted especially with the hitherto luckless teenage trio The Supremes. They had little success, until Brian’s brother Eddie, also a Motown recording artist, joined them as lyricist.

After falling out with Berry Gordy, Holland-Dozier-Holland founded their own label, Invictus, in 1970. There their charges included the Freda Payne, Chairmen Of The Board, 100 Proof Aged In Soul, Flaming Embers, Glass House, Honey Cone. They produced and co-wrote hits — for contractual reasons as Edith Wayne — such as Band Of Gold, Give Me Just A Little More Time, Everything’s Tuesday, Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup), Sunday Morning People, or Westbound No. 9.

On that label Dozier released his biggest solo hit, Why Can’t We Be Lovers, a US #9. In 1973 he split from the Holland brothers and released a string of very good solo albums, including the acclaimed and pleasingly-titled Black Bach, with Dozier featured on the cover in the form of a bust. In 1977 he released Going Back To My Roots, later covered to great success by Odyssey (Dozier’s original featured on Any Major Originals: Soul Vol. 1)

Later in his career he worked with Phil Collins on his Grammy-winning song Two Hearts and the Four Tops’ (quite awful) Loco In Acapulco, and wrote the musically great but lyrically awkward Invisible for Alison Moyet.

The Sandy
The musical career of Olivia Newton-John in many ways followed the way of her character in Grease. First there was the clean-cut Sandy Olsson from Australia singing about the banks of the Ohio in such a way that few noticed that she was wholesomely trilling about a murder. Then Livvy flicked her tongue, said “Tell me about it, stud”, and did songs like Totally Hot and Physical, which were not about the agreeable properties of a spicy vindaloo or bracing aerobics. Totally Hot featured on Any Major Disco Vol. 2.

She was already a well-known singer when she represented Britain in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with a gospel-flavoured song, Long Live Love. While Swedish entry ABBA won, Newton-John finished joint 4th (The story of that Eurovision is recounted on the ABBA Recovered mix post)

Like Sandy, Olivia was never in the cool crowd. She hung out with Cliff Richard, after all. But she came from a pretty cool family. Born in Cambridge, England, her maternal grandfather was German Nobel-awarded scientist Max Born. Her father, Bryn Newton-John, worked on the Enigma project at Bletchley Park during World War 2. In that position, he arrested the leading Nazi Rudolf Hess.

The Guitar Wrecker
If you hear a guitar on any of those legendary Phil Spector records of the 1960s, chances are that you’re hear Bill Pitman playing, usually alongside fellow guitarist Tommy Tedesco, and Hal Blaine on drums. If the ukelele opening of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head puts you instantly in a good mood, thank Pitman for that.

The session guitarist, who has died at 102, played on innumerable hits alongside his colleagues from the Wrecking Crew collective. While the members of bands like The Beach Boys, The Monkees or The Association were doing other things, the Wrecking Crew recorded their music. In the case of the Beach Boys, it was under Brian Wilson’s direction. He had Pitman play on the Pet Sounds album and on hits such as Good Vibrations.

The Wrecking Crew once even stood in for The Byrds, doing the instruments on their debut hit single, Mr. Tambourine Man. Pitman was on guitar that day. The other session-Byrds were Hal Blaine (drums), Larry Knechtel (bass), Jerry Cole (guitar) and Leon Russell (keyboards).

And we can thank Pitman for Phil Spector the Producer. Pitman’s only ever guitar lessons pupil was a teenage Phil, back in the 1950s. It was Pitman who advised Spector that he wouldn’t cut it as a professional jazz guitarist. Spector took his advice and became a songwriter, arranger and producer instead.

Like many other Wrecking Crew members, Pitman made his start in jazz, backing acts like Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, Buddy Rich, Orrin Tucker and others. His father had been a musician, and Bill wanted to become a musician already at the age of five, in 1925. Coming from that generation and background, the pop and rock music Pitman helped to create was really foreign to him. The running joke was that if Pitman didn’t like a recording, it was sure to become a hit.

Apart from appearing on pop hits and as sideman on jazz records, Pitman also played on countless movie and TV scores, including (for TV) Star Trek, Bonanza, Ironside and (most recognisably) The Wild, Wild West, and (on film) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paint Your Wagon, M*A*S*H, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Dirty Dancing and Goodfellas.

The Impression
Before there was The Impressions, there was The Roosters, founded in Chatanooga in 1958 by Sam Gooden with the brothers Arthur and Richard Brookes. By 1960, they had recruited Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield in Chicago and changed their name. In 1962 Butler and the Brookes brothers left to reduce The Impressions as a trio, with Mayfield, Gooden and Roosters alumnus Fred Cash. When Mayfield left in 1970 to be replaced by Leroy Hutson, and when Hutson left to be replaced by a string of other lead singers, Gooden and Cash remained in the band throughout until The Impressions’ farewell tour in 2018.

Gooden rarely took the lead on the group’s songs, but was often prominently heard on call-and-response songs, such as the gospel-tinged It’s All Right. With Gooden’s death at 87, Cash is the last surviving member of the classic 1962-70 line-up of The Impressions.

The Jazz Giant
One of the giants of jazz whose names is known mainly to fans of the genre has died at 93. Creed Taylor produced a Who’s Who of Jazz from the 1950s onwards, and in the 1960s he helped bring the bossa nova to the US, producing the landmark 1963 album by Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto which featured The Girl From Ipanema. He’d produce many more records by those two legends, as well as by Astrud Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Two years earlier, Taylor had produced Ray Charles’ landmark album Genius + Soul = Jazz. In the 1960s he founded CTI Records, on which (or its subsidiary Kudu) he nurtured the careers of jazz fusion greats such as of George Benson, Grover Washington Jr, Bob James, Hubert Laws, Stanley Turrentine, Eumir Deodato, Walter Wanderley, and others.  Also produced by Taylor on CTI were acts like Chet Baker, Gabor Szabo, Milt Jackson, Paul Desmond, Patti Austin, Yusef Lateef, Jeremy Steig, and Nina Simone. He also produced Esther Philips hit disco version of What A Difference A Day Makes.

Among others he produced before that on labels such as ABC Paramount, MGM, A&M and especially Verve were — deep breath now — Chris Connor, Herbie Mann, Kal Winding, Quincy Jones, Lambert Hendricks & Ross, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Gene Ammns, Sonny Stitt, Cal Tjader, Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Anita O’Day, Pat Thomas, Lalo Schifrin, Jimmy Smith, Coleman Hawkins, Kenyon Hopkins, Wes Montgomery, Willie Bobo, Johnny Hodges, Donald Byrd, Jackie & Roy, Little Eva, Roland Kirk, Nat Adderley, Milton Nascimento, Eric Gale, Idris Muhammad, Phil Upchurch, Keith Jarrett, Roland Kirk, and many others.

The Seeker
In the 1960s, Judith Durham was the global voice of Australian pop as the lead singer of The Seekers. The group found their breakthrough in 1964 after making an impression on board of a cruise liner sailing from Australia to the UK. Instead of returning down under as planned, they stayed in the UK, and went on to put together a string of international hits. These included six UK Top 10 hits, including two #1s (I’ll Never Find Another You and The Carnival Is Over, both in 1965). Their biggest hit worldwide was Georgy Girl in 1965.

Durham left The Seekers in 1968 to start a solo career, with no great chart success outside Australia, while band member Keith Potger went on to have a string of hits with The New Seekers. The latter had a hit in 1971 with a song from a Coca-Cola ad; in 1966 The Seekers had recorded a different commercial for the brand, with Durham on vocals.

The Hitwriter
Just ten days before Durham, the writer of all those hits for The Seekers died at 88. Tom Springfield started his string of 1960s hits as a member of The Springfields, which featured his sister Mary, better known as Dusty Springfield, on vocals. They had a number of UK hits, and broke in the US with the country-ish Silver Threads And Golden Needles.

Born Dionysius Patrick O’Brien to Irish parents in London, Tom trained in the 1950s to be a spy, for which he had to immerse himself in Russian culture. The spy thing didn’t work out, but it inspired him in his songwriting, especially in his second-most famous song, The Carnival Is Over (the most famous, obviously, is Georgy Girl).

Springfield retired from music in the early 1970s.

The Girl Band Pioneer
R&B pioneer Della Griffin has died at 100, having made her greatest contribution to music in the 1950s. In 1951 she was the leader of one of the first R&B girl groups, The Enchanters (not to be confused with the 1960s doo-wop band of that name), which Griffin served as lead singer and as drummer — at a time when women were not expected to swing the sticks. Griffin also played the alto saxophone and piano.

The Enchanters released a string of records on Jubilee in 1951/52, but soon two of the foursome left the group. The other half, Griffin and Gloria Alleyne (later more famous as Gloria Lynne) carried on as The Dell-Tones. The new group released a number of records on Brunswick and toured extensively, but never broke through. In 1957, Griffin and some variation of the ever-changing Dell-Tones line-up joined forces with doo-wop pioneers The Orioles to form a The Kings And Queens, releasing one single. Soon the members of the Dell-Tones went their own ways, with Griffin taking time out from music in an (unsuccessful) bid to have a family. While Griffin never had children, she fostered more than a dozen children, many of whom would visit her daily till her final day.

After returning to music in the 1960s, Griffin was mainly a stage performer rather than recording artist, and having moved into jazz, with a voice more than reminiscent of that of her friend Billie Holiday. Her first solo record came out only in 1978, produced by The Orioles’ leader Sonny Til. Three more albums followed in the 1990s.

The Motown & Stax Singer
She was the first female singer to be signed to Berry Gordy’s Tamla label and had The Miracles and The Marvelettes backing her, but Mable John, who has died at 91, never broke through on the Motown roster. After Gordy let her go in 1962, she joined The Raelettes, Ray Charles backing singers, until in 1966 she signed for Stax. John had some success there with her Porter/Hayes-penned debut single, Your Good Thing (Is About to End), but never broke through. In 1968 she rejoined The Raelettes until leaving secular music for gospel in 1973. John returned briefly in 1991 on Motown’s UK subsidiary, Motorcity, with a very good dance record titled Time Stops.

Mable John featured on the Any Major Soul mixes covering 1960-63, 1966 and 1967.

The Soul Sister
On the same day as Mabel left us, fellow underrated soul singer Inez Foxx departed at the age of 79. Foxx made her name as an explosive live act with her brother Charlie. They made a breakthrough early in their career in 1963 with Mockingbird, their soul reworking of a famous lullaby, which — like many of their singles, credited only to Inez. It would be covered later by the likes of James Taylor & Carly Simon and Aretha Franklin. The Foxxes couldn’t replicate the success of that #7 pop hit, perhaps hamstrung by an unmerited perception that they were a novelty act.

Inez also co-wrote The Drifters hit I Love You 1000 Times with then-husband Luther Dixon. She recorded until the mid-1970s, including a very good solo album, At Memphis, in 1973. A track from that features here and another on Any Major Soul 1973: Vol. 1.

The Composing Pianist
If you have seen a film made in the past 50 years, you very likely will have heard at some point the work of film score composer and pianist Michael Lang (not to be confused with the Woodstock impresario of the same name who died in January). He recorded more than 2,500 film scores, and worked as a musician with virtually every major film composer, including John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, James Horner, Henry Mancini, John Barry, Elmer Bernstein, Dave Grusin, John Debney, Jerry Fielding, Bill Conti, John Barry, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard, Randy Newman, and Hans Zimmer.

Lang also served as sideman and session pianist to many stars, including Leonard Cohen, Seals & Crofts, Cass Elliott, Harry Nilsson, Ray Charles, Barbra Streisand, Herb Alpert, Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, Marlena Shaw, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Preston, Judy Collins, Lalo Schifrin, Stan Getz, Tom Waits, Jose Feliciano, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Kenny Rogers, Vince Gill, Milt Jackson, Frank Zappa, Lee Ritenour, Bud Shank — and Lamont Dozier, who followed Lang three days later.
The Rhinestone
In August I posted the Any Major Party mix, including The Rhinestones’ Party Music. A week later Rhinestones singer and guitarist Kal David died. He also featured on The Rhinestones’ One Time Love, which opened the Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 12, which dropped earlier this year.

Born David Ruskin, he first made music in the early 1960s as the leader of a Chicago band called Kal David and The Exceptions. Fellow members included Peter Cetera, who’d later join Chicago, and Marty Grebb, who’d join The Buckinghams. David and Grebb (who died in January 2020) would find each other again in The Fabulous Rhinestones.

Before that, David and future Poco guitarist Paul Cotton (In Memoriam – July 2021) recorded a couple of albums as Illinois Speed Press. With the Fabulous Rhinestones/Rhinestones, he released three very good but commercially less than successful albums. With his wife, Lauri Bono, he recorded several more albums. He also backed other musicians, including Bonnie Raitt, Ringo Starr, John Mayall, BB King, Johnny Rivers and Robbie Dupree.

Since 1995, David voiced the animatronic lounge singer Sonny Eclipse at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café at Walt Disney World.

The Condor Pasa
When in 1965 Simon & Garfunkel played at the Théâtre de l’Est parisien in Paris, they shared the bill with a Peruvian folk outfit called Los Incas, who played a tune called El Condor Pasa. Paul Simon was so taken with the sound of Los Incas that he became friends with the frontman, Polish-born Jorge Milchberg, and even toured with the band. When Simon asked Milchberg about El Condor Pasa, he was told that it was Milchberg’s arrangement of an old folk tune. So Simon wrote English lyrics which he and Garfunkel recorded their vocals over Los Incas’ base track.

Milchberg, who has now died at 93, had not been clear on the facts. El Condor Pasa had in fact been written in 1913 by Daniel Alomía Robles and originally recorded by Orquesta del Zoolagico (featured on Any Major Originals: The Classics); Milchberg has rearranged the tune, demonstrably not an old folk song, in 1963. After an amicable court case — Simon was gracious about it, as was only right, and the Robles family absolved him of any responsibility — the writing credit went to Robles, Simon & Milchberg.

The Mystery
It is fitting that her death went unreported for almost a month, because Q Lazzarus was the most elusive of artists, literally so. In the 1980s, the singer born as Diane Luckey performed with her backing band The Resurrection (of course) while she was also gigging as a taxi driver.

One day, film director Jonathan Demme got into her cab. At the time, she was playing a demo of her song Goodbye Horses, in preparation for a recording session the next day. Demme was impressed by the song, and upon learning that the artist was his driver herself, Demme became a fan.

In 1986, he used her song The Candle Goes Away in Something Wild. Two years later, he featured Goodbye Horses in Married To The Mob, and again in 1991 in Silence Of The Lambs (the scene in which where serial killer Buffalo Bill applies make-up in front of a mirror). In Philadelphia, Demme used Q Lazzarus’ cover of the Talking Heads’ Heaven.

Despite all that exposure, Q Lazzarus never had a recording contract. After Philadelphia, she simply vanished for two decades. Not even her friends knew where she was, and locating her became something of an obsession for some. She was rediscovered in 2019 by documentary-maker Eva Aridjis — when she was a passenger in a cab Q Lazzarus was driving! They became friends, and Aridjis began putting together a documentary on the singer; it will now appear posthumously.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Q Lazzarus, c.62, cult singer, on July 19
Q Lazzarus – Goodbye Horses (1991)
Q Lazzarus – White Lines (1991)

Tom Springfield, 88, English musician and songwriter, brother of Dusty, on July 27
The Springfields – Silver Threads & Golden Needles (1962, as writer)
Jean DuShon – I’ll Never Find Another You (1965, as writer)
The Seekers – Georgy Girl (1967, as co-writer)
Dusty & Tom Springfield – Morning Please Don’t Come (1970, as writer)

Dod Copland, 59, lead singer of Scottish punk band Toxik Ephex, on July 28
Toxik Ephex – Final Epitaph (1991)

Nicky Moore, 75, singer of English metal group Samson, on Aug. 3
Samson – Life On The Run (1982)

Margot Eskens, 82, German Schlager singer, on Aug. 4
Margot Eskens (with Jonny Dane) – Cindy, oh Cindy (1959)

Sam Gooden, 87, singer with soul group The Impressions, on Aug. 4
The Impressions – It’s All Right (1963)
The Impressions – Woman’s Got Soul (1964)
The Impressions – Aware Of Love (1967, on lead vocals)

Sandy Dillon, 62, singer-songwriter, on Aug. 4

Michael Lang, 80, pianist and composer, on Aug. 5
Herb Alpert – Rise (1979, on electric piano)
Lionel Richie – Wandering Stranger (1982, on piano)
Natalie Cole & Nat King Cole – Unforgettable (1991, on piano)

Young Slo-Be, 29, American rapper, shot on Aug. 5

Judith Durham, 79, singer of Australian folk-pop group The Seekers, on Aug. 5
The Seekers – A World Of Our Own (1965)
The Seekers – Things Go Better With Coca-Cola (1966)
Judith Durham – The Olive Tree (1967)

Diego Bertie, 54, Peruvian singer and actor, on Aug. 5
Imágenes – Buenos Tiempos (1988, as member)

Daniel Lévi, 60, French singer-songwriter, on Aug. 6
Daniel Lévi – l’envie d’aimer (2000)

Torgny Söderberg, 77, Swedish songwriter, on Aug. 6

David Muse, 73, saxophonist and keyboardist of soft-rock band Firefall, on Aug. 6
Firefall – Just Remember I Love You (1977)

Gord Lewis, 65, guitarist of Canadian rock band Teenage Head, discovered on Aug. 7
Teenage Head – Some Kinda Fun (1982)

Darryl Hunt, 72, bassist with The Pogues, on Aug. 8
The Pogues – Lullaby Of London (1988)

Olivia Newton-John, 73, British-Australian singer, on Aug. 8
Olivia Newton-John – Till You Say You’ll Be Mine (1966)
Olivia Newton-John – A Little More Love (1978)
Olivia Newton John & Cliff Richard – Suddenly (1980)

Lamont Dozier, 81, soul songwriter, producer and singer, on Aug. 8
Lamont Anthony – Let’s Talk It Over (1960, as performer)
The Supremes – Baby Love (1964, as co-writer and co-producer)
Lamont Dozier – Let Me Start Tonite (1974)
Alison Moyet – Invisible (1984, as writer)

Ray Majors, 73, English rock singer and guitarist, announced Aug. 9
Ray Majors – Leave Me Be (2000)

Jussi Hakulinen, 57, Finnish singer-songwriter, on Aug. 9

Della Griffin, 100, R&B and jazz singer and drummer, on Aug. 9
The Enchanters – I’ve Lost (1951, on lead vocals)
The Kings & Queens – I’m So Lonely (1957, on lead vocals)
Della Griffin – But Beautiful (1978)

Abdul Wadud, 75, jazz and classical cellist, on Aug. 10
Michael Franks – Living On The Inside (1978, on cello)

Karina Vismara, 31, Argentine folk singer-songwriter, on Aug. 10

Bill Pitman, 102, Wrecking Crew session guitarist, on Aug. 11
Jeri Southern – Isn’t This A Lovely Day (1958, on guitar)
The Crystals – Da Doo Ron Ron (1963, on guitar)
Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking (1966, on guitar)

Darius Campbell Danesh, 41, Scottish singer-songwriter, on Aug. 11
Darius – Colourblind (2002)

Zelito Miranda, 68, Brazilian singer, on Aug. 12

Keith Jamieson, 74, Australian country singer-songwriter, on Aug. 12

Egle Martin, 86, Argentine singer and actress, on Aug. 14
Egle Martin – El Dombe (1970)

Rico, c.51, Scottish singer-songwriter, on Aug. 14
Rico & Gary Numan – Crazier (2004)

Svika Pick, 72, Polish-born Israeli singer and songwriter, on Aug. 14
Dana International – Diva (1998, as co-writer)

Butch Thompson, 78, jazz pianist and clarinettist, on Aug. 14

Tokollo Tshabalala, 45, member of South African kwaito trio TKZee, on Aug. 15
TKZee – We Love This Place (1998)
TKzee – Fiasco (2000)

Hans Magnusson, 73, saxophonist of Swedish dansband Thorleifs, on Aug. 15

Steve Grimmett, 62, singer of English heavy metal band Grim Reaper, on Aug. 15
Grim Reaper – Never Coming Back (1985, also as co-writer)

Kal David, 79, rock and blues guitarist and singer, on Aug. 16
Illinois Speed Press – Here Today (1969, as member)
The Fabulous Rhinestones – Living On My Own Time (1972, as lead singer and writer)
Kal David & Lauri Bono – Are You Lonely For Me Baby (2018)

Roy Tyler, singer with The Gospel Hummingbirds, announced Aug. 17
Gospel Hummingbirds – That Same Thing (1991)

Eva-Maria Hagen, 87, German actress and cabaret singer; mother of Nina, on Aug. 16
Eva-Maria Hagen – Und als wir ans Ufer kamen (1981)

Rolf Kühn, 92, German jazz clarinettist and bandleader, on Aug, 18
Rolf Kühn & His Orchestra – Playmate (1974)

Warren Bernhardt, 83, jazz pianist, on Aug. 19
Warren Bernhardt – Manhattan Update (1980)

Ted Kirkpatrick, 62, drummer, songwriter of Christian metal band Tourniquet, on Aug. 19

Jorge Milchberg, 93, founder of Peruvian folk bands Los Incas & Urubamba, on Aug. 20
Los Incas – El condor pasa (1963, also as arranger)
Urubamba – Kacharpari (1981, also as co-writer)

Helen Grayco, 97, jazz singer, actress, on Aug. 20
Helen Grayco – Teach Me Tonight (1954)

Monnette Sudler, 70, jazz guitarist, on Aug. 21
Monnette Sudler – Other Side Of The Gemini (1990)

Zalo Reyes, 69, Chilean singer, on Aug. 21

Robert Williams, 72, Greek singer and composer, on Aug. 21
Robert Williams – I Believe You’re The One (1978)

Fredy Studer, 74, Swiss jazz drummer and percussionist, on Aug. 21

Jaimie Branch, 39, jazz trumpeter and composer, on Aug. 22

Jerry Ivan Allison, 82, drummer of The Crickets and songwriter, on Aug. 22
Buddy Holly and The Crickets – That’ll Be The Day (1957)
Ivan – That’ll Be Alright (1959)
The Crickets – My Little Girl (1963)
Nanci Griffith – I’ll Move Along (1997, on percussions)

Stuart Anstis, 48, ex-guitarist of British metal band Cradle of Filth, announced Aug. 22

Margaret Urlich, 57, New Zealand singer, on Aug. 22
Margaret Urlich – Slipping Away (1999)

Piotr Szkudelski, 66, drummer of Polish rock band Perfect, on Aug. 22

Creed Taylor, 93, jazz producer, founder of CTI Records, on Aug. 23
The Creed Taylor Orchestra – Out Of This World (1960)
Ray Charles – One Mint Julep (1961, as producer)
Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto – Desafinado (Off Key) (1963, as producer)
Grover Washington – Mister Magic (1975, as producer)

Carlo Nuccio, 69, drummer, on Aug. 24
Tori Amos – Precious Things (1991, on drums)

Kimmo Blom, 52, Finnish singer, announced Aug. 25

Joey DeFrancesco, 51, jazz organist and saxophonist, on Aug. 25
Joey DeFrancesco feat. Joe Doggs – But Not For Me (2003; Doggs is Joe Pesci)

Mable John, 91, soul singer, on Aug. 25
Mabel John – Who Wouldn’t Love A Man Like That (1960)
Mable John – Same Time, Same Place (1967)
Mable John – Time Stops (1991)

Inez Foxx, 79, soul singer, on Aug. 25
Inez & Charlie Foxx – Mockingbird (1963)
Inez & Charlie Foxx – Tightrope (1967)
Inez Foxx – Let Me Down Easy (1973)

Luke Bell, 32, country singer-songwriter, discovered on Aug. 29

John Duckworth, 79, drummer of garage rock band Syndicate of Sound, announced Aug. 29
Syndicate Of Sound – Rumors (1966)

Ted Butterman, 87, Dixie jazz trumpeter, on Aug. 31

Mark Shreeve, 65, British songwriter, electronic music composer with Redshift, on Aug. 31
Mark Shreeve – The Ice Queen (1986)

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Any Major Laurel Canyon

August 25th, 2022 5 comments

Rarely, if ever, has so much musical talent been concentrated in one suburb as it was in the decade between the mid-1960s and mid-70s in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.

A popular residential area for film stars during the Golden Age of Hollywood, by the late 1960s Laurel Canyon had become a bohemian refuge, a place where hippies did lots of drugs and wore few clothes.

The pioneer denizen was Frank Zappa, but the sounds that came out of Laurel Canyon were mostly folk and rock and folk-rock. Zappa, The Doors and Alice Coopers were musical outliers amid the likes of Joni Mitchell, Cass Elliott or James Taylor, or even popsters like The Monkees’ Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz.

Queen Bee of Laurel Canyon

The queen bee was Cass Elliott of The Mamas and the Papas — whose producer, the legendary Lou Adler, also lived there. Her parties were the place to be, according to virtually every alumnus. At one of these parties, Cass suggested that David Crosby of The Byrds should team up with Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of The Hollies, believing that their voices would go well together. The idea, as it turned out, was inspired.

Nash would later write a song about life on Laurel Canyon. Our House, on CSN&Y’s Déjà Vu album, was written about his domestic bliss with girlfriend Joni Mitchell. The two even home-recorded a demo of the song. But by the time Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded it, Mitchell had dumped Nash. In fact, during the recording of Déjà Vu, all four members were nursing broken hearts (in Crosby’s case due to a tragic bereavement).

If Cass Elliott was the social locus of Laurel Canyon, with Dolenz’s home running a close second, then Joni Mitchell might have been the artistic leader. She’d even make an album about Laurel Canyon, sensibly called Ladies Of The Canyon.

As word spread about this musical refuge, more musicians moved in. In the 1970s, this was also accompanied by a different kind of drug culture, with cocaine supplanting weed and acid as the favoured form of substance use. The extended Summer of Love was ending in Laurel Canyon as well, with external events like the Manson Murders darkening the good vibes.

Tragic Singer

Not every member of the Canyon set became big stars like Joni Mitchell or James Taylor. Sadly, gifted artists like Judee Sill or Linda Perhacs never broke through and today are widely forgotten, unjustly so. Perhacs debut album in 1970 remained her only one for 44 years.

The extravangantly gifted Judee Sill, perhaps best-known for her song Jesus Was a Cross Maker, might be Laurel Canyon’s most tragic singer. In her young days, she was engaged in criminal activities, including robberies. She mended her ways in reform school, where she picked up an interest in Christianity which would find expression in her songs. Moving to LA, she soon experimented with drugs, picking up a heroin addiction (which led her to a stint in jail in the 1960s).

As a person Sill was troubled, as a musician, however, she excelled. Nash and Crosby appointed her as their opening act on tour, through which she landed a recording contract. She recorded two fine albums, but to no commercial success. Injuries from car accidents, health problems and drug abuse followed her until a drug overdose killed Sill in 1979.

Laurel Canyon on LP Covers

A couple of famous album covers were shot in Laurel Canyon. The cover photo Carole King’s Tapestry was taken in the living room of her house at 8815 Appian Way (the story of that cover is told in the Tapestry Recovered post).

The cover of Crosby, Still & Nash’s eponymous album, the one with the beaten-up sofa on a porch, was taken at a random house Graham Nash had discovered in Palm Avenue (between Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards). The shoot, by Henry Diltz, was great, but there was a snag: the trio had yet to decide on the order of their names in the supergroup. When they decided on the Crosby-Stills-Nash order, their positions on the couch photo were in the incorrect order. So a couple of days later, they piled into the car to reshoot the image, in which the members would sit in the correct order — but when the group got there, the house had been torn down. In the end, they just went with that perfect shot, sitting order notwithstanding.

Diltz was a major contributor to the excellent 2020 two-part documentary Laurel Canyon, which features rare photo and video material. A great companion piece is the 2019 documentary Echo In The Canyon, which was a project of Jakob Dylan, which connects the Laurel Canyon scene with contemporary musicians.The mix is sequenced to fit on a standard CD-R, if you take tracks 1-25, but there are seven more songs to enjoy. It includes home-smoked covers and the above as an illustrated linernotes PDF. PW in comments.

1. Jackie DeShannon – Laurel Canyon (1969)
2. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968)
3. The Byrds – Eight Miles High (1966)
4. Love – Orange Skies (1966)
5. Buffalo Springfield – Sit Down I Think I Love You (1966)
6. Joni Mitchell – Ladies Of The Canyon (1970)
7. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Our House (1970)
8. Judee Sill – Crayon Angels (1971)
9. Jackson Browne – Jamaica Say You Will (1970)
10. Carole King – Sweet Seasons (1970)
11. Dave Mason – Just A Song (1970)
12. Little Feat – Fool Yourself (1973)
13. Bonnie Raitt – Too Long At The Fair (1971)
14. Carly Simon – The Right Thing To Do (1972)
15. James Taylor – Blossom (1970)
16. Linda Perhacs – Sandy Toes (1972)
17. Poco – Just For Me And You (1971))
18. Eagles – Peaceful Easy Feeling (1972)
19. America – Lonely People (1974)
20. Ned Deheny – On And On (1973)
21. The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band – Border Town (1974)
22. Mama Cass – Make You Own Kind Of Music (1969)
23. Flying Burrito Brothers – Sin City (1969)
24. Judy Henske & Jerry Yester – Charity (1969)
25. The Monkees – For Pete’s Sake (1969)
Bonus Tracks:
26. The Turtles – So Happy Together (1966)
27. Three Dog Night – Never Been To Spain (1971)
28. Linda Ronstadt – Long Long Time (1970)
29. Fleetwood Mac – Landslide (1975)
30. John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers – Laurel Canyon Home (1968)
31. The Doors – Love Street (1968)
32. Alice Cooper – Living (1969)

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Holland-Dozier-Holland Songbook

August 16th, 2022 4 comments

The death on August 8 of Lamont Dozier calls for a retrospective of songs he wrote with Brian and Eddie Holland. Dozier is the first of that trio to leave us.

With the brothers Holland, Lamont Dozier formed a veritable hit-machine for Motown — more than that, they were pivotal in creating the Motown sound of the 1960s.

For Martha And The Vandellas, they wrote and produced hits such as Heat Wave (their first hit in 1963), Nowhere To Run, Come And Get These Memories, and Jimmy Mack.

For the Four Tops, they created Reach Out I’ll Be There, Baby I Need Your Loving, It’s the Same Old Song, Standing In The Shadows of Love, I’ll Turn To Stone, Bernadette, 7 Rooms Of Gloom, and You Keep Running Away.

For Marvin Gaye they wrote How Sweet It Is and Can I Get A Witness; for The Miracles it was Mickey’s Monkey, for Jr. Walker & The All Stars (I’m A) Roadrunner, for The Isley Brothers This Old Heart Of Mine, for The Elgins Heaven Must Have Sent You, and for R. Dean Taylor they wrote There’s A Ghost In My House.

And they made The Supremes. Look at this list: Baby Love, Where Did Our Love Go, You Keep Me Hanging On, Stop In The Name Of Love, Reflections, I Hear A Symphony, Come See About Me, The Happening, Forever Came Today, Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone, and more.

Lamont Dozier, left, with the Holland brothers.

After falling out with Berry Gordy, Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1968 and founded their own label, Invictus. There their charges included the Freda Payne, Chairmen Of The Board, 100 Proof Aged In Soul, Flaming Embers, Glass House, and Honey Cone, producing and co-writing hits — for contractual reasons as Edith Wayne — such as Band Of Gold, Give Me Just A Little More Time, Everything’s Tuesday, You’ve Got Me Dangling On A String,  Sunday Morning People, Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup), or Westbound No. 9.

On that label Dozier also released his biggest solo hit, Why Can’t We Be Lovers, a US #9. In 1973 he split from the Holland brothers, with lawsuits following. Dozier said his legal issues with the Hollands, and with Berry Gordy before that, were not personal, just business.

Of the three, Dozier went on to have the greater success, but divided they never reached such heights as they did together in that decade from 1963-72.

With an eye to my CD-R length rule, this collection covers only the Motown phase. If you ask nicely, I might put together a post-Motown mix of Dozier compositions, with and without the Hollands.

The covers here are quite fascinating, none more so than Dozier’s 2004 interpretation of Baby Love. Here the man who co-wrote the song for three teenage girls wrestled with his composition 40 years later, as a man in his early 60s. He reworked the song to great effect.

Motown let different acts on their roster record the same songs, to see which version would provide the hits. That way, we have The Supremes try their hand at the Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself, and The Isley Brothers doing The Supremes’ I Hear A Symphony. The Four Tops’ version of Reflections came later, on 1970’s remarkable Still Waters Run Deep album.

Barry White, meanwhile, took The Four Tops’ Standing In The Shadows Of Love, and gave it a thorough reworking. On the bonus track, Margie Joseph does something similar to Stop! In The Name Of Love.

The most unusual interpretation — other than maybe the great cover of Come See About Me by the Afghan Whigs — might be that by Matt Monro, who took The Happening into the realms of jazz vocals. Which raises the question: Why did Frank Sinatra never sing Holland-Dozier-Holland songs?

Companion mixes to this collection may be Covered With Soul: Motown Edition Vol. 1 and Covered With Soul: Motown Edition Vol. 2. I might also commend to you The Originals: Motown Edition, but that features only one Holland-Dozier-Holland track, which shows how they almost always got it right the first time.

As mentioned, CD-R length, plus home-produced covers. The above text is included in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. The Jam – (Love is Like A) Heat Wave (1979)
2. Soft Cell – Where Did Our Love Go (1981)
3. The Afghan Whigs – Come See About Me (1992)
4. Fleetwood Mac – (I’m A) Road Runner (1973)
5. Wild Cherry – Nowhere To Run (1976)
6. Z. Z. Hill – Can I Get A Witness (1972)
7. O.C. Smith – Baby I Need Your Loving (1974)
8. Wilson Pickett – You Keep Me Hangin’ On (1969)
9. Tami Lynn – Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone (1972)
10. Barry White – Standing In the Shadows Of Love (1973)
11. Lamont Dozier – Baby Love (2004)
12. Michael McDonald – Reach Out, I’ll Be There (2004)
13. Nicolette Larson – Back In My Arms, Again (1979)
14. James Taylor – How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (1975)
15. Matt Monro – The Happening (1967)
16. José Feliciano – My World Is Empty Without You (1968)
17. Laura Nyro & Labelle – Jimmy Mack (1971)
18. The Isley Brothers – I Hear A Symphony (1966)
19. Barbara Randolph – I Turn To Stone (1968)
20. Four Tops – Reflections (1970)
21. The Supremes – I Can’t Help Myself (1966)
Bonus Track:
Margie Joseph – Stop! In The Name Of Love (1971)

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Previous Songbooks:
ABBA
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 1
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

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Any Major Party

August 9th, 2022 3 comments

 

Summertime is party time. I was thinking of that when I mused about the best-ever movie about a party. Superbad might the funniest (and one of the best about real friendship), and some people might swear by Belushi comedies or John Hughes films or 1960s beach flicks involving Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. After due consideration, I regard Dazed And Confused as the greatest film about partying. In fact, I think it’s really a documentary.

But you’re not here to read about my preferences in the domain of films, but for the music. So here is a mix of songs about parties. They must be, or at least pretend to be, about get-togethers. And I limited an endless list by allowing only songs that have the word “party” in the title, and even avoided the one most people will have thought of first, because at my parties, no tears! Not much more to it, so everybody, it’s time to party down.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-boogiedowned covers, and this whole post in PDF. PW in comment.

Marvin Gaye – It’s Party Time (1962)
The Party Vibe: Boogie down with endurance. “We can shake it, we can take it, woo!”

The Show Stoppers – Ain’t Nothing But A Houseparty (1968)
The Party Vibe: Architecturally instructive. “They’re dancing on the ceiling, they’re dancing on the floor.”

Curtis Mayfield – Party Night (1976)
The Party Vibe: Food, dance, possibility of sex. “Having cheese and wine, dancing all the time.”

Dee Dee Sharp Gamble – Let’s Get This Party Started (1980)
The Party Vibe: Expectant. “Don’t you want to get funky?”

Raydio – It’s Time To Party Now (1980)
The Party Vibe: Talking, fronting, man-chasing. “But whatever you’re here for, you’ve got to get on down.

Gloria Gaynor – Anybody Wanna Party? (1978)
The Party Vibe: Prelude to hot lurve. “I could dig some slow dance, I could dig some girl-meets-boy.”

Luther Vandross – Bad Boy/Having A Party (1982)
The Party Vibe: Joyfully destructive. “The chandelier downstairs has fallen.”

Rhinestones – Party Music (1975)
The Party Vibe: Eclectic. “Moving with the masters, Motown to Ravel.”

Jona Lewie – You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties (1980)
The Party Vibe: Dull. “At last I met a pretty girl, she laughed and talked with me. We both walked out of the kitchen and danced in a new way.”

Dar Williams – Party Generation (1997)
The Party Vibe: Nerdy. “And he said, ‘Don’t you know the game Kazaam? It’s a better game’.”

Rick Nelson – Garden Party (1972)
The Party Vibe: Celeb-filled. “Everyone was there, Yoko brought her walrus.”

Don Gibson – Give Myself A Party (1958)
The Party Vibe: Masturbatory. “I’m gonna give myself a party and serve old memories.”

Elvis Presley – Party (1957)
The Party Vibe: Zoological. I’ve never kissed a bear, I’ve never kissed a goon, but I can shake a chicken in the middle of the room.”

Claudine Clark – Party Lights (1962)
The Party Vibe: Lonesome. “Oh, everybody in the crowd is there. Ooh, but you [Mama] won’t let me make the scene.”

The Pixies Three – Birthday Party (1964)
The Party Vibe: Platter-spinning. “I got the latest records we all know and we can dance to the radio.”

Stevie Wonder – The Party At The Beach House (1964)
The Party Vibe: Grammatically incorrect. “You’re gonna see all of your friends you haven’t seen since school begins.”

Tami Lynn – At The Party (1966)
The Party Vibe: Is this a party? “If I show you how to shimmy will you show me how to shout… shake it up and shake it down.”

Jay W. McGee – When We Party (Uptown, Downtown) (1982)
The Party Vibe:
Peaceful. “And there’s never any trouble ’cause we know what we come for.”

Harari – Party (1981)
The Party Vibe: Groovin’. “Everybody was dancing and rocking. My feet got the message too.”

Prince – Partyup (1980)
The Party Vibe: Anti-war. “I don’t want to die, I just want to have a bloody good time.”

The Holmes Brothers – Stayed At The Party (2013)
The Party Vibe: Regretful. “If it was dry, I’d smoke, if it was wet, I’d drink it.”

Alexander O’Neal – When The Party Is Over (1987)
The Party Vibe: Hopeful. “There’s no need to leave when the party’s over.”

Allen Toussaint – When The Party’s Over (1973)
The Party Vibe: Winding down romantically. “When the party’s over and everybody’s gone, we can trip out to a space where we can be alone.”

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In Memoriam – July 2022

August 2nd, 2022 4 comments

There were no real “headline deaths” in July, but there were many fascinating stories — the musician who was stolen from his family; the hip hop artist executed by a military junta; the guy who wrote the James Bond theme and had to fight for that recognition; the hit singer who first helped eradicate polio and later became the first black game show host in the US; the centenarian who once played for both Frank Sinatra and Frank Zappa; the actress who has died while the biggest current film is still on circuit…

The Stolen
At a time when the cultural genocide of indigenous people by colonialists  — and their descendants, right up well into the past century — is in the global spotlight, not least thanks to Pope Francis’ huge apology in Canada for the Catholic Church’s involvement in it, the death of Archie Roach is poignant. Roach, an Aboriginal Australian, wrote a moving and instructive song about cultural genocide in 1988, titled Took The Children Away, and released it in 1990 as his debut single.

He wrote from personal experience, having been part of the “Stolen Generations” who were victims of a racist Australian policy that was implemented from 1905 until the 1970s, whereby indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and placed in orphanages. Roach was taken from his family at the age of 2. He never saw his mother again, though as an adult he eventually reunited with his family. He spent his life as an activist for the rights of indigenous people. It is to Australia’s shame that this is still necessary.

As a musician, Roach enjoyed a high reputation. Apart from headlining his own tours, he was a support act for Joan Armatrading, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega and Patti Smith. Between 1990 and 2020, Roach released 10 studio albums, two live album, and a soundtrack.

The Delfonic
With the death of William ‘Poogie’ Hart, both  classic line-ups of the great soul trio The Delfonics are down to just one man standing, Hart’s brother Wilbert. The brothers founded The Orphonics, which would be renamed The Delfonics after they were signed by legendary producer Thom Bell — after Poogie’s talent was spotted in a barber shop.

William Watson co-wrote most of The Delfonics’ songs with Bell, including soul standards such as La-La (Means I Love You), Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), and Ready Or Not Here I Come. On The Delfonics records, William Hart did the falsetto and high tenor voices.

The Sinatra Favourite
Frank Sinatra’s favourite horn player has died at 101. Vincent DeRosa was one of the few musicians Sinatra ever publicly praised. De Rosa, who started used career as a young teenager in 1935, backed Sinatra for many years, including on that great run of records in the 1950s.

DeRosa played in big bands and as session man for jazz acts in the 1950s like Ella Fitzgerald, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Mel Tormé, Louis Armstrong, Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, and Julie London, and later fusion artists like David Axelrod, Lalo Schifrin, Chuck Mangione, Stanley Clarke, Horace Silver, Jean-Luc Ponty and Stanley Turrentine.

He played for pop, soul and rock acts such as The Monkees, Fifth Dimension, Harry Nilsson, José Feliciano, Frank Zappa, Tower of Power, Rita Coolidge, The Temptations, Neil Diamond, Boz Scaggs, Minnie Riperton, Earth Wind & Fire, The Emotions, Glen Campbell, Natalie Cole and many others.

DaRosa also played on countless film soundtracks, including many classic ones with Henry Mancini, who composed his Oscar-winning theme to the film Days of Wine and Roses with DeRosa in mind. You’ll have heard DeRosa play in the scores of films such as Carousel, Oklahoma, The Ten Commandments, The Music ManThe Magnificent Seven, My Fair LadyHow The West Was Won, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Doctor Dolittle, Jaws, Rocky, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Heaven Can Wait, E.T., Psycho 2, Romancing The Stone, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Empire Of The Sun, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Back To The Future 2, Dances With Wolves, Edward Scissorhands, and more.

The All-Rounder
Few people can boast a resumé that includes having helped to eradicate polio, going on to have charting hits, then become the first black game show host in the US, and a film, TV and stage actor. This was the extraordinary trajectory of Adam Wade. Born in 1935, Wade was first a lab assistant with Dr Jonas Salk on the polio research team before he began a singing career, in which he took Nast King Cole as his inspiration. In 1961, he had three US Top 10, country-flavoured hits: Take Good Care Of Her, As If I Didn’t Know, and The Writing On The Wall.

His music career fizzled out, but in 1975 Wade became the first black host of a TV game show, Musical Chairs. Later he hosted a talk show, Mid-Morning LA. He was a regular on soap operas and sitcoms, appeared in a number of Blaxploitation movies, and had success as a stage actor in musicals. In 1977 he returned to music with a rather good self-titled soul album.

The 007 Composer
You know the tune the moment you hear it. The word “iconic” is these overused and too often criminally misapplied, but the James Bond Theme is just that: iconic. It was written by Monty Norman, who had died at 94. “Hold it right there,” you might exclaim at this point, “the theme was the work of John Barry!” Yes and no. The tune was written by Norman, despite Barry’s protestations to the contrary. Two libel suits have confirmed Norman’s authorship; he had based it on a piece he had written some years earlier for an unproduced musical. Barry arranged the tune to make it so instantly recognisable. See Norman play the theme on his piano.

Born as Monty Noserovitch in London, Norman started out as a big band singer with several orchestras, including Ted Heath’s. in the 1950s and into ’60s, but began composing in the late ’50s. In 1962 he wrote the theme and score for the first Bond film, Dr. No. By then he had written, as lyricist or composer, several stage musicals, including the English version of Irma la Douce and Expresso Bongo, which has been described as the first rock & roll musical. Other musical hits include Songbook (or The Moony Shapiro Songbook in New York) and 1982’s Poppy.

The Hit Writer
If you were going to soundtrack a film about Britain in the 1960s, you might end up using tracks written by Alan Blaikley, who has died at 82. The best-known of these hits, created with Ken Howard, are Have I The Right? for The Honeycombs and The Legend Of Xanadu for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (both UK #1s), and Me And My Life for The Tremeloes. For Dave Dee and his friends, Blaikley and Howard wrote a string of other Top 10 hits from 1966-68: Hold Tight, Hideaway, Save Me, Okay!, Zabadak, and Last Night In Soho.

Howard and Blaikley were also the first British composers to write for Elvis Presley, including his hit I’ve Lost You. They also wrote and produced The Bay City Roller’s original version of Manana, which appeared on Any Major Hits of 1972 Vol. 2 which I posted last month. They also wrote two West End plays and several TV themes.

Before he became a hitmaker, Blaikley produced radio programmes on BBC, in the course of which he interviewed C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Enid Blyton. And between 1981 and 2003, Blaikley was a psychotherapist.

The Hayes Pianist
When Isaac Hayes started as a young, aspiring musician, Sidney Kirk was struggling alongside him. It was Kirk, who has died at 78, who spotted the newly-opened American Sound Studio in Memphis, encouraging Ike to audition for owner Chips Moman. Hayes did, and released his first (unsuccessful) record in 1962. Kirk, meanwhile, left Memphis for the US Air Force. One day, Kirk’s sister received a call from a club that wanted Sidney’s services as a pianist for a New Year’s Eve gig. With the piano man being away, his sister arranged for Hayes to get the gig. Despite his limitations as a pianist, Hayes won over the audience, and kicked off a glittering career.

By the time Kirk returned from the Air Force, Hayes had made a name for himself at Stax as a songwriter and producer of note, and he had started his recording recording. As soon as Kirk was available, he was drafted into Ike’s band, playing keyboards and piano on several Hayes albums (including Shaft) and on stage (including the famous Wattstax performance). Kirk also backed acts like Dionne Warwick, Albert King, Rufus Thomas, and Denise LaSalle.

The Happy Monday
With his brother Shaun on lead vocals, bassist Paul Ryder, who has died suddenly at 58, enjoyed cult status with Manchester rock band Happy Mondays. While the band scored only two UK Top 10 hits, both reaching  #5 in 1990, they spearheaded the “Madchester” scene, which drew from rock, psychedelia, funk and Northern soul. By 1993 The Happy Mondays had split, just as their heirs arrived to ride the Brit Pop wave. The group reunited periodically, mostly but not always with Paul Ryder on bass.

The Big Mama
Movie-goers may have seen Shonka Dukureh in the film everybody seems to talk about, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. In the film, she played Big Mama Thornton, the blues singer who originally performed Hound Dog. On July 21, Dukureh died suddenly at the age of 44, while the film that promised her breakthrough was still on circuit.

The singer was planning to release her debut album, in the blues genre. Previously she had been a backing singer, on stage with acts like Nick Cave, Mike Farris, Jamie Liddell, and singer-rapper Doja Cat.

The Executed Dissident
In 2000, Phyo Zayar Thaw and his band Acid released Burma’s first hip-hop album, which featured thinly-veiled criticisms of Burma/Myanmar’s regime. 22 Years later, Thaw was executed by the regime, as a dissident.

After co-founding an anti-regime activist youth movement called Generation Wave, Thaw was detained and tortured in 2008, and then sentenced to jail, serving his term until 2011. A year after his release, Thaw, by then 31 years old, won a seat in parliament for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The February 2021 coup ended that career.

In November, Thaw and other activists were arrested and in a mock trial in January sentenced to death, on charges of plotting terror acts against civilians. On July 23 it was announced that Thaw and three other activists had been executed by hanging.As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Irene Fargo, 59, Italian singer and stage actress, on July 1
Irene Fargo – Come una Turandot (1992)

Tristan Goodall, 48, songwriter, guitarist of Australian roots band The Audreys, on July 2
The Audreys – Banjo And Violin (2006, also as co-writer)

Antonio Cripezzi, 76, singer and keyboardist of Italian pop band I Camaleonti, on July 3
I Camaleonti – Applausi (1968)

Alan Blaikley, 82, English songwriter, arranger and producer, on July 4
The Honeycombs – Have I The Right (1964, as co-writer)
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – Bend It (1966, as co-writer)
Elvis Presley – I’ve Lost You (1970, as co-writer)

Manny Charlton, 80, lead guitarist of Scottish rock band Nazareth, on July 5
Nazareth – Bad Bad Boy (1973)
Nazareth – Love Hurts (1974)

Van Christian, 62, singer and guitarist of rock band Naked Prey, on July 5
Naked Prey – One Even Stand (1988, also as writer)

Mark Astronaut, singer of British punk band The Astronauts, on July 7
The Astronauts – Back Soon (1981)

Adam Wade, 87, pop singer and game show host, on July 7
Adam Wade – As If I Didn’t Know (1961)
Adam Wade – Keeping Up With The Joneses (1977)

Barbara Thompson, 77, English jazz saxophonist, on July 10
Barbara Thompson – Little Annie-Ooh (1979)
Marti Webb – Take That Look Off Your Face (1980, on saxophone)

Chantal Gallia, 65, Algerian-born French singer, on July 10

Monty Norman, 94, English composer, on July 11
Cliff Richard & The Shadows – The Shrine On The Second Floor (1960, as co-writer)
The John Barry Seven – James Bond Theme (1962, as composer)

David Dalton, 80, British-born founding editor of Rolling Stone, on July 11
The Unfolding – Play Your Game (1967, as vocalist and writer)

Edana Minghella, 63, British jazz singer, on July 13

Michael James Jackson, 65, American music producer, on July 13
Pablo Cruise – Island Woman (1975, as producer)
Kiss – Lick It Up (1983, as producer)

B. Crentsil, 78, Ghanaian high-life singer, composer and guitarist, on July 13

William Hart, 77, singer with soul band The Delfonics and songwriter, on July 14
The Delfonics – Can You Remember (1968, also as co-writer)
The Delfonics – Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) (1970, also as co-writer)
The Delfonics – Think It Over (1973, also as writer)

Paul Ryder, 58, bassist of English rock band Happy Mondays, on July 15
Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro (1990)
Happy Mondays – Sunshine And Love (1992)

Ruba Say, 56, rock musician, on July 16

Idris Phillips, 64, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter, on July 16
Dawud Wharnsby feat. Idris Phillips – Let It Go (2011, on guitar and as co-writer)

César ‘Pupy’ Pedroso, 75, Cuban pianist and songwriter, on July 17
Los Van Van – Calla Calla (1988, as member and writer)

Héctor Tricoche, 66, Puerto Rican salsa singer-songwriter, on July 17
Héctor Tricoche – En Cuba No Falta Nada (2007)

Povl Dissing, 84, Danish rock singer and guitarist, on July 18

Dani, 77, French singer, actress and model, on July 18
Dani – Papa vient d’epouser la bonne (1969)

Vincent DeRosa, 101, jazz and soundtrack horn player, on July 18
Harry James and his Orchestra – The Man With The Horn (1947, on French horn)
Ella Fitzgerald – You’re An Old Smoothie (1959, on horns)
The Monkees – Someday Man (1969, on French horn)
Boz Scaggs – What Do You Want The Girl To Do (1976, on horns)

George Kinney, singer of psychedelic rock band Golden Dawn, on July 18
The Golden Dawn – My Time (1968, also as co-writer)

Henkie, 76, Dutch singer, on July 19

Michael Henderson, 71, soul singer and jazz bass guitarist, on July 19
Miles Davis – Black Satin (1972, on bass guitar)
Michael Henderson – Won’t You Be Mine (1977)

Jody Abbott, 55, drummer of rock band Fuel, on July 20
Fuel – Falls On Me (2003)

Frankie Davidson, 88, Australian singer, on July 20

Shonka Dukureh, 44, blues singer and actress (Elvis), on July 21
Ashley Cleveland – Going To Heaven To Meet The King (2009, on backing vocals)
Shonka Dukureh – Hound Dog (2022)

Núria Feliu, 80, Spanish singer and actress, on July 22

Zayar Thaw, 41, Burmese politician and hip hop artist, executed on July 23
Nitric Acid – Generation Driven By Faith (c.2011, as performer and writer)

Vittorio De Scalzi, 72, singer of Italian prog-rock band New Trolls, on July 24
New Trolls – Un’Ora (1970, also on guitar and as co-writer)

Bob Heathcote, 58, bassist of metal band Suicidal Tendencies, on July 24

Sandy Roberton, 80, British record producer, on July 25
Steeleye Span – Fisherman’s Wife (1970, as producer)

Darío Gómez, 71, Colombian Música popular singer, on July 26
Darío Gómez – Mejor Es Que Te Marches (1992)

Sidney Kirk, 78, soul keyboard player, on July 27
Isaac Hayes – Never Gonna Give You Up (1971, on piano)
Isaac Hayes – Theme from Shaft (1973, on keyboard)
Lou Bond – Why Must Our Eyes Always Be Turned Backwards (1974, on organ)

JayDaYoungan, 24, rapper, shot on July 27

John Grenell, 78, New Zealand country singer, on July 27
John Grenell – Dance All Night Down (Otago Way) (1990)

Mick Moloney, 77, Irish folk musician, on July 27

Bernard Cribbins, 93, English actor and novelty song singer, on July 27
Bernard Cribbins – The Hole In The Ground (1962)

Pino d’Olbia, 87, Italian singer, on July 27

Jim Sohns, 75, singer of blues-rock group Shadows of Knight, on July 29
The Shadows of Knight – Oh Yeah (1966)

Ulises Eyherabide, 55, Argentine rock musician, on July 29

Archie Roach, 66, Australian singer-songwriter, on July 30
Archie Roach – Took The Children Away (1990)
Archie Roach – Love In The Morning (1993)
Archie Roach – It’s Not Too Late (2016)

Raymond Raposa, 41, Indie singer-songwriter as Castanets, on July 30
Castanets – No Voice Was Raised (2005)

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Best of Any Major Summer

July 20th, 2022 3 comments

For us in the southern hemisphere, it’s winter. Though where I am, it’s a beautiful day today; the sun is shining, the windows are open, and it’s 23 degrees Celsius. Still, brrrr…

On the other side of the planet, where most of you, the readers, reside, it’s summer. Some of you might be suffering heatwaves; some might even enjoy those, as a relief from summer rains.

So to keep you in the sunshiney mood, here’s a Best of Any Major Summer collection, drawn from the five Any Major Summer and three Any Major Beach mixes. All these mixes are still up, as well as all five summer mixes in two convenient parcels.

Are these 23 tracks really the “best” of the 170+ songs on those eight seasonal collections? Well, it’s subjective; some are obvious and inevitable summer song choices, others may be a bit more unexpected. On another day, I might have chosen some other songs — and I add seven of those that didn’t make the cut as bonus tracks — but this compilation certainly captures the summer vibe. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

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

1. Meat Loaf – You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (1977)
2. Jay Ferguson – Thunder Island (1977)
3. Billy Idol – Hot In The City (1982)
4. The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (1983)
5. Chris Rea – On The Beach (Summer ‘88) (1988)
6. The Blackbyrds – Hot Day Today (1974)
7. Osibisa – Sunshine Day (1975)
8. Sly and the Family Stone – Hot Fun In The Summertime (1969)
9. War – All Day Music (1971)
10. Seals & Croft – Summer Breeze (1972)
11. Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer In The City (1966)
12. Young Rascals – Groovin’ (1967)
13. The Beach Boys – All Summer Long (1964)
14. Martha and the Vandellas – Dancing In The Streets (1964)
15. Ann Cole – Summer Nights (1958)
16. Sam Cooke – Summertime (1959)
17. Pat Boone – Love Letters In The Sand (1957)
18. The Drifters – Under The Boardwalk (1964)
19. Mungo Jerry – In The Summertime (1970)
20. First Class – Beach Baby (1974)
21. Corinne Bailey Rae – Put Your Records On (2006)
22. Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun (2002)
23. Jens Lekman – A Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill (2005)

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Previously in Any Major Summer & Beaches
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Any Major Hits from 1972 – Vol. 2

July 12th, 2022 2 comments

Here’s the second mix of Hits from 1972, Volume 1 having dropped in January. While the first mix was mostly US-centric, this one reflects the UK and/or European experience, even as some of these songs were also hits in the US. And by hits, I also mean Top 30 numbers, for these too received airplay. As always, the songs are collated not for their high musical merit, though none are included because I think they’re rubbish — I like them all. The idea is to capture the vibe of the year, and perhaps to place pop standards by the likes of Bowie or T. Rex in their charting context.

The opening track was a novelty hit for funk band The Jimmy Castor Bunch, the title of which describes certain sections of the US political establishment quite perfectly. Advisory warning: the lyrics do not enlightened gender politics. It was a Top 30 hit in the US and in West-Germany, but did not chart in the UK.

One track here charted in neither US nor UK, but was a hit in Europe. Proudfoot was a South African band quickly put together after their big hit was recorded! Their hit Delta Queen was recorded by a group of session musicians which included the legendary producer and songwriter Mutt Lange on bass and future Yes member and film score composer Trevor Rabin on guitar. When the song caught on, new personnel was quickly assembled to become a band that continued to have some success. Delta Queen was a big hit in the Low Countries, and a Top 30 hit in West-Germany, where French singer Ricky Shane recorded a German cover, which became a bigger hit than the original.

No relations to the South African at are Blackfoot Sue, not to be confused with Southern Rock band Blackfoot. A British foursome, Blackfoot Sue had one UK #4 hit, the featured Standing In The Road, and another track later that year which scraped into the Top 40. And that was it for Blackfoot Sue as far as hits were concerned. They had minor success in the US and UK in 1977 with an Arif Mardin-produced album on which Cissy Houston did backing vocals.

Dutch band The Cats on a poster in the German ‘Bravo’ magazine in September 1972.

 

Before they became teen idols, the Bay City Rollers aimed to be a serious pop band. In 1972 they released their single Mañana, written by Alan Blaikley (who died last week) and Jen Howard. The line-up included Nobby Clark on vocals, and from the incarnation that made girls faint, only the two Longmuir brothers — the two guys least likely to make little girls’ hearts race faster — were present. Mañana was later re-recorded with Leslie McKeown on vocals, but it was the Clark-led version that was a hit in West-Germany.

One of the biggest stars on the German music scene was Vicky Leandros, the Greek-born and Hamburg-based singer who won the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest for Luxembourg with the superb Apres Toi. The song became a hit in various languages; in the UK it was titled Come What May (in Germany it was called Dann Kammst Du). Leandros became internationally know in 1967 when she came fourth in the Eurovision with the excellent L’amour Est Bleu, which became a worldwide hit in Paul Mauriat’s easy listening version. Both Leandros songs feature on Any Major Eurovision.

Two songs in particular remind me of my very first days of schooling. One is the plaintive One Way Wind (which is not about flatulence) by Dutch band The Cats (named after a creature that can be flatulent). Between 1968 and 1983, The Cats were perhaps the biggest act in the Netherlands, with 18 Top Ten hits there, including five #1s, and twenty-nine Top 20 hits. But their international breakthrough was One Way Wind in 1972. In West-Germany, the world’s third-biggest singles market, it reached #4. Follow-up Let’s Dance did even one rung better.

The other song that reminds me of my first school-day is the synth instrumental Popcorn by Hot Butter, a much-covered song originally by Gershon Kingsley (see Any Major Originals – The 1970s Vol. 2). In Hot Butter’s version, it was a Top 10 hit all over the world, also in the US and UK. In West-Germany it topped the charts for here weeks. Hot Butter was really Stan Free, an American jazz musician, composer, conductor and arranger, plus a bunch of session musicians.

1972 was the year when the Moog synthesizer settled in the music charts. British band Chicory Tip claim to have been the first to use it on a UK chart hit. The stomping Son Of My Father may well have been, but Chicory Tip were hardly the innovators they claimed to be. Their version is a faithful cover of the original by Giorgio Moroder, who wrote it in Germany with singer Michael Holm, who first released the song in German.  The story is also told in Any Major Originals – The 1970s Vol. 2.

Finally, there was Marc Bolan of T. Rex. In his Children Of The Revolution, he sings: “I drive a Rolls Royce ’cause it’s good for my voice”. Being a passenger in a Mini was less so…

So, what were the hits that soundtracked your 1972?

If you dig the feel of 1972, take a look at the collection of posters from West-Germany’s Bravo magazine in 1972 (other years are available, too).

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-popcorned covers, and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in Comments.

1. The Jimmy Castor Bunch – Troglodyte (Cave Man)
2. Deep Purple – Never Before
3. Jo Jo Gunne – Run Run Run
4. Blackfoot Sue – Standing In The Road
5. Slade – Mama Weer All Crazee Now
6. T. Rex – Children Of The Revolution
7. David Bowie – Starman
8. Lindisfarne – Meet Me On The Corner
9. Bee Gees – Run To Me
10. Don McLean – Vincent
11. Python Lee Jackson feat. Rod Stewart – In A Broken Dream
12. The Fortunes – Storm In A Teacup
13. The O’Jays – Back Stabbers
14. Chi-Lites – Oh Girl
15. The Stylistics – I’m Stone In Love With You
16. Vicky Leandros – Come What May
17. The Cats – One Way Wind
18. Proudfoot – Delta Queen
19. Elton John – Crocodile Rock
20. John Kincade – Dreams Are Ten A Penny
21. Bay City Rollers – Mañana
22. Middle Of The Road – Bottom’s Up
23. Chicory Tip – Son Of My Father
24. Hot Butter – Popcorn

GET IT! or HERE!

Any Major Hits from 1944
Any Major Hits from 1961
Any Major Hits from 1970
Any Major Hits from 1971
Any Major Hits from 1972 Vol. 1

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