Archive for June, 2013

Any Major London Vol. 3

June 27th, 2013 10 comments

Any Major London Vol. 3

This is the third London mix, which I hope will receive a less muted reception than the Swinging London edition did. The astute readers who know London, or are keen students of the Underground map, will spot a sequence set entirely in North London: Holloway, Kentish Town, Tottenham, Archway, Hampstead and Camden Town.

This volume also answers three essential questions: which Madness and Clash songs will feature in this series, and (having featured The Kinks in Volume 2) which cover of Waterloo Sunset I’ll choose. I think I went for two less expected songs for Madness and The Clash. I think jazz pianist Joe Stilgoe’s cover of The Kinks’ song is an interesting interpretation.

The mix starts with the theme of the early ’90s comedy series Bottom (set in Hammersmith), a Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson vehicle which has not, truth be told, aged very well. The theme is a cover of B.B. King”s BB’s Blues, performed by The Bum Notes, a jazz group of which Edmondson is a member (they also played the closing theme, a cover of The Mar-Keys’ Last Night).

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

1. The Bum Notes – Theme from ‘Bottom’ (1991)
2. Blossom Dearie – I Like London In The Rain (1970)
3. Procol Harum – Souvenir Of London (1973)
4. Joe Jackson – Down To London (1980)
5. Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Charlotte Street (1984)
6. The Men They Couldn’t Hang – Blackfriars Bridge (1989)
7. The Popes – Holloway Boulevard (2000)
8. Imelda May – Kentish Town Waltz (2010)
9. Robb Johnson & The Irregulars – When Tottenham Burned (2011)
10. Cath Carroll & Kerry Kelekovich – Moon Over Archway (2010)
11. The Dream Academy – Hampstead Girl (1987)
12. Louis Philippe – Sunday Morning Camden Town (1989)
13. Dan Reed Network – Seven Sisters Road (1989)
14. T.Rex – London Boys (1976)
15. Mott the Hoople – The Saturday Gigs (1974)
16. Dave Edmunds – London’s A Lonely Town (1976)
17. Madness – Victoria Gardens (1984)
18. The Clash – First Night Back In London (1982)
19. Ian Dury and the Blockheads – My Old Man (1977)
20. The Smiths – Half A Person (1986)
21. Belle & Sebastian – Mornington Crescent (2006)
22. Joe Stilgoe – Waterloo Sunset (2012)



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Song Swarm – Like A Rolling Stone

June 20th, 2013 7 comments

There are people who would like Bob Dylan”s songs more if only they were sung by somebody else. I have some empathy with that view (as I do with the opposing perspective), so it is a little strange that I would choose for a song swarm one song on which I really enjoy young Robert”s singing.


“Like A Rolling Stone”, recorded in June 1965 and released a month later, is a landmark record in pop music. At a time when singles were considered long-winded if they exceeded the three-minute mark, it clocked it in at 6:13 and yet reached #2 on the US charts (a decade before “Bohemian Rhapsody”).

It also signposted the Dylan-goes-electric controversy. The1966  live recording from Manchester included in this swarm is that of an audience member yelling “Judas”, to which Dylan responds: “I don’t believe you. You”re a liar”, then instructing the band to “play it fuckin” loud”. By Dylan”s own admission, it was the song that prevented him from quitting recording; it was a song he himself could dig.

The story of the song”s recording session in New York has been documented in rich detail by Greil Marcus (read it HERE).

“Like A Rolling Stone” inspired the young guitarist Jimi Hendrix to take up singing (presumably on the “if he can, so can I” principle), and he included the song in his repertoire. His version at Monterey in 1967, his breakthrough performance, is included here.

The song jumped genres with remarkable ease, from psychedelic (Rotary Connection) to garage rock (The Remains) to ska (The Wailers) to bluegrass (Flatt & Scruggs) to spoken poetry (Sebastian Cabot) to easy listening (Hugo Montenegro) to soul (Major Harris, Maxine Weldon ““ both brilliant).

Most of these 33 versions work well; a few serve as curiosities. Top of these is the home recording from John Lennon”s 31st birthday party in a hotel room in Syracuse, New York. John and his friends have a sing-along, with “Like A Rolling Stone” featuring in the medley. We don”t know exactly who among the guests were singing along, but the guests included Ringo Starr, Phil Spector, Eric Clapton,  Jim Keltner, Phil Ochs and beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

Two foreign language versions are included: an Italian take from 1966 by Gianni Pettenati, and one by Wolfgang Ambros, performed in the local dialect of Vienna.

Though I haven”t bothered to include the original “” if you don”t already have it, you really don”t need this collection “” Dylan himself features three times with live versions: the 1966 “fuckin” loud” Manchester version, 1974 with The Band, and one from 1979″ Live At Budokan album. If that doesn”t still the hunger, then there is always the live take from the Isle Of Wright gig you can find on the Self Portrait album of 1970.


Bob Dylan (Judas version, 1966); The Four Seasons (1965), The Turtles (1965); The Soup Greens (1965); Cher (1966), The Young Rascals (1966), The Wailers (1966), Gianni Pettenati e The Juniors  (as “Come una pietra che rotola”, 1966), The Remains (1966), Sebastian Cabot (1967), Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967), Rotary Connection (1967), Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs (1968), Phil Flowers & the Flower Shop (1969), Buddy Greco (1969), Major Harris (1969), Maxine Weldon (1970), Hugo Montenegro Orchestra (1970), Hardin & York (1971), The Undisputed Truth (1971), John Lennon & Friends (home-recording with Dig It, Twist And Shout, La Bamba, Louie Louie, 1971), Johnny Winter (1973), Bob Dylan & The Band (1974), Wolfgang Ambros (as “Allan wia a Stan”, 1978), Bob Dylan (1979), Johnny Thunders (1984), Judy Collins (1993), Mick Ronson with David Bowie (1994), The Rolling Stones (1995), Phil Lesh (2000), Drive-By Truckers (2005), The Kentucky Headhunters (2005), Green Day (2009)



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Covered With Soul Vol. 17 – Motown Edition

June 13th, 2013 4 comments

Covered With Soul_17

What took me so long to do a Covered With Soul of Motown songs? This compilation begins, appropriately, with a Motown giant, Marvin Gaye, covering one of the great songs by other Motown giants, The Temptations. And that is followed by a track by a lesser known group whose records were issued by Motown , Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers, covering a song best known in Marvin Gaye’s version  (you’ll remember them from Any Major Soul 1968 as the group that included Cheech’s sidekick Chong and whose leader discovered the Jackson 5).

Some of the songs are well-known even to the cursory follower of Motown. A couple of others may be unknown to such people. They would do well to check out the Motown recordings of Junior Walker & The All Stars’ What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) and The Originals’ Baby, I’m For Real.

Purists might question the inclusion of Dusty Springfield in a soul mix. Actually, true purists won’t; just listen to Dusty sing Rita Wright’s I Can’t Give Back The Love I Feel For You. EDIT: There’s a second Motown edition of Covered With Soul.

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

1. Marvin Gaye – Cloud Nine (1970)
2. Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1968)
3. S.O.U.L. – My Cherie Amour (1972)
4. Aretha Franklin – You’re All I Need To Get By (1973)
5. William Bell – You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me (3:28)
6. Donnie Elbert – Stop In The Name Of Love (1974)
7. The Spinners – My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) (1970)
8. Gladys Knight & The Pips – For Once In My Life (1973)
9. Carolyn Franklin – You Are Everything (1976)
10. Willie Hutch – I’ll Be There (1973)
11. Hearts Of Stone – What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) (1970)
12. Rosetta Hightower – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1971)
13. Rhetta Hughes – Baby, I Need Your Loving (1969)
14. The Five Stairsteps – Oooh, Baby Baby (1967)
15. Esther Phillips – Baby, I’m For Real (1972)
16. Martha Reeves – Ain’t That Peculiar (1974)
17. Dusty Springfield – I Can’t Give Back The Love I Feel For You (1968)
18. Vessie Simmons – Back In My Arms Again (1971)
19. Carl Graves – That’s The Way Love Is (1975)
20. The Bar-Kays – I Was Made To Love Her (1972)
21. Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Band – Get Ready (1968)
22. David Porter – Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand (1972)


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In Memoriam – May 2013

June 5th, 2013 11 comments

0513_galleryIt might well be the most bizarre music death story of the year. According to the story, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman (1) died  from causes related to necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease which the musician claimed to have contracted after being bitten by a spider in a friend”s hot tub. As far as I can make out, the illness is caused not by nibbling arachnoids but by uncooked meat or accidental consumption of human faeces. And, to spoil a great rock & roll story which would find easy accommodation in Jeremy Simmond”s Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars (aka Number One In Heaven), the official cause of death is the bog-standard alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver.

Two of rock”s finest sideman died in May: Rick Manzarek (2), whose keyboard intro to The Doors “Riders On The Storm” is one of the most iconic in popular music, and Trevor Bolder (3), whose often intricate bass formed the backbone to David Bowie”s albums Hunky Dory,  Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane and Pin Ups. In 1976, he joined Uriah Heep.

May is a dangerous time to be a one-time member of The Skatalites. Back in 1969, trombonist Don Drummond died on May 6. Saxophonist Tommy McCook  died on May 5, 1998. In 2011, drummer Lloyd Knibb died on May 12; in 2012 bass player Lloyd Brevett died on May 3. Exactly a year later tenor saxophonist Cedric Brooks (4) died. Unlike the other victims of the Reaper in May, he was not a founding member, having joined only in 1999 to replace McCook.

Although Georges Moustaki (5) operated within the field of French chanson “” he wrote for people like Edith Piaf, Françoise Hardy, Yves Montand, Juliette Greco, Brigitte Fontaine, Dalida, Herbert Pagani and France Gall “” his music drew from folk. His poly-ethnic background helped: he was born in Giuseppe Mustacchi to Italo-Greek Sephardic Jews. He grew up in Egypt speaking Italian at home, Arabic on the streets and French in school.

The Five Stairsteps” “O-o-h Child” is one of the most beloved soul songs (one Furious Styles certainly dug it), so the death of Clarence Burke Jr (6), the lead singer of the group, will have saddened many. While it was little brother Keni who had the greatest post-Stairsteps success, Clarence was the prodigy. At the age of 17, he produced the band”s Our Family Portrait LP. The Stairsteps slowly broke up by the mid-1970s, but in 1980 Clarence and Keni briefly re-united to form The Invisible Man”s Band, which released two albums and had a minor hit with “All Night Thing”.

Soul music also lost Marvin Junior (7)  of The Dells, who first had success as an R&B group in the 1950s and “60s, touring with the likes of Dinah Washington and Ray Charles, and as the 1970s neared blazed a trail in forming the vocal group soul sounds of that decade, alongside bands like The Delfonics and The Intruders.  The core of the group stayed together until last year, when Junior and Chuck Barksdale became to ill to perform.

Listen to Stax singer Ben Atkins (8), who has died at 69, and you picture a black southern soul man; look at him, and you see a country singer. Read more…

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