Archive for March, 2016

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 6

March 31st, 2016 4 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 6

Six mixes in, and still not feeling guilty. This kind of music has an inexhaustible well.

Most of the artists here have featured before or are well-known, such as Carole King who is making her series debut here.

I”m not quite sure whether Donnie Iris really belongs here; his Do You Compute sounds sufficiently like it might be a Toto song, albeit with a touch of American New Wave. Anyway, I think it fits. The song was used to promote the game console and computer company Atari.

Dave Mason was, of course, a member of Traffic, for whom he wrote the iconic Hole In My Shoe and Feelin” Alright. As a solo artist he previously featured on The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1. We Just Disagree, the 1977 track featured here, was Mason”s biggest solo hit, peaking at #12 in the US.

Jess Roden also had a Traffic connection: he collaborated with both Jim Capaldi and Steve Winwood. Apart from fronting several bands, Roden was a songwriter and backing singer, doing vocals in the late 1960s/early 1970s on albums by the likes of The Who, Jim Capaldi, Sandy Denny and Mott the Hoople, and also backed Grace Jones on her 1981hit Pull Up To My Bumper.

Larry John McNally released very little music himself: three LPs and a clutch of singles. He was more of a songwriter, providing songs for the likes of Bonnie Raitt (Nobody’s Girl; Slow Ride), Rod Stewart (The Motown Song), Joe Cocker (Long Drag Off A Cigarette), Chaka Khan (Sleep On It; A Woman In A Man’s World), Mavis Staples (I Don’t Want To Lose My Real Good Thing), Aaron Neville (Struttin’ On Sunday; Somewhere, Somebody), the Eagles (I Love To Watch A Woman Dance), among others.

The excellent female vocals on Boz Scaggs” Miss Sun are by Lisa Dal Bello, who had previously sung it on a demo for Toto. When Toto passed the song on to Scaggs, the Canadian singer was invited to repeat her vocals.

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

1. Little River Band – It”s A Long Way There (1975)
2. Player – Silver Lining (1978)
3. Donnie Iris – Do You Compute (1982)
4. Carole King – Lookin” Out For Number One (1982)
5. Santana – Hold On (1981)
6. Boz Scaggs – Miss Sun (1980)
7. Eric Tagg – Promises Promises (1982)
8. The Doobie Brothers – Real Love (1980)
9. Bobby Caldwell – Coming Down From Love (1980)
10. Dave Mason – We Just Disagree (1977)
11. Chicago – Take Me Back To Chicago (1977)
12. Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg – The Power Of Gold (1978)
13. Pablo Cruise – Love Will Find A Way (1978)
14. Nicolette Larson – Dancin” Jones (1979)
15. Robbie Dupree – I”ll Be The Fool Again (1981)
16. Gino Vannelli – Living Inside Myself (1980)
17. Larry John McNally – Just Like Paradise (1981)
18. Jess Roden – Brand New Start (1980)
19. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Just A Song Before I Go (1977)
20. Jay Ferguson – Shakedown Cruise (1979)


Not Feeling Guilty Mix 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 4
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 5
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 6
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 7
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 8
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 9
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 10
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 11

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Saved! Vol. 7 – Soul edition 2

March 24th, 2016 10 comments

Saved Vol 7

Some years ago I presented a militantly atheist friend with a collection of gospel songs. I thought I was being mischievous, for my friend regarded people with religion as mentally disturbed and their intellect unworthy of his respect. Blaise Pascal? An idiot! Martin Luther King? A fool!

To my surprise, he loved the gospel music. In fact, he said, he prefers listening to singers deliver their lyrics, even if these are misguided, with the authenticity of their convictions. It adds to the listening experience to hear singers express the words they wholeheartedly believe, he said.

My atheist friend would like this seventh part in the Saved! series “” which by dint of its subject matter seems to be the least popular of my series of mixes “” in which soul singers sing about their faith. As a companion piece to Saved! Volume 2 – The Soul Edition, it is indeed a great listen. Just check out the slow-burning funk of the Bohannon track!

With George Martin”s death this month, the old debate of who the “Fifth Beatle” was resurfaced. There is a really obvious answer: it is Billy Preston, the only non-Beatle ever credited as having played on Beatles records. Preston was a good friend of George Harrison, whose My Sweet Lord he was the first to record. Harrison also produced and played on Preston”s 1969 LP, That’s The Way God Planned It. The title track features here, with Eric Clapton and Harrison doing guitar duties, Ginger Baker on drums, and Keith Richard on bass. Preston obviously does his own organ work. What a supergroup!

Kay Robinson is not famous, though she had a great vocal range and a belting voice. Her 1970 album We Need Time, from where we get This Old World, was produced by James Brown. Also benefitting from a great producer were The Emotions, who Blessed (like many of their sings) was co-written by the late Maurice White, who also features on the opening track by Earth, Wind & Fire.

And if you think all this is getting a bit to pious, look at the title of Marlena Shaw“s track that closes this collection: Who Is This Bitch, Anyway?.

So, for those who believe Happy Easter, and for those who don”t, Happy Feast of the Easter Bunny.

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

1.  Earth, Wind & Fire – Open Our Eyes (1974)
2.  The Glass House – Heaven Is There To Guide Us (1971)
3.  The Rance Allen Group – God Is Where It’s At (1972)
4.  Bohannon – Save Their Souls (1973)
5.  Billy Preston – That’s The Way God Planned It (1969)
6.  Dorothy Morrison – All God”s Children Got Soul (1970)
7.  The Chambers Brothers – Travel On My Way (1970)
8.  Mitty Collier – I Had A Talk With God Last Night (1972)
9.  Al Green – Glory Glory (1977)
10. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Come Ye Disconsolate (1972)
11. The O’Jays – Prayer (1976)
12. The Emotions – Blessed (1977)
13. The New Birth – We Are All God’s Children (1976)
14. Stevie Wonder – Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away (1974)
15. Kay Robinson – This Old World (1970)
16. Leon Ware – The Spirit Never Dies (1972)
17. Al Jarreau – Could You Believe? (1977)
18. Marlena Shaw – The Lord Giveth and The Lord Taketh Away (1974)


Previous SAVED! mixes
Saved! Vol. 1 (Elvis Presley, Carter Family, LaVern Baker, Marvin Gaye and more…)
Saved! Vol. 2: Soul edition 1 (Curtis Mayfield, The Supremes, The Trammps,  Jerry Butler and more…)
Saved! Vol. 3 (Prefab Sprout,  Wilco, Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Lyle Lovett and more…)
Saved! Vol. 4 (Sam Cooke, Dixie Hummingbirds, Dinah Washington, Brother Joe May,  Jerry Lee Lewis and more…)
Saved! Vol. 5 (Donny Hathaway, Holmes Brothers,  Steve Earle, The Bar-Kays and more…)
Saved! Vol. 6: Angels edition (Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Rilo Kiley, Kris Kristofferson and more…)

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Any Major Radio

March 17th, 2016 12 comments

Any Major Radio Vol. 1

Every music fan at some point has had a relationship with radio. The sound of a transistor radio playing at the beach or in the park in summer. Tuning the car radio to find a station that plays good music. Home-taping songs off the radio, hoping the DJ would not talk into the song. The excitement of hearing a new favourite song for the first time on radio. Listening to appointment radio shows, such as the chart countdown, or live sports broadcasts. A song coming on that reminds you of an old love just as you are getting romantic with a new flame.

What are your radio memories?

I know that some readers of this blog present on radio. I also have tried my hand at that. So this mix is for all listeners of radio and all presenters on the airwaves “” in short, for all of us.

Most songs here are about actual radio, not as a metaphor but as a part of life. The Joni Mitchell track uses radio as a metaphor, as does the Dévics song, but the rest is all about radio as a concept or object, about listening to the radio, or being or not being on the radio.

If you like this mix “” you can tell me in the comments “” I will make another one, as ever to fit on a standard CD-R and to include covers.

So, this is your host Halfhearteded Dude on AMD-WHAH, and your listening to Any Major Radio”¦

1. Ramones – Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio? (1980)
2. Steely Dan – FM (1978)
3. Warren Zevon – Mohammed”s Radio (1981)
4. Darryl Hall & John Oates – Portable Radio (1979)
5. Tom Robinson – Atmospherics: Listen To The Radio (1984)
6. Al Stewart – Song On The Radio (1978)
7. Roxy Music – Oh Yeah (1980)
8. Charlie Dore – Pilot Of The Airwaves (1979)
9. Steve Carlisle – WKRP In Cincinnati (1978)
10. Carpenters – Yesterday Once More (1973)
11. The Everly Brothers – Radio And TV (1965)
12. Harry Nilsson – Turn On Your Radio (1972)
13. Joni Mitchell – You Turn Me On, I”m A Radio (1972)
14. Fairground Attraction – Find My Love (1988)
15. Marc Cohn – Listening To Levon (2007)
16. Kathleen Edwards – One More Song The Radio Won”t Like (2003)
17. D̩vics РDistant Radio (2006)
18. Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Midnight Radio (2001)
19. Regina Spektor – On The Radio (2006)
20. Monty Python – I Bet They Won”t Play This Song On The Radio (1980)


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A Life In Vinyl: 1983

March 10th, 2016 11 comments

Life In Vinyl 1983

One benefit of living in South Africa in the 1980s — an ugly decade in the country”s history — was access to places where one could rent LPs. At the very well-stocked Disque “record libraries” one would hire LPs for three days. You might sample them for possible purchase at a record shop, or tape them, or listen to them and decide that they were useless.

Popular new releases were usually out (though you could book them), but the joy was in trying out less popular new releases as a way of discovering hitherto unknown music and to delve into music history with the classics. It was through the record libraries that I learned about bands like Little Feat and Poco, and about the Motown catalogue. It was through Disque that I became a Van Morrison fan (the title track of his Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart album would feature in this mix if Morrison wasn’t trawling the music blogosphere for his songs). Sadly the record libraries were banned in 1990 because home-taping apparently killed music.

So for much of 1983 I taped or bought many classic albums, and kept up with new pop music through video-recording from the Pop Shop music programme or taping hits off the radio. Perusing this list of songs here, it seems that until September I bought among new releases only the Bob Seger and Pink Floyd albums, and Heaven 17’s majestic Temptation on 12″. I also recall buying the An Officer And A Gentleman soundtrack. A new job I took up must have provided me with the means to purchase albums, because as of October I began buying many LPs. Of the songs listed here, I had the albums of all the artists as of track 15 (the Human League track I bought on 12″).

All of the songs here bring back 1983 to me. Kool & the Gang’s Big Fun reminds me of my workplace; Stephen Bishop’s song from Tootsie stirs up my yearnings for romance, which due to my working hours were impossible to pursue; the Madness song brings up the anxiety I felt when I spilled a bottle of red wine on to the carpet (hot tip: don’t try to vacuum up spilled red wine); the Pink Floyd LP recalls of my abiding hatred of Thatcher and the apartheid regime; the Billy Joel song reminds me of a girl called Pearl (and that line about “feeding the girl a comical line” has particular relevance to me); the Human League and Depeche Mode songs take me back of a New Wave club that I went to but which rarely was full…

1983 gallery 1Two songs here are South African. éVoid fused African musical styles with New Wave sounds; they had another hit in early 1984 and then faded from the scene when members left South Africa to avoid conscription into the apartheid army (since you ask, I too avoided the draft).

PJ Powers was a white singing star with her band Hotline who in late 1982 did the quite unthinkable of recording duets with one of the biggest African-language singers, the blind Steve Kekana. Those were the days when the charts in South Africa were segregated. African-language artists like Kekana or The Soul Brothers or Mahlatini easily outsold most US and UK artists, but the “official” charts would not reflect them, and the white radio stations wouldn’t play them. So when Powers and Kekana had a hit with Feels So Strong, and it received airplay, it was quite a revolution in apartheid South Africa. It helped that the song was catchy.

A song that should have featured South African artists was Malcolm McLaren’s Double Dutch, which more than borrows from the mbaqanga sounds of the townships. Indeed, McLaren and co-“writer” Trevor Horn were sued for plagiarism by South African group The Boyoyo Boys. An out-of-court settlement allowed McLaren and Horn to retain the copyright. It was not the first time South African act got screwed over by Western musicians.

Finally, an apology to Joan Armatrading. In 1985 I sat in the middle of row 2 in the Hammersmith Odeon in London for her concert. I might have eaten something off before the concert, which I really had been looking forward to. I felt ill, and kept falling asleep. When Armatrading announced Drop The Pilot, which features here, she called the crowed to come forward to the stage. That was highly irregular, indeed a security risk after Bay City Rollers fans had torn the place apart a decade earlier. It is said that from the stage, performers can see the first three rows. With that strange chap sleeping through her performance, what choice did she have? So, Joan, if you’re reading this, I am sorry.

1983 gallery 2So, what did your 1983 look like?

1. Kool & The Gang – Big Fun
2. Hotline With P.J. Powers & Steve Kekana – Feel So Strong
3. Bob Seger – Shame On The Moon
4. Joan Armatrading – Drop The Pilot
5. Tears For Fears – Mad World
6. Blancmange – Waves
7. Madness – Tomorrow’s Just Another Day
8. Nick Heyward – Whistle Down The Wind
9. Stephen Bishop – It Might Be You
10. Pink Floyd – The Final Cut
11. Heaven 17 – Temptation
12. Bananarama – Cruel Summer
13. JoBoxers – Just Got Lucky
14. Malcolm McLaren – Double Dutch
15. éVoid – Shadows
16. Billy Joel – Leave A Tender Moment Alone
17. Randy Newman – I Love L.A.
18. Depeche Mode – Everything Counts
19. Human League – Keep Feeling Fascination
20. Style Council – Speak Like A Child


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In Memoriam – February 2016

March 3rd, 2016 7 comments

After the massacre of last month, the Grim Reaper took it easier in February, though he still managed to claim one legend.

IM022016_1None of the parade of music legends” deaths this year hit me as hard as that of Maurice White, not even that of David Bowie. You see, White”s music soundtracked many times I have fallen in love: sometimes for a long time, sometimes for a night, once for life. And, of course, I regard Earth, Wind & Fire as only second in my fandom to The Beatles. Of course, White was the driving force behind EWF: founder, co-producer, main songwriter, co-frontman, patriarch, spiritual director and so on. He had a marvellously warm voice which worked as well on ballads (Love”s Holiday, After The Love Has Gone , That”s The Way Of The World) as it did on upbeat tracks (In The Stone, September, Boogie Wonderland).

But he was even more than that: he produced and co-wrote The Emotions” Best Of My Love, and co-produced Deniece Williams” gorgeous 1977 #1 Free, and indeed the whole This Is Niecy LP (with EWF producer Charles Stepney, who died before the release of Niecy). Before EWF he was a session drummer, appearing on Fontellas Bass” Rescue Me, Summertime by Billy Stewart, Betty Everett”s It”s In His Kiss, all of Minnie Riperton”s Come To My Garden LP, including her splendid version of Les Fleurs, as well as tracks by The Impressions, Etta James and other Chess acts. And for several albums he was a third of the Ramsey Lewis Trio, playing on classics such as Wade In The Water and Hold It Right There. A first attempt at running a band, The Salty Peppers, was unsuccessful. The next band was all the more a triumph. And Maurice sported the best receding-hairline afro ever.

The saxophone named Gina, after the nipples of the screen siren Lollobrigida, has fallen silent with the passing of Joey “˜The Lip” Fagan. Actor Johnny Murphy, who played Joey The Lip in the 1991 film The Commitments, has died at the age of 72. A serious thespian of stage and screen, Murphy was the seasoned veteran in a cast of mostly novices. He was a generous actor, letting his co-stars shine in their scenes with him “” his opening exchange with Jimmy “The Bollocks” Rabbitte is priceless “” but by his presence alone he stole every scene. Irish president Bertie Higgins turned up for Murphy”s funeral.

For a brief while in the 1980s Canadian-born singer Vanity enjoyed some fame as Prince”s latest hypersexy girlfriend/protegé, fronting the Vanity 6 project. Born of mixed-race background as Denise Katrina Matthews, she first had a career in modelling before meeting Prince in 1980. He gave Denise her new name and had her front Vanity 6 “” the number apparently represented the amount of breasts in the all-girl trio. They had a few hits, then broke up. Vanity had a couple more solo hits, posed twice in Playboy in the “˜80s (and on the cover of Cameo”s 1982 album Alligator Woman), and appeared in a few films, most notably 1988″s Action Jackson. More darkly, she also entertained a crack addiction. Following a near-fatal overdose in 1994 she became a born-again Christian and evangelist. She died of renal failure, a consequence of her drug abuse two decades earlier, at the age of 57.

IM022016_2Was your mom a middle-aged punk-rock singer expounding on matters of sexuality and gender? If so, then your mom might be Vi Subversa, frontwoman of early-“80s British anarcho-punk outfit Poison Girls. Born in 1935 as Frances Sokolov, she was a 44-year-old mother of two when she adopted her stage name and released her first single with the Poison Girls (whose other three original members were men). Working closely with fellow punk outfit Crass, Subversa pushed a hardline feminist agenda, getting herself assaulted by neo-Nazis for her troubles. She quit recording in 1985 and moved for a while to Israel to do pottery.

US readers will know at least one composition by the arranger and conductor Jimmie Haskell, who has died at 79: the theme to the game show Hollywood Squares. But the rest of us have also heard much of Haskell”s work. Most significantly, it was Haskell who arranged Simon & Garfunkel”s Bridge Over Troubled Water. He changed the song from G major Read more…

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