Archive for July, 2016

Beatles Recovered: Revolver

July 28th, 2016 17 comments

Revolver Recovered

August 5 will see the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ seminal Revolver album. If Rubber Soul was the moment when the besuited moptops handed over the Beatle baton to the more experimental stoners, Revolver was the moment the stoners became adults, doing things on their own terms.

George Harrison’s I Want To Tell you is perhaps most emblematic of that progression. The melody could have been on Rubber Soul, or even Help!, but the arrangement and especially the lyrics absolutely couldn’t.

The first song which the Beatles recorded for the album was one that set the scene for what innovation was to come. Tomorrow Never Knows, which was born almost exactly four months before Revolver‘s release (on April 6), was a radical departure from the pure, relatively uncomplicated pop and rock & roll which the band had produced just a year earlier on Help (which was released on August 6, 1965, almost exactly one year before Revolver. Let that timeline sink in!). The song was subject to such experimentations as tape loops and running the vocals through a speaker normally used for the Hammond organ, plus Ringo using a novel drum-pattern.

The cover of that song here is a sparse affair from 1970 by the blues/R&B singer Junior Parker, recorded a year before his death at the age of 39 during surgery for a brain tumor.

Harrison had already experimented gingerly with Indian music on Rubber Soul. Here, on Love You To, he went full Indian “” I guess it must have been even more startling to Revolver“™s first listeners than Tomorrow Never Knows. It is covered here by the Don Randi Trio, who recorded the whole of Revolver in their jazz interpretation, within weeks of the album’s release. Their version respects the original’s Indian core.

Revolver had several moments of genius. Eleanor Rigby in particular is a masterpiece, lyrically and musically (I’ll leave it to you whether Ray Charles’ interpretation trumps the original). McCartney’s other two ballads on the album – For No One and Here, There And Everywhere – are remarkable as well. Emmylou Harris features here with her gorgeous take on the often neglected For No One, from 1975’s Pieces Of The Sky LP. She might also have been included for her version of Here, There And Everywhere, recorded the same year for the Elite Hotel album. That song is covered to equally lovely effect by that other country woman of crossover appeal, Bobbie Gentry.

Lennon was more hit-and-miss on Revolver than Paul. Tomorrow Never Knows and I’m Only Sleeping tower above the serviceable but usually not unduly overlooked Dr Robert, And Your Bird Can Sing and She Said She Said, decent tracks though they are. Dr Robert was the most difficult song to find a cover for. Here it is done by an Italian band called Slow Feet (an allusion to Eric Clapton’s nickname Slow Hand), which specialises in covering classic rock songs.

In don’t know why Paul’s excellent Good Day Sunshine doesn’t receive more love. Roy Redmond’s southern soul cover reveals a depth to a song which in The Beatles’ version is “just another” Beatles pop song.

Critics don’t love Yellow Submarine, written by Paul specifically for Ringo and deliberately as a children’s song. It ought to have been only a b-side (as it also was, to Eleanor Rigby), not an album track. But while the purists hate it, the public loved it, as would be the case two long, long years later with the much maligned yet ferociously popular Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

The Pickin’ On Picks recording was the only feasible version of Yellow Submarine that I could include here (though I include the 1976 Sesame Street version – three monsters harmonising in monstrous ways – as a bonus). The Pickin’ On Picks was a 1990s project whereby session musicians would render the catalogue of a particular artist in the bluegrass genre. Cross-genre appropriation sometimes works well, and sometimes does so only in small doses. This is such a case: one or two songs at a time are great; more than that is quite enough.

The obvious choice for a cover of Got To Get You Into My Life might have been that of Earth, Wind & Fire, or perhaps that by Thelma Houston, which surely inspired the EWF arrangement. That itself might have borrowed from the one used here, by Blood, Sweat & Tears. The EWF version previously featured on Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66; the Thelma Houston version you can get on the Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2.

Naturally the mix fits on a CD-R, and includes home-renovated covers. PW in comments.

1. The Loose Ends – Tax Man (1966)
2. Ray Charles – Eleanor Rigby (1968)
3. Lobo – I’m Only Sleeping (1974)
4. Don Randi Trio – Love You To (1966)
5. Bobbie Gentry – Here, There And Everywhere (1968)
6. The Pickin’ On Picks – Yellow Submarine (1995)
7. Hedge & Donna – She Said She Said (1971)
8. Roy Redmond – Good Day Sunshine (1967)
9. Spanky & Our Gang – And Your Bird Can Sing (1967)
10. Emmylou Harris – For No One (1975)
11. Slowfeet – Doctor Robert (2006)
12. Chris Stainton & Glen Turner – I Want To Tell You (1976)
13. Blood, Sweat & Tears – Got To Get You Into My Life (1975)
14. Junior Parker – Tomorrow Never Knows (1970)


Beatles Recovered: Please, Please Me
Beatles Recovered: With The Beatles
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Recovered: Let It Be

Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles

Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)
Beatles Reunited: ’77 (1977)
Beatles Reunited: Let It See (1980)

Categories: Albums Recovered, Beatles, Covers Mixes Tags:

The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 3

July 21st, 2016 5 comments

The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 3

At last, here”s the third Steve Gadd mix “” with the Steely Dan track featuring what many regard as one of the most iconic drum solos ever. It was also the first ever drum solo on a Dan record.

Gadd”s versality is on show here: from the disco-pop of Leo Sayer”s opener and the soul tunes of Bill Withers and Aretha Franklin to the faux-reggae of 10cc to the folk-rock of Judy Collins, and lots of stuff in-between. Don”t be fooled by this being a third Gadd mix, with the notion that this might be a collection of left-overs. Just see the Steve Gadd Collections Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 for the diversity of acts he has drummed for, and then imagine how many more mixes there might have been. But three must suffice, so we can move on to other session giants.

Al Jarreau already featured on the first mix, and policy prevents repeat acts in this series (though I am cheating a little with Grover Washington Jr; it is really Bill Withers I wanted here). But I include Jarreau”s remarkable Spain as a bonus track, partly for Gadd”s superb drumming on it “” a masterclass “” and partly for Al”s reworking, with his own added lyrics, of Chick Corea”s 1973 instrumental which in turn borrowed from the adagio from Rodrigo”s Concierto de Aranjuez.

As always: CD-R length, covers, PW in comments.

1. Leo Sayer – You Make Me Feel Like Dancing (1976)
2. Andy Gibb – Desire (1980)
3. Rickie Lee Jones – Pirates (So Long Lonely Avenue) (1981)
4. Steely Dan – Aja (1977)
5. Lee Ritenour with Bill Champlin – Morning Glory (1978)
6. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Little Bit Of Love (1977)
7. Margie Joseph – Sign Of The Times (1975)
8. Aretha Franklin – Sing It Again – Say It Again (1974)
9. Bill Withers & Grover Washington Jr – Just The Two Of Us (1981)
10. Spyro Gyra – Oasis (1982)
11. Melba Moore – Get Into My Mind (1975)
12. Patti Austin – More Today Than Yesterday (1976)
13. Dionne Warwick – Heartbreaker (1982)
14. 10cc – Oomachasaooma (Feel The Love) (1983)
15. Elliott Randall – Samantha (1977)
16. Judy Collins – Angel, Spread Your Wings (1975)
17. Jim Croce – Five Short Minutes (1973)
18. Arif Mardin – Dark Alleys (1974)
Bonus track: Al Jarreau – Spain (1980)


Previous Session Musicians:
The Roy Bittan Collection
The Larry Carlton Collection
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 1
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 3
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Graham Collection
The Louis Johnson Collection
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 2
The Bobby Keys Collection
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 1
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 2
The Joe Osborne Collection
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 2
The Ringo Starr Collection

Categories: Mix CD-Rs, Session Players Tags:

Any Major Disco Vol. 4

July 14th, 2016 9 comments

Any Major Disco Vol. 4

Tuesday, July 12, saw the 37th anniversary of the notorious “Disco Demolition Night” at Chicago’s Comskey Park, a night I have discussed with Any Major Disco Vol. 1, and touched on Any Major Disco Vol. 3 (which focussed more on disco as a vehicle for the assertion of gay identity and driver for later black dominance of pop). To mark the anniversary, here is a seriously funky mix of disco tracks — the sort of disco the more discerning of the mob at Comiskey Park might have appreciated, had they opened their hearts and ears.

So, in memory of all that was good about disco, put on your dancing shoes and shake those hips — Travolta moves not required.

As always, CD-R length, covers. PW in comments.

1. Splendor – Take Me To Your Disco (1979)
2. The Whispers – It”s A Love Thing (1980)
3. Teena Marie – I Need Your Lovin’ (1980)
4. Debra Laws – On My Own (1981)
5. Gene Chandler – When You”re Number One (1979)
6. The Isley Brothers – It’s A Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop) (1979)
7. The Miracles – Love Machine (1975)
8. Sex O’Clock USA – Get It Up Baby (1976)
9. The Real Thing – Can You Feel The Force (1979)
10. Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King – I Don’t Know If I’s Right (1977)
11. Gwen Guthrie – It Should Have Been You (1977)
12. LaToya Jackson – If You Feel The Funk (1980)
13. Front Page feat. Sharon Redd – Love Insurance (1979)
14. Crown Heights Affair – Your Love Makes Me Hot (1982)
15. Heatwave – Too Hot To Handle (1976)
16. Bill Brandon – We Fell In Love While Dancing (1977)


More Any Major Funk/Disco
More Mix CD-Rs

Categories: Disco Tags:

Song Swarm: By The Time I Get To Phoenix

July 7th, 2016 21 comments

This is a reworked and extended version of a post from March 2010. Back then it was 23 stops to Phoenix; now we have 81.


By The Time I Get To Phoenix is not even my favourite Jimmy Webb song, much as I love it “” there are songs on the Jimmy Webb Collection Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 I love more. But I cannot think of many other songs in pop music that traverse interpretations and genres as effortlessly as this. Here I am offering a bunch of versions that cover pop, country, soul, jazz and easy listening.

By The Time I Get To Phoenix sounds like it belongs in any of these genres. And even when interpreted by artists from the same genre, it is an immensely flexible a song. Just compare the soul versions by the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, Erma Franklin, Isaac Hayes, the Intruders, Lloyd Price, the Mad Lads, Billie Stewart, William Bell, The Escorts, and New York City. So I think one can listen to all the versions here without necessarily getting bored.

The first version of the song was recorded by Webb”s mentor, Johnny Rivers, in 1966. Since then it has been covered many time. Apparently there are more than a thousand versions of it.

Rivers” version made no impact, nor did a cover by Pat Boone. The guitarist on Boone”s version, however, picked up on the song and released it in 1967. Glen Campbell scored a massive hit with the song, even winning two Grammies for it. In quick succession, Campbell completed a trilogy of geographically-themed songs by Webb, with the gorgeous Wichita Lineman (written especially for Campbell) and the similarly wonderful Galveston.

Another seasoned session musician took Phoenix into a completely different direction (if you will pardon the unintended pun). Isaac Hayes had heard the song, and decided to perform it as the Bar-Keys” guest performer at Memphis” Tiki Club, a soul venue. He started with a spontaneous spoken prologue, explaining in some detail why this man is on his  journey. At first the patrons weren”t sure what Hayes was doing rapping over a repetitive chord loop. After a while, according to Hayes, they started to listen. At the end of the song, he said, there was not a dry eye in the house (“I”m gonna moan now”¦”). As it appeared on Ike”s 1968 Hot Buttered Soul album, the thing went on for 18 glorious minutes.

The fine version of soul singer Doug Haynes changes the perspective: here she has gone to Phoenix, and Doug is making the call where the phone is just keeps ringing off the wall. Wanda Jackson“s version, titled By The Time You Got To Phoenix, is really an answer record (turns out, she is not that unhappy to see the dude gone). The Harden Trio don’t change the lyrics, as Haynes does, but offer the twist of the female voices singing from their perspective and the male lead taking the traditional leavers’ narrative.


There are those who scoff that it is physically impossible to complete the song”s itinerary “” Phoenix, Albuquerque, Oklahoma “” in a day. But I think the itinerary makes perfect sense, presuming it starts in Los Angeles.

He gets to Phoenix when she is normally getting up from bed. From LA to Phoenix it”s about six hours drive. Assuming she rises around 6am, our friend left LA at around midnight. By the time he hits Albuquerque, our narrator thinks she”s about to have lunch; more or less at 1pm. From Phoenix to Abuquerque it”s another six hours. That gave our friend time to spare to reach the city of Walter White. By the time he makes Oklahoma she”ll be sleeping. The distance from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City (guessing that this is his destination) is about eight hours drive. Setting aside aside breaks for food, rest and ablutions, by the time he hits Oklahoma it will be past midnight, when she will indeed be having a tear-interrupted sleep. The timeline fits.

One act that was not going to make any such journeys any time soon was The Escorts. These soul singers were incarcerated in a New Jersey jail. In 1968 one inmate, Reginald Haynes, started a singing group which would become The Escorts. They were discovered by producers and went on to record two albums. Their version of Phoenix is from the first of these, 1973″s All We Need Is Another Chance which became a hit, selling 300,000 copies. After his release, Haynes tried to launch a solo career; that attempt was cut short when he was unjustly convicted of a crime he didn”t commit. Read the remarkable story here.

Back to the music, I do like the well-executed 1930s radio pastiche by The Templeton Twins. And the best individual moment in this collection might be The Pips responding to Gladys Knight‘s announcement that she was leaving with a sad, “Oh no” on their live version from 1970’s All In A Knight’s Work LP. Also check out Jermaine and the Jackson 5 doing the song on The Tonight Show in 1974; Jermaine takes the lead and Michael harmonises.

So, apart from Isaac Hayes’, which version is your favourite? I think I like Al Wilson’s best. Or the Four Tops’. Or Erma Franklin’s. Or Pete Shelley’s discoish take. Or Nick Cave’s. Or Thelma Houston’s majestic version from 2007. Or, of course, Glen Campbell’s. Or maybe the 2010 version by the song’s writer, with Glenn Campbell on backing vocals and, I think, Mark Knopfler on guitar.


The collection comes in two parts. You will need both. PW = amdwhah

1966: Johnny Rivers “¢ 1967: Glen Campbell, Santo & Johnny “¢ 1968: Vikki Carr, Marty Wilde, Georgie Fame, The Lettermen, Marty Robbins, Roy Drusky, Charlie Rich, Engelbert Humperdinck, The Mills Brothers, Four Tops, Joe Tex, Ace Cannon, Roger Miller, Harry Belafonte, Andy Williams, Nat Adderley, Johnny Mathis, Al Wilson, Herbie Mann, Solomon Burke, Raymonde Singers, Eydie Gorme,  Peggy Lee, Toots Thielemans, The Magnificent Men, The Intruders, The Union Gap featuring Gary Puckett, Wanda Jackson, The Harden Trio, Frankie Laine, Gloria Lynne,  Jack Jones, Tony Mottola with The Groovies, Ray Price, Bobby Goldsboro, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra “¢ 1969: José Feliciano, Dorothy Ashby, Billy Stewart,  Oscar Peterson, Burl Ives, Andy Kim, A.J. Marshall, Erma Franklin, Henry Mancini, Isaac Hayes, Lloyd Price, The Springfield Rifle, Family Circle, The Mad Lads, The Dells (in a medley with Wichita Lineman), Al Caiola, William Bell “¢ 1970: Stevie Wonder, Autumn & Barrie McAskill,  The Manhattans, The Templeton Twins, The Ventures, Jimmy Smith, Main Ingredient (in a medley with Wichita Lineman),Wayne McGhie & the Sounds of Joy, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Willie Tee “¢ 1971: Jimmy Webb,  Fabulous Souls “¢ 1972: Shirley Scott “¢ 1973: New York City, The Escorts “¢ 1974: Jermaine and the Jackson 5, Doug Haynes “¢ 1975: Peter Shelley”¢ 1976: Junior Mance Trio “¢ 1977: Isaac Hayes & Dionne Warwick (with I Say A Little Prayer) “¢ 1986: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds “¢ 1995: Reba McEntire “¢ 2007: Thelma Houston “¢ 2010: Jimmy Webb

GET IT: Part 1 & Part 2

Previous Song Swarms:
Hound Dog
These Boots Are Made For Walking
Sunday Morning Coming Down
Like A Rolling Stone
Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Over The Rainbow
Georgia On My Mind
Blue Moon
Light My Fire


Categories: Song Swarm Tags:

In Memoriam – June 2016

July 4th, 2016 6 comments

IM1606_1The year 2016 continued to be a bastard in June. But instead of killing off superstars, June took from us some important names.

Imagine what it was like for audiences in mid-1956 to be confronted with the explosion of loud energy that was Elvis” Hound Dog. Louder and more aggressive than most Rock & Roll hits that came before, to ears used to Perry Como and Bing Crosby it must have sounded positively dystopian. Playing the guitar on Hound Dog, and all those 1950s Elvis hits, was Scotty Moore, who has died at 84. In fact, Elvis” early Sun records were credited to “Elvis Presley, Scotty & Bill” (Bill being bassist Bill Black, who died in 1965). As such, Moore was instrumental, as it were, in introducing power chords and guitar solos to this new musical form. Rock & Roll Elvis left the building when he went to the army, but Moore continued to play on some Elvis records in the 1960s “” including Good Luck Charm, Devil In Disguise, Surrender and Bossa Nova Baby “” and appeared on the 1968 Comeback Special.

Moore was not the only artist with an Elvis connection to die in June. Only time prevented me from putting together a special collection of songs written or produced by the great Chips Moman, who has died at 79. His crowning moment might have been the resurrection of Elvis as a serious singer, having produced the sessions that yielded the glorious Suspicious Minds and In The Ghetto at Memphis” American Sound Studio, which Moman founded with Don Crews. The studio produced many classics produced by Moman, including Neil Diamond”s Sweet Caroline, BJ Thomas” Hooked On A Feeling, Merilee Rush”s Angel Of The Morning, and Dusty Springfield”s Dusty In Memphis album. Before he started the studio, Moman worked at Stax, producing hits such as Carla Thomas” Gee Whiz. Moman was a fine songwriter, too, co-writing hits such as Aretha Franklin”s Do Right Woman Do Right Man, James Carr”s The Dark End Of The Street, BJ Thomas” (Hey Won”t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, and Waylon Jennings” Luckenbach, Texas (which featured on Any American Road Trip 2). On top of all that, Moman was also a session guitarist, playing with acts such as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket, Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Johnny Cash and Guy Clark (who died last month).

Just over a week after Moman passed, Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns died. The Memphis Horns were led by Jackson on trumpet and Andrew Love (who died in 2012) on tenor sax. They produced some signature sounds in music, perhaps most famously the intro to Otis Redding”s Try A Little Tenderness. Where there is brass on Stax records, you”d hear The Memphis Horns. Later Jackson and Love decamped to Stax-alumnus Chips Moman”s  American Sound Studio where they played on those career-reviving Elvis records. Later they played at Hi Records, giving Al Green some horn (oh, behave!), including on Let”s Stay Together. They played with King Curtis on his fantastic Live At The Filmore album. They also backed non-soul acts like James Taylor, Tony Joe White, Doobie Brothers, José Feliciano, Jerry Reed, BB King, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Joe Cocker, Steve Winwood, Billy Joel, Robert Cray Band, Peter Gabriel and many others. Jackson is getting a bunch of tribute tracks here, but you can also hear him on Aretha Franklin”s I Never Loved A Man and Elvis” Kentucky Rain, both of which listed in tribute to Moman.

At the next karaoke when somebody does an impression of The Commitments” version of Mustang Sally, spare a thought for Sir Mack Rice, who wrote and first recorded the song, later a hit for Wilson Picket. Rice had another minor hit with Coal Man, but his success resided in writing for others, especially on the Stax label. The biggest hit of these was Respect Yourself for the Staple Singers.IM1606_2There are few artists left who made their mark in the 1940s and have continued to perform into this decade. With the death at 89 of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, we have lost one of those. The importance of Ralph Stanley in bluegrass cannot be overstated. Over seven decades in music, Stanley was known to be a fine man and a willing mentor to many who would become stars in bluegrass and country music. With his brother Carter, the banjo virtuoso was half of the Stanley Brothers and co-leader of The Clinch Mountain Boys. Starting in 1946 they were among the very first acts to play the bluegrass music of the genre”s pioneer, Bill Monroe (who initially resented the Stanleys and his erstwhile collaborators Flatt & Scruggs for “stealing” his music). Carter died in 1966, but Ralph continued on his own, releasing records “” many of them gospel “” right up to the last one in 2015. In 2002 Stanley won a Grammy for his vocal performance on the old Appalachian song O Death, which featured on the acclaimed O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack.

The legendary Bernie Worrell of the Parliament-Funkadelic collective changed funk with his keyboard grooves, especially once he became only the second person in the world to be given a Moog synthesizer by its inventor, Bob Moog. Armed with his Moog, Worrell had a lasting influenced on dance music, hip hop and new wave through songs like1977″s Flash Light. Worrell also arranged the horn sections for Parliament-Funkadelic. He appeared on the albums released by the outgrowths from the collective, such as Read more…

Categories: In Memoriam Tags: