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Any Major Originals – Bacharach Edition

January 29th, 2020 10 comments

 

(This is a recycled post from February 2013)

Often Burt Bacharach had a lucky hand in producing the best known version of his compositions at the first attempt — and after 1963, he usually was the de facto producer and arranger of his songs” first (and sometimes subsequent) recordings, even when others would get the credit.

So songs like Only Love Can Break A Heart, What’s New, Pussycat, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head and This Guy’s In Love are best known in their original versions by Gene Pitney, Tom Jones, B.J. Thomas and Herb Alpert respectively. And, of course, there are all the Dionne Warwick hits, such as Walk On By, Do You Know The Way To San José or Promises Promises which have been covered often but never eclipsed. The one Warwick/Bacharach hit that provides the rule-proving exception is I Say a Little Prayer, a US #10 hit for Aretha Franklin in 1968, two years after it reached #4 for Warwick.

So here are Bacharach songs which may be better known — and, in some cases, definitely are better — in later versions. In many of these cases, geography is the key. For example, in the US, The Story Of My Life from 1957 will be associated with Marty Robbins, but in Britain it was a #1 hit for Michael Holliday. The same may apply to Anyone Who Had A Heart, which in Britain is Cilla Black’s song rather than Dionne’s (and, depending on generation, to some it is Luther Vandross’ song). The Story Of My Life was, incidentally, the first collaboration between Bacharach and Hal David to become a hit, years before they started to work together regularly and, for a time, exclusively. It went #1 Country, #15 Pop and reached #2 in Australia.

A few songs were bigger hits than their better-known covers. For example, The Shirelles had a US #8 hit with Baby It’s You in 1962, but The Beatles’ version enjoys greater familiarity by force of album sales.

Other songs were not hits until later. Keely Smith’s One Less Bell To Answer sank without a trace until The 5th Dimension had a hit with it three years later. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again might have been familiar to those who knew the soundtrack for the 1968 musical Promises, Promises (for which Jerry Orbach — yes, Lennie Briscoe from Law & Order — won a Tony Award. British fans will know it better as Bobbie Gentry’s hit, or in Dionne’s version, and younger generations might think of it as Elvis Costello’s song from the Austin Powers 2 movie.

I would guess that Bacharach probably was happy enough with most hit covers of his songs (though I wonder what he made of The Stranglers and Naked Eyes covers of his tunes); one which he apparently really dislikes is Love’s 1966 rock classic version of Manfred Mann’s My Little Red Book, which was written for the film What’s New, Pussycat.

Two more recent songs postscript this collection, both from movie soundtracks. Rod Stewart’s version of That’s What Friends Are For appeared on the soundtrack of the Michael Keaton vehicle Nightshift (1982) before it was revived by Dionne Warwick and her pals. Siedah Garrett’s Everchanging Times featured in the 1987 Diane Keaton flick Baby Boom before Aretha Franklin & Michael McDonald covered it to good effect in 1992.

Not all the songs here are Bacharach/David compositions. Tower Of Strength and Any Day Now were written with Bob Hilliard; Baby It’s You with Mack David (Hal’s brother) and Luther Dixon, and the two 1980s songs with Carol Bayer-Sager.

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

1. Marty Robbins – The Story Of My Life (1958)
The Usurpers: Michael Holliday (1958); Gary Miller (1958)

2. Gene McDaniels – Tower Of Strength (1961)
The Usurper: Frankie Vaughan (1961)

3. Jerry Butler – Make It Easy On Yourself (1962)
The Usurper: Walker Brothers (1965)

4. Chuck Jackson – Any Day Now (1962)
The Usurpers: Elvis Presley (1969), Ronnie Milsap (1978)

5. The Shirelles – Baby, It’s You (1962)
The Usurpers: The Beatles (1963); Smith (1969)

6. Tommy Hunt – I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (1962)
The Usurpers: Dusty Springfield (1964); Dionne Warwick (1966)

7. The Fairmount Singers – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
The Usurper: Gene Pitney (1962)

8. Gene McDaniels – Another Tear Falls (1962)
The Usurper: Walker Brothers (1966)

9. Dionne Warwick – Wishin’ And Hopin’ (1963)
The Usurpers: Dusty Springfield (1964); Merseybeats (1964)

10. Lou Johnson – Reach Out For Me (1963)
The Usurper: Dionne Warwick (1964)

11. Jerry Butler – Message To Martha (1963)
The Usurpers: Adam Faith (1964); Dionne Warwick (as Message To Michael, 1966)

12. Dionne Warwick – Anyone Who Had A Heart (1963)
The Usurpers: Cilla Black (1964); Petula Clark (1964)

13. Richard Chamberlain – (They Long To Be) Close To You (1964)
The Usurpers: Carpenters (1970); Gwen Guthrie (1986)

14. Brook Benton – A House Is Not A Home (1964)
The Usurpers:  Dionne Warwick (1964); Luther Vandross (1981)

15. Lou Johnson – (There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me (1964)
The Usurpers: Sandie Shaw (1964); Naked Eyes, 1982)

16. Burt Bacharach – Trains And Boats And Planes (1965)
The Usurper: Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas (1965)

17. Dionne Warwick – You’ll Never Get To Heaven (1964)
The Usurper: The Stylistics (1976)

18. Manfred Mann – My Little Red Book (1965)
The Usurper: Love (1966)

19. Dusty Springfield – The Look Of Love (1967)
The Usurpers: Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 (1968); Isaac Hayes (1971)

20. Keely Smith – One Less Bell To Answer (1967)
The Usurper: The 5th Dimension (1970)

21. Jill O’Hara & Jerry Orbach – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (1968)
The Usurpers: Bobbie Gentry (1969); Dionne Warwick (1970)

22. Rod Stewart – That’s What Friends Are For (1982)
The Usurper: Dionne Warwick & Friends, 1986)

23. Siedah Garrett – Everchanging Times (1987)
The Usurper: Aretha Franklin & Michael McDonald (1992)

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More Bacharach:
Burt Bacharach Mix
Covered With Soul – Bacharach/David edition

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Any Major Women Vol. 2

January 23rd, 2020 2 comments

 

Here is a second tribute to all the girls I’ve known before. As with Any Major Women Vol. 1, here I want to be clear that I’m talking about women who have been in my life in some way or another — as family, friends, loves and lovers.

Again, the lyrics of the songs applied to their names obviously don’t necessarily reflect my relationship with or feelings about the women in question. There’s nothing to be inferred from the song choices.

The Nina in my life certainly was not a gay woman trying to use me for a beard, as she is in Jens Lekman’s marvellous song. And “my” Sandra was  definitely not lousy with virginity until she was legally wed. I was quite happy to say good-bye to “my” Nadine. And Dawn must stay around. But I’m sure Peggy doesn’t remember me. I do hope the girl referenced by the Claude King song remembers me for that very brief encounter we shared very many years ago…

I must confess that I have never known a Jolene; the titular character stands in for a for an erstwhile flame with a very similar name.

As always, CD-R length (plus one bonus track), home-cooked covers, PW in comments.

1. Toto – Pamela (1988)
2. Steely Dan – Peg (1977)
3. Hall & Oates – Sara Smile (1975)
4. Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Jennifer She Said (1988)
5. Elvis Costello – Alison (1977)
6. Mindy Smith – Jolene (2004)
7. Indigo Girls – Get Out The Map (Joni, Suzanne & Beth, 1997)
8. Jessi Colter – I’m Not Lisa (Lisa & Julie, 1975)
9. Claude King – Anna (1965)
10. The Four Seasons – Dawn (Go Away) (1964)
11. Four Tops – Bernadette (1967)
12. Sarah Vaughan – Bianca (1949)
13. Paul & Paula – Hey, Paula (1962)
14. The Passions – Gloria (1959)
15. Ray Peterson – Corinna Corinna (1960)
16. Carpenters – Eve (1969)
17. Elton John – Lady Samantha (1974)
18. Jimi Hendrix Experience – The Wind Cries Mary (1967)
19. Neutral Milk Hotel – Naomi (1995)
20. The National – Karen (2005)
21. Jens Lekman – A Postcard To Nina (2007)
22. Mungo Jerry – Hello Nadine (1974)
23. Frank Sinatra – Tina (1963)
24. Stockard Channing – Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee (Sandra, 1978)
Bonus: Boz Scaggs – Simone (1980)

GET IT! or HERE!

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Any Major Favourites 2019 – Vol. 2

January 16th, 2020 8 comments

This is the second compilation of tracks that appeared on mixes posted in 2019 (and, in one case, in the last days of 2918), with links to the particular posts — just in case you missed something good, following the first collection posted last week.

I have been wondering if I should switch this operation to the posting of Spotify playlists, to keep up with the times. Do you, the reader, have any opinions either way on such a move?

As always, this mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R, but this time without covers. PW in comments.

  1. The Who – Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) (1991)
    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Recovered
  2. Steely Dan – Daddy Don’t Live In That New York City No More (1975)
    NYC: Any Major Mix Vol. 3
  3. Giorgio Moroder – Arizona Man (1970)
    The Originals: Schlager edition
  4. Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne – Dance Across The Floor (1978)
    Any Major Disco Vol. 7 – Party Like It’s 1978
  5. New Order – Shell Shock (1986)
    Life In Vinyl 1986 Vol. 1
  6. Chris Rea – On The Beach (Summer ‘88) (1988)
    Any Major Beach Vol. 3
  7. Lucinda Williams – Are You Alright? (2007)
    Any Major Music from ‘The Sopranos’ Vol. 2
  8. Mindy Smith – Fighting For It All (2004)
    Any Major ABC: 2000s
  9. Rusty Wier – High Road, Low Road (1976)
    Any Major ABC of Country
  10. George Harrison – You (1975)
    Beatles Reunited 77 (1977)
  11. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Turn Your Lights Down Low (1977)
    Any Major Babymaking Music Vol. 1
  12. Sly and the Family Stone – Stand! (1969)
    Any Major Woodstock
  13. Tammi Terrell – All I Do Is Think About You (1965)
    Any Major Originals – Motown
  14. The Young Rascals – A Girl Like You (1967)
    Any Major Blue-Eyed Soul
  15. Laura Nyro – Wedding Bell Blues (1967)
    The Originals – 1960s Vol. 1
  16. Arthur Alexander – Anna (Go To Him) (1962)
    The Originals: Beatles
  17. Louis Jordan – Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby (1944)
    Any Major Hits From 1944
  18. Sarah Vaughan – You Never Give Me Your Money (1981)
    Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
  19. Edith Piaf – Notre-Dame de Paris (1952)
    Any Major Churches

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Any Major Favourites 2019 – Vol. 1

January 9th, 2020 5 comments

As every year, the mixes of the past year are revisited by the choice of one favourite song from them — like an annual Greatest Hits of Any Major Dude. I hope it is useful to provide a link to the relevant mix in the playlist, so that you might discover a mix here or there which you missed.

The past year I have focussed especially on the series of lesser-known originals of famous hits, sorted by themes. I’ve posted one a month, except in December and the preceding month, when I posted a mix of samples used in famous hits. I plan to continue with The Originals.

I’ve also been asked to carry on with the Any Major Soul series, which is going to hit the 1980s. One series which is inevitably coming to a close in 2020 is the Beatles Recovered series, whereby I have marked the 50th anniversary of the release of a Beatles LP with a mix of covers of the songs on that album. The final Beatles LP, Let It Be, came out in 1970, so in April that series will end. Or will it? I started the series with A Hard Day’s Night in 2014; so there are two uncovered albums, Please Please Me and With The Beatles. I might still cover them.

Another series I’ll terminate is Life In Vinyl, which saw two volumes for 1986 last year. I might still do a 1987 mix, marking ten years on from the first of these compilations. But I don’t think these mixes are popular anymore.

So, to the first of the Any Major Favourites of 2019 mixes.

  1. Camille Yarbrough – Take Yo’ Praise (1975)
    Any Major Original Samples Vol. 1
  2. Shuggie Otis – Strawberry Letter #23 (1971)
    The Originals – Soul Vol. 1
  3. Jimi Hendrix – Angel (1971)
    Any Major Babymaking Music Vol. 2
  4. Alex Harvey – Delta Dawn (1971)
    Any Major Originals: The 1970s Vol. 2
  5. Jerry Jeff Walker – Mr. Bojangles (1968)
    Any Major Dogs
  6. Robber Barons – Music For A Hanging (2004)
    Any Major Murder Songs Vol. 2
  7. Neil Young – Harvest Moon (1992)
    Any Major Moon
  8. Bruce Springsteen – Growin’ Up (1978)
    Any Major Teenagers
  9. Keith Whitley – When You Say Nothing At All (1988)
    The Originals: 1990s & 2000s
  10. Michael McDonald – Sweet Freedom (1986)
    Life In Vinyl 1986 Vol. 2
  11. Carole King – It’s Going To Take Some Time (1970)
    The Originals: Carpenters edition
  12. Chaka Khan – Any Old Sunday (1981)
    Any Major Week Vol. 1
  13. Kool & the Gang – Too Hot (1979)
    Any Major Soul 1979
  14. Lou Rawls – The Alphabet (1970)
    Any Major Sesame Street Pops
  15. Richie Havens – Lady Madonna (1968)
    Beatles Recovered – Yellow Submarine
  16. Country Joe McDonald – Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die Rag (Live, 1969)
    Any Major Woodstock
  17. Stuart Hamblen – This Ole House (1954)
    The Originals: Rock & Roll Years
  18. The Bobettes – Mr. Lee (1957)
    Any Major ABC: 1950s

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In Memoriam – December 2019

January 2nd, 2020 3 comments

As it was last year, a relatively benign year ended with rich harvest for The Reaper. Here’s hoping 2020 won’t be a repeat of the ghastly year 2016, when music lost so many big names, foreshadowing the disaster that would befall the world in November that year.

The Joyrider
Not too long ago I happened to hear a Roxette song on the radio. It was The Look. I listened with interest, seeing whether I’d warm to it in ways I simply could not 30 years ago. My mind was open, given the appreciation even discerning pop fans have been directing at the Swedish twosome. Alas, I still didn’t warm to it. And I was disappointed by that, because I can also see that Roxette’s pop music was, objectively, well-crafted exponents of the art. And singer Marie Fredriksson seemed a good sort, and certainly had the kind of pop charisma I admire. And so I shall remember her fondly for being a fine pop star whose music brought joy to a lot of people. And I shall try again to like her music. Maybe not with The Look, though.

The Moogie
In October, The Originals 1970s – Vol. 2 mix included the first version of Popcorn, a 1972 mega hit for Hot Butter, by Gershon Kingsley. In the linernotes, I mentioned that at 97 Kingsley is still with us. He no longer is. The son of a Jewish father and Catholic mother fled his native Germany just before the Kristallnacht pogrom in 1938, first joining a kibbutz in Palestine before emigrating to the US. There he wrote classical music and scores for TV and movies, arranged and conducted Broadway musicals, and pioneered electronic music, particularly through the Moog synth. As half of the electronic music duo Perrey and Kingsley and on his own, he wrote avant garde music (including Popcorn).

The Writer
Do you remember the 21st night of September? Next year, you can on that day remember Allee Willis, who wrote that line. Willis, who has died at 72, had her first hit as a lyricist with that great Earth, Wind & Fire song, and followed it up with Boogie Wonderland (which featured on last week’s Any Major Disco Vol. 8 – Party Like It’s 1979 mix), and most of the group’s I Am album, Read more…

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