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In Memoriam – May 2023

June 5th, 2023 2 comments

After a brutal start, with Gordon Lightfoot and Linda Lewis leaving us within a couple of days of one another, May ambled along relatively easily, and then became hectic again three weeks in, before the Reaper took his foot of his lethal pedal.

It was a bad month for bassists: within one week, we lost Smiths bassist Andy Rourke, heavy metal bassist Algy Ward (who in 1979 also was a member of The Damned), session bassist John Giblin (who played on many songs you probably know), South African jazz bassist Musa Manzini — and Chas Newby.

Chas Newby might have been a member of the Fab Five! After Stu Sutcliffe dropped out of the Beatles to stay in Hamburg, Newby filled in on bass for him. Before the group’s second trip to Hamburg, Chas was asked to join the band. Newby declined in order to go to university, and McCartney reluctantly took over bass duties. Newby went on to become a maths teacher. But it might have been John, Paul, George, Chas and Ringo…

The Acid Queen
There really isn’t much left to say about Tina Turner. I posted a mix of covers by Tina Turner (with and without Ike) the day after her death at 83, and offered some thoughts about Tina (whose name I stubbornly mistyped as Tuna). Get it here.

Featured here is her first-ever released single from 1958, on which she was billed as Little Ann, given that her real name was Anna Mae Bullock. Not very well known is that Tina was also a songwriter, especially towards the end of her time with Ike. Much of their 1974 album Sweet Rhode Island Red was written by Tina. Two of her works feature here, including a track on which we hear the singer in full-blown soul-gospel mode.

The Singer-Songwriter
Likewise, I have already paid tribute to Gordon Lightfoot, who died on May 1 at 84, by way of a Songbook. Lightfoot was one of many legends in the field of singing-songwriting, at a time when that genre was in its prime. Canada gave us four of these legends: Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Lightfoot.

I don’t know whether the Turner and Lightfoot mixes were in any way welcome (or the Prince Songbook, or the Power Ballads). The new filehosting service I use provides no stats, unlike Zippyshare, which used to give me a good idea as to what was popular and what was more niche. And without comments from readers, and that function has not been used much lately, I have no idea what hits and what misses.

The Songbird
As mentioned, the month of May kicked off in a nasty way. First Lightfoot died, two days later Linda Lewis. The English singer had an incredible range, in terms of voice — it is said that her range topped even that of Minnie Riperton — and of musical styles. She fused folk, soul and funk effortlessly.

On some of her early songs, Linda’s voice is just a little too high, too childlike for my taste. I call it the Joni Syndrome. Take the chorus of her hit Rock A Doodle Doo, which spoils a decent song for me. When she dropped her voice a little, it was gorgeous. Check out the featured Love Love Love from the aptly titled and very good Not A Little Girl Anymore album from 1975. It also shows off her fine songwriting skills.

Later she had a superb dance track in 1984 with Class/Style (I’ve Got It), which should have been a huge hit but inexplicably wasn’t.

Lewis also sang back-up for acts like David Bowie (on the Aladdin Sane album), Cat Stevens, Rick Wakeman, Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel, Rod Stewart, and later Joan Armatrading, Turin Brakes, Fatboy Slim, Paul Weller and Oasis.

The Smith
With the death at only 59 of Andy Rourke, bassist of The Smiths, huge numbers of Gen-Xers have lost a co-creator of a sound that accompanied them in dark times. No matter that Morrissey these days is an insufferable ass, The Smiths are giants in 1980s music.

Of course, the focus was on the frontman and guitarist Johnny Marr. Quite likely, only Smiths fans could easily name the other two (can you name the drummer?). But make no mistake Rourke’s bass drives the music. Just think of the oppressive bassline in How Soon Is Now, without which Marr’s meowing guitar would seem gratuitous. Marr has acknowledged Rourke’s huge contribution to the Smiths sound, noting that the two funk fans played off one another.

After the band split, Rourke was involved in various projects, including a Mancunian supergroup called Freebass with fellow bass players Mani (Stone Roses) and Peter Hook (New Order). He backed acts like the Pretenders, Killing Joke, Badly Drawn Boy and Ian Brown, as well as his old Smiths colleague Morrissey on hits like November Spawned A Monster, Interesting Drug, and The Last Of The Famous International Playboys. Rourke’s last band was the rock band D.A.R.K., with the late ex-Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan on lead vocals

Oh, and the drummer was Mike Joyce.

The Session Bassist
Not only The Smiths mourned the loss of a bassist, but also acts like Kate Bush, Phil Collins, Chris de Burgh, and Peter Gabriel. Scottish bassist Jon Giblin, who has died at 71, played on hits such as Bush’s Babooshka, and Collins’ In The Air Tonight and You Can’t Hurry Love, Annie Lennox’s Why, and De Burgh’s Don’t Pay The Ferryman and Lady In Red. He was especially active on many Kate Bush albums since 1980.

Giblin also backed acts like Simple Minds, Elkie Brooks, Paul McCartney, Stephen Bishop, Hugh Masekela, Jon Anderson, Marcia Hines, John Martyn, Donovan, Johnny Hallyday, Judie Tzuke, Jim Capaldi, Annie Lennox, Mavis Staples, Alan Parsons, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Richard Ashcroft, Papa Wemba, The Everly Brothers, Brand X, Scott Walker, David Sylvian, Fish, Tanita Tikaram, Joan Armatrading, and many others.

The Soul Blower
If you hear any number of Stax or Stax-recorded tracks that feature horns by the likes of Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, King Curtis, Carla Thomas, Aretha Franklin and so on, you’ll probably hear the baritone sax of Floyd Newman, who has died at 91. Newman was a member of the Stax houseband The Mar-Keys and the Memphis Horns.

Newman played in the 1940s with BB King and toured in the 1950s with Sam Cooke before he formed a live band that also included future Stax legend Isaac Hayes, whom he later backed on many albums. Hayes also played on Newman’s one single release, 1964’s Frog Stomp, on Stax.

The Ska Pioneer
With the passing of alto saxophonist Lester Sterling, only one of the ten founding member of Jamaica’s influential band The Skatalites is still alive. Apart from pioneering ska music, the band also backed many future reggae legends, including Prince Buster and, on their first single (titled Simmer Down), Bob Marley & The Wailers.

After The Skatalites first split in 1965, Sterling joined up with Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, and also released several solo records and other collaborations. When The Skatalites reformed in the mid-1970s, Sterling rejoined the band and remained its one constant member over the next few decades.

The In-Crowd Drummer
With the death of drummer Redd Holt, all three members of the Ramsey Lewis Trio are now gone into the Great Jazz Club in the Sky. Holt and double-bassist Eldee Young, who died in 2007, played with Lewis (whom we lost in September last year) for ten years, scoring hits such The In-Crowd, Wade In The Water and Hang On Sloopy.

In 1967 Holt and Young split from Lewis to form their own group, Young-Holt Unlimited. They had a huge hit in 1969 with Soulful Strut, basically the instrumental backing track plus piano solo of Barbara Acklin’s song Am I The Same Girl — on which neither Young or Holt are said to have played (blame the record company for that scheme). Young and Holt continued to record together for several years, and Holt also released a number of solo albums.

The Teenage Pioneer
He was only 15 years old when Dickie Harrell drummed on one of rock & roll’s defining pioneer hits, 1956’s Be-Bop-A-Lula by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. Vincent’s vocals and Cliff Gallup’s guitar solo are the focal of this great rockabilly song. But Harrell’s two screams, at 37 seconds and again at 1:31, help give it that anarchic rock & roll sensibility. Harrell later said that he screamed so that his mom could hear him on record.

Dickie toured with Vincent for just a year, and left the Blue Caps after scoring another huge hit with Blue Jean Bop. He released one album, a Latin dance effort titled Drums And More Drums, in 1961, and would occasionally play with surviving Blue Caps. But much of his life was spent in the less glamorous domain of hazardous waste.

The Spike Composer
Perhaps Bill Lee is best-known as the composer of the scores for the first four films of his son Spike Lee, with whom he had a complicated relationship. But by then, Bill had accumulated an impressive string of credits as a session man, especially on folk records in the 1960s. As a bassist, he backed Odetta, Bob Dylan, Ian & Sylvia, Peter Paul & Mary, Theodore Bikel, Tom Rush, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Tom Paxton and others. He also played on Gordon Lightfoot’s debut album, including the featured For Lovin’ Me.

Outside folk, he backed acts like (pre-soul) Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Ray Bryant Trio, and John Lee Hooker. But his revival came when he scored Spike’s films She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do the Right Thing, and Mo’ Better Blues. The scoring ended when Bill and Lee had a falling out.

The Cream Poet
Pete Brown is probably best remembered as the lyricist of Cream hits such as Sunshine Of Your Love, White Room, I Feel Free, and SWLABR. Before all that he was a performance poet; after writing for Cream, he became a recording artist.

The first band he founded was Pete Brown and His Battered Ornaments. The day before the band was to open for the Rolling Stones at Hyde Park, the band fired its founder — and with that the first part of its name. He was replaced by Chris Spedding. Brown kept recording, releasing his final album in 2010. In 2017, he contributed lyrics Procol Harum’s final album, Novum.

The Ames Brother
With the death at 95 of Ed Ames, all of easy listening quartet The Ames Brothers are now gone. They started their recording career in 1948 and had their biggest hits in the early and mid-1950s, including Rag Mop, Sentimental Me, You You You, Undecided, The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane, and Tammy (their version and Debbie Reynolds’ both featured in the film of that name).

Ed Ames went on to have a number of easy listening solo hits in the 1960s, but was maybe more famous for playing the Native American Mingo in the TV series Daniel Boone. (Casting the son of Ukrainian Jews as an indigenous American made perfect sense in the ’60s, apparently.)

It is with that background that in 1965 Ames appeared on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show, tasked with showing off his tomahawk-throwing skills. Aiming at the drawn outline of a cowboy, the tomahawk got stuck almost exactly in the cowboy’s crotch — handle pointing upwards. It got one of the longest laughs in TV history, milked by Carson, who then riffed on the notion of circumcision. “I didn’t even know you were Jewish,” Carson exclaimed — which, of course, Ames was.  See the clip here.

The Net Slipper
Some deaths slip through the net. I learnt only in May of the passing on January 27 of Daniel Boone, who had a massive global hit in 1972 with Beautiful Sunday. His death was reported only in March. Beautiful Sunday featured on Any Major Hits from 1972 Vol. 1, which was posted almost exactly a year before Boone’s death at the age of 80. It was his second and final big hit; the first had been in 1971with Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast, a hit in the US for Anthony Newley which in Boone’s hands reached #17 in the UK and topped the charts in South Africa. By all accounts, Boone (born Peter Green) was a delightful person to know6.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.

Daniel Boone, 80, English pop singer, on January 27
Daniel Boone – Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast (1971)
Daniel Boone – Beautiful Sunday (German Version) (1972)

Gordon Lightfoot, 84, Canadian singer-songwriter, on May 1
Gordon Lightfoot – For Lovin’ Me (1966)
Gordon Lightfoot – Looking At The Rain (1972)
Gordon Lightfoot – Carefree Highway (1974)
Gordon Lightfoot – Triangle (1982)

Pugh Rogefeldt, 76, Swedish musician, on May 1

Linda Lewis, 72, English singer-songwriter, on May 3
Linda Lewis – You Turned My Bitter Into Sweet (1967)
Linda Lewis – On The Stage (1973)
Linda Lewis – Love, Love, Love (1975)
Linda Lewis – Class/Style (I’ve Got It) (1984)

John Albert, 58, ex-member of punk band Bad Religion, music journalist, on May 3

Rob Laakso, 44, indie multi-instrumentalist and producer, on May 4
Kurt Vile – Lost My Head There (2015, on bass and as producer and engineer)

Jack Wilkins, 78, jazz guitarist, on May 5

Seán Keane, 76, fiddler with Irish folk band The Chieftains, on May 7
The Chieftains – Lord Mayo (1973)
The Chieftains with Jackson Browne – The Rebel Jesus (1991)

Rita Lee, 75, singer with Brazilian rock band Os Mutantes, on May 8
Rita Lee – Calma (1970)

Jon Povey, 80, keyboardist of UK rock band The Pretty Things, on May 9
The Pretty Things – Baron Saturday (1969)

Stu James, 77, lead singer of British beat group The Mojos, music executive, on May 10
The Mojos – Everything’s Al’right (1964)

Rolf Harris, 93, Australian entertainer, singer, convicted sex offender, on May 10
…no fucking way…

Francis Monkman, 73, musician and co-founder of Curved Air, Sky, and composer, on May 11
Curved Air – Melinda (More Or Less)
Sky – Toccata (1980)

Dum-Dum, 54, rapper with Brazilian hip hop group Facção Central, on May 12

John ‘Doc’ Wilson, 96, jazz trumpeter and arranger, on May 13

John Giblin, 71, Scottish bass player, on May 14
Kate Bush – Babooshka (1980, on bass)
Phil Collins – Don’t Let Him Steal Your Heart Away (1982, on bass)
David Sylvian – Wanderlust (1999, on bass)

Bernt Rosengren, 85, Swedish jazz tenor saxophonist, on May 14

Musa Manzini, 52, South African jazz bassist, on May 15
Musa Manzini – Renaissance Song (2000)

Richard Landis, 77, singer-songwriter, producer, label executive, on May 16
Richard Landis – Natural Causes (1972, also as writer)
Juice Newton – Queen Of Hearts (1981, as producer)

Lester Sterling, 87, Jamaican saxophonist, co-founder of The Skatalites, on May 16
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Simmer Down (1963, as backing musician)
Prince Buster & The Skatalites – Mule Train (1964)
Lester Sterling & Stranger Cole – Bangarang (1969, also as writer)

Akwaboah Snr., Ghanaian singer-songwriter, on May 16

Algy Ward, 63, English heavy metal and punk bassist, on May 17
Tank – Turn Your Head Around (1982, also as co-writer)

Andy Rourke, 59, bassist of The Smiths, on May 19
The Smiths – This Charming Man (1984)
The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (1986)
Freebass – You Don’t Know (This About Me) (2010, as member on guitar & co-writer)

Pete Brown, 82, lyricist, singer and poet, on May 19
Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love (1967, as lyricist)
Pete Brown & Piblokto! – Living Life Backwards (1969, on vocals and as lyricist)
Pete Brown & Phil Ryan – Dark City Coals (1993, on vocals and as lyricist)

Ed Ames, 95, singer and TV actor, on May 21
Ames Brothers – If You Had All The World And Its Gold (1948, as member)
Eddie Ames – The Bean Song (Which Way To Boston) (1956)
Ed Ames – Timeless Love (1967)

Peter Luboff, 77, soul songwriter, on May 21
Bobby Womack – I Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much (1985, as co-writer)

Kirk Arrington, 61, drummer of metal band Metal Church, on May 22

James Lewis, 63, singer with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, on May 22
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Who I Am (2015)

Sheldon Reynolds, 63, funk and soul guitarist, vocalist, on May 23
The Commodores – Night Shift (1985, as member on guitar
Earth, Wind Fire – Wanna Be The Man (1990, as member and co-writer)

Floyd Newman, 91, soul saxophonist with the Mar-Keys, on May 23
Mar-Keys – Last Night (1961, also on vocals)
Floyd Newman – Frog Stomp (1963, also as writer)
Etta James – I’d Rather Go Blind (1967, on baritone sax)
Otis Redding – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (1967, live at Monterrey)

Redd Holt, 91, jazz drummer (Ramsey Lewis Trio; Young-Holt Unlimited), on May 23
James Moody – Last Train From Overbrook (1958, on drums)
Ramsey Lewis Trio – Hang On Sloopy (1965)
Young-Holt Unlimited – Who’s Making Love Strut (1968)

Mark Adams, 64, bassist of metal band Saint Vitus, on May 23

Tina Turner, 83, soul, rock and pop singer, on May 24
Ike Turner, Carlson Olivier & Little Ann – Boxtop (1958, as Little Ann)
Ike & Tina Tuner – I Am A Motherless Child (1968, also as co-writer)
Ike & Tina Turner – Feel Good (1972, also as writer)
Tina Turner – Let’s Stay Together (1983)

Bill Lee, 94, jazz and folk musician and film composer, father of Spike, on May 24
Odetta – Jumpin’ Judy (1959, on string-bass)
Bob Dylan – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (1965, on bass)
Gordon Lightfoot – For Lovin’ Me (1966, on bass; see above)
Bill Lee feat. Branford Marsalis – Malcolm And Martin (1989, as composer and conductor)

George Maharis, 94, actor and singer, on May 24
George Maharis – Teach Me Tonight (1962)

Jean-Louis Murat, 71, French singer-songwriter, on May 25
Jean-Louis Murat – Si je devais manquer de toi (1987)

Joy McKean, 93, Australian country singer and songwriter, wife if Slim Dusty, on May 25
Slim Dusty – The Biggest Disappointment (1974, as writer)

Juan Carlos Formell, 59, Cuban singer and songwriter, on May 26

Reuben Wilson, 88, jazz organist, on May 26
Reuben Wilson – Got To Get Your Own (1975)

Eris O’Brien, Australian country songwriter, announced May 31

Dickie Harrell, 82, drummer of Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, announced May 31
Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps – Be-Bop-A-Lula (1956)
Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps – Bluejean Bop! (1957)
Dickie Harrell – Rock-Rock-Cha-Cha (1961)

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Any Major Prince Songbook Vol. 1

June 1st, 2023 2 comments

On June 7, Prince would have reached the retirement age of 65. Which is as good a reason as any to issue the first of two Prince Songbooks. It is remarkable that the three most iconic (a rare occasion when this word finds correct application) pop stars of the 1980s were born within a few months of one another in 1958: Prince in June, Michael Jackson and Madonna in August (29th and 16th respectively).

The mix kicks off with Sheila E.’s wonderful Love Bizarre, which features Prince on vocals and various instruments. It was co-written with Sheila E. Likewise, Martika’s 1991 hit Love…Thy Will Be Done was produced by Prince, and co-written with the singer. Prince wrote Sheena Easton’s Sugar Walls under the pseudonym Alexander Nevermind, and did backing vocals on it, played several instruments, and co-produced.

When you contemplate the obvious candidates for doing Prince songs, the name Kenny Rogers will not come to mind immediately. Yet there he was in 1986, recording a Prince song titled You’re My Love that hitherto had been unreleased (of which there were, and apparently still are, many). It is not true, as the popular story goes, that Prince wrote the song for Rogers specifically.

Prince had demoed You’re My Love — a title you’d expect rather from Ken’s other soul friend, Lionel Richie — in 1982. When Prince fan Rogers called the man to ask for a song, the Purple One dug into his vaults and gave him this power ballad, demo and all. It was an astute choice; the song suited Rogers well. Hear Prince’s version. The songwriting credit was Joey Coco, one of the many pseudonyms Prince used.

The cover of Raspberry Beret is credited here to Warren Zevon. I must confess, it is a bit of a honey trap. To be sure, Zevon sings the song, and it has appeared on at least two best-of-type compilations. But it was first released in 1990 by the supergroup Hindu Love Gods, which included members of REM and Zevon.

In 1984, Chaka Khan had a mega-hit with I Feel For You, a song that appeared on Prince’s eponymous sophomore album in 1979. But two years before Khan turned a decent song into a minor masterpiece, The Pointer Sisters tried their hands at it. Their version features here, and it’s a fine cover.

Chaka Khan would later work with Prince. She features here with a track from her 1988 album, CK. Eternity is a Prince composition, but originally for Sheena Easton. Prince contributed another track to CK, Sticky Wicked, which he also produced, on which Chaka raps (hear it here — or check out Prince’s unreleased recording).

I imagine the track many will skip to first will be Patti Smith’s version of When Doves Cry. It takes courage or foolhardiness (or both) to cover a song like that, possibly Prince’s greatest. Smith was so confident that she pulled it off that she released it as a single. Her confidence was not misplaced, even if nobody could possibly eclipse Prince’s astonishing original.

On her debut album in 2001, Alicia Keyes covered How Come You Don’t Call Me, which in Prince’s hands was the b-side of his big hit 1999. It was, however, a regular in his live shows, from 1982, when it was first released, until his last concert on 14 April 2016 in Atlanta, a few days before his death.

The first Prince songbook closes with Prince’s demo of a song that would become a massive hit for Sinead O’Connor six years later. Prince recorded Nothing Compares 2 U in July 1984 — he had just released Purple Rain — and gave it to his project, The Family (featured on The Originals: 1990s & 2000s). The song made no impact until O’Connor had a hit with her superior version. Incidentally, the subject of the song was Prince’s personal assistant, Sandy Scipioni, who had left his employ after her father’s death.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit in a standard CD-R and includes home-purpled covers and the text above in a PDF. PW in comments.

1. Sheila E – Love Bizarre (1985)
2. The Pointer Sisters – I Feel For You (1982)
3. Corinne Bailey Rae – I Wanna Be Your Lover (2011)
4. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs – I Would Die 4 U (2015)
5. Warren Zevon – Raspberry Beret (1990)
6. Foo Fighters – Darling Nikki (2003)
7. Lucky Peterson – Purple Rain (1997)
8. Alicia Keyes – How Come You Don’t Call Me (2001)
9. Valerie Carter – Crazy You (2000)
10. Kenny Rogers – You’re My Love (1986)
11. Martika – Love…Thy Will Be Done (1991)
12. Matt Nathanson – Starfish And Coffee (2004)
13. Eels – I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (2006)
14. Marshall Crenshaw – Take Me With U (2004)
15. Patti Smith – When Doves Cry (2002)
16. TLC – If I Was Your Girlfriend (1994)
17. Sheena Easton – Sugar Walls (1984)
18. Chaka Khan – Eternity (1988)
19. Bob Belden feat. Phil Perry & Everette Harp – Diamonds And Pearls (1994)
20. Prince – Nothing Compares 2 U (1984)


Previous Songbooks:
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 Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
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
George Harrison
Gordon Lightfoot
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

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Tina Turner Sings Covers

May 25th, 2023 6 comments

The death of Tina Turner yesterday brought to a close one of the great stories in pop music. It’s a well-known story, and it requires no rehashing here (in any case, if you didn’t know it and missed the movie, you’ll read it in the obituaries). Still, it is a triumph of the human spirit that Tina left her abusive husband at the risk of everything she had and knew, and came back, eventually, a bigger star than she was with him.

I don’t have much love for Tina’s output after the Private Dancer album, her big comeback in 1984, but I love her success, which was a permanent fuck-you to her erstwhile abuser, who lived out huis days as a public fool. I hope Tina’s story inspired many abused women to leave their abusive partners (and before anyone objects, “Men are abused, too”, yeah, sure. But that is a different story).

It is remarkable that Tina Turner was seen as a bit of a rock granny when she made her comeback at the age of 44. It seemed so unlikely, and it was unprecedented that a woman of that age might have a second stab at superstardom (and here we might remember the role the members of Heaven 17 played in returning Tina to the big stage). If you were a woman, you were considered past-it once you had crossed the threshold of 30. That comeback helped change things for women in popular music. Beyoncé is only three years younger than Tina was in 1984; nobody would even think of calling her a granny, or even an aunty. At 43, Pink is topping the album charts around the world; try calling her “old”…

Poster of Tina Turner in Germany’s Bravo magazine in February 1974.

As performers, Ike and Tina were dynamite, especially when they were backed by The Ikettes. Ike’s arrangements were of such genius that the covers he produced often turned out to be new songs (check out what he and Tina did to the hoary old standard You Are My Sunshine as an example), or improved on the original, even when the initial version seemed pretty much perfect (Proud Mary is a good example).

Tina’s vocals might have lacked in elegant beauty, but Tina inserted so much character in their delivery — and when required also explosive energy. She sang with authority, even when she lacked that in her private life. Few vocalists have ever been both soul and rock singers simultaneously, and nobody in the way Tina Turner was. She was unique.

This mix of covers by Tina Turner demonstrates that duality in music sensibility; and a couple of tracks here — Kris Kristofferson’s Lovin’ Him Was Easier and Brenda Lee’s If This Is Our Last Time — are from her foray into country in 1974 , though they were released only in 1979.

By then she had already released her cover of Dan Hill’s Sometimes When We Touch, the original of which features on the Any Major Power Ballads Vol. 2 mix, which I posted only a day before Tina Turner’s death.

Some of Turner’s biggest post-comeback hits were covers, though they don’t feature here. The comeback started with her fine version of Al Greens Let’s Stay Together and took pace with What’s Love Got To Do With It, a much superior cover of a song by Bucks Fizz. Her signature tune probably is (Simply) The Best, a terrible song first recorded by Bonnie Tyler, which was included in The Originals: 1980s Vol. 2. None of them feature here, but I close the mix with her slowed-down interpretation of Help, from Private Dancer, which was in contention for the Beatles 1962-66 Recovered mix I posted in March.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-doopdoopdooped covers and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. Ike & Tina Turner – Proud Mary (1971)
2. Ike & Tina Turner and The Ikettes – Gimme Some Lovin’/Sweet Soul Music (1969)
3. Ike & Tina Turner and The Ikettes – Respect (1969)
4. Ike & Tina Turner – Honky Tonk Woman (1973)
5. Tina Turner – The Bitch Is Back (1978)
6. Tina Turner – Whole Lotta Love (1975)
7. Ike & Tina Turner – Higher Ground (1974)
8. Tina Turner – Back Stabbers (1979)
9. Ike & Tina Turner – You Are My Sunshine (1973)
10. Ike & Tina Turner and The Ikettes – Son Of A Preacher Man (1969)
11. Ike & Tina Turner – With A Little Help From My Friends (1973)
12. Tina Turner – Let’s Spend The Night Together (1975)
14. Ike & Tina Turner – I Wish It Would Rain (1969)
15. Ike & Tina Turner – I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (1969)
16. Ike & Tina Turner – Save The Last Dance For Me (1966)
17. Tina Turner – If This Is Our Last Time (1974)
18. Ike & Tina Turner – Drift Away (1973)
19. Tina Turner – Lovin’ Him Was Easier (1974)
20. Tina Turner – Sometimes When We Touch (1978)
21. Tina Turner – Help (1984)


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Any Major Power Ballads Vol. 2

May 23rd, 2023 1 comment


When I posted the first Any Major Power Ballads mix in 2020, I promised that I had a second volume all lined up. Three years on, I finally get around to posting one. The shortlist grew a bit since, also thanks to the suggestions from readers — though, sorry, I can’t see Livin’ On A Prayer as a ballad.

It was sort of a given that Journey would feature again in some way. In the event, I opted for the solo hit by singer Steve Perry. One problem I have with Perry is his diction, which is permanently in the kind of state one might be temporarily after receiving new, ill-fitting dentures. On Oh Sherrie, is he really singing: “Oh Sherrie, how low, with clothes on, clothes off”?

On the notes for Volume 1 (which is still live, by the way), I ruled out the inclusion of Celine Dion. Since then, Jim Steinman died and I had to confront myself with Dion’s version of It’s All Coming Back To Me Now. It was time to discard my prejudices against the artistry of Ms Dion — she nails the song. I have since experimented with the music of Celine Dion (that is to say, I listened to a few of her hits on YouTube). It’s better than my memory had given it credit for, but you still won’t see much more of it featured here.

In any case, as I have previously noted, power ballads give us an excuse to like music by acts we’d normally not listen to. I have albums by five of the acts featured here, and even then, I have to question my wisdom in buying two of them. And yet, this mix is great. This is as close as I’ll ever get to giving any currency to the misconceived notion of “guilty pleasures”.

There recently was an entertaining two-part documentary on British TV on power balladry (they adopted a broader definition that I would allow), which riffed a bit on the guilty pleasure fallacy. The thing was titled “Sometimes When We Touch”, after the Dan Hill hit. So it seems right to include the song here, perhaps doing my bit to dismiss the myth that this perfectly good song is in some way deficient.

And then it seemed right to accompany it with the godfather of all power ballads: Harry Nilsson’s Without You, even if I prefer it in Badfinger’s original version (the story is told in The Originals: The 1970s).Here’s hoping that Volume 3 — yes, I have enough for another one, though I remain open to suggestions — won’t take another three years to run.

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

1. Aerosmith – Dream On (1973)
2. Nilsson – Without You (1971)
3. Dan Hill – Sometimes When We Touch (1977)
4. The Babys – Every Time I Think Of You (1978)
5. Heart – What About Love (1985)
6. REO Speedwagon – Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore (1984)
7. Steve Perry – Oh Sherrie (1984)
8. Firehouse – Love Of A Lifetime (1990)
9. Air Supply – All Out Of Love (1980)
10. Meat Loaf – Read ‘Em And Weep (1981)
11. Celine Dion – It’s All Coming Back To Me Now (1996)
12. Roxette – Listen To Your Heart (1988)
13. INXS – Never Tear Us Apart (1987)
14. Bad English – When I See You Smile (1989)
15. Whitesnake – Is This Love (1987)
16. April Wine – Just Between You And Me (1981)
17. Sheriff – When I’m With You (1982)
18. Bryan Adams – Heaven (1983)


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Categories: Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Any Major Gordon Lightfoot Songbook

May 11th, 2023 3 comments

On May 1 we lost the great Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, one of the great poets in popular music who also had a good turn in writing engaging music. And he was a fine singer with a warm, appealing voice. I would suggest that no time spent with the music of Gordon Lightfoot has ever been entirely wasted.

Lightfoot’s lyrics told of love, loss, nature, history and — sometimes and without occupying a podium — social issues. The man was an accomplished storyteller, and the acts featured on this songbook tell these stories.

Musically, Lightfoot rarely attracted covers from artists outside the folk-rock and country scene, except perhaps the odd easy listening merchant muzaking the hits. There are no soul covers on this mix because I know if no soul covers of Lightfoot songs — though I can imagine someone like Roberta Flack doing justice to If You Could Read My Mind.

Still, there are a couple of unexpected acts featured here. Indie band The Dandy Warhols, for example, or — talking of Warhol! — future Velvet Underground singer Nico. The German singer’s version of I’m Not Sayin (the label renders the song without the necessary apostrophe) was released in 1965, a year before she hooked up with the Velvet Underground.

It’s a bit poignant that this collection also features Harry Belafonte, who predeceased Lightfoot by less than a week.

As ever, the mix is timed to CD-R length, and includes home-mindread covers as well as the above text in an illustrated PDF. Password in comments.

1. Gordon Lightfoot – Rainy Day People (1975)
2. Richie Havens – I Can’t Make it Any More (1966)
3. Elvis Presley – That’s What You Get For Lovin Me (1973)
4. Eric Clapton – Looking At The Rain (1977)
5. Herb Pedersen – It’s Worth Believing (1984)
6. Richard Hawley – Early Morning Rain (2009)
7. Ron Sexsmith – Drifters (2003)
8. Gretchen Peters – Song For A Winter’s Night (2006)
9. Johnny Cash – If You Could Read My Mind (rel. 2006)
10. Eddy McManus – Carefree Highway (2018)
11. Trout Fishing In America – Ode To Big Blue (1990)
12. Nico – I’m Not Sayin (1965)
13. Spanky And Our Gang – Steel Rail Blues (1967)
14. Harry Belafonte – The Last Time I Saw Her (1969)
15. Johnny Mathis – Wherefore And Why (1970)
16. Joe Dassin – L’amour etc (Sundown) (1974)
17. The Dandy Warhols – The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald (1998)
18. Cowboy Junkies – The Way I Feel (2003)
19. Nanci Griffith – Ten Degrees And Getting Colder (1993)
20. Poco – Ribbon Of Darkness (1982)
21. Kenny Rankin – Pussywillows Cattails (1974)
22. Anne Murray – Cotton Jenny (1972)
23. Ronnie Hawkins – Bitter Green (1970)


Previous Songbooks:
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 Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
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
George Harrison
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

More Songbooks
More Covers Mixes
More CD-R Mixes

Categories: Songbooks Tags:

In Memoriam – April 2023

May 4th, 2023 1 comment

Apart from the passing of Harry Belafonte, and outside of music, the headliner in April was Al Jaffee, the Mad magazine artist who offered us the ingenious fold-ins, the Clever Answers To Stupid Questions and a range of crazy inventions which Elon Musk might have paid billions for. The man reached the age of 102! On the flip side, also departing this mortal coil in April was Carolyn Bryant, the Mississippi woman whose false claims of sexual harassment led to the lynching if Emmett Till.

You can see how the fold-in for “Rock Hits of Yesteryear” turned out in the included PDF or on my Facebook (are you a friend yet to keep up to date with what gets posted here?). RIP, Al Jaffee!

The Activist
At this point, there isn’t really much to add to the many obits for Harry Belafonte. Three things strike me as worth raising, however. Firstly, the man had integrity and courage. At the height of his Hollywood career, he walked away from it, because he believed the roles he was offered were demeaning. He might have been a bigger movie star even than Sydney Poitier, had he played their game. But he put his personal integrity first. That is admirable.

Not getting much play in the obituaries was his engagement in the struggle against apartheid, no doubt fuelled by his marriage to Miriam Makeba. But that commitment outlasted their brief marriage, and it found expression in his music much as the calypso did in his earlier recordings. When in 1988 he released an album partly recorded in Johannesburg, using South African musicians, nobody pulled a Paul Simon on him and accused him of breaking the cultural boycott. Belafonte’s commitment to South Africa, unlike that of some other anti-apartheid artists, continued long beyond the apartheid era.

Belafonte was also committed to the rest of Africa, it musicians and its people. In December 1984, he initiated the project that would become We Are The World and culminate in Live Aid. Unlike Bob Geldof in Britain, Belafonte didn’t put himself he centre of the thing. The story of USA For Africa was briefly recounted in the entry for the late Ken Kragen in In Memoriam – December 2021.

The Sultry Voice
The sultry voice of April Stevens has fallen silent. Born Carol LoTempio, she was best known for her duets with brother Nino Tempo, such as the 1960s hits All Strung Out, Deep Purple and Whispering.

But Stevens also had a successful solo career before that, kicking off in 1951 with the Cole Porter song I’m In Love Again. More hits followed, such as Gimme A Little Kiss Will Ya, Huh?, and And So To Sleep Again. Her most notorious hit was 1959’s Teach Me Tiger, which was considered too sensual for airplay in the puritanical USA. It was later covered by artists such as Peggy Lee and Sofie Tucker.

Stevens continued to record and perform throughout the 1960s and 1970s, but her popularity waned in the 1980s. She also appeared in several films and TV shows, including The Interns, The Red Skelton Hour, and The Love Boat.

The Cool Jazz Pioneer
With the death at 92 of Ahmad Jamal, jazz has lost another of its pioneers. The Pittsburgh-born jazz pianist, known to his school teachers as Frederick Jones, was a pioneer of the “cool jazz” movement. By the time he was 21, in 1951, he was recording with the trio named after him. With their hit Poinciana, the Ahmad Jamal Trio became one of the most popular jazz acts of their time.

In 2017, Jamal received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, one of many awards he accumulated over his long career.

The Experimenter
With the death of English musician, composer and producer Mark Stewart, music has lost a pioneer in alternative and experimental music. With his punk band The Pop Group and in his solo work, Stewart pushed the boundaries of pop music.

The Pop Group fused punk, funk, free jazz and dub influences. Its politically charged lyrics and confrontational performances helped to establish them as a major voice in the punk scene.

After The Pop Group split in 1981, Stewart continued to experiment with industrial, hip-hop and electronic music, and collaborated with acts like Tricky, Massive Attack and, just a couple of years ago, Jah Wobble. He also produced albums for artists such as Primal Scream and The Raincoats.

The Dub Pioneer
He might not have been a household name, but Jah Shaka had a huge influence on the development of dub music and other forms of dance music, with his heavy, bass-driven sound and his use of custom-built sound systems in his live performances.

Known to his mom as Clifton George Bailey III, the Jamaican-born Jah Shaka was instrumental (as it were) in popularising dub music in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s, and his sound system performances helped shape British reggae during that time.

Jah Shaka was also a social and political activist, with his lyrics often addressing themes of social injustice and resistance.

The Multi-instrumentalist
Session musician Ian Bairnson, who has died at 69, has had a namecheck before on this blog. In my collection of favourite guitar solos, his axemanship featured on Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. Formerly a member of Pilot, whose great song was Magic but biggest hit the inferior January, Bairnson was a sought-after session musician, and featured on every Alan Parsons Project album, right up to the last one, in 2019.

Apart from Bush, he also backed acts like Jon Anderson, Mick Fleetwood, Joe Cocker, Jon Anderson, Chris DeBurgh, Bucks Fizz, and Neil Diamond.

The ABBA Axeman
It cannot be said that ABBA’s music is predicated on heavy guitar riffs or face-contorting solos, and yet in their songs, there always is place for a bit of electric guitar. Most often, that was the work of Lasse Wellander, who accompanied the group in the studio and on stage. He arguably did his best work on ABBA’s 1977 LP The Album, notably on The Name Of The Game and Eagle. On the latter he even got a solo. He also played on hits like Knowing Me Knowing You (that lovely recurring guitar shape), Fernando, Take A Chance On Me, Summer Night City, Chiquitita, Gimme Gimme Gimme, The Winner Takes It All, Does Your Mother Know, One Of Us, and many others.

During and after ABBA, Wellander also released solo albums, and a rather fine LP with Swedish singer Mats Ronander. He also contributed to the Chess album (including the UK #1 I Know Him So Well), the Mamma Mia musical, various solo efforts by Agnetha, and ABBA’s 2021 comeback album.

The Discoverer
It takes something to start a small record label and go on to launch the careers of two hugely influential acts in different genres of pop. Seymour Stein, co-founder of Sire Records, did that with the Ramones and almost a decade later with Madonna. He also signed seminal acts like the Talking Heads and Ice-T, and gave US contracts to the UK-based likes of The Smiths, Depeche Mode, The Cure and the Pretenders. But he also managed to reject Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s! It is said that Stein came up with the term “new wave” to counteract the word “punk”, which he disliked.

As a teenager in 1958, he worked at Billboard magazine, at a time when it developed its charts. Later he formed a partnership with Leiber & Stoller and was a denizen of the Brill Building music publishing scene. There he met producer Richard Gottehrer, with whom he founded Sire in 1966.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.

Dario Campeotto, 84, Danish singer, entertainer and actor, on April 1

Seymour Stein, 80, co-founder of Sire Records, on April 2
Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop (1976, as label owner)
Madonna – Everybody (1982, as label owner)

Rena Koumioti, 81, Greek pop singer, on April 3
Rena Koumioti – Dose Mou To Stoma Sou (1970)

Jack Vreeswijk, 59, Swedish singer and composer, on April 3

Vivian Trimble, 59, keyboardist of alt.rock band Luscious Jackson, on April 4
Luscious Jackson – Naked Eye (1996)

Andrew Laing, drummer of UK punk band Cockney Rejects, on April 4

Booker Newberry III, 67, soul singer and keyboardist, on April 5
Sweet Thunder – ‎I Leave You Stronger (1979, as lead singer)
Booker Newberry III – Love Town (1983)

Duško Gojković, 91, Serbian jazz trumpeter, composer, on April 5

Paul Cattermole, 46, singer with British pop group S Club 7, on April 6
S Club 7 – Don’t Stop Movin’ (2001)

Harrison Bankhead, 68, jazz double bassist, on April 6

Lasse Wellander, 70, Swedish guitarist with ABBA, on April 7
ABBA – Eagle (1977, on lead guitar)
Wellander & Ronander – EMH 870 (1978)
Agnetha Fältskog – Wrap Your Arms Around Me (1983, on guitar)
ABBA – Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (live) (released 1986)

John Regan, 71, bassist with rock band Frehley’s Comet, on April 8
Billy Idol – To Be A Lover (1988, on bass)

Kidd Jordan, 87, jazz saxophonist, on April 7

Ian Bairnson, 69, Scottish multi-instrumentalist (Alan Parsons Project), on April 7
Pilot – Magic (1974)
Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights (1978, on electric guitar)
Alan Parsons Project – Damned If I Do (1979, on electric guitar)

Guy Bailey, guitarist and songwriter with UK rock band The Quireboys, on April 7
The Quireboys – Hey You (1989, also as co-writer)

Bob Heatlie, 76, Scottish songwriter and producer, on April 8
Shakin’ Stevens – Cry Just A Little Bit (1983, as writer)

Chuck Morris, 46, percussionist of electronic band Lotus, found on April 9

Cynara, 78, singer with Brazilian girl band Quarteto em Cy, on April 11
Quarteto em Cy – Pedro Pedreiro (1964)

Jah Shaka, 75, Jamaican dub/reggae musician and producer, on April 12
Jah Shaka – Conquering Lion (1980)
Jah Shaka – I And I Survive (1982)

Doug Tibbles, 83, drummer of The Stone Coyotes and TV writer, on April 12

Mark Sheehan, 46, guitarist and songwriter with Irish group The Script, on April 14
The Script – The Man Who Can’t Be Moved (2008, also as co-writer)
The Script feat. – Hall Of Fame (2012, also as co-writer)

Cliff Fish, 73, bassist of British pop group Paper Lace, on April 14
Paper Lace – Billy, Don’t Be A Hero (1974)

Peter Badie, 97, jazz bass player, on April 15
Lionel Hampton – Perdido (live) (1956, on double bass)

Ahmad Jamal, 92, jazz pianist, on April 16
Ahmad Jamal Trio – Poinciana (live, 1958)
Ahmad Jamal Trio – Falling In Love With Love (live, 1961)
Ahmad Jamal – Déjà Vu (1980)

Ivan Conti, 76, drummer of Brazilian jazz band Azymuth, on April 17
Azymuth – Manha (1972)

April Stevens, 93, pop and jazz singer, on April 17
April Stevens – I’m In Love Again (1951)
April Stevens – Teach Me Tiger (1959)
Nino Tempo & April Stevens – Deep Purple (1963)

Federico Salvatore, 63, Italian singer-songwriter and comedian, on April 19

Otis Redding III, 59, singer-guitarist with soul band The Reddings, son of Otis, on April 20
The Reddings – Remote Control (1980)

Moonbin, 25, South Korean singer with boy band Astro, on April 19

Mark Stewart, 62, English post-punk musician and songwriter, on April 21
The Pop Group – She Is Beyond Good And Evil (1979)
Mark Stewart – Stranger Than Love (1987)
Jah Wobble feat. Mark Stewart – A Very British Coup (2020)

Barry Humphries, 89, Australian comedian (Dame Edna Everage), on April 22
Dame Edna Everage – Every Mother Wants A Boy Like Elton (1978)

Keith Gattis, 52, country singer, songwriter, in tractor accident on April 23
Keith Gattis – El Cerrito Place (2005, also as writer)

Isaac Wiley Jr, 69, drummer of funk band Dazz Band, on April 23
The Dazz Band – Let It Whip (1982)
The Dazz Band – Swoop (I’m Yours) (1983)

Lilian Day Jackson, 63, US-born singer of Dutch disco band Spargo, on April 24
Spargo – You And Me (1980)

Harry Belafonte, 96, singer, actor, and civil rights activist, on April 25
Harry Belafonte – Suzanne (1956)
Harry Belafonte & Miriam Makeba – Give Us Our Land (1965)
Harry Belafonte – New York Taxi (1977)
Harry Belafonte – Capetown (1988)

MoneySign Suede, 22, American rapper, stabbed on April 25

Ralph Humphrey, 79, drummer with The Mothers of Invention (1973-74), on April 25
The Mothers – Camarillo Brillo (1973)

Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson, 97, R&B singer-songwriter, on April 25
Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson – Red Hot (1955)

Wee Willie Harris, 90, English rock & roll singer, on April 27
Wee Willie Harris – Rockin At The Two I’s (1957)

Claude Gray, 91, country singer-songwriter, on April 28
Claude Gray – I’ll Just Have A Cup of Coffee (Then I’ll Go) (1960)

Johnny Fean, 71, guitarist of Irish Celtic rock group Horslips, on April 28
Horslips – Faster Than The Hound (1973)

Tim Bachman, 71, founding guitarist of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, on April 28
Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Let It Ride (1973)

Helge Engelke, 61, guitarist of German hard rock band Fair Warning, on April 28
Fair Warning – When Love Fails (1992, also as writer)

Broderick Smith, 75, English-born Australian musician, on April 30
Broderick Smith’s Big Combo – Faded Roses (1981)


Categories: In Memoriam Tags:

Beatles Recovered: 1967-70

April 11th, 2023 3 comments


In the evening of December 8, 1980, I played the Beatles’ 1967-70 compilation, the Blue Album. On my copy, there was (and still is) a skip on Strawberry Fields Forever. That record was still on my turntable when my radio alarm went off at 7:00 next morning, with the newsreader announcing that John Lennon had been murdered, just a couple of hours earlier. I have associated the Blue Album with Lennon’s assassination ever since.

On April 2, it was 50 years since the red and blue compilations were released. The Red Album was recovered a few days before that anniversary. Both albums served as great introductions to The Beatles for people born just too late to have experienced the band on its run (as it were). I’ve seen the eight sides described as the “gateway drug to The Beatles”, and that is a good metaphor.

As on the Red Album, the 1967-70 set contains a few non-single tracks which would have been big hits in their own right, and which are superior to some of the singles that were hits. The Sgt Pepper’s album, which yielded no singles, is represented four times; the White Album features with three non-single cuts, and Abbey Road with four. Two of these tracks, Obadi-Oblada and With A Little Help From My Friends would become big hits for other artists.

It is incredible to think that tracks like While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun were not released as singles, at least in the UK. Inexplicably, the pedestrian and obviously self-referential Ballad Of John And Yoko was, backed by Harrison’s substandard Old Brown Shoe. Both of these songs feature on the Blue Album, on which Harrison gets four tracks (which is four more than George had on the Red Album).

Where the Red Album was almost flawless, the Blue Album includes some songs I can happily live without: Ballad Of John And Yoko, Old Brown Shoe, Obladi-Oblada, Octopus’s Garden…. I think some of the covers on this Recovered mix are better than the originals.

Obladi-Oblada gets the proper ska treatment by Prince Buster, and Octopus’s Garden gets the appropriate Sesame Street treatment. Old Brown Shoe — one of The Beatles’ least covered songs — is interpreted competently by South African rock group The Rising Sons, who were active from 1967-74. The Ballad Of John & Yoko gets a great a capella reworking by The Persuasions, who also featured on the Red Album Recovered set. Penny Lane is also rendered a capella, to fine effect, by Chapter 6, who are highly-regarded exponents of that vocal form.

Elvis Presley released a few Beatles songs, and his take on Hey Jude was shortlisted for this mix. But, truth be told, it’s not very good. Instead we have an out-take cut of Elvis singing Lady Madonna, and having fun doing so, from the sessions for his 1971 album Walk A Mile In My Shoes. Likewise, Aretha Franklin’s version of The Fool On The Hill was recorded during sessions for an LP which would not include it, in this case This Girl’s in Love With You, which was released in January 1970.

Hey Jude gets a soul remake by Jr Walker & The All Stars, which is very enjoyable (great bassline), if not quite in the same class as Wilson Picket’s definitive cover (featured on Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1)

It makes sense that Billy Preston should feature here, and especially with a cover of Get Back, the track on which he was a credited featured artist, the only act thus honoured in The Beatles’ catalogue.

Claudia Lennear is perhaps best known for being the alleged inspiration for The Rolling Stones’ misogynistic and racist anthem Brown Sugar. Here she does Let It Be as a guest on Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen live set, with producer Leon Russell on keyboards (whom she backed at George Harrison’ Bangladesh concert). Her recording of Let It Be was not on the Cocker album but was released as the b-side of Leon Russell’s Mad Dogs And Englishmen single. Joe Cocker, who had his breakthrough with a cover of a Beatles song, features here in his own right, doing Something.

The mix ends with a cover by another legendary backing singer, Clydie King, who also was part of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour.

But the track that really needs to be heard is William Shatner’s Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Bizarre doesn’t begin to describe it (“…the GIRL…with kaleidoscope eyes…”). Shatner had a line in rather freaked out spoken-word cover songs. I don’t recommend listening to a whole album of that — at least not without the aid of mind-altering substances, which might make them bearable — but as individual tracks Cap’n Kirk’s records are great novelty fun.

The mixes will fit on two CD-Rs; home-somethinged covers are included, as is this post in PDF format. PW in comments.

Disc 1
1. Todd Rundgren – Strawberry Fields Forever (1976)
2. Chapter 6 – Penny Lane (2011)
3. Big Daddy – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1992)
4. Betty LaVette – A Little Help From My Friends (1969)
5. William Shatner – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1968)
6. The Fall – A Day In The Life (1988)
7. Echo & The Bunnymen – All You Need Is Love (1984)
8. Bud Shank – I Am The Walrus (1968)
9. Milton Nascimento – Hello, Goodbye (1991)
10. Aretha Franklin – The Fool On The Hill (1969)
11. Camel – Magical Mystery Tour (1969)
12. Elvis Presley – Lady Madonna (1971)
13. Jr Walker & The All Stars – Hey Jude (1970)
14. Thompson Twins – Revolution (1985)

Disc 2
1. Ramsey Lewis – Back In The USSR (1969)
2. The Jeff Healey Band – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1990)
3. Prince Buster and The All Stars – Ob La Di Ob La Da (1969)
4. Billy Preston – Get Back (1974)
5. Dillard & Clark – Don’t Let Me Down (1969)
6. The Persuasions – The Ballad Of John And Yoko (2002)
7. The Rising Sons – Old Brown Shoe (1970)
8. Rumer – Here Comes The Sun (2015)
9. Diana Ross – Come Together (1970)
10. Joe Cocker – Something (1969)
11. Sesame Street – Octopus’s Garden (1976)
12. Claudia Lennear – Let It Be (1971)
13. Colin Hay – Across The Universe (2021)
14. Clydie King – The Long And Winding Road (1971)


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: Abbey Road
Beatles Recovered: Let It Be
Beatles Recovered: 1962-1966

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


Categories: Albums Recovered, Beatles Tags:

In Memoriam – March 2023

April 4th, 2023 14 comments

At the end of March, something died: Zippyshare, the fileserver that served this place so well for eight years. So I’ve spent some time reupping stuff, including almost everything from 2021 onwards, including all Life in Vinyls, Songbooks, Any Major Flute, Recovered albums, and lots of Beatles-related stuff, including the Recovered and Reunited series. The In Memoriams for January and February are also live. If there’s anything you’d like reupped, let me know in comments.

And so to this month’s list. The songs chosen to accompany the monthly In Memoriam list don’t necessarily carry my approval; many are chosen because I like them, and some I might not like but they are representative of the person who has left us. One track here I really can’t figure out whether I utterly despise and totally reject it or whether secretly like it despite myself: Barnes & Barnes’ Party In My Pants. In the chronological playlist, it follows a quite wonderfully titled track, by country supergroup The Notorious Cherry Bombs: It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long, written and sung by Rodney Crowell and Vince Gill.

Of the non-music deaths on March, the one that struck me was the passing of Traute Lafrenz at the age of 103. Traute almost didn’t get to live 77 years of those, for she almost certainly would have been executed by the Nazis but for a few fate-deciding days.

Traute was a member of the White Rose resistant movement, led by the siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl. Traute had a romance with Hans in Munich before she returned to her native Hamburg. There she was arrested by the Gestapo, but was able to talk herself out of the crime of distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets (a crime for which the Scholls and others were executed). Having served a year-long prison-term for knowing about underground activities, Traute was rearrested by the Gestapo and charged with sedition. But three days before her (no doubt short and fatal) trial could commence, the prison in which she was held was liberated by the Allies.

After the war, Traute moved to the US where she completed her medical studies, got married and had four children. Traute Lafrenz was the last surviving member of the White Rose.

The Wrecking Crew Drummer
Wrecking Crew drummer Jim Gordon has died, bringing to a close one of the most fascinating stories in pop. Gordon drummed on a huge amount of classics in the 1960s and ’70s, but his best-known contribution might be the piano coda the drummer wrote for and played on Derek & The Dominoes’ Layla (though Rita Coolidge has claimed lately, credibly, that she actually composed that bit). A few years ago I compiled two collections of tracks Gordon played on, with a bit of background to the man: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. (Links to both sets are live.)

In the film Goodfellas, in which Scorsese used songs rather than a score, there are four tracks which provide me with a replay of the scenes they scored: Atlantis (Billy Bats gets kicked to death), Sunshine Of Your Love (De Niro plans to kill off his accomplices), Layla (the accomplices’ bodies are found), and Jump Into Into The Fire (the helicopter chase begins). Three of those songs — Atlantis, Layla, Inti The Fire — featured Jim Gordon. And Gordon knew violence.

Gordon spent more than half of his life in a closed psychiatric facility after he bludgeoned his mother to death in 1983. The “voices” told him to. Gordon, normally a kicked-back kind of guy, was schizophrenic and thus given to inexplicable bouts of violence — one of these put an end to his relationship with Coolidge. The longer story of that is told in the notes fir the mixes referred to above.

Some songs Gordon played on: Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, Steely Dan’s Rikki Don’t You Lose That Number, The Stone Poney’s Different Drum, Hall & Oates’ Sara Smile, John Lennon’s Power To The People, Mason Williams’ Classical Gas, Gordon Lightfoot’s Carefree Highway, Albert Hammond’s Free Electric Band, Maria Muldaur’s Midnight At The Oasis, among many other well-known songs.

He played on Crosby Stills & Nash eponymous debut album, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (on “I’m Waiting For The Day”; Hal Blaine did the rest), The Byrds’ The Notorious Byrd Brothers, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson, Lennon’s Imagine, Traffic’s The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys, Jackson Browne’s The Pretender, Joe Cockers’ Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Judee Sill’s Heart Food, Traffic’s The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys. Barbra Streisand’s Barbra Joan Streisand, and loads more.

The Jazz Pioneer
With his group Weather Report, saxophonist Wayne Shorter helped usher in the age of jazz-fusion. Before that, having previously been a member of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, he played in the second of Miles Davis’ Great Quintets, covering the era from 1964-69, for which he also composed. With Herbie Hancock on piano, Davis and Shorter experimented with free jazz, incorporating influences from other genres, especially rock, to lay the foundation for jazz fusion with albums like In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. All the while, Shorter also recorded his own albums on the Blue Note label.

In the early 1970s Shorter co-founded Weather Report. He and Joe Zawinul were the only constant members until the band broke up in 1986. Shorter continued with side projects and collaborations until his retirement in 2018.

Occasionally Shorter collaborated with non-jazz acts, including on Don Henley’s 1989 hit The End Of The Innocence, on several Joni Mitchell albums in the 1980s, on Steely Dan’s Aja, as well as with Bruce Hornsby, Santana, Salif Keita, and others. In his career, Shorter won 12 Grammies.

A day after Shorter, his successor as saxophonist with Miles Davis (and fellow Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers alumnus) Carlos Garnett died.

The Freebirder
Throughout the various incarnations of Lynyrd Skynyrd, some of which were caused by tragedy, guitarist Gary Rossington was the only constant. With his death, all seven official members the Lynyrd Skynyrd line-up that created tracks like Freebird, Simple Man, Sweet Home Alalabama, Tuesday’s Gone etc are now dead. Of the personnel on Freebird, only producer and organist Al Kooper is still alive (he wasn’t a member); of the famous 1976 live version, only drummer Artimus Pyle is still with us.

While the late Allen Collins played the lead on that staggering Freebird solo, Rossington did the rhythm and slide part. And before the song gets to that, he created the seagull sounds and that prominent and beautiful slide guitar that makes Van Zandt’s vocals sound even sadder.

Rossington has died at 71 but, like the proverbial cat with nine lives, he had a way of cheating death. In 1976, a hit an oak tree with his brand-new Ford Torino while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 hit That Smell was inspired by that accident — Rossington gets a royal bollocking there: “Whiskey bottles, and brand new cars/Oak tree you’re in my way/There’s too much coke and too much smoke/Look what’s going on inside you” (and that’s only the start of it).

On October 20, 1977, Rossington survived the plane crash that killed six, including three band members. And in 2015 he survived a serious heart attack.

Asked about the Confederate flag which Lynyrd Skynyrd liked to display, Rossington said it was not intended as a racist statement but as a sign of the band’s Southern identity. He admitted that this view was “naïve”.

The Electric Pioneer
Few people can claim to have made their mark on classical music, synth pop, dance music and hip-hop. Japanese musician, composer and producer Ryuichi Sakamoto exercised his influence widely. His musical career began with the Japanese electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra, which he co-founded in 1978. The group’s fusion of pop, rock and electronic music helped to pave the way for the emergence of synthpop in the 1980s.

Sakamoto’s 1980 solo track Riot In Lagos is said to be a pioneering piece in the development of dance music and hip hop. In its series of the 50 key events in the history of dance music, The Guardian in the UK placed the song at #6.

On the classical front, Sakamoto composed scores for several films, including The Last Emperor (1987), The Revenant (2015) and, perhaps most famously, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983).

Sakamoto has collaborated with many musicians, including David Byrne, Iggy Pop, Roddy Frame, and Alva Noto, among others.

The Blue-Eyed Soul Man
In the Not Feeling Guilty series, Bobby Caldwell has featured four times (on Vol. 1, Vol. 4, Vol. 6 and Vol. 7), which highlights his chops as a top-class AOR artist. Caldwell’s crowning achievement was his first hit, 1978’s What You Won’t Do For Love, an absolute classic of the genre. Like many of his songs of the era, it did very well in the soul charts, and many people thought the singer was black. The record company was thus not keen to advertise the singer’s deficiency of melalin.

His debut album was pure class; subsequent efforts were more patchy. However, his 1996 album of American Songbook numbers was pretty good; among the multitudes of such albums, it stands out.

Caldwell also wrote for many other acts, including some pretty awful stuff like The Next Time I Fall, a Grammy-nominated US #1 hit for Peter Cetera & Amy Grant.

The Funk Vocalist
With the death of singer Clarence ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins, the Parliament-Funkadelic collective still with us has shrunk further. Haskins was with Clinton from the early days, when he joined doo-wop band The Parliaments in the early 1960s as a singer and guitarist. With Parliament-Funkadelic, Haskins was second lead, with his raw soul voice. On stage he was the charismatic, often masked frontman who could work the crowd into a frenzy.

Haskins was also a prolific songwriter, writing such funk classics as I Got A Thing, I Wanna Know If It’s Good To You and Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On. He left the collective in 1977, alongside Calvin Simon (whom we lost in January last year) and Grady Thomas, amid a dispute with George Clinton. He later toured with iterations of Funkadelic and Parliament that didn’t include Clinton, and controversially recorded an album with Simon and Thomas under the name Funkadelic.

Haskins released two solo albums, A Whole Nother Thang in 1976 and Radio Active in 1978. By then he had become a devout Christian, and later even became a preacher.

The Funk Bassist
James Brown credited bassist ‘Sweet’ Charles Sherrell with developing the technique of thumping on the strings, which would be copied by many others. Sherrell initially learned to play guitar from Curtis Mayfield, receiving free lessons in exchange for washing the singer’s Jaguar.

Sherrell joined James Brown’s backing band in 1968, playing on tracks like Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud, Mother Popcorn, Give It Up Or Turnit Loose, Get Up Offa That Thing, Funky Drummer, The Payback, Funky President (People It’s Bad), and others.

He also released a series of solo soul and funk records, mostly produced by Brown, as Sweet Charles. His vocal style was similar to that of his old mentor Curtis Mayfield.

The Pulp Bassist
In the big Brit Pop wave of the 1990s, Pulp was one of the four big hitters, and possibly the best of the monosyllable-monikered lot (some might say Suede; none might say Oasis). Now bassist Steve Mackey has died at the young age of 56. Mackay joined Pulp in 1988 and stayed with them through the glory days of the 1990s, quitting the band in 2002. He returned in 2011 for a couple of years.

After the Pulp days, he was a record producer and songwriter for acts like Marianne Faithfull, M.I.A., The Long Blondes, Florence & The Machine, and Arcade Fire. He also recorded and toured with Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker in 2006 and 2008. In the early 2000s, Mackey was among those who urged his old friend and Pulp’s touring guitarist Richard Hawley to start a solo career — happily, the wonderful Hawley took that good advice.

Mackey was also part of the fictional wizarding rock band The Weird Sisters in the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, alongside Cocker and two Radiohead members.

The Light Fandango Skipper
It was an unusual arrangement: Keith Reid played no instrument and didn’t sing, yet was considered a full member of Procol Harum. His job was to write lyrics, such as those for A Whiter Shade Of Pale, which even more than 50 years after its release still exercises minds. In fact, he wrote the lyrics for every Procol Harum song until the band split in 1977, including the magnificently haunting A Salty Dog. After Procol Harum, he wrote the lyrics for one more hit, John Farnham’s You’re The Voice.

Four days after Reid’s death, long-time Procol Harum’s manager Barry Sinclair died.

The First Stardust
In 1973 the former Decca label talent scout and producer Peter Shelley co-founded the Magnet label. Its first release was recorded by Shelley himself, a song he had written. My Coo Ca Choo was issued under the moniker Alvin Stardust, with no great expectations. The song, however, became a massive hit, and Shelley performed it as Alvin Stardust on a British TV show. But he didn’t really want to be Alvin Stardust, so a new Alvin Stardust was appointed in the form of journeyman singer Shane Fenton. The new creation became a star, and Shelley went on to write Stardust hits like UK #1 Jealous Mind (Fenton died in 2014).

In 1974 and ’75, Shelley had UK Top 5 hits under his own name, Gee Baby and Love Me Love My Dog. Shelley left Magnet in 1975 and created the animated Robotman character, whom he also voiced. The father of Canadian pop singer-songwriter John Southworth emigrated to Canada in 1980.

Before all that, in the 1960s, Shelley worked at Decca with the famous Dick Rowe (the man who turned down The Beatles). There he discovered acts like The Amen Corner, Ten Years After and the future King Crimson. At Magnet, he gave Chris Rea his start.

The Strings Genius
Just a few days before I learned of the death of multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, I had listened to Warren Zevon’s Mohammed’s Radio, on which Lindley played the slide guitar. And it’s very likely that had Lindley died on any other day, I’d have heard another song he played on, for he backed many acts whose songs I’m liable to play at random. He was best-known for his slide guitar, but Lindley was at home with virtually any stringed instrument, from electric guitar to the zither to the fiddle.

Lindley started his recording career in the 1960s with the psychedelic band Kaleidoscope, which he had co-founded. After the group split in 1970, he joined up with Jackson Browne, playing in his band for eight years until 1980. He also toured and recorded with acts like of Crosby & Nash, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. In the 1980s he formed his band El Rayo-X, named after his debut solo album.

Among other acts Lindley backed are Linda Ronstadt, Graham Nash, America, Maria Muldaur, Rod Stewart, Mac Davis, Dan Fogelberg, Curtis Mayfield, James Taylor, David Crosby, Dolly Parton, Herb Pedersen, Leo Sayer, David Gates, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, Toto, Joe Walsh, Patti Austin, John Prine, Marshall Crenshaw, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, Belinda Carlile, Andreas Vollenweider, The Bangles (including Eternal Flame),  Aaron Neville, Kenny Loggins, Shawn Colvin, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Ziggy Marley, Ben Harper and more…

The Piano Nun
I’m not sure that pianist and composer Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou meets the criteria for inclusion in this series, for her music sounded more like Chopin than Jerry Lee Lewis. Still, there were the influences of jazz and blues in her work, so she may qualify.

Aside from being a musician, she was also a nun in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Born in December 1923 to a wealthy family in Addis Ababa, Guèbrou was an accomplished musician who began playing piano at a young age. As a child she studied music in Switzerland. During Italy’s occupation of Ethiopia, she and her family were held as prisoners of war Italy.

Having returned to Ethiopia after the war, she went on to be a civil servant and singer to Emperor Haile Selassie, and went on to teach music, and to compose and perform. She blended Ethiopian and European classical music with the rhythm of blues, and her music often reflects her deep faith as a nun.

Guèbrou lived a reclusive life as a nun and performed rarely, but her recordings attracted worldwide attention.

The French Million Seller
Before he even recorded his first record, French singer Marcel Amont shared a bill at the famed Olympia with Edith Piaf. The same year, in 1956, he released the first of many records, kicking off a career that would go on until 2009. He also recorded in other European languages, especially in German. In the process, Amont sold 300 million records and was one of France’s biggest stars in the 1960s and 1970s.

He featured on the Beatles in French Vol. 2 mix with his version of When I’m Sixty-Four (an age he reached in 1993).

The Singing TV Cop
Given his brilliant performances in TV series like The Wire, Bosch, Fringe or Resident Evil, there was little room in the obits for the brief singing career of Lance Reddick. The actor released only one album, 2007’s Contemplations & Remembrances (I imagine McNulty having a few things to say about Lt Daniels crooning chansons), but his background was more musical than thespian.

Reddick started to study music as a teenager, and earned a degree in classical music composition at University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in the 1980s. He went on to earn a Masters degree at the Yale School of Drama in 1994.

The Cover Hippie
It’s not a music death but in a way it is. Bobbi Ercoline, whom we see cuddling in a blanket with her boyfriend on the cover of the Woodstock soundtrack album, has died after what seems have been a long illness. Bobbi and then-boyfriend Nick Ercoline — they’d marry in 1971 — had no idea that photographer Burk Uzzle had taken a snapshot of them — until they realised that it was them who starred on the Woodstock album cover, released in 1970. Nick told AARP Magazine in 2019 that he and Bobbi had first recognised an orange and yellow butterfly flag shown in the photo. “Then we saw the blanket. ‘Oh my Lord, that’s us!’”

They were 20 in 1969, and by the time Bobbi died, the retired school nurse and Nick had been together for 54 years. Fifty years after Woodstock they returned to the site to recreate their pose, without the quilt, mud and crowds of hippies. Read more about them.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.


Leon Hughes, 92, founding tenor with The Coasters, on March 1
The Coasters – Down In Mexico (1956)

Wally Fawkes, 98, British jazz clarinettist and cartoonist, on March 1
Humphrey Lyttelton and his Band – Panama (1948, on clarinet)

Wayne Shorter, 89, jazz saxophonist and composer, on March 2
Miles Davis – Nefertiti (1968, as writer and on soprano sax)
Wayne Shorter – Beauty And The Beast (1974, as writer and soprano sax)
Steely Dan – Aja (1977, on tenor sax)
Weather Report – Birdland (1977, as member, on tenor and soprano sax)

Steve Mackey, 56, bassist of English rock band Pulp and producer, on March 2
Pulp – Disco 2000 (1995, also as co-writer)
Pulp – The Trees (2001, also as co-writer)
The Long Blondes – Once And Never Again (2006, as producer)

Calvin Newton, 93, country-gospel singer, on March 3

David Lindley, 78, rock multi-instrumentalist, on March 3
Kaleidoscope – Life Will Pass You By (1968, as member, on vocals and guitar)
Jackson Browne – Running On Empty (1977, on slide guitar)
Warren Zevon – Play It All Night Long (1980, on guitar, lap steel guitar)
Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt – The Pain Of Loving You (1987, on mandolin)

Carlos Garnett, 84, Panama-born jazz saxophonist, on March 3
Carlos Garnett – Bolerock (1978)

Sueli Costa, 79, Brazilian singer and songwriter, on March 4
Sueli Costa – Coração ateu (1975)

Michael Rhodes, 69, bassist with country group Notorious Cherry Bombs, on March 4
Notorious Cherry Bombs – It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long (2004)

Robert Haimer, 69, half of novelty pop duo Barnes & Barnes, on March 4
Barnes & Barnes – Party In My Pants (1980)

Basuki Bala, 75, singer with calypso band Caribbean Allstars, on March 4

Spot, 71, rock, punk and house producer, on March 4
Hüsker Dü – Sunshine Superman (1983, as producer)

Gary Rossington, 71, guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, on March 5
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone (1973)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – That Smell (1977)
Rossington-Collins Band – Don’t Misunderstand Me (1980)

Arif Cooper, Jamaican musician, producer, DJ, on March 5
Sean Paul – Hold My Hand (2009, as producer and co-writer)

Eric Alan Livingston, 38, member of metal group Mamaleek, on March 6

Marcel Amont, 93, French singer, on March 8
Marcel Amont – Les bleuets d’Azur (1960)
Marcel Amont – L’amour ça fait passer le temps (1971)

Josua Madsen, 45, drummer of Danish thrash metal band Artillery, in car accident on March 8

Jim Durkin, 58, guitarist of thrash metal band Dark Angel, on March 8

Chaim Topol, 87, Israeli actor and singer, on March 8
Topol – If I Were A Rich Man (1967)

Robin Lumley, 74, keyboardist of UK jazz fusion band Brand X, on March 9
Brand X – Black Moon (1978)

Phil Titus, 36, bassist of UK alt-rock band Morning Parade, on March 9

Jerold ‘Napoleon XIV’ Samuels, 84, novelty singer, songwriter, producer, on March 10
Napoleon XIV – They’re Coming To Take Me Away HaHaaa! (1966, also as writer)

Junior English, 71 or 72, Jamaican reggae singer, on March 10
Junior English – In Loving You (1978)

Tongo, 65, Peruvian singer and comedian, on March 10

Costa Titch, 27, South African rapper, on March 11
Costa Titch feat. Akon – Big Flexa (Remix) (2023)

Dix Denney, 65, guitarist of punk bands The Weirdos, Thelonious Monster, on March 12
The Weirdos – A Life Of Crime (1980)

Jim Gordon, 77, Wrecking Crew session drummer, on March 13
Donovan – Atlantis (1969, on drums)
Derek & the Dominos – Layla (1980, on drums and piano, writer of piano coda)
Carly Simon – You’re So Vain (1972, on drums)
Harry Nilsson – Jump Into The Fire (1972, on drums)

Canisso, 57, bassist of Brazilian punk band Raimundos, on March 13

Simon Emmerson, 67, English musician, producer and DJ, on March 13
Afro Celt Sound System feat. Peter Gabriel – When You’re Falling (2001, as founder)

Bobby Caldwell, 71, soft-rock singer and songwriter, on March 14
Bobby Caldwell – Can’t Say Goodbye (1978)
Natalie Cole & Peabo Bryson – What You Won’t Do For Love (1979, as writer)
Bobby Caldwell – Sunny Hills (1982)
Bobby Caldwell – Beyond The Sea (1996)

Gloria Bosman, 50, South African jazz singer, on March 14
Gloria Bosman – Play Me The Love Songs (1999)

Théo de Barros, 80, member of Brazilian jazz group Quarteto Novo, on March 15

Tony Coe, 88, English jazz musician, on March 16
The Tony Coe Quartet – Satin Doll (1961)

Emmanuelle Mottaz, 59, French singer and screenwriter, on March 16

Lance Reddick, 60, American actor (The Wire, Fringe,) and singer, on March 17
Lance Reddick – Work Of Art (2007)

Fito Olivares, 75, Mexican cumbia musician, on March 17

Fuzzy Haskins, 81, singer with Parliament-Funkadelic, on May 17
Funkadelic – I Got A Thing (1970, also as writer)
Funkadelic – Can You Get To That (1971, also as co-writer and on drums)
Fuzzy Haskins – Thangs We Used To Do (1978, also as writer)

Mick Slattery, 77, founding guitarist of Hawkwind, on March 17

Bobbi Ercoline, 73, cover star on Woodstock soundtrack album, on March 18
Country Joe McDonald – Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die Rag (1969, live at Woodstock)

Dmitry Nova, 34, member of Russian electronic group Cream Soda, drowned on March 20

Anita Thallaug, 85, Norwegian singer and actress, on March 20

Wayne Swinny, 59, guitarist of rock band Saliva, on March 21
Saliva – Ladies And Gentlemen (2007)

Gunter Nezhoda, 67, rock bassist and Storage Wars presenter, on March 21

Tom Leadon, 70, guitarist of rock band Mudcrutch, on March 22
Mudcrutch – Depot Street (1975; with Tom Petty on vocals)
Mudcrutch – Crystal River (2008)

Keith Reid, 76, lyricist with Procol Harum and songwriter, on March 23
Procol Harum – Homburg (1967, as lyricist)
Procol Harum with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – A Salty Dog (1972, as lyricist)
John Farnham – You’re The Voice (1986, as lyricist)

Peter Shelley, 80, British singer, songwriter, producer, label founder (Magnet), on March 23
Alvin Stardust – My Coo Ca Choo (1973, as Stardust and writer)
Peter Shelley – Gee Baby (1974, also as writer)

Luca Bergia, 54, drummer of Italian rock band Marlene Kuntz, on March 23
Marlene Kuntz – Nuotando Nell’Aria (1994)

Christopher Gunning, 78, British classical, TV & movie composer, on March 24
Lynsey de Paul – Won’t Somebody Dance With Me (1973, as arranger)

Nick Lloyd Webber, 43, English TV score composer, producer, on March 25

Juca Chaves, 84, Brazilian singer and comedian, on March 25

Care Failure, 36, singer with Canadian alt.rock band Die Mannequin, on March 26
Die Mannequin – Bad Medicine (2008)

Ray Pillow, 85, country singer, on March 26
Jean Shepard & Ray Pillow – I’ll Take The Dog (1966)

Howie Kane, 81, singer with Jay and the Americans, on March 27
Jay & The Americans – Let’s Lock The Door (And Throw Away The Key) (1964)

Peggy Scott-Adams, 74, blues and R&B singer, on March 27
Peggy Scott & Jojo Benson – Lover’s Holiday (1968)

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, 99, Ethiopian nun, pianist and composer, on March 27
Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou – The Last Tears Of A Deceased (1963)
Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou – Tenkou Why Feel Sorry (1996)

Ryuichi Sakamoto, 71, Japanese musician, composer, and actor, on March 28
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Riot In Lagos (1980)
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983)
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Be A Superman (1991, as member and co-writer)

Blas Durán, 73, Dominican bachata singer, on March 28
Blas Duran – Abusadora (1971)

‘Sweet’ Charles Sherrell, 80, funk bassist (James Brown) and soul singer, on March 29
James Brown – Give It Up Or Turn It Loose (1969, on bass)
James Brown – Funky President (People It’s Bad) (1974, on bass)
Sweet Charles – Yes, It’s You (1974)

Brian Gillis, 47, founding singer with boy band LFO, on March 29

Alfio Cantarella, 81, drummer of Italian pop band Equipe 84, on March 30
Equipe 84 – 29 Settembre (1967)

Ray Shulman, 73, bassist of UK prog-rock band Gentle Giant, producer, on March 30
Gentle Giant – His Last Voyage (1975)


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Beatles Recovered: 1962-66

March 29th, 2023 6 comments


For many people who missed the Beatles years, the red and blue compilation gatefold-covered double-albums, 1962-66 and 1967-70, served as an introduction to the band’s music. In the 1970s, every family seemed to have a set, especially those who had no the Beatles LP.

In my family’s case, it was my older sister who had both sets. I had known Beatles songs like Obladi-Oblada and She Loves You, but it was Side 2 of the red album hooked me, and I’ve remained hooked on The Beatles ever since.

April 2 will mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the two sets, one of the last acts as Beatles manager by the reviled Allen Klein. It was a reaction to a bootleg compilation titled Alpha Omega, which was even advertised on TV. Still, the albums were a great idea.

They are sort of greatest hits collections, but not quite. The hits are there, but so are album tracks, such as (on the Red Album) All My Loving, Eight Days A Week, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, In My Life or Girl. Any of them could have been a #1 hit. Oddly, no George Harrison features on the Red Album, but the Blue Album features his quite redundant Old Brown Shoe.

The present mix features one cover that was produced by John Lennon himself, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away by folkies The Silkie, a recording that also featured Paul McCartney and Harrison. That quartet was billed as the English Peter, Paul and Mary, and they kicked off their brief recording career with an album of Dylan covers. So it made sense that they’d cover Lennon’s (superb) attempt at emulating Dylan — and fill the rest of their second and final LP with more Dylan covers.

In 1983 Tina Turner released a slowed-down version of Help. A year before that, South African band PJ Powers & Hotline did the same, and it’s their version which features here. I think the song’s lyrics are served well by being slowed down. Tina will feature on the Blue Album.

The greatest difficulty in projects like these is to find versions of Yesterday that aren’t cheesy and of Yellow Submarine that are worth giving a listen. On the Any Major Beatles Covers 1962-66 mix I made in 2010 (it’s up again, as are 1967-68 and 1968-70), Smokey Robinson & The Miracles did Yesterday duty, and on Help! Recovered, it was The Dillards. Here we have Gladys Knight & The Pips, with Gladys totally owning the song.

Yellow Submarine is a tougher proposition. On Revolver Recovered, The Pickin’ On Picks did a bluegrass version, on Yellow Submarine Recovered, The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band got funky with it (and it was reprised by Sesame Street). I might have recycled Maurice Chevalier’s remarkable version from The Beatles in French Vol. 2, but in the interest of trying to include only tracks not previously used,  I hunted down a fantastic version by Finnish group Leningrad Cowboys performing the song live with the Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble. Four great versions of a pretty awful song. But I’m glad I’ll never have to recover it again

There are many other great covers here. Chaka Khan works over We Can Work It Out — the most soul of all Beatles songs? — and Otis Redding’s live version of Day Tripper eclipses the original (you can almost feel his sweat hitting you). But you’d expect Chaka and Otis to deliver brilliant covers, for Beatles songs tend to be adaptable to soul. The two Covered With Soul mixes of Beatles tracks showed that (Covered With Soul Vol. 14 and Vol. 15).

I’m not sure how much Beatles songs lend themselves to country music. But in Herb Pederson’s hands, Paperback Writer does become a fine country tune. And in his version, you can actually understand the cruelly funny words.

Junior Campbell had a big hit with a Beatles song as a member of Marmalade, Obladi-Oblada. On his 1974 solo album Second Time Around, he covered another Beatles track I don’t particularly love, Drive My Car. His keyboard solo on it is quite excellent. We previously encountered Junior Campbell on Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 9, and will meet him again on Vol. 2 of Any Major Hits from 1973.

As a bonus track, you will find Mrs Miller’s version of A Hard Day’s Night. If you know it, you’ll know what to expect. If you don’t, you’re in for a treat unlike any you have known.

On a note of housekeeping: Zippyshare will close down as of April 1. There are 369 Any Major mixes still sitting there, most of which I won’t re-up. So grab what you can while you can. I have already reupped all Beatles Recovered, and other Beatles cover mixes as well as the Beatles Reunited series on a new server.

As for this mix, they are two CD-R mixes with home-fabbed covers, and the above in PDF format. PW in comments. The Blue Album Recovered will follow after next week’s In Memoriam.

Disc 1
1. The Persuasions – Love Me Do (2002)
2. Keely Smith – Please Please Me (1965)
3. Del Shannon – From Me To You (1963)
4. Count Basie & His Orchestra – She Loves You (1966)
5. Sparks – I Want To Hold Your Hand (1976)
6. Nick Heyward – All My Loving (1996)
7. Blackstreet – (Money Can’t) Buy Me Love (1996)
8. Bar-Kays – A Hard Day’s Night (1969)
9. Reggie Milner – And I Love Her (1969)
10. The Runaways – Eight Days A Week (1978)
11. Sweethearts Of The Rodeo – I Feel Fine (1988)
12. The 5th Dimension – Ticket To Ride (1967)
13. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Yesterday (1968)

Disc 2
1. P.J. Powers & Hotline – Help (1982)
2. The Silkie – You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (1965)
3. Chaka Khan – We Can Work It Out (1981)
4. Otis Redding – Day Tripper (Live) (1967)
5. Junior Campbell – Drive My Car (1974)
6. P.M. Dawn – Norwegian Wood (1993)
7. Carpenters – Nowhere Man (1967)
8. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals – Michelle (2005)
9. Richie Havens – In My Life (1987)
10. Joe Jackson Trio – Girl (Live) (2010)
11. Herb Pedersen – Paperback Writer (1976)
12. Aretha Franklin – Eleanor Rigby (1969)
13. Leningrad Cowboys & The Alexandrov Red Army Ensemble – Yellow Submarine (1994)


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


Categories: Beatles, Covers Mixes Tags:

Any Major Sly Stone Songbook

March 23rd, 2023 6 comments



Last week, on 15 March, it was Sly Stone’s 80th birthday. It passed me by until I saw a friend mentioning it on Facebook, expressing his surprise that the man born Sylvester Stewart was still alive. And it indeed seems to be a miracle, given Sly’s unwholesome lifestyle as a younger man.

Sly’s use of cocaine — stored in a violin case — was so prolific that it destroyed his nasal cavities. Apparently, his party trick was to insert a shoelace up one nostril and pull it out through the other. When Sly appeared at the Grammys in 2006, he looked ready for knocking on heaven’s door. But 17 years later, at 80, he’s still with us. Stand!

His body of work merits Any Major Songbook, kicking off with a collaboration of the man himself with Buddy Guy and John Mayer, from an album of collaborations with well-known names.

Some tracks here are by acts whose decision to cover Sly & The Family Stone is not surprising. But one name you might not have immediately thought of as featuring on this mix when you saw the title is that of James Last. The German bandleader was the perpetrator of much disposal easy listening fare, but it’s not well-known that the baton-swinger Last could be dangerously funky, as he is on Sing A Simple Song. Nor would you have expected venerable Big Band leader Woody Herman to cover a track called Sex Machine, his first name notwithstanding.

The bonus tracks include an early, pre-Family Stone track which Sly co-wrote and produced for Bobby Freeman in 1964. C’mon And Swim was a #5 pop hit in the US, and thus Sylvester’s first chart outing. He had been involved in music since he was a child, singing gospel music with his siblings Loretta, Freddie and Rose. The latter two would become members of Sly & The Family Stone, and are also survivors of their band’s militant hedonism pf the 1970s. Their solitary single as juvenile gospel singers, released in 1952, featured on Saved! Vol. 1.

Sly & The Family Stone are important as a musical act, having integrated various genres to create their funky music, using a drum machine when that was still nascent technology, and so on. And they were one of the first major multiracial act to score hits — much to the chagrin of the Black Panthers, who demanded the two white members be replaced. That wasn’t Sly’s way. His way was to advise abstention from the use of racial epithets.

This collection exceeds CD-R length, though tracks 1-19 are timed to fit on one, and so covers made be mice elf are included, as is the above text in a PDF. PW in comments.

1. Sly & The Family Stone with Buddy Guy & John Mayer – You Can Make It If You Try (2005)
2. Bettye LaVette – Thankful N’ Thoughtful (2012)
3. Manhattan Transfer with Chaka Kahn – Hot Fun In The Summertime (1995)
4. Dr John – Thank You (Falletin’ Me Be Mice Elf Again) (1994)
5. Billy Paul – Everyday People (1970)
6. The Ghana Soul Explosion – Family Affair (1973)
7. The Nineteenth Whole – You Caught Me Smilin’ Again (1972)
8. Al Jarreau – Somebody’s Watching You (1976)
9. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Everybody Is A Star (1971)
10. The Jackson 5 – Stand (1969)
11. Ike & Tina Turner – I Want To Take You Higher (1970)
12. The Three Degrees – You’re The One (1970)
13. Love Childs Afro Cuban Blues Band – Life And Death In G&A (1975)
14. James Last – Sing A Simple Song (1972)
15. Bar-Kays – Dance To The Music (1971)
16. Gene Harris – Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey (1974)
17. Dillard-Hartford-Dillard – The Same Thing (1980)
18. The Colourfield – Running Away (1987)
19. Maceo Parker – In Time (1990)
Bonus Tracks:
20. Bobby Freeman – C’mon And Swim (1964)
21. Eric Burdon & The Animals – I’m An Animal (1975)
22. George Howard – Just Like A Baby (1998)
23. Diana Ross – Le Lo Li (1976)
24. Simply Red – Let Me Have It All (1987)
25. Mercury Rev – If You Want Me To Stay (1992)
26. Woody Herman – Sex Machine (1969)


Previous Songbooks:
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 Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
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
George Harrison
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Steely Dan

More Songbooks
More Covers Mixes
More CD-R Mixes

Categories: Covers Mixes, Songbooks Tags: