Archive for the ‘Mix CD-Rs’ Category

Any Major Randy Newman Songbook

November 28th, 2023 4 comments

The master storyteller Randy Newman is turning 80 today (November 28), so here is a Songbook to celebrate his great body of work.

It seems absurd now, but when Randy Newman released his song Short People in 1977, there was an outcry about the singer’s supposed bigotry directed at people of diminutive height. The opening verse’s claim that “short people have no reason to live” somehow failed to alert the scandalised kneejerkers that they were witness to pretty obvious satire, albeit one by a quite tall man.

Had they done their due diligence, these critics would have known not to take Newman songs at face value, for he had already built up a repertoire of irony-rich songs, and he would continue that practice for many years, before he became the bard of the Toy Story franchise (from which I include only one song, You’ve Got A Friend In Me).

My favourite of these is 1983’s I Love L.A., whose declarative title and catchy tune moved the organisers of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles to use the Newman composition as a theme song. You can’t really blame them for that in their arrogant enthusiasm they missed the sendup. Though the put-downs in the opening verse and the line, “Look at that bum over there, man, he’s down on his knees”, did provide clues that this was not a love letter to the City of Angels.

Newman played it totally straight on He Gives Us All His Love. The message is unspoken — in the perception of Newman, who is an atheist, love is all God gives, but no practical solutions. One may enter into theological debates about that understanding, but some Christian singers, like Wanda Jackson, covered the track as a song of praise. I assume that in his beautiful version on this Songbook collection, jazz maestro Roy Ayers also sings it straight, since he is a professing Christian.

Other times, Newman’s satire is obvious, as on 1972’s Political Science, which proposes that the US nukes everything in the world, including South America, who “stole our name”, and Canada, for the crime of being too cold. But not Australia, “Don’t want to hurt no kangaroo. We’ll build an all-American amusement park there.”

Of course, Newman also wrote movingly and without sarcasm about relationships, the human condition, even about history. The final verse of Guilty, best performed by Bonnie Raitt, just gets to you: “You know you know how it is with me baby. You know, I just can’t stand myself. And it takes a whole lot of medicine, for me to pretend that I’m somebody else.”

Much as it is with Joni Mitchell, whose 80th birthday on November 7 I marked with an Any Major Joni Mitchell Songbook, it pays to listen to Newman’s lyrics. And much like Joni, the voice can be a distraction in doing so. This Randy Newman Songbook may provide relief for those who have difficulty with his unmellifluous voice and constipated delivery.

I think this collection of covers is great, obviously, and it might serve as a good introduction to Newman’s work for those who are not familiar with it. But it is good to invest time and patience in exploring Newman’s own recordings of these songs, because, like Joni Mitchell, Newman has been a genre-fusing innovator in the singer-songwriter field, drawing from pop, rock, blues, jazz and even ragtime — but not much from folk.

Newman has, of course, featured here before. One of my favourites of his, Birmingham, was on Any Major American Road Trip Part 2, but it doesn’t feature here because I’m not aware of cover versions. The same goes for The Story Of A Rock ‘n Roll Band, which was on A Life In Vinyl 1980. I Love L.A. was on A Life In Vinyl 1983 and Any Major American Road Trip Part 3, and Dayton Ohio 1903 on Any Major American Road Trip Part 6, Lousiana on Any Major Year, and I Think It’s Gonna Rain Again on Any Major Wonder Years. (All the American Road Trip and Life In Vinyl mixes are up again.)

Mama Told Me Not To Come featured in the version by Eric Burdon and The Animals in The Originals: The 1970s Vol. 2, and I Think It’s Going To Rain Today by Maxine Wheldon on Covered With Soul Vol. 10 and then by Grady Tate on Covered With Soul Vol. 24.

Tracks 1-23 are timed to fit on a standard CD-R. Includes home-sailedaway covers, and the above in a PDF. PW in comments.

1. Randy Newman – Short People (1977)
2. Wilson Pickett – Mama Told Me Not To Come (1971)
3. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Living Without You (1972)
4. Blood Sweat & Tears – Just One Smile (1968)
5. Dusty Springfield – I Don’t Want To Hear It Anymore (1969)
6. Cass Elliot – I Think It’s Going To Rain Today (1972)
7. Bonnie Raitt – Guilty (1972)
8. Nilsson – Sail Away (1976)
9. Asleep At The Wheel – Louisiana (1978)
10. Everything But The Girl – Political Science (1993)
11. Neil Diamond – Losing You (2010)
12. Kim Richey – Texas Girl At The Funeral Of Her Father (2006)
13. Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt – Feels Like Home (1999)
14. Johnny Cash – My Old Kentucky Home (Turpentine And Dandelion Wine) (1975)
15. Joe Cocker – Lucinda (1975)
16. Etta James – Leave Your Hat On (1973)
17. The Mills Brothers – Dayton Ohio, 1903 (1969)
18. Roy Ayers – He Gives Us All His Love (1970)
19. Irma Thomas – While The City Sleeps (1964)
20. Jackie DeShannon – Hold Your Head High (1964)
21. Alan Price Set – Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear (1967)
22. Tim Hardin – I’ll Be Home (1972)
23. Lou Rawls – Let’s Burn Down The Cornfield (1970)
24. Three Dog Night – Cowboy (1970)
25. The Doobie Brothers – Beehive State (1971)
26. The Marshall Tucker Band – Mr. President (1982)
27. Third World – Baltimore (1999)
28. OMC – I Love L.A. (1997)
29. John Martyn – God’s Song (1998)
30. Saint Etienne – Snow (1993)
31. George Jones & Kathy Mattea – You’ve Got A Friend In Me (1996)
32. Randy Newman – Rollin’ (1974)


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
Joni Mitchell
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Rolling Stones Vol. 1
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

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Any Major Albums Of The Year: 1983

November 22nd, 2023 6 comments

I almost wasn’t going to do this review of my Top 20 albums of 1983. I don’t recall that year as a particular highpoint in the history of popular music, unlike the preceding year, for which I found it quite easy to compile the Albums Of The Year: 1982 mix (and difficult to exclude some contenders). But therein lies the challenge!

I managed a Top 20, and did so without the inclusion of albums many of my peers might have included, acts like The Police, Tears For Fears, Yes, Tom Waits, U2, Eurythmics, New Order, Cyndi Lauper or Talking Heads.

Still, there are a few entries in my Top 20 which I’d rate as outstanding pop albums, in particular Wham!’s debut album, aptly titled Fantastic, and Aztec Camera’s thoroughly lovely High Land, Hard Rain.  The Style Council’s mini-LP, Introducing…, is also nearly flawless.

It strikes me that only half of the acts in my Top 20 are from the US. There are soul acts — Al Jarreau, Womack & Womack, Randy Crawford — and soul-popster Lionel Richie, whose Can’t Slow Down is raised by the genius of All Night Long and the glorious jazz-funk groove of Love Will Fund A Way (which featured on Any Major Soul 1983), as well as jazz singer Carrie Smith. But there are only two non-soul/jazz US acts. Billy Joel, whose An Innocent Man was a constant companion back in 1983, and Randy Newman… only two non-soul acts.

One act here also featured on Albums Of The Year: 1973, which I posted in October: Billy Joel.

This mix is a good companion to Life In Vinyl 1983, which features seven of the acts on this list. All of the soul acts featured here also appeared on Any Major Soul 1983.

So, what are your albums of 1983?

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

1. Heaven 17 – Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry (The Luxury Gap)
2. Depeche Mode – Love In Itself (Construction Time Again)
3. David Bowie – Modern Love (Let’s Dance)
4. Spandau Ballet – Lifeline (True)
5. Wham! – Ray Of Sunshine (Fantastic)
6. Al Jarreau – Trouble In Paradise (Jarreau)
7. Rufus & Chaka Khan – Stay (Stompin’ At The Savoy)
8. Randy Crawford – In Real Life (Nightline)
9. Billy Joel – Leave A Tender Moment Alone (An Innocent Man)
10. Culture Club – Victims (Colour By Numbers)
11. The Style Council – Long Hot Summer (Introducing…)
12. Nick Heyward – Whistle Down The Wind (North Of A Miracle)
13. Aztec Camera – The Boy Wonders (High Land, Hard Rain)
14. Big Country – Chance (The Crossing)
15. Van Morrison – Higher Than The World (Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart)
16. Pink Floyd – The Fletcher Memorial Home (The Final Cut)
17. Randy Newman – Christmas In Cape Town (Trouble In Paradise)
18. Carrie Smith – Doin’ Things For Her (Only You Can Do It)
19. Womack & Womack – Love Wars (Love Wars)
20. Lionel Richie – The Only One (Can’t Slow Down)


Previous Albums of the Year mixes:
1971 Vol. 1
1971 Vol. 2

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Any Major B-Side

November 16th, 2023 18 comments

Any Major B-Sides

This mix of great b-sides to (mostly) hit singles was first run in August 2015. As usual, I set myself a few rules in selecting tracks. The b-side must not have become a hit after being flipped, as many classic songs have been. So, for example, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, originally the b-side to Substitute, doesn’t qualify. I also discounted double a-sides, such as Elvis’ Don’t Be Cruel which in some countries was an actual b-side (and here one might pick an argument whether I ought to have disqualified The Jams’ The Butterfly Collector). B-sides that are famous in their own right, such as The Beatles’ Rain or Beth by Kiss, or are famous album tracks were also excluded.

One track here actually was initially an a-side: The Beach Boys‘ Don’t Worry Baby was released in 1964 as the lead, backed with I Get Around. The radio DJs quite rightly flipped the single; as a consequence I Get Around was the a-side in countries outside the US.

Some singles had different b-sides in different countries. My German copy of Blondie‘s X-Offender was backed with Man Overboard, but in most countries the flip side was the excellent In The Sun. The single version was a shorter mix of the song that appeared on the debut album. The sublime X-Offender, which was a commercial flop, later appeared as a b-side itself, on the Rip Her To Shreds single.


Fleetwood Mac‘s Silver Springs is perhaps the finest non-hit, non-on-classic-album-featuring b-sides ever. Written by Stevie Nicks for the Rumours album, it was dumped for length, much to Nicks’ frustration, and instead used as a b-side to Go Your Own Way. On that great album, it would have been a highlight (maybe instead of Oh Daddy or Gold Dust Woman); latter CD releases include it as a bonus track.

Color Him Father — which featured on Any Major Fathers and Any Major Soul 1969 Vol. 1 — was the Grammy-winning 1969 hit for The Winstons, but it was the b-side that had the impact. The drum break of Amen Brother, an instrumental interpretation of Jester Hairson’s Amen song in the film Lilies of the Field, is said to be the most sampled piece of music ever. Played by Gregory Coleman, it’s 1:23 minutes into the song.

And that”s almost the length of Culture Club‘s That”s The Way. A longer version appears on the Color By Numbers album; the version included here is the actual b-side of Karma Chameleon, which ends rather abruptly before Helen Terry’s vocals kick in. I admit that on this mix, I’m using the LP version.

Al Green‘s Strong As Death has a tragic back story. Apparently he wrote the song for his girlfriend Mary Woodson and recorded it on the very day — 18 October 1974 — she threw a pot of boiling grits at the singer, causing the singer second-degree burns on his arms, stomach and back. She then ran to the bedroom and allegedly killed herself with Green’s gun (there are some who claim it wasn’t a suicide). It was this episode that made Green become the Singing Reverend. Other sources say Green recorded Sha La La (Make Me Happy), but that’s not as good a story as a lyric that goes: “We don’t have that much time, there’s no need in us crying. Hey baby, I’m in the mood for love.”


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

1. Blondie – In The Sun (1976 – b-side of X-Offender)
2. The Jam – The Butterfly Collector (1979 – Strange Town)
3. Depeche Mode – But Not Tonight (Extended Remix) (1986 – Stripped)
4. Culture Club – That’s The Way (1983 – Karma Chameleon)
5. Fleetwood Mac – Silver Springs (1977 – Go Your Own Way)
6. Bruce Springsteen – Shut Out The Light (1984 – Born In The USA)
7. Harry Nilsson – Gotta Get Up (1972 – Without You)
8. Steely Dan – Any Major Dude Will Tell You (1974 – Rikki Don’t Lose That Number)
9. Badfinger – Carry On Till Tomorrow (1970 – No Matter What)
10. Nancy Sinatra – The City Never Sleeps At Night (1965 – These Boots Are Made…)
11. The Beach Boys – Don’t Worry Baby (1964 – I Get Around)
12. The Walker Brothers – But I Do (1965 – Make It Easy On Yourself)
13. The Rolling Stones – Long Long While (1966 – Paint It, Black)
14. The Troggs – I Want You (1966 – With A Girl Like You)
15. The Winstons – Amen Brother (1969 – Color Him Father)
16. Otis Redding – The Happy Song (Dum Dum) (1966 – Open The Door)
17. Al Green – Strong As Death (Sweet As Love) (1975 – Oh Me Oh My)
18. Hot Chocolate – You’re A Natural High (1974 – Disco Queen)
19. KC & the Sunshine Band – I Betcha Didn’t Know That (1979 – Don’t Go)
20. Wham! – Blue (Armed With Love) (1983 – Club Tropicana)
21. David Bowie – Velvet Goldmine (1972 – on 1975 reissue of Space Oddity)
22. New Order – 1963 (1987 – True Faith)
23. The Smiths – Jeane (1983 – This Charming Man)
24. The Pogues – Wild Rover (1985 – Sally MacLennane)


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Any Major Joni Mitchell Songbook

November 7th, 2023 4 comments


On November 7, Joni Mitchell will turn 80 — and after that health scare a couple of years ago, we may be grateful for that.

I discussed Joni (it sounds a bit disrespectful to refer to her by surname only) in the notes for the Blue Recovered mix in 2021. At the time I called her voice “broccoli” — a vegetable I don’t like even as I appreciate its wholesome properties. Writing that prompted me to revisit Joni’s music in a bid to force my ears to eat their broccoli. It was a good detox; I still flinch at the high notes but defended them when Any Major Dudette — the broccoli eater in our house, as it happens — objected to their sound. In any case, as the 1970s went on, Joni’s voice got deeper.

This mix, as did Blue Recovered, highlights the room for interpretation Joni’s songs allow, despite being so personal. Nothing here is quite as reworked as the Nazareth’s The Flight Tonight on Blue Recovered, but the most surprising interpretation here is Neil Diamond’s Free Man In Paris, which moves between rock and Broadway. It’s great.

Diamond reappears in the bonus tracks with his lovely 1969 version of Both Sides Now. In the CD-R playlist that song is covered by the wonderful German singer Katja Ebstein, in whose diction even German sounds beautiful. Her interpretation and the arrangement is gorgeous; Michael Kunze’s lyrics are not a direct translation, but I imagine Joni would approve of them.

Steely Dan also had to tinker with lyrics in their superb take of Carey, in which the protagonist undergoes the necessary gender-swap to become a “Mean Old Mama”. Fagan and Becker recorded the song for a tribute album to Joni, but it wasn’t used. It was “rediscovered” last year.

In Herbie Hancock, an old pal of Joni’s appears here. Hancock collaborated with Joni during her jazz phase; in 2007 he roped in various vocalists for an album of his interpretations of Mitchell songs. Among these singers was the wonderful UK soul singer Corinne Bailey Rae, who gives the over-covered River just the right treatment.

An even older Joni pal was Tom Rush, who has the honour of representing the song I’d name as my “favourite” Joni Mitchell track: The Circle Game. The coming-of-age song was a more hopeful response to fellow Canadian Neil Young’s Sugar Mountain, which was full of angst about growing up.

Written in 1966, The Circle Game was first recorded by Canadian folk duo Ian & Sylvia and soon after released on single by Buffy Sainte-Marie. Tom Rush, whose support helped many folk artists — including Joni — break through, recorded it in 1968. Two years later Joni finally did it herself. Rush was the first to record two other Mitchell songs, Tin Angel and Urge For Going, both in 1968 (she recorded these herself in 1969 and 1972 respectively).

Urge For Going features here in the rather unexpected hands of Lee Hazelwood, who recorded it for his 1973 album I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, which also included covers of songs by Bob Dylan and Harry Chapin. Bob Dylan also features here, with the much-loved and also much-despised Big Yellow Taxi (a song on which I love Joni’s vocals). It is a pity that of everything that Mitchell has done, this slight song is her most famous. It’s a fine song, but it is neither her best nor her most representative — which is why, I suppose, it is so despised by many Joni fans.

The CD-R playlist closes with Richie Haven’s version of Woodstock, a song written by someone who wasn’t at the festival performed by somebody who was.

The bonus tracks include four tracks for which there was no space on the CD-R playlist, and for more which feature before by other acts.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-made covers on both sides now, and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. The Band with Joni Mitchell – Coyote (1978)
2. Bob Dylan – Big Yellow Taxi (1973)
3. Natalie Merchant – All I Want (1995)
4. Steely Dan – Carey (2001)
5. k.d. lang – A Case Of You (2004)
6. Herbie Hancock feat. Corinne Bailey Rae – River (2007)
7. Judy Collins – Chelsea Morning (1969)
8. Katja Ebstein – Beide Seiten (Both Sides Now) (1973)
9. Tom Rush – The Circle Game (1968)
10. Fairport Convention – I Don’t Know Where I Stand (1968)
11. Bonnie Raitt – That Song About The Midway (1974)
12. Gail Davies – You Turn Me On I’m A Radio (1982)
13. Three Dog Night – Night In The City (1971)
14. Lee Hazlewood – Urge For Going (1973)
15. Hoyt Axton – He Played Real Good For Free (1982)
16. Neil Diamond – Free Man In Paris (1977)
17. Stewart & Gaskin – Amelia (1991)
18. Richie Havens – Woodstock (2004)
19. George Michael – Edith & The Kingpin (2005)
20. Diana Krall – Black Crow (2004)
21. Claire Martin – Be Cool (1992)
22. Tim Curry – Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire (1979)
23. Barbra Streisand – I Don’t Know Where I Stand (1971)
24. Neil Diamond – Both Sides Now (1969)
25. Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Chelsea Morning (1973)
26. David Crosby feat. Sarah Jarosz – For Free (2021)


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
Rolling Stones Vol. 1
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

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Any Major Murder Songs Vol. 4

October 24th, 2023 3 comments


After sitting out the annual murder songs mix for Halloween last year, here’s Volume 4. That’s now 86 songs about murders, with more still in line… All previous Murder Song links are working again, by the way, as are all Halloween links.

At this point I ought to issue a caveat: despite whatever flippancy might accompany this post, I’m not playing the subject of murder for easy laughs. I can’t, having lost a niece to her knife-wielding husband. The guy was mentally ill, so there’s that. But also, he refused to get help, so fuck that guy. He killed himself after stabbing my niece.

This year domestic abusers get their just deserts. The Dixie Chicks kill Earl — of course, it’s an Earl — who killed his wife, their friend. They make Earl disappear, so no body, no crime. That theme is recycled 20 years later by Taylor Swift in her excellent douchebag-killing song.

It’s all a lot Fried Green Tomatoes, the 1991 film in which a domestic abuser is disappeared. I am not advocating vigilante justice, and these songs should give us greater reason for thought than cheer. But at the same time, if the killers of men who abused women get away with it, I won’t cry about the injustice of it all.

It seems that Mr. Lee, a teacher, might have it coming from Harlem girl-group The Bobettes. In 1957, they were still singing adoringly about Mr. Lee (based on a real teacher, whom they had sought to diss in song, until Atlantic Records insisted on him being their crush. It featured on Any Major ABC of the 1950s). By 1959, they did a sequel, in which the hated Mr. Lee had to be shot.

Atlantic refused to release the track — which, as the first song, was written by the five Bobettes. So the group re-recorded it for Triple-X Record, and were having a minor hit with it. Then Atlantic sued for copyright infringement — of as song written by the Bobettes! — and had all stock of the record destroyed, releasing the version instead. Tragically, in 1980, a stranger stabbed Bobette Jannie Pought to death. She was 34.

Of course we also have the usual crimes of passion, though Norah Jones takes it to spooky limits with her song. Of these tracks, I think soul singer Bobby Marchan’s cover of Big Jay McNeely’s There Is Something on Your Mind is the best. His vocals are superb, especially the spoken bit.

One track here is not necessarily a murder song. It depends on your position on capital punishment. My inclusion of the Bee Gees song tips you off about where I stand on the subject. Taking a defenceless life is murder, and more so if the execution is a miscarriage of justice, as it is in Vicki Lawrence’s  The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia. At least the killing in Marty Robbins’ Big Iron is a fair fight. Happily the bad guy, with the 20 notches on his gun, loses.

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

1. Frank Sinatra – Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (1974)
The Vic: Leroy, looking like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone
2. Bobby Darin – Moritat (Mack The Knife) (live, 1971)
The Vic: Louie Miller. He disappeared, babe
3. The Bobbettes – I Shot Mr. Lee (1960)
The Vic: Mr Lee, a good-looking sex-pest teacher
4. Bobby Marchan – There Is Something On Your Mind (1964)
The Vic: His girl and her lover, at least theoretically
5. Bee Gees – I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You (1968)
The Vic: A message-sending killer, on the electric chair
6. Vicky Lawrence – The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia (1973)
The Vic: Andy Warlord, a cheating sister-in-law, and an innocent man hung
7. Carole King – Smackwater Jack (live, 1973 or 1976)
The Vic: Smackwater Jack, after he killed the congregation
8. Martina McBride – Independence Day (1993)
The Vic: An abusive father and husband, in a fire
9. Dixie Chicks – Goodbye Earl (2000)
The Vic: Wife-killer Earl. His body disappeared…
10. Taylor Swift feat. HAIM – No Body, No Crime (2020)
The Vic: A generation later, another wife-killer disappears
11. Norah Jones – Miriam (2012)
The Vic: Miriam, getting it from the wife of her lover
12. Jenny Lewis – Jack Killed Mom (2008)
The Vic: Jack’s abusive mom
13. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – We Came Along This Road (2000)
The Vic: Another cheating wife and her lover
14. Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night (live, 1994)
The Vic: A cuckolded husband, beheaded in the woods
15. John & Audrey Wiggins – Memory Making Nights (1994)
The Vic: Ginger, before she could leave town
16. Waylon Jennings – Cedartown, Georgia (1971)
The Vic: His cheating wife, in Room 23
17. Paul Siebel – Louise (1970)
The Vic: Louise, a sex worker
18. Johnny Cash – Cocaine Blues (1969)
The Vic: Another unfaithful wife, after he took a shot of cocaine
19. Johnny Horton – When It’s Springtime In Alaska (It’s Forty Below) (1958)
The Vic: The singer, done for by Big Ed
20. Marty Robbins – Big Iron (1960)
The Vic: Murderous outlaw Texas Red, in a High Noon duel
21. Georgie Fame – The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
The Vic: One brave man, and then Bonnie and Clyde


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Any Major Albums of the Year: 1973

October 12th, 2023 2 comments

Following from the mixes paying tribute to my favourite albums of 1971 (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) and 1972 — and 1982 — I continue the series of 50th anniversaries of great LPs.

In 1973 I was not yet an LP buyer, much as I’d love to claim that I bought Can’s Future Days at the age of seven. But I have caught up with that year.

My Top 20 of 1973 (or Top 25, if we include the five bonus tracks) includes a number of acts at the beginning of their success: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s debut album, and also Hall & Oates, Linda Lewis, Billy Joel and Buckingham Nicks (who, of course, would become mega stars as members of Fleetwood Mac). Bruce Springsteen hit the road running with two albums (and then didn’t release another one for two years). John Prine issued his excellent sophomore album, though it was not as well received as his stunning debut two years earlier.

One can’t say that by 1973 Earth, Wind & Fire were obscure, but they were beginning to really break through with their two albums in 1973: Open Your Eyes and Head To The Sky. In keeping with my rule of only one album per artist per year, I picked the former for my Top 20.

Choosing between two albums can be tough. In the case of the recently late Linda Lewis, I really couldn’t decide between Lark and Fathoms Deep. Both are gorgeous albums, and one can do worse than to listen to them consecutively, as if they were a double LP. Gladys Knight & The Pips also released two album 1973. Both were in contention for my Top 20; if you merge the best tracks of these albums into one album, and you’d have an absolute soul classic. The same goes for the two Al Green albums of the year, and to some extent also the two Springsteen sets.

There are many other good albums that didn’t make the Top 25, but merit mention, by acts like Bobby Womack, The O’Jays, Ringo Starr, David Bowie, Freda Payne, The Temptations, and Claudia Lennear. 1973 was a golden year for soul music, clearly.

Aside from my indifference to Aladdin Sane, the obvious omission here is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. I must confess that I have never owned that album. Call me a Wish You Were Here man.

The best album cover of the Top 20 is that of Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I have told the story of that cover, and also Recovered that double LP-set (meaning, each song consecutively in cover versions).

As I did for 1972 and 1982, I let the collection kick off with a track from my album of the year, which in 1973 is Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. Or I might choose as my Album of the Year the Save The Children live set, which features the cream of the era’s black acts. But, you know, I don’t allow compilations…

So, what are your albums of 1973?As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-larked covers and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. Stevie Wonder – Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing (Innervision)
2. The Isley Brothers – If You Were There (3 + 3)
3. The Spinners – Ghetto Child (Spinners)
4. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Las Vegas Turnaround (Abandoned Luncheonette)
5. Linda Lewis – Reach For The Truth (Lark)
6. Judee Sill – Soldier Of The Heart (Heart Food)
7. John Prine – Sweet Revenge (Sweet Revenge)
8. Gram Parsons – Streets Of Baltimore (GP)
9. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone (pronounced ‘leh-’nérd ‘skin-’nérd)
10. Little Feat – On Your Way Down (Dixie Chicken)
11. Steely Dan – King Of The World (Countdown To Ecstasy)
12. The Fabulous Rhinestones – Freewheelin’ (Freewheelin’)
13. Buckingham Nicks – Crying In The Night (Buckingham Nicks)
14. Earth, Wind & Fire – Devotion (Open Your Eyes)
15. Donny Hathaway – Love, Love, Love (Extension Of A Man)
16. Billy Joel – If I Only Had The Words (To Tell You) (Piano Man)
17. Paul McCartney & Wings – Bluebird (Band On The Run)
18. Elton John – Harmony (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)
19. Al Green – Stand Up (Call Me)
20. Marvin Gaye – Keep Gettin’ It On (Let’s Get It On)
Bonus Tracks
21. Sly & The Family Stone – Babies Making Babies (Fresh)
22. Roberta Flack – No Tears (In The End) (Killing Me Softly)
23. Isaac Hayes – Light My Fire (Live At The Sahara Tahoe)
24. Bruce Springsteen – Growin’ Up (Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J.)
25. Albert Hammond – Everything I Want To Do (The Free Electric Band)


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Any Major Schlager

September 26th, 2023 7 comments

Top row: Michael Holm, Francoise Hardy, Katja Ebstein, Marianne Rosenberg, Ricky Shayne. Centre: Vicky Leandros, Udo Jürgens, Daliah Lavi, Jürgen Marcus. Bottom: Juliane Werding, Agnetha, Alexandra, Peter Maffay, Manuela


To mark Germany’s national day next week, on October 3, here’s a mix of German schlager and chanson tracks from the golden era between 1965 and 1975. Don’t be alarmed, we’re looking at the higher end of quality in schlager music.

Almost anyone who was a child in West Germany in the first half of the 1970s will tell you the routine on a Saturday, once a month: Have a bath, then into payamas, and at 18:45, the ZDF Hitparade would come on (ZDF was the channel on which the show was broadcast). Launched in 1969, it was the premier showcase for the German schlager — and it was incredibly popular. I watched it, in my payamas. Bath-time would be some time after 5, so that we’d catch Star Trek or Riptide (known in Germany as “Raumschiff Enterprise” and “SOS Charterboot”), and then once a month the Hitparade. In weeks when there was no Hitparade, we might have our bath after Star Trek.


Dieter “Thomas” Heck, shorn of his sideburns, presents the ZDF Hitparade on a Saturday evening in March 1976.


Presented by the bespectacled and sideburned Dieter “Thomas” Heck, the ZDF Hitparade came live from Berlin, filmed on a sparse set on which the stars, both established and budding, would sit among the audience. Mid-song, audience members would often get up and present the singer with flowers. It was superbly presented, even if the music was mostly awful.

Not that I cared about the defects in musical standards at the time. I loved the entertainment values, but by the time I was 10 years old, I started to become more discerning, and soon I denounced the whole schlager scene with increasing militancy. That attitude would carry me into adulthood. For a long time, I had no time for nor interest in the banal clap-along schlager fare.

In that I was with the majority of Germany’s youth. But the rejection of schlager followed no consensus. In a 1973 episode of the Disco TV show, super-square and conservative singer Heino performs his latest hit, a popular (and admittedly pretty catchy) clap-along number. The young people, guys with long hair and girls in tight stripey trousers, party to it like it’s 1999. At other times, the Disco audience would sit impassively to the glamrock of Slade or the dance-pop of ABBA or the rock of Status Quo or the disco-pop of Boney M, which suggests that this Heino mania was a spontaneous outbreak of schlager frenzy.

On the subject of Heino, a truly fascinating phenomenon who ended up doing duets with Rammstein, I recommend the documentary Made In Germany, which counts among its pundits, of all people, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. You need not know a thing about Heino to appreciate it.

Eventually I reached the age at which one may indulge in the nostalgia that evokes fond childhood memories. And many of the old schlager songs transported me back to the days when I’d sit with my payamas on the couch and watch the Hitparade with my mother, sister and brother. Much of the music might be questionable, but it recalls happy memories. Sometimes I find some old song, long-forgotten but instantly recognisable, and it’s back into the time capsule. Psychologist refer to this as our autobiographical memory, which is biased towards finding refuge in memories that recall moments when we felt safe — like sitting on the couch, watching TV with the family.

Schlager music has a bad reputation, and not without good reason. Most of it was banal and poor. But some of it was very good. ABBA fans will know that the Swedes were influenced by schlager. Before becoming an A in the group’s name, Agnetha Faltskrög tried her luck in German schlager, releasing six singles them between 1968-72; none of them was a hit. The last of these features on this mix. What might have been had Agnetha had become a big schlager star, too busy to join her husband and pals in their new pop combo? Would BBA have been as successful as they became?

Schlager star Michael Holm initiated two global hits, co-writing with Giorgio Moroder and recording the original of Chicory Tip’s Son Of My Father, and creating the first vocal version of the Italian instrumental which would become a Christmas hit for Johnny Mathis as When A Child Is Born. In Holm’s hands that song had no reference to Christmas: “Tränen lügen nicht” translates as “Tears don’t lie”.

Michael Holm performs on the ZDF Hitparade.


Drafi Deutscher kicks off this mix with one of the great schlager classics, “Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht”. He entered the US Billboard Top 100 with an English version of it, retitled “Marble Breaks And Iron Bends”.

Many schlager stars were straitjacketed into the genre’s formula. Some were broken by it, others made the best of it. Husband-and-wife duo Cindy & Bert found fame with hackneyed songs about Spanish guitars and “gypsies”, but at heart they were a rock act. They featured here before with their cover of Black Sabbath’s Paranoid (On Any Major Schlager Covers Vol. 2); the song on this mix shows them as they wanted to be seen, rather than how their record company sought to present them.

Some of the songs here were big schlager hits, but the only one that invites a jolly clap-along is by Jürgen Marcus. I include it as an example of how that brand of schlager actually could be well-executed.

Marcus was a great singer who too often was stuck with sub-standard material. Israeli actress and singer Daliah Lavi — featuring here with as cover of a song by South African singer Emil Dean Zoghby, “Won’t You Join Me” — was more discerning. She had huge hits, usually with covers of English songs, and was a superstar among schlager singers, but musically she was closer to French chansoneers than most of her German colleagues.

As was Alexandra, the most tragic of the artists on this mix. The singer was just hitting the big time when she was killed in a car crash on July 31, 1969. She was only 27 (and thus became an unwilling member of the so-called 27 Club, comprising artists who died at that age). Rumours have it that the accident was caused by foul play. The featured song, the beautiful “Mein Freund, der Baum” (My friend, the tree) became a hit only after her death.

The wonderfully talented singer Alexandra on German TV in 1969, the year she died in a mysterious car crash.


International stars also formed part of the schlager firmament. Greek-born Vicky Leandros — who features here with her German version of the Eurovision winner Aprés toi — grew up and lived in West Germany. But stars like Caterina Valente, Mireille Mathieu, Gilbert Bécaud, France Gall, Nana Mouskouri, Danyel Gerard, Salvatore Adamo, Ricky Shayne or Françoise Hardy had hits with German songs, some originals and some covers of their mostly French originals, though Mathieu had several hits written for her by German producers (particularly Christian Bruhn, of whom more later). Of these international stars, Françoise Hardy and Ricky Shayne feature here.

Almost all songs here were single releases, albeit some of them as b-sides. Two, however, are album deep tracks. Manuela’s “Sonntag im Zoo” from 1967 is a delightful song that sounds like a Jimmy Webb or Burt Bacharach number arranged by The 5th Dimension. It was co-written by Christian Bruhn, who co-wrote many schlager hits, including the tracks here by Drafi Deutscher, Marion Maerz, Peter Maffay, and the wonderful Katja Ebstein, for whom he also wrote the magnificent “Wunder gibt es immer wieder” (featured on Any Major Eurovision).

Mary Roos was highly regarded in France as a chanson singer, and even played at the Olympia. Her “Schmetterlinge weinen nicht” (Butterflies don’t cry) of 1970 sounds even more like a Bacharach song; one might think it might be a cover of a Dionne Warwick song. It was co-written and produced by the multi-talented Michael Holm.

The mix concludes with three tracks from 1975 that can be ID-tagged under different labels than “Schlager”. Joy Fleming was a blues and soul singer, Marianne Rosenberg had the first German-language disco hit in 1975 with “Ich bin wie Du”, and Juliane Werding, who broke through in 1972 as a teenager with a powerful cover of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”, delivers a fine German country song with the not snappily titled “Wenn Du denkst Du denkst, dann denkst Du nur Du denkst” (“When you think you think, then you only think you think”).

I’ve re-upped the two companion mixes, wherein schlager stars sing German covers of Englosh songs — Any Major Schlager Covers Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), s well as Any Major Originals – Schlager Edition, which comprises mostly international originals of schlager hits, including Emil Drean Zoghby’s original of the Daliah Lavi song.

As a bonus I include the greatest German schlager: what it lacks in highest artistic merits it compensates for the the highest levels of banality and an overdose of cliché, but there is no song in the genre that is as catchy as this track. Germans probably already know which track it is.

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

1. Drafi Deutscher – Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht (1965)
2. Udo Jürgens – Siebzehn Jahr, Blondes Haar (1965)
3. Marion – Er ist wieder da (1965)
4. Françoise Hardy – Wenn dieses Lied erklingt (1965)
5. Manuela – Sonntag im Zoo (1967)
6. Hildegard Knef – Von nun an ging’s bergab (1968)
7. Alexandra – Mein Freund, der Baum (1968)
8. Lil Walker – Abschied im September (1968)
9. Mary Roos – Schmetterlinge weinen nicht (1970)
10. Haide Hansson – Du bist das Leben (1970)
11. Katja Ebstein – Und wenn ein neuer Tag erwacht (1970)
12. Peter Maffay – Du bist anders (1970)
13. Daliah Lavi – Willst du mit mir geh’n (1971)
14. Vicky Leandros – Dann kamst Du (1972)
15. Cindy & Bert – Geh’ die Straße (1972)
16. Ricky Shayne – Delta Queen (1972)
17. Su Kramer – Glaub’ an dich selbst (1972)
18. Elke Best – Nichts bleibt ungescheh’n (1972)
19. Agnetha – Komm’ doch zu mir (1972)
20. Jürgen Marcus – Eine neue Liebe ist wie ein neues Leben (1972)
21. Bernd Glüver – Der Junge mit der Mundhamonika (1973)
22. Michael Holm – Tränen lügen nicht (1974)
23. Joy Fleming – Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein (1975)
24. Marianne Rosenberg – Ich bin wie Du (1975)
25. Juliane Werding – Wenn Du denkst Du denkst, dann denkst Du nur Du denkst (1975)


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Any Major Hank Williams Songbook

September 14th, 2023 3 comments

In 1975, Waylon Jennings asked in his song: “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?”. His point was to criticise the rhinestone commercialism of country music, but it’s a question that may be applied to this Hank Williams Songbook. Well, Waylon, the answer is that, musically, most of these songs very much are not the way Hank done them. But, I venture, Hank would probably have approved of most of these versions of his songs anyway.

On September 17, we mark the 100th anniversary of Hank Williams’ birth. Born Hiram King Williams in Mount Olive, Alabama, Hank was a pivotal figure in the development of country music, and therefore also of rock & roll (even if rock & roll covers of Hank’s songs are pretty scarce). “The Hillbilly Shakespeare”, as he came to be dubbed for his lyrical faculties, was a big star in the late 1940s and early 1950s during which he created an astonishing number of great songs.

But the stardom came with personal challenges and health issues, including dependence on alcohol and pain killers, the latter due to chronic back pain caused by spina bifida occulta, a birth defect of the spinal column. When he died at the age of 29, he looked 20 years older.

Williams was scheduled to perform in Charleston, West Virginia, on New Year’s Eve 1952, having cancelled a number of shows before that due to his poor health. While he was being driven there in his blue Cadillac by his friend Charles Carr, Hank’s condition suddenly deteriorated. He never made it there, and the two went on to Canton Ohio, for a gig on January 1, 1953. Somewhere on the way to Canton, Hank died in the back seat of his Cadillac. Carr found him dead when he stopped at a filling station in Oak Hill, West Virginia. As Hank once sang, “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive”.

The official cause of death was listed as heart failure. The coroner’s report also mentioned the presence of alcohol and morphine in Williams’ system. Hank left behind his recently divorced wife. country singer Audrey Sheppard whom Hank had married in 1944, and their three-year-old son, future country star Hank Williams Jr.

Hank left a rich legacy of songs, including 55 Top 10 hits in the Billboard Country & Western Charts. Some of them have become standards which have been covered dozens or even more than 100 times. Some went on to become even bigger hits as pop songs, such as 1951’s Cold, Cold Heart for Tony Bennett in 1953. It later became a signature tune for Dinah Washington, whose version features here. Bennett is represented her with another hit Hank cover, There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight.

Other Hank standards include Hey Good Lookin’, Your Cheatin’ Heart, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Kaw-Liga, Move It On Over (later ripped off for Rock Around The Clock), You Win Again, and Jambalaya.

Three of these feature twice in this mix: Al Green’s and Barbara Lynn’s versions of I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Fats Domino’s and James Brown’s interpretations of Your Cheatin’ Heart, and Johnny Cash’s 1958 version of You Win Again is echoed in 1978 by The Rolling Stones (who themselves were the subject of a Songbook in June). You Win Again also featured in The Beatles’ film Let It Be, sung by John Lennon.

Hank Williams and wife Audrey Sheppard with Hank’s band The Drifting Cowboys.

The two Hanks, Senior and Junior, open the mix in a pairing that anticipates Nat and Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable duet by 25 years (Nat, by the way, covered Hank at least twice). In 1965 the technology wasn’t quite so advanced as it would be in 1990, so the recording of Move It On Over basically is an overdub of Hank Jr mixed with the original recording from 1947.

The line-up of artists in this collection shows just how adaptable Hank’s songs were: from various types of country to the jazz crooning of Tony Bennett to the rock & roll of Little Richard to the soul of Isaac Hayes to the new wave of Elvis Costello to the folk-rock of Patty Griffin to the indie of Camper Van Beethoven to the jazz of Madeleine Peyroux. Even the Red Hot Chilli Peppers recorded Hank on their 1984 debut, though I won’t feature their version of Why Don’t You Love Me, because it isn’t very good (here we have Elvis Costello’s version).

I can imagine that some people might be put off from investigating Hank Williams’ music because they don’t like his voice, or the songs’ arrangements, or because they are just suspicious of country music, or don’t know where to start. I hope this mix will serve as a decent introduction to the songs of one of the greatest songwriters in popular music.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, includes home-movedonovered covers, and the above text in an illustrated PDF.

1. Hank Williams Sr. & Hank Williams Jr. – Move It On Over (1965)
2. Johnny Cash – You Win Again (1958)
3. Hawkshaw Hawkins – Kaw Liga (1953)
4. Roberta Lee with The Blue Diamond Melody Boys – We’re Really In Love (1952)
5. Joni James – I’m Sorry For You My Friend (1959)
6. Tony Bennett – There’ll Be No Teardrops Tonight (1953)
7. Dinah Washington – Cold, Cold Heart (1962)
8. Ray Charles – Hey, Good Lookin’ (1962)
9. Fats Domino – Your Cheatin’ Heart (1964)
10. Little Richard – Settin’ The Woods On Fire (1971)
11. Professor Longhair – Jambalaya (1974)
12. Townes Van Zandt – Honky Tonkin’ (1972)
13. Waylon Jennings – Let’s Turn Back The Years (1975)
14. Elvis Presley – Men With Broken Hearts (live) (1970)
15. Al Green – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (1973)
16. Isaac Hayes – I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love In Love With You) (1973)
17. Madeleine Peyroux – Take These Chains From My Heart (2012)
18. Cat Power – Ramblin’ (Wo)man (2008)
19. Patty Griffin – House Of Gold (2010)
20. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – My Heart Would Know (2021)
21. Billy Bragg & Joe Henry – Lonesome Whistle (2016)
22. Bap Kennedy – Angel Of Death (1999)
23. Emmylou Harris & Mark Knopfler – Alone & Forsaken (2001)
24. Patty Loveless – I Can’t Get You Off Of My Mind (1988)
25. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Why Don’t You Love Me Like You Used To Do (1981)
26. John Prine – Dear John (I Sent Your Saddle Home) (1999)
27. Tompall And The Glaser Brothers – A Mansion On The Hill (1981)
28. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – I Saw The Light (1972)
29. Asleep At The Wheel – I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (1973)
30. James Brown – Your Cheatin’ Heart (1969)
31. Barbara Lynn – I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (1969)
32. George Jones – I’m A Long Gone Daddy (1987)
33. Huey Lewis & The News – Honky Tonk Blues (1983)
34. Camper Van Beethoven – Six More Miles To The Graveyard (1993)
35. The The – I Can’t Escape From You (1995)
36. The Rolling Stones – You Win Again (1978)


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
Rolling Stones Vol. 1
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

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Any Major Soul 1983

August 17th, 2023 2 comments


Nobody vaguely sane has ever claimed that 1983 represents a pinnacle in soul music. Still, there was enough good stuff around to produce a fine mix — one on which synth stabs and lazily programmed drum machines, which blighted so much soul in the ’80s, are in short supply. So the music on this mix is relatively timeless, rather than being a time capsule.

If Patti LaBelle’s Love, Need And Want You sounds vaguely familiar, then it is because it was prominently sampled by Nelly for his 2002 hit with Kelly Rowland, the superb Dilemma. In the video, LaBelle appeared as Kelly’s mother, which was a great touch.

The Mary Jane Girls’ All Night Long has also been liberally sampled, most famously by LL Cool J on his 1991 hit Around The Way Girl, and a few years later by Mary J Blige on Mary Jane (All Night Long), which was more tribute than sample. But in recording the Mary Jane Girls song, Rick James did a bit of copying themselves: the bassline borrows from Keni Burke’s song Risin’ To The Top from a year earlier.

Perhaps the most sampled song on this mix is Between The Sheets by the Isley Brothers. Wikipedia counts 50 samples, including on Da Brat’s Funkified, The Notorious B.I.G.’s Big Poppa, Doja Cat’s Like That, Gwen Stefani’s Luxurious, and Pretty Ricky’s On The Hotline.

One place you probably would not begin a search for soul music is Sweden. And yet, our Scandinavian friends are represented here in the form of the band Shine. The band’s creative main man was the Ghanaian/Dutch jazz funk musician Kofi Bentsi-Enchill, who also takes lead vocals on So Into You, along with Swedish-French jazz singer Babette Kontomanou. Shine released one album, and then faded away. Babette went on to have a good solo career.

Joyce Lawson has three albums to her credit. Her eponymous 1983 debut was followed by an album in 1987, and a third set 14 years after that. Her career took off after winning the US talent programme The Gong Show. I have found no further biographical info on Lawson, except that she appears to be no longer with us.

I think I ought to issue an earworm warning in regard to Baby I’m Scared Of You by Womack & Womack. That line, “Houdini, was great magician, he could crack a lock [dut dut] from any position”, has kept me awake as it refused to leave my ear. And once I succeeded to dispel it, there was Cecil Womack sitting in my ear: “Oh, like Rudolph Valentino, I can fall down on my knees…” You’ve been warned!

The great cover version of Superstar by Luther Vandross was one of the first tracks on my shortlist, but at nine minutes it’s rather too long to be included on a CD-R length mix. It’s included as a bonus track. Superstar is the redeeming feature of the album it closes, Busy Body, which I regard as Luther Vandross’ weakest effort.

By the way, all Any Major Soul mixes from 1964 onwards are up again.

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

1. Rufus & Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody
2. Lionel Richie – Love Will Find A Way
3. Isley Brothers – Between The Sheets
4. The Manhattans – Forever By Your Side
5. Womack & Womack – Baby I’m Scared Of You Baby
6. Patti LaBelle – Love, Need And Want You
7. Al Jarreau – I Will Be Here For You (Nitakungodea Milele)
8. Randy Crawford – Why?
9. Roberta Flack & Peabo Bryson – Maybe
10. Enchantment – Don’t Fight The Feeling
11. Gwen Guthrie – Oh What A Life
12. Shine – So Into You
13. Joyce Lawson – Try Me Tonight
14. Sister Sledge – Gotta Get Back To Love
15. Atlantic Starr – Touch A Four Leaf Clover
16. Mtume – Juicy Fruit
17. Mary Jane Girls – All Night Long
Bonus Track:
Luther Vandross – Superstar


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Any Major Telephone Vol. 4

August 10th, 2023 8 comments


Sometimes the lack of feedback can kill off a series of mixes. So it was with the Any Major Telephone series which I started in April 2013 with Volume 1. Any Major Telephone Vol. 2 dropped a few months later, and Vol. 3 in March 2014. The first two mixes got a lot of comments; the third only four (which in those days was rather little. Nowadays it would be a pleasing reaction). I thought the thing had run its course.

I had cause to revisit the Any Major Telephones when reader Jungle Jim (possibly not his real name) asked me to re-up Vol. 1 in the series, which he had somehow lost. I was happy to oblige — as I always am, provided I still have the requested mixes. Jim still had the other two volumes, but I have re-upped them as well. I reckon Vol. 2 is the best of the three.

And as I looked up the folder with Vol. 1, I noticed that I still had a long shortlist of telephone-related songs. So, after nine years, here’s Volume 4!

On the first two mixes, I used only songs that featured actual phone calls, direct or implied. Vol. 3 featured mostly tracks nominated by readers. This mix, like Vol. 3, places no restrictions on the nature of telephone-related subject matter, so there are a lot of ruminations about the potential of phone calls, usually involving a theme around the invitation or hope to receive a call.

The present mix closes with a French cover of Andy Williams’ Music To Watch ls Go By. Since our French singer from 1967 is a girl, who doubtless had her share of unnerving men watching her go by, she changes the subject to telephone games. Both song’s lyrics would have little application in the 2020s, when neither telephones and advocacy of sexist attitudes are appropriate subject matters in pop music.

Conversely, the song by the Drive-By Truckers, from almost 20 years ago, has a great message for our current age. When you drive, leave that cellphone alone! Or you might end up like country star George Jones, who in 1999 crashed into a bridge and was lucky to survive for another 14 years. He blamed talking on his cellphone while driving, though he later admitted to also having been under the influence of alcohol. The experience drove the hard drinker to sobriety. So, obviously, don’t drink (or smoke weed) and drive — and, please, don’t text and drive!As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and include home-payphoned covers. PW in comments.

1. Curiosity Killed The Cat – Name And Number (1989)
2. Blondie – Call Me (1980)
3. City Boy – (1977)
4. Foreigner – Love On The Telephone (1979)
5. RAH Band – Clouds Across The Moon (1985)
6. Deacon Blue – When Will You Make My Telephone Ring (1988)
7. Prince – How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore (1982)
8. Chaka Khan – Telephone (1992)
9. Corinne Bailey Rae – Call Me When You Get This (2006)
10. Mayer Hawthorne – You Called Me (2011)
11. The Sylvers – Hot Line (1976)
12. Aaron Neville – Wrong Number (I’m Sorry, Goodbye) (1962)
13. Billy Fury – Phone Call (1960)
14. Hawkshaw Hawkins – Lonesome 7-7203 (1963)
15. Mel Tillis – Coca Cola Cowboy (1979)
16. Drive-By Truckers – George Jones Talkin’ Cell Phone Blues (2009)
17. Shelby Lynne – Telephone (2003)
18. Sheryl Crow – Callin’ Me When I’m Lonely (2013)
19. Wings – Call Me Back Again (1973)
20. 10cc – Donna (1972)
21. ABBA – Ring Ring (1973)
22. Natacha Snitkine – Le Jeu du telephone (1967)


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