Any Major Soul 1972 – Vol. 2

August 28th, 2014 3 comments

Any Major Soul 1972 - Vol.2

The second volume of Any Major Soul 1972 features a number of well-known acts, but few of them doing their better-known songs. This compilation demonstrates the sheer quality from which labels could choose singles.

Aretha Franklin, for example, covers Dusty Springfield’s “A Brand New Me” (though I prefer the original). A composition by Philly soul giants Thom Bell, Jerry Butler and Kenneth Gamble, Aretha departs from the early Philly soul to give it a southern soul vibe which turns into an extended jazzy outro.

One famous name missing on both volumes is Stevie Wonder, who released two soul classics in 1972, Music Of My Mind and Talking Book. Like the two Donny Hathaway classics also issued that year, these should be in every good record collection. Stevie is represented here by his ex-wife Syreeta, whose eponymous album he produced and wrote seven out of nine songs for, including the featured “Keep Him Like He Is”.

Few soul songs have give rise to a documentary. Billy Paul’s “Am I Black Enough For You” provided the context for a 2009 documentary by Swedish director Göran Hugo Olsson, which examines the career of Billy Paul, Philly soul, money in the record business and black politics. The song was Paul’s follow-up single to the crossover mega-hit “Me And Mrs Jones”. Needless to say that it did not provide another crossover hit. An expression of Paul’s political activism, its choice as a single did much to undermine the career of Billy Paul, even as it appeared at the same time of soul singers making statements of African-American assertiveness — it was the year, after all, in which Aretha Franklin, universally admired Queen of Soul, titled her LP Young, Gifted and Black.

Between The Blossoms and The Glass House there was some controversy. The latter were on Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus Records; the former were ready to sign for the label. The Blossoms — Darlene Love, Fanita James and Jean King — had been one of the great backing bands of the 1960s. Some great Phil Spector productions, such as The Crystal’s “He’s A Rebel”, were recorded by the trio but were credited to others.  By 1972 they were recording with the Dozier and the Holland brothers.

The trouble came when they apparently released The Blossoms’ recording of a great gospel-soul song titled “Touch Me Jesus” (which featured on Saved! Vol. 2) under the Glass House moniker, even though Glass House singer Scherrie Payne (Freda’s sister) sounded nothing like the very recognisable Darlene Love. The Blossoms didn’t sign with Invictus, and — probably still pissed off at the betrayals of Spector — sued H-D-H instead. Don’t let that put you off The Glass House, though — they were excellent.

Jazz fans might be surprised to encounter Leon Thomas here, and, indeed, Thomas was a jazz singer, even singing with Count Basie’s band in the 1960s. But he also dabbled in soul, as he did on 1972’s Blues And The Soulful Truth, which has some soul songs, a few funk numbers, a bit of blues, and some jazz, including a ten-minute avant-garde piece titled “Gypsy Queen”.

Followers of 1990s soul will be interested to learn that the lead singer of The Montclairs was Phil Perry, who in 1991 had a hit with a cover of Aretha’s “Call Me”. Perry was scheduled to play a set of lunchtime jazz at the World Trade Centre on December 11, 2001. Luckily he had not yet arrived when the towers came down, but for years after he was in an artistic depression. With The Montclairs he recorded only one album, 1972’s Dreaming Out Of Season.

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

1. The Temptations – What It Is
2. Billy Paul – Am I Black Enough For You?
3. Ann Peebles – How Strong Is A Woman
4. Earth, Wind & Fire – They Don’t See
5. The Dramatics – Thank You For Your Love
6. The Glass House – V.I.P.
7. The Montclairs – Dreaming’s Out Of Season
8. Al Green – What Is This Feeling
9. Aretha Franklin – A Brand New Me
10. Bobby Womack – Woman’s Gotta Have It
11. Bill Withers – Lonely Town, Lonely Street
12. Syreeta – Keep Him Like He Is
13. Leon Thomas – Love Each Other
14. Grady Tate – I Just Wanna Be There
15. Eddie Kendricks – Someday We’ll Have A Better World
16. The Soul Children – Hearsay
17. The Bar Kays – Be Yourself
18. Bobby Patterson – I Get My Groove From You
19. Ollie Nightengale – Here I Am Again
20. The Blossoms – Cherish What Is Dear To You
21. The Supremes – Your Wonderful Sweet Sweet Love
22. Ruby Andrews – You Made A Believer Out Of Me


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Any Major Morning Vol. 2

August 21st, 2014 6 comments

Any Major Morning_2

Last October ago I posted what has turned out to be my favourite mix of 2013, one I have listened to more than any other collection of music, on the theme of mornings. Likewise, I have played the present, second morning mix practically on loop over the past few months. It’s that good, and it is high time I share it with you.

The previous mix simply featured songs with the word “morning” in the title, provided the lyrics were set in the morning. The titles in this lot don’t all include the word “morning”, but they abide broadly by the latter rule. So I disqualify songs like “Touch Me In The Morning” or “Angel Of The Morning” wherein the singer is anticipating behaviours that still lie ahead. I’ve not been steadfast with that rule; the Crash Test Dummies survived it, as did Hall & Oates.

Obviously I have tried to avoid songs that use the idea of “morning” as a metaphor, so no “It’s Morning Britain” by Aztec Camera. And, Faron Young: 4 am is hardly “morning”, chum.

I’m surprised by how few songs there are about that great morning activity: breakfasts. The songs included here are not exactly about croissants and flapjacks (unless those can be applied as euphemisms), though the cute and amusing K’s Choice song sort of is.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-yawned covers (with graphics sourced from the fine site). PW in comments.

1. The Beatles – Good Morning Good Morning (1967)
2. The Pretty Things – She Says Good Morning (1968)
3. Big Star – Watch The Sunrise (1972)
4. Richie Havens – Morning, Morning (1968)
5. Badfinger – Sweet Tuesday Morning (1971)
6. Daryl Hall & John Oates – When The Morning Comes (1973)
7. Neil Diamond – Deep In The Morning (1969)
8. Jimmy James & The Vagabonds – Good Day Sunshine (1968)
9. Chuck Jackson – I Wake Up Crying (1961)
10. The Rascals – A Beautiful Morning (1968)
11. The Monkees – Sometime In The Morning (1967)
12. Dusty Springfield – Breakfast in Bed (1969)
13. Gil Scott-Heron – I Think I’ll Call It Morning (1971)
14. The Bar Kays – Memphis At Sunrise (1972)
15. Bill Withers – Lovely Day (1977)
16. The Partridge Family – I Woke Up In Love This Morning (1971)
17. Glen Campbell – Sunflower (1977)
18. George Strait – Amarillo By Morning (1982)
19. Cowboy Junkies – Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning (1990)
20. Crash Test Dummies – Get You In The Morning (1999)
21. The Boo Radleys – Wake Up Boo! (1995)
22. Eels – Saturday Morning (2003)
23. Richard Hawley – As The Dawn Breaks (2009)
24. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Someday Some Morning Sometime (2000)
25. K’s Choice – Breakfast (1993)
26. Norah Jones – Sunrise (2004)


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A Life In Vinyl: 1977

August 14th, 2014 12 comments

Life In Vinyl 1977

Here’s a new series in which I follow my life as a music-consumer, from the time I became a serious buyer. It sort of follows the “Stepping Back” series which I abandoned a few years ago at 1981 because it was just too labour-intensive.

1977 was the year I turned 11. It was a pivotal year in my life, perhaps more than any other. My family was torn apart by my father’s sudden death, I discovered love, I began to take learning English seriously, and I became a serious fan of pop music. My love for the cute girl from a different suburb was short-lived, my family remained broken, but music was my big passion, alongside football.

Reviewing the music I listened to in 1977 and after that, I made some rapid leaps: in October 1977 I bought a record by teen idol Leif Garrett and in December still two by Swedish popster Harpo; by April 1978 I bought singles by Kate Bush and Jethro Tull, then by The Stranglers and Sham 69.

I didn’t have most of what is featured on the present mix on record, but these songs recreate the year for me. When I hear “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” I hear my mother’s grief. When I hear Kenny Roger’s “Lucille”, I can smell the leather of my new black shoes I received that autumn. “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” prompted me to become serious about learning English when I looked up a four-syllable word (“esitayshon”). Raffaella Carrà’s “A Far L’Amore Comincia Tu” became the first song for which I developed an active hatred; I feel slightly more generous towards it now.

Since the mix is timed to fit on a CD, I had to omit some songs which would tell a fuller story of my year in music. So you are deprived of Rosetta Stone’s cover of “Sunshine Of Your Love”, songs by The Rubettes, Tina Rainford and La Belle Epoque, Lonzo’s German version of “No Milk Today”, and Hoffmann & Hoffmann’s German cover of the Bellamy Brother’s “Crossfire” (and, indeed, the original). You might consider yourself lucky.covers-77-a I might well have duplicated some artists, especially Harpo, who had three other songs I had on record (“Rock ‘n’ Roll Clown”, “Television” and “With A Girl Like You”), Baccara (“Sorry, I’m A Lady”), Boney M (“Sunny” and “Ma Baker”) and the Bay City Rollers (“Yesterday’s Hero” and “It’s A Game”) . The BCR track included is a great pop song, incidentally.

The opening track by Marianne Rosenberg is now a cult hit, especially popular with Germany’s drag queens. It’s a slice of wonderful  Schlager-disco, with a lyrical concept which simulates that of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”.

Since this mix reflects the listening pleasures and experiences of an 11-year-old, I don’t necessarily endorse any of the featured tracks, but I’d describe the ABBA song as my favourite by that great group.covers-77-bAs always, CD-R length, covers, PW in comments.

1. Marianne Rosenberg – Marleen
2. Smokie – Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone
3. Manhattan Transfer – Chanson d’Amour
4. Bonnie Tyler – Lost In France
5. Julie Covington – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
6. Lynsey de Paul & Mike Moran – Rock Bottom
7. Oliver Onions – Orzowei
8. Space – Magic Fly
9. David Soul – Silver Lady
10. Amanda Lear – Queen Of Chinatown
11. Harpo – In The Zum-Zum-Zummernight
12. Baccara – Yes Sir, I Can Boogie
13. Boney M. – Belfast
14. Bay City Rollers – You Made Me Believe In Magic
15. Leif Garrett – Surfin’ USA
16. Umberto Tozzi – Ti Amo
17. Kenny Rogers – Lucille
18. Carole King – Hard Rock Cafe
19. Glen Campbell – Southern Nights
20. Raffaella Carrà – A far l’amore comincia tu (Liebelei)
21. Abba – The Name Of The Game
22. Santa Esmeralda – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood


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Songs about Vietnam Vol. 1

August 7th, 2014 7 comments


August 9 will be the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon showing the country called Godblessamerica the Victory sign — because leaving the presidency in disgrace apparently was a moment of triumph — before climbing into the helicopter that would take him to a place called Ignominy. It was still better than being thrown out of it over the Atlantic, as was the wont of the regimes which Nixon, Kissinger and pals helped install in South America.

Two years earlier Nixon had ended the war (sort of) which he didn’t start but nonetheless cheerfully perpetuated, having sabotaged a peace in order to win the 1968 election. It was Johnson’s war, and it was Nixon’s war. The Vietnam War gave cause to many protest songs, and some of them will be covered here over at least two mixes (perhaps the second mix will run in November, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of LBJ being elected).

All these songs are in protest against the war; there were, of course, pro-war songs, but I’m quite glad to leave these well alone. Where the pro-war songs focussed on misplaced patriotism, jingoistic promises to kick Charlie’s ass and revulsion at treacherous hippies too cowardly to fight for America’s freedom, man, the anti-war songs took many different approaches.

Many were concerned with the soldiers. The most famous of these was Freda Payne’s “Bring The Boys Home”, a hit on which Change of Pace riffed with their “Bring My Buddies Back”, sung from the perspective of a soldier who has escaped the hell of combat. William Bell’s “Marching Off To War” (written by Eddie Floyd and Steve Cropper) is also from the POV of a soldier about to depart for Vietnam, as is Archie Bell & the Drells’ “A Soldier’s Prayer, 1967”, while the narrator of Mike Williams’ “I’m A Lonely Soldier” speaks as a combatant in a war that “they said would set me free”.

The human interest angle was apparent also in songs about people who had loved ones in Vietnam, or leaving for the wear, with the distinct possibility that they will not return. The three tracks closing this set cover that beat. The Charmels’ track was written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter.

In the powerful “Hymn No. 5”, The Mighty Hannibal (who died earlier this year) describes the effect of war on the soldier.


Of course, things also had to be political. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” attacked the exemptions from combat which the scions of the elites enjoyed. It was inspired by David Eisenhower, grandson of Ike, who married Julie Nixon, daughter of the crook, and git out of seeing combat duty by enrolling into military academia. It also could have been about George W Bush and Dick Cheney, draft dodgers by patronage who nonetheless felt equipped to send young people to their deaths in wars which have caused much harm, to the regions they invaded and to the US itself.

Steppenwolf, who provided hairy bikers with their anthem, made their conscientious objection clear, preferring to be called a draft resistor and, unlike Dick and Dubya, avoid combat not because they were privileged dodgers, but because they held on to values.

Richie Havens’ “Handsome Johnny” (co-written by actor Louis Gossett Jr) references war in general, but also mentions the Vietnam War, during which it was released. It juxtaposes a series of wars and the weapons that were used with the non-violent battle for civil rights. The final verse, with its reference to guided missiles, has application even today, when that great disappointment of a president cheerfully applies drones and defends the indefensible in the bombing of Gaza.

Some songs took a soft approach. Jay and the Americans issued their appeal to Nixon to make peace through his daughter, because apparently he was everybody’s daddy for a while. It might be soft-pedalling, but the message is critical of Nixon’s war policy, and therefore of Nixon himself.

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

1. William Bell – Marching Off To War (1966)
2. Change Of Pace – Bring My Buddies Back (1971)
3. Jay & the Americans – Tricia Tell Your Daddy (1970)
4. Richie Havens – Handsome Johnny (1967)
5. Lou Rawls – The Politician (1972)
6. Nina Simone – The Backlash Blues (1967)
7. John Lee Hooker – I Don’t Wanna Go To Vietnam (1968)
8. The Mighty Hannibal – Hymn No. 5 (1966)
9. Archie Bell & the Drells – A Soldier’s Prayer, 1967 (1968)
10. Ernie Hines – Our Generation (1972)
11. Sammy Brown – Vietnam (You Sun Of A Gun) (1973)
12. Edwin Starr – War (1970)
13. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son (1969)
14. Steppenwolf – Draft Resister (1969)
15. Deep Purple – Child In Time (1970)
16. The Byrds – Draft Morning (1968)
17. Johnny Cash – Roll Call (1967)
18. John Prine – Sam Stone (1971)
19. Eugene McDaniels – Silent Majority (1970)
20. Mike Williams – Lonely Soldier (1966)
21. The Charmels – Please Uncle Sam (Send Back My Man) (1966)
22. Melverine Thomas – A Letter From My Son (1970)
23. Thelma Houston – Don’t Cry My Soldier Boy (1967)



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In Memoriam – July 2014

August 4th, 2014 7 comments

In Memoriam - July 2014When The Ramones were inducted into the Hall of Fame, drummer Marky Ramone paid tribute to his predecessor Tommy Ramone for inventing the drumming style which Marky had to keep up with.

Tommy, who was born Thomas Erdelyi to Hungarian Holocaust survivors and died on July 11, was supposed to be the band’s manager. But when it turned out that Dee Dee couldn’t play bass and sing at the same time, Joey was moved from the drums to the mic, and Tommy, who couldn’t even play the drums, took up the sticks. It was a master stroke: Joey was a natural frontman, Dee Dee looked cool with his mouth shut, and Tommy’s machine-gun drumming drove a sound which inspired the punk movement, even in England where The Clash sought to emulate the guys from Queens.

Most musicians who feature in this series have been retired from recording music, or otherwise have faded from public view. Not so blues-rock legend Johnny Winter, who died in a hotel room in Switzerland while on tour in Europe. He had just recorded an album, Step Back, with people like Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons and Joe Perry guest-starring (it will be released in September), and was about to tour the US. Winter, who shared the trademark long blonde mane with his keyboardist brother Edgar, was rated highly as a guitar-great. He also produced a trio of Grammy-winning albums for Muddy Waters, the commercial peak for the blues legend.

Times were when a 16-year-old session drummer could be involved in making a stone cold rock & roll classic. So it as with drummer Idris Muhammad, who as a teenager named Leo Morris drummed on Fats Domino’s megahit “Blueberry Hill”. He subsequently became an acclaimed jazz drummer, beating the skins for the likes of (deep breath) Ahmad Jamal, Gene Ammons, Nat Adderley, George Benson, Pharaoh Sanders, Shirley Scott, Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Lou Donaldson, Gábor Szabó, Horace Silver, Stanley Turrentine, Paul Desmond, Houston Person, Freddie Hubbard and many others, as well as releasing 13 albums himself. He converted to Islam in the 1960s.

Cafe Wha?

Café Wah? in Manhattan in the 1960s. It’s still going today.

Normally a nightclub owner would not make the cut for this series, but Manny Roth (David Lee Roth’s uncle) merits an exception to the rule as the owner of the long-running Café Wha? Nightclub at 115 Macdougal Street in Manhattan, which provided a stage for unknowns such as Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, The Velvet Underground, Kool and the Gang, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.

Last year we lost George Jones; now his long-time sideman George Riddle has departed at the age of 78. Riddle was the founder of the country legend’s backing band, The Jones Boys, but often it was just Jones and Riddle on stage. Riddle was a fixture on the country circuit: as a musician and songwriter (he wrote 13 hits for Jones), as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, and as a trusted companion — he was in the car with the Louvain Brothers when they decided to break up. One of two songs in tribute to Riddle anticipates the mix I’ll post on Thursday.

Until this month, there lived a man in New Orleans who had played with Mamie Smith. Lionel Ferbos died on July 19, two days after his 103rd birthday. Ferbos didn’t record much, but was an active part of the New Orleans jazz and history scene for most of his long life. As things stand right now and as far as I can ascertain, only two other centenarians would qualify for inclusion in this series when their day comes: gospel singer Elder Roma Wilson, who is 103, and French chanteuse Léo Marjane, 101. It seems the oldest music person alive is British classical composer Roy Douglas, who is 106.


Betty Cody, 92, country singer, on July 1
Hank Snow & Betty Cody – It’s You Only You That I Love (1953)

Nick Charles, blues bassist and saxophonist, on July 1
Eddie Burns – Snake Eyes (2002, on bass)

Kathy Stobart, 89, British jazz saxophonist, on July 5

Castro, 32, Ghanaian musician, drowned on July 6
Castro feat. Kofi Kinaata & Asamoah Gyan – Odo Pa (2013)

Lois Johnson, 72, country singer, on July 7
Lois Johnson – From Warm To Cool To Cold (1971)

Ken Thorne, 90, British film score composer (Help!, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), on July 9

John Spinks, 60, guitarist and singer of British pop band The Outfield, on July 9
The Outfield – Your Love (1985)

Chris Grier, member of avant garde ensemble To Live and Shave in L.A., on July 10

Tommy Ramone, 65, original drummer of the Ramones and producer, on July 11
Ramones -  I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (1976, also as writer)
Ramones – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (1977)
Ramones – I Wanna Be Sedated (1978, as producer)

Charlie Haden, 76, jazz bassist and bandleader, On July 11
Charlie Haden – At The End Of The World (2002)

Vange Leonel, 51, Brazilian singer-songwriter, on July 14

Johnny Winter, 70, blues guitarist and singer, producer, on July 16
Johnny Winter – Rock Me Baby (1973)
Muddy Waters – 33 Years (1978, as producer)
Johnny Winter – White Line Blues (1992)

Lionel Ferbos, 103, jazz trumpeter, on July 19

George Riddle, 78, country musician and songwriter, on July 20
Melba Montgomery – Hall Of Shame (1963, as songwriter)
George Riddle – Lonesome Vietnam

Manfred Sexauer, 83, presenter of German music shows Beat Club and Musikladen, on July 20
Mood-Mosaic – A Touch Of Velvet-A Sting Of Brass (1966, theme of Beat Club and Musikladen)

Gene Walker, 76, jazz and rock saxophonist, on July 21
Gene Walker and his Combo – Empire City (1963)

Saado Ali Warsame, Somali singer-songwriter and politician, assassinated on July 23

Christian Falk, 52, singer and bassist of Swedish punk band Imperiet, announced on July 24

Idris Muhammad, 74, jazz drummer, on July 29
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill (1956, on drums)
Lou Donaldson – Dapper Dan (1968, on drums)
Idris Muhammad – Hard To Face The Music (1976)

Dick Wagner, 71, guitarist with Ursa Major, sideman for Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, on July 30
Ursa Major – In My Darkest Hour (1972)
Alice Cooper – Only Women Bleed (1975, on guitar and as co-writer)

Manny Roth, 95, owner of the Cafe Wha? Nightclub, on July 30

(PW in comments)


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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2

July 31st, 2014 27 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2

(Time to recycle thus post from 2009. Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1 re-ran in March. A new, third mix will come soonish.)

The first Not Feeling Guilty mix went down well, and if comments to the post, by e-mail and Facebook (click here to become my friend) are an indication, my rant against the false notion of “guilty pleasures” expressed what many felt.

So here is the second mix. I can’t see much to feel guilty about here. Anyone who might be ashamed of secretly enjoying the sounds of Boz Scaggs does not deserve to hear music. Anyone who dismisses Christopher Cross as a cheesy two-hit wonder self-evidently hates music (yes, VH-1, I mean you). Anyone who fails to funk along, even just a little bit, to the Larsen-Feiten Band, Pablo Cruise or the Climax Blues Band has no ryhthm in their soul. Not that I ought to make anyone feel guilty about not liking music.

The inclusion of Todd Rundgren might raise some eyebrows. Well, I consider his 1970 track a progenitor of the whole soft rock genre. See whether you agree or not.

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

1. Doobie Brothers – Listen To The Music (1972)
2. Boz Scaggs - JoJo (1980)
3. Larsen-Feiten Band - Who Will Be The Fool Tonight (1980)
4. Pablo Cruise – Watcha Gonna Do (1977)
5. Climax Blues Band – Couldn’t Get It Right (1976)
6. Atlanta Rhythm Section - So Into You (1976)
7. JD Souther - You’re Only Lonely (1979)
8. James Taylor – Your Smiling Face (1977)
9. Rickie Lee Jones – Chuck E’s In Love (1979)
10. Andrew Gold – Never Let Her Slip Away (1978)
11. Jay Ferguson – Thunder Island (1977)
12. Boston - Amanda (1986)
13. Kansas - Dust In The Wind (1977)
14. Poco - A Good Feelin’ To Know (1972)
15. King Harvest – Dancing In The Moonlight (1972)
16. Sutherlands Brothers & Quiver – Arms Of Mary (1975)
17. Albert Hammond - The Peacemaker (1973)
18. Loggins & Messina – Watching the River Run (1977)
19. Christopher Cross – All Right (1983)
20. Todd Rundgren – We Gotta Get You A Woman 1970)
21. Little River Band – The Night Owls (1981)



Any Major Summer Vol. 3

July 24th, 2014 10 comments

Any Major Summer Vol. 3

First I gave you a summer mix when the northern hemisphere was freezing its collective ass off.

When things became milder, I offered a second summer mix to build up the anticipation.

And here, as the north has its toes (socked or not) peeping through sandals and the south puts another log on the fire, is the third mix. I dare say it is fairly eclectic fare, taking us from Nat King Cole to Hüsker Dü in about an hour.

Of course there’ll be another summer mix, when the seasons change again.

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

1. Nat ‘King’ Cole – Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer (1963)
2. Sammy Davis Jr. & Count Basie – The Girl From Ipanema (1965)
3. The Beach Boys – The Warmth Of The Sun (1964)
4. Mungo Jerry – In The Summertime (1970)
5. First Class – Beach Baby (1974)
6. DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince – Summertime (1991)
7. J.T. Taylor – Long Hot Summer Night (1991)
8. Enchantment – Sunny Shine Feeling (1977)
9. Jon Lucien – A Sunny Day (1974)
10. The Manhattans – Summertime In The City (1974)
11. Sly and the Family Stone – Hot Fun In The Summertime (1969)
12. Scott Walker – Joanna (1968)
13. Gene Watson – Love In The Hot Afternoon (1975)
14. Bob Dylan – In The Summertime (1981)
15. Sheryl Crow – Soak Up The Sun (2002)
16. Hüsker Dü – Celebrated Summer (1985)
17. Nick Heyward – The Queen Of Summertime (1996)
18. The Smiths – Cemetry Gates (1986)
19. Josh Rouse – Summertime (2006)
20. Herman Düne – This Summer (2006)
21. Jens Lekman – A Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill (2005)


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Any Major Summer Vol. 1
Any Major Summer Vol. 2
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Any Major Soul 1972 – Vol. 1

July 17th, 2014 7 comments

Any Major Soul 1972 - Vol.1

Was 1972 the greatest year in soul music? I don’t know, but I have two full mixes for the year with enough good stuff to easily fill a third without having to duplicate an artist or compromise quality (but let’s not get stuck on one year). So here goes the first gorgeous compilation.

I might have included almost any song from Lyn CollinsThink (About It) album, produced by James Brown, with the JBs backing. In memory of DJ EZ Rock, who died in April, I went with the title track, from which he and Rob Base — and loads of others — sampled for their big 1988 hit, “It Takes Two”, borrowing the line of their title and, more importantly the “Yeah! Woo!” (voices by Bobby Byrd and James Brown).

Possibly the best song ever about alcohol abuse — and by that I mean songs that note the destructive sides of it, not its celebration — is “So Many Ways To Die” by Barbara Jean English. The song, featured on Any Major Soul 1972/73, is heartbreaking. The track featured here sounds a lot more upbeat, though its subject matter is not very upbeat either. English sang with a number of vocal groups, most notably the Clickettes. Sadly she released only two solo albums in the 1970s, plus another in 1989.

Ernie Hines also did not have much mainstream success in soul music, which is a shame, because his one major album, Electrified, was quite excellent. From the album, issued by Stax-subsidiary We Produce, the track “Our Generation” was covered by John Legend & The Roots in 2010. To me the highlight is the gospel groove “A Better World (For Everyone)”. Hines is still performing and recording as a gospel singer.

Also coming from a gospel background was… well, virtually everybody in this series. One of them was the relatively obscure but rather wonderful Debbie Taylor, who released eight singles and one album between 1967 and 1975. The featured track comes from the album, Comin’ Down On You. After 1975 she disappeared, apparently after refusing to sign a record deal which would have meant severing ties with her long-time producer and arranger. Taylor’s name was actually a pseudonym:  born Maydie Myles, she changed it because her religious parents disapproved of secular music. After retiring the Taylor persona she sang on several dance tracks. In 2011 she released a CD, as Maydie Myles, and at the same time revealed that she was Debbie Taylor, getting many soul fans very excited.

EDIT: It seems that the Millie Jackson track in the mix is corrupted. I have upped it separately. Just overwrite it in the folder with THIS FILE.

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

1. The Whispers – Here Comes Tomorrow
2. Michael Jackson – I Wanna Be Where You Are
3. The O’Jays – This Air I Breathe
4. Lyn Collins – Think (About It)
5. Laura Lee – Wedlock Is A Padlock
6. Ernie Hines – A Better World (For Everyone)
7. Billy Preston – Will It Go Round in Circles
8. Labelle – Sunday’s News
9. Patti & The Lovelites – Is That Loving In Your Heart
10. Betty Wright – Don’t Let It End This Way
11. Debbie Taylor – (I Just Can’t Believe I’m) Touching You
12. The Chi-Lites – Living In The Footsteps Of Another Man
13. The Delfonics – Walk Right Up To The Sun
14. Cornelius Brothers And Sister Rose – Too Late To Turn Back Now
15. Ronnie McNeir – I’m So Thankful
16. Millie Jackson – Ask Me What You Want
17. Barbara Jean English – I’m Living A Lie
18. The Ovations – One In A Million
19. Brighter Side Of Darkness – Oh Baby
20. Kimberley Briggs – Give A Man An Inch
21. The Staple Singers – We The People
22. Curtis Mayfield – No Thing On Me
23. Luther Ingram – Oh Baby, You Can Depend On Me
24. Timmy Thomas – Rainbow Power


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More Any Major Soul

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Categories: 70s Soul, Any Major Soul Tags:

A Hard Day’s Night – Recovered

July 10th, 2014 13 comments

A Hard Day's Night Recovered- front

Today, July 10, it is 50 years since The Beatles released their A Hard Day’s Night LP in the UK (the US version, with a different tracklisting, followed two weeks later). It was a landmark event for pop music, not because the music was especially innovative, but because here a pop group released an album including only own compositions. In 1964, this was very unusual indeed.

And this even more remarkable when one considers just how busy the group was at the time, with all the touring and US television appearances (as documented here), filming the movie and recording even more music that didn’t make it on to the album. In their writing, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were so prolific that they could give away pretty good songs to other artists, such a Peter & Gordon, Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer. The creative pressure showed on the follow-up, Beatles For Sale, which was released later in 1964 and included several covers (and also a few stone-cold Beatles classics).

A Hard Day’s Night was very much Lennon’s work. He wrote the title track, I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why, Any Time At All, I’ll Cry Instead, When I Get Home and You Can’t Do That, most of If I Fell and I’ll Be Back, and contributed to McCartney’s I’m Happy Just To Dance With You. But Paul’s three other contributions are probably the strongest: And I Love Her, Things We Said Today and Can’t Buy Me Love.

A Hard Day's Night Recovered- back

A Hard Day’s Night was also the first Beatles album to rely on the Beatles’ unique sound. Where the previous two LPs included several covers of rock & roul and R&B songs, and many songs recalled the various influences from which the group drew, this was the first album on which The Beatles totally owned their sound. Nobody sounded like them.

And yet, this is not down to the compositions themselves, but the arrangements they benefited from. Listen to this set of covers, sequenced in the original chronology of the album, to hear just how flexible these songs are. Some of them sound nothing like a Beatles song. I believe that if a song can be covered well in any genre in ways that do not sound like a cover (never mind a pastiche), then it’s a great song. So Ella Fitzgerald can turn Can’t Buy Me Love into a big band number without it sounding like a novelty number, and John Mayall can turn A Hard Day’s Night into a true blues song, no matter how familiar we are with these Beatles standards.

My favourite here, however, is the Holmes Brothers’ bluesy version of And I Love Her. Vanilla Fudge’s psychedelic rock take on You Can’t Do That from 1968 is a trip, too.

The covers featured in this post are included in higher resolution. PW in comments.

1. John Mayall – A Hard Day’s Night (1975)
2. Beach Boys – I Should Have Known Better (1965)
3. Keely Smith – If I Fell (1965)
4. Anne Murray – I’m Happy Just To Dance With You (1980)
5. The Holmes Brothers – And I Love Her (1997)
6. April Wine – Tell Me Why (1982)
7. Ella Fitzgerald – Can’t Buy Me Love (1964)
8. Nils Lofgren – Anytime At All (1981)
9. Johnny Rivers – I’ll Cry Instead (1965)
10. Bobby Fuller Four – Things We Said Today (1960s)
11. Yellow Matter Custard – When I Get Home (2003)
12. Vanilla Fudge – You Can’t Do That (1968)
13. Elliott Smith – I’ll Be Back (released 2011)



More Beatles stuff:
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Any Bizarre Beatles
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
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2

More Mix-CD-Rs

Categories: Beatles, Mix CD-Rs Tags:

In Memoriam – June 2014

July 3rd, 2014 5 comments

In_Memoriam_1406The exciting, eventful and not always edifying life of Bobby Womack has ended at 70, putting an end to the singer’s battles with cancer and Alzheimer’s. Womack was, of course, one of the great soul voices and writers in soul music. He was a wonderful interpreter of covers (his cover of “Come Fly With Me” is quite impressive) and the originator of influential music, starting with the original of the Rolling Stones’ hit “It’s All Over Now”.

Less known was his work as a session musician, a consequence of the ostracism that followed his marriage to the widow of his mentor and close friend Sam Cooke, just three months after Cooke’s killing. Womack always maintained that he did so to protect Cooke’s widow; Cooke’s family and friends in the industry saw it as an opportunistic betrayal (the marriage failed when he had an affair with his step-daughter Linda, who would go on to marry Bobby’s brother Cecil, with whom she had a career as Womack & Womack).

As a session guitarist, Bobby played with the likes of Wilson Pickett (including “I’m In Love” and “I’m A Midnight Mover”, which Womack also wrote), Aretha Franklin (including “Chain Of Fools”), Dusty Springfield (including “Son Of The Preacher Man”), Elvis Presley (apparently also on “Suspicious Minds”), The Box Tops (on “The Letter”), Rita Coolidge, Ron Wood, Johnny Nash and others. And the wah-wah guitars on Sly & the Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Going On album, including those on “Family Affair”, was all Womack’s work. He also co-wrote “Breezin’” with Gabor Szabo, later a hit for George Benson.


One of the great hitmakers of the 1970s has left the Brill Building (well, 1650 Broadway, really). Gerry Goffin penned many timeless classics with his then-wife Carole King, from “The Loco-Motion”, “Take Good Care Of My Baby”, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”, “One Fine Day”, “Up On The Roof” to “I’m Into Something Good”,  “That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho)”, “Smackwater Jack” and “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”.

Particularly noteworthy was his ability to write lyrics from a female point of view. The words of “Natural Woman” and “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” — but also of the controversial “He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)”, a song intended as a protest against spousal abuse and the justification some women use to defend their abusive partners, but quickly and lazily misinterpreted as some form of endorsement.

Carole King, Paul Simon and Gerry Goffin in 1957.

Carole King, Paul Simon and Gerry Goffin in 1957.

Later Goffin co-wrote with different partners, scoring hits with Diana Ross’ “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)”, “Saving All My Love For You” (originally for Marilyn McCoo) and “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You (originally for George Benson).

Included here are three original versions of later hits, including “That Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Hi) by The City, a short-lived band comprising Goffin’s ex-wife King, her future husband Charles Larkey and Danny Kortchmar.


Casey Kasem has dropped out of the Top 40. Kasem’s Top 40 radio countdown helped change pop music, not only in the US but around the world. He was known internationally — and not only as the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo — so his death was noted by many outside the United States.

What was rarely noted in the US was Kasem’s background: one of the union’s most beloved celebrity was an Arab, in a country which tends to take a caricatured view of Arabs. Kasem, who was born in Detroit of Lebanese background as Kemal Amen Kasem, said in 1991 that warped stereotypes in the US had “demonised and dehumanised Arabs. We think of them, to quote an Israeli general, as ‘cockroaches to be kept in bottles’. That’s not the kind of mind-set that is healthy for the world.” Indeed.


Horace Silver on the piano.

Horace Silver on the piano.

Steely Dan didn’t forget his number: Horace Silver’s “Song For My Father” gave the Dan the bass riff for “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and the melody’s influence can be heard on their song “FM”. The horn riff might also have inspired Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’Bout A Thing”. Born of a father from Cape-Verde and an Irish-African mother, Silver was a headliner in his own right, but before that collaborated with jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Nat Adderley, Art Blakey, Milt Jackson, Donald Byrd, Coleman Hawkins, Kenny Burrell, Lou Donaldson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sonny Rollins and Lester Young.


TV viewers will know Jimmy Scott from his performance of “Sycamore Tree” on Twin Peaks, but he had an unusual career before that. Scott had Kallmann’s syndrome, a very rare genetic condition which prevents normal growth. It means that Scott never went through puberty, and so retained his contralto voice. In the late 1940s he began recording with Lionel Hampton and later with Charlie Parker. He had hits with both, but neither have him a vocalist credit (Parker actually credited another singer!).

In the 1960s what looked like a break, thanks to Ray Charles, fell through because the repulsive record executive Hermann Lubinsky, founder of Savoy Records, insisted that Scott had a life-time contract with him and had Scott’s well-received LP pilled from the record shelves. His career thoroughly screwed up by Lubinsky, Scott returned to Cleveland and worked as hospital orderly, shipping clerk and elevator operator.

He was rediscovered in 1991 when he sang at the funeral of the great songwriter Doc Pomus in 1991. Seymour Stein, founder of Sire Records, signed Scott to record the Grammy-nominated All The Way (1992), which was followed by a series of well-received albums. Lou Reed also roped him in to sing backing vocals, and in 1993 he sang at President Bill Clinton’s inaugurations, singing the same song he performed at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration almost exactly 40 years earlier, “Why Was I Born?”.


Sourth African band Mango Groove was one of the country's first racially integrated hit groups in the late 1980s and early '90s. Their sound was a fine fusion of township jazz and pop.

Sourh African band Mango Groove was one of the country’s first racially integrated hit groups in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Their sound was a fine fusion of township jazz and pop.

If pop music was fair, Mango Groove’s 1989 song “Special Star” would have been a worldwide hit. In the event it has become a South African classic, not least because of the pennywhistle solos by Kelley Petlane, which served as a tribute to the greatest pennywhistler of all, Spokes Mashiane. Petlane is now gone as well, at the age of 64, of kidney failure.


Unless you follow the work of session musicians in country with some care, you likely don’t know Weldon Myrick, a steel guitar player. But you probably have heard him play on such songs as Connie Smith’s “Once A Day”, Jerry Jeff Walker’s original of “Mr. Bojangles”, Donna Fargo’s “Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.,” Delbert McClinton’s “Victim of Life’s Circumstances”, Linda Ronstadt’s “Long Long Time”, Bill Anderson’s “Bright Lights and Country Music”, Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee”, George Strait’s “Let’s Fall to Pieces Together” or Ronnie Milsap’s “Houston Solution”. From 1966 to 1998 he was also a member of the Grand Ole Opry’s staff band, and was inducted into the Country Hall of Fame.


Don Davis had a respectable career as a banker, setting up the first African-American band in Michigan. But his real jam was soul music. As a young guitarist he played on Motown tracks such as Barret Strong’s “Money” and Mary Wells’ “Bye Bye Baby”. He then moved to Stax and struck up a long relationship with Johnnie Taylor, writing and producing his 1968 hit “Who’s Making Love”, on which he also played guitar, with Steve Cropper. Eight years he wrote and produced Taylor’s global hit “Disco Lady”, and a year later produced Davis produced Billy Davis Jr. & Marilyn McCoo’s mega hit “You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show)”. He owned the United Sound studio in Detroit and a record company, Tortoise International.


Few producers have attracted as much ire as Alan Douglas, but that’s what you get when you mess with Jimi Hendrix tracks. In the 1980s and ‘90s, Douglas, as curator of the Hendrix catalogue, remastered the posthumous Crash Landing and Midnight Lightning albums. In doing so, he replaced the original drum and bass tracks, added guitar overdubs and, one track, female backing singers. Fir his troubles he claimed co-composer credit on some songs. Before all that, in the 1960s, Douglas was a respected jazz producer for the likes of Art Blakey, The Jazz Messengers, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, Herbie Mann, Ken McIntyre, Betty Carter and Vi Red, and later for proto rap outfit The Last Poets and Bo Diddley.


Victor Agnello, 50, drummer of thrash metal band Lääz Rockit, on June 1

Weldon Myrick, 76, steel guitar player, on June 2
Connie Smith – Once A Day (1964)
Jerry Jeff Walker – Mr Bojangles (1968)

James Alan Shelton, 53, bluegrass guitarist, on June 3

Ralph Pruitt, 74, singer with soul band The Fantastic Four, on June 3
The Fantastic Four – The Whole World Is A Stage (1967)

Virginia Luque, 86, Argentine tango singer and actress, on June 3

Doc Neeson, 67, lead singer of Australian hard-rock band The Angels, on June 4
The Angels – Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again? (rock version, 1976)

Don Davis, 75, soul musician, songwriter and producer, on June 5
Johnnie Taylor – Who’s Making Love (1968, as writer, guitarist and producer)

JayAre, 25, rapper with Cali Swag District, on June 6

Alan Douglas, 81, producer and sound engineer, on June 7
Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Max Roach – Money Jungle (1963, as producer)

Bambi Fossati, 65, singer and guitarist of Italian bands Gleemen and Garybaldi, on June 7

Jesus Perales, 78, Chicano rock guitarist, on June 8
Mando & The Chili Peppers – Baby I Can’t Believe (1958)

Rik Mayall, 56, English comedian with a #1 hit, on June 9
Cliff Richard & The Young Ones – Living Doll (1986)

Molefe ‘Kelley’ Petlane, 64, pennywhistler with South African pop group Mango Groove, on June 9
Mango Groove – Special Star (1989)

Ruby Dee, 91, actress, civil rights activist, spoken record Grammy winner, on June 11

Jimmy Scott, 88, jazz singer, on June 12
Little Jimmy Scott – Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool (1950)
Jimmy Scott – Sycamore Trees (from Twin Peaks) (1992)

Jim Keays, 67, singer of Australian rock band The Masters Apprentices, on June 13
The Masters Apprentices – Undecided (1967)

Horace Silver, 85, jazz pianist, on June 18
Horace Silver – Song For My Father (1965)
Horace Silver – Liberated Brother (1973)

Muskan, 38, Pakistani singer, murdered on June 18

Johnny Mann, 85, American composer, arranger and singer, on June 18
Johnny Mann Singers – Up Up And Away (1967)

Don Light, 77, Gospel musician and record executive, on June 18

Gerry Goffin, 75, songwriter of many hits, on June 19
Steve Lawrence – Go Away Little Girl (1962, as lyricist)
The City – That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho) (1968, as lyricist)
George Benson – Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You (1985, as lyricist)

Jimmy C. Newman, 86, country singer, on June 21
Jimmy C. Newman – A Fallen Star (1957)

Teenie Hodges, 68, session guitarist at Hi Records and songwriter (“Take Me To The River”), on June 22
Al Green – Love And Happiness  (1972, as co-writer)
Denise LaSalle -  There Ain’t Enough Hate Around (1973, on rhythm guitar)
Cat Power – The Greatest (2006, on rhythm guitar)

Clifton Dunn, baritone of doo wop group The Dreamlovers, on June 22
The Dreamlovers – When We Get Married (1961)

John Mast, 81, jazz and classical pianist, on May 22

Lee McBee, 63, American blues musician, on June 24
Lee McBee – It’s Your Voodoo Working (2002)

Patrik Karlsson, 53, bassist of Swedish pop band Sven-Ingvars, on June 25

Bobby Womack, 70, soul singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer and arranger, on June 27
The Valentinos – It’s All Over Now (1964)
Wilson Pickett – I’m A Midnight Mover (1968)
Bobby Womack – I’m In Love (1969)
Gabor Szabo & Bobby Womack – Breezin’ (1971, also as co-composer)
Sly & the Family Stone – Poet (1971, on guitar)
Bobby Womack – If You Think You’re Lonely Now (1981)

(PW in comments)

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