Any Major ABC of Country

February 14th, 2019 1 comment

Having been asked a few times, I’ve re-upped the whole History of Country series, which I put together between 2010 and 2012. The eBook of the series is still up as well; the eBook and series are what I hope is a decent and brief primer for country music. My hope was that the series might attract people to dig a bit deeper into country.

So to announce the re-upping of the series, here’s an ABC of Country. In absence of any country acts starting with X, the playlist is a letter short. The artists were chosen more or less at random, though I was conscious of including at least one black country singer (the superb O.B. McLinton), and to have some very old and some newer material. The oldest song here is by Uncle Dave Macon, who was born in 1870, and was already 57 when the present song was recorded in 1927, only a couple of years after the first country track was put down on shellac.

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

1. Alison Krauss – When You Say Nothing At All (1995)
2. Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys – Bubbles In My Beer (1947)
3. Carter Family – Broken Hearted Lover (1935)
4. Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner – The Last Thing On My Mind (1967)
5. Emmylou Harris – Boulder To Birmingham (1975)
6. Flying Burrito Brothers – Farther Along (1970)
7. George Jones – From Here To The Door (1966)
8. Hoyt Axton – Never Been To Spain (1971)
9. Irene Kelly – My Sun And Moon (2004)
10. John Prine – Hello In There (1971)
11. Kris Kristofferson – Darby’s Castle (1970)
12. Lefty Frizzell – Shine, Shave, Shower (It’s Saturday) (1950)
13. Merle Haggard and The Strangers – (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers (1969)
14. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band feat. Merle Travis – Dark As A Dungeon (1972)
15. O.B. McLinton – Obie From Senatobie (1973)
16. Patsy Cline – A Church, A Courtoom, Then Goodbye (1955)
17. Quartette – Lost Between Barren Shores (1994)
18. Rusty Wier – High Road, Low Road (1976)
19. Skeeter Davis – Gonna Get Along Without You Now (1964)
20. Tompall Glaser – When It Goes, It’s Gone Girl (1975)
21. Uncle Dave Macon – Walking In The Sunshine (1927)
22. Vern Gosdin – Chiseled In Stone (1988)
23. Woody Guthrie – This Land Is Your Land (1944)
24. Yonder Mountain String Band – Half Moon Rising (1999)
25. Zac Brown Band – All The Best (2017)

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In Memoriam – January 2019

February 7th, 2019 5 comments

The year has started with carnage. Interestingly, in several cases, the paths of the Reaper’s victims in January (and previous months) had crossed in the past, in quite strange ways. The Rolling Stones, J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan, Elvis and others come up repeatedly.

The Voice

A singer with a gorgeous voice, great range and immaculate phrasing, James Ingram was among the best of his craft. Alas, some of his material — and some of the songs that made him known — led many to underrate him as a soul great. But listen to his duet performance on really soft songs like Somewhere Out There, the theme of the animated film An American Tail: it’s perfectly judged, with Ingram and Linda Ronstadt generously giving each other space. He did likewise on his other duets, notably the hit with Patti Austin, Baby Come To Me. Ingram’s range is best on display in the lovely One Hundred Ways, one of the two tracks he sung on Quincy Jones’ superb The Dude album in 1980 (the other was the fantastic Just Once). Ingram won a vocal performance Grammy for One Hundred Ways, the first to receive the award without having released an album. He won another Grammy for his duet with Michael McDonald, Yah MO Be There, and was nominated for 12 other performances. Aside from being a gifted singer, Ingram also was a songwriter (among his credits is Michael Jackson’s P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing), co-written with Quincy Jones) and, earlier in his career, keyboardist for Ray Charles and, later, on other records, including Shalamar’s A Night To Remember.

The Dragon & Tenille

If your name is Daryl Dragon, why on earth would you change that name to “Captain”? Blame the widely unloved Beach Boy Mike Love for it: when Dragon played keyboards on tour with the band in the early 1970s, Love dubbed him Captain Keyboard. The name stuck, and Dragon took to wearing a captain’s hat. With that image transformation he formed the duo Captain & Tenille with his wife Toni Tenille (they divorced in 2014) which became hugely popular in the 1970s, even playing in the White House for US President Gerald Ford and Queen Elizabeth II — Toni Tenille later remembered that the queen nodded off during their performance. But surely Captain Dragon & Tenille would have been an even better name for the duo.

The Session Giant

Outside the LA-based Wrecking Crew, few session players could boast of a resumé as packed with classic hits as Memphis guitarist Reggie Young. He cut his young teeth touring with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison in the 1950s, and with the Bill Black Combo in the 1960s, having the honour of getting booed every night for being The Beatles’ support act on their US tour. After a brief stint as a session man at Hi Records (for whom he had recorded earlier with the Bill Black Combo) in 1967, he moved over to Chips Moman’s American Studios, where he was part of the session collective known as The Memphis Boys.

Over the years, Young played the guitar on hits such as Elvis’ Suspicious Minds and In The Ghetto (and many others), Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Holy Holly, The Box Tops’ Cry Like A Baby, Dobie Gray’s Drift Away, Billy Joe Royal’s Down In The Boondocks, John Prine’s Angel From Montgomery, B.J. Thomas’ Hooked On A Feeling (creating the unusual sitar sound) and Hey, Won’t You Play Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, Jessi Colter’s I’m Not Lisa, Billy Swan’s I Can Help, Danny O’Keefe’s Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues, King Curtis’ Memphis Soul Stew, Willie Nelson’s Always On My Mind; J.J. Cale’s Cocaine, and the whole Dusty In Memphis album, including Son Of A Preacher Man. He went on to play with a long list of other artists, especially a Who’s Who in country music.

The Innovator

The paths of Reggie Young and influential session guitarist Harold Bradley, who has died at 93, often crossed. Bradley had been a member of the country session players’ collective known as The Nashville A-Team, and as such he backed virtually every big name in country, from Hank Williams and the Carter Family to Dolly Parton and Alan Jackson. Plus Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly et al. Credit-keeping was a bit vague in the day, but it is said that Bradley played on classics such as Patsy Cline’s Crazy, Lefty Frizzell’s Long Black Veil and Tammy Wynette’s Stand By Your Man. He also played for acts like The Monkees, J.J. Cale and Leon Russell. Several times, his paths crossed with the above-mentioned Reggie Young. The brother of the equally legendary Owen Bradley, Harold was also a fierce activist for musicians’ rights.

The Great Backing Singer

Even if you’ve never heard of Clydie King, you’ll have heard her voice on an impressive list of rock classics. King put out a string of records from late 1950s to the early 1970s, but the world of soul needed her powerful voice less than white rock bands did. Famously, she and fellow backing singing legend Merry Clayton — with whom she was in Ray Charles’ backing group The Raelettes in the 1960s — sang, with some disgust, on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s southern rock anthem Sweet Home Alabama, Clayton, who hated the idea of singing anything about Alabama, later recalled: “If you listen to it, we’re all singing through our teeth, like we’re really angry. That’s how we got through the recording.” After the session, King told Clayton: “We did our part and this song will live in infamy, Merry. And we’ll continually get paid.”

There’d be merit in putting together a mix of tracks Clydie King sang on. It could include any number of Steely Dan songs (such as Kid Charlemagne, Brooklyn, The Fez, The Royal Scam, the whole Aja album), the Rolling Stones’ Tumbling Dice and Shine A Light, Linda Ronstadt’s You’re No Good and Desperado, Neil Diamond’s Cracklin’ Rosie and Beautiful Noise; Elton John’s The Bitch Is Back, Judee Sill’s Jesus Was A Cross Maker, B.W. Stevenson’s My Maria (which featured the recently late Joe Osborn on bass), Chi Coltrane’s Hallelujah, Arlo Guthrie’s City of New Orleans, America’s Woman Tonight, Leo Sayer’s You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Bob Seger’s Still The Same and We Got Tonite, Joe Cocker’s I Can Stand A Little Rain, and Commander Cody’s Cry Baby Cry (which featured on the White Album Recovered mix). And there might even be a first volume of all the famous Phil Spector productions on which King sang backing vocals, for the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, Ben. E. King, The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love, Gene Pitney, Righteous Brothers etc. And then there was her work with Bob Dylan, particularly during his Christian period. Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone magazine: “She was my ultimate singing partner. No one ever came close. We were two soulmates.”

The Dylan Favourite

Bob Dylan didn’t just lose his favourite backing singer in January but also one of his favourite guitarists, Steve Ripley, who played with him during the Shot Of Love era — during which Clydie King was a backing vocalists. He also played with others, but more importantly he created guitars for other guitarists, including Steve Lukather, J.J. Cale, John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Jimmy Buffett and Eddie Van Halen. He then moved to Tulsa to take over Leon Russell’s recording studio. In the 1990s he formed the country-rock band The Tractors.

The Great Trumpeter

It really was a bad month for great session musicians. Another victim of the Reaper was trumpeter Steve Madaio, whose credits include Stevie Wonder hits such as Superstition and the Songs In The Key Of Life album, including I Wish and Sir Duke, with its glorious trumpet intro. It was while he was backing Wonder on the singer’s tour supporting the Rolling Stones in 1972 that the Stones poached him for their backing band. Previously Madaio had been a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with whom he played at Woodstock and (probably) Monterey.

As a session man he trumpeted on records by the likes of John Lennon, Elton John (on his duet with Lennon, Whatever Gets You Thru The Night), Ringo Starr (on Snokeroo, on which Clydie King sang backing vocals, and Goodnight Vienna), Etta James, Syreeta, Carly Simon, Martha Reeves, Melissa Manchester, Anne Murray,  Joe Cocker, Jimmy Cliff, Deniece Williams (including on Free), James Taylor, Earth, Wind & Fire (including on Fantasy and September), Maria Muldaur, Harry Nilsson, Cher, Neil Diamond (on the Beautiful Noise album which also included Clydie King), John Mayall, The Emotions, Boz Scaggs, The Temptations, Dionne Warwick, Bob Dylan (on Street Legal), Cheryl Lynn (on Got To Be Real), Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, BB King, Donna Summer (including Hot Stuff and Bad Girls), Janis Ian (on Fly Too High), Lowell George, Bonnie Raitt, Glen Campbell, Brenda Russell, Rita Coolidge, Pointer Sisters, Randy Newman, Joe Sample, Dennis Edwards, The Allman Brothers Band, J.J. Cale, Madonna (on the Like A Prayer album) and many more. He also played, alongside the recently late Joe Osborn, on the original stage soundtrack of the Rocky Horror Show.

The African Icon

With the death of guitarist and singer-songwriter Oliver Mtukudzi, Zimbabwe has not only lost one of its two most iconic musician, but also a social and cultural icon and activist. He was to Zimbabwe what Hugh Masekela was to South Africa (and in 2016 they collaborated on a track). Mtukudzi was in the forefront of defying cultural apartheid in Rhodesia, and after liberation was an activist for human rights and justice, lately serving as the UNICEF goodwill ambassador for Southern Africa — even as he stood above party politics. His popularity extended beyond Zimbabwe. Mtukudzi was so popular in South Africa that a memorial concert was held in his honour in Johannesburg.

The Movie Composer

One of the great movie score composers has departed with the death of Michel Legrand. Even though he worked mostly in French film, he received several Oscar nominations, taking away the Academy Award for Best Original Song with The Windmills Of Your Mind from The Thomas Crown Affair, and Best Score for Summer of ‘42 (1971) and Yentl (1983). He was nominated for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1965), which produced the also nominated standard I Will Wait For You, whose English lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel, who died in December.

The Rumour That He Died

Two divorces inspired Sanger ‘Whitey’ Shafer to co-write two country chart-toppers in versions by George Strait, Does Forth Worth Ever Cross Your Mind and the superb All My Ex’s Live In Texas. Alas, it no longer is a rumour that Whitey died… Shafer also wrote hits such as Keith Whitley’s posthumously charting I Wonder Do You Think Of Me, as well as That’s the Way Love Goes, which was a hit for Johnny Rodriguez and Merle Haggard. His songs were recorded by other country luminaries, including George Jones, Lefty Frizzell and Moe Bandy.

The Murder Victim

Puerto Rican rapper Kevin Fret had just had his breakthrough hit, Soy Asi, in 2018. As the title of his hit suggests, Fret was different: in a homophobic society, he was openly gay and broke gender conventions. But he was controversial also within the LGBQTI community for claiming that his homosexuality was a “choice”.  He died after being shot eight times while riding his motorcycle in the early morning hours of January 10. By the time of posting, no arrests had been made, nor a motive established.

 

Christine McGuire, member of vocal group McGuire Sisters, on Dec. 28
The McGuire Sisters – Sincerely (1954)

Dean Ford, 72, songwriter and singer of Scottish pop band Marmalade, on Dec. 31
Dean Ford & The Gaylords – That Lonely Feeling (1965)
Marmalade – Reflections Of My Life (1969, on lead vocals and as co-writer)

Shane Bisnett, 31, bassist of metalcore band Ice Nine Kills, on Jan. 1

Pegi Young, 66, singer-songwriter, ex-wife of Neil Young, on Jan. 1
Pegi Young & The Survivors – Feel Just Like a Memory (2014)

Kris Kelmi, 63, Russian rock singer-songwriter, on Jan. 1

Feis Ecktuh, 32, Dutch rapper, shot dead on Jan. 1

‘Captain’ Daryl Dragon, 76, musician, songwriter, half of Captain & Tennille, on Jan. 2
The Dragons – Troll (1964, also as writer)
The Beach Boys – Everyone’s in Love With You (1972, as co-writer and arranger)
Captain & Tenille – Love Will Keep Us Together (1974)

Steve Ripley, 69, musician, producer, guitar inventor, on Jan. 3
Bob Dylan – Shot Of Love (1981, on guitar, also featuring Clydie King)
The Tractors – Baby Likes To Rock It (1994)

Eric Haydock, 75, bassist of The Hollies, on Jan. 5
The Hollies – I’m Alive (1965)

Alvin Fielder, 83, jazz drummer and educator, on Jan. 5

Dan Tshanda, 54, singer and bassist of South African band Splash, on Jan. 5
Splash – Troubled Man (1991)

Clydie King, 75, soul and backing singer, on Jan. 7
Clydie King and The Sweet Things – Only The Guilty Cry (1963)
Clydie King – I Can’t Go On Without Love (1971)
Rolling Stones – Tumbling Dice (1972)
Chi Coltrane – Hallelujah (1973)

Jimmy Hannan, 84, Australian singer and game show host, on Jan. 7

Houari Manar, 38, Algerian raï singer, on Jan. 7

Georges Dimou, 87, Greek Austria-based Schlager singer, on Jan. 8

Joseph Jarman, 81, jazz musician and Buddhist priest, on Jan. 9
Art Ensemble Of Chicago – Peter And Judith (1982)

Kevin Fret, 24, Puerto Rican trap rapper, shot dead on Jan. 10

Larry Cunningham, 67, singer with soul group The Floaters, on Jan. 10
The Floaters – Float On (Long Version) (1977)

Sanger ‘Whitey’ Shafer, 84, country songwriter, on Jan. 12
George Strait – Does Forth Worth Ever Cross Your Mind (1984, as co-writer)
Whitey Shafer – All My Ex’s Live In Texas (1987, also as co-writer)
Keith Whitley – I Wonder Do You Think Of Me (1989, as writer)

Bonnie Guitar, 95, country singer, musician and producer, on Jan. 13
Bonnie Guitar – Dark Moon (1957)

Willie Murphy, 75, blues musician and producer, on Jan. 13
‘Spider’ John Koerner & Willie Murphy – Magazine Lady (1969)
Bonnie Raitt – Mighty Tight Woman (1971, as producer)

Steve Madaio, 70, session trumpeter, on Jan. 15
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Walkin’ By Myself (1969)
Stevie Wonder – Superstition (1972)
Ringo Starr – Snookeroo (1974, on trumpet)
Deniece Williams – Free (1977, on trumpet)

Carol Channing, 97, actress and singer, on Jan. 15
Carol Channing – Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend (1949)
Carol Channing – Put On Your Sunday Clothes (1964)

Rita Vidaurri, 94, American singer, on Jan. 16

Chris Wilson, 62, Australian blues musician, on Jan. 16

Lorna Doom, bassist of US punk band Germs, on Jan. 16
Germs – Forming (1977)

Brian Velasco, 41, drummer of Filipino rock band Razorback, suicide on Jan. 16

Reggie Young, 82, legendary session guitarist, on Jan. 17
Bill Black Combo – Smokie-Part 2 (1959, as member)
Herbie Mann – Memphis Underground (1969, on guitar)
John Prine – Sweet Revenge (1973, on guitar)
Elvis Presley – I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby (1974, on guitar)
Merle Haggard – I’ve Seen It Go Away (2010, on guitar)

Tara Simmons, 34, Australian singer-songwriter and musician, on Jan. 17
Tara Simmons – Everybody Loves You (2007)

Debi Martini, bassist of ‘90s punk band Red Aunts, on Jan. 17

Ron Watson, 62, guitarist of Canadian  rock band Helix, on Jan. 17
Helix – Rock You (1984)

Marcelo Yuka, 53, drummer of Brazilian reggae band O Rappa, on Jan. 18

Ted McKenna, 68, drummer of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, on Jan. 18
The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Hammer Song (1973)

Edwin Birdsong, 77, funk keyboardist, on Jan. 21
Roy Ayers Ubiquity – Running Away (1977, as co-writer and co-producer)
Edwin Birdsong – Cola Bottle Baby (1979)

Marcel Azzola, 91, French accordionist, on Jan. 21
Jacques Brel – Vesoul (1969)

Mike Ledbetter, 33, blues musician, on Jan. 21

Kaye Ballard, 93, actress and singer, on Jan. 21
Kaye Ballard – In Other Words (1954; original version of Fly Me To The Moon)

Maxine Brown, 87, singer of country group The Browns, on Jan. 21
The Browns – The Three Bells (1959)

Oliver Mtukudzi, 66, Zimbabwean jazz guitarist, singer and activist, on Jan. 23
Oliver Mtukudzi – Wake Up (1999)
Oliver Mtukudzi – Neria (2001)
Hugh Masekela feat. Oliver Mtukudzi – Tapera (2016)

Bruce Corbitt, 56, heavy metal singer with Rigor Mortis, Warbeast, on Jan. 25

Jacqueline Steiner, 94, folk singer-songwriter and activist, on Jan. 25
The Kingston Trio – M.T.A. (1959, as lyricist)

Terry Jennings, 62, country musician and author (son of Waylon), on Jan. 25

Michel Legrand, 86, French film composer, conductor and jazz pianist, on Jan. 26
Noel Harrison -The Windmills Of Your Mind (1968, as composer)
Matt Monro – I Will Wait For You (1969, as composer)

Ingo Bischof, 68, keyboardist of German Krautrock band Kraan, on Jan. 26
Kraan – Wintruper Echo (1982)

Pepe Smith, 71, Filipino rock musician, on Jan. 28

Paul Whaley, 72, drummer of rock bands Oxford Circle, Blue Cheer, on Jan. 28
The Oxford Circle – Troubles (live, 1967)
Blue Cheer – West Coast Child Of Sunshine (1969)

James Ingram, 66, American R&B singer-songwriter, on Jan. 29
James Ingram – One Hundred Ways (1980)
Shalamar – A Night To Remember (1982, on keyboards)
Patti Austin & James Ingram – How Do You Keep The Music Playing (1982)
James Ingram – I Don’t Have The Heart (1989)

Johnny Lion, 77, Dutch singer and actor, on Jan. 31

Harold Bradley, 93, country session guitarist and bassist, on Jan. 31
Hank Williams – Ramblin’ Man (1951, on rhythm, guitar)
Patsy Cline – I Fall To Pieces (1961, on bass)
Elvis Presley – (You’re The) Devil In Disguise (1963, on rhythm guitar)
J.J. Cale – Travelin’ Light (1976, on rhythm guitar)

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The Originals: Carpenters edition

January 31st, 2019 7 comments

 

 

The Carpenters drew heavily from often not very well known songs, making them their own in the process. This was not so, however, with what is widely regarded at their signature tune: Close To You had been recorded a few times before the Carpenters got their turn in 1970.

Close To You

It started out as a humble b-side to actor Richard Chamberlain’s 1963 single Blue Guitar. Within a year both Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield had recorded it, though Dusty’s version was not released until 1967, on her lovely Where Am I Going? LP.

Composer Burt Bacharach was not happy with either of the hitherto published versions when he offered the song to Herb Alpert, who had in 1968 recorded a rather good version of Bacharach’s This Guy’s In Love With You. Alpert, however, declined to do Close To You (apparently he didn’t like the line about sprinkling “moondust in your hair”), and gave the song to the Carpenters, who had released their debut LP on Alpert’s A&M label. A similarly hesitant Richard Carpenter and Alpert arranged the song — with the latter’s prominent trumpet track — and created aversion Bacharach was happy with.

 

Hurting Each Other

The secret in the Carpenters’ successful appropriation of appropriating songs first recorded by other people owes in part to an astuteness in often picking songs that weren’t very well known. Once Richard Carpenter imprinted his imaginative arrangements and Karen her marvellous vocals on such a song, it almost invariably was theirs. And so it was with Hurting Each Other, which the siblings recorded in late 1971. It appeared on their excellent 1972 album, A Song For You, and the single reached #2 on the US charts.

Hurting Each Other was written by Gary Geld and Peter Udell, whose songwriting credits also included Brian Hyland’s Sealed With A Kiss (another song that has a history as a lesser-known original). The first recording of the song was released in 1965 by teen idol Jimmy Clanton, a white R&B singer from Baton Rouge who had a string of hits in what has been called “swamp pop” and then faded into the sort of obscurity that has nonetheless ensured a performing career that continues to this day, complemented by a line in radio DJing.

 

Superstar

The genius of the Carpenters resided with their ability, through Richards’s arrangements and Karen’s emotional investment, to make other people’s songs totally theirs. In the case of Superstar, they not only took the song but also usurped its meaning. Sung by Karen Carpenter it no longer is the groupie’s lament it was written as. Indeed, in its first incarnation, by Delaney & Bonnie in 1969, the song was titled Groupie (Superstar), and included more explicit lyrics (“I can hardly wait to sleep with you” became “…be with you”). Released as a b-side, the song was written by the original performers with Leon Russell, and Eric Clapton featured on the recording. A few months later, former Delaney & Bonnie backing singer Rita Coolidge recorded it. According to Leon Russell, she had come up with the concept for it and Delaney Bramlett said she had helped with the harmonies.

But it was Bette Midler’s performance of the song on the Tonight Show in August 1970 that alerted Richard Carpenter, who hadn’t heard the song before, to it. It is said that Karen’s first take, read from a napkin, is the one that which made it on to the record.

 

A Song For You/This Masquerade

One singer features twice here: Leon Russell (plus, of course, his co-writing credit on Superstar). He released A Song for You on his eponymous debut album in 1970. It was covered to superb effect by Donny Hathaway and to some commercial success by Andy Williams, but it was the Carpenters’ 1972 version which brought the song to an international mainstream audience. The Carpenters recorded This Masquerade a year after it originally appeared on Russell’s 1972 Carney album. In their hands it becomes quite a different animal, doing away with the long movie-theme style intro; and Karen’s voice is rather more pleasing to the ear than Russel’s idiosyncratic growls. Oddly, both Russell and the Carpenters’ used the song on b-sides of inferior singles. George Benson’s 1976 Grammy-winning version from the Breezin’ album is also worth noting.

 

Reason To Believe

Reason To Believe was not a hit for the man who wrote and first recorded it, Tim Hardin. A gifted songwriter, he enjoyed his biggest hit with somebody else’s song, Bobby Darin’s twee Simple Song of Freedom, which Darin wrote in return for Hardin providing his big comeback hit If I Were A Carpenter. Darin, by then in his folk phase, also did a very credible version of Reason To Believe. Hardin’s story is tragic. As a marine in Vietnam in the early 1960s he discovered heroin and became addicted to the drug. Added to that, he suffered from terrible stagefright, which is not helpful when you are an entertainer. He died at 39 on 29 December 1980 from a heroin and morphine overdose, just over two years before Karen followed him.

 

It’s Going To Take Some Time

In 1972, Richard Carpenter was going through a stack of singles to see what he could cover for the A Song For You album when he stumbled on Carole King’s It’s Going To Take Some Time, which King had recorded for her Tapestry follow-up, Music. King, who was no slouch when it came to arranging a song, later admiringly noted of the lush Carpenters version (with that great flute solo) that her original sounds by comparison like a demo.

 

Can’t Smile Without You

It’s not really fair to include Can’t Smile Without You in this mix, seeing as it is better known in the 1978 version by Barry Manilow. But the Carpenters recorded it a year before him, and even then it was a cover of an original from 1975 by British singer David Martin, one of the song’s four writers. Martin has had a greater career as a songwriter and occasional producer than as a singer, even if he has toured with the James Last Orchestra. As a songwriter, his songs were recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, Cilla Black, Sandie Shaw, The Hep Stars (the Swedish ’60s group future ABBA man Benny Anderson belonged to), Al Martino, David Essex, Edison Lighthouse, Sacha Distel and others.

 

Sing

One of a stranger sources for a pop hit must be Sesame Street, even if the show’s staff writers wrote some catchy numbers. One of those catchy numbers was Sing, written by the greatest of those Sesame Street writers, Joe Raposo, who also wrote the show’s theme and the immortal C Is For Cookie, which is good enough for me. After it was sung on Sesame Street and released under the moniker The Kids, Barbra Streisand recorded a version which did some business. Richard Carpenter heard it on a TV variety show and thought it had potential. It clearly did, at least for people who can stomach children’s choirs.

 

We’ve Only Just Begun

Finally, the best story left for last. We’ve Only Just Begun first made its appearance in 1970 in a TV commercial for a bank (below), whence it was picked up by Richard Carpenter to create the popular wedding staple. But before Richard and Karen got around to it, it was recorded a few months earlier by Freddie Allen, an actor who under his stage name Smokey Roberds was a member of ’60s California pop group The Parade.

As Roberds tells it, one day he heard the Crocker National Bank commercial on his car radio (presumably the ad transcended media platforms), and recognised in the tune the signature of his composer friend Roger Nichols, who had written the ad’s song with lyricist Paul Williams. He phoned Nichols, ascertained that he had indeed co-written it, and asked him to create a full-length version. Nichols and Williams did so, and Roberds intended to produce it for a band he had just signed to White Whale Records. The deal fell through, so Roberds decided to record the song himself, but couldn’t do so under his stage name for contractual reasons. Since he was born Fred Allen Roberds, his Christian names provided his new, temporary moniker.

Paul Williams’ memory is slightly different: in his version, Nichols and he had added verses to subsequent updates of the advert, and completed a full version in case anyone wanted to record it. When Richard Carpenter heard the song in the commercial, he contacted Williams to ask if there was a full version, and Williams said there was — and he would have lied if there wasn’t. Perhaps that happened before Allen recorded it. (Full interview here)

The remarkable Williams, incidentally, sang the song in the ad and would later write Rainy Days And Mondays and I Won’t Last A Day Without You for the Carpenters (both with Nichols), as well as Barbra Streisand’s Evergreen, Kermit the Frog’s The Rainbow Connection and the Love Boat theme, among others.

Freddie Allen’s single, a likable country-pop affair, did well in California, but not nationally, which he attributed to promotion and distribution problems. Released a few months later, the Carpenters had their third hit with We’ve Only Just Begun, reaching #2 in the US.

 

As ever, CD-R length, home-masqueraded covers, PW the same as always.

1. Leon Russell – A Song For You (1970)
2. Delaney & Bonnie – Groupie (Superstar) (1969)
3. Carole King – It’s Going To Take Some Time (1970)
4. Jimmy Clanton – Hurting Each Other (1965)
5. Richard Chamberlain – They Long To Be Close To You (1964)
6. Freddie Allen – We’ve Only Just Begun (1970)
7. Larry Meredith – For All We Know (1970)
8. Leon Russell – This Masquerade (1972)
9. Tim Hardin – Reason To Believe (1966)
10. New Vaudeville Band – There’s A Kind Of Hush (1966)
11. Hank Williams with his Drifting Cowboys – Jambalaya (On The Bayou) (1952)
12. The Marvelettes – Please Mr. Postman (1961)
13. Neil Sedaka – Solitaire (1972)
14. Righteous Brothers – All You Get From Love Is A Love Song (1975)
15. David Martin – Can’t Smile Without You (1975)
16. Bama – Touch Me When We’re Dancing (1979)
17. Klaatu – Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (1976)
18. The Kids – Sing (1971)

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Any Major ABC: 1950s

January 22nd, 2019 4 comments

 

The ABC of the 1950s might be a random selection of songs, with each artist representing a letter of the alphabet, but there are some interesting tracks here.

Listen to The Orioles’ 1951 song Baby Please Don’t Go, which James Brown surely took more than just a dollop of inspiration from for Please Please Please. That song, better known as the soul classic that had James Brown fall to his knees in exhausted despair, features here in its initial version, which still had to acquire the raw soul of later interpretations.

Singing in 1959 about securing a date with the school’s prettiest girl, during biology class, is Tony Perkins, who a year later would use his formal name as an actor in the Alfred Hitchcock romantic comedy Psycho (I only got as far as just after the girl checks into the hotel run by the slightly geeky but nice young man played by Perkins. I left it when she takes a shower, which I’m sure will lead to screwball comedy stuff. No Spoilers, please).

 

The Hollywood Flames. In front are (left) Bobby Day and Earl Nelson.

 

The lead singer of R&B and doo wop band Hollywood Flames on their hit Buzz-Buzz-Buzz was Earl Nelson, half of the 1960s R&B duo Bob & Earl. And the writer of the song was fellow Hollywood Flame Bobby Day, who went on to be the original Bob in Bob & Earl. By 1962, Nelson recruited a new Bob and had a hit with Harlem Shuffle. By then Byrd had already a hit under his belt with Rockin’ Robin (later covered by Michael Jackson). Byrd also wrote the hits Over and Over by The Dave Clark Five and Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris. He died in 1990 at 60.

The singer of Real Wild Child, a cover of Australian rock & roller Johnny O’Keefe’s original and precursor of Iggy Pop’s version, is called just Ivan. That was Jerry Ivan Allison, drummer of The Crickets, who is backed here by Buddy Holly on guitar.

Few people on this mix were really likely to score a disco hit two decades after the setting of this ABC. Yet, this is just what R&B singer Dee Clark did in 1975 when he reached #16 in the UK charts with Ride a Wild Horse. Here, in 1959, he still fantasises about the content of high school girls’ sweaters. Clark died in 1990 at only 52.

Fifty-two was also the age at which Amos Milburn died, in 1980. Initially a jazz pianist and singer of those blues and boogie and jump songs that helped pave the way for rock & roll, Milburn’s line was good-natured songs about women and drinking too much which in his day were timeless stuff. His biggest fan was the similarly good-natured Fats Domino, who often cited Milburn as a major influence.

Even younger at the time of her death was Una Mae Carlisle, who was only 40 when she passed on of pneumonia in 1956. A performer since the age of three, the singer-pianist was discovered in the 1930s by Fats Waller. A bandleader in her own right (Lester Young was among her sidemen), Carlisle had as radio show, toured internationally, and wrote many songs, which were covered by the likes of Cab Calloway and Peggy Lee.

 

The Bobettes, whose record company made them turn their contempt for a teacher into a song of inappropriate infatuation.

 

And younger yet was Jannie Pought of the teenage R&B group The Bobettes, who was stabbed to death in a random killing at the age of 34 in 1980. Her group’s Mr Lee is about a schoolgirl’s crush on the eponymous teacher, though their song was initially intended to satirise their teacher, who apparently was indeed a Mr Lee. Atlantic Records ordered that the lyrics be rewritten. The song became a huge hit. The Bobettes continued to record into the early 1980s and performed together even longer. By now four of the five members are dead.

This mix was prepared before the death on December 28 of Christine McGuire of The McGuire Sisters, whose Rhythm ‘n’ Blues (Mama’s Got The Rhythm, Papa’s Got The Blues) is rather more entertaining than their dreary signature tune Sincerely.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-brylcreemed covers. PW same as always.

1. Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chickenshackers – Bad, Bad Whiskey (1951)
2. Bobettes – Mr. Lee (1957)
3. Connie Francis – No Other One (1956)
4. Dee Clark – Hey Little Girl (In The High School Sweater) (1959)
5. Everly Brothers – Bird Dog (1958)
6. Four Aces – Love Is A Many Splendored Thing (1956)
7. Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps – Be Bop A Lula (1956)
8. Hollywood Flames – Buzz-Buzz-Buzz (1957)
9. Ivan – Real Wild Child (1958)
10. James Brown with The Famous Flames – Please Please Please (1956)
11. Kirby Sisters – Red Velvet (1956)
12. Little Richard – Ooh My Soul (1958)
13. McGuire Sisters – Rhythm ‘n’ Blues (Mama’s Got The Rhythm, Papa’s Got The Blues) (1956)
14. Nutmegs – Story Untold (1955)
15. Orioles – Baby Please Don’t Go (1951)
16. Penguins – Earth Angel (1954)
17. Quin-Tones – Ding Dong (1958)
18. Roy Orbison – Go! Go! Go! (1956)
19. Spaniels – Goodnight Sweetheart (1954)
20. Tony Perkins – Prettiest Girl In School (1959)
21. Una Mae Carlisle – Long (1950)
22. Valentines – The Woo Woo Train (1955)
23. Wrens – Come Back My Love (1955)
24. Xavier Cugat & Abbe Lane – Cuban Mambo (1955)
25. Youngsters – You’re An Angel (With The Devil In Your Eyes) (1956)
26. Ziggy Talent – Please Say Goodnight To The Guy, Irene (1950)

https://rapidgator.net/file/1d8f0e8a229b2b5e24c05b9e78a66003/ABC50s.rar.html

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Beatles Recovered – Yellow Submarine

January 14th, 2019 11 comments

Coming just over six weeks after the release of the White Album, The Beatles released the soundtrack LP for the animated Yellow Submarine movie on 13 January 1969. Its release exactly fifty years ago yesterday was not massively popular, partly since Side 2 comprised only George Martin instrumentals, and in any case, it was always going to be overshadowed by the epoch-making double album.

The Beatles weren’t too keen either; they put together their contribution only because of a contractual obligation to United Artists, which was releasing the film.

Two of the six songs on Side 1 had been previously released on single (All You Need Is Love and the title track). George Harrison’s sarcastic Only A Northern Song was recorded during the Sgt Pepper’s sessions in February 1967, but rejected for that album.

All Together Now, which McCartney called “a throw-away track”, was recorded in May 1967 for the film project, as was John Lennon’s Hey Bulldog, recorded in February 1968. May 1967 also saw the recording of Harrison’s LSD-influenced It’s All Too Much.

A song that might have been included was Across The Universe, which was first recorded in February 1968, then appeared in its original version on a charity album in 1969, and then in a rearranged form on Let It Be in 1970.

A cover of Across The Universe, by folkie/poet Rod McKuen, is included in this collection of covers, as part of a putative Side 2, which might also have included single tracks and their b-sides that were released in 1968.

Ella Fitzgerald gives Hey Jude a whole new treatment (it was on the b-side of her cover of Sunshine Of Your Love by Cream), as does Richie Havens on his cover of Lady Madonna.

The most interesting interpretation here, however, is the jazzy slow-burn by Jimmy McGriff and Junior Parker of Harrison’s The Inner Light, which divests the song of its Indian sound.

Of the Side 1 stuff, it’s rather unexpected to have hirsute Tony Soprano-favourites Journey cover the formerly druggy It’s All Too Much, with a hard-rocking guitar solo.

But most surprising — other than a soul band deciding to cover the banal Yellow Submarine — is the fine version here of the otherwise pedestrian (and annoying) All Together Now by German soul band Joy Unlimited. The group was fronted by the late Joy Fleming, who had a mighty and soulful voice which the bland pretenders of the likes of Adele would kill for. And the band strips the Beatles song of its triteness and infuses it with a gospel vibe, supported by Fleming’s committed ad libbing.

I’ve posted Elvis Costello’s Live Aid version of All You Need Is Love before. Oddly, there aren’t many very good covers of that song.

One Beatles performance is included here. Not Guilty was one of several songs recorded during the White Album sessions that were rejected for inclusion. Those tracks were pretty bad; Not Guilty is the least bad of the lot.

1. The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band – Yellow Submarine (1967)
2. Sun Dial – Only A Northern Song (1991)
3. Joy Unlimited – All Together Now (1970)
4. Bill Deal & The Rhondels – Hey Bulldog (1970)
5. Journey – It’s All Too Much (1976)
6. Elvis Costello – All You Need Is Love (1985)
7. Ella Fitzgerald – Hey Jude (1968)
8. Jimmy McGriff & Junior Parker – The Inner Light (1970)
9. Richie Havens – Lady Madonna (1968)
10. Rod McKuen – Nothing’s Gonna Change My World (Across The Universe) (1971)
11. The Beatles – Not Guilty (1968)
12. Sesame Street – Yellow Submarine (1976)

https://rapidgator.net/file/2de060f655305a47ea13dc584ec0f1fa/BRec-Ylwsbmrn.rar.html
(Link updated. PW in comments)

 

More great Beatles stuff:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2
Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)

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Any Major Favourites 2018 – Vol. 2

January 10th, 2019 2 comments

 

This is the second compilation of tracks that appeared on mixes posted in 2018, with links to the particular posts — just in case you missed something good. The first mix is here.

As mentioned in the first volume of the 2018 retrospective, the coming year will see quite a few posts on The Originals. There will be two Beatles Recovered mixes, the first of which will run within the next few days. And a whole lot of other fine stuff.

Thank you to all the people who post comments. They are the oxygen for this endeavour.

This year I’m thinking of taking the step of asking readers for some support in covering the costs of hosting this site. I’m still considering the best way of doing that; I just want to cover the costs, rather than receive remuneration for what is really a labour of love, so something like Patreon wouldn’t seem most suitable. Your good ideas in that regard would be very welcome.

But in the meantime, enjoy this mix of great songs, which is timed to fit on as standard CD-R (though this time without covers). PW in comments.

1. The Main Ingredient – Everybody Plays The Fool (1972)
Any Major Soul Train

2. Odyssey – Native New Yorker (1977)
NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 2

3. The Dells – Oh, What A Night (1969)
Any Major Music from ‘The Sopranos’ Vol. 1

4. Mel Tormé – Blue Moon (1960)
Song Swarm: Blue Moon

5. Elvis Presley – If I Can Dream (1968)
Any Major MLK

6. Johnny Cash – Roll Call (1967)
Any Major Jones Vol. 2

7. The Hollies – Bus Stop (1966)
Any Major ABC: 1960s

8. Mott The Hoople – All The Way From Memphis (1973)
Any Major Music From The Wonder Years

9. Commander Cody – Cry Baby Cry (1978)
Beatles Recovered: White Album

10. Emmylou Harris – Racing In The Streets (1982)
Great Covers: Darkness On The Edge Of Town

11. Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life (2005)
Stars Pick Your Songs Vol. 3: Celebs

12. Karma – Pachelbel (1998)
Any Major Impossible Love

13. Michael Kiwanuka – Cold Little Heart (2017)
Any Major TV Theme Songs Vol. 4

14. Camelle Hinds – Sausalito Calling (1995)
Any Major Flute Vol. 5

15. Fatima Rayney – Hey (1997)
Any Major Happy Songs Vol. 1

16. Stevie Wonder – Knocks Me Off My Feet (1976)
Any Major Soul 1976 Vol. 2

17. Isaac Hayes – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (1972)
Covered With Soul Vol. 23

18. Ben E. King – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (1970)
Any Major Dylan Covers Vol. 5

19. Labi Siffre – It Must Be Love (1971)
Any Major Originals: The 1980s

20. Abba – Waterloo (German version, 1974)
Stars Sing German

https://rapidgator.net/file/671151c8d75c7b9dacb0f97a99f71ed1/fave18_2.rar.html

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In Memoriam – December 2018

January 3rd, 2019 5 comments

The relatively benign year 2018 (in terms of music deaths) ended with a vengeful bang. Most distressing was the death of three members of a band that was swept to sea in the Indonesian tsunami while as they were playing live on stage. It was a bad month too for guitarists. And an old correspondent with yours truly, a legendary songwriter, also exited the musical stage.

The All-Rounder

It may be that Nancy Wilson’s versatility prevented the jazz, soul and pop singer from becoming a legend in any of these genres. Her talent and her powers of interpreting other people’s songs should qualify her as a Queen of Soul or Duchess of Jazz. But the singer herself insisted on not being confined to any one genre. She described herself as a “song stylist”. Wilson had crossover potential. She even hosted her own TV show, imaginatively titled, The Nancy Wilson Show, which won an Emmy, but for some reason ran only from 1967-68. She also acted in several TV series. Wilson had a long career, still winning a Grammy in 2007 for her last album, Turned To Blue.

The Patch

After pursuing an unsuccessful music career in his native Alabama, in 1967 Ray Sawyer drove to Oregon to become a logger. On the way there he had a car accident in which he lost an eye. That was the end of the logging career and Sawyer returned to music, eventually helping to form a band — which would be called Dr Hook & the Medicine Show in reference to his piratesque eye cap. Although for much of the band’s existence Sawyer was not the main lead singer — that was Dennis Locorriere — Sawyer was the visual focal point of the band, even when he stood to the side in group photos. Of course, many people assumed that Sawyer was Dr Hook himself. Locorriere took the lead vocals on almost all of the band’s big hits, but Sawyer did the honours on Shel Silverstein’s The Cover Of The Rolling Stone — which landed the band on the cover of the magazine, in cartoon form. Sawyer left Dr Hook in 1981 for a solo career.

The Close And Personal Friend

The famed songwriter Norman Gimbel once wrote me a grumpy e-mail, objecting to my having repeated the story that his lyrics for Killing Me Softly With His Song were basically the work of Lori Lieberman. I can’t say that I found him to be a particularly sweet man, still, he took the time to write. He did decline my offer of an interview, which was his prerogative. Gimbel leaves an impressive legacy. Apart from Killing Me Softly, he also wrote the words for the themes of Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley (whose Penny Marshall died just two days before Gimbel), Andy Williams’ Canadian Sunset, and the English lyrics for The Girl Of Ipanema and Sway. He won an Oscar for the song It Goes Like It Goes from 1979’s Norma Rae, and in 1984 was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The Hitmaker

I paid tribute to the legendary Wrecking Crew bassist Joe Osborn with a mix posted a couple of days after his death. The post noted the number of massive hits Osborn played on; among the Wrecking Crew bassists, maybe only Carol Kaye can match his resumé. When a Wrecking Crew alumnus dies, it is always good to refer to the outstanding 2008 documentary The Wrecking Crew, produced by the son Osborne’s frequent collaborator Tommy Tedesco, which I believe is available on Netflix. On top of the four songs included here, Osborn also features on the bass on the featured tribute to Galt MacDermot, The 5th Dimension’s Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In.

The Punk Pioneer

Few rock legends, it’s fair to say, tend to retire to Estonia. But so it was with Pete Shelley, who with his Estonian wife moved to the capital Tallinn in 2012, and died there at the age of 63 of a heart attack on December 6. Shelley was the frontman of the pioneering English punk band Buzzcocks, which issued tracks with titles like Orgasm Addict, which came out in 1977 at a time when Yes Sir I Can Boogie was the UK #1. The Buzzcocks charted only as of 1978, after co-founder Howard Devoto had left the band. The band’s impact was greater than the double-digit chart placings would suggest. The band split in 1981, and Shelley embarked on a solo career.

The Heartbroken Cowboy

One of the great verses in the canon of popular music songs about heartbreak is this: “I can hardly bear the sight of lipstick on the cigarettes there in the ashtray, lyin’ cold the way you left ’em. But at least your lips caressed them, while you packed.” The man who wrote this, A Good Year For The Roses, and so many other songs of broken and yearning hearts, was Jerry Chesnut, who has died at 87. Other Chesnut hits included D-I-V-O-R-C-E, It’s Four In The Morning, Looking at the World Through A Windshield, and T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Chesnut came from the coalmining community of Harlan Country in Kentucky, so he knew about the evil ways of the bosses. This found expression in the Johnny Cash hit Oney.

The Ripped-off Guitarist

The career of Jody Williams is a tale of exploited but unrecognised talent. Williams was one of the most influential blues guitarists of the 1950s (the solo on Bo Diddley’s Who Do You Love is regarded by many as one of the greatest in blues), but few knew his name because his session work was not credited. But others cheerfully stole the riffs he created for their own records. Things came to a head when the riff he created for Billy Stewart’s 1956 track Billy’s Blues was copied by Mickey Baker for Mickey & Sylvia’s hit Love Is Strange. A court case brought no joy, and Williams, tired of getting ripped off, slowly faded from the record industry. By the end of the 1960s he had found a new career as a Xerox technician.

The Elvis Friend

The same day as Williams went, another pioneer of the blues guitar left us. Calvin Newborn played on the very first session by young B.B. King in 1949 and taught Howlin’ Wolf the guitar. He was a close friend of the young Elvis Presley for a while. In 1951 he toured with Ike Turner, whose Rocket 88 had just been released under the moniker of the record’s vocalist, Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats. Newborn also recorded with Ike. Later Calvin Newborn and is brother Phineas drifted more towards jazz. Newborn toured and/or recorded with the likes of Lionel Hampton, Lou Donaldson, Jimmy Forrest, Hank Crawford, Jimmy Witherspoon and Sun Ra.

The Wicked Game Guitarist

A few months ago, James Calvin Wilsey featured for his string-plucking skills on the Any Major Guitar Vol. 2 mix, for his work on Chris Isaak’s Blue Hotel. Wilsey also played the haunting guitar on Isaak’s Wicked Game. Before all that, he was the bassist for the San Francisco-based punk band Avengers. Isaak’s music was closer to his background than California punk: born in the backseat of a Greyhound bus, he grew up in Kentucky.

The Tsunami victims

It is often said that the best death for a musician is when it happens whole on stage performing. This probably cannot be said for Herman Sikumbang, Muhammad “Bani” Awal Purbani and Windu Andi Darmawan, guitarist, bassist and drummer respectively of Indonesian pop band Seventeen, who fell victim to the Sunda Strait tsunami on December 22. The band was playing a private concert in a tent at Tanjung Lesung resort when the giant wave hit them from behind. Only lead singer Riefian “Ifan” Fajarsyah survived being swept out to sea by holding on to a floating box. The tsunami also killed 29 audience members, the band’s crew manager and the singer’s wife, actress Dylan Sahara. Bassist Bani is survived by his three-year-old daughter and pregnant wife. The band was formed in 1999 when all the members were 17; hence their name. They released six albums.

Indonesian band Seventeen, which lost three of its four members in a tsunami while playing live on stage.

 

Roger V. Burton, 90, jazz musician and actor, on Nov. 30

Jody Williams, 83, blues guitarist, on Dec .1
Bo Diddley – Who Do You Love (1956, on guitar)
Billy Stewart feat. Jody Williams – Billy’s Blues (Part. 1) (1956, on guitar)
Jody Williams – Lucky Lou (1957)

Calvin Newborn, 85, jazz and blues guitarist, on Dec. 1
B.B.King – When Your Baby Packs Up And Goes (1949)
Bonnie & Ike Turner – Lookin’ For My Baby (1952)
Hank Crawford & Calvin Newborn – Frame For The Blue (1980)

Perry Robinson, 80, jazz clarinetist and composer, on Dec. 2

Carl Janelli, 91, jazz saxophonist and clarinetist, on Dec. 3

Ramsay Mackay, 73, bassist and songwriter of South African band Freedom’s Children, on Dec. 4
Freedom’s Children – Kafkasque (1969)

Pete Shelley, 63, singer, guitarist and songwriter with UK punk band Buzzcocks, on Dec. 6
Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve) (1978)
Buzzcocks – Everybody’s Happy Nowadays (1979)
Pete Shelley – Blue Eyes (1986)

John Ace’ Cannon, 84, soul saxophonist, on Dec. 6
Ace Cannon – Tuff (1962)
Ace Cannon – By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1968)

Floyd Parton, 61, country songwriter, on Dec. 6
Dolly Parton & Ricky Van Shelton – Rockin’ Years (1991, as writer)

Lucas Starr, 34, bassist of metalcore bands Oh, Sleeper, Terminal, on Dec. 7

The Mascara Snake, 70, artist and musician (Captain Beefheart), in car crash on Dec. 7
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band – Pena (1969, spoken voice)

Fred Wieland, 75, guitarist of Australian bands Strangers, Mixtures, announced on Dec. 10
The Strangers – Fever (1966)

Angelo Conti, 62, singer of Italian ska-punk band Banda Bassotti, on Dec. 11
Banda Bassotti – El Quinto Regimiento (2003)

Nancy Wilson, 81, jazz and soul singer, on Dec. 13
Nancy Wilson – The Best Is Yet To Come (1964)
Nancy Wilson – The Greatest Performance Of My Life (1973, live)
Nancy Wilson – This Time Last Summer (1975)
Nancy Wilson – Take Love Easy (2006)

Emmit Powell, 84, gospel singer and disc jockey, on Dec. 14
The Emmit Powell Gospel Elites – If You Can Make It (1983)

Joe Osborn, 81, session bass guitarist of The Wrecking Crew, on Dec. 14
Brenda Lee – Here Comes That Feeling (1962, as co-writer)
Johnny Rivers – You Dig (1966, on bass)
Glen Campbell – Gentle On My Mind (1967, on bass)
Mama Cass Elliot – Make Your Own Kind Of Music (1969, on bass)
Olivia Newton-John – Sam (1977, on bass)

Jerry Chesnut, 87, country songwriter, on Dec. 15
Jerry Chesnut – Small Enough To Crawl (1969)
Faron Young – It’s Four In The Morning (1972, as writer)
Johnny Cash – Oney (1973, as writer)
Elvis Presley – T-R-O-U-B-L-E (1975, as writer)

Arthur Maia, 56, Brazilian bassist and composer, on Dec. 15
Arthur Maia – Luanda Funk (1990)

Anca Pop, 34, Romanian-Canadian singer-songwriter, in car crash on Dec. 17

Galt MacDermot, 89, Canadian pianist and composer (Hair), on Dec. 17
Galt MacDermot – Hair (1968)
The 5th Dimension – Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In (1969, as co-writer)

Norman Gimbel, 91, songwriter & halfhearted pal, on Dec. 19
Rosemary Clooney/Perez Prado – Sway (1960, as lyricist)
Getz/Gilberto – Girl From Ipanema (1963, as lyricist)
Pratt & McClain – Happy Days (1976, as lyricist)
Jennifer Warnes – It Goes Like It Goes (1979, as lyricist)
Luther Vandross – Killing Me Softly (1994, as lyricist)

Herman Sikumbang, 36, guitarist of Indonesian pop band Seventeen, on Dec. 22
Muhammad ‘Bani’ Awal Purbani, bassist of Indonesian pop band Seventeen, on Dec. 22
Windu Andi Darmawan, drummer of Indonesian pop band Seventeen, on Dec. 22

Jimmy Work, 94, country singer-songwriter, on Dec. 22
Kitty Wells – Making Believe (1955, as writer)
Jimmy Work – Tennessee Border (1959)

Honey Lantree, 75, drummer of English pop group The Honeycombs, on Dec. 23
The Honeycombs – Have I The Right (1964)

James Calvin Wilsey, 61, guitarist and bassist, on Dec. 24
Avengers – We Are The One (1977, on bass)
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game (1991, on guitar)
James Wilsey – Untamed

Jerry Riopelle, 77, American musician, on Dec. 24
The Parade – Sunshine Girl (1967, as member and co-writer)
Jerry Riopelle – Walkin’ On Water (1975)

Guto Barros, 61, guitarist and songwriter of Brazilian rock band Blitz, on Dec. 25

Miúcha, 81, Brazilian bossa nova singer and composer, on Dec. 27
Miúcha & Tom Jobim – Tiro Cruzado (1977)

June Whitfield, 93, English actress and occasional recording artist, on Dec. 28
Frankie Howerd & June Whitfield – Up Je Taime (1971)

Mike Taylor, member of Canadian covers band Walk off the Earth, on Dec. 29

Dean Ford, 72, songwriter and singer of Scottish pop band Marmalade, on Dec. 31
(News reached me too late to include a tribute. Coming next month)

Ray Sawyer, 81, singer with Dr Hook & the Medicine Show, on Dec. 31
Dr Hook & the Medicine Show – Cover Of The Rolling Stone (1972)
Ray Sawyer – Maybe I Could Use That In A Song

https://rapidgator.net/file/b16251cc5787c714f3804b89656ff2c5/IM_1812.rar.html
(PW in comments)

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Any Major Favourites 2018 – Vol. 1

January 1st, 2019 2 comments

As I have done for the past few years, I am putting up two compilations of tracks from the compilations I posted over the past year, with one song chosen from each mix (except for the Any Major Favourites 2017 mixes, the Christmas selections, the Any Major Disco Vol. 7 mix I posted just before New Year’s, and In Memoriams).

In 2018 I put up a total of 46 mixes, plus the 12 monthly In Memoriams. Among those 46 mixes were the first three in the series of The Originals – lesser-known originals of famous hits, sorted by themes. I plan to post more of these this year. And the supply of these lesser-known originals is endless; my collection numbers more than 800 of them.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a CD-R length. I’ve not bothered with home-distilled covers for this offering. PW in comments, where you are always welcome to say something.

1. Rodriguez – I Wonder (1970)
Any Major ABC: 1970s

2. The Allman Brothers Band – Blue Sky (1972)
Any Major Guitar Vol. 2

3. Steely Dan – Kid Charlemagne (1976)
The Larry Carlton Collection

4. Jackson Browne – Somebody’s Baby (1982)
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 9

5. Aretha Franklin – Something He Can Feel (1976)
Aretha Sings Covers

6. Thelma Houston – I Just Gotta Be Me (1969)
The Joe Osborne Collection

7. Darondo – Didn’t I (1972)
Any Major Music from ‘The Deuce’

8. Gil Scott-Heron – New York City (1976)
Any Major New York City Vol. 1

9. Badfinger – Without You (1970)
Any Major Originals: The 1970s

10. John Lennon – Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out) (1974)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs

11. Wilco – Impossible Germany (2007)
Any Major Guitar Vol. 1

12. Andre Williams – Pardon Me (I’ve Got Someone To Kill) (2000)
Any Major Murder Songs Vol. 1

13. Ben Kweller – On Her Own (2009)
Any Major Women Vol. 1

14. Garth Brooks – Friends In Low Places (1990)
Any Major Friends Vol. 1

15. Roy Clark – Thank God And Greyhound (1972)
All The People Who’ve Died 2018

16. Lovin’ Spoonful – Daydream (1966)
Any Major Whistle Vol. 2

17. Jerry Jeff Walker – Mr. Bojangles (1968)
The Originals: The Classics

18. Earth, Wind & Fire – I’ll Write A Song For You (1977)
Any Major Soul 1977

19. Pacific Express – Give A Little Love (1978)
Any Major Soul 1978

20. Vicky Leandros – L’amour Est Bleu (Love Is Blue) (1966)
Any Major Eurovision

https://rapidgator.net/file/704038b815e2729766169220da6a7fa9/fave18_1.rar.html

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Any Major Disco Vol. 7 – Party Like It’s 1978

December 27th, 2018 1 comment

As every year, we close the year with a disco mix for that New Year’s Eve party — and it’s good even if it just involves you dancing in the kitchen, cooking up a good meal to see out the old year to greet the last year of the current decade (yeah, I know!).

This year you can party with the halfhearted dude like it’s 1978: every track here was released or was a hit in that year, 40 years ago. It’s fair to bet that a good number of the people who partied to these tunes back when they were new can still shake their booty in an appropriate manner, dodgy hips and inflamed joints be damned.

Some of the songs have run here before, particularly in the Any Major Funk series.

And with that I wish you a good slide into 2019. May it be a year of fulfilled dreams, good fortune and excellent health for us all!

As ever, CD-R length, home-downboogied covers, PW in comments.

1. Thelma Houston – Saturday Night
2. Cheryl Lynn – Got To Be Real
3. Earth, Wind & Fire – September
4. Sister Sledge – He’s The Greatest Dancer
5. Gloria Gaynor – Anybody Wanna Party
6. Eruption – I Can’t Stand The Rain
7. Sylvester – You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
8. Gibson Brothers – Cuba
9. Chic – Le Freak
10. Chanson – Don’t Hold Back
11. Jimmy ‘Bo’ Horne – Dance Across The Floor
12. Gene Chandler – Get Down
13. Third World – Now That We’ve Found Love
14. Con Funk Shun – Shake and Dance With Me
15. Instant Funk – I Got My Mind Made Up
16. Diana Ross & Michael Jackson – Ease On Down The Road
17. Stargard – Theme From ‘Which Way Is Up’
18. Hi-Tension – Hi-Tension
19. Taste Of Honey – Boogie Oogie Oogie
20. Donna Summer – Last Dance

GET IT!: https://rapidgator.net/file/ac2769d8767907f36c161924cea21084/dsco_7.rar.html

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All The People Who’ve Died 2018

December 20th, 2018 5 comments

 

 

For the second year running, the Grim Reaper has taken it relatively easy, giving us more relief after the trauma of annus horribilis 2016. Still, we lost some young talent in artists like the Swedish House musician Avicii, we observed tragedy as we did in the death at 46 of The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan. As every year, there are some fallen giants, most notable of them Aretha Franklin, Hugh Masekela, Charles Aznavour and Elvis’ drummer, DJ Fontana.

As every year, here is a selection of the most notable deaths of the year (which, for our present purposes runs from December to the end of November, so it excludes people like Pete Shelley or Joe Osborn; the latter has been honoured with a special mix), sorted in Top 10s or Top 5s within various categories. These lists might exclude names you might have included; those names will have featured in the monthly In Memoriam round-ups.

To go with these lists is, by way of tribute, a mix of music by some of the big musicians who have died in 2018. As last year, I’ll limit myself to people who were in the featured band or performed solo, so no songwriters, producers or session musicians will feature, even if the body of their contributions was weighty. The tracklisting follows further down.


Here then are the names we should expect to see at the Grammys when some semi-lisping thongbird croons a slowed-down version of whatever the latest rediscovered classic song will be. Personally, I’d be pleased if they just played the Jim Carroll Band song that gave this post and playlist its name. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAKoU_W_mf8)

 

POP/ROCK
D.J. Fontana
, 87, rock & roll drummer (Elvis Presley), on June 13
Mark E. Smith, 60, English songwriter, singer and leader of The Fall, on Jan. 24
Nokie Edwards, 82, lead guitarist with The Ventures, on March 12
Dolores O’Riordan, 46, singer of Irish band The Cranberries, on Jan. 15
Tony Joe White, 75, American singer-songwriter, on Oct. 24
Marty Balin, 76, co-lead singer of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, on Sept. 27
‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke, 67, British heavy metal guitarist, on Jan. 10
Alan Longmuir, 70, founder of the Bay City Rollers, on July 2
Ray Thomas, 76, songwriter, co-founder of The Moody Blues, on Jan. 4
Vinnie Paul, 54, founding drummer of heavy metal band Pantera, on June 22
Ed King, 68, guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Strawberry Alarm Clock, on Aug. 22
Danny Kirwan, 68, British guitarist (Fleetwood Mac 1968-72), on June 8

SOUL/FUNK/GOSPEL/HIP HOP/DANCE
Aretha Franklin
, 76, soul and gospel singer, songwriter, pianist, on Aug. 16
Dennis Edwards
, 74, soul singer (The Temptations), on Feb. 1
Denise LaSalle, 78, soul and blues singer, on Jan. 8
John ‘Jabo’ Starks, 79, drummer with James Brown’s J.B.s, on May 1
Avicii, 28, Swedish house musician, producer and DJ, on April 20
Edwin Hawkins, 74, American gospel musician, on Jan. 15
Clarence Fountain, 88, founding member of The Blind Boys of Alabama, on June 3
Danny Woods, 73, co-founder of soul group Chairmen of the Board, on January 13
Barbara Alston, 74, singer with The Crystals, on Feb. 16
Yvonne Staples, 80, baritone singer with The Staple Singers, on April 10
Lovebug Starski, 57, rapper and DJ, on Feb. 8

COUNTRY/FOLK
Roy Clark, 85, country singer and presenter of TV show Hee Haw, on Nov. 15
Chas Hodges
, 74, half of English duo Chas & Dave, on Sept. 22
Randy Scruggs
, 64, country guitarist, producer, songwriter, on April 17
Roy Bailey, 83, English folk singer, on Nov. 20
Freddie Hart, 91, country musician and songwriter, on Oct. 27

JAZZ/EASY LISTENING
Hugh Masekela
, 78, South African jazz trumpeter, on Jan. 23
Vic Damone, 89, crooner, on Feb. 11
Keely Smith
, 89, jazz singer, on Dec. 16
Cecil Taylor, 89, pioneering free jazz pianist and poet, on April 5
Randy Weston, 92, jazz pianist and composer, on Sept. 1

BLUES/REGGAE
Trevor McNaughton
, 77, singer with Jamaican reggae band The Melodians, on Nov. 20
Lazy Lester
, 85, blues musician, on Aug. 22
Otis Rush, 84, blues guitarist and singer, on Sept. 29
Irvin Jarrett
, 69, percussionist of reggae band Third World, on July 31
Norris Weir, 72, singer of rocksteady band The Jamaicans and gospel singer, on Nov. 16

 NON-ENGLISH POP
Charles Aznavour
, 94, French-Armenian singer, on Oct. 1
Johnny Hallyday
, 74, French rock singer and actor, on Dec. 6
France Gall, 70, French singer, on Jan. 7
Abi Ofarim, 80, Israeli musician, on May 4
Jacques Higelin
, 77, French pop singer, on April 6
Lys Assia
, 94, Swiss singer, inaugural Eurovision Song Contest winner, on March 24
Jürgen Marcus, 69, German Schlager singer, on May 29
Lill-Babs, 80, Swedish singer and actress, on April 3
Rim Banna, 51, Palestinian singer, composer and activist, on March 24
Rose Laurens, 65, French singer and songwriter, on April 30

SESSION PLAYERS
Matt Murphy
, 88, blues/soul guitarist, on June 14
Melvin ‘Wah Wah Watson’ Ragin, 67, session guitarist, on Oct. 24
Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chancler
, 65, session drummer, on Feb. 3
Eddie Willis, 82, guitarist with The Funk Brothers, on Aug. 20
Max Bennett, 90, Wrecking Crew and jazz bassist, on Sept. 14

COMPOSERS/SONGWRITERS
Francis Lai, 86, French film score composer, on Nov. 7
Ron Dunbar, 77, soul songwriter, on April 3
John Morris, 91, film composer, on Jan. 24
Dominic Frontiere, 86, film & TV composer, arranger, on Dec. 21
Scott English, 81, songwriter and producer, on Nov. 16

PRODUCTION
Geoff Emerick
, 72, English recording engineer, on Oct. 2
Reggie Lucas, 65, producer, guitarist and songwriter, May 19
Matt Dike, 55, hip hop producer, writer, mixer, label executive, on March 13
Tony Hiller, 91, British songwriter and producer, on Aug. 26
Patrick Williams, 79, film/TV and jazz composer, arranger and conductor, on July 25

MOVERS & SHAKERS
Rick Hall
, 85, producer, songwriter, owner of FAME Studios, on Jan. 2
Kooster McAllister
, 67, live engineer, co-owner of Record Plant mobile studio, on March 23
Glenn Snoddy, 96, engineer and inventor of the fuzz guitar pedal, on May 19
Adrian Cronauer, 79, radio disc jockey, on July 18
Dieter ‘Thomas’ Heck, 80, legendary German music TV host, on Aug. 23

 

And here’s the mix. As ever: CD-R lengths, lively covers, PW in comments.

1. Elvis Presley – Ready Teddy (D.J. Fontana; 1956)
2. The Ventures – Hawaii Five-O (Nookie Edwards; 1968)
3. Aretha Franklin – Day Dreaming (1973)
4. Edwin Hawkins Singers – Oh Happy Day (1969)
5. Blind Boys of Alabama – Way Down In The Hole (Clarence Fountain, 2001)
6. Tony Joe White – I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby (1972)
7. Roy Clark – Thank God And Greyhound (1970)
8. Vic Damone – It Had To Be You (1962)
9. Edith Piaf & Charles Aznavour – Le bleu de tes yeux (1953)
10. Louis Prima & Keely Smith – That Old Black Magic (1958)
11. Hugh Masekela – Thuma Mina (Send Me) (2006)
12. Denise LaSalle – Making A Good Thing Better (1973)
13. The Temptations – I Can’t Get Next To You (Dennis Edwards; 1969)
14. James Brown – Make It Funky (Part 1) (Jabo Starks, 1971)
15. Avicii – Hey Brother (2014)
16. Bay City Rollers – Summerlove Sensation (Duncan Longmuir; 1974)
17. The Cranberries – Dreams (Dolores O’Riordan; 1992)
18. The Fall – Victoria (Mark E. Smith; 1988)
19. Motörhead – Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers (‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke; 1980)
20. France Gall – La minute de silence (1996)

https://rapidgator.net/file/396380aa161af29f203d277c9fd29215/died18.rar.html

Oh, and the people on the cover? Top row (from left): Charles Azanavour, Dennis Edwards, France Gall, Aretha Franklin, Alan Longmuir, Keely Smith. Second row: Tony Joe White, Denise LaSalle, Hugh Masekela, Dolores O’Riordan. Third row: Vic Damone, Edwin Hawkins, Nookie Edwards, ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke. Bottom row: D.J. Fontana, Avicii, Clarence Fountain, Mark. E. Smith, Jabo Starks, Roy Clark.

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