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Any Major Soul 1965

October 25th, 2012 10 comments

Here is a mix of soul from 1965, though some tracks were released only in 1966. As before, there’s a mix of the well known and the forgotten and relatively obscure.

Cannibal and the Headhunters were the first Mexican-American R&B act to make a wider impression with their hit cover of Chris Kenner’s Land Of A Thousand Dances, to which lead singer Frankie “Cannibal” Garcia added the famous “na, na na na na” line when he forgot the lyrics. The group supported The Beatles during their second US tour.

Another caucasian singer in this lot is Roy Head, who was actually a rockabilly singer. But just as soul singers could do country – think Brook Benton, Joe Tex, Arthur Alexander, even Solomon Burke — so could some country singers do soul, as Charlie Rich proved in the 1960s. Roy Head’s Treat Her Right was a proper soul song; it was kept of the Billboard #1 spot by The Beatles’ Yesterday.

Hollywood-born and Detroit-based Kris Peterson might be best known to Frank Zappa fans for her involvement in the Waka Ja Waka album of 1972. For contractual reasons she was prevented from joining Holand-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus label, which is a pity, because her Just As Much shows an affinity with the Motown sound.

The Astors recorded on Stax, but don’t really sound like it. They recorded only five singles for the label between 1961 and 1967. Candy, co-written by Steve Cropper and Isaac Hayes, was their biggest hit, reaching #12 in the R&B charts.

Betty Harris featured on Any Major Soul 1960-63. By 1965 she recorded on the New Orleans Sansu label, where she was produced by Allen Toussaint. She recorded a lot, and her output is loved by soul fans, though that has not translated to great fame.

Marlina Mars (also known as Marlene Mack) was a member of a few New York-based girl-groups, including The Jaynetts, who had a #2 hit in 1963 with Sally Go ‘Round the Roses. At one point she performed as Peaches in live shows of Peaches & Herb. She released a few solo singles in the mid-‘60s on several labels, without much success.

Rozetta Johnson, who died last year at the age of 68, started out as a gospel singer, tried her hand at secular music, became disillusioned and returned to gospel and jazz. She was later inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame.

The Charts, a Harlem band, are said to be the only band to be booed off the stage at the Apollo’s amateur night and still go on to have some success. The gang members-turned-doo wop singers were freestyling vocally in ways the crowd did not appreciate that night in 1956, but a talent scout saw something in them and became their manager. They had a hit in the New York area with Everlast, which over the years sold more than a million copies.  Another of their songs, Deserie, was later covered by Laura Nyro as Desirée. A year after Everlast, in 1958, The Charts disbanded for the first time. A reformed version recorded several singles in the 1960s and beyond, but never bothered the hit parade again before disbanding again. In the 1970s they reformed as The Twelfth Of Never and in the ’80s as The Charts again.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes homebrewed covers. Password in the comment section.

TRACKLISTING
1. The Impressions – Woman’s Got Soul
2. The Astors – Candy
3. Willie Tee – Teasin’ You
4. Don Covay – Mercy Mercy
5. Ben E. King – Cry No More
6. Lee Dorsey – Get Out Of My Life, Woman
7. Roy Head – Treat Her Right
8. Cannibal and the Headhunters – Land Of 1000 Dances
9. Joe Tex – Sweet Woman Like You
10. Sam & Dave – You Don’t Know Like I Know
11. Betty Harris – What A Sad Feeling
12. Barbara Mason – Yes I’m Ready
13. Mary Wells – Me And My Baby
14. Marlina Mars – Head And Shoulders
15. Jack Montgomery – Dearly Beloved
16. Dee Dee Sharp – There Ain’t Nothing That I Wouldn’t Do
17. The Contours – First I Look At The Purse
18. The Marvelettes – Don’t Mess With Bill
19. The Gems – He Makes Me Feel So Good
20. Brenda Holloway – I’ve Been Good To You
21. Dee Dee Warwick – We’re Doing Fine
22. Kris Peterson – Just As Much
23. Gerri Thomas – Look What I Got
24. The Sharpees – Tired Of Being Lonely
25. The Charts – Livin’ The Night Life
26. Kim Weston – Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)
27. The Supremes – My World is Empty Without You
28. Rozetta Johnson – That Hurts
29. Billy Prophet – What Can I Do
30. Baby Huey & the Babysitters – Monkey Man

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Jazzy South Africa

October 22nd, 2012 9 comments

A cover produced by http://cheapgasmusic.wordpress.com for this mix, utilising an artwork titled ‘Township Jazz’ by Lorraine Marcus.

By request, this is reposted from 17 January 2009.

If I mentioned Jazz Fusion or Smooth Jazz I might hear you running. Please don’t. South African jazz evokes neither Miles Davis nor the dreaded Kenny G-led brigade of monotonomeisters. It draws from jazz: from Davis, from George Benson (the Benson who made that insane fusion cover of White Rabbit, not the smooth soulster), from Grover Washington Jr et al. But more than that, it draws from the many sounds of the townships.

So a guitarist like the late Allen Kwela (1939-2003; the featured track was released a year before his death) drew from the mbaqanga style he knew in the Durban townships, while the Tony Schilder Trio, led by the eponymous veteran (and now sadly retired) keyboardist, borrowed from the imported international flavours of Cape Town’s harbour, the sounds of fellow Capetonian Abdullah Ibrahim/Dollar Brand, the langarm (roughly ballroom) music of the Cape, the rhythms of the Kaapse Klopse.

Tony Schilder (Photo from music.org.za)

The Schilder Trio’s signature song Montreal is the sound of a party in Cape Town’s Coloured community (that is, those of mixed racial heritage thus classified under apartheid). Montreal was the name of the city’s premier jazz club of the ’80s, located in the township of Manenberg (made famous, albeit in its misspelled form, by Dollar Brand’s classic), among whose regular live performers were vocalist Robbie Jansen — an absolute legend in Cape Town’s jazz circles, whose version of What’s Going On needed to be heard more widely, but was never recorded — and house bandleader Schilder. Expect no lyrical greatness on Montreal, but experience the joyful soundtrack of the Cape’s party mood as Jansen is joined on vocals by fellow Capetonian Jonathan Butler. Tony Schilder died in December 2010 at the age of 73.

Also from Cape Town but younger and from a different background are saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, vocalist Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa, and Durban-born and classically trained Musa Manzini. Their names give it away that they are from an African background. Their township experience, the rhythm of their lives’ soundtracks, are very different from those of Schilder, Jansen or Butler — or, indeed, other featured Capetonians such as Errol and Alvin Dyers or Allou April (whose Bringing Joy may be this set’s most uplifting track). In Langa township or Gugulethu, the jazz was tinged with the gospel music of African inculturation, the traditional rhythms and the beats of kwela and mbaqanga and jive, R&B and the traditions of American jazz.

If there is one artist here who transcends all regional and local distinctions, it is Gito Baloi, who was so cruelly taken from us at the hands of criminals in 2004 just as his career was beginning to flourish at the age of 39. A Mozambican-born bass player and vocalist, Gito cut his musical teeth in the non-racial jazz trio Tananas, which was based in Cape Town, the country’s jazz capital, but enjoyed great popularity elsewhere, especially in Johannesburg.

I’ve mentioned Durban’s Allen Kwela and Cape Town’s Tony Schilder as representatives of an older generation. In Johannesburg, their equivalent — besides Hugh Masekela — was saxophonist Ratau Mike Makhalemele, whose Soweto Dawn from 1990 is a thing of beauty. Makhalemele played on records by the likes of Curtis Mayfield, Champion Jack Dupree and Paul Simon (on Graceland), died some nine years ago.

The best-known name of this lot probably is Pretoria’s Vusi Mahlasela, a wonderful acoustic guitarist with a lovely voice whose earlier albums were quite beautiful. Alas, like Ladysmith Black Mambazo before him, he has benefited too much from the attention of international recording superstars. I can’t blame the man, by all accounts a superb human being, for paying his bills, but collaborations with Josh Groban and the Dave Matthews Band won’t do his street cred much good. Except in South Africa, where any brush with foreign celebrity is considered admirable. Or perhaps the magnificent guitarist Jimmy Dludlu is South Africa’s biggest jazz name, at least locally. If the man was American, he’d wallpaper his living room with Grammies. Stuck in the musical ghetto that is South Africa, he may glance with admiring jealousy in Vusi’s direction.

One performer on this selection pulls together the strings of South African jazz and pop history over the past three decades: Pretoria-born keyboard player Don Laka, who made his first appearance on vinyl as a 14-year-old, was a member of the influential Afro jazz-funk groups Sakhile and SA/Lesotho outfit Sankomota (who were decimated in a car crash), played with Sipho Mabuse and wrote for Brenda Fassie, and finally founded South Africa’s first profitable black-owned label.

TRACKLISTING
1. Tony Schilder Trio – Montreal
2. Allou April – Bringing Joy
3. Don Laka – Ilang Sekolong
4. Gito Baloi – Hinkwafo
5. Vusi Mahlasela – Antone
6. Solly Mabena – Pehilindaba
7. Jimmy Dludlu – Zavala
8. McCoy Mrubata – Phosa Ngasemva
9. Ernie Smith – Lonely
10. Selaelo Selota – Painted Faces
11. Musa Manzini – Renaissance Song
12. Alvin Dyers – Wesley Street
13. Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa – Abazali
14. Ratau Mike Makhalemele – Soweto Dawn
15. Allen Kwela – Seven Days Ago
16. Errol Dyers – Kou Kou Wa

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The Ghetto Vol. 1

October 18th, 2012 5 comments

The word ghetto comes from the Venetian island of Ghèto, where Jews were forced to live (Shakespeare’s Shylock from The Merchant of Venice lived there). In fact, it is a Jewish quarter even today, though the residents are no longer compelled to live there.

Of course, we now understand that term to refer to underdeveloped and overcrowded suburbs populated mainly by African Americans. In the early 1970s, the ghetto inspired a cinematic genre, the so-called blaxploitation movies, and several songs, most of which reside in the arenas of funk, jazz-funk or up-beat soul. Often the lyrics had a social message, sometimes the ghetto served as a metaphor.

The most famous artist here probably is Sammy Davis Jr, singing the most famous song with the word “ghetto” in the title: Elvis’ In The Ghetto. I can’t make out whether Sammy, a product of the ghetto and yet an admirer of Richard Nixon, is ripping the piss or whether he is being hip. Dig!

Perhaps the second most famous song with the word “ghetto” in the title is War’s “The World Is A Ghetto”. It is featured here in a quite brilliant jazz version by the great Ahmad Jamal.

Boris Gardiner might be best remembered for his insipid 1986 reggae ballad I Want To Wake Up With You, but he was actually a serious purveyor of reggae and funk in his day. On his 1973 soundtrack to a forgotten flick titled Every Nigger Is A Star, he drew from both genres, and included three songs with the word “ghetto” in the title. His instrumental number here is followed by another track from a blaxploitation soundtrack.

The Ghetto Brothers could have been the subject of such movies. In the ’70s they were a highly politicised Puerto Rican gang in the South Bronx with a progressive attitude to women that also recorded music. In the 1990s they merged with another gang to form Los Solidos.

The Philadelphia All-Stars were the stars of the Gamble & Huff’s PIR label: Lou Rawls. Billy Paul, Archie Bell, Teddy Pendergrass, The O’Jays, and Dee Dee Sharp Gamble.

The most unexpected track here must be Paul Ngozi’s In The Ghetto (no relation to the famous hit song). Paul Ngozi – real name Paul Dobson Nyirongo  – was a Zambian psychedelic funk-rock (or Zamrock) musician whose lyrics were always socially aware. He died in 1989 at the age of 40. Earlier this year he was posthumously awarded the inaugural Zambia Music Pioneer prize.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-baked cover. Password in the Comments section.

1. Chris Hills – Comin’ Outta The Ghetto (1971)
2. Bobby Patterson – This Whole Funky World Is A Ghetto (1972)
3. The Boris Gardiner Happening – Ghetto Funk (1973)
4. Curtis Mayfield – Ghetto Child (1972)
5. Leroy Hutson – The Ghetto ’74 (1974)
6. Jon Lucien – The Ghetto Song (1974)
7. The Sons Of Truth – The Ghetto (1972)
8. Al Wilson – Queen Of The Ghetto (1973)
9. The Spinners – Ghetto Child (1973)
10. Donny Hathaway – Little Ghetto Boy (1972)
11. Willie Hutch – Life’s No Fun Living In The Ghetto (1974)
12. Gil Scott-Heron – The Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues (1972)
13. Paul Ngozi – In The Ghetto (1976)
14. Sammy Davis Jr – In The Ghetto (1970)
15. Ahmad Jamal – The World Is A Ghetto (1973)
16. Graham Central Station – Ghetto (1973)
17. Ghetto Brothers – Ghetto Brothers Power (1971)
18. Sons Of Slum – 16 Miles Of Plastic Ghetto (c.1971)
19. The Philadelphia All-Stars – Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto (1977)

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Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

October 11th, 2012 21 comments

October 11 marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first single, Love Me Do, entering the UK charts. Just seven years later, the group would, for all intents and purposes, be finished. In real money, imagine Love Me Do came out in October 2005; next April Paul will announce the break-up of the band. In that time, the group re-invented itself several times and changed pop music. After 12 years, Coldplay still sound the bloody same.

The first of the two Beatles editions of the Covered With Soul series was very well received. Here then is the second mix. Daringly, I kick it off with what I think is the weakest of the 23 tracks; it is also one of the most interesting simply because You Can’t Do That doesn’t get covered much.

Also quite fascinating is the notion of Little Richard covering I Saw Her Standing There, a song he obviously helped inspire. His recording from 1970 turns the rock & roll stomper into a Southern Soul number.

Naturally there are several covers here that give the original songs a thorough working over. Bobby Taylor gives Eleanor Rigby the sort of treatment Isaac Hayes would give Bacharach/David songs (or, indeed, Harrison’s Something, which here is brilliantly reworked by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas). Roy Redmond gives Good Day Sunshine a Southern Soul twist, while Chris Clark turns Got To Get You Into My Life — Paul’s first attempt at writing a soul song — into a Motown song.

Billy Preston was the only non-Beatle to be credited on a Beatles record (Get Back). His version of Blackbird is a highlight on this mix.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes a homebrewed cover. Password (now necessary, I’m afraid) is in the comments section.

1. Diana Ross & The Supremes – You Can’t Do That (1964)
2. Al Green – I Want To Hold Your Hand (1969)
3. Little Richard – I Saw Her Standing There (1970)
4. Stevie Wonder – We Can Work It Out (1970)
5. Bobby Taylor – Eleanor Rigby (1969)
6. Junior Parker – Taxman (1971)
7. Roy Redmond – Good Day Sunshine (1967)
8. Chris Clark – Got To Get You Into My Life (1967)
9. Four Tops – The Fool On The Hill (1969)
10. Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Something (1970)
11. Cissy Houston – The Long And Winding Road (1970)
12. The Five Stairsteps – Dear Prudence (1970)
13. The Meters – Come Together (mid-’70s)
14. The Undisputed Truth – With A Little Help From My Friends (1973)
15. Herbie Mann & Tamiko Jones – Day Tripper (1967)
16. Billy Preston – Blackbird (1972)
17. Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes – Get Back (1969)
18. The Temptations – Hey Jude (1969)
19. Randy Crawford – Don’t Let Me Down (1976)
20. Esther Phillips – And I Love Him (1965)
21. Una Valli – Yesterday (1968)
22. Aretha Franklin – Let It Be (1970)
23. Booker T. & The MG’s – Lady Madonna (1969)

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In Memoriam – September 2012

October 3rd, 2012 10 comments

The Grim Reaper took it relatively easy the past month, but a few greats left us in September. I’ve already paid tribute to Hal David, but I was particularly saddened by the deaths of Lilian Lopez, lead singer of Odyssey, and Andy Williams, whose Christmas album is a holiday staple in our house. I was surprised to learn that until this month Oscar of Lonzo & Oscar still was with us; their I’m My Own Grandpa from the 1940s is a favourite of mine in the comedy song category.

Fans of The Originals will have a couple of songs to enjoy. From Joe South, who also wrote Games People Play, we feature Rose Garden, and from Sugar Boy Crawford we have a song which who wrote and first recorded, but would later become a hit as Iko Iko.

And in tribute to Motown songwriter and producer Frank Wilson we have Brenda Holloway’s original of You’ve Made Me So Very Happy, later appropriated by Blood, Sweat & Tears. Wilson was the man behind many Motown classics, including The Supremes’ Love Child, Stoned Love and Nathan Jones, Stevie Wonder’s Castle In The Sand, The Four Tops’ Still Waters (Love), Eddie Kendrick’s Keep On Truckin’ and others.

The file deletions are becoming increasingly aggressive. So the songs listed below may be or may not be included in the file. The file is password-protected; you can find the PW in the comments section.

Hal David, 91, lyricist with Burt Bacharach a.o., on September 1
Dusty Springfield – This Girl’s In Love With You (1968)
Bobbie Gentry – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (1969)
Carpenters – Bacharach David/Medley (1971)
Ronald Isley & Burt Bacharach – A House Is Not A Home (2003)

Sean Bergin, 64, South African jazz saxophonist and flautist, on September 1
Sean Bergin – You Ain’t Gonna Know Me (2006)

Vance Bockis, 51, singer-bassist of doom metal band The Obsession, on September 1

Mark Abrahamian, 46, guitarist of Starship (after 2001), on September 2

Lilian Lopez, 76, lead singer of Odyssey, on September 4
Odyssey – If You’re Looking For A Way Out (1980)
Odyssey – Going Back To My Roots (1981)

Joe South, 72, country and pop singer-songwriter, on September 5
Joe South – Rose Garden (1968)

Rollin ‘Oscar’ Sullivan, 93, country musician (Lonzo and Oscar), on September 7
Lonzo & Oscar – Poppin’ Bubble Gum (1948)

Dorothy McGuire, 84, member of The McGuire Sisters, on September 7
McGuire Sisters – Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight (1954)
McGuire Sisters – Rhythm ‘n’ Blues (Mama’s Got The Rhythm, Papa’s Got The Blues) (1955)

Roberto Silva, 92, Brazilian samba musician, on September 9

Steven Springer, 60, Trinidad-born guitarist, on September 10

Johnny Perez, 69, songwriter and drummer for the Sir Douglas Quintet, on September 11
Sir Douglas Quintet – Stagger Lee

Homer Joy, 67, country songwriter, on September 11
Dwight Yoakham & Buck Owens – Streets of Bakersfield (1988)

Obo Addy, 76, Ghanaian drummer, on September 13

Rebecca Dorsey, 54, actress and jazz singer, on September 14

James ‘Sugar Boy’ Crawford, 77, R&B singer, on September 15
Sugar Boy Crawford & the Cane Cutters – Jock-A-Mo (1954)

José Curbelo, 95, Cuban-born jazz musician, on September 21

Andy Williams, 84, American singer and TV entertainer, on September 25
Andy Williams – Music To Watch Girls By (1966)
Andy Williams – The Look Of Love (1967)

Billy Barnes, 85, American composer and lyricist, on September 26

Frank Wilson, 71, songwriter and producer for Motown, on September 27
Brenda Holloway – You’ve Made Me So Very Happy (1967, as co-writer and producer)
Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations -Try It Baby (1967, as producer)
Four Tops – (It’s The Way) Nature Planned It (1972, as co-writer and producer)

Eddie Bert, 90, American jazz trombonist, on September 28
Woody Herman and his Orchestra – Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me (1943)
Charles Mingus Quintet – All The Things You Are In C Sharp (1955)

Larry Cunningham, 74, Irish country singer, on September 28

Hebe Camargo, 83, Brazilian samba and bolero singer, on August 29
Hebe Camargo – Você Quer Voltar (1952)

Raylene Rankin, 52, Canadian singer with the Rankin Family, on September 30
The Rankin Family – Rise Again (1993)

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