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Any Major Telephone Vol. 1

April 25th, 2013 19 comments

Here’s a mix that has been hanging on for a couple of years for completion: Songs about telephone calls. The rule was to choose songs that include some kind of conversation (or monologue) over the phone, preferably with a phone ringing or a call being disconnected. So a song like Abba’s Ring Ring, which is about the notion of making a call, rather than actually making it, is excluded. One song here bends the rule, but one ought to make some allowance for the inventor of the telephone. I might loosen the rules in the follow-up mix, which is in the works.

A bit of trivia: the voice on the other end of the line in Gene Simmons’ song is that of Cher, who at the time was in a relationship with the Kiss goon.

As for the lyrics of the opening song… Bloody Hell!

The mix is, as ever, timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes front and back covers. PW in comments.

TRACKLISTING
1. Stan Mosley – Your Wife Is My Woman (2002)
2. Cadallaca – O Chenilla (1998)
3. Tommy Tutone – 867-5309/Jenny (1981)
4. Nick Lowe – Switchboard Susan (1979)
5. Gene Simmons – Living In Sin (1978)
6. Rupert Holmes – Answering Machine (1979)
7. Alessi – All For A Reason (1977)
8. England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Like To See You Tonight (1976)
9. The Partridge Family – Echo Valley 2-6809 (1971)
10. Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn – As Soon As I Hang Up The Phone (1974)
11. Tina & Daddy (George Jones) – The Telephone Call (1974)
12. Ernie Tucker & His Operators – Telephone Me Some Lovin’ (1961)
13. Chuck Berry – Memphis, Tennessee (1963)
14. Carl Graves – Baby Hang Up The Phone (1974)
15. Esther Williams – Last Night Changed It All (1976)
16. Yazoo – Bad Connection (1982)
17. Electric Light Orchestra – Telephone Line (1976)
18. Gilbert O’Sullivan & Kirsten Siggaard – Can’t Think Straight (1993)
19. 10cc – Don’t Hang Up (1976)
20. The Sweet – Alexander Graham Bell (1971)
21. Pink Floyd – Young Lust (1979)

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Any Major Soul 1968

April 18th, 2013 8 comments

The Any Major Soul 1967 mix received one of the most poignant comments yet. Trod wrote: “Listening to soul music takes me back to my days in Viet Nam. The good part anyway.” The incredible power of music, right there.

Any Major Soul 68

The soul mix for 1968 includes several legends of the genre doing what they did well: Aretha Franklin, Jerry Butler, Sam & Dave, The Delfonics , The Dells, The Intruders, Clarence Carter, Marvin & Tammi, Supremes & Tempations etc. And then there are The Ohio Players, future legends of uncompromising funk and purveyors in cover art of the pornographic metaphor. This mix kicks off with a track from their debut album, on which Dayton’s finest riffed on a danceable soul vibe.

Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers (as the name suggests, Canadians) had their sole hit, featured here, on Motown. It’s a fine song, but Taylor’s greater contribution to music history was discovering the Jackson 5. So, no, it wasn’t La Ross. Though the other two Supremes did discover the Vancouvers, who previously were known, charmingly, as Four Niggers and a Chink — the Asian component being Tommy Chong (later Cheech’s stoner sidekick) who was half-Chinese, half-Scottish. Chong co-wrote Does Your Mama Know About Me.

The Fantastic Four also had their solitary hit, I Love You Madly, on Motown. It had actually been recorded and issued on the Ric Tic Record label, but when Motown bought that label’s catalogue, they also scored the Fantastic Four’s contract.

Despite having a career spanning almost 50 years, The Masqueraders never really broke through and so are not very well known.  In fact, the fine track featured here was a flop when it was released as a single and led to the group being dropped by Wand Records. They kept recording until 1980, and in the late 1960s also did backing vocals for the Box Tops. Another group still performing, though with different personnel, are The O’Kaysions, a  blue-eyed soul group.

Mary Jane Hooper might be the most mysterious figure on this set. So little is known about the Eddie Bo protégé that many believe it is just a pseudonym used by soul singer Inez Cheatham, who she sounds like. It is true that Hooper’s name is an alias, but the New Orleans singer’s real name was Sena Fletcher, who previously recorded gospel music and backed Lee Dorsey. Soon after recording for Bo, she disappeared entirely from the music scene.

As far as monikers go, Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations is a rather cumbersome. Their version of  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is perfectly pleasant, but it is of obvious interest since a few years later Diana Ross recorded her rather more dramatic and utterly fabulous solo version of it.

Maurice & Mac were off-shoots of The Radiants, whose Voice Your Choice is a highlight on the Any Major Soul 1964 mix. The Radiants fell apart when Uncle Sam drafted two members into the army. Alas, although Maurice & Mac’s You Left the Water Running is an astonishing record, Chess Records messed up the promotion of the single, as they did with subsequent releases. Maurice McAllister was so disgusted by that neglect, he left the music industry.

Godoy Colbert might well have the best name on this mix. He was a member of The Pharaos, who backed Richard Berry in the original 1957 version of Louie Louie (his was the bass voice). In the early 1970s, Colbert was a member of The Free Movement, who had some success in 1972 with one of the greatest break-up songs in the canon, I’ve Found Someone Of My Own (featured on Any Major Soul 1972-73). Colbert died of cancer in 2002.

 

Hines_Hines_Dad

It seemed a bit left-field when actor and dancer Gregory Hines turned up on a Luther Vandross record in 1986 to sing a duet with the great man. In fact, Hines had been recording long before Luther. Gregory and brother Maurice had been a dance act as kids, known as the Hines Kids. In 1963 they were joined by their father, Maurice Sr, on drums, and changed the act’s name to Hines, Hines & Dad. The all-singing all-dancing act became a staple on Johnny Carson’s Tonight show.

Madeline Bell has featured on this blog several times. Her long career included stints with Blue Mink (of Melting Pot fame) and French disco group Space, and an appearance as backing singer at the Eurovision Song Contest. Having moved to Britain in the 1960s, she also was a close friend of and frequent backing singer for Dusty Springfield; the singers influenced one another, as can be heard on the featured track. Bell now lives in Spain and still touring as a jazz singer.

Another singer who has featured on thus blog several times is Grady Tate, who is represented here with a great black consciousness track, before these things became really popular in the early 1970s. To jazz lovers, Tate might be better known as a drummer, though on Grover Washington Jr’s beautiful 1981 track Be Mine (Tonight), Tate took the vocals (it featured on Any Major Soul 1980/81). He was first a drummer for Quincy Jones, then in Johnny Carson’s houseband, and played on records by people ranging from Charles Mingus to Marlena Shaw. He also played drums and percussions on Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park. In between, Tate also released a few albums as a soul singer; 1972’s She Is My Lady and 1975’s By Special Request are particularly good. I’ve drawn several times from the latter in the Covered With Soul series, on Vol 1, Vol 3, Vol 6  and Vol 14.

Also of its time is the track by Archie Bell & the Drells that closes this mix: the lament of a soldier drafted to fight in the Vietnam War *”wait here Uncle Sam, I can’t fight on Sundays…”. Which brings this post to a full circle.

As always, this mix is timed to fit on a CD-R and covers are included. PW in comments.

TRACKLISTING
1. Ohio Players – A Little Soul Party
2. The Dells – Show Me
3. Sam & Dave – Don’t Turn Your Heater On
4. The Masqueraders – Do You Love Me Baby
5. Jay & the Techniques – Strawberry Shortcake
6. The Fantastic Four – I Love You Madly
7. Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers – Does Your Mama Know About Me
8. Mary Jane Hooper – I Feel A Hurt
9. The Delfonics – Break Your Promise
10. The Intruders – Turn The Hands Of Time
11. The O’Kaysions – Love Machine
12. Rita Wright – Can’t Give Back The Love
13. Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
14. Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Come On And See Me
15. Barbara Acklin – Love Makes A Woman
16. Betty Wright – Girls Can’t Do What The Guys Do
17. Maurice & Mac – You Left The Water Running
18. Jerry Butler – Hey Western Union Man
19. Aretha Franklin – Since You’ve Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby)
20. Jean Wells – Have A Little Mercy
21. Arthur Conley – Put Our Love Together
22. Godoy Colbert – Baby I Like It
23. Freddie Hughes – Send My Baby Back
24. Madeline Bell – I’m Gonna Leave You
25. Mary Wells – Soul Train
26. Hines, Hines & Dad – Hambone
27. Teri Nelson Group – Sweet Talkin’ Willie
28. Clarence Carter – She Ain’t Gonna Do Right
29. Grady Tate – Be Black Baby
30. Archie Bell & the Drells – A Soldier’s Prayer, 1967

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Playboy and me

April 11th, 2013 16 comments

Many people have said nice things about this blog (and sometimes they say very little; were the Swingin’ London and Saved Vol. 4 mixes really that bad?). And once in a while, a kind opinion gets amplified. So it was when this little corner of the blogosphere was featured in Playboy’s 2013 Music Guide, published in the US version’s April edition.

Playboy 2013 Music Guide-2

The Playboy 2013 Music Guide’s editor, Rob Tannenbaum, featured this halfhearted dude among such emerging luminaries as Caitlin Rose (who has featured on this blog before), José James, Elle Varner, Kendrick Lamar, Richard Hell, and the rather more established David Grohl, Richard Thompson and My Bloody Valentine. And…this is the only music blog highlighted in the feature. I do feel validated. Read the whole guide HERE. You will have read Rob’s if you’ve ever been in the habit of reading Rolling Stone (he also features in the US April 11 edition), Spin, Blender, GQ

And to celebrate I have banged together this mix. I shall leave it to you to work out what connects all of these tracks, though the answer is revealed in the file you can download. It is a pretty good (and certainly eclectic) mix, I think. For once, it is not timed to fit on a standard CD-R — it will fit if you cut the last two tracks — and includes no homestripped covers.

1. Paolo Conte – Via con me (1981)
2. O’Donel Levy – Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (1974)
3. Jimmy McGriff – The Bird (1971)
4. Jimi Hendrix – Gypsy Eyes (1968)
5. Yuya Uchida & the Flowers – White Room (1969)
6. Cochise – Velvet Mountain (1970)
7. Ben Harper – Diamonds On The Inside (2003)
8. Josh T. Pearson – Drive Her Out (2011)
9. Belle & Sebastian – My Wandering Days Are Over (1996)
10. Terry Callier – Ho Tsing Mee (A Song Of The Sun) (1973)
11. Tomorrow’s People – Let’s Get With The Beat (1976)
12. Kool and the Gang – Funky Man (1971)
13. Chocolate Milk – Action Speaks Louder Than Words (1975)
14. Houston Person – Do It While You Can (1977)
15. Leon Ware – Body Heat (1976)
16. Ohio Players – Alone (1975)
17. James Gilstrap – Hello, It’s Me (1976)
18. Marie Laforêt – Henri, Paul, Jacques et Lulu (1974)
19. Martha Wainwright – Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole (2005)
20. Black Tape For A Blue Girl – Tell Me You’ve Taken Another (2009)
21. Jennifer Terran – Grand Canyon (2002)
22. Aidan John Moffat – End Of The Night (2010)
23. Daniel Lanois – For The Beauty Of Wynona (1993)

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(PW in comments)

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The Thatcher Mix

April 8th, 2013 20 comments

The death of Margaret Thatcher is no cause for celebration. It came 35 years too late. The scars of her toxic policies (and those of her compadres in the war on the poor, such as Ronald Reagan) are with us still, and more than so now than they were in the 1980s, when they were being implemented. The global economic crisis that started in 2008 is the punishment for Thatcher, Reagan et al.

ding_dong

Thatcher was a war-monger. She was against the poor and against the workers. She was a supporter of apartheid, once calling Nelson Mandela a terrorist (last week Mandela seemed to slip away from us; today he still breathes, thank God, and Thatcher does not).

It’s too late to celebrate Thatcher’s death, but not too early to speak ill of the dead (and we should never be prevented from speaking ill of the dead when they merit our censure). It would have been better had Thatcher lived for another 20 years, into obscurity, before her simpering Trojan disciples such as Tony Blair — the Bono of British politics — could pay their glowing tributes , using her first name in the way other people do with soul legends.

Meryl Streep, winning an Oscar

Meryl Streep, winning an Oscar

Worse yet, some young people, naive young women in particular, seem to regard Thatcher as a feminist icon (no doubt influenced by Meryl Streep’s impressive but nauseating impersonation in that meandering film), not the enemy of women that she really was. Alas, Meryl’s scriptwriters failed to get the great mimic to deliver this immortal line: “I owe nothing to women’s lib. The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.”

Thatcher’s death is neither to be mourned nor to be celebrated. But we must forthrightly acknowledge and emphasise that she made the world a worse place and that her legacy must be despised.

So this mix is not by way of celebration, much as some of the songs endorse a sense of jubilation at Thatcher’s demise. View it as a musical testament of songs that are political and good, and as an indictment of that woman’s noxious policies.

If you leave out the last two tracks, the mix will fit on a CD-R.

1. Klaus Nomi – Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead
2. Hefner – The Day That Thatcher Dies
3. The Blow Monkeys – (Celebrate) The Day After You
4. Elvis Costello – Tramp The Dirt Down
5. Billy Bragg – Between The Wars
6. Morrissey – Margaret On The Guillotine
7. The The – Heartland
8. Fine Young Cannibals – Blue
9. Madness – Blue Skinned Beast
10. Style Council – The Lodgers (Or She Was Only A Shopkeeper’s Daughter)
11. The Specials – Ghost Town
12. The Beat – Stand Down Margaret
13. Robert Wyatt – Shipbuilding
14. Pink Floyd – The Fletcher Memorial Home
15. Richard Thompson – Mother Knows Best
16. Renaud – Madame Thatcher
17. UB40 – Madam Medusa
18. Pete Wylie – The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies
19. Poison Girls – Another Hero
20. Sinead O’Connor – Black Boys On Mopeds

GET IT or HERE
(PW in comments)

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In Memoriam – March 2013

April 3rd, 2013 4 comments

It’s turning out to be bad year for soul singers who were overshadowed by more famous bandmates. This month we lost Bobby Rogers (1), a co-founder of The Miracles and frequent songwriting partner of Smokey Robinson, and Bobby Smith (2) of The Spinners, who took lead vocals on such hits as Could It Be I’m Falling In Love, I’ll Be There and Games People Play; often these vocals were incorrectly attributed to the more extroverted and equally marvellous Philippé Wynne, who died in 1984. From the classic 1970s line-up of one of the nicest groups in the world, only one member, the baritone Henry Fambrough, survives.

0313_galleryYou might not have heard of the British trumpeter Derek Watkins (3), who died on March 22, but you’ll have heard him. He played on every James Bond soundtrack up to the recent Skyfall; those sharp, blazing trumpet sounds in movies such as GoldfingerDr No or For Your Eyes Only (and, of course, that iconic theme), that was Watkins. And if Bond isn’t your thing, he also played the trumpet on The Beatles’ Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever.

Another session musician you’ll have heard many times is Hugh McCracken (4), who died on March 28. His guitar appeared on songs such as the Lefte Bank’s Walk Away Renee, Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years, Roberta Flack’s Feel Like Making Love and on classic LPs such as Roberta Flack’s Quiet Fire, Paul McCartney’s Ram (he declined to co-found Wings), Barbra Steisand’s Barbra Joan Streisand, Aretha Franklin’s Young, Gifted and Black, Donny Hathaway’s Extension Of A Man, Hall & Oates’ Abandoned Launderette, Billy Joel’s The Stranger and 52nd Street, John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy, Steely Dan’s The Royal Scam, Katy Lied and Gaucho and Donald Fagan’s The Nightfly.

The producer on some albums McCracken played on, such as Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years and One-Trick Pony, Phoebe Snow’s Never Letting Go, and the Billy Joel albums, was the South African-born Phil Ramone (5), who died on March 30 (he produce all Joel albums from 1977’s The Stranger to 1986’s The Bridge). He won 14 Grammys, including one for best engineering for 1964’s Getz/Gilberto, which included The Girl From Impanema. He also had huge success producing duet albums by Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and Tony Bennett. He was also credited with having recorded Marilyn Monroe’s famous Happy Birthday Mr President performance.

Peter Banks (6), who has died at 65, has been described as a pioneer of prog-rock. As a founder member of prog-rock bores Yes — the name was his idea — he probably deserves that dubious honour, even if he left Yes in 1970. As my little in-joke, I feature here the debut LP’s shortest track.

Yes’ Peter Banks is not to be confused by the member of the same name of Ten Years After, whose leader Alvin Lee (7) passed away the day before Banks. Afterlife is probably going to be slightly less eternal than one of Lee’s feared guitar solos, but he certainly influenced many guitarists — just listen to the current crop of metal solo merchants — and by all accounts Alvin was a thoroughly nice man.

Rockabilly singer Eddie Bond (8) was well regarded in his genre, but when he died on March 20, people remembered his one big clanger: at an audition for his band, he turned down Elvis Presley, then 18 years old. A recording artist in his own right, he later toured with Elvis, as well as with other Sun Records alumni with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison.

Another rockabilly singer (and like Boyd at one point a Sun Records artist) who died this month had a good claim to have used the first singer to have used the term rock & roll to refer to music. In 1950 Hardrock Gunter (9), who died on March 15, released a single titled (Gonna Rock and Roll) Gonna Dance All Night, a year before Alan Freed did so. Others had used the term before that to describe precursors to what we now call rock & roll, but those were not quite like the music we term so today. Some musicologists identify Gunter’s 1949 hit Birmingham Bounce as the first white rock & roll record (which was covered by R&B singer Amos Milburn). Some even call it the first rock & roll record, having preceded Rocket 88 by a year. Personally, I find the search for the “first” rock & roll record futile, but it is nonetheless sad that Gunter’s death went by quite unnoticed.

 graveyard3

Jewel Akens, 79, R&B singer, on March 1
Jewel Akens – The Birds And The Bees (1965)

Magic, 37, rapper, in traffic accident on March 1

Bobby Rogers, 73, songwriter and member of The Miracles, on March 3
Smokey Robinson and The Miracles – You’re So Fine And Sweet (1964, on lead vocals)
The Temptations – The Way You Do The Things You Do (1964, as co-writer)

Fran Warren, 87, vocalist, on March 4
Tony Martin & Fran Warren – I Said My Pajamas (And Put On My Pray’rs) (1949)

John LaChapelle, 95, jazz guitarist, on March 5

Melvin Rhyne, 76, jazz organist and pianist, on March 5
Wes Montgomery – The Way You Look Tonight (recorded 1959, on organ)

Alvin Lee, 68, British guitarist and leader of Ten Years After, on March 6
Ten Years After – Love Like A Man (1970)

Stompin’ Tom Connors, 77, Canadian country-folk singer, on March 6

Peter Banks, 65, guitarist and co-founder of prog-rock group Yes, on March 7
Yes – Yesterday And Today (1969)

Claude King, 90, country music singer, on March 7
Claude King – Wolverton Mountain (1962)

Kenny Ball, 82, English jazz trumpeter, on March 7
Kenny Ball – Midnight In Moscow (1962)

Sammy Masters, 82, rockabilly musician and songwriter, on March 8
Sammy Masters – Pink Cadillac (1956)

Georgette Plana, 95, French singer, on March 10
Georgette Plana – Riquita (1968)

Clive Burr, 56, drummer of Iron Maiden (1979-82), on March 12
Iron Maiden – Run To The Hills (1982)

Jack Greene, 83, country singer, on March 14
Jack Greene – There Goes My Everything (1966)

Terry Lightfoot, 77, British jazz clarinetist, on March 15
Terry Lightfoot’s New Orleans Jazzmen – Wimoweh (1961)

Hardrock Gunter, 88, country and rockabilly musician, on March 15
Hardrock Gunter & the Pebbles – Birmingham Bounce (1949)
Hardrock Gunter & the Pebbles – Gonna Dance All Night  (1950, Bama label version)

Bobby Smith, 76, singer with The Spinners, on March 16
The Spinners – I’ll Always Love You (1965)
The Spinners – They Just Can’t Stop It (The Games People Play) (1975)

Jason Molina, 39, American singer-songwriter, on March 16
Songs: Ohia  – I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost  (2003)

Sean Hannan, 45, musician and songwriter with The Mad Hannans, on March 18
Mad Hannans – Blind Man (2007)

Floyd McRae, 80, singer with doo wop band The Chords, on March 19
The Chords – Sh-Boom (1954, also as co-writer)

Eddie Bond, 79, rockabilly singer, on March 20
Eddie Bond – Will I Be Lost Or Will I Be Found Again (1961)

Emílio Santiago, 66, Brazilian singer, on March 20

George Barrow, 92, jazz saxophonist, clarinetist and flautist, on March 20
Charles Mingus Quintet – Haitian Fight Song (1955, on tenor saxophone)

Derek Watkins, 68, British trumpeter, on March 22
Shirley Bassey – Goldfinger (1964)
The Beatles – Penny Lane (alternate take) (1967)

Bebo Valdés, 94, Cuban pianist, bandleader, composer; father of Chucho Valdés, on March 22
Bebo Valdés – Pan Con Timba (2001)

Larry Robinson , 64, Americana musician, killed in a robbery on March 23

Deke Richards, 68, Motown songwriter, on March 24
The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back (1970, live)
Diana Ross – I’m Still Waiting (1970)

Lawrence McKiver, 97, member of ring shout group McIn­tosh County Shouters, on March 25
(see video HERE)

Jay Smith, 34, guitarist of Canadian rock group The Matt Mays Band, on March 26

Gordon Stoker, 88, tenor of Elvis’ backing vocalists The Jordanaires, on March 27
Elvis Presley with the Jordanaires – When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again (1956)
Ann-Margaret feat the Jordanaires – I Just Don’t Understand (1961)

Paul Williams, 64, author and founder of the first US rock magazine, Crawdaddy!, on March 27

Hugh McCracken, 60s, session guitarist and harmonica player, on March 28
Tim Rose – Long Time Man (1967)
Merry Clayton – One More Ride (1975)
Donald Fagen – I.G.Y (1982)

Enzo Jannacci, 77, Italian rock & roll pioneer and comedian, on March 29

Clive Graeme Miles, 77, British folk songwriter, on March 29

Phil Ramone, 72, record producer, on March 30
Getz, Gilberto, Jobim – The Girl From Ipanema (1964, album version; as engineer)
Quincy Jones – Theme From the Anderson Tapes (1971, as producer)
Billy Joel – Rosalinda’s Eyes (1978, as producer, feat Hugh McCracken on acoustic guitar)

Franco Califano, 74, Italian singer and actor, on March 30
Franco Califano – Io per le strade di quartiere (1988)

GET IT or HERE (PW in comments)

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(Photo of graveyard: www.flickriver.com/photos/wolfgangstaudt/tags/friedhof/)

 

 

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