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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2

July 31st, 2014 28 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Any Major Summer Vol. 3

July 24th, 2014 12 comments

Any Major Summer Vol. 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 17th, 2014 7 comments

Any Major Soul 1972 - Vol.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GET IT!

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More Any Major Soul

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A Hard Day’s Night – Recovered

July 10th, 2014 14 comments

A Hard Day's Night Recovered- front

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

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

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

A Hard Day's Night Recovered- back

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

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

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

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

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

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More Beatles stuff:
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Any Bizarre Beatles
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2

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Categories: Beatles, Covers Mixes, Mix CD-Rs Tags:

In Memoriam – June 2014

July 3rd, 2014 5 comments

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

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

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

 

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

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

Carole King, Paul Simon and Gerry Goffin in 1957.

Carole King, Paul Simon and Gerry Goffin in 1957.

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

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

 

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

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

 

Horace Silver on the piano.

Horace Silver on the piano.

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muskan, 38, Pakistani singer, murdered on June 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GET IT!
(PW in comments)

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