Any Major Flute Vol. 2
The first volume of the flute in pop (rock and soul) was well received. Perhaps there was a gap in the market. So here’s the second volume, with a third one in the works. Thank you to those who have given some very good ideas — in the comments section, on Facebook (become my friend) and elsewhere — seven years ago, when I first posted this, and on the recycled Any Major Flute Vol. 1, which ran in early April. You’ll find some suggestions from the first time around incorporated here, or in Volume 3. I think I will do fourth mix at some point of tracks recommended by readers (in 2016 and 2009). And, yes, I’ve caved and included the Tull. What next? Glockenspiel in rock?.
As ever, CD-R length, home-blown covers. PW in comments.
1. Manfred Mann – Mighty Quinn (1968)
Flutastic Moment: 0:01 Appropriately, the mix kicks off with the flute. What came first, the Mighty Quinn or Come Together?
2. The Coasters – Love Potion No 9 (1970)
Flutastic Moment: 1:38 The flute starts up suddenly and quite frantically as the whole Leiber & Stoller classic goes into funk mode.
3. Canned Heat – Going Up Country (1968)
Flutastic Moment: 0:01 The flute introduces the song until Alan Wilson’s odd counter-tenor vocals begin, making the occasional cameo appearance throughout.
4. Jethro Tull – Up To Me (1971)
Flutastic Moment: 0:02 The Tull giggle as though they are high (surely not!), and the almost percussive flute comes in.
5. Donovan – Sunny Goodge Street (1965)
Flutastic Moment: 1:33 Alas, poor Donovan. History underrates him dreadfully. But hear this and tell me he did not profoundly influence Nick Drake. The flute solo is quite lovely.
6. Minnie Riperton – Light My Fire (1979)
Flutastic Moment: 1:59 The interplay between keyboard and flute is impressive. José Feliciano comes in later to duet on this (superior) cover of his interpretation. One wonders how big Riperton might have been had cancer not claimed her. She had one of the most beautiful, sexiest voices in music, apart from her ability to surf the octaves.
7. Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. – You Don’t Have To Be A Star (1976)
Flutastic Moment: 0:04 The flute hook introduces the song by these two former 5th Dimensions, who by then had gone soul.
8. Albert Hammond – It Never Rains In Southern California (1972)
Flutastic Moment:0:08 The brief flute interlude, which recurs at 1:56, sets the scene for the vocals.
9. George Harrison – Dark Horse (1974)
Flutastic Moment: 1:08 The flute is going discreetly in the background until it decides to let its presence felt.
10. Marshall Tucker Band – Take The Highway (1973)
Flutastic Moment: 0:05 The flute drives this song from the start. A flute rock classic.
11. CCS – Whole Lotta Love (1970)
Flutastic Moment: 0:35 The purring flute holds its own against the thumping rhythms in the Collective Consciousness Society’s fantastic cover of boring old Led Zep, which British readers may know better as a theme for Top Of The Pops.
12. The The – Uncertain Smile (1982)
Flutastic Moment: 1:21 I don’t know if The The ever appeared on TOTP. For the flute in this, they (well, he) should have. Hear where Lloyd Cole got his ideas from.
13. Men At Work – Down Under (1981)
Flutastic Moment: 0:03 One of the most famous flute songs in pop, with perhaps the most recognisable flute riff. Men At Work are often seen as a naff ’80s outfit (and written off as — calumny! — a one-hit wonder). They were fronted by Colin Hay, who is not in any way naff. And his recent letter of advice to the ghastly Ted Cruz was quite satisfying.
14. Saint Etienne – Nothing Can Stop Us (1991)
Flutastic Moment: 1:17 The whole thing is a chilled-out house thing, but when the flute comes in, the song gets soul.
15. Esther Williams – Last Night Changed It All (1976)
Flutastic Moment: 0:30 Dance music in the mid-’70s made great use of flute hooks (and, yes, The Hustle will feature in Volume 3). What a groove!
16. The Chiffons – Just For Tonight (1968)
Flutastic Moment: 1:14 The alto flute solo gives the latter-day girl-band a whole new sound.
17. Marvin Gaye – Stubborn Kind Of Fellow (1962)
Flute Moment: 1:04 But the flute solo also did a fine job in early Motown.
18. Love – Orange Skies (1966)
Flutastic Moment: 0:31 The flute comes in to echo and emphasise the singers declaration of love. When he sings about how happy he is, the flute responds as if it was a cartoon bird. It’s like Mary Poppins for love-struck hippies.
19. Chicago – Color My World (1970)
Flutastic Moment: 1:54 Damn, Chicago were good before the group was hijacked by the extravagantly coiffured Peter Cetera. The flute solo takes a long time coming, but when it arrives, it is quite beautiful and it sees out the remaining minute of the song.
20. The Guess Who – Undun (1969)
Flutastic Moment: 2:15 The Guess Who might have given English teachers nightmares, but they knew how to use a flute to good, albeit far too brief, effect.
21. Lou Reed – Sad Song (1973)
Flutastic Moment: 0:01 Is the flautist trying to get to the melody of Somewhere Over The Rainbow?