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Any Major Flute Vol. 4

May 25th, 2017 12 comments

This is the fourth flute mix. When I first posted these eight years ago, I declared myself officially fluted out. But I think there should be at least a fifth mix. I bend my one-artist-per-series rule a bit: the Carpenters, Gil-Scott-Heron and The Beatles are allowed to reflute on this compilation.

As ever, CD-R length, flutilicious covers, PW same as always..

1. Carpenters – This Masquerade (1973)
Flute moment: 2:40  The flute is there right at the beginning, stays with us, and then, at 2:40, takes charge with a hard-rocking solo. Leon Russell’s original also has some flute, but nothing on this, one of the great flute tracks in pop.

2. Julie London – Light My Fire (1969)
Flute moment: 0:01  The only song featured twice, though quite a few might also have qualified. The flute sets Julie up to do with the song what the Doors couldn’t — make it as seductive as the words suggest. Go on, kiss somebody while the solo (starting at 1:58) plays.

3. Roberta Flack & Quincy Jones – On A Clear Day/Killer Joe (1973)
Flute moment: 5:04   Sammy Davis Jr introduces Roberta and Quincy at the Save The Children concert. Flack sings On A Clear Day better than Streisand ever did, and when Quincy’s Killer Joe comes in, the medley rocks. In between, there’s a one-minute flute solo.

4. Gil Scott-Heron – The Bottle (1975)
Flute moment: 2:49   Brian Jackson’s flute in Scott-Heron’s songs are the sound of the ’70s ghetto and blaxploitation. Introducing the solo, Gil calls on Stick to “hit me one more time”. Funny that the Poet Laureate of the ghetto, the English popsters and the whitebread siblings should share the honour of being featured twice in this series.

5. P.P. Arnold – It’ll Never Happen Again (1968)
Flute moment: 0:15  Vastly underrated soul singer, who should have been given the entire Bacharach catalogue to sing. The flute accompanies us throughout this gorgeous song.

6. The Beatles – The Fool On The Hill (1967)
Flute moment: 2:43  Flute AND recorder, Paul? Well, it works.

7. Gilbert Bécaud – Nathalie (1965)
Flute moment: 0:19   C’est la flute.

8. Cat Stevens – Katmandu (1970)
Flute moment: 1:43  Flute interlude by Peter Gabriel, fact fans.

9. The Four Tops – Still Water (Love) (1970)
Flute moment: There is none. The flute is floating in the background. I included the song only because it is so lovely.

10. Fantastic Four – I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love (1967)
Flute moment: 0:09   There is, however, flute on this 1967 soul track, which sounds a lot like a Four Tops song. Again, the flute gets no centrestage time, but among the backing instrumentation, it stands out.

11. Left Banke – Walk Away Renee (1966)
Flute moment: 1:22  On my first draft of this playlist, I unconsciously paired the Left Banke with the Four Tops, who covered Walk Away Renee to fine effect.

12. Boz Scaggs – Lowdown (1976)
Flute moment: 0:18  The song has a funky bassline, a great guitar part, and a fantastic flute riff which bosses the tune and occasionally heckles poor Boz…

13. Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love (1978)
Flute moment: 1:35  The flute solo takes us to the bridge.

14. Smokey Robinson – Quiet Storm (1975)
Flute moment: 1:52  The song that started a genre which provided the soundtrack for the conception of millions of babies. When Smokey commands: “Blow baby!”, he presumably means the flute.

15. Neil Sedaka – Bad Blood (1975)
Flute moment: 0:40  A pretty mediocre song is redeemed by a bit of fine flute.

16. The Blues Project – Flute Thing (1966)
Flute moment: the whole song. Well, it does take nine seconds for the flute to start.  It is so flutish, the band needed no better title than Flute Thing.

17. Genesis – Get ’Em Out by Friday (1972)
Flute moment: 1:59  It starts off terribly prog-rockish. But it gets bearably pleasant when the flute comes in to accompany Peter
Gabriel (who presumably is not playing the flute at the same time). Then, after two minutes it becomes proggish again, and when the song slows down next, no flute! I blame Phil Collins, the bald man’s Bono. Happily, the flute returns at 4:57, for more than a minute.

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Any Major Flute Vol. 1
Any Major Flute Vol. 2
Any Major Flute Vol. 3

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Any Major Flute Vol. 3

September 29th, 2016 13 comments

Any Major Flute Vol. 3

When I initially made these mixes in 2009, I had noted down songs featuring the flute for about a year, and I still stumbled across flutes that had previously passed me by, even in songs I know very well, such as Kris Kristofferson’s Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I Ever Did Before) and The 5th Dimension’s Up Up And Away, a song I have loved since I was a little boy. In the case of the latter I picked up the flute only while watching a clip of the song being performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. There will still be more flute mixes.

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1. Van McCoy – The Hustle (1975)
Flute moment: 0:35 Well, this is the soul anthem of flutology which everyone knows how to whistle, straight after chanting “Do the hustle!”

2. The 5th Dimension – Up-Up And Away (1967)
Flute moment: 1:43  The flute creeps in almost unnoticed in the background at 0:52, disappears and then asserts itself almost a minute later.

3. Dusty Springfield – I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face (1967)
Flute moment: 0:01 The alto flute sets up the song with a 17-second intro. The job done it lets Dusty do her lovely thing. Check out Baby Washington’s equally flutetastic version.

4. Aretha Franklin – Until You Come Back to Me (1973)
Flute moment: 2:27   On Aretha’s cover version of Stevie Wonder’s much-neglected song, the flute serves as an occasional member of the rhythm section until it gets to show off its solo chops in the final third.

5. The Style Council – How She Threw It All Away (1988)
Flute moment:0:01  The flute comes in right away and returns periodically throughout, and gets a cool 15-second solo at 2:01, and from 3:41 stays with us till the end.

6. The National – So Far Around The Bend (2009)
Flute moment: 0:49  In 2009, The National show that the flute is not out of fashion. It has the flute (well, I’m not totally convinced it’s a flute, but something flute-ish) and the xylophone. Reader Itallstarted suggested this track in the comments section; thanks for alerting me to my new current favourite song.

7. Mercury Rev – Something For Joey (1993)
Flute moment: 1:57  Amid all the multi-instrumental wall of sound, the flute pipes up merrily, as was Mercury Rev’s wont.

8. Golden Earring – Back Home (1970)
Flute moments: 0:10 & 2:38  Traffic did it. Jethro Tull did it. Moody Blues did it. Why shouldn’t hoary Dutch rock acts?

9. Jeremy Steig – Howling For Judy (1969)
Flute moment: All of it. It is cheating a bit to include a flute-jazz track here, but this is fantastic and more rock than jazz: two flutes and a bit of bass. This tack was the basis for the Beastie Boys track on Any Major Flute Vol. 1. Steig passed away on April 13, 2016 — exactly a week after I re-posted the flute mix with his sample on the Beastie Boys track.

10. Joe Walsh – Days Gone By (1973)
Flute moment: 3:55   The future Eagle kicks off with flute, returning to the flute hook periodically before giving the instrument the opportunity to take over for a minute. Thanks to Johnny Bacardi for sending this to me.

11. Blood, Sweat & Tears – Sometimes In Winter (1969)
Flute moment:0:22  The flute is with us from the start on this track, but really helps set the scene after 22 seconds, staying prominently with us through out the first minute, taking a break for another minute, and returning after the 2-minute mark and never leaves us again.

12. Kris Kristofferson – Loving Her Was Easier (1971)
Flute moment: 0:20  Blink and you might miss it. For a long time, I did not take notice of the three moments of brief flutesomeness, all within in the first minute. And I have listened to this song, an all-time favourite, more than most KK songs.

13. The Dillards – Listen To The Sound (1968)
Flute moment:0:01  The flute is not particularly big in country. But here we’ve had KK and now The Dillards, the hugely influential but largely forgotten country/bluegrass band.

14. The Association – Windy (1967)
Flute moment: 1:07  Flute solo! And the flute returns at 2:27, staying until the song fades out.

15. Billy Joel – Get It Right The First Time (1977)
Flute moment: 0:16  This is possibly the only Billy Joel that features the flute. I can’t think of any other. Funny then that it is my least favourite song from The Stranger.

16. The Isley Brothers – For The Love Of You (1975)
Flute moment: 0:01  Early ’70s soul music frequently incorporated the flute to great profit. For The Love Of You signalled the advent of the much-maligned Quiet Storm genre (named after the Smokey Robinson album, the title track of which will feature in Volume 4). The lovely flute hook accompanies the song discreetly throughout.

17. S.O.U.L. – Burning Spear (1973)
Flute moment: 0:18  Where the flute was inhibited on the previous song, on this funk instrumental it takes the centre stage and sounds as sexy as any wind instrument ever did (oh dear, one could manufacture a terrible double entrendez from that statement).

18. Procol Harum – Pandora’s Box (1975)
Flute moment: 1:39  Borrowing liberally from the Tull, the rock legends turn to the flute in an interplay with the guitar.

19. Stackridge – To The Sun And Moon (1974)
Flute moment: 1:19   Fun fact: Folk outfit Stackridge were the first act to play at the very first Glastonbury Festival. A flute-friendly act, they take their time to bring in the instrument here.

20. Focus – Hocus Pocus (1971)
Flute moment: 4:14  When I asked earlier why Dutch rock bands shouldn’t use the flute, I merely restated what Focus pondered almost 40 years ago. The flute takes its time to turn up in this entirely strange strong which includes prodigious yodelling, a momentary lapse of the singer’s mental faculties as he does speaking in tongues, and all manner of other madness. Odd then that it is the flutes that are best remembered — after the yodels, obviously.

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Any Major Flute Vol. 1
Any Major Flute Vol. 2

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Any Major Flute Vol. 2

May 12th, 2016 27 comments

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?

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Any Major Flute Vol. 1

April 6th, 2016 33 comments

A reader asked nicely whether I might re-up the Any Major Flute series. Over the next couple of months, I will do just that, leaving the format unchanged from when I first posted it seven years ago. But now I’m including home-blown covers. Like this one:

Any Major Flute-1

I may have mentioned once or twice that if a song features a bit of flute, I’ll like it. So it seems to me that mix celebrating the flute in pop is necessary and desirable. I know that some people hate the idea of flute in rock — perhaps this mix will disabuse them of such odd notions. Should one or the song feature a piccolo or recorder instead of the flute, please enjoy the respite and don’t shout at me. If this mix is popular enough, I’ll put together a second mix of songs I’ve held back. And, look Ma, no Jethro Tull!
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1. Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson – Winter in America (1974)
Flute Moment: 3:57 – Gil goes “stick”, and Brian lets rip with his flute.

2. Baby Huey – California Dreamin’ (1971)
Flute Moment: 2:10 – After the flute does it alone for the long intro, the instrumental party kicks off.

3. Josh Rouse – James (2003)
Flute Moment: 2:47 – Rouse captures the sound of 1972, as the album title promises, when the flute goes into a conversation with the guitar.

4. Bobby Bland – Ain’t No Love In the Heart Of The City (1974)
Flute Moment: 2:06 & 3:22 – Listen closely or you’ll miss it.

5. Eddie Rabbitt – Suspicions (1979)
Flute Moment: 2:14 – Hail the flute solo

6. Carpenters – Road One (1972)
Flute Moment: 2:14 – Spookily, the flute solo here commences at the same time as that in Suspicion.

7. MJ – I Wanna Be Where You Are (1972)
Flute Moment: 1:47 – The flute backs young Michael funkily, and then gets its solo spot.

8. Blackbyrds – Walking In Rhythm (1974)
Flute Moment: 1:55 – Flute solo in rhythm.

9. The Mamas & the Papas – Creeque Alley (1967)
Flute Moment: 2:23 – Like the Carpenters, The Mamas & The Papas liked a bit of flute.

10. Frank Sinatra with Count Basie – Fly Me To The Moon (1966)
Flute Moment:0:35 – You don’t really expect to hear the flute in Sinatra’s music. In this live recording, Count Basie gives this standard a flute signature.

11. David Bowie – Moonage Daydream (1972)
Flute Moment: 1:54 – Bowie goes all Jethro Tull on us for a minute.

12. Cardigans – Sick & Tired (1994)
Flute Moment: 0:02 – The background flute never leaves us.

13. Van M. – Everyone (1970)
Flute Moment: 1:48 – After being with us throughout, the flute gets a 30-second solo.

14. Traffic – John Barleycorn (1970)
Flute Moment: 1:07 – The prog rock flute classic that’s not by Jethro Tull.

15. Carole King – So Far Away (1971)
Flute Moment: 3:16 – Carole gamely resisted the urge to include the flute for much of the song.

16. Simon & Garfunkel – So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright (1970)
Flute Moment: 1:18 – The flute takes the lead, accompanied by acoustic guitar, strings and percussion.

17. The Beatles – You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (1965)
Flute Moment:1:47 – The flute sees out my favourite Beatles song.

18. The Beach Boys – Feel Flows (1971)
Flute Moment: 1:44 – Aah, there’s the flute.

19. Beastie Boys – Sure Shot (1994)
Flute Moment: 0:01 – The cool flute hook, sampled from Jeremy Steig’s Howling For Judy, stays with us through almost all of the song.

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