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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 9

June 14th, 2018 5 comments

Just as I thought that I might have wrapped up the series of AOR stuff about which one need never feel guilty, I felt like putting together another mix — in fact, two, but presently I shall share the first of those; and the ninth in the series. This stuff is addictive.

Aside from an aversion to the letter G in the endin’ of a word and some really awful lyrics, the acts here share in common a knack for a good hook, and high standards of musicianship.

Some come from a jazz fusion background.  Jeff Lorber is better-known as a fusion musician; doing vocals for him here are Arnold McCuller and Sylvia St. James. McCuller is a recording artist in his own right, having released six albums, but also has prolific track record in backing vocals, including on The Jackson’s Can You Feel It and Odyssey’s Native New Yorker. He has also backed two acts that appear on this mix: Brooklyn Dreams and Stephen Bishop — and Sylvia St. James on one of her two albums.

Brooklyn Dreams had greater success as the backing outfit for Donna Summer in the late 1970s than with their own records (they wrote Bad Girls, among other songs). The trio scored two minor hits; one of them was the track featured here, which has been liberally sampled in hip hop. Lead singer Joe Esposito went on to write scores for hit movies like Flashdance and The Karate Kid; keyboardist Bruce Sodano went on to marry Donna Summer.

Featured here as The Dukes, Dominic Bugatti & Frank Musker recorded also as a duo under their own names. But they made more of a mark as songwriters. Not everything they wrote was gold: our friends wrote the 1977 UK hit Reggae Like It Used To Be (which should have had as its subtitle A White Man’s Lament) for Paul Nicholas. They wrote another track featured here, Air Supply’s Every Woman In The World.

You might not know Junior Campbell, but you likely have heard his biggest hit: Reflections Of My Life, which he co-wrote as Marmalade’s lead guitarist with singer Dean Ford (the guitar solo is by Campbell). After leaving Marmalade in 1971, he scored a couple of UK hits with Hallelujah Freedom and Sweet Illusion. He later went into producing and arranging, as well as writing scores. In the latter endeavour, he wrote prolifically for the children’s TV series Thomas The Tank Engine.

Canadian singer Craig Ruhnke didn’t really have a great rock & roll name, and he looked more like a geography teacher than a rock star. Still, Mr Ruhnke was a regular on Canada’s airwaves, and periodically troubled the country’s charts. He also enjoyed attention in Japan, as you do.  By 1983 he had founded his own independent label, from which the present track came. After a while he turned to producing music for commercials but continued to release new songs from time to time.

And if Ruhnke is not really the name to propel you to mega-stardom, the moniker Fred Knoblock is not likely to either. On the staff of Mr Ruhnke’s school, Mr Knoblock was the coach (others on the teaching body included Mesrrs. Walter Egan, James Felix, Bruce Hibbard and Stephen Bishop). Still, his name notwithstanding, Fred Knoblock has enjoyed a Top 20 hit, and his career has merited induction into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame.

As ever, CD-R length, home-yachted covers, PW in comments.

1. Far Cry – The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ (1980)
2. Jackson Browne – Somebody’s Baby (1982)
3. James Felix – Open Up (1980)
4. Boz Scaggs – Georgia (1976)
5. Brooklyn Dreams – Music Harmony & Rhythm (1977)
6. Jeff Lorber – Your Love Has Got Me (1981)
7. The Dukes – So Much In Love (1982)
8. Walter Egan with Stevie Nicks – Magnet And Steel (1980)
9. Jim Capaldi – That’s Love (1983)
10. Robbie Dupree – Free Fallin’ (1981)
11. Fonda Feingold – Feelin’ Your Love (1978)
12. Eric Tagg – A Bigger Love (1982)
13. Pablo Cruise – Atlanta June (1977)
14. Craig Ruhnke – Give Me The Nighttime (1983)
15. Stephen Bishop – Save It For A Rainy Day (1976)
16. Air Supply – Every Woman In The World (1980)
17. Junior Campbell – Highland Girl (1978)
18. Karla Bonoff – Personally (1982)
19. Fred Knoblock – It’s Over (1980)
20. Bruce Hibbard – Never Turnin’ Back (1980)

https://rg.to/file/06ba0ad01ebca86a0b2705fddb17dfb1/NfGlty_9.rar.html

 

Not Feeling Guilty Mix 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 4
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 5
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 6
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 7
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 8

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 8

September 28th, 2017 5 comments

Here is the eighth Not Feeling Guilty mix — and about time, too. The last one was in October, since when Valerie Carter, featured here on track 9, has died.

I don’t think there any acts left to introduce in this lot. The famous ones you know, and the not famous ones I’ve written about before.

So, everything is self-explanatory and you know how it works: CD-R length, home-crafted covers, PW in comments.

1. Steely Dan – FM (1978)
2. Doobie Brothers – Minute By Minute (1978)
3. Gary Wright – Love Is Alive (1975)
4. Boz Scaggs – It’s Over (1976)
5. Bill LaBounty – Comin’ Back (1982)
6. Robbie Dupree – Brooklyn Girls (1981)
7. Ambrosia – If Heaven Could Find Me (1978)
8. David Roberts – Boys Of Autumn (1982)
9. Valerie Carter – Lady In The Dark (1978)
10. Rupert Holmes – Let’s Get Crazy Tonight (1978)
11. Dr. Hook – Sexy Eyes (1979)
12. Paulinho Da Costa with Bill Champlin – Seeing Is Believing (1979)
13. Pages – Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong (1979)
14. Paul Davis – ’65 Love Affair (1981)
15. Lauren Wood – Work On It (1981)
16. Orleans – Love Takes Time (1979)
17. Jim Photoglo – More To Love (1981)
18. Player – Let Me Down Easy (1978)
19. Atlanta Rhythm Section – Imaginary Lover (1978)
20. Christopher Cross – The Light Is On (1979)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 4
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 5
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 6
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 7

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 7

October 13th, 2016 8 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 7

Man, how I enjoy this mix, the seventh in the Not Feeling Guilty series of songs one might call soft rock, or smooth rock, or the dreadful term “yacht rock”. I’ve played it so much in my car, the bitrate is deteriorating!

If you share my view that no such mix is complete without the sound of Michael McDonald’s distinctive baritone but are puzzled by his omission upon perusal of the tracklisting — assuming that this is what you do before you read my blurbs, if you remember to read them — take heart. The half-man, half-beard appears on two songs here: singing with Lauren Wood and helping out former Ambrosia frontman David Pack, alongside his pal James Ingram.

David Pack has featured previously in this series as lead singer of Ambrosia’s great soft rock hits The Biggest Part Of Me (Vol. 3), How Much I Feel (Vol. 1)and You’re The Only Woman (Vol. 5). Pack has since become a successful  producer, and was the music director for the 1993 and 1997 presidential inaugurations of Bill Clinton.

Lauren Wood is perhaps best known for her hit from the 1990 film Pretty Woman, Fallen. Her 1979 debut album featured McDonald, drummers Jim Keltner, Alvin Taylor and Jeff Porcaro (and his Toto mates Lukather and Hungate), bassist Abraham Laboriel, saxophonist Andrew Love (half of the Memphis Horns) and Little Feat’s Fred Tackett  and Bill Payne, the latter of whom contributes a synth solo on Please Don’t Go.

And then there is Pages, a group that sounds like Michael McDonald should be singing backing vocals with. Pages’ two regular members, lead singer-bassist Richard Page and keyboardist Steve George, who would have greater success later in the 1980s as founder members of Mr Mister. Before Pages, the two and other future collaborators backed Andy Gibb on his big 1977 hit I Want To Be Your Everything. Their song Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong was later covered by both Kenny Loggins (on Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 4) and to wonderful effect by Al Jarreau & Randy Crawford. That original version might yet appear in a future Not Feeling Guilty mix.

pages

You might wonder whether I’ve lost my sequencing mind, putting Alice Cooper and Seals & Crofts after one another. Isn’t Alice Cooper more liable to bite off Crofts’ head and then proceed to bash Seals? Well, here we catch Cooper in a smooth rock mood, and Seals & Crofts are waking grandma with some relatively loud guitars. But fear not for Cooper, who on his live album of the same year, 1977, sandwiched his soft You And Me between songs titled Devil’s Food, The Black Widow, I Love The Dead and Go To Hell.

Really serious movie buffs may recognise the name Chris Montan. Once a soft-rock singer, Montan is now president of Walt Disney Music, which means that the music in Disney and Pixar movies from Pocahontas and Toy Story in 1995 to more recently Frozen are ultimately Montan’s responsibility.

Richard Clapton is not always a soft-rock kind of guy. The versatile Australian can rock hard, and even dabbled with the sounds of new wave. His The Great Escape LP was a favourite of mine when it came out in 1982. Not all of it has aged well, but The Best Years Of Our Lives, featured here, and the slow-burning Walk On Water are still very good tracks.

You don’t often get a marimba solo in rock music, but there it is on Starbuck’s 1976 hit Moonlight Feels Right. I am glad to know that the corporate coffeehouse chain of similar moniker did not take their name from this Mississippi group (it was borrowed from a minor character in Moby Dick). I trust you downloaded the Any Major Coffee mixes (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) and agree with my plea to use independent coffee places instead of McStarbucks.

The coolest name here must be Jim Photoglo, which sounds like the sort of name the bassist of A Flock of Seagulls should have (disappointingly, his name was the rather glamourless Frank Maudsley). Very pleasingly, Photoglo is the singer’s real name. After his career as a soft-rock singer he became the bass player for Dan Fogelberg — another artist whose real name sounds made-up and who features here — and a country songwriter for an impressive list of stars. He still releases records as a folk singer.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes covers. PW in comments. Feel free to leave a comment in that section; even if you have nothing important to say, a hello and thanks is always appreciated.

1. Kenny Loggins & Stevie Nicks – Whenever I Call You ‘Friend’ (1978)
2. Boz Scaggs – Lowdown (1976)
3. James Walsh Gypsy Band – Cuz It’s You Girl (1978)
4. Jim Photoglo – Fool In Love With You (1981)
5. Bobby Caldwell – Carry On (1982)
6. Pages – You Need A Hero (1981)
7. Nicolette Larson – Isn’t It Always Love (1979)
8. David Pack – I Just Can’t Let Go (1985)
9. Dan Fogelberg – Heart Hotels (1979)
10. David Roberts – Anywhere You Run To (1982)
11. Alice Cooper – You And Me (1977)
12. Seals & Crofts – Nobody Gets Over Loving You (1979)
13. America – You Can Do Magic (1982)
14. Starbuck – Moonlight Feels Right (1976)
15. Lauren Wood – Please Don’t Leave (1979)
16. Walter Egan – Magnet And Steel (1978)
17. Chris Montan – Intentions (1980)
18. Richard Clapton – The Best Years Of Our Lives (1982)
19. Bill Champlin – Fly With Me (1978)
20. Bertie Higgins – Just Another Day In Paradise (1982)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 4
Not Feeling Guilty Mix 5
Not Feeling Guilty Vol. 6

 

In Memoriam – August 2016

September 6th, 2016 8 comments

IM-1608aIt was a bad month for jazz musicians. The biggest victim of the Reaper was the Belgian-born harmonica genius Toots Thielemans, whose harmonica riff on the Sesame Street theme in the programmes opening scenes provided the soundtrack for generations of people, at least in the US.

A multi-talented man — Jean Thielemans was also a guitarist and whistler, as well as a composer — he entered the big times while playing with Benny Goodman in the late 1940s and George Shearing in the ‘50s. He recorded many albums, including a number of soundtrack albums, and appeared on a good number of pop records by others. Quincy Jones was a huge fan, and kept using Thieleman’s talents liberally. Other non-jazz acts who featured Thielemans included Billy Joel, Brothers Johnson, John Denver, Paul Simon, Ralph McDonald, Melanie, Julian Lennon (on his hit Too Late For Goodbyes), James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Khadja Nin and so many others. Thielemans also featured on the two Song Swarms In posted in the weeks before his death, for The Girl From Ipanema and By The Time I Get To Phoenix.

At the height of his career with the folk trio The Limeliters — a vocal folk group in the harmonising vein of The Kingston Trio — tenor Glenn Yarbrough decided to leave the music thing behind to become a sailor. That was the end for The Limeliters, though the recording label, CBS, prevailed upon Glen to defer his salty adventures at sea in favour of recording folk records which would become influential in the genre. In the late ’60s Yarbrough decided to sell luxury home, cars and a banana plantation to set up a school for impoverished African-American children. The school went defunct in the early ’70s. It was then that he, his wife and baby-daughter went sailing on a boat he helped build — for half a decade. A free spirit, Yarbrough has died at the age of 86.

Now as the US public is confronted with the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump, the election campaigns of George Herbert Walker Bush 26 years ago seems genteel by comparison, even if we acknowledge Lee Atwater’s bilious lies, the involvement of the vomituous sex pest Roger Ayles, and the blatant racism of the Willie Horton saga .  One of George Bush Sr’s campaign songs was the Moe Bandy song Americana, which was co-written by Richard Fagan, who has died at 69. Fagan had a number of country hits under his belt, as well as a minor 1980 chart hit for Neil Diamond. He had a colourful personal life. In 2008 he was involved in a physical fight with his mentor, Tom Oteri, whom Fagan wounded with a knife. After being ejected from Oteri’s house, Fagan was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Released from his cell the next morning, he learnt that his friend had died of a heart attack following their altercartion. Remarkable, the Oteri family stood by the distraught Fagan who then proceeded to clean himself up.

I’ve always thought that the vibraphone is an underrated instrument. With the death of Bobby Hutcherson we have lost a leading exponent of vibes-playing (once voted the world’s best, ahead of the great Vince Montana). Turning professional while still a teenager in the late 1950s, Hutcherson released a long string of jazz albums himself — many on Blue Note, the label on which he was the second longest-running acts — but also played with some of the great names in jazz of his generation, including John Coltrane, Blue Mitchell, Dexter Gordon, Joe Sample (who wrote the featured track), Freddie Hubbard and Herbie Hancock, appearing with the latter on the Round Midnight soundtrack.IM-1608bAnother part-time Blue Note alumni departed inform of the influential recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder. He is widely considered a pioneer in his field; his innovations helped create the sound of American jazz in the 1950s and early ‘60s. His services were used by the likes of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter. He engineered such groundbreaking albums as John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme , Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus, A Night At The Village Vanguard and Horace Silver’s Songs For My Father.  Even at 91, he kept working to his last days. Fittingly, his end came while he was at his studio.

When a musician dies after having reached the age of 100, he ought to receive a special mention. So it is with the easy listening pianist and composer Irving Fields, who was something of the fixture in the US in the 1950s. Before that he had written a couple of hits, including Managua, Nicaragua (a hit for Guy Lombardo, Freddie Martin and Kay Kyser and their respective orchestras in 1946/47), Chantez Chantez, a 1957 hit for Dinah Shore, and Miami Beach Rhumba for himself. In 2008, as a nonagenarian, he wrote a theme song for YouTube, titled YouTube Dot Com Theme Song.

It’s hard to say whether the rise in the late 1990s of boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSYNC was a good thing, but if anybody thinks their creator should have been jailed for crimes against music, then such people got their wish, of sorts. Lou Pearlman, who has died at 62, was actually jailed for defrauding people in a Ponzi scheme — and never saw freedom again. He was also sued by almost every act he represented. Allegations of molestation of minors were never brought to court; Pearlman denied them. And while the boy bands contributed little to music, they nevertheless gave us Justin Timberlake, a true star of genuine talent.

Among the more unlikely category of people who might enjoy significant chart success are politicians, even less so when they are the foreign minister and future president of a significant country. Don’t fear, Hilary Clinton never recorded a bootie-shakin’ disco hit in 1978, nor is she dead. The politician in question was Walter Scheel, West-Germany’s foreign minister and vice-chancellor from 1969-74 and the president till 1979 who has died at the age of 97. In 1973 Scheel hooked up with the Düsseldorf Men’s Choir to record the German traditional song Hoch auf den gelben Wagen (“Up on the yellow coach”), a song about postal delivery in the pre-automobile age which became a big hit in West Germany. I’ll include it here, for the moments when your particular jam is to groove along to the vocal stylings of a politician (it is quite a contrast to the track which precedes Scheel’s). Take comfort in knowing that Scheel was that rare thing: a decent man in politics.

Ricci Martin, 62, singer, son of Dean Martin, on Aug. 3
Ricci Martin – Stop Look Around (1977)

Snaffu Rigor, 69, Filipino singer and songwriter, on Aug. 4

Richard Fagan, 69, country songwriter, on Aug. 5
Neil Diamond – The Good Lord Loves You (1979)

Vander Lee, 50, Brazilian singer-songwriter, on Aug. 5
Vander Lee – Meu Jardim (2005)

Freddy Sunder, 85, Belgian jazz guitarist and singer, on Aug. 5
Freddy Sunder – Biep! Biep! (1958)

Pete Fountain, 86, jazz clarinetist, on Aug. 6
Al Hirt & Pete Fountain – Blue And Broken Hearted (1957)

E. Taylor, 65, rock musician, on Aug. 7
B.E. Taylor Group – Vitamin L (1984)

Padraig Duggan, 67, Irish folk musician with Clannad, The Duggans, on Aug. 9
Clannad – Theme From Harry’s Game (1982)

Glenn Yarbrough, 86, folk singer, on Aug. 11
The Limeliters – Take My True Love By The Hand (1960)
Glenn Yarbrough – Baby, The Rain Must Fall (1965)

Barbara Gibb, 95, mother of Barry, Robin, Maurice and Andy, on Aug. 12

Ruby Wilson, 68, R&B and gospel singer, on Aug. 12
Ruby Wilson – I’m Coming Home (1999)

Connie Crothers, 75, jazz pianist, on Aug. 13

Gary Watson, 22, singer of Scottish band the Lapelles, drowned on Aug. 13

James Woolley, 49, rock keyboardist (Nine Inch Nails, 1991-94), on Aug. 14
Nine Inch Nails – Wish (1993, on keyboards)

Lorenzo Piani, 60, Italian singer and songwriter, on Aug. 14

DJ Official, 39, Christian hip hop musician, on Aug. 14

Bobby Hutcherson, 75, jazz vibraphone and marimba player, on Aug. 15
Ella Fitzgerald – Things Ain’t What They Used To Be (1970, on vibraphone)
Bobby Hutcherson featuring Harold Land – Goin’ Down South (1971)

Bob Kindred, 76, jazz saxophonist, on Aug. 15

Billy Mitchell, 70, folk-rock singer, on Aug. 16

Preston Hubbard, 63, bass player with the Fabulous Thunderbirds (1985-93), on Aug. 17
The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Powerful Stuff (1988)

Lou Pearlman, 62, producer and impresario (Backstreet Boys, ’NSYNC), on Aug. 19

Matt Roberts, 38, guitarist with alt.rock band 3 Doors Down, on Aug. 20
3 Doors Down – Kryptonite (2000)

Tom Searle, 28, guitarist with British metalcore band Architects, on Aug. 20

Louis Smith, 85, jazz trumpeter, on Aug. 20
Louis Smith – Star Dust (1958)

Louis Stewart, 72, Irish jazz guitarist, on Aug. 20

Irving Fields, 101, pianist and composer, on Aug. 20
Irving Fields Trio – Cha Cha No. 29 (1959)

Derek Smith, 85, British pianist and keyboardist, on Aug. 21
Linda Lewis -This Time I’ll Be Sweeter (1975)

Headley Bennett, 85, Jamaican saxophonist, on Aug. 21
Gregory Isaacs – Poor Natty (1980)

Toots Thielemans, 94, Belgian jazz harmonica player and guitarist, on Aug. 22
Toots Thielemans – Bluesette (1961)
Quincy Jones – Velas (1980)
Billy Joel – Leave A Tender Moment Alone (1983)

Gilli Smyth, 83, singer with psychedelic rock band Gong, on Aug. 22
Gong – I Am Your Fantasy (1971)

Walter Scheel, 97, German politician and chart-topper, on Aug. 24
Walter Scheel – Hoch auf dem gelben Wagen (1973)

Rudy Van Gelder, 91, pioneering recording engineer, on Aug. 25
Horace Silver – Song For My Father (1964, as sound engineer)

Norman Killeen, 38, drummer  of Canadian heavy metal band Threat Signal, on Aug. 25

Ab Tamboer, 65, member of Dutch pop group Earth and Fire, on Aug. 26

Juan Gabriel, 66, Mexican singer and songwriter, on Aug. 28
Juan Gabriel – Querida (1984)

Hoot Hester, 65, bluegrass and country fiddle player, on Aug. 30
Ricky Van Shelton – Life Turned Her That Way (1987, on fiddle)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 6

March 31st, 2016 4 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 6

Six mixes in, and still not feeling guilty. This kind of music has an inexhaustible well.

Most of the artists here have featured before or are well-known, such as Carole King who is making her series debut here.

I’m not quite sure whether Donnie Iris really belongs here; his Do You Compute sounds sufficiently like it might be a Toto song, albeit with a touch of American New Wave. Anyway, I think it fits. The song was used to promote the game console and computer company Atari.

Dave Mason was, of course, a member of Traffic, for whom he wrote the iconic Hole In My Shoe and Feelin’ Alright. As a solo artist he previously featured on The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1. We Just Disagree, the 1977 track featured here, was Mason’s biggest solo hit, peaking at #12 in the US.

Jess Roden also had a Traffic connection: he collaborated with both Jim Capaldi and Steve Winwood. Apart from fronting several bands, Roden was a songwriter and backing singer, doing vocals in the late 1960s/early 1970s on albums by the likes of The Who, Jim Capaldi, Sandy Denny and Mott the Hoople, and also backed Grace Jones on her 1981hit Pull Up To My Bumper.

Larry John McNally released very little music himself: three LPs and a clutch of singles. He was more of a songwriter, providing songs for the likes of Bonnie Raitt (Nobody’s Girl; Slow Ride), Rod Stewart (The Motown Song), Joe Cocker (Long Drag Off A Cigarette), Chaka Khan (Sleep On It; A Woman In A Man’s World), Mavis Staples (I Don’t Want To Lose My Real Good Thing), Aaron Neville (Struttin’ On Sunday; Somewhere, Somebody), the Eagles (I Love To Watch A Woman Dance), among others.

The excellent female vocals on Boz Scaggs’ Miss Sun are by Lisa Dal Bello, who had previously sung it on a demo for Toto. When Toto passed the song on to Scaggs, the Canadian singer was invited to repeat her vocals.

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

1. Little River Band – It’s A Long Way There (1975)
2. Player – Silver Lining (1978)
3. Donnie Iris – Do You Compute (1982)
4. Carole King – Lookin’ Out For Number One (1982)
5. Santana – Hold On (1981)
6. Boz Scaggs – Miss Sun (1980)
7. Eric Tagg – Promises Promises (1982)
8. The Doobie Brothers – Real Love (1980)
9. Bobby Caldwell – Coming Down From Love (1980)
10. Dave Mason – We Just Disagree (1977)
11. Chicago – Take Me Back To Chicago (1977)
12. Dan Fogelberg & Tim Weisberg – The Power Of Gold (1978)
13. Pablo Cruise – Love Will Find A Way (1978)
14. Nicolette Larson – Dancin’ Jones (1979)
15. Robbie Dupree – I’ll Be The Fool Again (1981)
16. Gino Vannelli – Living Inside Myself (1980)
17. Larry John McNally – Just Like Paradise (1981)
18. Jess Roden – Brand New Start (1980)
19. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Just A Song Before I Go (1977)
20. Jay Ferguson – Shakedown Cruise (1979)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 4
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 5

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 5

August 27th, 2015 6 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 5

Still not feeling guilty and the music is still great. Several artists here have featured before in this series; some more than once, such as Boz Scaggs, Bill LaBounty, Player, Michael McDonald, Rupert Holmes or England Dan & John Ford Coley. A fair few appear for the first time, and some of those are not very well known.

Rick Mathews is the most obscure of the lot. All I have on the guy is that he released two albums, 1981’s California Cologne and in 1991 Only The Young. California Cologne is a very good AOR album which seems to have made a bit of an impression in Japan. And that’s all I know. Does anybody know more?

The AOR genre was very male-orientated, and these mixes reflect that. Here we have three female voices: those of Stevie Nicks, Valerie Carter and Cathy Cooper. The latter teamed up with Jimmie Ross as Cooper & Ross, both members of a later version of doo wop group The Skyliners. As Cooper & Ross they released a sole LP in 1982, titled Bottom Line. Ross had been a member the Jaggerz, who had a hit in 1969 with The Rapper (he shared vocals with Donnie Iris, who will possibly feature on Volume 6). He has the reputation of being a fine blue-eyed soul singer, but is also a member of the Beaver County Musicians Hall of Fame. He still performs with the reunited Jaggerz. Cathy seems to be the same Kathy Cooper who co-wrote, with Rupert Holmes, the wonderful Echo Valley 2-6809 for The Partridge Family, which featured on Any Major Telephone Vol. 1.

Silver also released only one LP, a country-rock effort in 1976, produced by Clive Davis with the cover designed by the late comedian Phil Hartman. Their label, Arista, didn’t fancy any of the album’s tracks for single releases and instead gave them a song called Wham Bam to record. Given that these guys were serious musicians, they must have felt a bit silly singing “We’ve got a wham bam, shang-a-lang and a sha-la-la-la-la-la thing”. Still, they turned out a very catchy song with which they had their solitary hit, reaching #16 in the US.

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

1. Ace – The Real Feeling (1975)
2. Boz Scaggs – Still Falling For You (1977)
3. Bill LaBounty – Trail To Your Heart (Sailing Without A Sail) (1979)
4. Chris Christian – Don’t Give Up On Us (1981)
5. Ambrosia – You’re The Only Woman (1980)
6. Valerie Carter – Crazy (1978)
7. Rupert Holmes – One Born Every Minute (1981)
8. The Beach Boys – Sail On, Sailor (1973)
9. Cooper & Ross – You’re The One (1982)
10. Greg Guidry – Are You Ready For Love (1982)
11. Bill Champlin – I Don’t Want You Anymore (1978)
12. Robbie Dupree – Hot Rod Hearts (1980)
13. Silver – Wham Bam (1976)
14. Rick Mathews – Movin’ On Up (1981)
15. Player – It’s For You (1980)
16. Paul Davis – I Go Crazy (1977)
17. England Dan & John Ford Coley – Love Is The Answer (1978)
18. Michael McDonald – That’s Why (1982)
19. Dan Fogelberg – Hard To Say Lyrics (1981)
20. Stevie Nicks & Don Henley – Leather And Lace (1981)
21. Firefall – You Are The Woman (1976)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 3
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 4

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 4

March 12th, 2015 12 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 4

And we’re still not feeling guilty. This is the fourth mix in the series, and I think there are still one or two good ones to come.

Kenny Loggins’ Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong has been done much better by Randy Crawford and Al Jarreau on the wonderful Casino Lights album, but this version is notable for the backing singer: Michael Jackson.

Bill LaBounty has featured on previous mixes — his Living It Up is one of the best tracks on any of these mixes — and he returns here with a 1979 re-recording of a song he had previously released in 1975. Incidentally, LaBounty released what might well be my favourite album of 2014, Into Something Blue.

Very few who’ll hear this mix will have any idea of Karl Kikillus is, and that isn’t surprising. Kikillus was a radio DJ in South Africa, and then the presenter of the country’s first pop video show in 1983, the year his jazzily grooving Another Shore was released, as a b-side to a song called Fallen Angel. As far as I know, that’s all Kikillus released.

Greg Guidry’s story had a sad ending. He wrote for the likes of Climax Blues Band, Robbie Dupree, Exile, Johnny Taylor, Sawyer Brown and Reba McEntire, but his 1982 album Over The Line was his only one for 18 years. In 2003 his charred body was found in his garage in an apparent suicide. He was 53.

Another singer featured here who died relatively young is Paul Davis, who is perhaps most famous for his hit I Go Crazy (covered to superior effect by Lou Rawls). In 1986 he survived being shot in the abdomen in a robbery in Nashville. He died from a heart attack in 2008, a day after his 60th birthday.

Eric Tagg featured before in this series, on Volume 3 with Is It You, though the credit went to jazz-fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour, with whom Tagg recorded several songs (and who produced the Dreamwalking album on which No One There, with a Rit solo, appears).. Indeed, he is probably best known for these, even though he released three LPs between 1975 and ’82, and a fourth in 1997.

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

1. Average White Band – Atlantic Avenue (1979)
2. Steve Winwood – Valerie (1982)
3. Greg Guidry – (I’m) Givin’ It Up (1982)
4. Karl Kikillus – Another Shore (1983)
5. Bobby Caldwell – Can’t Say Goodbye (1978)
6. Bill LaBounty – Lie To Me (1978)
7. Valerie Carter – What’s Become Of Us (1978)
8. Christopher Cross – Never Be The Same (1979)
9. Kenny Loggins – Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong (1979)
10. Firefall – Just Remember I Love You (1977)
11. Paul Davis – Cool Night (1981)
12. Sweet Comfort Band – Don’t Tell Me You Love Me (1979)
13. Michael McDonald – I Gotta Try (1982)
14. Adrian Gurvitz – Untouchable And Free (1979)
15. Eric Tagg – No One There (1982)
16. James Vincent – You’ll Be Right There (1980)
17. Elkie Brooks – Fool If You Think It’s Over (1981)
18. Little River Band – Reminiscing (1978)
19. Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds – Fallin’ In Love (1975)
20. Stephen Bishop – On And On (1976)
21. Deliverance – Leaving L.A. (1979)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 3

 

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 3

October 9th, 2014 15 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 3

After two recycled mixes in this series, here’s a brand-new collection. This one is at least as good as the other two, with some glorious songs one doesn’t hear often today, even on radio stations that specialise in retro stuff. And because I have relaxed the no-duplication-of-artists rule, some acts return with tracks that are as good as those I picked for the first two mixes — Ambrosia are one example; Boz Scaggs, Dan Folgelberg and Player others. And there is Kenny Loggins, a man who is unjustly maligned by some people.

His “Heart To Heart” is mighty, with its great bridge leading to the punchy chorus.  The thing was co-written with David Foster and Michael McDonald, who does backing vocals and keyboard duty. David Sanborn, operating in an era before he was the Kenny G it was sort of OK to like, adds a nice sax solo. It’s good to be alive when one hears that song.

As far as I can see, only one song here is a cover, Carly Simon’s version of The Doobie Brothers’ “You Belong To Me”, later covered to good effect by soul singer Anita Baker.

As previously noted, the genre which some call yacht rock (I’ll watch the satirical series of the name one day, but, the cover above notwithstanding, I hate the moniker) or adult contemporary (yeurgh) was underpinned by top class session work, its practitioners often coming from the world of jazz fusion. Two songs here are in fact credited to fusion people: Lee Ritenour’s “Is It You”, with Eric Tagg on vocals, and Stanley Clarke & George Duke’s “Sweet Baby”. The Internet tells me some people don’t like the latter; I think it has a lovely vibe.

There will be a fourth mix. In the meantime, this lot is timed to fit on a CD-R, and includes home-knitted covers. PW in comments.

1. Boz Scaggs – Lido Shuffle (1976)
2. Hall and Oates – Say It Ain’t So (1983)
3. Kenny Loggins – Heart To Heart (1982)
4. Lee Ritenour with Eric Tagg – Is It You (1981)
5. Eddie Rabbitt – Suspicions (1979)
6. Ambrosia – The Biggest Part Of Me (1980)
7. Jim Messina – Seeing You (For The First Time) (1979)
8. Stanley Clarke/George Duke Project – Sweet Baby (1981)
9. Bill LaBounty – Never Gonna Look Back (1982)
10. Player – Givin’ It All (1980)
11. Dan Fogelberg – Missing You (1982)
12. Robbie Dupree – Steal Away (1980)
13. Carly Simon – You Belong To Me (1978)
14. Gino Vanelli – I Just Want To Stop (1978)
15. Bertie Higgins – Key Largo (1982)
16. England Dan & John Ford Coley – We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again (1978)
17. Orleans – Dance With Me (1975)
18. Nicolette Larson – Give A Little (1978)
19. Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around And Fell In Love (1975)
20. Andrew Gold – Lonely Boy (1976)

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1
Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 2

Categories: In the middle of the road Tags:

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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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1

March 6th, 2014 17 comments

Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 1

 

I previously posted this mix and a second volume in January 2009. I’m reposting it now (and Volume 2 later) in preparation for a third mix.

I’m on a mission to expose the notion of “guilty pleasures” in music for the putrid fraud it is. Few things about music annoy me as much as the idea that we should qualify our enjoyment of a song, and compromise or emotional reaction to it. Of course, there is a caveat: our full freedom to enjoy any kind of music should be rooted in what one might call an informed conscience.

It is okay to like Coldplay or James Blunt if you are aware of and open to alternatives to Coldplay or James Blunt (though if you are, chances are you won’t like them that much anyway). If all you have in your collection is Coldplay and James Blunt, if your horizons are so closed and your ambitions so limited that Coldplay and James Blunt and all the other big names on TV and supermarket shelves populate your music collection exclusively, then you ought to feel guilty. But, of course, such people typically exhibit no musical conscience anyway. Their likes have given rise to the description of Coldplay and James Blunt as “music for people who hate music”.

But all that is academic. If you are here, if you read serious music blogs — and please indulge me the illusion that the present blog meets that definition — then you probably do so because you truly love music, engage with music. You most likely have an informed conscience. And thus equipped, I submit, that there is no music you ought to feel guilty about enjoying.

There is much less reason yet to confess to “guilty pleasures” when the music is actually good. The label “guilty pleasures” is applied, on compilation albums and VH-1 countdowns, to much of the music on the mix I am presenting today.

The sound has attracted other dismissive tags. Yacht Rock is one I particularly dislike. The more official terms AOR (adult orientated rock) and MOR (middle of the road) acquired a bad rap in the punk and post-punk eras, and have not quite recovered their credibility. So the critics have bashed the sound, and the marketers have decided to dress it up as something appallingly appealing. By calling it a guilty pleasure, as a Magnum ice cream is to a habitual dieter, they are telling us that we can enjoy what they clearly regard as kitsch only “ironically”.

Their condescension is not only objectionable, but it also betrays a singular lack of appreciation of well constructed music. Being embarrassed about music is for the confused. It’s a dark place to be. Far from feeling guilt, we must embrace the music we like. All of it. Hence the title of the present mix, which these asinine marketers would doubtless categorise as a Guilty Pleasure.

Some of the performers’ names, it must be said, might not inspire confidence: Fogelberg! Vanwarmer!!

Most of these songs put you in a good mood. The lyrics may be sad — the pleading in Baby Come Back, or Bill LaBounty’s post-break posturing — but the music grooves, usually aided by pretty funky basslines; of course, the genre is infused with the jazz fusion sounds of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Some songs are happy. Orleans’ Still The One defines the greatest ambition for middle-age. And the late Dan Fogelberg weighs in with a sweetly poignant number. Be sure to listen to Jim Messina’s Love Is Here, as jazzy an AOR track as you’ll ever get. And Messina’s old sidekick Kenny Loggins features as his backing singer Michael McDonald, who later appears on his own right with one of the greatest tracks in the genre.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes covers (which the original mix didn’t). PW in comments.

1. Kenny Loggins – This Is It (1979)
2. Bobby Caldwell – What You Won’t Do For Love (1978)
3. Bill LaBounty – Living It Up (1982)
4. Player – Baby Come Back (1977)
5. Nicolette Larson – Lotta Love (1978)
6. Ace – How Long (1976)
7. Rupert Holmes – Him (1979)
8. Ambrosia – How Much I Feel (1978)
9. England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Like To See You Tonight (1976)
10. Alessi – All For A Reason (1977)
11. Orleans – Still The One (1976)
12. Gino Vannelli – Feel Like Flying (1978)
13. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgettin’ (1982)
14. Jim Messina – Love Is Here (1979)
15. Gallagher And Lyle – Heart On My Sleeve (1976)
16. Linda Ronstadt – It’s So Easy (1977)
17. Randy Vanwarmer – Just When I Needed You Most (1974)
18. Robert John – Sad Eyes (1979)
19. Rita Coolidge – We’re All Alone (1977)
20. Dan Fogelberg – Same Old Lang Syne (1981)

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