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The Joe Osborne Collection

December 17th, 2018 1 comment

 

 

R.I.P. Joe Osborn. There aren’t many rhythm sections that have scored more hits than Joe Osborn on bass, Hal Blaine on drums and Larry Knechtel on keyboards. With Osborn’s death at 81 on Friday, only Blaine is still with us of this particular combination of Wrecking Crew alumni.

Osborn appeared on many of the tracks included in the two volumes of songs featuring the drumming of Hal Blaine (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), as well as some on the Jim Gordon (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) and Jim Keltner  (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) collections.

You will have Osborns basslines many times. Osborne — who was not the only Wrecking Crew bassist — was involved in an astonishing number of hits. They are listed here. Some of them are stone cold classics: California Dreaming and Monday Monday by the Mamas & The Papas, San Francisco by Scott Mackenzie,

Up Up And Away and Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension, Gentle On My Mind and By The Time I Get To Phoenix by Glenn Campbell, Cracklin’ Rose by Neil Diamond, Never My Love  and Windy by the Association, Delta Dawn and I Am Woman by Helen Reddy, Midnight Confession by the Grass Roots, Just Dropped In  To See… and Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town by Kenny Rogers & The First Edition (and later Roger’s mega hit Lucille), Lonely People and Ventura Highway by America, Dizzy by Tommy Row, Stoney End by Barbra Streisand, Free Electric Band and The Peacemaker by Albert Hammond, and many more.

But his major associations were with Simon & Garfunkel (with Blaine and Knechtel, he played on most of their big hits, including Bridge Over Troubled Water and The Boxer), Johnny Rivers, the Partridge Family and, especially, the Carpenters. In fact, Osborn continued to work with Richard Carpenters when the duo was on its commercial decline and on veracious projects after Karen’s premature death.

The trio, with other Wrecking Crew luminaries, also played on the original musical soundtrack of The Rocky Horror Show.

After the Wrecking Crew faded away, Osborn played on such classics as England Dan & John Ford Coley’s I’d Really Love To See You Tonight and We’ll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again, Olivia Newton-John’s Sam, Neil Young’s Rust Never Sleeps album, and in the 1980s on many records by country acts including Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash.

Louisiana-born Osborn started out as a guitar player, even recording as coupler of instrumental singles as part of Jim & Joe. He also wrote a few songs, but really started to attract attention for his bass work with Ricky Nelson, particularly on the hit Travellin’ Man, using the Fender Precision which he had bought in 1958. He used that bass guitar for much of his career.

He died on December 14 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

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

1. Jim & Joe – Fireball Mail (1963)
2. Ricky Nelson – Travellin’ Man (1960)
3. P.F. Sloan – The Man Behind The Red Balloon (1966)
4. The Mamas & The Papas – Somebody Groovy (1966)
5. Neil Diamond – Holly Holy (1969)
6. Johnny Rivers – When A Man Loves A Woman (1967)
7. Simon & Garfunkel – The Only Living Boy in New York (1970)
8. Carpenters – It’s Going To Take Some Time (1972)
9. Barbra Streisand – Beautiful (1971)
10. Thelma Houston – I Just Gotta Be Me (1969)
11. Helen Reddy – Delta Dawn (1973)
12. B.W. Stevenson – My Maria (1973)
13. The Dillards – Listen To The Sound (1968)
14. The Everly Brothers – Less Of Me (1968)
15. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Sail Away (1979)
16. America – Don’t Cross The River (1972)
17. Albert Hammond – The Peacemaker (1973)
18. England Dan & John Ford Coley – I’d Really Like To See You Tonight (1976)
19. Tim Curry – Sweet Transvestite (1974)
20. The 5th Dimension – California Soul (1968)
21. The Monkees – Valleri (1968)
22. The Association – Windy (1967)
23. Partridge Family – I Woke Up In Love This Morning (1971)
24. The Grass Roots – Where Were You When I Needed You (1966)
25. Laura Nyro – Save The Country (1969)
26. Glen Campbell and The Wrecking Crew – I’m Not Gonna Miss You (2015)

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Previous session musicians’ collection:
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 1
The Hal Blaine Collection Vol. 2
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Gordon Collection Vol. 2

The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 1
The Ricky Lawson Collection Vol. 2
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 1
The Jim Keltner Collection Vol. 2
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 1
The Bernard Purdie Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 1
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 2
The Steve Gadd Collection Vol. 3
The Larry Carlton Collection
The Bobby Keys Collection
The Louis Johnson Collection
The Bobby Graham Collection
The Ringo Starr Collection

Categories: Mix CD-Rs, Session Players Tags:

Any Major Doo Wop X-Mas

December 6th, 2018 12 comments

 

This Christmas we’re going doo wopping, with The Cameos, Marquees, Marshalls, Moonglows, Penguins, Ravens, Dominoes, Voices, Marcels, Uniques, Melodeers, Martells, Larks, Orioles, Falcons , Ebonaires, Ebb Tides, Blue Notes, Valentines, Sherwoods, Playboys and some of their pals.

I had written up a nice post about the stories of some of these acts — and it somehow disappeared. So, here is the mix without a history lesson.

Companion mixes to go with this would be Any Major ’50s Christmas and ’60s Christmas, Any Major R&B Christmas, and Christmas in Black & White Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.

Happy Advent season! And if your Dutch, Belgian or German, happy Saint Nicholas Day!

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-shoo-da-ba-da-ho-ho-hoed covers (which, I must confess, I’m quite pleased with). PW in comments.

1. The Cameos – Merry Christmas (1957)
2. The Marquees – Santa’s Done Got Hip (1959)
3. The Marshalls – Mr.Santa’s Boogie (1951)
4. The Moonglows – Hey Santa Claus (1953)
5. La Fets & Kitty – Christmas Letter (1957)
6. The Five Keys – It’s Christmas Time (1951)
7. The Penguins – Jingle Jangle (1957)
8. The Ravens – White Christmas (1958)
9. Billy Ward & The Dominoes – Christmas In Heaven (1963)
10. The Voices – Santa Claus Baby (1957)
11. Frankie Lymon – It’s Christmas Once Again (1957)
12. Lonnie & The Crisis – Santa Town USA (1961)
13. The Marcels – Don’t Cry For Me This Christmas (1961)
14. The Uniques – Merry Christmas Darling (1963)
15. The Platters – Santa Claus Is Comin To Town (1963)
16. The Melodeers – Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer (1960)
17. The Martells – Rockin’ Santa Claus (1959)
18. Oscar McLollie and his Honey Jumpers – God Gave Us Christmas (1955)
19. The Larks – All I Want For Christmas (1951)
20. Sonny Til & The Orioles – O Holy Night (1950)
21. The Ebonaires – Love For Christmas (1955)
22. The Cashmeres – I Believe In St. Nick (1960)
23. The Drifters – I Remember Christmas (1964)
24. The Dynamics – Christmas Plea (1962)
25. The Falcons – Can This Be Christmas (1957)
26. Nino & The Ebb Tides – The Real Meaning Of Christmas (1958)
27. Blue Notes – Winter Wonderland (1960)
28. The Valentines – Christmas Prayer (1957)
29. The Playboys – The Night Before Christmas (1963)
30. The Sherwoods – Happy Holiday (1961)

GET IT!

More Christmas Mixes
Any Major Christmas Favourites
Any Major 1970s Christmas
Any Major 1960s Christmas
Any Major 1950s Christmas
Christmas Mix, Not For Mother
Any Major X-Mas Mix
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Pop Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Carols (in pop)
Any Major Christmas Bells
Any Major Smooth Christmas
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 1
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 2
Any Major Christmas Soul Vol. 3
Any Major Rhythm & Blues Christmas
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 1
Any Major Country Christmas Vol. 2
Any Major Acoustic Christmas
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 1
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 2
Christmas In Black & White Vol. 3
Song Swarm: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Or all in one place

Categories: Mix CD-Rs, X-Mas Tags:

Any Major Flute Vol. 5

November 29th, 2018 9 comments

 

Here’s the fifth flute mix, and unlike the previous four, which had been reposted, this one is totally new.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R and includes home-blown covers. PW in comments.

1. Eric Burdon and War – Spill The Wine (1970)
Flutetastic Moment: 1:39. What does a Latin-funk proto-rap number need? The flute, giving emphasis to the story building. Check out the great flutey sound effect at 2:44.

2. Little Feat – Juliette (1973)
Flutetastic Moment: 1:09. A gentle flute eases us into the plea to Juliette to not sing sad songs, then returns to implore Juliette further.

3. George Harrison – Dark Horse (1974)
Flutetastic Moment: 1:08. The flute enters for a call-and-response with George.

4. Heart – Love Alive (1977)
Flutetastic Moment: 1:17. A bit of flute to lull us into the idea that this is a folky ballad. It’s a false flag.

5. Richard Torrance – Anything’s Possible (1978)
Flutetastic Moment: 1:13. The flute sets up this mid-tempo track, then returns for a brief solo a minute later, and keeps popping up thereafter.

6. Marshall Tucker Band – Can’t You See (1973)
Flutetastic Moment: 0:11. The flute begins rather mournfully but soon perks up to set up this Southern rock number. It then goes for a smoke and returns to close the song.

7. Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin (1967)
Flutetastic Moment: 2:05. Drum-beat and the flute solo begins.

8. The Association – Along Comes Mary (1968)
Flutetastic Moment: 1:41. The song chugs along merrily with its handclaps when an unexpected, brief flute solo comes along, returning at 2:33 to score the repeated line “Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch”.

9. Joyce Williams – The First Thing I Do In The Morning (1972)
Flutetastic Moment: 0:06. The flute joins this funky groove early on and never lets go.

10. Mike James Kirkland – What Have We Done? (1972)
Flutetastic Moment: 0:04. Kirkland channels Marvin Gaye in this social consciousness groove in which the flute hovers menacingly above, below and behind the tune.

11. Rare Earth – Born To Wander (1970)
Flutetastic Moment: 2:07. The flute introduces this funky number, disappears and returns for a solo two minutes later, and never goes away.

12. S.O.U.L. – Burning Spear (1971)
Flutetastic Moment: 0:18. The flute comes in and dominates the track.

13. James Gilstrap – Put Out The Fire (1975)
Flutetastic Moment: 3:17. The flute arrives to underscore the urgency of Jim’s plea to be rescued from the fire of unrequited love, getting increasingly frenzied.

14. Allspice – Hungry For Love (1977)
Flutetastic Moment: 0:10. The flute enters and sticks around.

15. Camelle Hinds – Sausalito Calling (1995)
Flutetastic Moment: 2:58. The flute creeps in almost unnoticed, grabs a little solo and accompanies this slow-burning groove intermittently.

16. Matt Bianco – Wap Bam Boogie (1988)
Flutetastic Moment: 2:26. Let’s go, let’s go: the house piano threatens to go into a solo when the flute hijacks the situation for a minute-long solo. Don’t worry, the piano still gets its solo in this addictively funky groove.

17. Ron Burgundy – Jazz Flute (2004)
Flutetastic Moment: 0:03. Anchorman character Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) gives us a minute and a half of “baby-making music”. Is that how long he lasts?

18. Bob Dylan – Final Theme (1973)
Flutetastic Moment: 0:30. Mournful backing vocals as the flute (or is it panpipe) kicks in on this theme from the soundtrack of Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, and never leaves us.

GET IT!

Any Major Flute Vol. 1
Any Major Flute Vol. 2
Any Major Flute Vol. 3
Any Major Flute Vol. 4

More CD-R mixes

Categories: Flute in Pop, Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Any Major Originals: The 1970s

November 15th, 2018 13 comments

 

This is the first mix of lesser-known originals of 1970s hits; truth be told, for the most part the hit versions were a marked improvement on the first versions. I do prefer Badfinger’s version of Without You and Billy Preston’s You Are So Beautiful to the more famous versions. But more interesting than the musical merits are some of the backstories. And few are as dramatic as that of Without You, a mega hit for first Harry Nilsson in 1972 and in the 1990s for Mariah Carey.

Without You

There is something dismal about the notion that a pop classic would be best-known among some people in its incarnation by Mariah Carey. Those with a more acute sense of pop history will have been dismissive of Carey’s calorific cover of Nilsson’s hit. But even Harry Nilsson applied a generous dose of schmaltz to his cover of the Badfinger original.

Without You apart, there is a chain of tragedy which links the Welsh band and Nilsson. Both acts had a Lennon connection (more tragedy here, of course). Badfinger were signed to the Beatles’ Apple label, on which Without You was released in 1970; Nilsson was a collaborator with and drinking buddy of Lennon’s. Nilsson died fairly young, so did two members of Badfinger — both of whom wrote Without You and committed suicide.

Singer Peter Ham killed himself in 1975 (in his suicide note he referred to their “heartless bastard” of a manager), and in 1983, Tom Evans hanged himself after an argument over royalties for the song with former colleague Joey Molland (who both had played on Lennon’s Imagine album and other ex-Beatles solo records).

Nilsson reportedly thought that Badfinger’s Without You had been a Beatles recording — indeed, the Rolling Stone touted Badfinger as the Beatles’ heirs. His version, turning a fairly rough mid-tempo rock song into an orchestral power ballad (at a time when such things were rare) became a massive hit in 1972; Carey’s version hit the charts just a week after Nilsson’s death in 1994. One may fear the worst for Ms Carey should the Nilsson curse strike her: apart from the sad story of Badfinger and Lennon’s death, both Mama Cass and Keith Moon died in Nilsson’s flat.

 

Fernando

ABBA famously did not cover versions; given the songwriting chops of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, they had no need to. But one of the group’s biggest hits was a cover of sorts: Fernando was originally recorded by Anni-Frid for her Swedish-language solo album Frida Ensam (which featured several cover versions, including Life On Mars and Wall Street Shuffle). Fernando, written by Benny and Björn with lyrics by ABBA manager Stig Anderson, was the LP’s lead single and proved very popular. In 1976 ABBA released an English version, with the theme changed from being a break-up song to the reminiscence of freedom fighters.

Video Killed The Radio Star

This slice of sci-fi flavoured nostalgia, inspired by a JG Ballard story, was co-written by Trevor Horn and Geoffrey Downes (then new members of prog-rock band Yes) with Bruce Woolley. So it seemed right that it should be recorded by the two parties — the Yes contingent and Woolley — in 1979. The latter got in there first, with his Camera Club. It is a breathless version with much energy and a quite nice guitar solo at the end, but none of the bombastic detail which made the Buggles’ synth-fiesta a huge hit.

The Buggles version is sometimes considered a bit naff, which does great injustice to a catchy song which does everything that is required of a very great pop song. The video of the Buggles version was the first ever to be played by MTV. But the Woolley version is all but forgotten.

Hanging On The Telephone

If it is not widely known that Blondie’s 1979 hit Hanging On The Telephone is a cover, then it probably is because the original performers, The Nerves, only ever released a (very good) four-track EP in 1976, which included the song. The Nerves — a trio comprising songwriter Jack Lee, Paul Collins (who’d later join The Beat) and Peter Case (later of the Plimsouls) — were a heavy-gigging LA-based rock band which despite their extremely brief recording career proved to be influential on the US punk scene. The members of Blondie surely have were aware of the song. A year after The Nerves split, Debbie Harry and pals picked up the song and enjoyed a huge worldwide hit with it.

 

Blame It On The Boogie

How many cover versions have been sung by the namesake of the original performer? Mick Jackson was a German-born English pop singer. His Blame It On The Boogie, which he also co-wrote, sounds like a presentable Leo Sayer number. The Jacksons changed little in the song’s structure — Mick’s original has all the touches we know well, such as the “sunshine, moonlight, good time, boogie” interlude — and yet they turned a pretty good song into a disco explosion of joy, presaging Michael’s Off The Wall a year and a bit later.

Mick Jackson actually wrote the song with Stevie Wonder in mind (and it’s easy to imagine how it might have sounded), but was persuaded by a German label to record it himself. When the freshly-minted record was played at a music festival in Cannes, a rep for the Jacksons — no doubt alerted by the performer’s name — secretly taped the song, flew it to the US and had the Jackson brothers record and release it in quick time, to release it before Mick could have a hit with it. With both singles out at the same time, the British press had some fun with the Jackson “Battle of the Boogie”. Mick’s single reached #15 in the UK and #61 in the US. The Jacksons’ version became the classic.

He Ain’t Heavy…

The Hollies’ guitarist Tony Hicks was desperately looking for a song to record when he was played a demo of He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. The band decided to record it without great expectations, with Reg Dwight (who would become Elton John) on piano. Of course, it became a mega-hit and pop classic. But the Hollies were not the first to record it.

The song had already been released by Kelly Gordon in April 1969 — five months before the Hollies’ version — as a single and on his Defunked album (the single’s b-side was That’s Life, a song Gordon had co-written five years earlier, but had been recorded before and made famous by Frank Sinatra). The original of He Ain’t Heavy by Gordon, more active as a producer than a singer, is slower and more mournful. Based on his interpretation, the publishers thought it would be a good song for Joe Cocker to record. And it would have been, but Cocker turned the song down.

He Ain’t Heavy was written by Bobby Scott (who wrote A Taste Of Honey) and the older veteran lyricist Bob Russell (Little Green Apples), who was already ailing with cancer and died at 55 in February 1970, just after the song had become a worldwide hit.

There is much speculation as to the origin of the title; most commonly it is believed that the line was inspired by Father Edward Flannagan, the founder of Boys Town, who had adopted it as the organisation’s motto, reputedly after spotting a cartoon of a boy carrying another in a corporate publication named Louis Allis Messenger, that was captioned “He ain’t heavy Mister – he’s m’ brother!” It was not a new line; it had been used in literature and magazine articles before, and supposedly provided the punchline for a Native American folk story.

I Hear You Knocking

Smiley Lewis feature with another song when we visited the Elvis originals. Here he provided the original for an early ’70s hit. Lewis, a New Orleans musician nicknamed for his missing front teeth, recorded I Hear You Knocking in 1955. The song was written by Dave Bartholomew and Pearl King. The former was Fats Domino’s writing partner, and Fats naturally later recorded the song.

At a time when US radio and charts were subject to much racial segregation, Lewis’ record made little impact outside the black charts, where it peaked at #2, and Lewis’ career never really took off. Instead the song enjoyed commercial success in its version by Gale Storm in 1956. Lewis died of stomach cancer in 1966.

Four years later, he would be remembered by the Welsh singer Dave Edmunds, whose cover of I Hear You Knocking reached #1 in Britain and #4 in the US with slightly altered lyrics which namecheck Lewis, among others (including Huey Smith, who played on Lewis’ version). Edmunds himself hadn’t known the song until he produced a version of it for the young Shakin’ Stevens – a decade away from fame as a revivalist rock ‘n roller and Christmas #1 hunter. In fact, Edmunds almost didn’t record what would become his biggest hit. He had planned to find stardom with a cover of Wilbert Harrison’s Let’s Work Together, but was scooped in that endeavour by Canned Heat (as we’ll see below). So he adapted the arrangement he had in mind for Let’s Work Together to create a truly original cover.

Let’s Stick Together
When Wilbert Harrison released Let’s Work Together in 1969, it was a slightly customised take on his 1961 song Let’s Stick Together. For all intents and purposes, it is the same song. Where “Stick Together” failed to make an impression, its reworked version was a minor US hit. Canned Heat, who were canny in their selection of obscure songs to cover, recorded their version soon after and scored a hit with it in 1970. To their credit, Canned Heat delayed the US release of the single to let Harrison’s single run its course first.

In 1976 Bryan Ferry took the song to #4 on the UK charts, having reverted to the original title, introduced some thumping saxophone and applied the suave working-class-boy-gone-posh vocals. Outside Roxy Music, everybody’s favourite fox-hunting Tory never did anything better. Thanks to Wilbert Harrison’s retitling, it is now evident which version – Canned Heat’s or Ferry’s – has inspired subsequent covers.

 

You Are So Beautiful

Few noises in mainstream pop history have been as disturbing as Joe Cocker’s croaked note at the end of that staple of soppy love songs, You Are So Beautiful. Some people might regard the song best crooned by Homer Simpson, but they are probably not familiar with Billy Preston’s rather good original.

The song was written by Preston and his songwriting partner Bruce Fisher, with Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s uncredited lyrical contribution (Wilson would sing the song as an encore at Beach Boys gigs in the late ’70s and early ’80s). Preston’s version was recorded shortly before Cocker’s slower version in 1974. The former remained an album track, while Cocker’s version reached the US #5 in 1975 (but didn’t chart at all Britain).

Sailing

Written in 1972, the Rod Stewart hit Sailing was first recorded by the Sutherland Brothers. Having joined forces with the band Quiver, the brothers were also responsible for another possible inclusion in this series, Arms Of Mary, which readers of a certain vintage are more likely to associate with 1970s Chilliwack hit. The Sutherland Brothers’ version has an apt shanty feel, with the keyboard player especially having fun experimenting with his toy. Rod’s version is richer and warmer. The old soul lover recorded it, and the rest of the ludicrously cover-designed Atlantic Crossing, in that incubator of great soul music: Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Handbags And Gladrags

The word “gladrags” is deplorably underused in pop music. So we ought to give credit to former Manfred Mann singer Mike D’Abo for popularising it in music. D’Abo didn’t immediately release it, producing British singer Chris Farlowe’s recording of it in 1967. Farlowe had made it a bit of a career of covering Rolling Stones songs in particular; his rather good version of Out Of Time topped the UK charts in 1966, his only Top 30 hit. He didn’t do very well either with Handbags And Gladrags, which tanked at #33, great harmonica backing notwithstanding. In 1969, Rod Stewart – a shrewd operator when it comes to recording lesser known songs — recorded the track, arranged again by D’Abo himself. Released in 1970, it became a hit only two years later.

Strangely, the song has not been covered much. It made something of a comeback when it was used as the theme for the British version of The Office, produced by a session musician and writer of many TV themes, the late Big George Webley.

 

Early Morning Rain

Several artists had a bite of Early Morning Rain before the song’s writer, Gordon Lightfoot, released it (though he had already recorded it). First up were Lightfoot’s Canadian compatriots Ian & Sylvia, a folk duo discovered in 1962 by Bob Dylan’s future manager Albert Grossman, who’d also sign Lightfoot. The married twosome’s version, with a rather good bass break, appeared on their 1965 album named after Lightfoot’s song. It featured another song by the still mostly unknown Lightfoot, For Lovin’ Me, as well as the original version of Darcy Farrow.

Both Lightfoot songs recorded by Ian & Sylvia were soon covered by Peter, Paul & Mary, then by Judy Collins and by the Kingston Trio. In November 1965 it was also recorded on a demo by the Warlocks, who a month later would become the Grateful Dead, though their version would not be released till later.

Lightfoot finally released the song in January 1966, closing the A-side of his debut album, Lightfoot!, which had mostly been recorded already in December 1964.

Let Your Love Flow

That great hit of the summer of 1976, Let Your Love Flow, might have been a hit for Neil Diamond. Written by one of the lamé-jacketed star’s roadies, Larry E Williams, it was offered first to Diamond. He declined to record it (as did Johnny Rivers), which perhaps was just as well. Instead the song came to country/folk singer-songwriter Gene Cotton, who recorded it for his 1975 album For All The Young Writers.

While Cotton’s version went nowhere, Neil Diamond’s drummer suggested it to his friends David and Howard Bellamy, the country duo The Bellamy Brothers. Their recording became one of the biggest hits of the decade and gave the brothers’ their international breakthrough hit. In West Germany Let Your Love Flow topped the charts in summer 1976 for six weeks until it was knocked off by its German version, by Jürgen Drews.

Mandy

Barry Manilow appropriated other people’s songs by force of arrangement (and, obviously, commercial success). If we need proof of how much Bazza owned the songs he didn’t write, consider his giant hit Mandy. It was a cover of a ditty called Brandy by one Scott English, which was a #12 hit in Britain in 1971 (the tune was written by Richard Kerr, who wrote two other hits for Manilow, Looks Like We’ve Made It and Somewhere In The Night). Manilow’s renamed version was the first cover. None of the subsequent recordings are dedicated to Brandy. English’s version is not very good. To start with he couldn’t sing, and the production is slapdash. Manilow recorded it reluctantly, not yet sure about singing other people’s music. He slowed it down, gave it a lush arrangement, and we know how it ended.

 

I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing

The ending of the series Mad Men has Don Draper dream up the famous I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke ad campaign, which gave rise to the New Seekers’ hit I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing. Somehow, a little-known Australian squeezed in her version as the song’s original release.

In January 1971, Coca Cola were looking for ways to popularise its new slogan, “It’s the Real Thing”, which had replaced the classic “Things Go Better With Coke”. The company’s advertising agency, McCann-Erickson, brought together its creative director, Bill Backer, with songwriters Billy Davis (who had written for Motown) and Roger Cook, a member of Blue Mink. Cook already had a melody, a ditty called True Love And Apple Pie which he had written with his regular collaborator, Roger Greenway. The three wrote the words for the jingle overnight in a London hotel room, with the New Seekers in mind as its performers. As it turned out, the New Seekers thought the song was trite and not just a little silly (and that’s the New Seekers pronouncing on sentimentality).

True Love And Apple Pie was instead recorded by the little-known Susan Shirley and was  released in March 1971. It seems that the Coke jingle had already been flighted a month earlier on US radio, but to negative response. There seem to have been legal wrangling as a result of a version of the jingle Coca Cola had commissioned being in circulation. Shirley’s song certainly received little promotion.

Meanwhile, the McCann-Erickson agency devised a new way of promoting the jingle, deciding it needed visuals. The resulting TV commercial, filmed by the great Haskell Wexler, became an instant classic. The song, I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke, became so popular that radio DJs persuaded Davis to record it with adapted lyrics. Recorded by session singers without the branding, it was released under the name Hillside Singers, and started to climb the US charts when the New Seekers eventually consented to record it, minus the “it’s the real thing” tag. It became a massive hit, topping the UK charts in January 1972 and reaching #7 in the US.

 

Forever And Ever

The songwriting team of Bill Martin and Phil Coulter had provided several hits for the Bay City Rollers. In 1975 they thought they had another winner for the band, a track called For Ever And Ever. But the band, then at the height of Rollermania, thought the song was too light and wanted something rockier. While BCR recorded Money Honey, which reached #3 in the UK charts in November 1975, Martin and Coulter dumped the band and gave the song to anther studio-confected teen band, Kenny.

That outfit had already enjoyed a few big hits, written by Martin and Coulter, such as The Bump and Julie Ann. For Ever And Ever appeared unnoticed on their less than successful The Sound Of Super K LP. The songwriters knew a hit when they had one, and decided that with a better arrangement, the song would storm the charts. Enter Scottish teen band Slik, led by Midge Ure and produced your two songwriting friends. In that version, Forever And Ever reached #1 in January 1976, knocking ABBA’s Mamma Mia off the top spot.

By then Ure might not have been the lead singer of Slik. In 1975 Malcolm McLaren asked Ure to become the frontman of the Sex Pistols. Ure declined. Punk meant nothing to him.

 

1. John Fogerty – Rockin’ All Over The World (1975)
The Usurper: Status Quo (1977)
2. Mick Jackson – Blame It On The Boogie (1978)
The Usurper: The Jacksons (1978)
3. John Henry Kurtz – Drift Away (1972)
The Usurper: Dobie Gray (1972)
4. Badfinger – Without You (1970)
The Usurpers: Nilsson (1972), Mariah Carey (1993)
5. Chris Farlowe – Handbags And Gladrags (1967)
The Usurper: Rod Stewart (1969)
6. Billy Preston – You Are So Beautiful (1974)
The Usurper: Joe Cocker (1975)
7. Kelly Gordon – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother (1969)
The Usurper: The Hollies (1969)
8. Sutherland Brothers – Sailing (1972)
The Usurper: Rod Stewart (1975)
9. Anni-Frid Lyngstad – Fernando (1975)
The Usurper: ABBA (1976)
10. Kenny – For Ever And Ever (1975)
The Usurper: Slik (1976)
11. The Nerves – Hanging On The Telephone (1976)
The Usurper: Blondie (1978)
12. Bruce Woolley & the Camera Club – Video Killed the Radio Star (1979)
The Usurper: The Buggles (1979)
13. Kristine Sparkle – Devil Woman (1974)
The Usurper: Cliff Richard (1976)
14. Gene Cotton – Let Your Flow (1975)
The Usurper: The Bellamy Brothers (1976)
15. Albert Hammond – When I Need You (1977)
The Usurper: Leo Sayer (1976)
16. Scott English – Brandy (1971)
The Usurper: Barry Manilow (1974, as Mandy)
17. Ian & Sylvia – Early Morning Rain (1965)
The Usurper: Gordon Lightfoot (1966)
18. The Attack – Hi Ho Silver Lining (1967)
The Usurper: Jeff Beck (1967/72)
19. Wilbert Harrison – Let’s Work Together (1969)
The Usurpers: Canned Heat (1970), Bryan Ferry (1976)
20. Smiley Lewis – I Hear You Knocking (1955)
The Usurper: Dave Edmunds (1970)
21. The Rays – Daddy Cool (1957)
The Usurper: Darts (1977)
22. Susan Shirley – True Love And Apple Pie (1971)
The Usurper: New Seekers (1971, as I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing)
23. Anthony Newley – The Candy Man (1971)
The Usurper: Sammy Davis Jr (1972)

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Any Major Soul 1978

November 8th, 2018 2 comments

The Any Major Soul series is nearing the end of the 1970s, with this instalment covering the year 1978. Disco is in the air but not all soulsters got the memo. There are also the first signs of the supersmoothness of 1980s soul, but it’s not yet cloying.

In fact, Teddy Pendergrass might have been a pioneer of ’80s soul, but his brand of baby-making music is still a different animal to the missionary-positioned sounds of the likes of Luther Vandross. When Theodore promises to blow your mind, you know he’s not just bragging in the way of a 1984 jheri-curled 110-pounder with a stupid moustache. Teddy’s gonna steam up a refrigerator.

The sequence here has it that Pendergrass — the link between Philly soul and 1980s soul crooning — is followed by an act that still has 1973 in the back-mirror. Of course, Bloodstone would go on to become one of the great acts of the early 1980s.

On the other end of the spectrum we have a few acts that are on the disco train. But even the most dance-oriented album would have a few soulful ballads. Among the best of those, in my view, were Cheryl Lynn’s You’re The One, which featured on Any Major Soul 1978-79, and Odyssey’s If You’re Looking For A Way Out (on Any Major Soul 1980-81).

On this collection, an example of this is the track by Sassafras, a trio of women (not the hairy Welsh rock band of the early 1970s). They were produced by the Ingram family of session singers and musicians, and released on the label owned by our old pals Luigi Creatore and Hugo Peretti, the mafia associates we previously encountered in The Originals entries for Can’t Help Falling In Love and The Lion Sleeps Tonight. One of the three Sassafras, Vera Brown, went on to become the lead singer of the Ritchie Family.

 

Pacific Express, one of apartheid’s least favourite bands.

 

One act here is not from the US but from South Africa. Pacific Express were funk-rock and jazz-fusion legends in Cape Town before they became nationwide stars with Give A Little Love. At various times throughout the 1970s, unknown musicians went through the “Pacific Express School” to emerge as respected musicians in their own right. These include Jonathan Butler. As a group of people classified as “Coloured” by apartheid — people of mixed-race whose language was English and/or Afrikaans — Pacific Express regularly broke laws that aimed to prevent contact across the colour-lines. As a result, Pacific Express was frequently banned from the state broadcaster — including the video of Give A Little Love, just in case white people twigged that Coloureds were making great music and then sought to see them play live, with all the possibilities of miscegenation that would create. I’m not even joking.

Not featured on this mix is Earth, Wind & Fire, but a few acts here clearly borrow from Maurice White and pals. One of them is a new-fangled funk-soul kid from Minnesota called Prince. On his soul ballad here Prince owes more than a little to EWF, and to the many falsetto-singers of the decade.

Also borrowing from EWF are Mass Production, whose Slow Bump is about traffic safety in densely populated suburbs. The song actually sounds like an EWF track. On other tracks they operate more on the funk tracks of BT Express.

Breakwater was an eight-man outfit blended catchy funk with smooth fusion and soul harmonies — again recalling EWF. The Philadelphia band released only two albums, with their 1980 follow-up regarded as something of a funk classic (Daft Punk sampled from it).

The Patterson Twins also released only two albums: one in 1978 and the follow-up in 2006! They released several singles — some soul, some gospel — throughout the 1980s. Before 1978 they had recorded a series of singles as the Soul Twins.

Thelma Jones, featured here with a Sam Dees-penned track, also recorded her first album in 1978 and the follow-up in the 2000s. Jones released a series of singles between 1966 and ’68 — including the original of the Aretha Franklin song The House That Jack Built — then disappeared, due to being between labels, until 1976 when she enjoyed something of a comeback with Salty Tears (produced at Muscle Shoals). Her self-titled debut album, which featured Gwen Guthrie on backing vocals, is superb but unaccountably was a commercial flop.

Returning to Teddy Pendergrass, the singer of Chicago soul group Heaven And Earth, Dean Williams, shares many vocal mannerism with the great man. The group had some great tunes, and released four LPs between 1976 and 1981, but management issues and our old nemesis, poor promotion, prevented the group from making it big.

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

1. Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. – I Got The Words, You Got The Music
2. Lenny Williams – Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh!
3. The Whispers – Olivia (Lost And Turned Out)
4. Pacific Express – Give A Little Love
5. Thelma Jones – Lonely Enough To Try Anything Now
6. Natalie Cole – Our Love
7. Heaven And Earth – Let’s Work It Out
8. Prince – Baby
9. Mass Production – Slow Bump
10. Breakwater – That’s Not What We Came Here For
11. Patterson Twins – Gonna Find A True Love
12. Denise LaSalle – Talkin’ Bout My Best Friend
13. Sassafras – I Gave You Love
14. Bobby Thurston – Na Na Na Na Baby
15. Roberta Flack – What A Woman Really Means
16. Teddy Pendergrass – Close The Door
17. Bloodstone – Throw A Little Bit Of Love My Way
18. Allen Toussaint – To Be With You
19. Leroy Hutson – They’ve Got Love
20. Al Green – Lo And Behold

GET IT: https://rg.to/file/d645394b536434c9c597cda43d010ab0/AMS_78.rar.html

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Any Major Murder Songs Vol. 1

October 25th, 2018 6 comments

 

The Halloween well is now dry, but you can still get your chills on with this delightful collection of songs about murder.

It’s quite surprising how many sings about murder there are, mostly from the perspective of the killer. In the case of Pat Hare, almost literally.

In 1954, blues guitarist Pat Hare (born Auburn Hare!) sang a song — a cover of a 1940s song by Dorothy Clayton —  in which he vowed to kill his woman: “Yes, I’m gonna murder my baby — yeah, I’m tellin’ the truth now — ‘cause she don’t do nothin’ but cheat and lie.” Eight years later, Hare had just finished a stint as a guitarist in Muddy Waters’ group when he shot dead his girlfriend and a policeman in Minneapolis. Hare was convicted of the murder and died in jail in 1980 at the age of 49.

Many of the murder ballads are folk songs that have been covered many times. A few of the tracks here are also covers, such as country-soul singer Andre Williams reworking of Johnny Paycheck’s song. The weirdest of them, though, has to be Olivia Newton-John singing about murdering her boyfriend.

There are longer discussions on some of the featured songs, and others that will feature, in the eight parts of the Murder Ballads series.

Just to be clear, this mix does not promote murder. Don’t kill, kids.

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

  1. R. Dean Taylor – Indiana Wants Me (1970)
    The Vic: A man needed dyin’ for what he said about you
  2. Sting – I Hung My Head (1996)
    The Vic: The lone rider
  3. Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues (1969)
    The Vic: A man in Reno
  4. Porter Wagoner – The Cold Hard Facts Of Life (1967)
    The Vic: The folks who taught Porter the cold, hard facts of life
  5. Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger (1975)
    The Vic: The yellow-haired lady
  6. Jim & Jesse – Knoxville Girl (1976)
    The Vic: A little girl in Knoxville
  7. The Everly Brothers – Down In The Willow Garden (1958)
    The Vic: Rose Connolly
  8. Olivia Newton-John – Banks Of The Ohio (1971)
    The Vic: Livvy’s marriage-shy boyfriend (and you see his point)
  9. The Band – Long Black Veil (1968)
    The Vic: “Someone”
  10. The Grateful Dead – Stagger Lee (1978)
    The Vic: Billy, a gambler
  11. Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue – Where The Wild Roses Grow (1997)
    The Vic: Elisa Day
  12. Elvis Costello – Psycho (1981)
    The Vics: His ex, Jackie White, Betty Clark, Momma…and Johnny’s puppy, too
  13. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska (1982)
    The Vics: Everything in his path
  14. Andre Williams – Pardon Me (I’ve Got Someone To Kill) (2000)
    The Vic: Her and his love rival
  15. Lyle Lovett – L.A. County (1987)
    The Vics: The bride and the groom
  16. Bill Brandon – Rainbow Road (1976)
    The Vic: A man with a knife (so it’s self-defence, your honor)
  17. Dixie Nightingales – Assassination (1965)
    The Vic: The President
  18. Elton John – The Ballad Of Danny Bailey (1973)
    The Vic: Danny Bailey, a gangster, in cold blood
  19. The Buoys – Timothy (1971)
    The Vic: Timothy (because of hunger)
  20. Tony Christie – I Did What I Did For Maria (1971)
    The Vic: Maria’s murderer
  21. Conway Twitty – Ain’t It Sad To Stand And Watch Love Die (1968)
    The Vic: An unfaithful wife
  22. Johnny Darrell – River Bottom (1969)
    The Vic: “That pretty gal of mine”
  23. Clyde Arnold – Black Smoke And Blue Tears (1961)
    The Vic: The gambler
  24. Pat Hare – I’m Gonna Kill My Baby (1954)
    The Vic: In the song, Pat’s baby. In real life, later, the same.

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Any Major Women Vol. 1

October 10th, 2018 3 comments

This a tribute to all the girls I’ve known before. And here I want to be clear that I’m talking about women who have been in my life in some way or another — as family, friends, loves or, yes, lovers.

The lyrics of the songs applied to their names obviously don’t necessarily reflect my relationship with or feelings about the women in question. So there’s nothing to be inferred from the song choices. And there are enough women to justify a two-volume set.

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

1. Liz Phair – Girls’ Room (Tracey & Tricia, 1998)
2. Ben Kweller – On Her Own (Alexandra, 2009)
3. Foo Fighters – What If I Do (Caroline, 2005)
4. Thunder – Carol Ann (2008)
5. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Michelle (1978)
6. Status Quo – Elizabeth Dreams (1968)
7. Velvet Underground – Stephanie Says (1968)
8. Simon & Garfunkel – For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her (1969)
9. Paul McCartney – The Lovely Linda (1970)
10. The Magnetic Fields – Abigail, Belle Of Kilronan (1999)
11. The Icicle Works – Melanie Still Hurts (1990)
12. Ben Folds – Carrying Cathy (2001)
13. James Morrison – Dream On Hayley (2009)
14. Tony Schilder Trio – Madeleine (1985)
15. R.B. Greaves – Take A Letter Maria (1969)
16. Al Stewart – Almost Lucy (1978)
17. 10cc – I’m Mandy Fly Me (1976)
18. Bruce Springsteen – I’ll Work For Your Love (Theresa, 2007)
19. Missy Higgins – Angela (2007)
20. Bright Eyes – Blue Angels Air Show (Claire, 2006)
21. Rufus Wainwright – Natasha (2003)
22. The Rolling Stones – Lady Jane (1966)
23. Donovan – Sweet Beverley (1968)

GET IT: https://rg.to/file/3b701905d8d7eb3920f6915ef4ded8cd/Women_1.rar.html

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Any Major Friends Vol. 1

September 27th, 2018 9 comments

 

 

Next week it will be exactly 30 years since I met a new group of friends; it was an encounter that by the ways of domino effect changed my life in almost every way. It’s impossible to know what directions my life’s GPS might have taken me on. I might be richer or poorer, single or married or divorced; perhaps in another profession, maybe in another country. I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I am the person today because 30 years ago I unwittingly took a random road at one of life’s many seemingly inconspicuous crossroads, and not a person I might have been had I taken another way. I’m pleased I met these people, and grateful for all that happened because of it. It was through the series of events that followed that chance encounter 30 years ago — caused by a snap decision to go somewhere — that I met my future wife, who is now my best friend.

I’m grateful for all friends I have had over my life. Some of them have gone their own ways; a few are out of my life forever; others live elsewhere; others yet I see every few years. Others I see regularly on Facebook and less in real life. And a couple are still present in my life. But all have a place in my heart, as people I love and/or as people who accompanied me in great or difficult times.

There are also friends one makes on the Internet. In fact, some of my most reliable friends are people I have met on Internet forums (a couple of them have become good family friends); others I had met before good friendships developed through the medium of social media.

And many childhood friends I have rediscovered on Facebook, or they found me. Since I live on a different continent now, it is a joy to reconnect with them.

 

 

As the song says, “Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes”, and so it is with friendships. Some you keep, most you lose. And you keep making new friends. Where once there was a group of friends that always stuck together, one’s circles of friends and acquaintances become increasingly dispersed. Lucky are those cliques that grow old together.

And all that doesn’t even consider the question what exactly a “friend” is. I won’t even attempt to define “friendship”. We’ll all have our own definitions, based on our particular experience of friendship. I hope all of us have at least a few friends.

And if we do, perhaps this mix of songs about friendship serves to express that relationship. Some of the tracks here are declarations of friendship, with the offer of steadfast solidarity (two separate numbers here offer to “lean on me”). Others recall with some nostalgia high jinx from ages past, or speak about reconnecting. Though one imagines that the narrative of Michelle Shocked’s Anchorage might be moot in the age of Facebook, when people I’ve not seen in years know more about my life than old friends who eschew social media.

I have deliberately excluded tracks which I could devote to my very best friend: my wife. No romantic stuff here (other than the Hello Saferide song, which is a bit When Harry Met Sally in mid-movie), so you can happily dedicate the whole mix to your best platonic friend. And to your favourite toy, in the case of the closing song.

So, here’s to all my friends on a mix that is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-palled covers.

1. Gary Portnoy – Where Everybody Knows Your Name (1983)
2. Garth Brooks – Friends In Low Places (1990)
3. Rolling Stones – Waiting On A Friend (1981)
4. The Jam – Thick As Thieves (1979)
5. Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town (1976)
6. The Beatles – Two Of Us (1970)
7. Bill Withers – Lean On Me (live) (1973)
8. The Undisputed Truth – With a Little Help From My Friends (1973)
9. The Housemartins – Lean On Me (1986)
10. Johnny Cash – Bridge Over Troubled Waters (2002)
11. Natalie Merchant – Kind & Generous (1998)
12. Tim McGraw – My Old Friend (2004)
13. Bob Evans – Me & My Friend (2006)
14. Hello Saferide – My Best Friend (2005)
15. Michelle Shocked – Anchorage (1988)
16. Minnie Riperton – It’s So Nice (To See Old Friends) (1974)
17. Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – You’ve Got A Friend (1972)
18. Simon & Garfunkel – Old Friends (1968)
19. Randy Travis – Heroes And Friends (1990)
20. Kim Richey – Hello Old Friend (1999)
21. Pat Lundy – Friend Of Mine (I Wanna Thank You So Much) (1973)
22. Ernie – Rubber Duckie (1970)

GET IT: https://rg.to/file/5742fd7a3fee7ac5dcab2b71e6e69c92/Friends.1.rar.html

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NYC – Any Major Mix Vol. 2

September 11th, 2018 7 comments

 

 

This is Volume 2 of the New York mixes, though it is really the third, after the first mix and the New York in Black & White collection.

The photo on the cover comes from a beautiful series of colour photos of New York in the 1940s from the Charles W Cushman collection.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and, as mentioned above, includes home-bronxed covers. PW in comments, where you are invited to say hello.

1. Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Jules Munchin – New York, New York (excerpt) (1949)
NYC hook: It’s our three sailor friends’ first time in New York, and having just arrived on shore leave (happily in New York, not in LA where they might have gone on to beat up Mexicans), they already presume it to be “a helluva town” because “the Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down”. Additionally, “the people ride in a hole in the ground” (as they do in many other cities, so big deal, chums).

2. Frank Sinatra & Tony Bennett – New York New York (1994)
NYC hook: Let’s face it, our boy from Hoboken was a promiscuous man when it came to American cities. Chicago? His kind of town! L.A.? It’s a lady he can’t say goodbye to. Las Vegas? He made it! And New York? Well, more of a challenge than a love affair; it seems. By the way, the song needs no high-kicks, party goers.

3. Theme – Seinfeld (1989)
NYC hook: Would Seinfeld have worked had it been set anywhere else? Nah!

4. Klaatu – Sub-Rosa Subway (1976)
NYC hook: The song that caused speculation about a clandestine Beatles reunion. Alas, it was just a bunch of Canadians with a funny name singing about Alfred Beach, the man who built America’s first subway in New York, based on the London Underground. (More on Beach)

5. NRBQ – Boys In The City (1972)
NYC hook: You might leave New York for the country, but you’ll still sing about “the trees in the Park”.

6. Harry Nilsson – I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City (1969)
NYC hook: New York as the new Jerusalem instead of its usual role as a fetid Babylon. So Harry makes his pilgrimage to the city permanent, leaving all his sorrows behind. Same year, he soundtracked Hoffman and Voight’s exit from bad, bad NYC.

7. John Lennon – New York City (1972)
NYC hook: The Statue of Liberty told Lennon to come. Come to the city where he would be murdered…

8. Kevin Devine – Brooklyn Boy (2006)
NYC hook: The eponymous lad is doing coke on his birthday, prompting Kev — rarely a herald of rampant cheer — to launch into an apocalypso.

9. Ian Hunter – Central Park N West (1981)
NYC hook: Hunter obviously hates living in stinky, crime-ridden, burning New York City. Except he doesn’t: “You’ve got to be crazy to live in the city, and New York city’s the best.”

10. Donavan Frankenreiter – Spanish Harlem Incident (2007)
NYC hook: A rather decent cover of Dylan’s 1964 song about having steamy, casual interracial sex.

11. Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street (1972)
NYC hook: 110th Street is the street that divides Harlem and Manhattan. Bob is not painting a pretty picture of what lies at the other side of Manhattan: pimps and hookers, pushers and junkies jostling on the streets of “the capital of every ghetto town”.

12. Billy Joel – New York State Of Mind (1976)
NYC hook: The New Yorker might leave the city for Miami Beach or for Hollywood, but if they are anything like Bronx-born, Long Island-raised Billiam, they’ll miss the New York Times and Daily News (but not the Post, it seems) so much, they’ll feel compelled to return.

13. Ella Fitzgerald – Manhattan (1956)
NYC hook: On his wonderful radio show, Bob Dylan described the Rodgers & Hart song as a love letter to New York City. Who knew that Zimmerman had a way with words? Ella is full of giddy tenderness as she provides us with a partial road map of the city. Are pushcarts still gliding gently on Mott Street?

14. Hem – Great Houses Of New York (live) (2006)
NYC hook: Native New Yorkers Hem don’t need to mention the city in a song that incorporates its name in the title to prove that it’s set there. It suffices to refer to NYC’s winter climate as a metaphor for a dying relationship, a recurring theme in Hem’s beautiful songs.

15. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968)
NYC hook: The Mamas and the Papas lived in New York before moving to Hawaii and then to California. It seems fair to say that they didn’t dig New York — “every thing there was dark and dirty “ — and this is their fuck-you note to the city. Most likely, the Daily News won’t be enough to lure them back.

16. Odyssey – Native New Yorker (1977)
NYC hook: Two decades before Carrie Bradshaw in Sex And The City made her, erm, acute observations about the politics of sex, Odyssey had it already figured out: “No one opens the door for a native New Yorker.” So, like, take charge of your life yourself, girl!

17. Elkow Bones & The Racketeers – A Night In New York (1983)
NYC hook: A sadly ignored club gem whose horns sounds like New York traffic to me. Delicious.

18. Nicole with Timmy Thomas – New York Eyes (1985)
NYC hook: What in the name of all that’s ophthalmological are these New York Eyes that have short-lived soul starlet Nicole attracted to ’70s soulster Timmy Thomas (who I presume provides the groovy keyboard here)? Whatever they are, reciprocally gazing at Nicole’s NY eyes, they make Timmy feel good inside.

19. Beastie Boys – An Open Letter To NYC (2005)
NYC hook: And it’s another love letter: “Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten, from the Battery to the top of Manhattan. Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin, black, white — New York you make it happen.”

20. LL Cool J feat. Leshaun Williams – Doin’ It (1995)
NYC hook: Six people are credited with writing this droll ode to physical intimacy. None of them have sought to distance themselves from this lyrical gem which surely provides all the required evidence to support the notion that ladies really can’t help themselves but love NCIS agent Cool James. Mr Todd  rattles off the specials on today’s hum menu: “It’s the first time together and I’m feeling kinda horny, conventional methods of makin’ love kinda bore me. I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off, blow your socks off, make sure your G-spot’s soft” (you get hard G-spots? And, more importantly, how do you get away rhyming “off” with “soft”?). With Cool James, sex is a matter of territorial chauvinism, not unlike the so-called World Series. He points out that he represents Queens, whose residents may well jostle for prime bedside seats, the better to cheer on their local stud muffin. Cool James’ hopefully softly G-spotted friend was raised “out Brooklyn”, where she learnt to yearn for a “Big Daddy” who might “pull my hair and spank me from the back” and finish off with some “candy rain”. Just as the contender from Queens might, if his dick is as big as his braggadocio. Yuk!

21. Jay-Z feat Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind (2009)
NYC hook: The national anthem of NYC for the millennial generation.

22. Ben Folds – Rock This Bitch (NYC version) (2004)
NYC hook: Some “motherfucker in Chicago” once shouted out “rock this bitch” at a Ben Folds gig, giving rise to a tradition whereby Folds (evidently reluctantly) improvises a new “Rock This Bitch” version on the spot. As he did in this recording from the 2004 Summerstage concert. “R.O.C.K. with your C.O.C.K. out, in N.Y.C.”

GET IT: https://rg.to/file/938ecc622de6de6eebb5a29c5fbfba64/NYC_2.rar.html

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Any Major Music from ‘The Sopranos’ Vol. 1

August 23rd, 2018 6 comments

 

 

Many TV series have integrated pop songs into their narrative, even before The Sopranos did so to great effect. Shows like The Wonder Years and Ally McBeal helped blaze that trail. The Sopranos used this to great effect. The music Tony Soprano listens to, for example, reveals a lot about who he is (in some ways not that much different from any of us), as does Carmella’s obsession with Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partirò communicate much about her real longings.

Sometimes the music is just incidental — a particular kind of track would be expected to play at a particular location — but other times a song can colour the tone of a scene. Take the scene in the final season when Tony comes out of hospital after having been shot by Uncle Junior and beats up his bodyguard as a way of reasserting his manhood. Playing in the background is a merry doo wop tune by The Students titled Every Day Of The Week. It communicates the random absurdity of Tony’s action. The scene would have played differently had the background tune been, say, Voodoo Chile.

Of course, this is Soundtracking 101, and the producers of The Sopranos didn’t invent anything new here, though David Chase set incredibly high standards in the eclectic selection of music. They used single songs, rather than a traditional score, to superb storytelling effect, sometimes even as a form of narration.

And that wealth of music used lends itself to mix-making. And this is what we’re doing here, over two mixes.

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

1. Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning (Chosen One Mix) (1997)
2. Cream – I Feel Free (1967)
3. Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul – Inside Of Me (1982)
4. Tom Petty – Free Fallin’ (1989)
5. Alejandro Escovedo – Guilty (1995)
6. The Chesterfield Kings – I Don’t Understand (2003)
7. Shawn Smith – Wrapped In My Memory (2003)
8. Bruce Hornsby & the Range – That’s The Way It Is (1986)
9. Boston – More Than A Feeling (1976)
10. Foghat – Slow Ride (1975)
11. Johnny & The Hurricanes – Red River Rock (1959)
12. The Jive Five – What Time Is It (1962)
13. The Students – Every Day Of The Week (1957)
14. Dean Martin – Powder Your Face With Sunshine (Smile, Smile, Smile) (1949)
15. Percy Faith Orchestra – Theme from ‘A Summer Place’ (1960)
16. The Dells – Oh, What A Night (1969)
17. Freda Payne – Band Of Gold (1970)
18. Chaka Khan feat. Me’ Shell Ndegeocello – Never Miss The Water (1996)
19. Angie Stone – Without You (1999)
20. Pink Martini – Andalucia (1997)
21. Nick Lowe – The Beast In Me (1994)
22. Andrea Bocelli – Con Te Partirò (1996)

https://rg.to/file/73ccf2098a1766698b30eaf130d20183/Sopra1.rar.html
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https://www106.zippyshare.com/v/kCMt0mwt/file.html

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