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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In Memoriam – September 2018

October 4th, 2018 5 comments

 

I’m not a friend of big-name deaths at the beginning of the month, before I can even post the previous month’s music deads and their songs. The death of Charles Aznavour at 94 on October 1 creates a dilemma: do I wait until the next In Memoriam — which will come out more than four weeks after he died — or do I include him in September’s lot? In this instance, I’ve opted for the latter.

It’s quite a thought that when Charles Aznavour had a hit in 1974 with She, he was already 50. The man born to Armenian partents in Paris as Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian had enjoyed a long career before that already. He was a child-actor at nine, and performed in Parisian clubs by the mid-1940s. The break came in 1946 when he was discovered by Edith Piaf. His career would last for another 72 years, with his last concert having been on September 18 in Osaka, Japan, as part of a world tour. In September 28 he still appeared on French TV.

Jefferson Airplane’s primary founder and one of its three lead singers Marty Balin has departed; now it’s only Grace Slick left. It was Balin who got knocked unconscious by the Hell’s Angels on stage at the notorious Altamont concert in December 1969. Less than a year later, his friend Janis Joplin died. Spooked by that, in April 1971 the relatively clean-living Balin exited Jefferson Airplane. He joined the Airplane off-shoot Jefferson Starship in 1975, singing lead on several of their hits, but jumped ship again in 1978, shortly after Slick had left the band. He went on to have a few Top 10 hits as a solo artist in the 1980s.

With the death of bassist Max Bennett, we have lost another member of the Wrecking Crew, the informal collective of session players who played on so many records made in LA in the 1960s and ‘70s. Bennett was particularly prolific on records by The Monkees and the Partridge Family, and later by Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, but at around the same time as he was plucking strings for TV pop groups, he was also part of Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats project (despite not really liking or understanding avant garde music). Before being a pop sideman, Bennett was a jazz sideman. After returning from fighting in the Korean War, he backed acts like Stan Kenton, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Nelson Riddle and Ella Fitzgerald. He also released as series of jazz LPs under his own name in the 1950s. In the 1970s Bennett returned to jazz, but now in the form of fusion, as a member of the L.A. Express alongside Tom Scott, Larry Carlton, John Guerin and Joe Sample.

He was obviously famous for his movies and his moustache, and perhaps also for posing nude in Playgirl, but less well-known is Burt Reynold’s brief career as a singer. In 1973 he released an album of country music titled Ask Me What I Am (well, not much of a singer, to be honest). 1980 saw the release of a follow-up single, Let’s Do Something Cheap And Superficial, which was aptly titled since it came from the sequel to Smokey And The Bandit.

Chas Hodges was best known as half of the London duo Chas & Dave, who enjoyed their biggest success with novelty knees-up folk-rock type numbers. But he was also a serious musician, starting his career as a session bassist for Joe Meek. In the early 1970s Hodges was a member of Heads Hands & Feet, alongside guitarist Albert Lee. In the ‘70s he also did session work on guitar, often with Dave Peacock, the Dave in what would become Chas & Dave. Hodges and Peacock created the riff in Labi Siffre’s I Got The…, which Eminem later sampled for My Name Is. Then they became the “Rockney” pub favourites and Tottenham Hotspur cheerleaders (so condolences to my friend Jeremy Simmonds, author of The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars and a Spurs fan, are in order).

With the death of Donald McGuire, all four members of the 1950s vocal group The Hilltoppers are now gone. The group, initially a trio from Kentucky, has been largely forgotten, but in the 1950s they scored as few huge US hits, including the million-seller PS I Love You. Another claim to fame is that from their ranks emerged the future bandleader Billy Vaughn.

Not really a music death, and yet very much so: Peggy Sue Perron of the Buddy Holly song has died at 78. Originally Holly was going name the song Cindy Lou, after his niece. But drummer Jerry Allison petitioned his friend to change the name in order to impress his girl, Peggy Sue, who had just broken up with him. It worked: Jerry and Peggy Sue went on to get married in 1958 (just before his death, Holly wrote and denied a song called Peggy Sue Got Married, which was released posthumously). They divorced, and Peggy Sue moved to California, got married again, and had kids.

 

Tony Camillo, producer and arranger, on Aug. 29
Gladys Knight & the Pips – Midnight Train To Georgia (1973, as producer)

Randy Weston, 92, jazz pianist and composer, on Sept. 1
Randy Weston Trio – Zulu (1955)

Conway Savage, 58, Australian keyboardist, on Sept. 2
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Willow Garden (1996, on vocals and keyboard)

Rene Garcia, 66, guitarist of Filipino pop band Hotdog, on Sept. 2

Katyna Ranieri, 93, Italian singer and actress, on Sept. 3
Katyna Ranieri – Oh My Love (1971)

Elisa Serna, 75, Spanish protest singer-songwriter, on Sept. 4

Don Gardner, 87, soul singer, on Sept. 4
Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford – I Need Your Loving (1962)

Richard Bateman, 50, bass player of thrash metal band Nasty Savage, on Sept. 5

Burt Reynolds, 82, actor and occasional singer, on Sept. 6
Burt Reynolds – I Like Having You Around (1973)
Burt Reynolds – Let’s Do Something Cheap And Superficial (1980)

Wilson Moreira, 81, Brazilian samba singer and songwriter, on Sept. 6

Donald McGuire, 86, singer with vocal group The Hilltoppers, on Sept. 7
The Hilltoppers – Trying (1952)
The Hilltoppers – The Joker (1957)

Mac Miller, 26, rapper and producer, on Sept. 7

Mr. Catra, 49, Brazilian funk singer, on Sept. 9
Mr. Catra – Vacilão (2015)

Johnny Strike, 70, guitarist and singer of US punk band Crime, on Sept. 10
Crime – Murder By Guitar (1977)

Erich Kleinschuster, 88, Austrian trombonist and bandleader, on Sept. 12

Rachid Taha, 59, Algerian singer of French band Carte de Séjour, on Sept. 12
Carte de Séjour – Douce France (1987)

Marin Mazzie, 57, musical actress and singer, on Sept. 13

Max Bennett, 90, Wrecking Crew and jazz bassist, on Sept. 14
Max Bennett – Max Is The Factor (1957)
The Monkees – Porpoise Song (1968)
Tom Scott & The L.A. Express – Sneakin’ In The Back (1974)
Joni Mitchell – The Hissing Of Summer Lawns (1975, on bass)

Anneke Grönloh, 76, Dutch singer, on Sept. 14
Anneke Grönloh – Brandend Zand (1962)

Maartin Allcock, 61, English multi-instrumentalist and producer, on Sept. 16
Fairport Convention – Meet On The Ledge (1987, as member on lead guitar)

Big Jay McNeely, 91, R&B saxophonist, on Sept. 16
Big Jay McNeely – There Is Something On Your Mind (1957)

Wesley Tinglin, 75, singer with Jamaican reggae group The Viceroys, on Sept. 18
The Viceroys – Slogan On The Wall (1977)

Felton Pruett, 89, country slide guitarist, on Sept 19

Joseph Hookim, 76, Jamaican reggae/ska producer, on Sept. 20
The Mighty Diamonds – Right Time (1976, as producer & co-writer)

Chas Hodges, 74, half of English duo Chas & Dave, on Sept. 22
Heads Hands & Feet – Song For Suzie (1971, as member)
Labi Siffre – I Got The… (1975, on guitar)
Chas & Dave – Ain’t No Pleasing You (1982)

Dale Barclay, 32, singer of Scottish rock band Amazing Snakeheads, on Sept. 25

Marty Balin, 76, co-lead singer of Jefferson Airplane/Starship, on Sept. 27
Jefferson Airplane – Comin’ Back To Me (1967, also as writer)
Jefferson Starship – Miracles (1975, also as writer)
Marty Balin – Hearts (1981)

Sam Spoons, drummer of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, on Sept. 27
The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – Alley Oop (1966)

Michael Weiley, 58, guitarist of Australian rock band Spy vs Spy, on Sept. 29
V. Spy v. Spy – Don’t Tear It Down (1986)

Otis Rush, 84, blues guitarist and singer, on Sept. 29
Otis Rush – I Can´t Quit You Baby (1956)

James ‘Big Jim’ Wright, 52, R&B musician and producer, on Sept. 29
Janet Jackson – I Get Lonely (1997, as arranger and co-writer)
Mary J. Blige – No More Drama (2001, on organ & backing vocals)

Kim Larsen, 72, singer and guitarist of Danish rock band Gasolin’, on Sept. 30
Gasolin’ – Holy Jean (1973)

Angela Maria, 89, Brazilian singer and actress, on Sept. 30
Ângela Maria – Sempre Tu (1955)

Charles Aznavour, 94, French-Armenian singer, on Oct. 1
Charles Aznavour – Sur ma vie (1955)
Charles Aznavour – Les Enfants De La Guerre (1966)
Charles Aznavour – She (1974)

GET IT: https://rg.to/file/dca098f57de8f7435669b25ccefd47b4/IM_1809.rar.html
(PW in comments)

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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)

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The Originals: The Classics

September 20th, 2018 9 comments

Here’s a collection of lesser-known originals of stone-cold pop classics, and quite a bit of background information to most of them. In fact, I suggest you make yourself a good cup of coffee, settle back and be engrossed in the stories of some of the most famous songs in pop history.

 

Hey Joe

We kick off with a track whose genesis is disputed, with some claiming Hey Joe is an old traditional folk song. There seems to be wide consensus, however, that it was written in the early 1960s by a folk singer called Billy Roberts, who may well have borrowed from a 1950s country song by the same title written by Boudleaux Bryant. Something of a cult classic on LA’s live scene and reportedly propagated by David Crosby, Roberts’ song was eventually recorded by The Leaves (though some claim that the Surfaris recorded their version first, but released it after the Leaves’ version came out).

Where The Leaves rock out in a psychedelic fashion, Jimi Hendrix’s version’s, recorded in December 1966, is said to have been based on the slower folk-rock treatment by Tim Rose (who once was part of a folk trio including someone called Jim Hendricks, with Mama Cass Elliott), though Arthur Lee insisted it was the Love recording of September 1966 that inspired Hendrix. Whatever the case: the version here is the first to be released on record.

 

Wild Horses

A number of tracks here were originally released before the actual writers had hits with them. One of those is the Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses, which was first released by The Flying Burrito Brothers. The Stones recorded it before the Flying Burrito Brothers did, but released it only after Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons’ band released it on their 1970 album, Burrito Deluxe. Wild Horses was written in 1969 (Keef says about his new-born son; Jagger denies that its re-written lyrics were about Marianne Faithfull) and recorded in December 1969 at the Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama, the day after the group laid down Brown Sugar. Jamming in a country mood, Mick asked Keith to present a number in that genre, spurring his country-loving friend on by saying: “Come on, you must have hundreds”. Keith disappeared for a bit, and returned with a melody and words for the chorus. Mick filled in the lyrics for the verses, and the song was recorded (with Jim Dickinson standing it for Ian Stewart, who did not like playing minor chords) before the Stones packed up and left Memphis.

Earlier that year, the Stones had collaborated on the Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace Of Sin album; and as the curtain fell on the 1960s, the Burritos opened for the Stones at the notorious Altamont concert (according to some reports, it was during their performance that the Hells’ Angels started the first fight). Parsons was especially friendly with Keith Richard, whom he introduced to the treasury of country music. It is even said that the song was intended for Gram — probably a false rumour, yet it sounds more like a Parsons than a Stones song. Whether or not it was intended for Parsons, the Burritos were allowed to record Wild Horses, and release it before the Stones were able to (a delay forced by contractual reasons involving their “divorce” from Allen Klein) on 1971’s Sticky Fingers album.

 

My Sweet Lord

Billy Preston recorded and released My Sweet Lord before George Harrison did. Preston had at one point come to be regarded as the “Fifth Beatle”, thanks to his keyboard work which earned him a co-credit on the Get Back single. He had actually known the band since 1962, when he toured Britain with Little Richard, for whom the Beatles opened in Liverpool. Post-Beatles, Preston continued working with Harrison, who had brought him into the Let It Be sessions. Written in December 1969 in Copenhagen, My Sweet Lord song first appeared on Preston’s Encouraging Words album, a star-studded affair which included not only Harrison, but also Eric Clapton on guitar, Keith Richard on bass and Ginger Baker on drums.

The album also included Harrison’s All Things Must Pass (a song which the Beatles had considered of recording); almost a year later that song would provide the title of the triple-LP set. The All Things Must Pass album, produced by Phil Spector, also included George’s cover of his own My Sweet Lord. Preston’s version is much closer to Harrison’s original concept than the composer’s own take. In his defence during the My Sweet Lord/He’s So Fine plagiarism case, Harrison said that he had been inspired not by early-’60s girlband pop, but by the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 hit Oh Happy Day. That influence is acutely apparent on Preston’s recording, but less so on Harrison’s chart-topper. Indeed, had Preston scored the big hit with it, not Harrison, it might have been Ed Hawkins initiating the plagiarism litigation.

 

California Dreamin’

John and Michelle Phillips wrote California Dreamin’ in 1963, suitably while living in New York, before forming The Mamas and The Papas and while John was still with a group called The New Journeymen. Fellow folkie Barry McGuire helped John and Michelle land a recording contract. In gratitude, they gave McGuire a song for his next album: California Dreamin’, which was recorded (with the now formed Mamas & Papas on backing vocals) in 1965, but was released only in 1966. It was supposed to be McGuire’s follow-up to Eve Of Destruction, but The Mamas and The Papas recorded the song themselves and released it as a single in 1965, initially to widespread indifference. Only when it started getting airplay on a Boston radio station did the song become a hit in early 1966. McGuire insists that the Mamas & Papas didn’t so much re-record the song as replace his voice with Denny Doherty’s and the harmonica solo with the flute. Listen to the two versions and judge for yourself.

 

Suzanne

Several of Leonard Cohen’s most famous songs were first recorded by folk warbless Judy Collins: Sisters Of Mercy; Bird On A Wire; Since You’ve Asked; Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye – and Suzanne. The song was born in Montréal, landmarks of which are described at length in the song. Cohen already had a chord pattern in place which he then married to a poem he had written about Suzanne Verdal — the beautiful wife of the sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, a friend of Cohen’s — whom he fancied but, as the lyrics have it, touched only in his mind. One night in 1966, a year before Cohen released his debut album, he played the finished song over the telephone to his friend Judy Collins, who was already a star on the folk scene. Duly enchanted, Collins recorded the song for her In My Life album, which was released in November 1966.

 

Where You Lead

Kate Taylor was (and still is) the younger sister of singer-songwriter James Taylor. She was well-connected: on her debut album, Sister Kate, she had the backing of such luminaries as Linda Ronstadt, Merry Clayton, The Memphis Horns, various Wrecking Crew legends, her brother James – and Carole King. The great songwriter lent Taylor two songs which would appear on her great Tapestry album: Where You Lead and Home Again. Taylor’s LP came out in January 1971; Tapestry a month later. Taylor’s version of Home Again in included as a bonus.

 

Me And Bobby McGee

Kris Kristofferson wrote Me And Bobby McGee, but as it was with several of his classic songs, others it to record it first. Janis Joplin was the one to have the great hit with it, and Kenny Rogers & The First Edition recorded it before her. But the first version was recorded by Roger Miller in 1969. His was a mid-tempo country-pop number, rather bereft of emotional engagement, an entirely misjudged drumtrack and, in the carnivalesque “la la la” part some ill-advised ’60s horns and some background whooping. It didn’t set the world of music alight, making it to #12 in the country charts, and failing to dent the pop charts. KK got around to recording it, and a couple of country types mucked about with it over the following few months, before Janis Joplin – a former lover and friend of Kristofferson’s – decided it was really a blues-rock number. Recorded just a few days before her death, Joplin is initially restrained before launching into a climax of screams and groans, as was her wont.

 

Rhinestone Cowboy

Larry Weiss was a prolific songwriter. In the 1960s, he co-wrote hits such as Bend Me Shape Me, Hi Ho Silver Lining and Spooky Tooth’s Evil Woman. Sporadically he also recorded his own songs. One of these was Rhinestone Cowboy, inspired by a phrase he had overheard in a conversation. The song appeared on Weiss’ Black And Blue Suite album, and it was released as a single (at least in West Germany).

The story goes that Glen Campbell heard the song on the car radio as he was on his way to a meeting with his record company, and thought about suggesting to record it. But before he had the opportunity to do so, the record company presented their own bright idea: how about this Rhinestone Cowboy song by Larry Weiss. In the original version, Weiss sounds much like his old Brill Building chum Neil Diamond. Campbell made the song his own, with that soaring voice which expresses such a forfeit of hope. Released in May 1975, it went on to top the pop and country charts simultaneously, the first time that had been done since 1961.

In 1984, Weiss finally got a project he had been working on realised – a movie starring Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone. Its title: Rhinestone.

 

Mr Bojangles

There is no truth to the old chestnut that Mr Bojangles tells the story of the great Bill Robinson. Folk/country singer Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote and first recorded the song, tells the story of being in a New Orleans holding cell for public disorderliness with, among others, a street dancer (a white one, because cells were segregated). These public performers were generically nicknamed Bojangles (after Robinson). This man told his tales of life and of his grief for his dead dog. Urged on by the other cellmates, he proceeded to give them a tap dance. In 1968, three years after the incident, Walker recorded the song about that experience. Mr Bojangles is by far his most famous contribution to popular music. The second-most important would be to inspire Townes van Zandt to start writing songs.

The song was covered by several well-known performers but became a hit only in 1971, when the Nitty Gritty Band took it the US #9, drawing from Walker’s folk arrangement. The best, and probably best-known, version was recorded a year later, by Sammy Davis Jr, drawing from a cover by Bobby Cole. Sammy was a hoofer himself, of course, so in his younger days would have known many characters such as Mr Bojangles, even in his family of entertainers. Sammy could identify with the song, and he delivered a beautiful performance, with the right mix of carefree spirit (the whistling) and drama which his protagonist projects.

 

Black Magic Woman

Released in 1968, Fleetwood Mac’s Black Magic Woman is “three minutes of sustain/reverb guitar with two exquisite solos from Peter [Green],” according to Mick Fleetwood. Carlos Santana covered it on 1970’s Abraxas album and retained its basic structure, but changed the arrangement significantly with a shot of Latin and hint of fusion. It became one of Santana’s signature tunes, while Fleetwood Mac had to remind audiences that the song was actually theirs. The Black Magic Woman was Green’s girlfriend Sandra Elsdon who refused to sleep with him – hence the line “don’t turn your back on me baby, you might just pick up my magic stick”.

 

A Groovy Kind Of Love

A Groovy Kind Of Love was written in 20 minutes in 1965 by Carole Bayer Sager, barely 21, and 17-year-old Toni Wine. The song, one of the first to riff on the new buzzword “groovy”, was apparently based on the Rondo from Sonatina in G Major by Muzio Clementi. It was first recorded by the short-lived duo Diane & Annita — Diane Hall and Annita Ray. Annita had appeared alongside the likes of Fats Domino and Big Joe Turner in the rock ‘n’ roll movie Shake Rattle And Roll, in which she performed the song On A Saturday Night. The song was left off the soundtrack album. She met Diane Hall as a member of Ray Anthony’s Bookends. There is very little information about them as a duo, and rumours even had it that the Diane & Annita act was in fact Sager recording under a false name. In any case, the single didn’t go anywhere, nor did its second incarnation, a version by Patti LaBelle & the Bluebells, produced by the great Bertie Berns.

The English group The Mindbenders had enjoyed a US chart-topper with Game Of Love, but by mid-1965 they suddenly were without their frontman, Wayne Fontana, after he walked out in a middle of as concert. As luck would have it, the now Fontana-less band came to record A Groovy Kind Of Love, with future 10cc member Eric Stewart on lead vocals, and had a huge hit with it, reaching #2 both in the UK and US. It was the only real success the group would have before disbanding in 1968, by which time another future 10cc member, Graham Gouldman, had joined.

 

Ring Of Fire

At the time when June Carter was falling heavily for Johnny Cash, she was regularly writing songs with fellow country singer Merle Kilgore. As Kilgore recalled it, Ring Of Fire was born the day June spoke to him about her love for Cash. Later, seeking an idea for a song, June remembered a letter she had received from a friend going through a divorce which described love as “a burning ring of fire”. And thus a classic song title (which even appealed to the manufacturers of haemorrhoid ointment; Roseanne Cash blocked its use in an ad for such a product) was born. The song essentially describes June’s feelings for Cash. But it was her sister Anita Carter who recorded it first, in November 1962. In fact, the song was only half-finished when Anita was ready to record it. June and Kilgore banged the rest together in ten minutes, fortuitously retaining the word “mire” from a provisional lyric.

Cash liked the song when he heard Anita’s record (as he well should) and decided he would record it. Deferring to his future sister-in-law, he waited four months before recording his version. In the interim he had a dream about the song featuring Tijuana trumpets — possibly inspired by June’s comment about her having borrowed the song’s swirling sound from the music at a merry-go-round in Villa Acuna, Mexico. Shortened to Ring Of Fire, Cash’s version was a hit, his first since 1958, thus saving his about-to-be-cancelled recording contract with Columbia. Four years later, Kilgore was the best man at Johnny and June’s wedding.

 

The Ballad Of Lucy Jordan

Shel Silverstein was something of a Renaissance Man: a poet, childrens’ author, cartoonist, screenwriter and composer. In the latter incarnation, Silverstein wrote several hit songs, including A Boy Named Sue and The Ballad of Lucy Jordan. In 1971, Silverstein selected the yet unknown Dr Hook & the Medicine Show to appear on the soundtrack he wrote for the Dustin Hoffman film Who Is Harry Kellerman And Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?. He proceeded to write the lyrics for many Dr Hook songs, including the notorious Sylvia’s Mother, Cover Of The Rolling Stone and Lucy Jordan. Dr Hook’s 1974 version of the latter made negligible impact, but Marianne Faithfull’s cover five years later became a big hit.

 

The Air That I Breathe

Albert Hammond composed The Air That I Breathe with frequent collaborator Mike Hazlewood and released it on his debut album in 1972. It starts of uncertainly, but mid-way through hits a strange stride. Perfect it is not, but certainly interesting. According to Hammond, it was written for a physically unattractive girl while Hazlewood came up with the title upon glimpsing LA’s smog. The song was then recorded by Phil Everly in 1973, but became a hit in the hands of the briefly resurgent Hollies a year later. Subsequently Hammond and Hazlewood received an unexpected songwriting credit on Radiohead’s Creep after the awful Thom Yorke stole from The Air That I Breathe for Creep.

 

Wild Thing

One of rock’s most iconic songs was written by actor Jon Voight’s younger brother, James Wesley, who took the name Chip Taylor. The first version of Wild Thing, by the New York band The Wild Ones, was released in 1965. Headed by one Jordan Christopher, they are said to have been the houseband of what has been called New York’s first disco, The Office. Taylor wrote Wild Thing for them as a favour to A&R man Gerry Granagan. It’s not very good at all, certainly not in comparison to The Troggs version, which replaced the Wild Ones’ whistle interlude with an ocarina solo (the ocarina is an ancient ceramic wind instrument).

Taylor has recalled that he wrote the song in a few minutes (“the pauses and the hesitations are a result of not knowing what I was going to do next”) and had a low opinion of it. Likewise, The Troggs recorded it in 20 minutes, during the same session that produced their follow-up hit With A Girl Like You. They worked from Taylor’s demo, rather than the Wild Ones’ version. Chip Taylor also wrote Angel Of The Morning, which featured in The Originals – The 1980s.

 

Black Betty

One of the hardest rocking hits of 1977 was Ram Jam’s blistering Black Betty, but it is an old African-American folk song favoured by labour gangs. The recording here is the oldest in existence, preceding the better-known one by Lead Belly (who often is credited with writing it) by six years. This is a 1933 field recording made by the musicologists John and Alan Lomax in 1933 of the convict James “Iron Head” Baker, then already 63, and backing band of prisoners at Central State Farm in Texas. The Ram Jam version wasn’t even the first rockified adaptation. In 1976, a year before the Ram Jam hit, it was recorded by an outfit called Starstruck, which included future Ram Jam member Bill Bartlett.

Civil right groups boycotted the song because it was thought it insulted black women. Anthropologists are undecided what exactly a “Black Betty”, perhaps a rifle, or a bottle of whiskey, or a whip (as Lead Belly claimed), or a penitentiary transfer wagon, or indeed a prostitute. In the Ram Jam lyrics Betty clearly is a woman, probably of African-American heritage, from Birmingham, Alabama.

 

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

Nina Simone first recorded Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood in 1964 as a slow, soulful blues ballad, her voice so deep in places you’d think it was a man singing it. A year later The Animals took hold of it, and – as they had done with the traditional song House Of The Rising Sun – turned the number inside out, speeding it up, reintroducing the signature opening chords (which almost unnoticably appeared at the end of Simone’s version) and Alan Price’s glorious organ riff, and giving the soul-rock a bit of a flamenco sound. Twelve years later, in 1977, Leroy Gomez & Santa Esmeralda covered the Animals version, adding a touch of disco to the mix, to produce a dramatic and eminently danceable hit.

Denis

In 1978 Blondie enjoyed their breakthrough with a slice of power-pop new wave: Denis. It was a cover of a 1963 hit for for Randy & the Rainbows. Denise reached #10 on the Billboard charts, but after the follow-up barely scraped into the Top 100, that was it for the doo-woppers from Queens. The French verse in Blondie’s version was necessary to explain away the object of desire’s gender-change.

I Fought The Law

Thought by many to be an original Clash song, the more knowledgeable will refer to I Fought The Law as a Bobby Fuller Four song. But even that was a cover of the 1960 song by the Crickets, Buddy Holly’s erstwhile band. Written by Sonny Curtis, one can almost hear Holly sing it. In the event, the song made no great impact until Fuller’s 1964 recording. Fuller was found dead just as the single was becoming a hit (some say suicide, some allege foul play – few suicides involve beating one’s self up before imbibing petrol). The session drummer on the Fuller version, rumour has it, was a young Barry White. A generation later, it became something of a pub-punk classic as spat out by Strummer on the Clash version.

 

Barbara Ann

The Beach Boys never wanted Barbara Ann to be a single release; the LP it came from, Beach Boys Party!, was an informal jam session recorded to fulfil a contractual obligation. The group, and whoever else was around, were playing whatever came to mind while they were getting drunk. At one point, Dean Torrence of surf-pop duo Jan & Dean, who had previously recorded Barbara Ann in 1962 and was recording in an adjacent studio, popped in. Torrence suggested the song and sang lead on the recording with Brian Wilson. Torrence left half an hour later, and was not credited on the album. Obviously, the light-hearted Barbara Ann, with its fluffed lines and subsequent laughter and with session drummer Hal Blaine on ashtrays — listen closely at 1:05 — did not quite meet the sophisticated production values which had already been evident on recent recordings, such as California Girls. And still, Barbara Ann reached the US #2.

Barbara-Ann (it was originally hyphenated) had been a 1961 US #13 hit for The Regents, an American-Italian doo wop group from the Bronx. They went on to have only one more Top 30 hit, Runaround. Barbara-Ann had initially been recorded as a demo by The Regents in 1959. When they couldn’t land a record contract, the group folded. A couple of years later, a group called The Consorts, which included a Regents’ member’s younger brother, dug out the demo and played it at auditions. One record company, Cousins, liked Barbara-Ann and released it — but not by the Consorts, but the Regents’ version. The Regents hurriedly reunited, and the song quickly became a local and then a national hit.

 

El Condor Pasa

El Condor Pasa was a mammoth hit for Simon & Garfunkel in 1970, but by then the song was already 57 years old. Written in 1913 by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles for a musical of the same name. Paul Simon hadn’t heard that, but a hit version by the Peruvian band Los Incas with whom had become friendly. Los Incas leader Jorge Milchberg told Simon that the melody was a traditional Andean folk song which he had arranged (and collected royalties for). It took an amicably resolved court case brought by Robles’ heirs to have the tune’s real composer credited.

 

The Lion Sleeps Tonight/Wimoweh

Finally, one of the most foul stories of songwriting theft: that of Mbube (the song known more widely as The Lion Sleeps Tonight or Wimoweh), with even the venerable Pete Seeger involved in the deceit; though he comes out of it a lot better than others.

The man who wrote and first recorded it, a South African musician named Solomon Linda, died virtually penniless, having been duped into selling the rights to the song for a pittance to the Italian-born South African record label owner Eric Gallo. Gallo pocketed the royalties of the prodigious South African sales, in return allowing Linda to work in his packing plant. Apart from performing on stage in South Africa, where he was a musical legend in the townships, Linda worked there until his death at 53 in 1962 — nine years after Seeger and the Weavers had a US #6 hit with it, and a year after The Tokens scored a huge hit with the song in a reworked version. No laws were broken in this deplorable story of plagiarism, but the rules of ethics and common decency certainly were.

Mbube was introduced to American music by Pete Seeger, who adapted a fairly faithful version of the song. Still, Seeger didn’t even transcribe the word “uyiMbube” properly, even though he had received a record of the song which had a label stating the title on it. Thus “uyiMbube” became “Wimoweh”.

Seeger later pleaded ignorance about the intricacies of music publishing, and, to his credit, deeply regretted not insisting firmly enough that Linda be given the songwriting credit. He had sent his initial arrangers’s fee of $1,000 to Linda and insisted that the song’s publishers, TRO, should keep sending royalties to the South African. Apparently they periodically did so, though Linda’s widow had little idea where the money — hardly riches (about $275 per quarter in the early ’90s) — came from. Some family members say the payments started only in the 1980s. Whatever the case, neither Linda nor Seeger were credited for the song now known as Wimoweh. The credit went to Paul Campbell, a pseudonym used by TRO owner Harry Richmond to copyright the many public-domain folk songs which TRO published.

The Tokens’ version took even greater liberties. But this time nobody could claim ignorance because Miriam Makeba, who grew up with the song, had released it in the US in 1960, a year before The Tokens’ version was created, as Mbube, or The Lion (mbube means lion). It is fair to say that George David Weiss, who rearranged the song for The Tokens, at their request, should not be denied his songwriter credit. Weiss dismantled and restructured the song, turning a very African song into an American novelty pop song. RCA and mafia associates producers Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore (we met those two charmers as co-writers of Can’t Help Falling In Love in part two the Elvis Originals) claimed co-writing credit and the rights to the song, deciding that Mbube was an old African folk song and therefore in the public domain. They might well have thought so in good faith, but a minimum of research would have established the facts, even before the age of Google. Or perhaps not: they pulled the same stunt with Miriam Makeba’s Click Song (the clicking is a distinctive sound in the Xhosa language), which the Tokens released as Bwanina. They got away with that, because Makeba’s number was based on an old folk song. Not so with The Lion Sleeps Tonight, to which Gallo, the record label owner from South Africa, had asserted his US rights in 1952 and then sold it to TRO. A whole lot of wheeling and dealing took place, with the upshot that the credit now included TRO’s fictitious Paul Campbell. Again, Linda was left out in the cold.

It was only at the beginning of the 2000s that Linda’s family took legal action, and that only after Richmond, Weiss and the mafia pals started to wrangle about the ownership to the song. Solomon Linda’s family eventually won a settlement which entitles them to future royalties and a lump sum for royalties going back to 1987, largely due to an extensive Rolling Stone exposé by South African one-book wonder novelist Rian Malan.

Here’s the kicker: Solomon Linda was quite delighted at the international success of his song; he didn’t realise that he should have received something for it — even if that something was just an acknowledgment that he wrote the song. Read the full story of Mbube.

 

As always, CD-R length, home-covered covers, PW in comments. And, yes, in some of these cases it is a bit harsh to refer to the artists who covered their own sings as usurpers, but, as any old hack will tell you, style is style.

1. The Leaves – Hey Joe, Where Are You Going (1966)
The Usurper: Jimi Hendrix (1966)
2. Fleetwood Mac – Black Magic Woman (1968)
The Usurper: Santana (1970)
3. Barry McGuire – California Dreaming (1965)
The Usurper: The Mamas and The Papas (1966)
4. Flying Burrito Brothers – Wild Horses (1970)
The Usurper: The Rolling Stones (1971)
5. Jerry Jeff Walker – Mr. Bojangles (1968)
The Usurper: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1970)
6. Larry Weiss – Rhinestone Cowboy (1974)
The Usurper: Glen Campbell (1975)
7. Roger Miller – Me And Bobby McGee (1969)
The Usurper: Janis Joplin (1970)
8. Anita Carter – (Love’s) Ring Of Fire (1963)
The Usurper: Johnny Cash (1963)
9. Kate Taylor – Where You Lead (1971)
The Usurper: Carole King (1971)
10. Judy Collins – Suzanne (1966)
The Usurper: Leonard Cohen (1967)
11. Diane & Annita – A Groovy Kind Of Love (1965)
The Usurpers: The Mindbenders (1965), Phil Collins (1988)
12. Billy Preston – My Sweet Lord (1970)
The Usurper: George Harrison (1970)
13. Albert Hammond – The Air That I Breathe (1972)
The Usurper: The Hollies (1974)
14. Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show – Ballad Of Lucy Jordan (1973)
The Usurper: Marianne Faithfull (1979)
15. Nina Simone – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (1964)
The Usurpers: The Animals (1964), Santa Esmeralda (1977)
16. Kai Winding with Vocal Group – Time Is On My Side (1963)
The Usurper: The Rolling Stones (1964)
17. Dee Dee Warwick – You’re No Good (1963)
The Usurpers: Swinging Blue Jeans (1964), Linda Ronstadt (1974)
18. The Regents – Barbara-Ann (1961)
The Usurper: The Beach Boys (1965)
19. Randy and the Rainbows – Denise (1963)
The Usurper: Blondie (1978)
20. Crickets – I Fought The Law (1959)
The Usurper: Bobby Fuller Four (1966), The Clash (1979)
21. The Wild Ones – Wild Thing (1965)
The Usurper: The Troggs (1966)
22. Ann Cole with The Suburbans and Orchestra – Got My Mojo Working (1957)
The Usurper: Muddy Waters (1957)
23. Roy Hawkins – The Thrill Is Gone (1951)
The Usurper: B.B. King (1970)
24. James Iron Head Baker & Group – Black Betty (1933)
The Usurpers: Lead Belly (1939), Ram Jam (1977)
25. Solomon Linda’s Original Evening Birds – Mbube (1939)
The Usurpers: The Weavers (as Wimoweh, 1957), The Tokens (as The Lion Sleeps Tonight, 1961)
26. Edric Connor and The Caribbeans – Day Dah Light (1952)
The Usurper: Harry Belafonte (as The Banana Boat Song, 1956)
27. Orquesta del Zoológico – El Cóndor Pasa (1917)
The Usurper: Simon & Garfunkel (1970)

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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.”

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Beach#Subway

In Memoriam – August 2018

September 4th, 2018 7 comments

This was one of those months: two or three obviously notable deaths, and a bunch of others that deserve our attention — including one that was made public only after five months! Spare a thought for the antipodean alt-rock band Beasts of Bourbon, who lost their second member this year.

The soul legend

By now nothing more needs to be said about Aretha Franklin. Other than to note that her screen husband in The Blues Brothers, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, died just two months before Aretha. Think about that! This corner of the Internets marked her death with a mix of cover versions recorded by Aretha. And, to give you your money’s worth, and because I’m a man who makes lists for fun, I’ll undertake the impossible task of compiling a Top 5 of Aretha Franklin songs: 1. I Say A Little Prayer   2. Rock Steady    3.  Baby, I Love You   4. Something He Can Feel   5. Daydreaming. What’s your Top 5?

 

The Funky Brother

We had to cut by one the list of the few surviving Funk Brothers, the legendary collective of session musicians on all those great Motown classics, with the death of guitarist EddieChank” Willis. It’s not always easy knowing exactly on which Funk Brother played on which record, but we know that Willis played on tracks like You Keep Me Hanging On, Where Did Our Love Go, You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me, I Second That Emotion, My Guy, Please Mr. Postman, Shotgun, Roadrunner, and many hits by Marvin Gaye (from Can I Get A Witness to I Heard It Through The Grapevine and Let’s Get It On) and The Temptations. For all he did to build up Motown, he said the label didn’t take care of him and his colleagues when they encountered poverty. Benefit concerts in 2015 helped Willis out when he lost his home and guitars.

 

Freebird!

Had Ronnie van Zant not annoyed him, Ed King might have been in the plane crash that killed his successor as guitarist in Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1977. Instead, King had left the group in 1975. As the only non-Southerner in the band, the Californian always felt like an outsider; ironically, he co-wrote their Southern anthem Sweet Home Alabama (with the Floridans van Zant and Gary Rossington). It’s King who counts in the song, and gives the “woo” after the first chorus — apart from playing that great lead guitar. King rejoined Skynyrd in 1987, leaving in 1996 due to health problems.

 

Singer behind a curtain

Almost unnoticed, the singer Jeanie Greene left us. You’ll have heard her singing backing vocals on several Elvis records, most notably In The Ghetto. Before that, as a teenager, she recorded on Elvis’ old label, Sun Records, under her birth name, Mary Johnson. She released a couple of singles and an album under her assumed name, and did backing vocals on many Muscle Shoals recordings by the likes of Ben E. King, Percy Sledge, Cher, Albert King, ZZ Hill, Southern Comfort, Boz Scaggs and Willie Nelson. Greene was also a songwriter for King and Sledge. Backing Percy Sledge on his tour of South Africa in 1970, where he played to segregated audiences, she had to sing behind a curtain at black venues, so that the patrons would not see a white woman being in the service of a black man.

The punk pioneer

Before Debbie Harry was the frontwoman of Blondie and Chris Stein her partner in crime, they cut their punkish teeth in Elda and The Stillettoes. The band’s founder and leader, Elda Stiletto, has died at 68. The band made some waves in New York’s club scene but broke up on the cusp of success, splitting in 1974 when only the female members were offered a recording contract. The group reformed in 1976, obviously without Harry and Stein, but soon split again.

 

A brave woman

I may have no interest in the music of occult trash metal band Huntress, but I salute the late lead singer Jill Janus for her engagement on issues of mental health, speaking openly about her own struggles with bipolar depression, schizophrenia and other diseases which claimed her in the end. It is by destigmatising mental health that those who suffer from it are encouraged to seek the necessary help. And if that help does not work, and a person dies from their disease by the route of suicide, then that too must be destigmatised. Jill Janus was immensely brave to speak about her mental health struggles, and did those who share her struggles a huge service.

 

The football jinx

In the Eurovision Song Contest, English songwriter/producer Tony Hiller was winner, having conjured Brotherhood of Man’s Save Your Kisses For Me, and their other two #1s, Angelo and the deplorable Figaro. But you really didn’t want him to write the FA Cup final records for your team. He contributed to that particular genre in the service of Manchester United (1976), FC Everton (1985), Liverpool (1986), Crystal Palace (1990) and Chelsea (1994). Other than Liverpool, all of them lost – ironically all against the first team Hiller jinxed.

 

Mrs The Godfather

How, in this day and age, does the death of a singer and actress who has played in Oscar-winning movies, go unnoticed for nearly five months? Yet so it was with Morgana King, whose death at 87 in March became public only in mid-August. Blessed with a four-octave contralto, Morgana was a respected jazz singer who recorded many albums, even into the 1990s. But her greater claim to fame was as an occasional actress. She appeared in five films; two of them stone-cold classics: The Godfather and The Godfather II, in which she played Vito Corleone’s wife Carmela — and got to sing a song in the wedding scene.

 

Aretha Franklin performing Rock Steady on Soul Train. From my series of stills from Soul Train.

 

Morgana King, 87, jazz singer and actress, on March 22
Morgana King – If You Could See Me Now (1956)
Morgana King – A Song For You (1973)

Celeste Rodrigues, 95, Portuguese fado singer, on Aug. 1
Celeste Rodrigues – Palavras de Toda a Gente (1974)

Jan Kirsznik, 84, saxophonist of Polish rock group Rhythm and Blues, on Aug. 1

Neil Argo, 71, film and TV composer, on Aug. 2

Bradley Daymond, 48, member of Canadian house group Love Inc. and producer, on Aug. 3
Love Inc. – Broken Bones (1998)

Tommy Peoples, 70, fiddler with Irish folk group The Bothy Band, on Aug. 3

Lorrie Collins, 76, half of teenage rockabilly duo The Collins Kids, on Aug. 4
The Collins Kids – Hop, Skip And Jump (1957)

Navid Izadi, 32, DJ and hip hop artist, plane crash on Aug. 5

Elda Stiletto (Gentile), 68, founder of proto-punk band The Stilettoes, on Aug. 6
The Stilettos – Anti-Disco (ca 1976)

Guilherme Lamounier, 67, Brazilian singer-songwriter and actor, on Aug. 7

Carlos Almenar Otero, 92, Venezuelan singer and songwriter, on Aug. 7
Carlos Almenar Otero – Teresa (1976)

Linda ‘Prokid’ Mkhize, 37, South African rapper and DJ, on Aug. 8

Scepaz, 30, Australian hip-hop artist, killed on Aug. 10

Alberto Tosca, 63, Cuban singer-songwriter and guitarist, on Aug. 14
Alberto Tosca y su Conj. – Sembrando Para Ti (1987)

Jill Janus, 42, singer of heavy metal band Huntress, suicide, suicide on Aug. 14

Randy Rampage, 58, ex-singer of Canadian hardcore band Annihilator, on Aug. 14

Queeneth Ndaba, 82, South African jazz singer and manager, on Aug. 15

Aretha Franklin, 76, soul and gospel singer, songwriter, pianist, on Aug.. 16
Aretha Franklin – Never Grow Old (1956)
Aretha Franklin – What A Diff’rence A Day Made (1964)
Aretha Franklin – Rock Steady (1972)
George Michael & Aretha Franklin – I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (1987)

Count Prince Miller, 83, Jamaican-born singer and actor, on Aug. 16
Count Prince Miller – Mule Train (1971)

Claudio Lolli, 68, Italian singer-songwriter, on Aug. 17

Danny Pearson, 65, soul singer, on Aug.17
Danny Pearson – What’s Your Sign Girl? (1978)

Jack Costanzo, 98, American percussionist, on Aug. 18
Nat King Cole – Yes Sir, That’s My Baby (1949, on congas)
Jack Constanzo and his Afro Cuban Band – Coco May May (1955)

Jeanie Greene (a.k.a. Mary Johnson), 75, soul and backing singer, on Aug. 19
Jeanie Greene – Sure As Sin (1968)
Elvis Presley – In The Ghetto (1969, as backing singer)

Eddie Willis, 82, guitarist with The Funk Brothers, on Aug. 20
The Temptations – The Way You Do The Things You Do (1964)
Jr. Walker & The All Stars – Ain’t That The Truth (1965, also as co-writer)
Stevie Wonder – I Was Made To Love Her (1967)
Marvin Gaye – Let’s Get It On (1973)

Spencer P. Jones, 61, New Zealand singer-songwriter and guitarist, on Aug. 21
Beasts Of Bourbon – Let’s Get Funky (1990)

Lazy Lester, 85, blues musician, on Aug. 22
Lazy Lester – Lester’s Stomp (1956)
Lazy Lester – Sugar Coated Love (1966)

Ed King, 68, guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Strawberry Alarm Clock, on Aug. 22
Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense and Peppermints (1967)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama (1974, also as co-writer)

Dieter ‘Thomas’ Heck, 80, legendary German music TV host, on Aug. 23
James Last – ZDF Hitparade theme (1969)

DJ Ready Red, 53, hip hop DH and producer (Geto Boys), on Aug. 24

Carlos Denogean, drummer of metal band Weedeater, on Aug. 24

Kyle Pavone, 28, singer of metal band We Came as Romans, on Aug. 25

Tony Hiller, 91, British songwriter and producer, on Aug. 26
Lulu – He Don’t Want Your Love Anymore (1965, as co-writer)
Brotherhood of Man – Angelo (1976, as writer and producer)

Luke Liang, 28, member of Australian rock band Papa vs Pretty, on Aug. 27

Ellie Mannette, 90, Trinidadian steelpan pioneer, on Aug. 29

Mike Kennedy, 59, country drummer with George Strait, on Aug. 30
George Strait – Living And Living Well (2001, on drums)

GET IT: https://rg.to/file/11f36e434181af7628c205d7dbfd6ebc/IM_1808.rar.html
(PW in comments)

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Covered With Soul Vol. 23

August 30th, 2018 1 comment

 

It’s been a more than  a year since the last Covered With Soul. This one is rather good, I find. And a pretty mixed bag: from Al Wilson’s astonishing version of By The Time I Get To Phoenix to Betty Everett’s cover of Big Mama Thornton’s Hound Dog to the Isley Brothers fuzz guitar-driven take on Carole King’s It’s Too Late.

This is only the second Covered With Soul mix in three years, so savour this. If you’ve missed any of the previous 22 mixes, I think most are still live.

Some are up on Rapidgator (the present mix is up on Zippyshare). One quirk of posting RG links here is that they open with a reference to this site in the URL. For some, this makes it impossible to DL the files. I have no idea how to change that, but if you remove to “referer” bit in the URL, the DLs will work.

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

1. Dee Dee Sharp Gamble – I’d Really Love to See You (1977)
2. Dorothy Morrison – Fire And Rain (1970)
3. Blossoms – Grandmas Hands (1972)
4. Lyn Collins – Backstabbers (1975)
5. Isaac Hayes – I’ll Never Fall In Love Again (1971)
6. Al Wilson – By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1968)
7. Blue Magic – Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely (1974)
8. René & Angela – Hotel California (1980)
9. L.V. Johnson – Try A Little Tenderness (1981)
10. Randy Crawford – Trade Winds (1981)
11. Samuel Jonathan Johnson – What The World Needs Now Is Love (1978)
12. The Smith Connection – ‘Til There Was You (1972)
13. Clydene Jackson – Tammy (1975)
14. Betty Everett – Hound Dog (1964)
15. Four Tops – Last Train To Clarksville (1967)
16. Maxine Weldon – My Way (1975)
17. The Isley Brothers – It’s Too Late (1972)

GET IT: https://rg.to/file/0d46a32d0fc30f3216d62db939ad48a1/CWS_23.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
or
https://www106.zippyshare.com/v/kCMt0mwt/file.html

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Aretha Sings Covers

August 16th, 2018 8 comments

What needs to be said about the genius of Aretha Franklin and her influence has been said. One part of that genius was her ability to take possession of other people’s songs. Mention songs like Respect or Say A Little Prayer or Spanish Harlem, and few will say Otis Redding or Dionne Warwick or Ben. E. King. When Aretha took those songs, they became hers.

Many others she re-interpreted in such a way that her version would become virtually a different song, not infrequently eclipsing the almost ineclipsible. Consider what she did with the Beatles ballad The Long And Winding Road or Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water — both fine ballads beloved of crooner types — by giving them a bit of gospel. The Beatles track acquires a depth neither the composition nor Phil Spector’s production suggested in The Beatles hands. The S&G track acquires a spiritual dimension that was hinted at in the original but not quite realised

So by way of tribute, here is a mix of Aretha Franklin singing other people’s songs. In the parentheses I cite the respective song’s original performer.

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

1. Soulville (1968 – Dinah Washington)
2. Groovin’ (1968 – The Young Rascals)
3. Until You Come Back To Me (1973 – Stevie Wonder)
4. You’re All I Need To Get By (1971 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell)
5. Long And Winding Road (1972 – The Beatles)
6. Young, Gifted And Black (1972 – Nina Simone)
7. People Get Ready (1968 – The Impressions)
8. A Change Is Gonna Come (1967 – Sam Cooke)
9. Drown In My Own Tears (1967 – Sonny Thompson)
10. Bridge Over Troubled Water (1971 – Simon & Garfunkel)
11. Don’t Play That Song (1970 – Ben. E. King)
12. A Brand New Me (1972 – Jerry Butler)
13. Tracks Of My Tears (1968 – Smokey Robinson & The Miracles)
14. The Weight (1969 – The Band)
15. Dark End Of The Street (1970 – James Carr)
16. Eleanor Rigby (1970 – The Beatles)
17. Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing (1974 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell)
18. Something He Can Feel (1976 – Irene Cara)
19. Oh Happy Day (with Mavis Staples) (1987 – Edwin Hawkins Singers)
20. Ever Changing Times (with Michael McDonald) (1991)
21. I Dreamed A Dream (1991 – from ‘Les Misérables’)

https://rg.to/file/eaae79e442aff43fb0f1ba612c05a3f1/Arethasc.rar.html

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Covered With Soul
1970s Soul

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Any Major Originals: The 1980s

August 9th, 2018 7 comments

Some years ago I ran a long series on the lesser-known originals of big hits. Here we continue a series of mixes that bring many of those originals together, by themes. Previously we’ve had the originals of Burt Bacharach songs, Christmas classics, Elvis Presley (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2). Here are the originals of hits from the 1980s.

One act could have featured twice here: early ‘70s soul group The Persuaders feature here with their quite nice original of Some Guys Have All The Luck, with the famous cover a cautionary tale of what can happen to a perfectly good song when you add ‘80s synths, cocaine and Rod Stewart to it. Not featured is A Thin Line Between over And Hate, later a hit for the Pretenders. But another original of a Pretenders hit features here, the Kinks’ 1964 song Stop Your Sobbing. At this point I notice that the first three tracks on this mix were originally sung by men and covered to commercial success by women.

Perhaps the most famous of these originals is Gloria Jones’ 1965 b-side Tainted Love; a soul track (often falsely said to be a Tamla Motown record) that became a synth classic. It came to the UK by way of England’s Northern Soul scene which thrives on obscure ‘60s soul tracks. Before Tainted Love became a hit, Gloria Jones attained some pop history fame: she was Marc Bolan’s girlfriend and passenger when he was killed in a car crash in 1977.

A couple of tracks here may, to some, be better known in the original. The Labi Siffre original of It Must Be Love is hardly obscure. Still, it is the 1981 Madness cover that was the bigger hit and gets the wider airplay. Madness reached the UK #4 with the song; in 1971, Siffre (one of the first openly gay singers in pop) reached #14 with it. Rather endearingly, Siffre made a cameo appearance in the video for the Madness single (he is a violin player).

Likewise, when teenage singer Tiffany scored her 1987 debut hit I Think We’re Alone Now by performing it at malls, the kids’ parents (seen in the video looking on bemusedly at Tiffany’s exploits) probably recognised the song as Tommy James & the Shondells’ 1967 US #4 hit. And while Tiffany topped the UK charts with her version, the original didn’t chart there. Curiously, Tiffany’s cover was followed at US #1 by another Tommy James cover, Mony Mony by Billy Idol.

Certainly in Europe, the Laura Branigan hit Gloria was better known in Umberto Tozzi’s Italian original from 1978. Branigan had another big hit with an Italian hit: 1984’s Self Control was a Euro hit the same year for RAF.

Some originals were written or co-written by the artist who’d have the hit with them. C’est La Vie, first recorded by soul singer Beau Williams, was co-written by Robbie Nevil who’d have a hit with it in 1986 (followers of the Any Major Soul series may remember Williams as the singer of the slightly overwrought ballad Elvina).

China Girl, a hit for David Bowie in 1983, was originally recorded by Iggy Pop, who co-wrote it with Bowie, in 1977 at a time when both stars dwelled in Berlin to wean themselves off heroin. Indeed, there is a good case to be made that the song is about heroin, a drug sometimes referred to as China White, or about an opiate known as China Girl. In 1983 Bowie revived the song, which in Iggy’s version made few waves, in his besuited Let’s Dance period, polishing it under Nile Rodger’s production, and frolicking to it in the Australian waves in the video.

The Arrows were a short-lived English band on the RAK label, which also gave us the likes of Smokie, Hot Chocolate and Racey (who also feature here), and so were produced by the genius of ‘70s pop, Mickey Most. After two hits – though not this song – the Arrows disappeared. Joan Jett also seemed to disappear after the break-up of The Runaways in the late ‘70s, suddenly reappearing in 1982 with the largely obscure I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll, which she had previously recorded with members of the Sex Pistols. Apparently Jett had known the song since 1976 when, while on tour with the Runaways, she saw the Arrows performing it on TV.

Racey, mentioned above, were the original perpetrators of Toni Basil’s Mickey, though they sang about Kitty. The song was written by RAK’s Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. It was not a hit, and neither Toni Basil nor her record company evidently thought much of it when she recorded it soon after, also in 1979. For two years it languished in the reject tray before some bright spark decided to inflict the number on us, against Basil’s misgivings. They should have listened to the singer.

Some performers of lesser-known originals just had rotten luck. Take Evie Sands, the first singer to record the one-night stand anthem Angel Of The Morning, in 1967. It was on its way to becoming a hit, with good radio airplay and 10,000 copies selling fast. Then the label, Cameo-Parkway, went bankrupt, and Sands’ record sank. A few months later, Memphis producer Chips Moman picked up Angel Of The Morning (which in the interim had also been recorded by English singer Billie Davies) and had the unknown Merrilee Rush record it, backed by the same session crew that played with Elvis during his famous Memphis sessions that produced hits such as Suspicious Minds (itself a cover, as detailed in Elvis Originals Vol. 2). The Seattle-born singer had a massive hit with it, even receiving a Grammy nomination. It soon was covered prodigiously, with P.P. Arnold scoring a UK hit with it in 1968, and Juice Newton has a mega-hit with her 1981 cover (hence the song’s inclusion here). Happily, Sands went on to enjoy some success later.

Around the same time Juice Newton had a hit with Angel Of The Morning, Kim Carnes topped charts with Bette Davis Eyes, for which the song’s subject went out of her way to thank first Carnes and then the songwriters for introducing her to a whole new generation of kids and giving her cool status among her grandchildren. But the first version of it was recorded by Jackie DeShannon, who was not just a fine singer but also a songwriter. She co-wrote Bette Davis Eyes with Donna Weiss, and recorded it in 1975 in a country-boogie woogie style. Her version attracted little attention, but six years later Carnes’ cover became one of the biggest hits in US chart history. As for the titular eyes which warranted a song, apparently they were the product of a thyroid condition Davis suffered.

Produced by Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra, Got My Mind Set On was a cover version that in 1987 gave George Harrison his first big hit since the nostalgic All Those Years Ago six years earlier. With Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, Harrison and Lynne went on to form the Traveling Wilburys. It is no accident that Harrison’s US#1 and UK#2 hit sounds a lot like a Wilburys song.

Got My Mind Set On you was originally recorded at roughly the same time as the Beatles began their ascent. Indeed, Harrison discovered the song at that time when he bought James Ray’s LP during a holiday to visit his sister in the US in September 1963. R&B singer Ray James was remembered mostly for only one song, and it wasn’t the song Harrison resurrected 25 years later, but If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody, which reached #22 in the Billboard charts. Alas, he struggled to have more hits. James Ray died in 1964, reportedly of a drug overdose. Featured here is the longer album version of I’ve Got My Mind Set On You, on which Ray was backed by the Hutch Davie Orchestra, which Harrison would have heard on the LP he bought (and which is a lot better than his cover). The single version apparently was brutally truncated.

Money’s Too Tight To Mention was Simply Red’s breakthrough hit in the summer of 1985, creating what seemed to be a fresh take on an old soul number. It was, in fact, a cover of a song barely three years old (the Reaganomics reference, of course, hints at that). But even in its original form by the Valentine Brothers, the track sounds like a ’60s throwback, musically and lyrically. The narrative borrows from down-on-luck numbers such as Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come (absent the trace of optimism), and musically you can imagine Otis Redding singing it. Simply Red’s take is not wildly different from the funkier Valentine Brothers’ version. And the iconic exclamation, “Cut-back!” is there in the original. The Valentine Brothers, a duo from Ohio (one of whom, Billy, had been a member of jazz trio Young-Holt Unlimited), never enjoyed much success, their career fizzling out after a couple of albums.

It has never been much of a secret that Chaka Khan’s big 1984 hit I Feel For You was written by Prince, but the composer’s version is not very well known. And, frankly, it isn’t quite as good as Chaka’s (which coincidentally was a hit at the height of Prince’s fame and success on the back of Purple Rain). Prince, on his eponymous sophomore album, sings it with his falsetto, backed by a synth which in 1979 must have seemed cutting edge but now sounds terribly dated. It’s not bad, but the Arif Mardin arrangement for Chaka Khan, with Melle Mel’s rap – which surely did a lot to popularise rap in the mainstream, and which Chaka did not like – is richer, funkier, more fun.

South African-born Mutt Lange has had an excessively long string as a producer and songwriter who gave us the great (AC/DC’s Back In Black), the bad (Bryan Adam’s Everything I Do…) and the ugly (something by Michael Bolton). Before he hit the big time, he was the songwriter and singer of a UK-based band named Supercharge. One of the songs Mutt sang in 1979 was reworked three years later to become Huey Lewis’ Do You Believe In Love.

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

1. Arrows – I Love Rock ‘n Roll (1975)
The Usurper: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (1982)
2. Kinks – Stop Your Sobbing (1964)
The Usurper: Pretenders (1979)
3. Tommy James & The Shondells – I Think We’re Alone Now (1967)
The Usurper: Tiffany (1987)
4. James Ray – Got My Mind Set On You (Parts 1 & 2) (1963)
The Usurper: George Harrison (1987)
5. Gloria Jones – Tainted Love (1965)
The Usurper: Soft Cell (1981)
6. The Persuaders – Some Guys Have All The Luck (1974)
The Usurpers: Robert Palmer (1982), Rod Stewart (1984)
7. Labi Siffre – It Must Be Love (1971)
The Usurper: Madness (1981)
8. Evie Sands – Angel Of The Morning (1967)
The Usurpers: Merrilee Rush (1968), Juice Newton (1981)
9. Jackie DeShannon – Bette Davis Eyes (1975)
The Usurper: Kim Carnes (1981)
10. i-Ten – Alone (1983)
The Usurper: Heart (1987)
11. Supercharge – We Both Believe In Love (1979)
The Usurper: Huey Lewis & the News (1982, as Do You Believe In Love)
12. Umberto Tozzi – Gloria (1979)
The Usurper: Laura Branigan (1982)
13. Iggy Pop – China Girl (1977)
The Usurper: David Bowie (1983)
14. The Reaction – Talk Talk Talk Talk (1977)
The Usurper: Talk Talk (1982, as Talk Talk)
15. Racey – Kitty (1979)
The Usurper: Toni Basil (1982, as Mickey)
16. Jules Shear – If She Knew What She Wants (1985)
The Usurper: The Bangles (1986)
17. Prince – I Feel For You (1979)
The Usurper: Chaka Khan (1984)
18. Valentine Brothers – Money’s Too Tight To Mention (1982)
The Usurper: Simply Red (1985)
19. Otis Clay – The Only Way Is Up (1982)
The Usurper: Yazz and the Plastic Population (1988)
20. Beau Williams – Cést La Vie (1984)
The Usurper: Robbie Nevil (1986)
21. The Crickets – More Than I Can Say (1960)
The Usurper: Leo Sayer (1980)
22. Sam & Dave – I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down (1967)
The Usurper: Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1980)
23. The Paragons – The Tide Is High (1967)
The Usurper: Blondie (1980)

https://rg.to/file/8078c639250340ff2c450b1ea518394c/Orginals_80s.rar.html

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