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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In Memoriam – July 2018

August 2nd, 2018 5 comments

Another easy-going month, for which we ought to be grateful. Still, we lost the man for whom a huge record label was founded, the original Good Morning Vietnam DJ, a one-time teen dream, the composer of classic TV themes, and several others whose work brought people joy.

The unlikely teen dream

Bay City Rollers co-founder and bassist Alan Longmuir always seemed like the most unlikely of teen idols. Already in the second half of his 20s when Rollermania hit, he looked rather like Woody’s uncle than bandmate. So when he left the band in 1976, he was replaced by baby-faced Ian Mitchell, who in turn was replaced by seven-years-old Pat McGlynn. After an unsuccessful stab at a solo career (the featured track explains the lack of success; it’s the bad flip side of a shocking A-side), Alan returned when the teenyboppers had outgrown BCR, but by then the band was superannuated. In interviews, Alan always seemed a nice, down-to-earth guy. When the music thing didn’t work for him anymore, he ran a hotel. When that ruined his health, he retrained to become a building inspector.

The singing actor

Tab Hunter’s claim to fame obviously was his acting career — with Natalie Wood he was the last actor to be signed to an exclusive contract with Warner Brothers. But he also had a brief but successful recording career. In 1957, he topped the US charts for six straight weeks with Young Love on Dot Records. A follow-up reached #11, at which point Jack Warner invoked the exclusivity contract and founded the Warner Bros record label as a vehicle for Tab Hunter records. Well, it was one of the reasons; Hunter’s singing success was the impetus to put into action a business decision made earlier. But by then his crooning career was fizzling out. Whereas for a while, Warner Bros. Records became a rock music behemoth.

The TV composer

If you’ve seen TV shows like Columbo, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, The Streets of San Francisco or Lou Grant (the themes of the latter two he wrote) you’ve probably heard the compositions of multiple Grammy-winner Patrick Williams in their scores. Williams, who also write a highly rated jazz-symphony titled An American Concerto, was also a sought-after arranger. Frank Sinatra requested his services for the two Duets albums. Before that Williams arranged such classics as Dusty Springfield’s The Look Of Love, Dionne Warwick’s Theme from Valley Of The Dolls, and Barbra Streisand’s Evergreen, and orchestrated classic albums like Billy Joel’s The Stranger.

The all-rounder

How much did Richard Swift, who has died at 41, still have to offer? The man was an all-rounder: singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, engineer, producer, studio owner (National Freedom in Oregon), went on tour with acts like Wilco (whom he supported on the Sky Blue Sky tour), The Shins and The Black Keys. He produced acts like The Shins, Guster, Laetitia Sadier and Damian Jurado. And also he made short films.

The soundman

You will have heard Jim Malloy’s work at some point. He was the engineer on hits like Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther Theme, Jim Reeves’ Distant Drums, Mel Tillis’ Life Made Her That Way, Bobby Bare’s The Streets Of Baltimore, Elvis’ How Great Thou Art gospel LP, and albums by acts like Timi Yuro, Al Hirt, Duane Eddy, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Mahalia Jackson, Porter Wagoner, Skeeter Davis, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Dolly Parton and many others. He produced Sammi Smith’s Grammy-winning version of Help Me Make It Through The Night, various albums by the likes of Townes van Zandt, Ray Stevens, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Eddy Arnold and O.B. McClinton.

The other Robin Williams

Good Night Vietnam! The subject of the 1988 Robin Williams movie Good Morning Vietnam, Adrian Cronauer, has died at 79. By his own admission, Cronauer was nothing like how Williams portrayed him in the film. He did not consider himself particularly controversial. Even as he did introduce new musical material to the US Army playlists, his aim wasn’t to be subversive. And he certainly made up no improvisations about gay hairdesssers. In fact, Cronauer was a conservative life-long Republican who helped Bod Dole lose the presidential election of 1996, and George W Bush win it in 2004.

 

François Corbier, 73, French songwriter and TV presenter, on July 1

Alan Longmuir, 70, founder of the Bay City Rollers, on July 2
Bay City Rollers – Saturday Night (1973, original version)
Bay City Rollers – Summerlove Sensation (1974)
Alan Longmuir – I’ve Got Songs (1977)

Bill Watrous, 79, jazz trombonist, on July 2
Bill Watrous – No More Blues (1986)

Henry Butler, 68, jazz pianist, on July 2

Richard Swift, 41, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, on July 3
Richard Swift – Kisses For The Misses (2007)
The Shins – So Now What (2017, on synth and as producer)

Carmen Campagne, 58, Canadian singer, on July 4

Jim Malloy, 87, recording engineer, on July 5
Henry Mancini – The Pink Panther Theme (1963, as engineer)
Lee Hazlewood – Trouble Is A Lonesome Town (1963, as co-writer, engineer)
Townes Van Zandt – I’ll Be Here In The Morning (1969, as producer)

François Budet, 78, French singer-songwriter and poet, on July 5

Vince Martin, 81, folk singer, on July 6
Vince Martin and The Tarriers – Cindy, Oh Cindy (1956)

Bret Hoffmann, 51, singer of death metal band Malevolent Creation, on July 7

Garry Lowe, 65, Jamaican bassist of Canadian reggae/rock/blues band Big Sugar, on July 7
Big Sugar – Diggin A Hole (1996)

Tab Hunter, 86, actor and singer, on July 8
Tab Hunter – Young Love (1957)

Stefan Demert, 78, Swedish singer-songwriter, on July 9

Greg Bonham, 71, Australian singer, on July 10

Ponty Bone, 78, accordionist, on July 13
Ponty Bone – Clifton’s Boogie (2002)

Theryl ‘House Man’ DeClouet, 66, singer of jazz-funk singer band Galactic, on July 15
Galactic – Something’s Wrong With This Picture (1996)

Adrian Cronauer, 79, radio disc jockey, on July 18

Patrick Williams, 79, film/TV and jazz composer, arranger and conductor, on July 25
Dionne Warwick – Valley Of The Dolls (1967, as arranger)
Pat Williams Orchestra – The Streets Of San Francisco (1975, as composer & co-producer)
Frank Sinatra with Natalie Cole – They Can’t Take That Away From Me (1993)
Paul Anka – Jump (2005, as conductor)

Ben Sharpa, 41, South African hip hop artist, on July 26

Mark Shelton, 60, founder and singer-guitarist of heavy metal Manilla Road, on July 26
Manilla Road – The Riddle Master (1983)

Olga Jackowska, 67, singer of Polish rock band Maanam, on July 28

Oliver Dragojević, 70, Croatian singer, on July 29

Sam Mehran, 31, member of UK dance-punk band band Test Icicles, announced July 29
Test Icicles – Your Biggest Mistake (2005)

Irvin Jarrett, 69, percussionist of reggae band Third World, on July 31
Third World – 1865 (96 Degrees In The Shade) (1977)
Third World – Now That We’ve Found Love (1978)

https://rg.to/file/2302ba1f23d013a6fa397c747a550acf/IM_1807.rar.html
(PW in comments)

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Any Major ABC: 1970s

July 26th, 2018 13 comments

 

This week we launch a new series of mixes which take us through a decade through the medium of the alphabet: from A-Z, each letter gets a song. So it’s all quite random and great fun; a bit like listening to an oldies station.

And it was fun — and torture — to choose songs for this mix. None of these are necessarily the best or even favourite tracks by the acts whose name begins with the particular letter. The only set song was the one that will kick off the A-Z of the 1960s, which gave me the idea for the concept. But I can’t run the 1960s yet because I have no representative for the letter X — I can think of no band that begins with X, nor a solo act whose first name begins with that letter.

The 1950s is even tougher: I have an X, but no U and no Z. The 1940s lack a Q — if anybody has any good ideas to fill these gaps, the comments are the place…

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

1. Archie Bell & The Drells – Let’s Groove (1975)
2. Bay City Rollers – You Made Me Believe In Magic (1977)
3. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen The Rain (1970)
4. Darts – Come Back My Love (1977)
5. Electric Light Orchestra – Livin’ Thing (1976)
6. Fortunes – Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again (1971)
7. Giorgio Moroder – From Here to Eternity (1977)
8. Hues Corporation – Rock The Boat (1974)
9. Ike & Tina Turner – Nutbush City Limits (1973)
10. Jam – The Eton Rifles (1979)
11. Kiss – Beth (1977)
12. Love Unlimited – It May Be Winter Outside (1973)
13. Mr. Bloe – Groovin’ With Mr. Bloe (1970)
14. New York City – I’m Doing Fine Now (1973)
15. Osmonds – Crazy Horses (1973)
16. Python Lee Jackson feat. Rod Stewart – In A Broken Dream (1972)
17. Quantum Jump – The Lone Ranger (1979)
18. Rodriguez – I Wonder (1970)
19. Sweet – Fox On The Run (1975)
20. T. Rex – Metal Guru (1972)
21. Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces Sometimes (1970)
22. Vicky Lawrence – The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia (1975)
23. Wings – Live And Let Die (1973)
24. XTC – Making Plans For Nigel (1979)
25. Yvonne Elliman – If I Can’t Have You (1977)
26. ZZ Top – Tush (1974)

https://rg.to/file/5181e7a4c30152087788b55e98e54f7c/ABC70.rar.html

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Any Major Guitar Vol. 2

July 19th, 2018 3 comments

 

 

The second mix of great guitar bits that I really dig. As with Any Major Guitar Vol. 1, I make no claims of the featured tracks belonging in any hierarchy. It’s all entirely subjective, as it usually is in music.

As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and it includes home-strummed covers.

 

1. Prince – Let’s Go Crazy (1984)
Byoong moment: 2:40. Prince was such a genius at so many things that his guitar beroics are easily forgotten. But just listen to tracks like When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, I Wanna Be Your Lover or his out-claptoning solo on a live cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps to know that he ranks among the great axemen.

2. Thin Lizzy – Whisky In The Jar (1971)
Byoong moment: 2:19. Before Gary Moore, there was Eric Bell in Thin Lizzy. It’s Bell’s guitar which turns this Irish folk-song into a rock classic, with that opening line, that guitar riff, and that minute-long solo that sounds thoroughly rock as well as faithful to the song’s Irish pipes.

3. Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Come Up And See Me (1977)
Byoong moment: 1:50. A false ending, with a rather long pause, then Jim Cregan’s gorgeous flamenco acoustic solo kicks in. A story has it that the solo had been captured on tape during a soundcheck and later inserted by producer Alan Parsons later. A good story but probably not true.

4. Blondie – (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear (1978)
Byoong moment: 1:18. The great musician in Blondie is drummer Clem Burke (just listen to him here), though they were all much more accomplished musicians than the punk label suggested. Chris Stein’s guitar on Presence Dear shimmers and illuminates his girlfriend, Deborah Harry, much as it did on X-Offender, which was another contender.

5. The Smiths – This Charming Man (1984)
Byoong moment: 2:26. I have a theory that it wasn’t so much Morrissey’s lyrics that inspired a generation of alienated, misunderstood youths (many of the lyrics are embarrassingly bad, especially from a man who belittled others for writing “awful poetry”), but Johnny Marr’s guitar which could steer your emotions, from uplifted to dejected (that whine on How Soon Is Now, which might have featured here). There are many Marr moments to pick from; I’ll land on the jolly line he plays at 2:26.

6. Aztec Camera – Oblivious (1983)
Byoong moment: 1:48. A perfect pop song with delightful little guitar arpeggios interspersed throughout, leading us to a joyous guitar solo by singer-songwriter Roddy Frame.

7. Colin Hay – Overkill (acoustic) (2003)
Byoong moment: 1:48. Here the singer of the Men At Work hit cools things down with a superb vocal performance. It’s the simple but lovely acoustic guitar solo, also by Colin Hay, that signals an increase in intensity.

8. John Mayer – Gravity (2006)
Byoong moment: 2:05. Put aside John Mayer’s douchebag persona and you’ll find a very good guitarist. Often, there’s a lot of gurning self-indulgence in Mayer’s white bluesman’s guitar work, but sometimes he shows restraint and it is quite beautiful, as it is here.

9. Chris Isaak – Blue Hotel (1987)
Byoong moment: 1:52. The riff brings to mind the kind of Mexican border settings of shows like Breaking Bad, and James Calvin Wilsey‘s solo could soundtrack the gruesome but satisfactory killing in the desert of an evil drug kingpin. Wilsey also played the solo on Wicked Game, another contender for inclusion.

10. Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street (1977)
Byoong moment: 4:47. The obvious star of Baker Street (featured here in its LP version) is the late Raphael Ravenscroft’s alto sax, so the terrific guitar solo by Hugh Burns often is overlooked. Still, it inspired Slash’s solo for Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child o’ Mine. Hugh Burns’ other famous guitar performance was also on a song dominated by a saxophone: George Michael’s Careless Whispers (he also played on sax-less Faith and Father Figure).

11. Rod Stewart – Sailing (1975)
Byoong moment: 2:15. The first song I slow-danced to with a girl I liked, so the simple but lovely acoustic guitar intro still gives me butterflies; by the time of the guitar solo I’m as deeply in love as a 11-year-old can be. Both guitars are played by Muscle Shoals session man Pete Carr, who also might have featured for Bob Seger’s Against The Wind.

12. Santana – Samba Pa Ti (1970)
Byoong moments: 0:00. It’s all guitar here, starting with those mournful notes and becoming progressively more joyous. Carlos Santana gets great support from keyboardist and co-writer Gregg Rolie.

13. The Allman Brothers Band – Blue Sky (1972)
Byoong moments: 1:07 & 2:37. Two great solos for the price of one. First Duane Allman, in the last thing he played before his death in a motorcycle accident, lets his guitar sing. Then at 2:37 Dicky Betts gets his welcome turn. His distinctive guitar style has, by default, become synonymous with British small-world blokey bigotry through the instrumental Jessica, the theme of Top Gear.

14. The Doobie Brothers – China Grove (1973)
Byoong moment: 2:24. Tom Johnstone’s guitar riff deserves an entry on its own — but then, if you are going down the Doobie route, Long Train Running would be your first stop. But no Doobies song has a solo quite as delicious as that by Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter.

15. Status Quo – Rockin’ All Over The World (1977)
Byoong moment: 0:55 & 2:38. It’s easy to laugh at Status Quo’s three-chord career, as if they were musically limited. Don’t be fooled. Rockin’ All Over The World is a great pop-rock record, and it’s lifted higher by those joyous guitar solos, especially the increasingly insistent solo led by Rick Parfitt towards the end, with Francis Rossi providing the high-pitched fills, that sees out the song.

16. Chuck Berry – Too Much Monkey Business (1957)
Byoong moment: 1:17. It could have been any number of Chuck Berry songs to feature here. Truth be told, I’m a bit tired of the overplayed ones — Johnny B Goode, Roll Over Beethoven etc. Two solos here: the first is classic Berry; the second a throw-away effort.

17. Elvis Presley – Hound Dog (1956)
Byoong moment: 0:50 & 1:22. To white ears reared on Perry Como, Hound Dog must have been a shock: so much ferocious noise! Even now, 62 years later, Hound Dog is punk. Elvis’ raucous vocals, J.D. Fontana’s brutal drum rolls, the relentless bass, and Scotty Moore’s insolent guitar breaks. Moore later didn’t know himself how he produced that sound; he remembers being pissed off at the countless takes Elvis had the musicians play (Presley was the de facto producer of the song). In the end there were 31 takes; Elvis chose Take 18. It may well be the greatest rock & roll record of them all. (See the Hound Dog Song Swarm)

18. Jim Steinman – Love And Death And An American Guitar (1981)
Byoong moment: none. There’s no guitar here, nor any instrument, but it’s all about a guitar. Jim’s guitar has “a heart of chrome and a voice like a horny angel”, but he doesn’t know how “to treat an expensive musical instrument”. Steinman was not famous for his comedy nor for his mastery understatement, so this has to be one of the best unintentionally funny things ever committed to record.

19. Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell (1977)
Byoong moment: 6:09. And from there we move to Steinman’s greatest production, the gloriously overblown, operatic Bat Out Of Hell. Meat Loaf might own the song, but the real star of the show is Todd Rundgren’s guitar which not only scores the emotions and fills solo needs, but most importantly provides the sound-effect for the revving motorbike. It might well be the greatest guitar solo of all time, as this superb account of the recording, mainly true but embellished for effect, claims.

https://rg.to/file/608da0e68d839ce743938f6065228d75/guit_2.rar.html

 

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Great Covers: Darkness On The Edge Of Town (1978)

July 12th, 2018 10 comments

 

 

I first wrote this post seven years ago. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the release of 1978’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town, so it seems a good idea to revive my appreciation for the LP and its cover work, the latter by the words below, the former by a collection of cover versions of its songs, in the proper track order.

One track, Prove It All Night, isn’t a cover, but such a reworking that it might as well be, from Springsteen 1978 tour (from the Agora Ballroom gig in Cleveland, bootleg fans). Just as I was putting this set together, it was announced that Springsteen has released a remastered version of his legendary gig from the same tour at the Roxy in LA. One track here has featured before: the Flying Picket’s a capella version of Factory, which was on the Any Major Springsteen Covers mix that accompanied my review of Bruce’s autobiography.

For many years Darkness On The Edge Of Town, in my view Bruce Springsteen’s greatest album, was rather underrated. The trouble might have been that it produced no hit single, and nothing as exuberant as Born To Run on the preceding album of the same name or Hungry Hearts on 1980’s The River. The album’s title suggests an existential sense of alienation, a loss of hope and a ferocious anger, which is reflected in the songs, in their sound and in their words. The hope of Thunder Road on Born To Run gives way to the despondent resignation of Racing In The Streets on Darkness. The guitar-driven elation of Born To Run here becomes the guitar-driven anger of Candy’s Room or Adam Raised A Cain.

In the publicity blurb for the de luxe CD/DVD set of Darkness, Springsteen describes the album has his “samurai” record. I think of it as his Scorsese album. Mean Streets, the name of Martin Scorsese’s 1973 film, might have been a great alternative title for Springsteen’s only Carter-era LP. The cover complements the feel of the album perfectly. A tired-looking Bruce stands in what looks like a rather dreary apartment. His dishevelled hair calls to mind Al Pacino in Serpico, his penetrating stare Robert de Niro’s. One almost expects John Cazale to lurk behind the closed blinds, ready to embark on some ill-fated adventure or other (alas, that wonderful actor died on 12 March 1978, exactly a week before the completion of the recordings for Darkness , which begun in October 1977).

 

 

Rarely does an album cover condense in one simple photo the whole direction of an album. Photographer Frank Stefanko’s iconic photo of Springsteen did just that – without having heard the songs or knowing what they were about.

Stefanko, who also shot the cover of 1980’s The River, met Springsteen through Patti Smith, who had a big hit in 1978 with Because The Night, one of the many songs Springsteen had recorded for Darkness and then rejected. It was the beginning of a friendship that has survived the intervening three decades. In an interview with Pitchfork, Stefanko recalls doing a test shoot at his home in Haddonfield, New Jersey. More shoots followed, but it was that initial session that generated the cover art for Darkness.

Stefanko told Pitchfork that “the original shoot was just done with my perception of how I thought he wanted to look or how I wanted him to look […] From what I understand, when he looked at the photograph he said, ‘That’s the person that I’m writing about. That’s the person that is the Darkness on the Edge of Town character and that’s what I want on my cover.”

Springsteen recalled the shoot in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian: “He [Stefanko] was a guy who’d worked in a meat-packing plant in south Jersey. He got the 13-year-old kid from next door to hold a light. He borrowed a camera. I don’t know if he even had a camera! But when I saw the picture I said, ‘That’s the guy in the songs.’ I wanted the part of me that’s still that guy to be on the cover. Frank stripped away all your celebrity and left you with your essence. That’s what that record was about.”

In fact, Stefanko, who in 1978 was 32, had owned a camera since he was seven years old, and had been taking photos on a serious basis since the 1960s.

 

 

The Darkness photos may seem casual, snapshots taken on the fly. They were, in fact, the product of a long shoot. On the picture used for the cover, Springsteen wears a white t-shirt. On other photos taken during the same session, he wears a black shirt, and then a hideous purple paisley shirt with the leather jacket he wears on the front cover.

“We were trying to recreate these middle America, working class families; guys that were looking for redemption. It could have been done in the 70s or 50s or even the 40s. The idea was that these people transcended time or space,” Stefanko told Pitchfork. “But we were trying to get something to look like an old Kodacolor snapshot. There were a lot of black and white photographs taken in those sessions too which were very striking in their own right. But the idea of this color photograph that could have been a snapshot in somebody’s drawer worked for the album.”

From all that we learn that Stefanko had pretty awful taste in wallpaper in 1978. The new owners of the house took the right decision to paper over it, but neglected to sell scraps of it, thereby missing one of the great opportunities for profiteering from a photographer’s ugly wallpaper.

Of course this mix easily fits on a standard CD-R. I haven’t made home-gigged covers for this set. PW in comments.

1. Dropkick Murphys – Badlands (2012)
2. Jeff Healey Band – Adam Raised A Cain (1994)
3. Aram – Something In The Night (1997)
4. Maria McKee – Candy’s Room (2005)
5. Emmylou Harris – Racing In The Streets (1982)
6. Frans Pollux – Belaofde Land (Dutch version of Promised Land) (2013)
7. The Flying Pickets – Factory (1984)
8. Graziano Romani – Streets Of Fire (2001)
9. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – Prove It All Night (live, 1978)
10. The Winter Blanket – Darkness On The Edge Of Town (2005)

https://rg.to/file/7d16442d45bbe5bdff2b48fb7e8d3f46/Darkness_rec.rar.html

 

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In Memoriam – June 2018

July 3rd, 2018 2 comments

The man behind Elvis

Did rock & roll drumming take off with Elvis Presley’s drummer D. J. Fontana? No doubt, his stickwork on hits like Hound Dog — which must have sounded like punk to 1950s ears — helped create a template for the future. During a Louisiana Hayride tour in 1955 he joined a drummer-less group called the Blue Moon Boys — guitarist Scotty Moore, bassist Bill Black and rhythm guitarist and singer Elvis Presley. He’d remain with Elvis for the next 15 years, playing on most of his hits and backing him on the 1968 comeback TV special. He was the last surviving of the four.

End of a 79-year career

In 1939, at the age of nine, Clarence Fountain was one of the founding members of the gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama. He remained with the group, even during a ten-year-long attempt to make it as a solo artist, until 2007 when he retired from performing; but even then continued to record with them. In the process he and his bandmates, almost all of them actually blind, became legends in the genre of gospel. Their first recording was 1948’s I Can See Everybody’s Mother But Mine. As soul music pushed gospel to the margins, the band was tempted to go secular but refused. Fountain said they were contented with what they had and remained committed to singing for the Lord. They steadily released gospel albums, but were “rediscovered” in the 1990s, winning a number of Grammys, leading to profitable collaborations with secular acts. Their version of Tom Wait’s Down In The Hole served as the theme for The Wire for a season. Fountain is survived by fellow founding member Jimmy Carter, who still performs with the band.

The Blues Brother

In the movie, the henpecked Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy didn’t think what he was going to do to Aretha Franklin and went on to join The Blues Brothers on their Mission of God. Murphy had played with The Blues Brothers — a supergroup of blues and soul session men fronted by actors Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi — after a long career playing with the greats of blues, from Ike Turner and Howlin’ Wolf to Chuck Berry, Memphis Slim, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Etta James, Otis Rush and so on.

Fleetwood Mac’s ‘unsung hero’

Guitarist Danny Kirwan has been called the “forgotten hero of Fleetwood Mac”, the band he belonged to from 1968-72. It’s his slide guitar that supports Peter Green’s lead on the band’s early instrumental hit Albatross, but in their coked-up LA pomp Fleetwood Mac were rather a different band from the blues-rock outfit Kirwan and Green were part of. The flip-side of Albatross, titled Jigsaw Puzzle Blues, was written by the then-18-year-old. Kirwan has been described as a crucial creative force in the band prior to his involuntary 1972 departure. He released some solo material but increasingly struggled with mental illness and alcoholism, culminating in homelessness at one point.

The Veteran guitarist

Guitarist Bob Bain, who has died at 94 on an unspecified day in June, backed some of the great vocalists, including Billie Holiday (among others, on God Bless This Child), Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Mahalia Jackson, Nat King Cole (apparently on Unforgettable), Rosemary Clooney, Sammy Davis, Duke Ellington, Billy Eckstine, Ricky Nelson, Sam Cooke and others. He also played for Henry Mancini (apparently also on the Peter Gunn and Mission:Impossile themes) and on several TV scores. For 22 years he played in Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show Band. He made his last recording in 2008 and last played on stage in 2015, some 70 years after debuting with Harry James and his Orchestra.

The jazz guardian

She was not a musician, but Lorraine Gordon made an indelible contribution to jazz, first as the wife of Blue Note co-founder Alfred Lion, whom she married in 1942, and then as the wife of Max Gordon, owner of the career-making Village Vanguard jazz club in New York’s Greenwich Village. After Max’s death in 1989 she closed the club for a day, and re-opened it the following day under her management. A peace and women’s activist in the 1960s, Gordon also wrote to keep the memory of jazz alive.

The doo wop legend

The Jive Five came on to the doo wop scene rather late in the genre’s heyday, but they turned out to be one of its longer-running acts, in part thanks to the band’s ability to jump on to the soul train in the mid-1960s. With the death this month of lead singer Eugene Pitt, I think only one member of the original line-up is still alive, Billy (Thurmond) Prophet. I was working on a mix of songs featuring in The Sopranos just days before I learnt of Pitt’s death; the Jive Five’s 1961 song What Time Is It? is very much in contention (it featured in Season 1, the scene where Tony dreams of getting head from Dr Melfi).

The Catholic satanist

You wouldn’t expect a devout Roman Catholic to play in a band called Deicide, which is led by a professed Satanist, and proclaim as his favourite song one whose title calls for the death of Jesus. Yet, so it was with metal guitarist Ralph Santolla, who has died at 51 following a heart attack. Many Deicide fans, who unsurprisingly are hostile to the Christianity, apparently didn’t really like Santolla and reportedly even issued death threats against him over his Catholic ways. But Santolla said he’d not betray his faith just to be liked. When he eventually left Deicide, it was over mundane business matters.

 

Demba Nabé, 46, member of German dancehall/rap group Seeed, on May 31

Eddy Clearwater, 83, blues singer and guitarist, on June 1
Eddy Clearwater – I Wouldn’t Lay My Guitar Down (1980)

Clarence Fountain, 88, founding member of gospel band The Blind Boys of Alabama, on June 3
The Blind Boys of Alabama – I Can See Everybody’s Mother But I Can’t See Mine (1948)
Clarence Fountain – Ain’t No Way (1974)
The Blind Boys of Alabama – Way Down In The Hole (2001)
The Blind Boys of Alabama with Lou Reed – Jesus (2009)

Marc Ogeret, 86, French protest singer, on June 4
Marc Ogeret – Le chant des partisans (1990)

Norman Edge, 84, jazz double-bassist, on June 4
Gene Ammons – Ca’ Purange (Jungle Soul) (1968, on double-bass)

Brian Browne, 81, Canadian jazz pianist, on June 5

Teddy Johnson, 98, English singer, on June 6
Teddy Johnson & Pearl Carr – Sing, Little Birdie (1959)

Ralph Santolla, 51, heavy metal guitarist, on June 6

Jimmy Gonzalez, 67, singer with Tejano band Mazz, on June 6

Stefan Weber, 71, Austrian singer, on June 7

Danny Kirwan, 68, British guitarist (Fleetwood Mac 1968-72), on June 8
Fleetwood Mac – Jigsaw Puzzle Blues (1968, also as writer)
Fleetwood Mac – Sands Of Time (1971, also as writer)
Danny Kirwan – Hot Summer Day (1975)

Gino Santercole, 77, Italian singer and songwriter, on June 8
Gino Santercole – Questo Vecchio Pazzo Mondo (1966)

Lorraine Gordon, 95, owner of NYC jazz club Village Vanguard, on June 9
Wynton Marsalis Septet – Midnight In Paris (Live At The Village Vanguard, 1999)

Ras Kimono, 60, Nigerian reggae musician, on June 10

Neal E. Boyd, 42, America’s Got Talent winner 2008, on June 10

Jon Hiseman, 73, English drummer, producer and engineer, on June 12
John Mayall – Sandy (1969, on drums)
Colosseum II – Secret Places (1976, as drummer, writer, producer)

Wayne Dockery, 76, American jazz double bassist, on June 12

D.J. Fontana, 87, rock & roll drummer (Elvis Presley), on June 13
Elvis Presley – Hound Dog (1956, on The Milton Berle Show, on drums)
Elvis Presley – Return To Sender (1962)
Scotty Moore & D.J. Fontana feat. Steve Earle – Hot Enough For Ya (1997)

Santos Blanco, 46, singer of Spanish pop group Locomía, on June 13
Locomía – Locomía (1984)

Matt Murphy, 88, blues guitarist, on June 14
Chuck Berry – Jaguar And Thunderbird (1960)
Koko Taylor – Don’t Mess With The Messer (1969)
The Blues Brothers – Think (1980, on guitar)

Nick Knox, 60, drummer of The Electric Eels and The Cramps, on June 14
The Cramps – Bikini Girls With Machine Guns (1986)

Rebecca Parris, 66, American jazz singer, on June 17
Rebecca Parris – Never Let Me Go (2001)

Delia Bell, 83, bluegrass singer, on June 18
Delia Bell & Bill Grant – Sad Situation (1984)

XXXTentacion, 20, rapper, shot on June 18

Jimmy Wopo, 21, rapper, on June 18

Lowrell Simon, 75, soul singer and songwriter, on June 19
Lowrell – Mellow Mellow (Right On) (1979)

Bansi Quinteros, 41, Spanish keyboardist of Dutch trance duo GMS, on June 19

David Bianco, 63, record producer, engineer and mixer, on June 20
Bruce Springsteen – Trapped (Live) (1980/85, as co-producer)
Lisa Loeb – I Do (1997, as engineer)
Tift Merritt – Another Country (2008, mix)

Vinnie Paul, 54, founding drummer of heavy metal band Pantera, on June 22
Pantera – Cemetery Gates (1990)
Pantera – Revolution Is My Name (2000)

Geoffrey Oryema, 65, Ugandan musician, on June 22
Geoffrey Oryema – Umoja (1993)

Violeta Rivas, 80, Argentine singer and actress, on June 23
Violeta Rivas – Chim Chimenea (1965)

Bob Bain, 94, jazz guitarist, in June
Harry James and his Orchestra – It’s Been A Long, Long Time (1945, on guitar)
Bob Bain – Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)
Carpenters – I Can Dream Can’t I? (1975, on guitar)

George Cameron, 70, drummer and co-lead singer of The Left Banke, on June 24
The Left Banke – She May Call You Up Tonight (1967)

Big Bill Bissonnette, 81, jazz trombonist, drummer, producer, on June 26

Fedor Frešo, 71, Slovak rock and jazz bassist, on June 26

Steve Soto, 54, bassist of punk bands Agent Orange, The Adolescents, on June 27
Adolescents – Amoeba (1981)

Joe Jackson, 89, father and manager of The Jackson 5, on June 27

Eugene Pitt, 80, singer with doo wop band The Jive Five, on June 29
The Jive Five – My True Story (1961)
The Jive Five feat. Eugene Pitt – Sugar (Don’t Take Away My Candy) (1968)

Smoke Dawg, 21, Canadian rapper, shot dead on June 30

Alan Longmuir, 70, founder and bassist of the Bay City Rollers, on July 2
See yesterday’s post

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Pissing off the Taste Police with the Bay City Rollers

July 2nd, 2018 15 comments

 

To mark the passing today of Bay City Rollers co-founder Alan Longmuir, I’m recycling this article, originally posted on 28 August 2008. I stand by its content.


It was inevitable that the Bay City Rollers would be regarded as the apogee of uncool, even in their pomp. The screaming, barely pubescent girls at their concert one might have overlooked – after all, the Beatles survived that. Even the outfits – tartan and stupid sock-revealing bell bottoms – might have been forgivable. But the juncture of both was too much to accept for the self-respecting music fan. That, and the name of the bassplayer, Stuart “Woody” Wood. Woody!

My rejection of the Bay City Rollers coincided, quite naturally, with the nascent sprouting of pubic hair. Once I had bravely (or obliviously) paddled against the informed mainstream which held BCR in the sort of contempt which two decades later would later be directed at the hapless Hanson. Where I once regarded BCR’s I Only Wanna Be With You as the definitive version of the song – and, well, the only one I knew – I now wished Leslie, Eric and Derek ill. Not on Woody, though, because I liked Woody. I laughed when their post-Leslie McKeown career, with South African teen idol Duncan Faure at lead vocals, flopped.

Still, BCR were my introduction to pop fandom. I don’t know why I chose them, and not, say, Sweet, who had much better songs and whose Poppa Joe was a favourite when I was six. It can’t have been the outfits. Perhaps I just liked Woody’s feather-mullet. But my pre-pubescent band they were. The girls loved them, which seemed to me a good reason to emulate them. So when I read that the Scottish idols wore no underpants, I was at once appalled and fascinated. Of course I tried going commando. That sartorial imitation did not last long on grounds of the jeans’ zipper and stitching chafing my tender scrotum.

I forgave the Bay City Rollers their lapse in hygiene (should the reader be of the commando persuasion, may I implore him at this point to put on some Y-fronts. You never know when you are going to have an accident. And I don’t necessarily mean vehicular mishaps). I even found it in my heart to overlook the personnel changes which followed the departure of Alan Longmuir. It was an odd thing: Alan, who looked 40 even then, was replaced by Ian Mitchell, who looked 12, who in turn was substituted for Pat McGlynn, who looked nine and three-quarters. Before BCR hit the big time – before Woody and Leslie joined and they had a hit with Keep On Dancing – the original members looked like old dudes, held over from Woodstock. Now the new influx was barely older than I was.

Ian and Pat didn’t last long, and the final album with Leslie McKeown on vocals, It’s A Game, was recorded as a foursome, with many of the songs self-penned, mostly by Eric Faulkner and Woody. There was a slightly incongruous cover of Bowie’s Rebel Rebel. On the back cover, our friends had shed not only their shirts, but their trousers seemed to have fallen off too, revealing the folly of going commando (actually, it probably was a comment on shedding the loony tartan outfits). I can’t say that It’s A Game was a poptastic triumph; my BCR infatuation was already waning on account of pubic growth (and here we enter another good argument against going commando). It did, however, deliver a quite magnificent song, You Made Me Believe In Magic. It is exquisite, perfect pop, crying out to be covered and turned into a massive hit (which it was in Japan, where BCR fever contributed to global warming). The title track was not bad either, at least the chorus.

Indeed, a couple of BCR singles could qualify as perfect pop. Saturday Night, with the stuttering chorus, is a bracing bit of glam pop. Likewise 1976’s prescient Yesterday’s Hero, which borrows the live concert effects from Sweet’s Teenage Rampage. It would be regarded as a classic had it been released in 1973 (which would have been two years before it was originally released by Australians Vanda & Young).

Summerlove Sensation, Bye Bye Baby, Rock And Roll Love Letter (“I’ll keep on rock and rollin’ till my jeans explode”), Money Honey, Give A Little Love, Shang-A-Lang, I Only Wanna Be With you are all fine pop records of their era. I wouldn’t want to listen to those every day, but once in a while, when in a ’70s mood, I do enjoy a bit of Bay City Rollers – even without the nostalgia caveat behind which I sometimes hide.

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Any Major Soul 1977

June 28th, 2018 1 comment

There was still some great soul music made in 1977, but the fuel of the great age was slowly diminishing, unable to compete with disco and slow to find a new direction.

That’s why after a few years that required two volumes each in the Any Major Soul series, 1977 merits only one. Some great tracks didn’t make the cut, and this mix has plenty of great music. Earth, Wind & Fire’s I’ll Write A Song For You, with Philip Bailey’s astonishing falsetto, in particular is a masterpiece, from the best soul album of the year, All ‘N All.

Two artists here turned out to become pastors. The conversion of Al Green, featured here with a track from his first record produced outside Hi Records — was alluded to in my review of his biography. The other future preacher here is O.C. Smith, who some years earlier scored a big hits with The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp and Little Green Apples. He has featured here several times; I especially like his contribution to the first Any Major Fathers mix. Smith died in 2001 at the age of 69.

Frederick Knight appears here with the original of a song which two years later was released by K.C. & The Sunshine Band. Betcha Didn’t Know That, which is superior in the cover version, featured on Any Major B-Side (which also featured Al Green). Knight also wrote Anita Ward’s monster 1979 disco hit Ring My Bell. You can see Knight in the superb Wattstax documentary, on the “Black Woodstock” in 1972 (the full film is on YouTube).

The Joneses, not to be confused with the 1980s California rock band, were a harmonising singing quartet from Pittsburgh who initially were championed by Dionne Warwick. The group, whose members were not called Jones, had a minor hit in 1974 with Sugar Pie Guy and something of a disco hit in 1975 with Love Inflation. They then broke up before being briefly revived by member Glenn Dorsey to bring out an eponymous LP in 1977, of which the track featured here, Who Loves You, was the lead single. And that was it for The Joneses.

There is an interesting family connection for Roger Hatcher; his cousin was Edwin Starr (née Charles Hatcher). His brother Willie was a soul singer, too, and his other brother, Roosevelt, a saxophonist. Roger, a prolific songwriter, began recording in 1968 but he changed labels so often that he never enjoyed a breakthrough. In part this was due to Roger’s uncompromising personality, in part due to the manipulative and/or incompetent ways of record executives. Hatcher died in 2002.

The most obscure artist here must be Bill Brantley. As far as I can see, he released two singles under his name, and a few more singles as the latter half of the duo Van & Titus. The track here could have featured in the Covered With Soul series: it’s a version (in my view superior) of a Dr Hook song. It was recorded in Nashville, and the country vibe is evident.

Bill Brandon, who has featured a few times on this site, is another great singer who never made that great breakthrough.  He made his mark in the late 1960s, when Percy Sledge covered his song Self Preservation. He also got some attention for his superb Rainbow Road, a murder ballad written by Dan Penn which was later covered by Arthur Alexander. After a string of singles he finally released his first and only album in 1977. Brandon left the music business in 1987 and became a truck driver and later a night club owner.

There was also just one album for Allspice, who were produced by the Crusaders’ Wayne Henderson — and the jazz fusion influence runs strongly through it. The band — made up of members of three soul groups — appeared to together on another album, Ronnie Laws’ Fever from 1976, which was also produced by Henderson.

The mix closes with a track from The Memphis Horns, who put out a series of albums besides plating on many soul classics. Led by Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love, their 1977 Get Up And Dance album also featured veteran soul saxophonists James Mitchell and Lewis Collins and trombonist Jack Hale.

1. Crown Heights Affair – Dreaming A Dream
2. The Emotions – A Feeling Is
3. High Inergy – Save It For A Rainy Day
4. Linda Clifford – Only Fooling Myself
5. Marlena Shaw – Look At Me-Look At You (We’re Flying)
6. Minnie Riperton – Stay In Love
7. Earth, Wind & Fire – I’ll Write A Song For You
8. Shirley Brown – Blessed Is The Woman (With A Man Like Mine)
9. Al Green – Belle
10. Bill Brantley – A Little Bit More
11. Natalie Cole – Annie Mae
12. Rose Royce – Ooh Boy
13. William Bell – Tryin’ To Love Two
14. Frederick Knight – I Betcha Didn’t Know That
15. The Joneses – Who Loves You
16. Roger Hatcher – Your Love Is A Masterpiece
17. O. C. Smith – Wham Bam (Blue Collar Man)
18. Teddy Pendergrass – I Don’t Love You Anymore
19. Bill Brandon – No Danger Of Heartbreak Ahead
20. Allspice – Destiny
21. Memphis Horns – Keep On Smilin’
BONUS TRACK: Mark Williams – House For Sale

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Any Major Jones Vol. 2

June 21st, 2018 7 comments

Here are some songs about people named Jones. Like the first compilation on the theme, this mix is pretty eclectic, running from soul music to Americana to ’80s new wave to country and culminating with a couple of pretty amusing tracks from the 1930s by Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald — and all manner of stuff in between.

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

  1. The Temptations – Don’t Let The Joneses Get You Down (1969)
    What the Jones? The poor Jo-Jo-Joneses got a bad rap: “Keeping up with the Joneses, it’ll only makes your life a mess: bill collectors, tranquilizers and getting deeper in debt… So leave Jo-Jo-Joneses alone.”
  2. Nicolette Larson – Dancin’ Jones (1979)
    What the Jones? Representing the noun Jones, here’s the story of a girl who is compelled to “shake her bones” when she hears The Rolling Stones. Let’s call her Amanda.
  3. Talking Heads – Mr. Jones (1988)
    What the Jones? Mr. Jones, he is not so square, apparently. But now his pants are falling down…
  4. John Mellencamp – Case 795 (The Family) (1993)
    What the Jones? Tony Jones stabbed Alice Jones on their first anniversary down in Dallas, Texas. And now sad Tony is in court, citing mitigating circumstances. It’s a sorry tale.
  5. Ryan Bingham – Ghost Of Travelin’ Jones (2007)
    What the Jones? Disappointingly, not a ghost story. Travelin’ Jones is a metaphor for life experience…
  6. Stephen Duffy – Wednesday Jones (1985)
    What the Jones? Wednesday Jones and Stephen won’t be each others’ lover. I suspect Wednesday was put off by Duffy’s nickname, “Tin Tin”.
  7. Ocean Colour Scene – Mrs. Jones (1996)
    What the Jones? Mr. Jones, the cad, has upped and left, and now Mrs. Jones has to face the bills…
  8. The Vapors – Jimmie Jones (1981)
    What the Jones? Jimmie is a false prophet: Beware!
  9. Ray Davies – Next Door Neighbour (2006)
    What the Jones? Mr Davies has a neighbour called Jones. And another called Smith, and another called Brown. Is it a migrant-free zone where Ray lives?
  10. The Rolling Stones – Miss Amanda Jones (1967)
    What the Jones? Debutante Amanda’s gone groupie. Allegedly about 1970s disco singer Amanda Lear.
  11. The Grateful Dead – Casey Jones (1970)
    What the Jones? Stoners-in-charge have a lessons for the kids out there: Don’t do cocaine and drive a train!
  12. Clarence Carter – Willie And Laura Mae Jones (1970)
    What the Jones? Willie and Laura Mae Jones were the perfect neighbours. Then another place and another time happened… This song featured in another version on Volume 1 — can you guess the difference?
  13. Stevie Wonder – Do I Love Her (1968)
    What the Jones? Stevie declares his love for Ms Jones to her mother. But will mom approve?
  14. Van Dyke Parks – John Jones (1972)
    What the Jones? Van Dyke Parks thinks John Jones is a bit of an asshole. Do you know a John Jones?
  15. Dwight Yoakam – Floyd County (1988)
    What the Jones? A good man has died and it’s a sad day in Floyd County.
  16. Johnny Cash – Roll Call (1967)
    What the Jones? Atkins, Baker, Carter, Calahan, Clement, Johnson, Moran, McCoy, Perkins, Rivers, Revere, Stepherd, Thomas, Wilson… all fell in the mud of Vietnam. As did Jones.
  17. Buck Owens – Sweet Rosie Jones (1968)
    What the Jones? Sweet Rosie Jones left Buck for a tall dark stranger, and now spurned Buck is at the river’s edge… Don’t do it, Buck! Don’t jump!
  18. Cisco Houston – Great July Jones (1958)
    What the Jones? So big July Jones, “All muscle, meat and bones”, tries to sexually assault a woman, she beats him off, he falls in love and proposes marriages, and she tweets “#metoo, motherfucker”. Except, she doesn’t. It’s 1958, not 2018. She says yes.
  19. The McGuire Sisters – Delilah Jones (1956)
    What the Jones? “High flying flootie” gets ripped off by fraudulent loverman and pumps him full of lead.
  20. The Orioles – Deacon Jones (1950)
    What the Jones? Deacon Jones is laid out in his coffin in church, and all sorts of hi-jinx ensue. (Not to be confused with Deacon Jones, “the country’s greatest lover”, in Louis Jordan’s hit of a few years earlier.)
  21. The Mills Brothers – The Jones Boy (1954)
    What the Jones? The whole town talks about how that nice Jones boy is acting peculiar now, but there’s a reason for that (and the reason is, to be truthful, a bit unexciting).
  22. Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five – Sam Jones Done Snagged His Britches (1939)
    What the Jones? Best song title on this mix. It’s a cautionary tale about gambling, kids. So, don’t gamble. And don’t do cocaine while driving trains.
  23. King Cole Trio – Mutiny In The Nursery (1938)
    What the Jones? There’s a hell of a party going on, what with all the jitterbugging, as the kids call it. And you’ll find Miss Jenny Jones swinging lightly.
  24. Chick Webb & his Orchestra feat. Ella Fitzgerald – FDR Jones (1938)
    What the Jones? A satirical number about the large number of black families naming their children after Franklin D Roosevelt; performed three years later by Judy Garland – in blackface. Will someone do a song in orangeface about white supremacist families naming their babies after Donald J Trump?

https://rg.to/file/7ef95c7fa2d5bc63db080c713dbb9b5d/AM.Jones_2.rar.html

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Not Feeling Guilty Mix Vol. 9

June 14th, 2018 5 comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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