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In Memoriam – January 2011

February 3rd, 2011 5 comments

With the death of Charlie Louvin, one of the longest-running performers in music has passed on. With his brother Ira, he started performing in the 1940s as the Louvin Brothers. The country and gospel act was massively influential. Elvis Presley was a huge fan (the brothers were his mom’s favourites). Ira, a racist drunk, died in a car crash in 1965; Charlie continued to record and perform for the next 45 years. Alas, the Louvin Brothers are often remembered only for the cover art of their 1960 album Satan Is Real (the story of which is HERE).

The Cheers’ Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots was one of the first hits for songwriters legends Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller; the motor crash song became a hit shortly after Jamers Dean’s death in 1955.

Two motor accidents claimed musicians this month. R&B keyboard man Greg Johnson reportedly stepped in front of a car in bad weather and was fatally hit, and Alex Kirst of grunge band Nymphs and later a session drummer for Iggy Pop was killed in a hit and run, apparently while walking to a shop for cigarettes.

Two musicians connected to Australia’s Little River Band died within a day of one another. Sherbet’s guitarist Harvey James was a member of the group that would become the Little River Band, and Steve Prestwich joined the band briefly after Cold Chisel broke up.

Finally, Bobby Poe’s 1964 hit with The Chartbusters included in this collection inspired Tom Hanks to make the movie That Thing You Do.

As always, songs listed with entries are in a downloadable file at the bottom of the post.

Gil Garfield, 77, member of ’50s rock & roll trio The Cheers, on January 1
The Cheers – Black Denim Trousers And Motorcycle Boots (1955)

Charles Fambrough, 60, jazz bassist and composer, on January 1
Charles Fambrough – It’s Not Easy Havin’ Fun (1997)

Verne Langdon, 69, musician and record producer, on January 1

Gerry Rafferty, 63, Scottish singer-songwriter and former member of Stealers Wheel, on January 4
Gerry Rafferty – Stealin’ Time (1978)
Stealers Wheel – Late Again (1972)

Mick Karn, 52, bassist of British new wave band Japan, on January 4
Japan – Quiet Life (12″ version, 1979)

Gustavo Kupinski, 36, guitarist with Argentinian rock band Los Piojos, in a car crash on January 4
Los Piojos – Tan solo (1999)

Grady Chapman, 81, lead singer with doo-wop band The Robins, on January 4
The Robins – Since I First Met You (1957)

Bobby Robinson, 93, record producer of acts such as Elmore James, Wilbert Harrison, King Curtis, Gladys Knight a.o., on January 7
The Shirelles – Dedicated To The One I Love (1959)
Lee Dorsey – Ya Ya (1962)

Phil Kennemore, 57, bassist of American heavy metal band Y&T, on January 7

Margaret Whiting, 86, jazz/pop singer, on January 10
Mel Tormé & Margaret Whiting – Make Someone Happy (1961)

Alex Kirst, 47, drummer of alternative rock band The Nymphs and for Iggy Pop, in a hit-and-run on January 13
The Nymphs – Sad And Damned (1991)

Tommy Crain, 59, guitarist of The Charlie Daniels Band, on January 13.
Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down To Georgia (as guitarist and co-writer, 1979)

Trish Keenan, 42, singer of British electronica group Broadcast, on January 14
Broadcast – The Book Lover (1997)

Harvey James, 58, guitarist of Australian pop group Sherbet, on January 15
Sherbet – Howzat (1976)

Steve Prestwich, 56, drummer of Australian rock band Cold Chisel and briefly the Little River Band, on January 16
Cold Chisel – Forever Now (1982)

Don Kirshner, 76, record producer, song publisher, TV host and impressario, on January 17

Greg Johnson, 58, R&B keyboard player, played with Joe Cocker, in motor accident, on January 20
Joe Cocker – Unchain My Heart (as keyboardist, 1987)

Bobby Poe, 77, singer, songwriter and promoter, on January 22
Wanda Jackson – Let’s Have A Party (as backing musician, 1960)
The Chartbusters – She’s The One (as member, 1964)

Buddy Charleton, 72, influential pedal steel guitarist and backing musician for Ernest Tubb, on January 25

Charlie Louvin, 83, country singer; half of The Louvin Brothers, on January 26
The Louvin Brothers – I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight (1956)

Gladys Horton, 66, lead singer of Motown band The Marvelettes, on January 26
The Marvelettes – Playboy (1962)

Henrik Ostergaard, 47, singer of San Francisco rock group Dirty Looks (not to be confused with the 1980s New York band), on January 27
Dirty Looks – C’mon Frenchie (1989)

John Barry, 77, British film score composer (Out Of Africa, James Bond), on January 30
John Barry – The Persuaders Theme (1971)

Doc Williams, 96, bluegrass musician and member of the Kansas Klodhoppers, on January 31.

DOWNLOAD IN MEMORIAM JANUARY 2011

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Any Major Halloween Mix 1

October 26th, 2009 9 comments

halloween2This is the first of two Halloween mixes I’ll be posting this week. The present mix, timed to fit on standard CD-R, is supposed to comprise vaguely creepy or eerie music. The kind of stuff that might  freak out Bart, Lisa and Milhouse in their treehouse. Ghosts, spooks, witches, devils, murderers, weird people (like the coffin-building boy in Florence and the Machine’s excellent song), voodoo and so on. Marie Floating Over The Backyard apparently still scares Any Minor Dude’s friend, two years after he first heard it.

The second mix, which will go up mid-week, will be a bit more lighthearted, and even without the overcooked Monster Mash and Rocky Horror Picture Show.

TRACKLISTING
1. The Go! Team – Phantom Broadcast (2005)
2. The Never – The Witch (2006)
3. Dr John – Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya (1968)
4. Jim Stafford Swamp Witch Hattie (Back Of The Black Bayou) (1973)
5. Alan Price Set – I Put A Spell On You (1966)
6. Tony Joe White – They Caught The Devil And Put Him In Jail In Eudora, Arkansas (1971)
7. Donovan – Wild Witch Lady (1973)
8. Fleetwood Mac – The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) (1970)
9. Eels – Marie Floating Over The Backyard (2005)
10. Violent Femmes – Country Death Song (1984)
11. Florence And The Machine – My Boy Builds Coffins (2009)
12. Godley & Creme – Under Your Thumb (1981)
13. Alan Parsons Project – Raven (1976)
14. The Box Tops – I Must Be The Devil (1969)
15. Sidney Hemphill – Devil’s Dream (ca 1942)
16. Howlin’ Wolf – Evil (Is Going On) (1954)
17. Louvin Brothers – Mary Of The Wild Moor (1956)
18. Squirrel Nut Zippers – Hell (1996)
19. Mazzy Starr – Taste Of Blood (1990)
20. Imogen Heap – Getting Scared (1998)
21. Iron Butterfly – Real Fright (1970)

DOWNLOAD (new working link)

I have a good few songs left over for a mix next Halloween. But there are two ghostly soldier songs I’ll want to add to this lot, one as an antidote to Warren Zevon’s more ubiquitous Halloween song:
Warren Zevon – Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.mp3
Stan Ridgway – Camouflage.mp3

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More mixes

Great covers: Satan Is Real (1960)

August 18th, 2009 5 comments

satan_is_real

The Satan Is Real album cover routinely is included in lists of “worst ever covers”, alongside Millie Jackson fighting constipation, Orleans getting closer than close, and dirty old John Bult parking his cigarette as he seduces Julie on her 16th birthday. Of course the Satan Is Real cover is a bit naff — the dentally disadvantaged Evil One at the back is not very convincing, never mind real. And yet, I think it’s a fabulous cover. Read more…

American Road Trip Vol. 7

May 26th, 2009 5 comments

Last time on our American Toad Trip, we were pausing for a beer in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, before planning to cross into Kentucky en route to Ohio. Soon after, we were detained in another Tennessee town to testify at a murder trial. Oh dear…

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Knoxville, Tennessee

louvin-brothersWe were about a mile outside Knoxville when we chanced upon a grisly scene: a young man repeatedly beating a young, blonde woman with a rock, then dragging her away. Being responsible tourists, we immediately reported the act of violence to the local sheriff. Turns out the man’s name was Willy, and the young woman was his girlfriend, whose lifeless body he threw in the river. Turns out that Willy was a popular guy around town; apparently his many friends tried their best to raise bail for him. We were pleased they didn’t succeed, because we had seen what Willy dun’ to the poor girl. The trial heard that the girl had hopes of marrying Willy, probably the reason why he killed her. We are on our way to cross the Appalachian mountains now, leaving Willy behind to waste his life away down in his dirty old jail.
The Louvin Brothers – Knoxville Girl (1956).mp3

Kentucky

emryarthurHaving been waylaid in Knoxville, we quickly cross Kentucky, a state that has lent its name to many song titles, yet I cannot think of any song about a city from the state. Not even about Lexington. So we won’t even stop for Colonel Sanders’ artery-hardening fried battery chickens, and quickly we bid farewell to ol’ Kentucky. The song here was originally recorded in 1913 as Farewell Song by Dick Burnett, who had adapted it from a folk song. The version featured here, from 1928, seems to be the first recording under the present title.
Emry Arthur – I’m The Man Of Constant Sorrow (1928).mp3
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Cincinnati, Ohio

porter_wagonerYes, as soon as we arrive on the outskirts of Ohio’s third-biggest (with a population if 330,000) and its most famous metropole (it was the USA’s first major inland city), we tune the radio to hear the dulcet tones of Dr Johnny Fever — and we can do so because, since our road trip is entirely notional, we can traverse time and reality. If we had a time machine, we might even travel back to 1977 to observe a council meeting chaired by the city’s mayor at the time — Jerry Springer.

Just before arriving in Cincinatti, we crossed the Ohio river, as once did many a slave seeking freedom. Being located on the border of slavery-state Kentucky, Cincinnati was the first stop for many escaping slaves. With the changing demographics and proximity to the South before the American Civil War, the city experienced much racial tension, and conflict between those for and against slavery.

The most famous song about the river which gives the state its name must be The Banks Of The Ohio, which is a variation on the theme explored in Knoxville Girl (itself adapted from an Irish murder ballad called Wexford Girl). Its oddest version is probably that which became a hit for Olivia Newton-John, a singer so wholesome that she is not an automatic murder suspect. Instead we shall go with the heavily rhinestoned Porter Wagoner (I think Johnny Cash has far too many murder raps on his sheet already).
Steve Carlisle – WKRP In Cincinnati (full version, 1978).mp3
Porter Wagoner – The Banks Of The Ohio (1969).mp3

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In case anyone really wants to know why I am dispensing with pics of the cities I am visiting, it is because I am getting too many hits via Google image searches. It does boost my stats, but artificially so. I doubt many people who arrive here for a graphic of Tuscaloosa stick around to read the rest of the blog.