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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Greatest Live Album of All Time?

Rolling Stone Magazine yesterday posted their choices for the 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time. Looking at it I realised I have 24 of the albums mentioned!

The James Brown album (above) is considered to be the #1 Greatest Live Album. Now, I'm not wanting to be too picky about this because it's an outstanding album, but surely The Allman Brothers 'At Filmore East' is way more superior!

On that note here's my favourite Live Albums:

The Soundtrack4Life Top Ten
Live Albums

* You will notice the absence of the Live 1975-85 boxset from the list, this is due to it being recorded over a decade rather than one or two nights. The Live in New York City album would have been higher on the list if those who had been editing the show and sequencing it had put the songs in a logical order because whilst good it actually sounds quite disjointed!

Alphabet Beats #114: Q is for...The Quads

Q is for....

"There Must Be Thousands"
1979, UK No. 66

The Quads were a new wave band from Birmingham, England, active in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their 1979 single "There Must Be Thousands" was a favourite of the BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel, who selected it as his "single of the decade!"

Despite receiving considerable airplay on the main BBC Radio 1 daytime programmes, "There Must Be Thousands" only reached No. 66 in the UK singles chart, but in 2001 John Peel still listed it as one of his all-time favourite records.  

Click on the few links to hear The Quads.

"There's Never Been A Night" / "Take It", 1979
    "UFO" / "Astronaut's Journey", 1980
    "Gotta Get A Job" / "Gang Of Kids", 1981
    "Still Moment (In Time)" / "Time To Think", 1982

On 29 August 1979, The Quads recorded a Peel session
Songs Performed:
    "Revision Time Blues"
    "I Know You Know"
    "There's Never Been A Night"
    "There Must Be Thousands"

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Jack Ely - The Kingsmen RIP

Sad to hear the news of the passing of Jack Ely, frontman for The Kingsmen, famous of course for their rendition of 'Louie Louie' from 1963. Ely was 71 years old and died after a long illness.

The Story of the Recording of "Louie Louie"
On April 6, 1963, a rock and roll group from Portland, Oregon, called The Kingsmen, chose "Louie Louie" as their second recording, their first having been "Peter Gunn Rock". The Kingsmen recorded the song at Northwestern, Inc., Motion Pictures and Recording in Portland. The session cost $50, and the band split the cost. (On September 5, 2013, the city of Portland dedicated a plaque at the site, 411 SW 13th Avenue, to commemorate the event. An earlier version placed by the Oregon Historical Society had been stolen shortly after its dedication in 1993.)

The session was produced by Ken Chase. Chase was a local radio personality on the AM rock station 91 KISN and also owned the teen nightclub that hosted the Kingsmen as their house band. The engineer for the session was the studio owner, Robert Lindahl. The Kingsmen's lead singer Jack Ely based his version on the recording by Rockin' Robin Roberts with the Fabulous Wailers, unintentionally introducing a change in the rhythm as he did. "I showed the others how to play it with a 1–2–3, 1–2, 1–2–3 beat instead of the 1–2–3–4, 1–2, 1–2–3–4 beat that is on the (Wailers) record," recalled Ely. The night before their recording session, the band played a 90-minute version of the song during a gig at a local teen club.

The Kingsmen's studio version was recorded in one take. They also recorded the "B" side of the release, an original instrumental by the group called "Haunted Castle".

A significant error on the Kingsmen version occurs just after the lead guitar break. As the group was going by the Wailers version, which has a brief restatement of the riff two times over before the lead vocalist comes back in, it would be expected that Ely would do the same. Ely, however, overshot his mark, coming in too soon, before the restatement of the riff. He realized his mistake and stopped the verse short, but the band did not realize that he had done so. As a quick fix, drummer Lynn Easton covered the pause with a drum fill, but before the verse ended, the rest of the band went into the chorus at the point where they expected it to be. This error is now so embedded in the consciousness of some groups that they deliberately duplicate it when performing the song.

The Kingsmen transformed Berry's easy-going ballad into a raucous romp, complete with a twangy guitar, occasional background chatter, and nearly unintelligible lyrics by Ely. A chaotic guitar break is triggered by the shout, "Okay, let's give it to 'em right now!", which first appeared in the Wailers version, as did the entire guitar break (although, in the Wailers version, a few notes differ, and the entire band played the break). Critic Dave Marsh suggests it is this moment that gives the recording greatness: "[Ely] went for it so avidly you'd have thought he'd spotted the jugular of a lifelong enemy, so crudely that, at that instant, Ely sounds like Donald Duck on helium. And it's that faintly ridiculous air that makes the Kingsmen's record the classic that it is, especially since it's followed by a guitar solo that's just as wacky."

First released in May 1963, the single was initially issued by the small Jerden label, before being picked up by the larger Wand Records and released by them in October 1963. It entered the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for December 7, and peaked at number two the following week, a spot which it held for six weeks; it would remain in the top 10 through December and January before dropping off in early February. In total, the Kingsmen's version spent 16 weeks on the Hot 100. (Singles by the Singing Nun, then Bobby Vinton, monopolized the top slot for eight weeks.) "Louie Louie" did reach number one on the Cashbox pop chart for two weeks, as well as number one on the Cashbox R&B chart. It was the last #1 on Cashbox before Beatlemania hit the United States with "I Want to Hold Your Hand". The version quickly became a standard at teen parties in the U.S. during the 1960s, even reappearing on the charts in 1966.

The original version of "Louie Louie" appeared as a B-Side to "You Are My Sunshine", a 1957 single by Richard Berry and The Pharaohs.

Ever since the version by The Kingsmen has been released there have been masses of cover versions of the song. Here's just a few of them:

Here's a Few of Them!

Alphabet Beats #113: Q is for....Questions

is for...

The Letter Q I have a feeling is going to pose a few issues, like finding an artist etc that I like that begins with the letter, so for the first one I have decided to be a bit topical.

Music has always asked questions, it doesn't always provide the answers to what we are asking. Sometimes the question is as stupid as the one posed by Lonnie Donnegan - 'Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavour On The Bedpost Over Night' and other times it's a question of great spiritual depth like the one asked by Casting Crowns - 'Who Am I?' Sometimes we don't get the answer that we want, and at other times we don't get an answer at all. Carolyn Arends once said, speaking spiritually, that we don't always get the answer and sometimes we just have to live with the questions and in many senses Johnny Nash was correct when he released his 1972 single, 'There Are More Questions Than Answers'. We begin with that and see what unfolds.

Click on the links to enjoy the music. These are just a smattering of the questions. I scribbled down a list in prep for this and I came up with at least 200!
 The Questions

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Alphabet Beats #112: P is for....Punk

P is for....

The past few weeks or so I've been listening to Gary Crowley's Punk and New Wave Show on Soho Radio and it reminded me afresh of so many great memories growing up in South East London as well as so much great music that informed and inspired back in those days. So for the final Alphabet Beats on the Letter P I thought I'd dig out some of the old Punk records and share them today with you. This is just a small selection of records that were part of my Soundtrack4Life growing up.

Click on the links to enjoy the tunes.

12XU - Wire. (B-Side)

Monday, 27 April 2015

Alphabet Beats #111: P is for...The Psychedelic Furs

P is for....

The Albums
    The Psychedelic Furs (1980)
    Talk Talk Talk (1981)
    Forever Now (1982)
    Mirror Moves (1984)
    Midnight to Midnight (1987)
All of This and Nothing (1988)
    Book of Days (1989)
    World Outside (1991)

The Singles
We Love You (1980)
 Sister Europe (1980)
Mr Jones (1980)
Dumb Waiters (1981)
 Pretty In Pink (Original 1981) 
Danger (1982)
Run And Run (1983) 
Heartbeat (1984)
Pretty In Pink (Re-recorded Version 1986)
Heartbreak Beat (1987)
Angels Don't Cry (1987) 

The Soundtrack4Life Top Ten
The Psychedelic Furs
07. Heaven.
06. Flowers.

Photo by Misti Layne

John Peel Sessions
(Broadcast 30th July 1979)
1. Imitation of Christ
2. Fall
3. Sister Europe
4. We Love You

(Broadcast 28th February 1980)
1. Soap Commercial
2. Susan's Strange
3. Mac the Knife

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