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Sunday, 31 January 2016

45RPM: #78 A Popsong - Wreckless Eric (1980)

On this day in 1980, Wreckless Eric released his sixth single, "A Popsong". It was backed by a remixed version of "Reconnez Cherie", an earlier single. The A side appeared on his third album, Big Smash

Wreckless Eric released a number of brilliant singles on Stiff and they all should have been huge hits I reckon: Whole Wide World (Buy 16 1977), Reconnez Cherie (Buy 25 1978), Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.) (Buy 34 1978), Crying, Waiting, Hoping (Buy 40 1978), Hit and Miss Judy (Buy 49 1979) and Broken Doll (Buy 75 1980).

A-Side: A Popsong 
B-Side: Reconnez Cherie
Stiff (Buy 64)
Released 30th January 1980
Produced by Bazza

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 31 - Sunday Favourites #3 The Queen of Gospel

A couple of days ago I posted about Sister Rosetta Tharpe and I felt today it would be worth spotlighting one of ladies who was around at the same time as her, though a couple of years old. If Sister Rosetta was The Godmother of Rock 'n' Roll then Mahalia Jackson was The Queen of Gospel.

Mahalia Jackson was born in New Orleans in 1911 and died 27th January 1972. More than 50,000 turned up to mourn her loss as they paid their last respects to the Gospel singer as she lay in wait at the Greater Salem Baptist Church in Chicago and on the day of the funeral maybe more than 6,000 folks turned up for the two hour funeral service in which she was eulogized by many including the wife of Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King. Aretha Franklin sang the closing of the proceedings with a rousing and heartfelt rendition of 'Precious Lord, Take My Hand', a song that Martin Luther King often requested Mahalia Jackson to sing at Civil Rights Rallies and that she sang at his funeral in 1968. It was Mahalia's signature song having spent 14 years performing it and other songs by Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey, known as the Father of Gospel Music, whom she met a couple of years after she had moved to Chicago. 

Unlike Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia refused to sing secular music and she maintained that commitment her whole life, despite many offering her big bucks to do so, and even when she was enjoying the success as a result of good sales of her records and moving up to bigger venues rather than just Churches she didn't budge.

In 1950 she was the first Gospel artist to appear at Carnegie Hall and 1952 she toured Europe. Apparently whilst performing on Denmark's National Radio in 1949 her version of Silent Night (this is the version that was released in 1962, I couldn't find an earlier version) was requested by more than 20,000 listeners in search of a copy and the same song became one of the best selling singles in Norway.

With her mainstream success, Jackson was criticized by some gospel purists who complained about her hand-clapping and foot-stomping and about her bringing "jazz into the church".

Besides her singing she was known as an activist with her support for the Civil Rights Movement having first been involved at the invitation of Martin Luther King in 1956 to come to Montgomery, Alabama to sing in December. Despite several death threats she went and sang three numbers, 'I've Heard of a City called Heaven', 'Move On Up A Little Higher' and 'Silent Night'. At the famous March On Washington For Jobs And Freedom in 1963, where Dr King would give possibly his most famous 'I Have A Dream' speech, Jackson sang before MLK took the podium. The song she sang that day was  'I Been 'Buked and I Been Scorned'.

Her death in 1972 was due to heart failure and, just like Sister Rosetta, complications due to diabetes.

She recorded 25 albums, numerous singles and there are also a number of Compilations of her material released between 1975-2005.

The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences created the Gospel Music or Other Religious Recording category in 1961 for Jackson, making her the first gospel music artist to win the prestigious Grammy Award. She won four Grammy Awards, the most special being the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award given posthumously at the 1972 ceremony. In 1978 she was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and in 1997 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2008 she was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

"I sing God's music because it makes me feel free", Jackson once said about her choice of gospel, adding, "It gives me hope. With the blues, when you finish, you still have the blues."

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 30 - White Light/White Heat

The Velvet Underground's first two albums, The Velvet Underground & Nico (March 1967) and White Light/White Heat (January 1968) didn't really set the music business on fire when they were first released. The debut with Nico had barely managed to get to #129 in the US (though #59 in the UK) and White Light/White Heat only squeaked into the chart at #199 in the US and two weeks later it was gone! Both were considered financial failures so it's an absolute wonder that these two albums these days are held in high regard. The debut album was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2006 and featured at #13 on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The Observer newspaper in 2006 had the album at #1 in their 50 Albums That Changed Music list.

The follow-up was also in the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time but much lower at #293 yet both of these albums have been very influential down through the years particularly upon Punk music and also some Indie Music in the UK.

For the second album Nico had been dispensed with (she went on to record a number of solo albums including her own debut Chelsea Girl that 5 songs written or co-written by members of The Velvets), as had the services of Andy Warhol. It would be the last album of new material that founding member John Cale would play on. He felt that the new manager Steve Sesnick was trying to push Lou Reed as the band leader at the expense of band harmony. He would later be fired from the band after a show at the Boston Tea Party in September 1968. It's hard to fathom who was telling the truth about whom because Lou Reed had been saying he wanted the band to more accessible and yet Cale was a bit too way out with his ideas and they didn't fit what he wanted. Cale on the other hand was saying  there had been creative tensions with Reed but that such things have been widely exaggerated over the years.

The album was recorded in just two days! John Cale has said that the debut album had "some gentility, some beauty. The second one was consciously anti-beauty." Sterling Morrisson said, "We were all pulling in the same direction. We may have been dragging each other off a cliff, but we were all definitely going in the same direction. In the White Light/White Heat era, our lives were chaos. That's what's reflected in the record." 

The subject matter is fairly typical of The Velvet Underground, a smattering of drug references and bizzare and debauched sexual behaviour etc. Lady Godiva's Operation being about a botched up Lobotomy on a transsexual woman and Sister Ray a failed orgy between drag queens!

Five of the six tracks have been covered over the years (I cannot vouch for how good or bad these covers are, some I know very well others not so much): 
White Light/White Heat

Lady Godiva's Operation

Here She Comes Now
 I Heard Her Call My Name
Sister Ray

White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground
Produced by Tom Wilson
Released 30th January 1968
US Chart #199

Track listing
All songs written and composed by Lou Reed, except as noted.
Side A
01. "White Light/White Heat"  2:47
02. "The Gift"  (Reed, Sterling Morrison, John Cale, Maureen Tucker) 8:18
03. "Lady Godiva's Operation" 4:56
04. "Here She Comes Now"  (Reed, Morrison, Cale) 2:04
Side B
05. "I Heard Her Call My Name"   4:38
06. "Sister Ray" (Reed, Morrison, Cale, Tucker) 17:28

The Velvet Underground
    John Cale – lead vocals (track 3), backing vocals (tracks 1 and 5), spoken word (track 2), electric viola (tracks 3 and 4), organ (track 6), piano (tracks 1 and 4), bass guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4 and 5), medical sound effects (track 3)
    Sterling Morrison – lead guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4 and 6), rhythm guitar (track 5), bass guitar (track 3), backing vocals (tracks 1, 3 and 5), medical sound effects (track 3)
    Lou Reed – lead vocals, lead guitar (tracks 2, 3, 5 and 6), rhythm guitar (tracks 1 and 4)
    Maureen Tucker – percussion (tracks 1–5), drums (track 6)


Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 29 - Sister Rosetta

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born (Rosetta Nubin) in 1915 in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. Her father was a singer and her mother was a singer also, played mandolin and was also a preacher/evangelist for the Church of God. I won't say too much about her life because it's treated in the Documentary below.

She began her recording career at the age of 23 and was keen to bring her Gospel influences alongside her love for the jazz, blues, pre-rock 'n' roll sound that she had been playing in clubs. It would become quite a normal thing years later for folks to crossover from Gospel to Soul/Pop/Rock 'n' Roll (Aretha Franklin and Sam Cooke are two of many examples I could cite here) but back then it was very rare. Some Church folk were none too pleased about this but her music was loved by those on the outside.

The other thing that was really different about Sister Rosetta was that although she lived in a segregated America she broke through barriers and regularly performed with white musicians (maybe with some of the male Blues musicians this was quite normal but for a woman it definitely wasn't). She also went out on tour alongside Marie Knight after seeing her at Mahalia Jackson concert in 1946 and they recorded a number of successful songs together including Up Above My Head and Gospel Train.

We find it quite funny these days how celebrity weddings seem to dominate newspaper headlines, or magazine covers but back in 1951 Sister Rosetta married for the third time in front of a crowd (a paying crowd!) of 25,000 at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. and followed the cermony with a concert performance! The Wedding Ceremony and performance were recorded and released as an LP on Decca Records!

Word is that she was a huge influence on the likes of Elvis and other early rock 'n' rollers.

There have been a few musical tributes down through the years, Alabama 3 had 'Sister Rosetta' on their debut album 'Exile on Coldharbour Lane' (they have also recorded Up Above My Head). Alison Krauss and Robert Plant recorded 'Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us' for their smash hit album 'Raising Sand' (the song written by Sam Phillips was originally released on her album Don't Do Anything. UK Indie band The Noisettes in 2007 released a tribute also, Sister Rosetta (Capture the Spirit).

Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll (Documentary by Mick Csaky)

A wee bonus: Sister Rosetta Tharpe playing at Alexandria Park Railway Station, Manchester in 1964. This was for a programme filmed by Granada TV.

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 28 - Small Wonder

Some people seem to be fond of saying that Punk changed nothing (I've read a few people recently who have said that) and whilst I kind of understand a bit what they are saying I think you have to qualify exactly what you mean when you say it. As an example I personally think that Punk changed quite a few things especially when it came to the issue of putting out records. (There's lots of links on here so click on them to listen to the music. I could have put loads more in but time was not on my side having already spent three hours researching and writing!)

Buzzcocks have been attributed as the first of the UK Punk bands to put out a record on their own, Spiral Scratch EP (released 29th January 1977) on their own New Hormones label. Many bands followed up and down the country. Of course there were other bands who signed deals with major labels but for those who didn't it was the DIY way or there was another way.

Back in 1977 a record shop in Walthamstow, East London called Small Wonder Records created their own label and began releasing singles by unknown bands who were part of the Punk scene and also the Post-Punk Scene. More about them in a moment.

Small Wonder Records were not the only shop to do this because there was Beggars Banquet in South West London started by Martin Mills, their first two singles in 1977 were by The Lurkers (Shadow and Freak Show). Bands that followed as the label grew were The Doll, Tubeway Army, The Heartbreakers, The Merton Parkas, The Carpettes, Gary Numan, Colin Newman (of Wire), Bauhaus, The Gun Club, The Associates, The Icicle Works, The Cult, Ramones, The Fall, The Adult Net, The Go-Betweens and so many more. Probably Beggars Banquet was one of the great success stories as it went on to become a bit of a major label and having off-shoot labels like 4AD. But it all started with the release of a Punk Single! It is now a major player worldwide.

Then there was Remember The Oldies who had Raw Records in Cambridge started by Lee Wood, they kicked off with The Users 'Sick of You' and their biggest seller was The Killjoys 'Johnny Won't Get To Heaven' (that featured the future founder of Dexy's Midnight Runners Kevin Rowland). Not everything they released was brilliant but there were some interesting Singles by the likes of The Soft Boys, The Unwanted, Lockjaw, The Gorillas, The Now and even some Rockabilly with the likes of Matchbox, Danny and the Wildcats and The Riot Rockers.

Zoom in Edinburgh (started by Bruce Findlay who was an owner of a music store). In September 1977 they released The Valves debut Robot Love/For Adolfs Only. That was followed by PVC2 (which was the remaining members of pop band Slik with Midge Ure on vocals and Put You in The Picture was their only single) who morphed into Zones after Midge Ure left to join the Rich Kids. They also had The Questions and Simple Minds (formerly Johnny and the Self Abusers). The first couple of singles and album were released on the label. By this time Zoom got swept up by Arista Records and were no longer an Independent label and not too long afterwards it folded.

Rough Trade in Ladbroke Grove, London started by Geoff Travis. Is probably one of the most famous Indie labels. Their early roster of single releases is quite amazing to see. Their first single was in December 1977 and it was French Punks Metal Urbain's debut 'Paris Maquis', followed by the likes of Cabaret Voltaire's debut 'Extended Play', Stiff Little Fingers' 'Alternative Ulster' (Rough Trade's first album release was Inflamable Material by the Northern Irish punks), Spizzoil, The Monochrome Set, Subway Sect, Kleenex, Swell Maps, Protex, The Raincoats, The Last Words, The Pack (featuring Kirk Brandon), Delta 5, The Pop Group, Television Personalities, Scritti Politti, and oh so many more.
Now to Small Wonder Records. They maybe didn't have as many groups who would have some success but they did have a few surprise who would go on to greater things. Their first single release in September 1977 was 'Mucky Pup' by Puncture which had the classic B-Side 'You Can't Rock and Roll (In A Council Flat)'. The Zeros 'Hungry' followed in October 1977. The Carpettes debut EP would be Small 3 (they would go on to get a major deal and also sign with Beggars Banquet).

The fourth release is one of my favourites, Patrik Fitzgerald and 'Safety Pin Stuck in My Heart EP'.

Other releases included GLC by Menace (Small 5), 19 and Mad - Leyton Buzzards (Small 7) who would go on to become pop band Modern Romance! The Eleventh single release (August 1978) was a debut from a band who still to this day are making great music, The Cure with Killing An Arab. 'New Way' by The Wall (Small 13), 'Flares 'N' Slippers' - Cockney Rejects debut (Small 19), Violence Grows - Fatal Microbes (Small 20), Destitution - Camera Obscura (Small 28) also there were releases from Poison Girls, Crass (the debut 18 track EP Feeding the Five Thousand) and even Bauhaus debut Bela Lugosi's Dead.

 Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart EP
Small Wonder (Small4)
Produced by Pete Stennett
Released 27th January 1978

Side A
02. Safety Pin Stuck In My Heart

Side B

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

45RPM: #77 Strength Of The Nation - Teenbeats (1979)

Teenbeats were one of those bands I always felt deserved a better shot and it's bizzare to think that they only had three singles and a very short shelf life (November 1978 - August 1980). 

They were represented on the album Uppers on the South Downs along with Purple Hearts, South Coast Ska Stars, The Same and Missing Persons. They had five tracks on Side One that were basically their two singles: I Can't Control Myself /I'll Never Win and Strength/If I'm Gone on Safari along with Teenage Beat (which was released as a single in Canada 1980 with Strength Of The Nation as the B-Side).

I loved their debut single, the cover of The Troggs' I Can't Control Myself but it was their 2nd single Strength Of The Nation that I felt was their best.

Teenbeats were:  Huggy Leaver (vocals), Ken Copsey (lead guitar), Paul Thomas (rhythm guitar, vocals), Eddie Mays (bass), and Dave Blackman (drums).

I saw them live a few times way back. The first time though still stands as one of my favourites. A hometown show (Hastings was their land) supporting the UK Subs! Now that was one of those great mismatches that promoters threw up so often in the late 70's and early 80's. Also saw them at the Marquee on Wardour Street and if my memory serves me correctly I pretty sure I caught them at the Lyceum one time as well.

I'm not totally certain, and I'm sure some of my Mod pals will put me right, but Teenbeats have been out playing again over the past number of years though I'm certain if they have just been doing it for Special Events (I think they did a Mods May Day show in 2009). Saying that though I just had a wee search on You Tube and discovered some film from a show in 2014 that had a note that it was their final show (29th March in Hastings). 

Anyway, whatever their current status of existence is it is always good to be a reminded of what a brilliant Single this was.

Strength Of The Nation / If I'm Gone Tomorrow
Safari Records
Produced by Ray Fenwick
Released 9th November 1979

 A-Side: Strength Of The Nation

B-Side: If I'm Gone Tomorrow

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 27 - Better Things

I don't have much to say today because the song below says it all. It's a song that's been covered by many bands down through the years but my favourite is from The Gold Album by Bouncing Souls. The original of course was by The Kinks from 1981.

This one's for one and all who are struggling with life and all the heartache, pain, loss and whatever else comes to disrupt the flow.

Better Things
Songwriter Ray Davies

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to follow
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

Here's hoping all the days ahead
Won't be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead
And somehow happiness will find you
Forget what happened yesterday
I know that better things are on the way

It's really good to see you rocking out
And having fun, living like you just begun
Accept your life and what it brings
I hope tomorrow you'll find better things
I know tomorrow you'll find better things

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to follow
Follow all the drudge and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

I know you've got a lot of good things happening up ahead
The past is gone, it's all been said
So here's to what the future brings
I know tomorrow you'll find better things
I know tomorrow you'll find better things

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
Wishing you the bluest sky
Hoping all your verses rhyme
Hoping all your verses rhyme
I hope tomorrow you'll find better things

 Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Music is the Doctor 2016 #4 Keep the Customer Satisfied!

All the songs on this week's Music is the Doctor were released on albums (though one is from an EP) during the month of January spanning five decades. The Playlist is loaded with great tunes because we know how to Keep the Customer Satisfied!

On the Playlist
Keep the Customer Satisfied - Simon & Garfunkel
Taken from the album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Released on this day in 1970. It was also on the B-Side of the single Bridge Over Troubled Water, also released on this day in 1970.

Pain in My Heart - Otis Redding
The title track to the debut album (released 1st January 1964) from one of the great Soul Legends. It was also released as his 5th Single back in 1963.

Goin' Back - The Byrds
From The Notorious Byrd Brothers album (released 3rd January 1968).

Take It As It Comes - The Doors
Taken from the Debut Elektra Records album The Doors (released 4th January 1967).

Growin' Up - Bruce Springsteen
This is a live version from the Working on a Dream Tour of one of the classic songs on Springsteen's Debut Greetings From Asbury Park NJ. A song that was covered by David Bowie (he also covered It's Hard to be a Saint in the City from the same album) The album was released 5th January 1973.

Accidents Will Happen - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Taken from the 3rd album 'Armed Forces'. The first album to credit The Attractions. The album contained his biggest hit 'Oliver's Army' (reached #2 in the UK) and this one which only managed to make it to #28. Armed Forces was released 5th January 1979.

Is She Really Going Out With Him? - Joe Jackson
Released the same day as Armed Forces in 1979 as part of Jackson's Debut album for A&M, Look Sharp! It only made it to #40 in the UK but #20 in the US. The single Is She Really Going Out With Him? was a #13 hit in the UK and #21 in the US.

Paranoid - Black Sabbath
Paranoid album had been out in the UK since October 1970 but was delayed for American release until 7th January 1971. It was #1 album in the UK and surprisingly made it to #12 in the US without much radio airplay. The single was huge in the UK reaching #4.

Creep - The Pretenders
The cover of the only decent song by Radiohead appeared on the Pirate Radio Box Set that was released 9th January 2006.

Suzy is a Headbanger - Ramones
From their 2nd album Leave Home that was released 10th January 1977 on Sire Records.

Get It While You Can - Janis Joplin
Was on the 2nd and final Solo album Pearl by Janis Joplin that was released after her death. The album was released 11th January 1971.

I Can't Quit You Baby - Led Zeppelin
From the self titled debut album that was released on 12th January 1969. The Willie Dixon song is one of my favourite Blues tunes.

Sound and Vision - David Bowie
One of the two singles plucked from the 1977 Low (14th January release) album that was recorded in Berlin with Brian Eno.

Stargazer - Siouxsie and the Banshees
From the final Banshees album The Rapture, released 17th January 1995.

A Soft Place To Land - Kathleen Edwards
Taken from Voyageur, released 17th January 2012.

The Wheel - Roseanne Cash
Title track from her 19th January 1993 album release.

Miss Amanda Jones - Rolling Stones
From their fifth album Between the Buttons (released 20th January 1967).

Silence - Slick Shoes
From the Debut Slick Shoes EP released 21st January 1997.

Ghost Towns Along The Highway - John Mellencamp
Released 23rd January 2007 on Universal Republic, Freedom's Road was Mellencamp's 19th Studio Album.

Night of the Cadillacs - Generation X
Album number two from Generation X, Valley of the Dolls was released on this day in 1979. King Rocker was the big hit (#11) from the album that was produced by Ian Hunter.

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 26 - Bridge Over Troubled Water

I never tire of saying that good music is timeless and what is often called Simon & Garfunkel's 'Signature Song', Bridge Over Troubled Water, is a good case in point. It was released on this day 46 years ago.

The instrumentation for the song was recorded in California and the vocals cut in New York. Initially Paul Simon had wanted Art Garfunkel to sing the song Solo, but Garfunkel declined that invite. But after hearing the demo Art felt that Paul should sing it! (makes me giggle a bit to think that these guys could hardly agree on anything together!)

The chorus lyrics were partly inspired by Claude Jeter's line "I'll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in me," which Jeter sang with his group, the Swan Silvertones, in the 1958 song "Mary Don't You Weep." Gospel producer and historian Anthony Heilbut told the New York Daily News that Simon acknowledged this debt of gratitude in person and had handed Claude Jeter a cheque of compensation (I don't know how much the cheque was for). It was originally written on guitar by Simon but he felt that in order to get across the Gospel sound that it should be played on Piano, that and it would work best for Art's vocal.

Producer Halee and Garfunkel felt that the song was not complete and desired a third verse. Simon agreed and wrote the third verse..."Sail on Silver Girl...". Now, over the years there has been much debate about exactly what Paul Simon was getting at here. Many have said that he is writing about drugs, heroin etc. But it should not come as a shock that it's something way more simple than that - Paul Simon writing a line for his then-wife Peggy Harper who had noticed her first grey hairs! What's funny though about this is whilst Garfunkel and Halee had insisted upon the third verse Simon himself has said that he never cared much for it! He felt that it didn't necessarily fit together well with the preceeding verses.

It was to become their most successful Single, reaching the #1 both sides of the Atlantic, France, Canada and New Zealand, and wast Top 5 in a number of other countries. It is one of the best selling Singles of all time.

The song won the Grammy for Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the 1971 Grammy Awards.

Down through the years the song has been covered by a wide range of artists including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Jimmy London (a reggae version!), Buck Owens and the Buckaroos (did the first Country version of the song), to name but a few. Most people who have released it have a had a hit with it.

Bridge Over Troubled Water
written by Paul Simon

When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all
I'm on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I'll take your part, oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh, if you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

 Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
Produced by Roy Halee, Simon & Garfunkel
Released 26th January 1970
US Chart #1
UK Chart #1

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 25 - For The Love of the Game

Yesterday was a great day for me. You see I'm a bit of a sports fan and Sunday 24th January 2016 there was a bit a Double Header of joy as firstly my football team, Chelsea, beat London rivals Arsenal 1-0 in the Premier League in the afternoon. Considered underdogs due to their poor form most of the season (they were Champions last season but found themselves struggling in the bottom half of the table this year) but they got the win and under interim boss Guus Hiddink who has led them to their best performances of the year so far with three wins and four draws in the last seven games. They have moved up the table from close to the bottom to 13th in the league. So that was Round One of the Double Header.

Round Two came later in the evening as the spotlight turned to Denver, Colorado, as my NFL team Denver Broncos were set for battle against the New England Patriots for the AFC Championship and a place in Super Bowl 50.  Even though Denver was the #1 Seed in the AFC they were still considered to be underdogs. This turned out to be one of those great games with a nail biting finish that causes the blood pressure to raise and much pacing, and not being able to look as the Pats found a will to move the ball and bring the game within two points only to have their hopes dashed by failing the tying 2pt conversion that would have taken the game into overtime. Denver came out 20-18 winners and the Pats were left bruised and battered. Denver were led by a Quarterback who many were saying was washed up, too old, can't throw, can't run. Peyton Manning made all the naysayers eat their hats!

Anyway, all of that led me to think of this song by Pillar. It's a song not necessarily about sports, but about life and how a person lives it with great determination and is focused on the prize. So, maybe you haven't heard it before, here's the lyrics to the song, let's live our lives, for the love of the game!

For The Love Of The Game

Consumed by reputation,
It's what they say that gets you down,
You find new motivation,
Inside this new love that you've found,
It's now your navigation,
To keep your head engaged, oh yeah,
Your final destination,
Keeps you focused on the win

Count me in, but don't count me out,
You can't shut me up, you can't shut me down,
Fight through the hurt,
Fight through the pain,
Without the ache there is no gain,
We live our lives for the love of the game

And we will rise,
This is our time,
Don't let the chances of our lifetime pass us by,
And we will rise,
This is our time,
We'll give this everything we've got,
For the love of the game

Reach for a new elevation,
And see just how high we can go,
Full blown determination,
Will take us further than we know,
My own anticipation,
Keeps the fire from burning out,
It's time for domination,
No one will ever take us down

'Cause I won't give up,
I won't give in

For the love of the game

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Soundtrack4Life Concert Series: The Men They Couldn't Hang

Today's Concert Series features one of the great underrated bands of the 1980's as they celebrated 21 years. They are still going strong today and are much loved (not by the masses).

The Men They Couldn't Hang 21st Anniversary Show at The Islington Academy 30th July 2004.

The Set features many of TMTCH favourites like The Ghost of Cable Street, Wishing Well, Company Town, The Bells, Rosettes, The Colours, Ironmasters and Going Back To Coventry plus a whole lot more.

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 24 - Sunday Morning Favourites #2 - Otis Redding

Some Sunday morning smoothness with the one and only Otis Redding. Last year Rhino Records but out a 12CD set of the music of Otis under the banner of the Soul Manifesto: 1964-1974. Below there are videos and links for 9 of the albums that make up part of this fantastic collection (the other three I couldn't find  links for at all) of one of the finest soul singers ever.

You can pick this up over at Amazon for just under £30, a bargin indeed for 12 quality albums of music that defined the sound of sixties.

Soul Manifesto: 1964-1970 12CD Set
    Pain In My Heart (1964)
    The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads (1965)

    Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965)

    The Soul Album (1966)
    Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul (1966)
    King & Queen – with Carla Thomas (1967)
    Live In Europe (1967)
    The Dock Of The Bay (1968)
    The Immortal Otis Redding (1968)

    In Person At The Whisky A Go Go (1968)

    Love Man (1969)
    Tell The Truth (1970)
Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 23 - Animals

I done something last night that I have not even thought about doing for quite a few decades and that is to sit down and listen to a Pink Floyd album start to finish. The album I chose was Animals because today is the 39th anniversary of the release of Floyd's tenth studio album.

Some might wonder why I chose to inflict this pain upon myself but actually I have to say it was quite an enjoyable experience. Released just as Punk bands up and down the land were about to unleash their first steps into the world of records Animals is actually a very, very interesting piece of music. Like a number of Pink Floyd albums it is a concept album  but it's maybe a little bit different from previous albums by the band in that it seemed to directly be spotlighting the social and political situation that Britain was facing at that very moment in time.

The concept is loosely based around George Orwell's Animal Farm, which was primarily an attack on Stalinism, but the album has a big twist in that it was aimed at Capitalism. I would not for a moment think that I understand all what Stalinism and Capitalism really mean (I leave that for others to debate) but the album seems to me to be talking about a revolution.

The funny thing is, Punk, according to some, was meant to bring a revolution of sorts. Bands armed with three chords and the truth and a bucket load of attitude were supposed to be overthrowing the likes of Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis etc but the reality is they didn't at all. 

Yes, some things did change as a result of Punk exploding into the nation's conciousness, like how a band could make a record for themselves without the burden of a record contract as such, or that they didn't have to be too talented to be a songwriter or a musician (though of course among a good handful of Punk bands there were some pretty good musicians and some tidy songwriters). And once the albums started to appear throughout 1977 it was clear that many of these bands would not have time for songs lasting more than three minutes in comparison to say Pink Floyd releasing an album that contains an introduction and an ending that were under a minute and a half and then three songs that clocked in at over ten minutes each! The whole album of five tracks lasts 41mins and 41secs and when The Clash released their debut in April of 1977 there were 14 songs in 35mins 18secs or Ramones debut in 1976, that was 14 songs and a total length of 29mins and 4secs. What was apparent, especially on the Ramones album was there were no guitar solos whatsoever, no lengthy bridges or instrumental breaks, it was just 1-2-3-4, Verse, chorus Verse chorus, repeat verse chorus and end - simple!

I always found it funny that Pink Floyd showed a side to themselves on this album that they had not shown before, that like the Punks they could be a little subversive also. Promotion for the album seemed to have centred around a deal with Capital Radio (yep that one who The Clash sang about!) who had been broadcasting The Story of Pink Floyd and the jewel in the crown would be an Exclusive first airing of the music of Animals on the station, but (and I often wonder who did it and under whose orders), a copy of the album was placed into the hands of John Peel and on the 21st January he played Side One in its entirety and on the 22nd he played the whole of Side Two! I doubt any DJ would ever get away with doing that today!

If you've got some time today give the album a blast, it's not as painful as you think!

Animals - Pink Floyd
Produced by Pink Floyd
Released 23rd January 1977
UK Chart #2
US Chart #3

Side One
01. Pigs on the Wing 1(1.25)
02. Dogs (17.03)
Side Two
01. Pigs (Three Different Ones) (11.25)
02. Sheep (10.25)
03. Pigs on a Wing 2 (1.23)
All songs written by Roger Waters except Dogs which was a co-write between Roger Waters and David Gilmour.

Pink Floyd

    David Gilmour - lead guitar, lead vocals, rhythm and acoustic guitar on "Dogs", bass guitar on "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep", talkbox on "Pigs (Three Different Ones)"
    Nick Mason - drums, percussion, tape effects
    Roger Waters - lead and harmony vocals, acoustic guitar on "Pigs on the Wing", rhythm guitar on "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" and "Sheep", tape effects, vocoder, bass guitar on "Dogs"
    Richard Wright - Hammond organ, electric piano, Minimoog, ARP string synthesizer, piano, clavinet, harmony vocals on "Dogs"

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Rewind: 1968 Lady Soul - Aretha Franklin

Lady Soul - Aretha Franklin
Produced by Jerry Wexler
Released 22nd January 1968
US Chart #2
UK Chart #25

 Side One
    1. "Chain Of Fools" (Don Covay) 2:46
        Recorded on June 23, 1967
        Aretha Franklin - lead vocals and piano; Jimmy Johnson and Joe South - guitars; Spooner Oldham - electric piano; Tommy Cogbill - bass; Roger Hawkins - drums; The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn Franklin, Erma Franklin & Ellie Greenwich - background vocals

    2. "Money Won't Change You" (James Brown, Nat Jones) 2:09
    3. "People Get Ready" (Curtis Mayfield) 3:42
        Recorded on December 19 and 20, 1967
        Aretha Franklin - lead vocals and piano; Bobby Womack - guitar; Spooner Oldham - organ; Tommy Cogbill - bass; Roger Hawkins - drums; Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow - trumpets; Tony Studd - bass trombone; King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess - tenor saxophones; Frank Wess - flute; Haywood Henry - baritone saxophone; Carolyn Franklin & The Sweet Inspirations - background vocals; horn arrangement: Arif Mardin

    4. "Niki Hoeky" (Jim Ford, Lolly Vegas, Pat Vegas) 2:31
    5. "(You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Jerry Wexler) 2:44
        Recorded on February 16, 1967
        Aretha Franklin - lead vocals; Spooner Oldham - piano; Tommy Cogbill - bass; Gene Chrisman - drums; The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn & Erma Franklin - background vocals; strings conducted by Ralph Burns

Side Two
    1. "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone" (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) 2:25
        Recorded on December 16 and 17, 1967
        Aretha Franklin - lead vocals; Jimmy Johnson and Bobby Womack - guitars; Spooner Oldham - electric piano; Tommy Cogbill - bass; Roger Hawkins - drums; Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow - trumpets; Tony Studd - bass trombone; King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess - tenor saxophones; Haywood Henry - baritone saxophone; The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn & Erma Franklin - background vocals; horn arrangement: Arif Mardin

    2. "Good to Me As I Am to You" (Aretha Franklin, Ted White) 3:56
        Recorded on December 16 and 17, 1967
        Aretha Franklin - vocals and piano; Spooner Oldham - organ; Tommy Cogbill - bass; Roger Hawkins - drums; Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow - trumpets; Tony Studd - bass trombone; King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess - tenor saxophones; Frank Wess - flute; Haywood Henry - baritone saxophone. Eric Clapton of "Cream" - guitar obbligato. Note: Jimmy Johnson & Bobby Womack also played guitars on the take but were left off the mix-down.

    3. "Come Back Baby" (Walter Davis) 2:25
        Recorded on December 19 and 20, 1967
        Aretha Franklin - lead vocals; Jimmy Johnson and Bobby Womack - guitars; Spooner Oldham - organ; Tommy Cogbill - bass; Roger Hawkins - drums; Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow - trumpets; Tony Studd - bass trombone; King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess - tenor saxophones; Haywood Henry - baritone saxophone; The Sweet Inspirations, Carolyn & Erma Franklin - background vocals; horn arrangement: Arif Mardin

    4. "Groovin'" (Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati) 2:57
    5. "Ain't No Way" (Carolyn Franklin) 4:17
        Recorded on December 19 and 20, 1967
        Aretha Franklin - lead vocals and piano; Warren Smith - vibraharp; Tommy Cogbill - bass; Roger Hawkins - drums; Melvin Lastie, Joe Newman, Bernie Glow - trumpets; Tony Studd - bass trombone; King Curtis, Seldon Powell, Frank Wess - tenor saxophones; Frank Wess - flute; Haywood Henry - baritone saxophone; Carolyn Franklin and The Sweet Inspirations - background vocals; Cissy Houston - vocal obbligato; string and horn arrangement: Arif Mardin

Lady Soul was the 14th Studio album by Aretha Franklin. The album contains three of her biggest hit singles, Chain of Fools (#2), (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman (#8), and (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone (#5).

Next to I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You album, Lady Soul is probably one of my favourites of early days from the Queen of Soul (though saying early years is quite funny since she had already been recording for 12 years up to this point!). 

One of things that always fascinates me about some of these classic albums is the quality musicians who play and sing on them. This one is no different: Jimmy Johnson, Spooner Oldham, Bobby Womack, Eric Clapton, and  Cissy Houston and her group The Sweet Inspirations to name but a few.

Lady Soul is #84 in Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 22 - Anything That's Rock 'n' Roll's Fine?

There's a few links on today's post so please check them out by clicking on them.

Back in 2012 Bruce Springsteen was given the honour of being the Keynote Speaker at SXSW in Austin, Texas. Of course he took his duty very seriously opening with, "Good morning! Why are we up so .... early? How important can this speech be if we're giving it at noon? It can't be that important. Every decent musician in town is asleep, or they will be before I'm done with this thing, I guarantee you."

He went on to talk about Music and its meaning and in one section spoke about Genres, which was incredibly funny:

"There are so many sub–genres and fashions, two–tone, acid rock, alternative dance, alternative metal, alternative rock, art punk, art rock, avant garde metal, black metal, black and death metal, Christian metal, heavy metal, funk metal, bland metal, medieval metal, indie metal, melodic death metal, melodic black metal, metal core, hard core, electronic hard core, folk punk, folk rock, pop punk, Brit pop, grunge, sad core, surf music,  psychedelic rock,  punk rock, hip hop, rap rock, rap metal, Nintendo core, huh?
I just want to know what a Nintendo core is, myself. But rock noir, shock rock, skate punk, noise core, noise pop, noise rock, pagan rock, paisley underground, indy pop, indy rock, heartland rock, roots rock, samba rock, screamo–emo, shoegazing stoner rock, swamp pop, synth pop, rock against communism, garage rock, blues rock, death and roll, lo–fi, jangle pop, folk music. Just add neo– and post– to everything I said, and mention them all again. Yeah, and rock and roll."

If you want to read the rest of Bruce's Speech, Rolling Stone Magazine have a transcript of it here. Oh and you can actually see the Speech here. Word of warning, the speech does contain some strong language at times.

If you want to see just how crazy this all is check out Here the Wikipedia page spotlighting Popular Music Genres!

Not totally sure where the need to put everything in a box (genre) stemmed from but surely it has made us all a bit too much of a music snob! If you like one particular genre how on earth can you like something else in what seems like a total opposite genre!

There was a bit of conversation going with my friend Joe Bone (he has a great band by the way, Joe Bone and The Dark Vibes) about the issue of music genres and whether they die or not. Joe said this, "punk is music so if you say punk is dead then you're saying music is dead, music doesn't die, so called music genres don't die they just gets less popular, until they reinvent themselves again. ... music lives forever no matter what t-shirt you wear". Joe is absolutely spot on by the way and I could think of numerous examples of how a particular style has reinvented itself but here's one just as an aside. Blue Beat is famous for the Ska sound but's interesting looking at the label's history to discover that a lot of it's sound is rooted in Rock 'n' Roll, R&B, the Blues even (have a listen here) and of course Ska went on to develop further with Rocksteady and a whole boat load of other styles. I'm just waiting for the band that comes along that manages to create a combination of Screamo, Middle of the Road, Americana,  Stoner rock, Hardcore - and we'll call it Smash Music!

And a nice chap called Fishbones Glover (he's an amazing Photographer of all things musical) contributed to the chat and maybe summed it all up best when he said "There's only two types of music. Stuff you like and stuff you don't."

I kinda like that from Fishbones. It all sounds pretty simple doesn't it? But it's true. One of the things you will glean from this blog is that there is a very wide range of music listened to. I don't necessarily expect everyone to like what I post (it's nice when people do though) but ultimately it comes down to the things that are posted are musical sounds that I like (not matter how old, new, odd, obscure, seemingly opposite, or happy to sit side by side it is).

Have a great day. 

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

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