Saturday, June 30, 2012
Album:16 Biggest Hits
Though Moon River is Andy Williams' signature song, it was never released as a single so it was never a hit. His TV variety show was the main reason Williams was a star. He still performs at his theatre in Branson, MO. He was born Dec. 3, 1927 in Wall Lake, IA and he and his older brothers Bob, Don & Dick performed as The Williams Brothers in the 40s mostly on the radio. They sang backup vocals on the 1944 Bing Crosby hit Swingin' On A Star. Williams first recorded solo for RCA in 1953. When he became a regular on Steve Allen's Tonight Show in 1954, he was spotted by Cadence Records owner Archie Bleyer and signed a record deal. His first top ten hit was Canadian Sunset in 1956 and this was followed by his only number one hit Butterfly. His other big hit single Can't Get Used To Losing You reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963. Moon River was written by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer for the 1961 hit film Breakfast At Tiffany's. Though Audrey Hepburn didn't really sing and her voice was usually dubbed, she did sing Moon River in the film. Nobody liked her performance and Paramount Pictures wanted it to be deleted. Williams wanted to record the song but Bleyer didn't like it. So Williams left for Columbia. Soon after he bought Cadence and founded Barnaby Records. Columbia had Williams do an album of movie themes Moon River and Other Great Movie Themes. Williams sang Moon River on the Oscar broadcast and the song won for Best Original Song. In the two weeks following, record stores took 40,000 advance orders for the album. So Columbia rushed the release but they never released Moon River as a single. Williams adopted it as the theme song for his variety show and it is considered to be his signature song. He continued to sing songs from films and though it didn't convert to pop success, he still had a steady following of mostly older folks because of his TV show. When the show ended in 1971, Williams continued to tour and recorded for Columbia until 1976. He opened his own theatre in Branson, MO in 1991 and still performs there. He seems to record a lot of Christmas albums. This budget comp is a good intro to his music. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer in Nov. 2011 and is undergoing treatment in Los Angeles. Here's Andy Williams performing Moon River on The Andy Williams Show 1962.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Linda Clifford had success on the R & B and Dance charts in the late 70s and the early 80s. She last recorded an album in 1985. She was born June 14, 1944 in New York City and is a former Miss New York State. She started out as an actress in films like The Boston Strangler, Coogan's Bluff and Sweet Charity but switched to music first with the Jericho Jazz Singers and then her own group Linda and the Trade Winds. She recorded three singles for Paramount Records. A Long Long Winter charted on the R & B Singles chart in 1974. I think it was around this time that Paramount was swallowed by ABC Records. Linda signed with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label in 1977. Runaway Love is from her second album If My Friends Could See Me Now. It reached #3 on the R & B Singles chart and #2 on the Dance chart. The song was written and produced by Gil Askey who worked with The Supremes in the late 60s. Her cover of the standard If My Friends Could See Me Now was more disco than the R & B of Runaway Love. It topped the dance charts and labeled Linda as a Disco Diva. She had a total of four number one dance hits including Red Light, Shoot Your Best Shot and Don't Come Crying To Me. Linda moved to Capitol in 1982 and after three more albums, she lost her record deal. You can get all her hits on this budget CD from the Dutch label Neon. Linda Clifford is still around though she hasn't recorded an album since 1985. I noticed her website hasn't been updated since 2008. Here's the video for Runaway Love by Linda Clifford.
Thursday, June 28, 2012
|Photo by Tracey Nolan|
Song:Seul au Monde
Album:Parce Qu'on Vient de Loin
Soul singer songwriter Corneille was born in Europe, grew up in Africa and currently lives in Canada. He sings mostly in French and has had success in Quebec and France. Someone needs to properly introduce him to the English speaking audience because he's really good. He was born Cornelius Nyungura Mar. 24, 1977 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany to Rwandan parents completing an overseas study program so he grew up in Rwanda. As a child, he absorbed African music, American soul and his parents' collection of chanson records by Jacques Brel etc. Just as he was getting started in his music career in 1994, a Rwandan military team stormed his family's home and killed his whole family. Apparently his father was an enemy of the current regime. Corneille survived because he hid behind a sofa. He fled to Zaire and a German couple who were friends with his parents took him to Europe. In 1997, Corneille moved to Montreal to study communications at Concordia University. He formed the R & B group O.N.E. with Pierre Gage and Gardy Martin and they had a big hit in Quebec with the song Zoukin. Corneille went solo when O.N.E. split up in 2001 but Gage continues to work with Corneille. A performance at the 2002 Francofolies festival got him noticed by Eurythmics leader Dave Stewart and then a contract with the French label Wigram Records. Parce Qu'on Vient de Loin was his debut CD and Seul au Monde was a hit in France and Quebec. He won awards in both countries. He became a Canadian citizen in 2004 and married model Sofia de Madeiros in 2006. Corneille has also worked with Craig David, Jimmy Cliff and Youssou N'Dour. He released an English album in 2007 but outside of France and Quebec, Corneille is unknown. Even if you don't speak French, soul fans will enjoy Corneille's music. Here's the video for Seul au Monde by Corneille.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Song:A Wonderful Guy
Album:South Pacific: The New Broadway Cast Recording
Though the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical South Pacific had been revived on stage on a limited basis over the years, this 2008 production was the first full blown Broadway revival. It was very successful. It won seven Tonys and ran for two years. Kelli O'Hara was nominated for a Tony and her performance as Nelly Forbush got great reviews. Like her fellow Oklahoman Kristen Chenoweth, Kelli has done very well in Broadway musicals. She was born Apr. 16, 1976 in Oklahoma and graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Vocal Performance at Oklahoma State University. She moved to New York and started out as an understudy in the 2000 musical Jekyll & Hyde. Her debut as a featured performer was in the 2001 revival of the musical Follies. She got her first Tony nomination for the 2005 show The Light In The Piazza and then another one for the 2006 revival of The Pajama Game along with her co-star Harry Connick Jr. South Pacific opened on Apr. 3, 2008 and got mostly positive reviews. It won a total of seven Tonys. Kelli was nominated but didn't win. She took maternity leave for several months in 2009 but returned to the show until it closed in Aug. 2010. That's a pretty good run. Sony Masterworks released the 2008 Broadway cast recording on CD. Kelli O'Hara has recorded 2CDs including one produced by Harry Connick Jr. She has done some TV and film but seems to really enjoy working on Broadway. She is currently starring in the musical Nice Work If You Can Get It which premiered on Broadway in April. As for South Pacific, a planned film based on the 2008 production is being produced by veteran actor and producer Bob Balaban. Here's Kelli O'Hara performing A Wonderful Guy from South Pacific on the PBS show Live From Lincoln Center Aug. 2010.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Album:The Very Best Of The Seekers
The Australian folk pop group The Seekers had a good run in the mid-60s. The theme to the 1967 hit film Georgy Girl was their biggest hit in the US. They are a much bigger deal in England and Australia. The Seekers were formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1962. Athol Guy, Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley all went to the same high school. They had the doo wop group The Escorts. When the lead singer left, they changed the group name to The Seekers. Guy worked with new lead singer Judith Durham at an ad agency. She sang part time with The Seekers while singing jazz elsewhere. As The Seekers got a following in Melbourne, Judith got the group a record deal. The first single Waltzing Matilda was a top 40 hit in Australia. A gig on a cruise ship led them to England. They weren't planning to stay but they started getting regular bookings and appeared on the TV series Call In On Carroll. When The Seekers opened for Dusty Springfield, they met her brother Tom Springfield of The Springfields and he wrote I'll Never Find Another You. It was a big enough hit to get The Seekers a deal with EMI's Columbia label. The song topped the British charts and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. The Seekers were on Capitol in the US. They were the first Aussie group to have a top five hit in Australia, England and the US. The Seekers had mixed chart success until Georgy Girl reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. It sold 3.5 million copies. The song was written by actor singer Jim Dale and Tom Springfield for the hit film Georgy Girl. That the film was a big hit certainly helped the song. The Seekers split up in 1968 when Judith Durham left for a solo career. There are two versions of The Very Best of the Seekers available. This cover is from the British version and is available as a budget CD. Keith Potger formed The New Seekers and they had a big hit with I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing. Guy Athol was a TV personality in Australia and went into politics in 1973. Judith Durham and Bruce Woodley recorded solo. The Seekers were first reformed in the 70s and went through different lineups. The original Seekers first reformed in 1993 and perform occasionally usually in Australia. They have also produced a documentary for Australian TV. Here's The Seekers performing Georgy Girl in Australia 1967.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Song:What'll I Do For Satisfaction
Album:The Complete Stax/Volt Singles 1959-1968
When you listen to this 1968 nugget from the Stax Records archive, you will think the singer is black and from the south. But Johnny Daye is a white guy from Pittsburgh. He recorded a few singles in the 60s that didn't catch on. Because of his stage antics, Daye was known as the white James Brown. After recording a 1965 single for a local label, he signed with Johnny Nash's Jomada label and he recorded a couple of unsuccessful singles. He recorded a 1966 single for Cameo-Parkway. Otis Redding saw Daye perform and took him to Memphis to record at Stax. He recorded two singles including What'll I Do For Satisfaction. Neither was successful. Of course Booker T & The MGs and the Memphis Horns played on the record. MGs guitarist Steve Cropper produced the record and wrote the song with Stax staff songwriter Joseph Shamwell. Shamwell is from Washington and Eddie Floyd brought him to Memphis to work at Stax. After Stax closed in the 70s, he moved to Jackson, MS and worked as a staff songwriter for Malaco Records. He is also known as the DJ Soul Ranger. Of course as we all know, Otis Redding died in a plane crash in Dec. 1967 and his death ended Johnny Daye's time at Stax. Steve Cropper says that Redding really liked Daye and if Redding had lived, he would have continued to work with him. Janet Jackson covered What'll I Do on her 1993 album Janet. It was released as a double sided single with Whoops Now in 1995 but was not a hit. The only place you can get Johnny Daye's recording of What'll I Do For Satisfaction is on this 9CD box set of Stax/Volt singles. This box is a must for soul fans. I guess Johnny Daye quit the music business and got a day job. But he resurfaced on the 2007 blues album by bassist Robert Peckman called Strirrin' Up Bees. Peckman was in the 70s disco group Q. Here's a video for What'll I Do For Satisfaction by Johnny Daye.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Song:Got To Be Real
Album:The Real Thing
The most interesting thing about Cheryl Lynn is she was discovered on Chuck Barris' 70s talent show spoof The Gong Show. Got To Be Real was her biggest pop hit in 1979 but she was a regular on the R & B and dance charts in the 80s. She was born Lynda Cheryl Smith Mar. 11, 1957 in Los Angeles and grew up singing in church. Her first professional job was as a backup vocalist in the 1976 touring cast of the Broadway show The Wiz. Before she went on tour, she performed You Are So Beautiful on The Gong Show and won that episode. For those too young to know, The Gong Show was hosted and produced by game show producer Chuck Barris. For the most part, the show was one big inside joke and a lot of performers were deliberately bad. But after Cheryl Lynn performed on The Gong Show, record companies were falling over each other trying to sign her. She was still on tour with The Wiz. Eventually she signed with Columbia Records. They assigned veteran producer and arranger Marty Paich and his son David Paich of Toto to work with her. You probably first heard Cheryl singing backup vocals on the 1978 Toto hit Georgy Porgy. Got To Be Real was her first single and it topped the R & B Singles chart and reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Cheryl wrote the song with David Paich and David Foster. Cheryl continued to have success on the R & B and dance charts in the 80s with songs like Shake It Up Tonight and Encore. But Got To Be Real was her only big pop hit. You can get all her hits on this budget comp. Cheryl Lynn left Columbia in 1985 and recorded for the EMI labels Manhattan and Virgin. After that she turned to session work and still does that today. She also tours occasionally. But other than a 1995 album that was released only in Japan and the the song Sweet Kind Of Life from the 2004 film Shark Tale, she hasn't recorded. Here's Cheryl Lynn performing Got To Be Real on Soul Train 1979.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Song:More Today Than Yesterday
Album:The Ultimate Rock & Roll Collection: The 60s
More Today Than Yesterday was the only big hit for Spiral Starecase in 1969. A couple of their other songs charted so they are not technically a one hit wonder. But most folks only know the one song. They were originally called The Fydallions in 1964. Lead singer Pat Upton is an Alabama native and was in the Air Force stationed in Sacramento, CA. The band was formed for an Air Force talent contest. Other members were Dick Lopes on sax, Bobby Raymond on bass, Harvey Kaplan on organ and Vinnie Parello on drums. The band stayed together when they all left the Air Force and they played Vegas and toured California. They recorded a couple of singles for a small label. Then they were spotted by Columbia Records house producer Gary Usher. Usher had worked with The Beach Boys. Columbia signed the band but they didn't like the band name or their appearance. They looked like a Vegas lounge act and Columbia wanted them to look like hippies. The group was named after the 1946 film The Spiral Staircase with a deliberate misspelling so no one would sue them. Their first two singles got regional airplay. Usher left Columbia and Sonny Knight was brought in to produce the Spiral Starecase album. Knight had an R & B hit in 1956 with Confidential and turned to producing in the 60s. More Today Than Yesterday reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 but it sold over a million copies and was certified Gold. It probably should have charted higher. Spiral Starecase recorded an album but conflict within the group over money forced them to disband when Upton left. You can get More Today Than Yesterday on this Collectables various artists comp. Pat Upton moved to Los Angeles was a member of Rick Nelson's band until Nelson's death. He now lives in Alabama, performs occasionally and cashes royalty cheques. Harvey Kaplan reformed Spiral Starecase with new musicians and toured the nostalgia circuit. His daughter Brenda K Starr had some R & B hits in the 80s. Kaplan died in 2008 and his wife still owns the Spiral Starecase name. Bobby Raymond died in 1984. Dick Lopes owns a hair salon in Sacramento. Vinnie Parello is retired. Here's Spiral Starecase performing More Today Than Yesterday 1969.
Friday, June 22, 2012
On last night's Impact, TNA presented their first female Gut Check contestant. Her name is Taeler Hendrix. Since a lot of you were probably watching the NBA finals, here's the match video. TNA is trying to present Gut Check as real though if you watched the first two, it's pretty obvious that it's a worked shoot. The first one in particular did not go as planned when Ric Flair strayed from the script. So they ended up saying yes to a guy they didn't really want because he lives in Canada. So they put Taeler Hendrix in a match with Tara. When I found out yesterday that Taeler would be on Impact, I watched a couple of her matches on Youtube. Taeler is from the Boston area and has been a pro wrestler since 2008. It looks like she started out as a valet. She has worked at OVW since last fall. OVW has a working agreement with TNA run by Al Snow. Taeler is attractive but the WWE would tell her to get a tan. It looks like she has already had a boob job. What I find with indie wrestlers like Taeler who have been around for a while is they have some wrestling ability but they have reached a plateau and are unable to get to a higher skill level. And I think that's true of Taeler. She has some skills but is lacking in some areas. Lately in OVW she has been a heel and they may be hiding her lack of skill. She's not a high flyer which is fine but she needs to improve her basics. In this match, she's clearly a babyface and Tara is the mean old veteran. One specific thing I noticed about Taeler is she can't throw a punch. That's a basic she needs to learn properly. She's OK but if I was a judge, she wouldn't get the job. She needs to improve. Maybe she needs to go to TAZZ' finishing school. Because she has some ability but she needs to step it up. I don't know what the judges will say. One rumour I heard is Tara will be a guest judge. But will she be in character because the real Lisa Marie Varon is one of the nicest people ever and a notorious softie. Maybe the storyline is to hire her but have Tara train her. I understand training wrestlers is something Lisa is planning to do. Check out the match and judge for yourself.
Song:Play That Funky Music
Album:Soul Hits Of The 70's
Play That Funky Music was one of the biggest hits of 1976. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the R & B Singles chart. So it crossed over in a big way. Though it is perceived as a one hit wonder, some of Wild Cherry's other songs charted. So technically Play That Funky Music is not a one hit wonder but it's the only song most folks remember. I would describe it as the one really good song by a mediocre band. Wild Cherry lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Rob Parissi grew up in the Steubenville, OH suburb of Mingo Junction. He formed Wild Cherry in 1970 and played clubs in the Ohio Valley, Pittsburgh and Wheeling, WV. They released singles independently and signed with Brown Bag Records with United Artists distribution. Brown Bag was owned by Terry Knight of the 60s band Terry Knight and the Pack which morphed into Grand Funk Railroad. Some singles were released but Parissi became disillusioned and split up the band. He managed a steak house for a while. In 1975, he reformed Wild Cherry with Bryan Bassett on guitar, Ron Beitle on drums and Allen Wentz on bass. They were veterans of the Pittsburgh music scene. Wild Cherry were always a rock group. But they were playing a gig in Pittsburgh when a table of black fans kept yelling "When are you white boys gonna play some funky music?" During a break between sets, Beitle repeated the phrase and Parissi wrote it down on a drink order pad. He wrote the song in five minutes. When Wild Cherry recorded the song, studio engineer Ken Hammann liked it so much, Wild Cherry got a record deal with Sweet City Records with Epic Records distribution. The band wanted Play That Funky Music to be on the B-side of their cover of The Commodores' I Feel Sanctified. Sweet City flipped it over and the rest is history. Play That Funky Music was one of those rare songs to cross all musical genres. You can get it on this 3CD various artists budget comp from Sony. Subsequent releases weren't as successful and Wild Cherry split up in 1979. You may recall that rapper Vanilla Ice covered Play That Funky Music but didn't credit Parissi. Parissi sued him successfully. Rob Parissi moved to Miami in 1979 and recorded with Bobby Caldwell. He has also been a radio personality in Wheeling, WV and currently records and produces smooth jazz. Allen Wentz is a session musician in New York City. Bryan Bassett owns a recording studio in Florida and tours with Foghat. Here's Wild Cherry performing Play That Funky Music on The Midnight Special 1976.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Song:In A Mist (Bixology)
Album:Vol. 1: Singin' The Blues
Along with Louis Armstrong, Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke is considered an influential jazz soloist. Of course the big difference is Beiderbecke died at a very young age and wasn't well known when he died. He is known for his trumpet playing. But In A Mist is one of Beiderbecke's cornerstone compositions but it's a solo piano piece. His trumpet playing was brilliant but we usually hear Beiderbecke in a very short burst within a large band context. He was born Mar. 10, 1903 in Davenport, IA and started playing piano at age three. He was a bit of a local prodigy. Bix was a family nickname. He started listening to jazz as a teen. His parents enrolled him in the exclusive Forest Lake Academy in the hopes that Bix would lose interest in music. Instead he took a train to Chicago to listen to jazz and sit in with bands. He got into trouble at school and moved to Chicago in 1922 to join The Cascades Band. In 1923 he joined the Wolverines Band and was in the band when they recorded in 1924. He also met Hoagy Carmichael who was a big influence. He left the Wolverines for Jean Goldkette in Detroit. But he didn't stay there long because Goldkette thought his playing was too hot. But he was introduced to sax player Frankie Trumbauer and they put a band together for the summer of 1925. The two returned to Goldkette afterwards. By this time Beiderbecke already had a reputation as a bad drunk. Goldkette did record for RCA in 1926. But Beiderbecke was not featured on those recordings. You have to be careful when shopping for Beiderbecke CDs. Meanwhile, Beiderbecke and Trumbauer formed a band to record for Columbia's Okeh label. This period in 1927 is when Beiderbecke recorded the solo piano piece In A Mist (Bixology) and those recordings are available on this Columbia budget comp. When Goldkette's band folded in Sept. 1927, the famed bandleader Paul Whiteman scooped up the musicians including Beiderbecke and Trumbauer. It was a good paying gig but Beiderbecke hated Whiteman's music. His drinking got worse and then he got the DTs when he tried to stop. He went home to Iowa to recover. When Beiderbecke returned to New York, Whiteman held a job for him but Beiderbecke refused it. But jobs were tough to come by for musicians in post stock market crash New York. Beiderbecke's final recordings were with Hoagy Carmichael in 1930. After that, Beiderbecke couldn't get work and he was still drinking anyway. Bix Beiderbecke died of pneumonia on Aug. 6, 1931 at age 26. Though he was respected by fellow musicians during his life, Beiderbecke was unknown otherwise. His legacy is much bigger today then it ever was back then. Today he is hailed as a jazz innovator and his music is worth checking out. Here's a video for In A Mist (Bixology) by Bix Beiderbecke.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Song:I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)
Michael McDonald started out as a session singer and became a star when he became lead singer of The Doobie Brothers on hits like What A Fool Believes. Then he went solo and I Keep Forgettin' was his biggest hit in 1982. He was born Feb. 12, 1952 in St. Louis and played in local bands as a teen. He moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and became a part of the local studio scene. He sang backup vocals and played piano for Steely Dan in 1975 and this led to McDonald joining The Doobie Brothers in 1976 when lead singer Tom Johnston became ill. McDonald was lead singer on their biggest hits including Taking It To The Streets and What A Fool Believes. So he toured with The Doobie Brothers and continued to play sessions until he signed a record deal with Warner Bros. If That's What It Takes was McDonald's 1982 solo debut and I'll Keep Forgettin' was the first single. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a top ten R & B hit. McDonald wrote the song with Ed Sanford of The Sanford Townsend Band. When it was discovered to be similar to the 1962 Chuck Jackson hit I Keep Forgettin', the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Lieber & Mike Stoller were added to the credit. McDonald had a top twenty hit in 1983 with his duet with James Ingram Yah Mo Be There. And his duet with Patti LaBelle On My Own topped the charts in 1986. His only other top ten solo hit was Sweet Freedom from the 1986 film Running Scared. McDonald faded and left Warners in 1993. You can get all his hits including some Doobie Brothers songs on this Rhino comp. Michael McDonald signed with Motown in 2003 and has had success recording covers of Motown and other soul classics. He is currently on tour and has clearly embraced his status as a blue eyed soul nostalgia act. Here's the video for I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near) by Michael McDonald.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Album:The Definitive Collection
Hungry Eyes was another smash hit from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. It was somewhat of a comeback for Eric Carmen after success as a solo artist in the 70s and his success with The Raspberries before that. He was born Aug. 11, 1949 in Cleveland and grew up in the suburb of Lyndhurst. He took violin lessons from his aunt and played in bands in high school. While attending John Carroll University, he joined the band Cyrus Erie who recorded several unsuccessful singles for Epic. Meanwhile, The Choir had a hit in 1967 with It's Cold Outside. The two bands merged to become The Raspberries. Carmen was lead singer and The Raspberries had a top five hit with Go All The Way in 1972. When The Raspberries split up in 1975, Carmen signed with Arista Records. All By Myself reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. He also had a top twenty hit with Never Gonna Fall In Love Again. When his contract with Arista ran out, Carmen decided to take a break from recording. He wrote the hit song Almost Paradise for the 1984 film Footloose and then released an album on Geffen Records and had a top ten hit with I Wanna Hear It From You. But he really scored with Hungry Eyes from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Like The Time Of My Life, Hungry Eyes was written by Franke Previte and John DiNicola. Carmen also scored a top five hit in 1988 with Make Me Lose Control released as a single only and then added to the 1988 album The Best Of Eric Carmen. Since then, other than a 2004 Raspberries reunion tour, Carmen hasn't done much except collect songwriting royalties. This 1997 comp was rereleased as a budget CD by Sony in 2007. It includes some Raspberries hits and Geffen recordings. So kudos to Arista for licensing those songs. Here's the video for Hungry Eyes by Eric Carmen.
Monday, June 18, 2012
The Supremes are the most successful vocal group in history. We're all familiar with their hits of the 60s featuring lead singer Diana Ross. The 1972 top twenty hit Floy Joy came after Diana left The Supremes for a solo career. It was as early as 1966 that Supremes Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson complained to Motown owner Berry Gordy that they deserved the star treatment Diana was getting. Martha Reeves complained about this even louder. Mary remained professional but Florence started drinking and gaining weight. But Gordy was reluctant to fire her because he thought their onstage banter was a big part of their live shows and he didn't want to upset the venues. But when Florence became unreliable in 1967 and missed shows and recording sessions, Gordy had no choice but to replace Florence with Cindy Birdsong of Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles. She officially replaced Florence on July 1, 1967. Florence Ballard attempted a solo career unsuccessfully and died in 1976. The Supremes continued to have hits like Love Child. But by late 1969, it became clear that Diana Ross was leaving for a solo career. Gordy auditioned several singers to replace her including Syreeta Wright but settled on a 24 year old singer he discovered in Miami. Her name was Jean Terrell and she was the sister of heavyweight boxer Ernie Terrell. After Jean was officially introduced in Jan. 1970, Gordy wanted to replace Jean with Syreeta. Mary Wilson said no and Gordy said he wouldn't work with The Supremes anymore. This version of The Supremes had some hits including Up The Ladder To The Roof and Stoned Love in 1970. Floy Joy was their final top twenty hit in 1972. It was written and produced by Smokey Robinson. Cindy Birdsong left soon after and was replaced by Lynda Laurence. She didn't last long and Cindy returned. But Motown moved to Los Angeles and The Supremes were one of several acts who were left behind. Jean Terrell left in 1973 and was replaced by Scherrie Payne (Freda Payne's sister). Jean went on to a significant solo career in the late 70s. After more personnel changes with no success, The Supremes disbanded in 1977. You can get Floy Joy on this 2CD comp from Hip-O. Here's The Supremes featuring lead vocals by Mary Wilson and Jean Terrell performing Floy Joy on Soul Train 1972.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Album:The Bright Lights EP
Some have called guitarist Gary Clark Jr. the savior of the blues. I don't know about that but he can sure swing that ax. He has become a music festival favourite and popular session musician. If only Warner Bros. would release his album. He was born Feb. 15, 1984 in Austin, TX. He met Antone's club owner Clifford Antone as a teen and Clark played gigs at the club. He released a couple of CDs on his own label. He costarred in John Sayles' 2007 film Honeydripper. What got Clark a lot of attention was his performance at the 2010 Crossroads Music Festival with Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow and Doyle Bramhall II. Clark signed with Warner Bros. and The Bright Lights EP was released Aug. 2011 complete with a music video. Though the EP was acclaimed, the full album has yet to surface. I wish I could tell you when it was coming out but I don't know. Meanwhile, Clark's performance last week at Bonaroo was streamed on Youtube. So he's keeping busy and gaining attention. Geez, Warners. Where's his album? Here's the video for Bright Lights by Gary Clark Jr.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Song:Before I Let You Go
Album:No Diggity: The Very Best Of Blackstreet
Teddy Riley is best known as a producer and the architect of New Jack Swing. But he also had success with his own groups. Before I Let You Go was a top ten hit in 1994 for Blackstreet. Riley had a lot of success with his group Guy in the late 80s. After he split with manager Gene Griffin, Riley disbanded Guy in 1992. With his new manager Thomas Taliaferro, he formed Blackstreet with Chauncey Hannibal, Levi Little and Joseph Stonestreet. Hannibal and Little were backup singers with Guy. They released the single Baby Be Mine for the soundtrack of the 1993 film CB4. Stonestreet left soon after this and was replaced by Dave Hollister. Hollister recorded with 2Pac in 1991. That was the lineup for Blackstreet's 1994 debut CD Blackstreet. Before I Let You Go was their second single and it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Hollister delivered a great vocal and the song is now considered to be a bedroom classic. Hollister and Little left Blackstreet before the 1996 album Another Level and were replaced by Mark Middleton and Eric Williams. Blackstreet topped the charts with the 1996 song No Diggity featuring Dr. Dre. They also had success with Take Me There from the Rugrats soundtrack. After one more album in 1999, a dispute over money between Riley and the other members forced Blackstreet to disband. Riley patched things up with Hannibal and Blackstreet was reformed for the 2003 CD Level II. Meanwhile, Dave Hollister had a significant career in R & B and gospel. But he has returned to Blackstreet and a new CD is scheduled for release later this year. You can get most of their hits on this comp. Here's the video for Before I Let You Go by Blackstreet.
Friday, June 15, 2012
Song:Welcome To The 60s
Album:Hairspray: Soundtrack To The Motion Picture
One of the trends we have seen is to take a cult film and turn it into a Broadway musical. And if the show is successful, it inevitably is turned into a film. Hairspray started out as John Waters' 1988 valentine to his hometown of Baltimore starring Ricki Lake as teenager Tracy Turnblad. It was turned into a musical by screenwriter Leslie Dixon with songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. This kind of show is Shaiman's specialty and he currently works on the NBC TV series Smash. Marissa Janet Winokur starred as Tracy Turnblad. When the show became a big hit, New Line Cinema, who owned the film Hairspray, wanted to turn it into a film. They hired Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce. They had just finished the film Chicago. Choreographer Adam Shankman was hired to direct. His latest film is Rock Of Ages and some may recognize him as a judge on the FOX talent show So You Think You Can Dance. They kept a lot of the Broadway cast but John Travolta was hired to play Tracy's mother. He is in drag and wearing a fat suit. The role was played on Broadway by Harvey Feirstein. By this time, Winokur was in her 30s so they decided to hold auditions and find a younger actress. Nikki Blonsky was exactly who they were looking for. She was born Nov. 9, 1988 in Great Neck, Long Island, NY. She performed in high school musical theater and was working in an ice cream shop when she got the role in Hairspray. She was great in the film and the film was successful financially. I think fans of early 60s music will enjoy it. There were the usual complaints about changes from the Broadway show. According to Shankman, he wanted to give Zac Efron a bigger presence in the film as he was becoming a teen idol. So songs were added for him. New Line wanted to produce a sequel. But Shankman couldn't figure out how to do it so it's not happening. Nikki Blonsky has done some TV but she is now working as a cosmetologist in a Long Island hair salon. She says she hasn't given up on acting. Here's Nikki Blonsky with John Travolta and The Dynamites performing Welcome To The 60s from the 2007 film Hairspray.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Song:She's A Beauty
Album:The Best Of The Tubes
The Tubes started out in the 70s as a parody band. They were a popular live band but that didn't translate into record sales. When they were dropped and signed with a new record company, they became a more conventional rock band and had their only top ten hit with She's A Beauty in 1983. They were probably ahead of their time in the 70s. The Tubes started out in Phoenix in the late 60s as Beans with guitarist and songwriter Bill Spooner, keyboard player Vince Welnick and bassist Rick Anderson. They moved to San Francisco in 1972 and brought with them drummer Prairie Prince from the Phoenix band Red, White & Blues and added guitarist Roger Steen, keyboard player Michael Cotten and former roadie Fee Waybill on lead vocals. The group name was changed to The Tubes. Spooner wrote satirical songs and Waybill played several characters in their live shows. This got The Tubes a significant fanbase and a contract with A & M Records in 1975. White Punks On Dope became a cult hit but the content didn't generate radio play or record sales. After A & M rejected their fifth album, The Tubes were dumped. They signed with Capitol and with the 1981 David Foster produced album The Completion Backward Principle, The Tubes went in a more conventional direction. The album sold better and the singles Don't Want To Wait Anymore and Talk To Ya Later charted. Foster also produced their 1983 album Inside Outside. She's A Beauty reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 200. The risque video was put into heavy rotation on MTV and shows that if MTV had existed in the 70s, The Tubes might have been more successful then. BTW, the 12 year old boy in the video went on to have a sex change to become actress Alexis Arquette. Waybill wrote She's A Beauty with Foster and Steve Lukather of Toto. Waybill got the idea for the song when he passed by a San Francisco peep show. The Tubes recorded one more album for Capitol and were dropped after some record company management changes. Waybill left for a solo career but had success mostly as a songwriter. There is no comp with recordings from A & M and Capitol. This budget comp has the best of their Capitol recordings. Vince Welnick left to tour with Todd Rundgren in 1989 and then joined The Grateful Dead in 1990. Welnick committed suicide in 2006. Waybill returned to The Tubes in 1993 and they have recorded occasionally and still tour. Here's the video for She's A Beauty by The Tubes.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The Ruby Suns are part of a loose collective of bands based in New Zealand. Group leader Ryun McPhun was born in Ventura, CA and regularly visited New Zealand when he was a child. So if you listen to his music, he is obviously a Brian Wilson fan. After traveling in Africa and Asia seeking out different kinds of music, McPhun moved to Auckland in 2003. He became a part time member of The Brunettes. The Brunettes have been around the New Zealand music scene since 1998. After playing with a couple of other bands, McPhun started The Ruby Suns in 2005 and released his first CD in New Zealand. Through his association with The Brunettes, he got a US record deal with Sub Pop and released Sea Lion in 2007. The Ruby Suns mix of California pop and world music influences caught on with indie music fans. They toured Europe and Australia. They got more attention when Oh, Mojave was used in a Windows Vista commercial. The Ruby Suns 2010 CD Fight Softly was more of a Ryan McPhun solo CD as he recorded it in his home studio. It remains to be seen if McPhun will continue The Ruby Suns. But I'm sure he will continue to work with The Brunettes and other bands in Auckland. Here's a video of The Ruby Suns performing Oh, Mojave in the streets of Paris 2007.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
With his third CD Chief and the single Homeboy, Country music singer songwriter Eric Church crossed over to mainstream music in a big way. He is currently headlining his own tour for the first time. Homeboy generated some controversy so some country radio stations wouldn't play it. But fans made it a big hit anyway. He was born May 3, 1977 in Granite Falls, NC. Church started writing songs as a teen and liked to cover Jimmy Buffett songs when he performed live. He led the band Mountain Boys while earning a marketing degree at Appalachian State University. After graduating, he moved to Nashville to get into the music business. He signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV Tree and his song The World Needs A Drink was a top 30 country hit for Terri Clark. Capitol Nashville spotted Church but didn't think his music was interesting enough to earn him a contract. Some Jay Joyce produced demos changed their minds and Church signed in 2006. Joyce was lead singer and guitarist for the early 90s alt rock band Bedlam who were featured in the 1992 film Reservoir Dogs. When Bedlam split up, Joyce turned to Nashville session work. He not only produces Church's recordings but leads his touring band. Church's first two CDs did well in the country market. But it was with the single Homeboy and then the album Chief that Church really broke through. Church wrote Homeboy with veteran Nashville songwriter Casey Beathard. The narrative of the song has the singer warning his brother of a destructive lifestyle. The video was filmed at a prison. The controversy was the use of the word "homeboy" supposedly stereotyping the destructive lifestyle as a black urban lifestyle. Beathard wrote the lyrics when he heard his son use the word "homeboy" in conversation. The result was some country radio stations wouldn't play Homeboy and it only reached #13 on the Country Singles chart. CMT put the video in heavy rotation and the song caught on anyway. The rock backbeat and Joyce's guitar solo may have helped the song connect with non-country fans. Church finally had his first number one country single with Drink In My Hand and Bruce Springsteen also topped the country chart and was a top twenty pop hit. Chief topped the Billboard Hot 200 and the Country Album chart and was certified Gold. Eric Church and his wife have a son. He is currently on tour. I expect we will see new music from him in 2013. Here's the video for Homeboy by Eric Church.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Here's the match video from last night's TNA PPV with Gail Kim defending the TNA Knockouts Championship against Miss Tessmacher or as they are apparently going to call her, Tess. Well, they're not going to call her Brooke with Brooke Hogan around. Tess won the title shot in a four way match on Thursday's Impact. So I know what you're thinking. Didn't they do this match on last month's PPV? Why are they doing it again? The show was in Texas and Tess is from Texas. So obviously they figure she will get a home town pop. I still think she's too green to be on a PPV and last night's match hasn't changed my opinion. The match started out OK and Gail was doing the heavy lifting. It appears Tess may have had her shoulder hurt legit by a shoulder breaker and she seemed limited after that. So her comeback seemed a little weak. Tess unsuccessfully tried her modified bulldog finisher a couple of times. And then the gimmick was that Gail wanted to use Tess' finisher to beat her. So when Gail tried that, Tess rolled her up for the win. There are times when that kind of finish can be done but not on a PPV. It's lame. I don't mind the title change too much because Gail can be a stronger heel in pursuit of the belt. Maybe being more vicious will get Orlando fans to boo her. And I wouldn't mind if Tess' tag team partner Tara turned on her and teamed up with Gail. The angle hasn't been strong enough for me. TNA is compensating for the greenhorn. Fans won't buy it in the long run. Enjoy the video!
TNA Slammiversary 2012 - Part 7/12 (HQ) by WrestlingVidsUploaderHQv2
TNA Slammiversary 2012 - Part 7/12 (HQ) by WrestlingVidsUploaderHQv2
Song:Only The Lonely
It might surprise music fans to know that The Motels were around for over a decade before the 1982 top ten hit Only The Lonely. They had a second top ten hit in 1983 with Suddenly Last Summer. Record company squabbling prevented them from being bigger. Lead singer and main songwriter Martha Davis started The Warfield Foxes in 1971 in Berkeley, CA. The band moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and changed the name to Angles Of Mercy and then The Motels. Local gigs generated some buzz. The Motels recorded a demo for Warner Bros. They turned it down but Capitol offered them a contract which The Motels turned down. They split up in 1977 but Martha convinced guitarist Jeff Jourard formerly of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers to reform The Motels. After auditions, Jourard's brother Marty Jourard on keyboards and sax, Michael Goodroe on bass and Brian Glascock on drums were added. They were again offered a contract by Capitol. This time they signed. Their debut album The motels was released in 1979 and didn't do well. Then Jeff Jourard left and was replaced by Martha's boyfriend Tim McGovern. Their second album Careful did better but there was no hit single. Capitol was unhappy with The Motels. The band wanted to be dark and moody and all Capitol wanted was a hit single. So they brought in producer Val Geray who had just had success with Kim Carnes' Bette Davis Eyes to keep them on track. It didn't work out at first. The album was to be called Apocalypso. McGovern threw Geray out of the studio and The Motels produced this dark music. Capitol rejected it as too weird and told the band to redo the album and listen to Geray. Meanwhile, Davis and McGovern split up and he left the band. They used studio musicians to fill in. The album All Four One was released Apr. 1982 and Only The Lonely reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The video went into heavy rotation on MTV. In 1983, they had another top ten hit with Suddenly Last Summer. Geray became the group's manager but he was fired during their tour. So for their fifth album, Capitol brought in Richie Zito to produce the 1985 album Shock. It did OK but not as well as previous albums. While planning the next album, Martha Davis split up The Motels to go solo.
Her 1987 album Policy did not do well and she left Capitol. You can get all The Motels' hits on this budget comp. Martha Davis' career in the 90s was sporadic until she reformed The Motels in 1997. They continue to tour and occasionally record today. Here's the video for Only The Lonely by The Motels.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Album:Playlist: The Very Best Of Jefferson Starship
Jefferson Starship was a continuation of the legendary 60s psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane. Miracles was their biggest hit in 1975. With personnel changes, the band changed in the 80s and was forced to change their name to Starship. Marty Balin left Jefferson Airplane in 1970 and Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady formed Hot Tuna. Meanwhile, Paul Kantner recorded the solo album Blows Against The Empire which he unofficially called Jefferson Starship. Then in 1971, Kantner and Grace Slick released the album Sunfighter. When it became clear that Kaukonen and Casady were not returning, Kantner wanted to keep Jefferson Airplane together and he recruited former Quicksilver Messenger Service bassist David Freiberg. As Kantner, Slick & Freiberg, they recorded the 1973 album Baron von Tollbooth & The Chrome Nun. Slick released a solo album Manhole in 1974. Kantner added teen guitarist Craig Chaquico, who had played on Sunfighter, violinist Papa John Creach, who had played with Hot Tuna, drummer John Barbata of The Turtles and Jorma Kaukonen's brother Peter. He was replaced by Pete Sears who played on Slick's solo album. Freiberg was moved to keyboards. For legal reasons, the name Jefferson Airplane could not be used. So Kantner settled on Jefferson Starship. Their 1974 debut album Dragon Fly was certified Gold but there was no hit single. Kantner and Marty Balin co-wrote the song Caroline for that album and Balin was guest vocalist. But eventually Balin agreed to return and wrote several songs on the 1975 album Red Octopus. He also sang lead on Miracles which reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. At this point, Jefferson Starship was more successful that Jefferson Airplane. But they started to have problems. Creach left. Balin was reluctant to tour and Slick was having alcohol problems. They both left in 1978. Mickey Thomas replaced Slick and when Barbata was injured in a car crash, he was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar. The group had moderate success in this period. Grace Slick returned to the band and Paul Kantner left in 1984. Kantner owned the name Jefferson Starship so the band name was changed to Starship. Except for Slick, the band was completely different anyway. Starship had two number one hits. Slick left in 1988 and retired. Mickey Thomas continued Starship but they obviously weren't as successful. Kantner reformed Jefferson Starship in 1992 and has led versions of the band ever since. They last recorded in 2008. You can get the Jefferson Starship hits on this budget comp. Here's a video for Miracles by Jefferson Starship.
Saturday, June 09, 2012
Song:Can't We Fall In Love Again
Album:Ultimate Phyllis Hyman
Phyllis Hyman was a great singer whose personal problems led to drug addiction and her 1995 suicide. This 1981 bedroom classic duet with Michael Henderson Can't We Fall In Love Again was one of her most memorable songs and one of her three top ten R & B singles. She also had success on Broadway. She was born July 6, 1949 in Philadelphia and grew up in Pittsburgh. She signed with Desert Moon Records in 1975 but never recorded for them. Phyllis moved to New York and Norman Connors featured her on the 1977 hit Betcha By Golly Wow. This led to a contract with Buddah Records. Connors continued to produce her albums. When Arista Records bought Buddah in 1978, Phyllis moved to Arista. She finally had success when You Know How To Love Me reached #12 on the R & B Singles chart in 1979 and also did well on the dance chart. She did even better when Can't We Fall In Love Again reached #9 on the R & B Singles chart in 1981. Today the song is considered a bedroom classic. Michael Henderson played bass for Miles Davis in the early 70s but turned to crooning in the late 70s. He had some hits and then retired in 1986. The song was written by Peter Ivers and John Lewis Parker. Ivers was leader of the 60s psychedelic band Beacon Street Union and turned to jazz in the 70s. He was murdered in 1984. He knew Parker from the New York studio scene. James Ingram and The Jones Girls provide background vocals and David T. Walker played the guitar solo. One of the things I like about this song is the vocals in the last half of the song appear to be improvised. That adds so much to the record. At the time, Phyllis was also performing in the Broadway show Sophisticated Ladies. She was nominated for a Tony and remained in the show for two years. She turned to cocaine after having problems in her marriage. She also had problems with Arista and she went to Philadelphia International in 1985. She even had her only number one R & B hit with Don't Wanna Change The World in 1991. But the cocaine won and Phyllis Hyman committed suicide with a drug overdose on June 30, 1995 at age 45. She left a suicide note. You can get all of her hits on this budget CD. Here's a video for Can't We Fall In Love Again by Phyllis Hyman featuring Michael Henderson.
Friday, June 08, 2012
Song:(I've Had) The Time Of My Life
Album:Dirty Dancing: Twentieth Anniversary Edition
The soundtrack to the 1987 hit film Dirty Dancing was an even bigger hit than the film. Because the film was set in the early 60s, it had a mix of oldies and songs written and recorded for the film. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life was the biggest hit from the soundtrack. Bill Medley is best known as half of The Righteous Brothers. He had modest success as a solo artist especially on the country charts in the 80s. Jennifer Warnes is known for her interpretations of Leonard Cohen songs. But she has had two number one hits that were duets in films. Dirty Dancing was produced independently and then picked up for distribution by Vestron Video. It was their first theatrical film. RCA Records hired Jimmy Ienner to produce the soundtrack. During rehearsals, the cast danced to oldies from the 60s so a lot of oldies were used in the film. It was left to choreographer Kenny Ortega to choose a song for the film finale. After listening to many tapes, The Time Of My Life was chosen. It was the only time Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes would record together but the song was a huge hit and so was the film soundtrack. The song was written by Franke Previte of Franke & The Knockouts along with John diNicola and Donald Markowitz. The song won an Oscar, a Grammy and a Golden Globe. This 20th anniversary CD/DVD of Dirty Dancing is available at a budget price. Bill Medley hasn't had a hit since but he still performs in Branson, MO. Jennifer Warnes' other number one hit was Up Where We Belong with Joe Cocker from the 1981 film An Officer and a Gentleman. She has sung four songs that have been nominated for Oscars. Supposedly she was recording a new CD for Capitol Records. Though Vestron went out of business, Dirty Dancing is a cottage industry with sequels, TV series and stage musicals. Kenny Ortega is currently working on a Dirty Dancing film remake. Here's the video for (I've Had) The Time Of My life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.
Thursday, June 07, 2012
Album:Boys & Girls
Alabama Shakes generated a lot of buzz as a live act before they signed a record deal. Boys & Girls is their debut CD and it has done well mostly with the Alternative Rock crowd. The band is from Athens, AL. Lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard and bassist Zac Cockrell were in a high school class together in 2009. Brittany didn't know Cockrell but she knew he played bass and asked him if he wanted to write songs with her after school. Things were going well but they thought they needed an experienced musician to help them. Drummer Steve Johnson worked in the local music store but he had played in bands since the 70s. They recorded some demos and started playing locally as The Shakes. Guitarist Heath Fogg was in another band and liked what he heard so he joined the band. The name The Shakes was thought to be too generic so it was changed to Alabama Shakes. They released an EP independently and were invited to the CMJ Festival in New York. A New York Times rave review led them to more high profile gigs and one of their songs was used in a Zales Jewellery ad. They signed with Dave Matthews' ATO label and Boys & Girls was released Apr. 2012. Hold On is the first single. They are on Rough Trade in England. The album reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 200 and #3 on the British Album chart. They have appeared on Conan, The Late Show with David Letterman and Later...with Jools Holland. I find that Alabama Shakes is heavily influenced by 60s soul similar to The Black Keys. But Brittany Howard's vocals are rougher that what you would expect from someone that young. BTW, that's a good thing. Alabama Shakes are currently on tour and will play Bonaroo tonight. It will be streamed tomorrow. Here's the video for Hold On by Alabama Shakes.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Song:Friends and Strangers
Album:The Best Of Ronnie Laws
Sax player Ronnie Laws had a lot of success in the 70s with his mix of soul and jazz. He's another one of those guys who was a big influence on hip hop and his music is frequently sampled. He was born Oct. 3, 1950 in Houston the fifth of eight children. His older brother Hubert Laws is a world renowned jazz flutist and his younger sisters Debra Laws and Eloise Laws are singers. Ronnie wanted to be a baseball player. But an eye injury forced him to turn to music. As a teen, he had a band called The Lightmen. After studying music at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas, Laws moved to Los Angeles in 1970. He got into the studio scene and played with The Crusaders and Hugh Masekela. He joined Earth, Wind & Fire and played on the 1972 album Last Days and Time. He toured with his brother Hubert Laws for a while and appeared on Hubert's 1974 album In The Beginning. Legendary trumpeter Donald Byrd got Ronnie a record deal at Blue Note. His 1975 debut album Pressure Sensitive and the single Always There became a hit with the funk crowd. Of course Laws was criticized for not being jazz enough. So for his third album Friends and Strangers he was moved to United Artists. The album was produced by former Crusaders trombonist Wayne Henderson. Musicians were Bobby Lyle on piano, Larry Dunn of Earth, Wind & Fire on synthesizer, Roland Bautista of EW&F and Melvin Robinson on guitar, Donnie Beck and Nathaniel Phillips on bass, Steve Gutierrez on drums and Vance "Mad Dog" Ternort on percussion. The song Friends and Strangers was written by William Jeffrey who worked as an assistant to Hubert and Ronnie Laws. Ronnie's sisters Debra and Eloise sang backup vocals and Ronnie produced albums for them. Ronnie Laws continued to have success on the jazz and dance charts until he left United Artists in 1982. This comp is a good sampling of his UA recordings. He sang when he recorded for Columbia in the 80s. That didn't turn out too well. Ronnie Laws still tours and plays sessions. His mid-90s tribute CDs to Eddie Harris and The Isley Brothers are worth checking out. But like Roy Ayers and others, Ronnie Laws' legacy is heard every time his music is sampled by hip hop guys. Here's Ronnie Laws performing Friends and Strangers.
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Of course Nancy Sinatra is the daughter of the legendary Frank Sinatra. She is not a great singer but she was still able to record two number one hits including this 1967 duet with her dad Somethin' Stupid. She was born June 8, 1940 in Jersey City, NJ. She studied music and dance at UCLA in 1959. She left school and made her professional debut on the 1960 TV special The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis to welcome Elvis Presley home from his stint in the Army. She sang a duet with her dad on the show. Nancy married actor Tommy Sands in 1960. They divorced in 1965. Nancy signed with her dad's label Reprise Records in 1961. She had little success until getting together with producer Lee Hazlewood in 1965. He produced the recordings of guitarist Duane Eddy. His idea was for Nancy to have a sexier image and some attitude. The result was the 1966 number one smash hit These Boots Are Made For Walkin'. The song is still considered a feminist anthem today. After a couple more top ten hits, Nancy hit the jackpot again with the number one hit Somethin' Stupid. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks. Somethin' Stupid was written by C. Carson Parks, older brother of legendary music producer Van Dyke Parks. Parks recorded Somethin' Stupid in 1966 with his wife Gaile Foote as Carson and Gaile for Kapp Records. Kapp's attempt to turn them into another Sonny & Cher didn't work out. But Frank Sinatra played Somethin' Stupid for Hazlewood and Hazlewood told him "If you don't record it with Nancy, I will." It is the only father daughter duet to top the charts and is commonly known as The Incest Song. You gotta give Frank a break. He was trying to help his daughter. The song was only released as a single but you can get it and all of Nancy's hits on this CD that was sold on TV in Europe. Nancy Sinatra had a few more hits and recorded an album of duets with Hazlewood. She also starred in the 1966 film The Wild Angels with Peter Fonda and the 1968 film Speedway with Elvis Presley. Nancy left Reprise in 1970 and recorded for RCA and Private Stock in the 70s. Nancy married dancer Hugh Lambert in 1975 and slowed down her career to raise their two daughters. Lambert died in 1985. Nancy recorded a country album with Mel Tillis in 1981. Nancy appeared in Playboy in 1995 and still performs and records occasionally. She currently hosts the radio show Siriusly Sinatra on Sirius Satellite Radio. Here's Nancy Sinatra with her brother Frank Sinatra Jr. and The Smothers Brothers performing Somethin' Stupid on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour 1967.
Monday, June 04, 2012
|Ai Takahashi hammers Rio Kamikaze|