Friday, August 31, 2018
Song:The Boys Of Summer
Album:Now That's What I Call Music! 14
This 2003 cover of Don Henley's The Boys Of Summer was the only chart single for The Ataris. The album So Long, Astoria was their major label debut. Things did not go well and they are still around as an indie band. The leader of The Ataris is singer songwriter Kris Roe. He's from Anderson, IN. Roe started out recording in his bedroom in 1996. One of his demos found its way to The Vandals bassist Joe Escalante and his label Kung Fu Records. They released The Ataris debut album Anywhere But Here in 1997. Roe moved to Santa Barbara, CA to put a touring band together. After two more albums on Kung Fu made The Ataris indie darlings, They signed with Columbia Records for the 2003 album So Long, Astoria. The album was produced by veteran recording engineer Lou Giordano. Roe admitted signing with a major label was for security. They would still make money even of the album didn't sell. The album was more commercial than previous albums so the album exposed them to a wider audience. Roe wrote all the songs except The Boys Of Summer. So he wasn't happy when Los Angeles radio station KROQ started playing The Boys Of Summer and it reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. It turned out to be their only chart single and you can get it on this various artists CD. The Ataris recorded their second Columbia album Welcome The Night with producer Nick Launay. But corporate chaos at Columbia forced Roe to ask to be released. He says that everyone at Columbia that liked the band had already left. The album was released on Sanctuary Records. Since then The Ataris have released a couple of EPs on Kung Fu. Roe still leads a touring version of the band. I guess that officially makes The Ataris a one hit wonder. Here's the video for The Boys Of Summer by The Ataris.
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Album:A Deeper Shade Of Blue
Bluegrass musician Del McCoury has been around since the 60s. He started out as a sideman and began recording solo in the late 60s. The turning point for McCoury came when he formed The Del McCoury Band with sons Ronnie and Robbie in the late 80s. And they have been going strong on the festival circuit ever since. McCoury was born Feb. 1, 1939 in Bakersville, NC but he grew up in Glen Rock, PA. McCoury started out as a banjo picker with various groups. His big break came in 1963 when Bill Monroe saw McCoury with The Virginia Mountain Boys and invited him to join his group The Bluegrass Boys. McCoury didn't stay long as he got married and decided to continue as a part time musician while working during the day in logging. In the late 60s, he started Del McCoury and his Dixie Pals. They recorded albums for smaller labels like Arhoolie in the 70s. In the late 80s, McCoury brought in his sons Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Robbie McCoury on banjo. McCoury's brother Jerry was still on bass. They were renamed The Del McCoury Band and they signed with Rounder. Jerry left in 1989 and Mike Bub joined in 1992. Jason Carter has been the fiddler since 1992. The instrumental Quicksburg Rendezvous was written by Ronnie McCoury for the 1993 album A Deeper Shade of Blue. The song is still part of their regular repertoire. The band is still very successful on the festival circuit. They are currently on tour. McCoury now records for his own label McCoury Music. His latest CD Del McCoury Still Sings Bluegrass was released May 2018. McCoury is a great singer so I may feature his singing at some point. Here's Del McCoury performing Quicksburg Rendezvous in Japan in the 90s.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Sax player Jimmy Dorsey was the older brother of trombonist Tommy Dorsey. They had success together in the 30s. But they were famous for squabbling and so they inevitably split up. Both had individual success in the 40s. Tangerine was probably Jimmy's biggest hit. He performed it in the 1942 film The Fleet's In. He was born Feb. 29, 1904 in Shenandoah, PA. Dad was a music teacher. Jimmy and Tommy worked together in the 30s as The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. On May 30, 1935, they got into an argument over the tempo of a song and Tommy walked out in the middle of the show. Tommy started his own band and The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra became Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra. It was while the brothers were squabbling that Benny Goodman became The King Of Swing. Jimmy's band could play jazz and they usually did live and sometimes on record. But the signature sound of Jimmy Dorsey is with the two singers. Bob Eberly was already a member of the Dorsey Brothers band when Tommy left. He stayed with Jimmy. Kay Weber was the girl singer. But she was replaced by Helen O'Connell in 1939. And Tangerine was typical of the hits Dorsey scored featuring the two singers. Eberly would sing a ballad version of the song followed by the band and in the case of Tangerine a Dorsey sax solo. Then Helen would sing an uptempo version of the song. This was all in the confines of a three minute 78rpm recording. It was a very successful formula. Tangerine was probably Dorsey's biggest hit because the band performed it in the 1942 film The Fleet's In. Tangerine was written by the film's director Victor Schertzinger and Johnny Mercer. Schertzinger died of a heart attack before the film's release. Today Tangerine is considered to be a jazz standard. You can get it on this comp. Of course big bands faded after WWII. And Jimmy Dorsey was no different. He ended the band in the early 50s and he joined Tommy's band in 1953. After appearing on The Jackie Gleason Show, they hosted the CBS series Stage Show from 1954-56. That show was notable as the network TV debut of Elvis Presley. After Tommy died in 1956, Jimmy took over the band until he died of cancer on June 12, 1957 at age 53. Here's Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra featuring Bob Eberly and Helen O'Connell performing Tangerine in the 1942 film The Fleet's In.
Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Song:(I Wanna) Testify
Album:Sweet Soul Music: 30 Scorching Classics From 1967
Most music fans are familiar with George Clinton and his groups Parliament and Funkadelic who were very successful in the 70s. But before that Clinton led the Parliaments and they scored a top five R&B hit in 1967 with (I Wanna) Testify. This song is now considered a soul classic and it has been frequently covered and sampled. Clinton formed The Parliaments in 1955 in the back room of a barbershop in Plainfield, NJ. Clinton was part owner of the barbershop. They were a doo wop group very similar to Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. For most of the 60s, the members were George Clinton, Ray Davis, Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon and Grady Thomas. While The Parliaments released occasional singles without much success, Clinton took a job at Motown as a producer. Finally The Parliaments scored a hit with (I Wanna) Testify in 1967. It reached #3 on the R&B Singles chart and #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. The record was on Revilot Records owned by veteran producer Don Davis. Though the record is credited to The Parliaments, Clinton did everything himself. He recorded it in Detroit while working for Motown. Everyone else was in New Jersey. The success allowed Clinton to form a band for a Parliaments tour. But then Revilot went bankrupt and Clinton temporarily lost the rights to The Parliaments name. Clinton changed the name to Funkadelic and the rest is history. Of course he revived the Parliament name in the 70s. You can get (I Wanna) Testify on this Bear Family various artists comp. Clinton remade Testify on the 1974 Parliament album Up For The Down Stroke. And it's frequently sampled by hip hop guys. Here's a video for (I Wanna Testify) by The Parliaments.
Monday, August 27, 2018
Song:Demon To Lean On
Album:Afraid Of Heights
Typical of today's indie bands, Wavves started as a solo home recording project and then grew into a band when Nathan Williams wanted to play live gigs. Williams is from San Diego. The name Wavves reflects his fear of the ocean. Williams was a 21 year old doing nothing. He was skateboarding and writing on his hip hip blog when he decided to record music in his bedroom using a cassette recorder and Garage Band software. He didn't think the music was any good. But he posted it on the internet and suddenly Wavves was praised as the next big thing. He turned it into a band so he could tour. Bassist Stevie Pope has been with him since the beginning. The other members don't matter much because Williams is a one man show. Williams released a couple of Wavves albums and he signed with Fat Possum for the 2010 album King of the Beach to get national distribution. Then major labels start sniffing around. Williams tried to resist this but for the 2013 album Afraid of Heights, Wavves signed with Warner Bros. Williams says Warners was looking for an edgy 90s style band. He says he just wanted to eat in nice restaurants in LA. Wavves went out on tour and promoted the album. They also performed Demon To Lean On on Late Show with David Letterman. That song is their biggest hit to date. After two albums on Warners, Wavves left and the 2017 album You're Welcome was released on his own label. When he announced that album's release, Williams blasted Warner Bros. for not having a clue about how to promote Wavves. He says it was chaos there. Wavves is currently on a world tour. Fans of punk and surf music influenced power pop should check out Wavves. Here's the video for Demon To Lean On by Wavves.
Sunday, August 26, 2018
Here's the match video of Joanne Calderwood vs Kalindra Faria from last night's UFC show in Loncoln, NE. If you listened to Friday's podcast, this fight went as I expected. Joanne is a popular fighter from Scotland now training at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas. Roxanne Modafferi was in her corner. Kalindra is a Brazilian who has physical skills but she beats herself with ineptitude. Kalindra got a takedown and secured top position for most of round one. So she was winning just like she was winning her last fight. In desperation at the end of the round, Joanne attempted a triangle choke. Then she switched to an armbar. I thought Kalindra would be able to hang on for the rest of the round. But then she panicked and turned the wrong way and made it worse. Kalindra tapped out with seconds left in the round. Now THAT'S ineptitude. Of course everybody overreacts to everything. I think it's great that Joanne won with a submission for the very first time. But it doesn't make me think she could do that anyone who isn't stupid. So yes, Joanne won the fight but really, Kalindra beat herself as she always seems to. Please send her back to the Brazilian regional circuit where she belongs. Enjoy the video!
Here's the match video of Cortney Casey vs Angela Hill from last night's UFC show in Lincoln, NE. If you listened to Friday's podcast, you'll know that though Angela was the favorite, I thought it would be fairly even. I think Cortney is a marginally better fighter but both are midcard at best. Cortney may have potential to be better but she hasn't shown that in the UFC. Angela is popular because of her personality but she's a one dimensional kickboxer. I don't think either fighter did enough to win. And that's why it was a split decision. The kneejerk reaction is to blame the judges. But fighters need to be more aggressive and win decisively. I didn't care who won because neither Cortney or Angela showed me that that they could beat anyone good. And that's all Angela talked about this week. She wants better competition and a title shot. But she didn't do enough to win this fight. Scores were all over the map. I scored round one 10-9 for Cortney because she got a takedown and her striking was a little better. But some might think that armbar attempt at the end should give Angela the round. Cortney seemed to tire in round two so I scored the round 10-9 for Angela. Between rounds, Cortney's coach John Crouch told her the fight was even. I scored the third 10-9 for Cortney. I guess she did enough for me to score the fight 29-28 for Cortney though I didn't think either of them won the fight. One judge scored it 30-27 for Cortney. A second scored it 29-28 for Angela. And the third scored it 29-28 for Cortney. It was a close but not very good fight. Too much light sparring for me. I'm still not convinced that Cortney can beat anyone good. And maybe Angela doesn't belong in the UFC. Enjoy the fight!
Album:Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order 1933-1935
Curley Weaver was known as The Georgia Guitar Wizard. He is probably best known for recording and touring with another blues legend Blind Willie McTell. So I think Weaver's career was overshadowed. He was born Mar. 26, 1906 in Covington, GA. He grew up on a cotton farm. His mother Savanah Shepard was a local guitar legend. She taught him, his pal Robert "Barbecue Bob" Hicks and his brother Charlie Hicks to play guitar. Weaver worked Atlanta clubs with Barbecue Bob. Bob was the first to record with Columbia Records in 1927. And that led to Weaver recording for Columbia in 1928. They also recorded with Eddie Mapp and as part of the Georgia Cotton Pickers. They met 16 year old harmonica player Buddy Moss and taught him the guitar. Then Weaver met Blind Willie McTell. At first they recorded with Moss and Fred McMullen as The Georgia Browns. Then Barbecue Bob died of pneumonia. And Eddie Mapp was murdered. And that left Weaver, McTell and Moss and they recorded McTell's song Dirty Mistreater in 1933. You can get it on this comp CD from Document Records. Then Moss went to prison. Weaver and McTell toured together for the next twenty years. They recorded together in the late 40s. And those recordings are also available on Document. They slowed down in the 50s mostly due to McTell's failing health. Then Weaver went blind and he died on Sept. 20, 1962 at age 56. Here's a video of Dirty Mistreater by Curley Weaver with Blind Willie McTell and Buddy Moss.
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Album:28 Greatest Hits
Louis Marshall "Grandpa" Jones was probably best known for his comedy shtick on the long running TV series Hee Haw and as a long time member of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course there's much more to him than that especially his banjo picking. He was born Oct. 20, 1913 in Niagra, KY the youngest of ten children. His parents were sharecroppers. His father played fiddle and his mother sang. Jones loved old time country and gospel songs and especially The Singing Brakeman Jimmie Rodgers. That got him into yodeling and on 1929 he appeared on the radio as the Young Singer of Old Songs. Then he moved to Chicago and teamed with Bashful Harmonica Joe on the Lum and Abner Show. In the mid-30s, he worked a morning show with Bradley Kincaid. Jones was so grouchy in the morning, Kincaid called him Grandpa. And Jones liked the gimmick so much, he started wearing makeup to look like Grandpa Jones. Then he learned to play the banjo at a time when the banjo was not popular. So Jones was a big part of popularizing the banjo. His stage act was old time country on the banjo and comedy. Jones worked for WLW in Cincinnati in 1942. That's where he met Merle Travis. They started working together first as part of the Brown's Ferry Four and then both signed with King Records. After serving in the US Army during WWII, Jones married Ramona Riggins in 1946 and she was an accomplished fiddle player so she toured with him and Travis. So that was a great band. Jones recorded Mountain Dew in 1947. Though today Mountain Dew is a soft drink, this song about moonshine was written by lawyer Bascom Lamar Lunsford in 1928. He defended moonshiners. When his friend Scotty Wiseman of Lulu Belle and Scotty were looking for a song to record, Wiseman rewrote the lyrics and recorded it in 1935. Jones popularized the song in 1947. You can get the original version of Mountain Dew on this comp CD. Jones moved to Nashville to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. In the 50s, he recorded for RCA and Decca. And then in the 60s, he recorded for Monument and had his only top ten country hit with T For Texas in 1962. Then he joined Hee Haw in 1969. And that's where most people would know about him. Grandpa Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1978. He continued to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. And it was after a January 1998 Opry performance that Jones suffered two strokes and he died on Feb. 19, 1998 at age 84. Here's Grandpa Jones performing Mountain Dew on the Pet Milk Grand Ole Opry 1961.
Friday, August 24, 2018
Album:Carnegie Hall Salutes The Jazz Masters: Verve At 50
One of the most notable things about Verve Records was that it really came out of the concert series Jazz At The Philharmonic in the 1940s. So it's not surprising that Carnegie Hall decided to celebrate Verve's 50th anniversary with an all star concert that aired on PBS. This concert was on Apr. 6, 1994. Needless to say, this has a who's who of jazz participating. One of the most notable things about this concert is it is legendary Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim's final live appearance before his Dec. 1994 death. Jobim performs his classic Desafinado with Joe Henderson on sax. This is the only time they had ever worked together but Henderson had just released a Jobim tribute album. Other musicians are Pat Metheny on guitar, Charlie Haden on bass and Al Foster on drums. Jobim also performs How Insensitive with Metheny. Other musicians appearing include Ray Brown, Kenny Burrell, Herbie Hancock, J.J. Johnson, Christian McBride, Hank Jones, Roy Hargrove, John McLaughlin, Jackie McLean, Jimmy Smith, Jeff Lorber and Don Alias. Vocalists are Vanessa Williams, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Betty Carter. This concert is available on CD. As I said, it aired on PBS. It has not been released on DVD. But you can watch the PBS special on Youtube. Obviously this is a must for jazz fans and especially Jobim fans as it was his final appearance. Here's Antonio Carlos Jobim with Joe Henderson on sax, Pat Metheny on guitar, Charlie Haden on bass and Al Foster on drums performing Desafinado from the PBS special Carnegie Hall Salutes The Jazz Masters: Verve At 50.
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Song:You Don't Own Me
This cover of the Lesley Gore classic You Don't Own Me was a worldwide hit for Australian singer Grace Sewell in 2015. It was originally released on an EP. And then the album FMA was released in 2016. She was born Apr. 8, 1997 in Brisbane, Australia. Her grandparents toured with The Bee Gees. And her brother Conrad Sewell is also a singer. After performing on a Dropout Live UK Youtube video, Grace signed with RCA. She went to Atlanta to record her debut album. Most of her album was written and produced by British producer Parker Ighile. He records for Nicky Minaj but he has also produced other artists. The interesting thing is they got Quincy Jones to produce Grace's cover of You Don't Own Me. Of course Jones produced the 1963 original. When Jones explained to Grace about how You Don't Own Me was a feminist anthem, Grace decided to record it as a tribute to the recently deceased Lesley Gore. And that's why RCA decided to release You Don't Own Me in Mar. 2015 as part of an EP. It charted worldwide but it did particularly well in Australia and England. Other than the rap by Gerald "G-Eazy" Gillum, Grace is faithful to the original version. The album FMA was released July 2016. FMA=Forgive My Attitude. Grace toured with Ed Sheeran. I don't see any news about a second album but I assume Grace is working on it. Her next album should tell us if she has any staying power. Here's the video for You Don't Own Me by Grace featuring G-Eazy.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Song:It Might As Well Be Spring
Album:Live At Jazz Standard
Rene Marie Stevens was a 42 year old mother of two when she became a professional singer. Today she is a popular jazz singer and a regular on the festival circuit. She was born Nov. 7, 1955 in Warrenton, VA and she grew up in Roanoke. Her main influence is Betty Carter. She was married with two sons. She sang at family functions but she thought she was too busy to sing professionally. By 1995 her sons were in college and they convinced her to try singing professionally. When her husband wasn't happy about this, she kicked him to the curb. She got a regular gig at Washington's Blues Alley club. Pianist Bruce Barth saw her and he signed her to MAXJAZZ. Rene's version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic It Might As Well Be Spring from the 1945 film State Fair is from the 2003 album Live At Jazz Standard recorded at the New York club. Musicians are John Toomey on piano, Elias Bailey on bass and T. Howard Curtis III on drums. In 2009, she performed her one woman show Slut Energy Theory and she released a soundtrack. Rene signed with Motema in 2011. They have allowed her to produce her own albums. Her latest CD Sound Of Red was released in 2016. She has been touring the festival circuit. Here's Rene Marie with Sergey Pron on trumpet, Alex Titov on piano, Alex Bulatov on bass and Artem Ivanov on drums at the 2013 PROJAZZ Festival in Russia.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Song:Let Her In
Album:The Best Of John Travolta: Let Her In
Before John Travolta became a movie star, he appeared on the sitcom Welcome Back Kotter. While on that show, he recorded a couple of albums aimed at teenage girls. Let Her In was a top ten hit in 1976. Then Travolta starred in Saturday Night Fever and Grease. Though he scored hit singles with Grease, Travolta never recorded another album after that. He was born Feb. 18, 1954 in Englewood, NJ. His mother Helen was an actress. All the Travolta kids went into show business. After appearing in a couple of touring musicals, Travolta moved to Los Angeles. His first big role was as a bully tormenting Sissy Spacek in the 1976 film Carrie. But the ABC sitcom Welcome Back Kotter aired before Carrie was released. So that's where most of us saw him first. The other movie that gave Travolta a big boost was the TV movie The Boy In The Plastic Bubble. Meanwhile, Travolta signed a record deal with Midland International owned by veteran producers Bob Reno and Eddie O'Loughlin. These guys were riding high because of disco hits by Carol Douglas (Doctor's Orders) and Silver Convention (Fly Robin Fly). Travolta auditioned and O'Loughlin had a song by British songwriter Gary Benson called Let Her In that no one wanted to sing. Travolta recorded Let Her In and it reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was not long after this that Travolta signed to star in Saturday Night Fever. So he only recorded two albums for Midland. This comp covers those recordings. Of course Travolta's other hits were from Grease and they aren't on this CD. He has never recorded another album. He didn't need to as a big movie star. Here's John Travolta performing Let Her In on American Bandstand 1976. The source for part of this is from an interview with Eddie O'Loughlin from the 2016 book Legends Of Disco: Forty Stars Discuss Their Careers by James Arena.
Monday, August 20, 2018
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band was one of the first bands to modernize traditional New Orleans brass band music with jazz and funk. It started in 1972 as a youth music program at Fairview Baptist Church in New Orleans. At first they were called Hurricane Brass Band and then Tornado Brass Band. At the time, brass bands were not popular in New Orleans. The musicians decided to incorporate jazz and funk elements. The name came from a social club where sax player Benny Jones was active. He didn't stay in the band. The band leader is trumpeter Gregory Davis. They started getting a following when radio station WWOZ owner Jerry Bock recorded them and played them on the station. Their big break came when legendary promoter George Wein booked them to tour Europe. And that led to Dirty Dozen signing with Concord and the 1984 album My Feet Can't Fail Me Now. They played the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1986 and that was released as an album by Rounder. They signed with Columbia in 1987 and the album Voodoo featured guest appearances by Dr. John, Dizzy Gillespie and Branford Marsalis. Dirty Dozen recorded four albums for Columbia. They signed with Disney owned Mammoth Records in 1996. Unclean Waters is from the 1999 album Buck Jump which was produced by John Medeski. Unclean Waters was written by sax player Kevin Harris. The album is available as a digital download. Since then they have recorded for Ropeadope, Shout! Factory and their latest CD Twenty Dozen on Savoy in 2012. Dirty Dozen plays plenty of clubs and jazz festivals. This fall they will headline the Take Me To The River national tour of New Orleans music including Ivan Neville, Ian Neville and George Porter Jr. Check them out if they are coming your way. Here's the Dirty Dozen Brass Band performing Unclean Waters at the 2010 West Oak Lane Jazz & Arts Festival in Philadelphia.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
Here's the match video of Shayna Baszler defending her NXT Women's Championship against Kairi Sane from last night's NXT Takeover Brooklyn show. If you didn't see this match, be sure to watch it as these two stole the show. The story is that Shayna is the bully trying to intimidate cute little Kairi. Shayna keeps saying that Kairi has no killer instinct. But as the match progresses, Shayna realizes that she is getting more than she bargained for. Instead of folding like a cheap suitcase, Kairi comes roaring back. So now Shayna has a fight on her hands. That's a great story to tell. Early in the match, Shayna hurts Kairi's knee. Kairi shows the effects for the rest of the match. The end result is Kairi had trouble getting up to the top rope. But then she lands the Insane Elbow. But Shayna kicks out. The WWE needs to be careful not overdo kicking out of finishers. They did overdo that last night. Every match seemed to have a kickout of a finisher including this one. Then Shayna got her choke finisher but Kairi got to the ropes. Kairi again went for the Insane Elbow but Shayna got her feet up. She went for the choke but Kairi got the win with what is commonly known in the WWE as the Bret Hart pin because he won a couple of big matches with it. It's a flash pin. Kairi Sane is your new NXT Women's Champion. She was crying in the ring afterwards. That was a great match. Kudos to Kairi and Shayna. Shayna is probably heading to the main roster by The Survivor Series. But I think this feud will continue. In an interview last night, Shayna said "She didn't win. I lost". So I expect a rematch on NXT TV in the near future. Congratulations to Kairi Sane and enjoy the match.
Album:Highlights From Jesus Christ Superstar: The 20th Anniversary London Cast Recording
British actor Keith Burns mostly appears on the London stage. He appeared in the original productions of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon. He also appears in this 20th anniversary tribute to Jesus Christ Superstar. Burns studied at Mountview Theater School and he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He appeared in the 1985 production of Les Miserables as Montparnasse. And then as Thuy in the 1989 production of Miss Saigon. For the 20th anniversary of Jesus Christ Superstar, Andrew Lloyd Webber reunited as much of the original cast as he could find for a studio album. This included Paul Nicholas who starred in the original production. Burns played Judas. He appeared in an early 80s production of the show. The full album is out of print but you can get a CD of highlights as a budget CD. Burns continues to appear in London shows like Cats and Blood Brothers. He also appears occasionally on British TV and he has produced a couple of shows. Here's a video of Superstar by Keith Burns. There wasn't much info about Burns so thanks to the Golden Throats Wiki.
Saturday, August 18, 2018
Song:I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Album:(I Got No Kick Against) Modern Jazz: A GRP Artists' Celebration of the Songs of The Beatles
Groove Collective was an attempt to market Acid Jazz in the US. Though the attempt was unsuccessful, a couple of the band's songs charted including this cover of The Beatles classic I Want You (She's So Heavy). They were formed in 1990 at the New York club Giant Step. Members included Itaal Shur on keyboards, Richard Worth on flute and Gordon "Nappy G" Clay on percussion. Clay was also an MC so the idea was to mix jazz and hip hop elements. This got the attention of Steely Dan producer Gary Katz and he signed Groove Collective to Reprise Records. The 1994 album Groove Collective did OK on the jazz chart. But I think Katz wanted it to cross over to mainstream and it didn't do that. Groove Collective then signed with GRP and producer Tommy LiPuma. By this time Clay left probably because LiPuma was looking to produce something similar to The Crusaders. Again the 1996 album We the People did OK on the jazz chart. But a couple of songs crossed over to the dance chart including this cover of I Want You (She's So Heavy). But that song was only released as a single. It did not appear on We The People. It appeared on this various artists Beatles tribute album. Groove Collective left GRP and have recorded for Shanachie and Savoy. They last recorded in 2007 so I don't think they are around anymore. Here's a video of I Want You (She's So Heavy) by Groove Collective.
Friday, August 17, 2018
Adrian "Tricky" Thaws is a British producer who started out as a member of Massive Attack and he went solo with the 1995 album Maxinquaye. He has been successful in England. He was born Jan. 27, 1968 in Bristol, England. His father was a musician. Thaws was raised by his grandmother who let him do what he wanted including petty crimes that landed him in jail. When he got out, Thaws joined The Wild Bunch which soon became Massive Attack. Thaws appeared on the 1991 Massive Attack album Blue Lines. Then he met teen singer Martina Topley-Bird. He recorded the song Aftermath with her. When Massive Attack wasn't interested in the song, Thaws pressed a few hundred copies and that led to a record deal with Island's 4th & Broadway label. Thaws produced the 1995 album Maxinquaye with recording engineer Mark Saunders. The connection is one time Wild Bunch member Neneh Cherry who was known for helping her friends record. The album was certified Gold in England. Overcome is one of several singles that charted. Thaws' music will remind you of trip-hop groups like Portishead. Thaws' 1996 album Nearly God featured guest appearances by Neneh Cherry and Bjork. Thaws continues to record as Tricky. He released an album last year. But he deliberately keeps a low profile as his initial fame made him uncomfortable. He prefers to remain behind the scenes as a producer. Thaws now lives in Germany and he's just finishing a tour to support his 2017 album Ununiform. Here's the video for Overcome by Tricky.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Here's the match video of Kairi Sane vs Aliyah from this week's episode of NXT. This is supposed to set up Shayna Baszler defending the NXT Women's Championship against Kairi on NXT Takeover Brooklyn this Saturday. The match is besides the point. The angle is Shayna is a bully who has intimidated the NXT women's locker room. And she is trying to intimidate Kairi too. She says Kairi has no killer instinct. Kairi may not speak much English. But she excels at using body language and facial expressions to sell an angle. When Shayna comes out to do commentary, Kairi stares her down. At the end of the match, Kairi spears Aliyah to set up her Insane Elbow. She hits it and instead of pinning Aliyah, she hits a second elbow. She again gives Shayna the evil eye and goes up for a third elbow. Shayna's facial expression changes. Kairi pulls Aliyah up at two and then applies her Anchor submission while pointing at Shayna. The whole thing ends with a staredown. See ya on Saturday. I will talk about this on my podcast. Enjoy the video!
Song:Army Of Me
Here in North America, Bjork Guomundsdottir is probably best known for that swan dress she wore to the 2001 Oscars. Her music is successful mostly in the dance market and in England in the 90s. A change in musical direction hasn't caught on. She was born Nov. 21, 1965 in Reykjavik, Iceland. Bjork studied classical piano as a child. Her stepfather was a musician. She had several bands as a teen. She became famous as a member of Sugarcubes. Most of their success was in England. Bjork moved to London when she left Sugarcubes in 1992. She produced her 1993 album Debut with Nellee Hooper who had produced Soul II Soul and Massive Attack. Play Dead and Big Time Sensuality were hits in England and Big Time Sensuality topped the dance chart. The album was certified Platinum. Again she worked with Hooper on the 1995 album Post. But she wrote and produced Army Of Me with Graham Massey of 808 State. He added the industrial rock sound. Army Of Me reached #10 on the British chart. The album was certified Platinum. The video was directed by Michel Gondry and got her a lot of attention. The song appeared in the film Tank Girl. When Bjork went experimental with the 1997 album Homogenic, it wasn't as well received as her first two albums. And I guess that is where she has been ever since. Bjork continues to experiment with different kinds of music. But fans want her to go back to what she did on her early albums. This budget comp is a good intro to her music. Her latest CD Utopia was released last year. Here's the video for Army Of Me by Bjork.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Song:Groove Is In The Heart
Album:The Very Best Of Deee-Lite
Groove Is In The Heart was a top five hit in 1990. It was the only big hit for Deee-Lite and though they are considered to be a one hit wonder, a couple of their other songs charted so they aren't technically a one hit wonder. But Groove Is In The Heart is their only memorable song. Deee-Lite was formed in New York in 1986 by lead singer Lady Miss Kier (real name: Kierin Kirby) and Supa DJ Dmitry (Dmitry Brill). Kierin was an aspiring fashion designer who met Brill when she made him a pair of shoes. The third member Jungle DJ Towa Tei (Doug Wa-Chung) joined in 1988. Brill was from the Ukraine and Wa-Chung was from Japan. So you have a singer with a fashion sense and a couple of DJs which is why Deee-Lite's music was so sample heavy. Those two guys weren't musicians. Deee-Lite generated enough buzz in New York clubs to get a record deal with Elektra. Groove Is In The Heart was the first single from their 1990 debut album World Clique. The song reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It includes guest appearances by Bootsy Collins and a rap by Q-Tip. There are plenty of samples but the main one is from the Herbie Hancock song Bring Down The Birds from the Blow Up soundtrack along with Get Up by guitarist Vernon Burch which is the source of the slide whistle. The intro is from the 1969 album The Art of Belly Dancing. The album was certified Gold. It was all downhill from there. Deee-Lite was unable to score another big hit. By the time their third album Dewdrops in the Garden came out in 1994, Wa-Chung had left and then Deee-Lite disbanded. This comp covers all three albums. All three members of Deee-Lite continue to DJ and produce. Wa-Chung has recorded albums for the dance market. Here's the video for Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Song:A Lost Machine
Grandaddy is an example of something we have seen a lot in recent years. Jason Lytle is a solo artist hiding behind a band name for anonymity. He forms a band for touring. Lytle was born Mar. 26, 1969 in Modesto, CA. He was on his way to a pro skateboarding career when he blew out his knee. While recovering, he recorded music in his home studio. He called himself Grandaddy. He turned it into a band so he could perform live. They performed mostly at skateboarding competitions. After releasing a couple of cassettes followed by a 1997 CD, Grandaddy signed with the V2 label Big Cat Records with the help of producer Howe Gelb. Lytle continued to record as a solo artist but now Grandaddy was able to tour internationally because of the record deal. Though Grandaddy was critically acclaimed, they had modest commercial success. And after three album on V2, Lytle decided to end the band in 2005. Lytle admitted that he hated touring. He moved to Montana in 2009 and released a solo CD. He recorded and toured with the band Admiral Radley. Grandaddy reunited to play some shows in 2012. Lytle continued to record solo but he acknowledged that one of those albums could turn into a Grandaddy album. And the 2017 album Last Place was released as a Grandaddy album. Lytle says he might release another Grandaddy album but he also says that Grandaddy and his solo albums are interchangeable. He records everything himself so it makes no difference. Here's the video for A Lost Machine by Grandaddy.
Monday, August 13, 2018
Album:The Princess and the Frog: Original Songs and Score
Anika Noni Rose is a black actress who sings occasionally on stage and in films. She has never released an album and I don't think she has plans to do that. Her two most notable singing performances were in Dreamgirls and the 2009 Disney film The Princess and the Frog where she played the lead character. She was born Sept. 6, 1972 in Bloomfield, CT. She earned a degree in theater at Florida A&M University. Her big break on Broadway was in the 2003 musical Caroline, or Change for which she won a Tony. That led to the 2006 film of the hit Broadway show Dreamgirls. That was a supporting role but it was enough to get a call from Disney to voice the lead character of Tiana in the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. So she was the first black princess in a Disney animated film. The film is set in 1920s New Orleans. Randy Newman composed the music. The soundtrack included appearances by Ne-Yo, Dr. John and Terence Blanchard. Almost There was nominated for an Oscar. Anika was named a Disney Legend in 2011. Since then she has had success mostly on TV in The Good Wife and more recently the Starz series Power and the BET series The Quad. She is currently starring in an off-Broadway revival of the musical Carmen Jones. Here's Anika Noni Rose performing Almost There in the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog.
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Album:20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best Of Animotion
You probably all remember Obsession when it was a top ten hit in 1984. The video was all over MTV. But you probably don't know anything about Animotion. They had a second top ten hit with a completely different lineup. Animotion was formed in Los Angeles. Most of the group was in the band Red Zone. That band was Astrid Plane on lead vocals, Paul Antonelli on keyboards, Charles Ottavio on bass and David "Frenchy" O'Brien on drums. Red Zone was an attempt at space rock. When that didn't work out, Animotion was formed with the addition of lead singer Bill Wadhams and guitarist Don Kirkpatrick. Antonelli wanted to record synth pop which was becoming popular. They signed with Mercury Records and released their 1984 album Animotion. The album was produced by John Ryan who had produced Styx among others. Obsession reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Though Wadhams wrote most of the songs on the album, Obsession was a cover. It was written and recorded by Holly Knight and Michael Des Barres for the 1983 film A Night In Heaven. Holly was lead singer of Spider. But she has had a lot of success as a songwriter usually with veteran producer Mike Chapman. Her hits include Love Is A Battlefield and Warrior. Des Barres started out as lead singer of the 70s group Detective and he replaced Robert Palmer in the Duran Duran spinoff group Power Station. But he would go on to have success as an actor especially as Murdoc in the series McGyver. A second single Let Him Go reached the top 40. Antonelli and O'Brien left and were replaced by Greg Smith and Jim Blair for the 1986 album Strange Behavior. When the album didn't do well, Animotion split up. Wadhams left because PolyGram wouldn't let him write songs anymore. Ottavio and Plane had married and they left. That left Kirkpatrick and Smith. Actress Cynthia Rhodes was brought in. She was in Dirty Dancing. Paul Engemann who was lead singer of Holly Knight's band Device was also brought in. When the single Room To Move from the 1989 film My Stepmother Was An Alien reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100, Animotion recorded an album produced mostly by Steve Barri. Then Animotion split up. You can get all their hits on this comp. Plane, Wadhams, Smith and Kirkpatrick reformed Animotion in 2001. They continue to tour and an album was released last year. Here's the video for Obsession by Animotion.
Saturday, August 11, 2018
Song:Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm
Album:The Best Of Crash Test Dummies
The 1993 single Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm was the biggest international hit for the Canadian band Crash Test Dummies. They are a much bigger deal at home and Superman's Song was a bigger hit in Canada. Crash Test Dummies are from Winnipeg led by lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Brad Roberts. The formation of the band came out of the Winnipeg club scene. At first they were called Bad Brad Roberts and the St. James Rhythm Pigs. A friend of the band who was a medical student suggested the name Crash Test Dummies. It looks like Roberts sent demos to record companies as a solo artist but he decided to leave it as a band when they signed with BMG Canada in 1991. The rest of the band was Benjamin Darvill on harmonica, Ellen Reid on keyboards, Roberts' brother Dan Roberts on bass and Mitch Dorge on drums. Their 1991 debut album The Ghosts That Haunt Me was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. Superman's Song reached #4 on the Canadian charts. The album was certified 4XPlatinum. There was enough interest that Arista picked them up for the US release of the 1993 album God Shuffled His Feet. That album was produced by Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm was a worldwide hit. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified 2XPlatinum. That turned out to be Crash Test Dummies' biggest hit though they continued to have success in Canada. They released four albums on Arista/BMG and this budget comp covers those recordings. Darvill left in 2000. The band wasn't getting along with BMG. So they left and released an album on their own label. It was around this time that Roberts was in a serious car accident. He recorded while recuperating and that became the 2001 album I Don't Care That You Don't Mind. Ellen Reid released a solo album. The band was on hiatus and Roberts began projects solo and then turned them into Crash Test Dummies albums. He actually released a solo album in 2011. And then he toured solo with Stuart Cameron who he worked with after the split. Crash Test Dummies reformed and they have been touring for the last year. They released a couple of singles but it is not clear of they plan to record an album. Here's the video for Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm by Crash Test Dummies.
Friday, August 10, 2018
Most music fans should know LeToya Luckett as one of the two members of Destiny's Child who were unceremoniously dumped in 1999. LeToya went on to have solo success with her 2006 debut album and hit single Torn. She was born Mar. 11, 1981 in Houston. She grew up singing in church. She went to school with Beyonce. LeToya was a founding member of Destiny's Child. We know how successful they were. In 1999, LeToya and LaTavia Roberson hired a manager to keep an eye on Beyonce's dad and manager Matthew Knowles. He proceeded to throw them out of the group without telling them. They sued and it was settled out of court. LeToya and LaTavia formed the group Anjel with two other girls. They recorded a demo and appeared in a Jagged Edge video. Then they split up due to management problems. LeToya recorded a demo and got a deal with Capitol Records. LeToya was her 2006 debut CD. Torn reached #2 on the R&B Singles chart and #31 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified Platinum. LeToya worked mostly with producers Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael Cox. Torn was produced by former LaFace house producer Teddy Bishop who had success with Toni Braxton and Aaliyah. Torn heavily sampled the 1971 Stylistics hit You Are Everything. Unfortunately she ran into problems when Capitol merged with Virgin and they weren't allowed to spend her promotion budget. Her 2009 CD Lady Love did not sell and LeToya left Capitol. At this point she got into acting. She had a recurring role on the HBO series Treme. She also starred in the 2010 film Preacher's Kid which was aimed at the gospel market. Though LeToya released the 2017 CD Back 2 Life on eOne, she seems to be concentrating on starring in several films aimed at the gospel market. She has recurring roles on the Fox series Rosewood and the OWN series Greenleaf. And she is playing Dionne Warwick in an upcoming biopic to be directed by Mario Van Peebles. So it looks like LeToya is more actor than singer these days. Here's the video for Torn by LeToya.
Thursday, August 09, 2018
Sax player Gerald Albright is one of the most durable Smooth Jazz artists. He started out as a session musician and he has recorded as a leader since the late 80s. He was born Aug. 30, 1957 in Los Angeles. His piano teacher gave him a sax and Albright learned to play while attending Locke High School. He continued to play while earning a business management degree at University of Redlands. Albright started playing sessions. He got his big break when he joined Patrice Rushen's band for several years. He seemed to play on a lot of Motown albums with Rick James, Teena Marie and DeBarge. He also toured with Teena Marie, Jeff Lorber and Phil Collins. Albright signed with Atlantic Records in 1987 and his albums there are what made him a Smooth Jazz staple. Bermuda Nights was released in 1989. On the song Bermuda Nights, Albright plays most of the instruments himself with Paul Jackson Jr. on guitar and Chuckii Booker on synthesizer. After Albright left Atlantic in 1997, Albright recorded for GRP, Concord's Peak label, Telarc, Heads Up and his latest CD 30 is on his own label Bright Music. Albright is currently on the Dave Koz and Friends Summer Horns Tour also featuring Rick Braun and Richard Elliot. Here's Gerald Albright with Jeff Lorber on keyboards, guitarist Marlon McLain and bassist Nathaniel Phillips from the group Pleasure and Ricky Lawson of Yellowjackets on drums at the 2006 Java Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Wednesday, August 08, 2018
Song: I Hate Men
Album:Kiss Me, Kate: Original Broadway Cast
Patricia Morison started out on the stage, moved to Hollywood in the 40s, and then returned to Broadway and had her greatest success in Cole Porter's 1948 production of Kiss Me, Kate. She was born Mar. 19, 1915 in New York City. Her father Norman Rainey was an actor and playwright. Her mother worked for British Intelligence during WWI. Patricia studied acting and dance as a teen. She appeared in a few shows and she was spotted by a Paramount Pictures talent scout. She moved to Hollywood in 1939. Patricia's big problem at Paramount is she was too similar to Dorothy Lamour who at the time was Paramount's biggest star. So she did a lot of supporting roles and B movies. She left Paramount in 1942 to freelance. Her more notable roles include the 1943 film The Song Of Bernadette, the 1945 film Lady on a Train and the 1946 Sherlock Holmes film Dressed To Kill. She usually played femme fatales. Meanwhile, Cole Porter saw Patricia sing and thought she would be perfect for his new Broadway show Kiss Me, Kate. The show was a huge success. Patricia played Lilli Vanessi from 1948-1951 and she also appeared in the London production and the 1958 TV production and a 1964 production for the BBC. The original cast album is available on mp3. And the 1958 TV show is available on DVD. Patricia also appeared in the Broadway production of The King And I in 1954. In the 50s, Patricia worked a lot of live TV shows. And in the 60s she returned to the stage sometimes on Broadway but usually in touring productions. She moved to Los Angeles in 1961. After a 1989 appearance on the TV show Cheers, Patricia retired though she made occasional appearances until her death on May 20, 2018 at age 103. Here's Patricia Morison performing I Hate Men on the 1958 TV production of Kiss Me, Kate.
Tuesday, August 07, 2018
For most of his career, Steve Earle has transcended the traditional country music market. He's had a lot of success in the rock market. Copperhead Road is one of his early classics and one of his signature songs. He was born Jan. 17, 1955 in Fort Monroe, VA where his father was working as an air traffic controller. His family moved to Texas and Earle grew up in San Antonio. He learned to play guitar and he ran away from home at age 14 to travel around Texas with his hero and main influence Townes Van Zandt. Earle moved to Nashville in 1974 and played with Guy Clark. For the next few years Earle was a staff songwriter at a publishing company. After a couple of his songs were recorded, Earle got a record deal with Epic. He recorded an album but it was never released. So he left Epic and signed with MCA Records and producer Tony Brown. His debut album Guitar Town was released in 1986 and the single was a top ten country hit. Copperhead Road was released in 1988. The album was a big success. It was certified 3XPlatinum. That's because it crossed over to rock. The song Copperhead Road and the video is about moonshine runners. While this was happening, Earle was addicted to drugs and this led to MCA not renewing his contract in 1992. This budget comp covers his MCA recordings. Earle recorded three albums for Warner Bros. in the 90s. They weren't as successful as his earlier albums. He recorded for his own label for several years. Today he's back with Warner Bros. His latest CD So You Wannabe An Outlaw was released last year. Earle is currently on tour probably performing new anti-Trump songs. He has always expressed his political beliefs in his music. Here's the video for Copperhead Road by Steve Earle.
Monday, August 06, 2018
Album:El Divo Canta a Mexico
For over 30 years, Juan Gabriel was one of Latin America's most popular singers. He wrote and produced much of his own music. El Destino topped the Latin American charts in 1997. It is from a duet album he recorded with the popular Spanish star Rocio Durcal. He was born Alberto Aguilera Valadez Jan. 7, 1950 in Paracuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. His parents were farmers and Gabriel was the youngest of ten siblings. When his father was put in a psychiatric hospital, his mother moved the family to Chihuahua and Gabriel was placed in a boarding school. He escaped and moved in with his teacher at age 13. That's when he started writing songs and Gabriel learned to sing in church. After appearing on the 1965 TV show Noches Rancheras, Gabriel was given the name Adan Luna. He worked in clubs for the next few years. He was hired by RCA as a backup singer. When that didn't work out, Gabriel was homeless and then falsely accused of robbery and thrown in jail. When he showed his songs to the warden, singer La Prieta Linda was brought in. She got him out of jail and she got him a record deal with RCA. That's when he became Juan Gabriel. In the 70s, Gabriel became one of Mexico's most popular singers. And he also started writing and producing for other artists including Rocio Durcal, Lola Beltran and Paul Anka. Gabriel's popularity continued through a copyright dispute with BMG. He refused to record from 1986-94 though he continued to perform live. After the dispute was resolved, Gabriel picked up where he left off. El Destino is from the 1997 album Juntro Otra Vez. It's a duet with Rocio Durcal and it topped the Latin American singles chart. The album has 2CDs. There are eight duets on the album. It was certified 2XPlatinum. It was also turned into a live DVD. Both are available but I recommend this budget CD as a good intro to Gabriel's music. Gabriel's success continued until his death from a heart attack on Aug. 28, 2016 at age 66. Here's the video for El Destino by Juan Gabriel featuring Rocio Durcal.