Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Warning! This record is not cut for the dancefloor and certainly not for the faint of heart. I love a good heartbreak record. In times where I've got something good going they help me appreciate what I've got. During blue days, they are the best companion I can think off. Nothing helps more than a good Soul record to really let it all hang out.
Tommy Hunt's version of this great Burt Bacharach song is about as good as a heartbreak record gets. The feeling is, I think, universal. Everybody goes through this after they lost a love. You really do need to refind yourself, find ways to deal with yourself. Everybody has been there, but it is good to have big men like mister Hunt to remind you of that.
Available on The Biggest Man
Monday, January 25, 2010
There is only one Larry Williams. Which, in fact, is not true. Because Larry is a pretty common name in America. As is Williams. But this Larry Williams is a one-in-a-kind Larry Williams. He helped to shape rock ‘n’ roll in a major way.
In a better world Larry would be known by people all over the world as one of rock ‘n’ rolls originators. At this moment that is only the case with Elvis Presley. Maybe also Jerry Lee Lewis. And some people know Little Richard and Chuck Berry, but Larry Williams seems to be ignored like if he had the swine flu. He didn’t. He did have “The Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu” though. Permanently.
The fact that British invasion honcho’s like the Beatles (Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Slow Down & Bad Boy), the Who (Bony Moronie) and the Rolling Stones (She Said Yeah) covered his songs kinda makes it up. This little stop-and-go love song is, in my opinion, one of his nuggets.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
My grandmother loves to play bingo. Unfortunately she's too old to shake her hips to this curious 45. I never had the stomach for bingo, I simply couldn't stand the tension. This fine platter is the ultimate tension releaver though. I never knew my granny had this much fun! B-I-N-G-O!!!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
This record definitely falls into he category nuttiness. Grinded nuttiness, fat and greasy nuttiness, sticky nuttiness. The Marathons are actually the Vibrations of the Watusi fame. The Arvee label wanted to rush out this nuttiness and had originally intended it to be for the Olympics. Unfortunately they were on tour, so the Vibrations got a crack at it. However, since they were signed to Chess, a name change was needed. Or maybe they just didn't want people to know that this nuttiness was theirs. A sticky situation indeed.
Available on Chess Story 1957-1964
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Land of 1000 Dances by the Wicked Picket is probably a too big a hit to surprise anybody with. I'm just posting it here so I can share this fantastic YouTube video with you. I'd say it is the best version of the song ever put on film! Although this one is a strong contender.
Available on Wilson Pickett's Greatest Hits
Sunday, January 17, 2010
With “Jaguar and Thunderbird” Charles Edward Anderson Berry, better known as Chuck Berry, invented rap music. Well, kinda. The verses sure sound like a rap. Of course Chuck B. wasn’t a b-boy in the Chuck D. kinda way. And “Jaguar and Thunderbird” is just a good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll song about a car race in the streets of Loudonville, NY. The coolness of the song was also noticed by a wide range of artists from The Troggs to Thee Headcoats and from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to Mano Negra. They all covered it in their own unique way. But the semi-cool way Chuck Berry ‘raps’ the verses over a rollicking bar piano in the original version is unbeatable.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Nobody pleads quite as convincing and casually as Marv Johnson. Particulary on this great record produced by the late great Bert Berns. Most Pop and rock fans know Berns because of his affiliation with the young Van Morrison. But Berns produced some of the finest R&B singles of the sixties. In creativity he could easily compete with Phil Spector or Leiber & Stoller. His use of symphonic influences and exotic rhythms was a huge influence on the Beatles and their generation.
Come on and Stop is one of his most catching and overlooked 45s in my book. It perfectly captures how we sometimes in our playfulness and carelessness manage to hurt those closest. Marv's plea illustrates how hard it is not to. In other words, this is a killer make up and kiss record. The dancing is just a bonus on this one.
Available on The Bert Berns Story Volume 1: Twist & Shout 1960-1964
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Devora Brown was known for running the small Detroit based Fortune Records with her husband Jack. While big Detroit bro Motown were known for their their polished pop sounds, Fortune were known for their raunch. Stars on the label were Andre Williams, Nolan Strong and the Diablos and the late, great Nathaniel Mayer.
As many songs from the Fortune songbook “Mind Over Matter” was written by Devora Brown herself. She did a fine job. As did Mr. Strong and the Diablos singing the tune. That was also noticed by Motown boss Berry Gordy who talked the Pirates (who were actually the Temptations) into covering the song on his new label Melody Records. The Upper Shelves prefer Nolan’s raunchy version over the polished Pirates version.
Available on The Diablos - Motor-City Detroit Doo-Wops - Volume 1
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
There are lots of Smokie Joe's in the world of R&B. Most famously used in a song by the Coasters. Maybe it is a real place, I don't know. If it is, it sure sounds like a hell of a party on most records. My favourite Smokie's is the one by the Jewels. This fine mover was written by Ashford and Simpson, who went on to do great things at Motown. The record was produced by James Brown. So the Jewels kind of sound like the love child of Berry Gordy and the hardest working man in show business.
Available on The Real Thing: The Songs of Ashford, Simpson and Armstead
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Our first 45 is actually the B-Side to the magnificent Deep Soul Ballad "I Need You." This here is a mighty fine stomper, guarenteed to get the floor moving. "I'm a Carpet" is one of the sides Little Archie recorded for the Dial label, home of the late Joe Tex. The songs holds between masochistic celebration and funky defiance.
Available on The Dial Records Southern Soul Story