Friday, October 30, 2009

Why?

Why, oh why, did I ever get the idea of getting a new kitchen? For four long weeks I've been listening to the carpenters sawing, hammering, drilling and whatever else noises you can imagine and last Thursday was supposed to be the happy day.
Another Thursday came and went -- and the kitchen still is not finished yet ...
I feel like running amok, if I have to spend another day without a kitchen sink and cooktop ...

You all think that if I play the Ice Man's Go Away to greet them, the kitchen guys get the message?
Or, maybe Mitty Collier's Gotta Get Away From It All I know one thing for sure, however: If this isn't over soon, I'm Going Away -- away to stay!





(... used to be a perfectly working kitchen!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Angola Prison Spirituals






Today, I feel I post something very special. The two songs I'm going to present to you are from an album called Angola Prison Spirituals.

One of the most fear evoking  prisons in America is the  Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Angola (also called "The Farm") is the largest maximum security prison in the United States. It houses 5,000 inmates and employs about 1,800 staff members. The 18,000 acre (73 km²) property belonged previously to the Angola and other plantations "owned by Isaac Franklin in unincorporated West Feliciana Parish close to the Mississippi border."  Angola is surrounded on three sides by the Mississippi River. (Wiki)
The men who sing on these recordings had to endure the harshest punishment for whatever crimes they had (or were accused of having) committed. In the 50's, when the songs were recorded, such State Farm Prisons could often be considered a legalized form of plantation- conscription labor. 
So, if you listen to the songs with that background in mind, you'll understand where the Blues is actually coming from: from the souls of the suffering. No matter whether they were true criminals or not, the anguish and pain of a life at Angola prison shines through their singing. For the mostly black inmates there was no other authority to turn to for relieve than God himself. 
Please take a moment to consider the plight of these artists before you listen to them. This music is a piece of American history with a bitter taste to it.

Robert Pete Williams, whom you hear in these recordings, later became a known Blues artist.
Little School Song

Rise and Fly

Dyin'Soul

Bonus: Robert Pete Williams -- A Motherless Child Has A Hard Time (As Blue As A Man Can Be, 1994, Arhoolie)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chocolate Milk -- Pretty Pimpin' Willie, How About Love


(l.: prototype of "Pretty Pimpin' Willie -- sure looking kinda silly.) 




Everybody Funk Up This Tuesday!


Chocolate Milk  had a few minor hits in the mid 70's. The one title that I instantly associated with the group's name was of course Actions Speak Louder Than Words, which got quite some air time in 1975. After that, I can't remember anything worth mentioning from the group. Lately, though, while I was digging my way through a stack of 70's Funk groups, I came across a song by Chocolate Milk that had me listen up first -- and move next. That bass guitar is irresistible. Give it a good listen!
Chocolate Milk was a group of eight men who met in Tennessee and formed their band around sax player Ammadee Castenell Jr. They followed in the footsteps of such enormously successful groups as Kool and The Gang and Earth, Wind and Fire -- a kind of competition that is hard to beat.
Later, they moved to Louisiana, replacing The Meters as Allen Toussaint's band. After they split with Allen Toussaint in the 80's, they went through several personnel- and producer changes. (They also did some recording with Paul McCartney.)  Chocolate Milk still fared well during the Disco era, but once the Disco sound was no longer in demand, the group split and vanished.


How About Love


Pretty Pimpin' Willie

Monday, October 26, 2009

Matumbi -- Law of the Land

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Some very soulful Reggae from Matumbi, a group from the UK.



Law of the Land is my favorite Tempts song of the post David Ruffin era. I was quite surprised to hear such a good Reggae cover of it. Law of The Land actually was the song that made me curious about the music of the Temptations and had me look into their repertoire. I've heard Matumbi for the first time today, and I know I will be looking for more material by this group with such a unique style.



Matumbi is one of the early British Reggae bands that never managed to break into the US market. They formed in 1972 in London. At that time Jamaican roots Reggae was on its way to the top. The Reggae Matumbi played was tailored to the taste of the British scene emphasizing the softer more soulful style laced with a touch of Pop. They are considered pioneers who prepared the British audience for the arrival of lots of new Reggae groups.

Have a reggaeful Monday you all!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Persuasions -- He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother



When this song first came out, in Fall 1969, it was playing on almost every radio station in Germany. I was like most teenagers back then highly idealistic and rebellious. And that song painted a picture of the world as we would have loved it -- a world that even the most mutinous of us would have accepted as theirs. I guess we all were Hippies without a San Francisco to live in at heart, fighting the cold and heartless world of achievers and success we were about to enter very soon ...
The song has a quite touching story which I had not known up to now. The very first recording of the song was by Neil Diamond. Only his version was released after the Hollies' came out in September 1969  (UK). (I didn't know either that Elton John was playing piano on that record.)
The song's composers, Bobby Scott and Bob Russell had met in California when Russell was already dying of cancer. It is said that they met only three times in person and still were able to work on the song.
The name of the song "He ain't heavy, He's my brother," can be traced back to a 1924 article in the Kiwanis magazine with that title. Father Edward Flanagan, the Boys Town founder, who
"came across a line drawing of a young boy carrying his brother in the Christmas 1941 edition of the Louis Allis Messenger. The caption read "He ain't heavy Mister — he's m' brother!" It was created by Mr. Van B. Hooper who later became the editor of Ideals magazine. The drawing was reprinted in the first issue of Ideals in December 1944. Flanagan felt that the drawing illustrated the work done at Boys Town and received permission from the company in August 1943 to recreate the drawing in color with the caption "He ain't heavy, Father . . . he's m' brother." The phrase became the motto of Boys Town (now Girls and Boys Town)."                                                (http://en.wikipedia.org/)
I still -- and always will --l love The Hollies version, although The Persuasions acappella version fascinated me the first time I ever heard it.
Neil Diamond's take on the song definitely lacks in depth of emotion; sounds a little bland, imo. It completely lacks the enthusiasm that made the song appeal to us young ones back in the day. No fervor, no urgency. Where's the Neil Diamond I know?



The Hollies -- He Ain't Heavy ... This is my all time favorite rendition of the song with the harmonica part that gives me goose bumps.


The Persuasions version of the "anthem of altruism" as the song is sometimes called, is a masterpiece. 



Bonus: He Ain't Heavy -- Donny Hathaway's version misses the point: where is the positive outlook on life the song is supposed to create? The message that things can change, that improving a sad state of affairs is possible if you only care enough. Donny sings beautifully, but he sounds hopeless and defeated instead of confident of victory. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Lost Generation -- Talking The Teenage Language




Get their music here!


Happy Friday!!!!

I just like this track!

Talking The Teenage Language

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Johnny Dyer -- Come Back Home

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Johnny Dyer was born in 1938 in Mississppi and lived on the Stovall Plantation, the same plantation where Muddy Waters was raised. 
Legend has it that Johnny's attachment to the harp began at the age of 7 when he found a harmonica someone had lost on the plantation. He began practicing on the instrument, first secretly under his bed, and later in the fields. (Those were the same fields where the great Muddy Waters once had worked.)
Johnny tried other instruments, but always returned to his first love, the harmonica. His kind of Blues was that of Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and Big Walter Horton; the music he was  hearing on a Nashville radio station. Neither the guitar nor the drums could take the place of his beloved harp. 
At 16, he played the harmonica in his own band -- acoustic harmonica that is.  The first time he played a amplified harp was in the early 50's at a club where he performed with Smokey Wilson.
And then it happened: Muddy Waters discovered Johnny's talent. 
But Muddy left and moved north to Chicago to become the celebrated Blues great he was. Johnny moved too, eventually. But he went to California where he met George "Harmonica" Smith in 1958. '"Dyer and Smith actually played gigs together as father and son, with the elder statesman of harmonica taking Dyer under his wing. Dyer reflected about that time by saying, "Smith was the hottest thing around and the blues was really swinging! He taught me a lot. Everybody loved George."' (http://www.blindpigrecords.com/index.cfm?section=artists&artistid=27)
With his new band, The Blue Notes, he now played such well-knowns  as Jimmy Reed and Jimmy Rogers, for example.
Johnny blames the Motown phenomenon for the decline the Blues scene suffered in the 60's. He's quoted as saying that "Motown just stepped in and crushed everything. Blues was good until Motown stepped in ..." Johnny almost gave up. But once again it was Muddy Waters who influenced Johnny's career. When Johnny saw the large audiences Muddy was still drawing at the Troubadour club, he decided to give the Blues another chance.
In the early 80's Johnny returned to the blues scene, playing with Shakey Jake and other renowned harpists and his music appeared on Hard Times: L.A. Blues Anthology. According to the Blind Pig websitehe also "recorded two singles for Shakey Jake's Good Time label and in 1983 recorded an album on the small Murray Brothers label with his old band, the L.A. Jukes. He was also featured on on the Black Magic label from Scandinavia."
Together with guitarist Rick Holmstrom, with whom he teamed up in 1989, he released two recordings: Listen Up! and Shake It! 
For a more complete list of his available CD's go here please. 





Come Back Home is my fav. track from the Shake It album. 



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Z. Z. Hill -- That Means So Much To Me, Love Me



(In this pic. Z. Z. made sure to wear a shirt matching the colors of SOTS ...) 

Here's a man who apparently has the same taste I have when it comes to music. He cites, among others, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, B. B. King and Bobby Blue Bland as musicians that influenced his own music. His name came up when I was checking on some Malaco albums this morning -- and I thought he'd be a good candidate for a Wednesday post.

I don't know what it is about him that I like. His voice doesn't blow me away, and there are more songs by him I don't care for than the other way around. But his Down Home album, which in 1982 bestowed on him a triumphant comeback after his career had hit a low, sure is quite pleasant to listen to.
AOL.com calls the album "impressive," and states that it "remained on Billboard's soul album charts for nearly two years, an extraordinary run for such a blatantly bluesy LP."
I call it a bit on the commercialized Blues side reminding me of Bobby Bland's approach to the Blues on his Members Only album.
Anyway, although I do consider these two songs neither true Blues nor true Soul, they have a nice southern dragging-drawl "feel" to them.

Love Me


That Means So Much To Me




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Curtis Blandon -- Young, Dumb


I was chatting with a friend who is going to have a birthday soon. Since we both are at that certain age where you really wish you could stop the years from adding up to such unsightly numbers as 55, 65 etc., we thought it a good idea to just stop counting and stay young -- or at least younger than we are.
Of course I was looking for some kind of song that could support our decision. Yet the song that came up when I searched "Young" in my i-tunes library was.

Young, Dumb by Curtis Blandon

Monday, October 19, 2009

Joya Landis -- Moonlight Lover, Angel Of The Morning, When The Lights Are Low.


You just have to love Joya. The first song I ever heard by her was "When The Lights Are Low." I could listen to that song all day long without ever tiring of it. Her voice is so pleasantly different from what one gets to hear nowadays: it is sexy without sounding cheap, very feminine yet not sweet. I don't know why I haven't posted her earlier.

But here she is!
"American based singer Joya Landis recorded an early reggae version of Angel of the morning in 1968. The Jamaican single was on the Treasure Isle label. The UK single (on Trojan TR 622) had Love Letters by Phyllis Dillon & Alton Ellis on the b-side. It also appeared on the compilation album Soul Of Jamaica a.k.a. Come Rock With Me In Jamaica, 1968 and on the Trojan compilation album Tighten Up, Volume 1, 1968. It was produced by Arthur Reid."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Otis Clay vs Jackie Moore, O.V. Wright -- Precious, Precious



I was going to skip posting today. But then I found these little beauties.
Precious, Precious, sung by Otis Clay, has been a favorite of mine forever. Of course, that means that every version I hear of the song is being compared to Otis's.
Now, I found two new recordings of Precious, Precious, and I would love to share them with you all.

Which one do you like best?

Jackie Moore

O.V. Wright

And here the master: Otis Clay


PS: Sorry, I posted O. V. Wright's version twice. I've corrected the mistake.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Johnnie Taylor -- "I Need Lots Of Love," "Shine, Shine, Shine"

Won't get any smoother!

Well ... ahem. Look at all them Jodies lol! But -- the ladies sure having some funnnnnnnnnn.

Here's some early J.T. music. These tracks are from 1963, and I love every note J.T. sings.
I Need Lots of Love

Shine, Shine, Shine

Bonus: Johnnie's version of I Found A Love

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shakey Jake; Memphis Slim; T-Bone,Walker; Willie Dixon, Jump Jackson -- Call Me When You Need Me



BLUES ON THURSDAY


"Sweet little sweet thing ..." Don't you just love the way he sings that line?  The finest of the fine Blues musicians at work; this piece needs no further comment.

Here's the same song with T-Bone Walker and Shakey Shake alone. (Looks as if Shakey does not really impress the lady of his heart's desire ...)



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

David Ruffin -- Everything's Coming Up Love (Plus a surprise!)



Looks like I'm having Ruffin-withdrawal symptoms ... So, here I go again with yet another David Ruffin classic.
Everything's Coming Up Love is once more a tune by this great vocalist that makes me want to dance; This song has "just be happy!" written all over. Doesn't it? And when David hits those high notes (0:45 and 2:00) -- so smoothly and perfectly -- I am reassured that I am soooo right in being crazy about his voice. 



Now -- Here's The Surprise!!!
Okay. Y'all (lol) know that I love David Ruffin. (By now you really should.) A while ago it just so happened that I came across a YouTube clip by a gentleman who seemed to like Ruff too.  While I am restricted to writing/posting about My David (mainly because of vocal shortcomings), avetrey can actually sing David's songs! I do admire him for his courage -- because singing David's material definitely is challenging.
Now, looka here what avetrey did!
(Please, head over to his channel and leave a comment, if you like his singing!)


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Enjoyments -- If I Lost Your Love



Tuesday is Schmuse-day!


 My favorite season is Fall. I just love the cool weather and the foggy days that make staying inside such a pleasure. In my opinion, Fall is the perfect season for soft music and stories from the past. And it just so happened that I found a nice smoothy I would like to share with you.




(Since I mentioned reading stories from the past, I'm going to read some Hawthorne and E. A. Poe this Fall. )

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dave Barker -- Love Me Baby




Reggae Monday!


My new kitchen still hasn't been completely installed yet, and I will have to put up with a few more days of hammering, drilling, sawing etc.,  so I'll post another track w/o much talk again.

This is from Dave Barker's Prisoner of Love album

Love Me Baby

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stevie Wonder -- You Haven't Done Nothing



I am  not a great fan of Stevie's, but there are a few songs by him I absolutely love! One of them is today's post. The song is from his 1974 Fulfillingness' First Finale album. Everyone who would like to listen to the entire album, check out AllSOULANDFUNK ...


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Arthur Adams -- Private Tonight,




The single I post today was released in 1969 by Chisa Records, a Motown subsidiary. "It's Private Tonight" did not turn into a big hit, but scored well regionally. 


In 1972 Blue Thumb Records released a homonymous album whose credits boast several fantastic musicians as the Crusaders keyboardist Joe Sample and Wilton Felder on sax. 
Arthur himself played on many Crusaders 70's albums -- which tells a lot about his own merits as a musician. 


Arthur Adams (a.k.a Arthur K. Adams) did it all: from playing Gospel and Blues at the beginning to Soul in the 70s -- just to return to the Blues in the mid 80's again. It looks that he will stay with his early love, the Blues, now. And nowadays, he is known as one of  "the top blues artists on the Los Angeles circuit."


It's Private Tonight


Friday, October 9, 2009

Percy Wiggins -- "Look What I've Done", "Book of Memories"



SOTS sound a bit depressed today? I know Percy Wiggins music won't do much to improve anyone's mood ... But I still like me a deepy when I'm down.

Look What I've Done


Book of Memories

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Slim Harpo -- Baby, Scratch My Back


Slim Harpo's Blues is that of a people pleasing entertainer. I'd call it Pop/Blues, which probably sounds more negative than it's intended to do. The mixture of Rock, Country, Soul and Blues is definitely nothing the Blues purists would consider the "real thing." It is probably best described as "Blues light." I like the sound, which Peter Guralnick has been quoted to define as "if a black country and western singer or a white rhythm and blues singer were attempting to impersonate a member of the opposite genre." There's nothing to add to this definition -- it's pefect.

All in all, it appears that Slim Harpo was trying to bleach the blue out of the Blues, so to speak. White musicians loved to cover his material (which was often co-written by Harpo's wife.) His harmonica style as well as singing were rather pleasing and easy-going.

Slim Harpo was born James Moore on January 11, 1924 near Baton Rouge, LA. He left school after the death of his parents and went straight into the Blues business, making a living playing in juke joints, on street corners and private parties. Until the release of his first record, he called himself Harmonica Slim; he had to drop the name because there was already someone recording by that name. His wife came up withe the name Harpo, derived from the vernacular term "harp" for harmonica.
Already his first single "King Bee" turned out to be a double-sided hit. But "Raining In My Heart" was even a greater success in 1961. His biggest hit would be "Baby, Scratch My Back," though, which made it into the Billboard Top 20.
He died unexpectedly on January 31, 1970 of a heart attack while touring Europe.



Best of CD

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Glass House -- The Man I'll Never Have



Okay people. I am a bit busy and very nervous today because I'm having a new kitchen installed.
So, music only will have to do for now.




The Man I'll Never Have


Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Smith Connection -- "Under My Wings," "(I've Been A Winner, I've Been A Loser) I've Been In Love"

!
The Smith Connection has had only one album released, but that is in my opinion a priceless piece of perfection. Under My Wings (1972, Music Merchant) is through and through 70's. Incredible vocals, beautiful melodious arrangements -- right after my heart.
This St.Louis based group has been compared to The Delfonics (Funk My Soul), a statement I fully attest to.




Under My Wings


(I've Been A Winner, I've Been A Loser) I've Been In Love

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Notations -- I'm Still Here, It Only Hurts For A While




There's not much info available about The Notations. The allmusic bio calls them an "above-average Chicago soul group who could never get a breakout hit ..." They released one album in 1975 for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label. And that album is a true gem, showcasing the group's excellent singing and some beautiful arrangements in the Philly sound vein. 


I'm Still Here

It Only Hurts For A While

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Post # 333



Girl, I'll Always Love You -- We Three Ltd.
Three Steps From True Love -- Reflections
This Is The Year --  The Three Degrees



3 3 3

Friday, October 2, 2009

Anglo Saxon Brown "I'll Keep Loving You"



Anglo Saxon Brown is a group I've never heard of -- before now. They recorded one album, Songs For Evolution, under that name in 1976. In 1979 they renamed themselves to Silk and released another album, Midnight Dancer.

I'll Keep Loving You is from their first album. Smooth and beautiful as music can be!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Here Comes Baaaad Boy Bobby "Blue" Bland "Today I Started Loving You Again"


I am thinking about merging my Blues blog with this one, posting a Blues piece every now and then. Therefore, I'll post some Bobby Blue Bland music right away.

Oh man, how I wish myself back to the glorious seventies! This song played a dozen times a day and it still has the power to make me happy ... Bobby is a phenomenon, and he will always be unrivaled. You just have to love his nonchalant singing. But one thing has to be said also: he knew what kind of musicians to chose. Dammit, this band was super platinum crazy frigging good!

Now turn up the volume and be happy!

Today I Started Loving You Again (live) Long Beach 1983


Driftin' Blues