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Found 20 results

  1. Who knew that "Soul Train," with legendary debut host, Don Cornelius, had a 35-year run?! Just look at Michael Jackson's early version of the Moonwalk (technically, "The Robot") at around the 1:20-ish mark of this video - I saw The Jacksons in person once (even sitting directly behind The Jackson family!), and I can vouch that very few people in this world had body control on the dance floor like Michael Jackson did. Wow!
  2. As my tribute to "Fats" Domino: my favorite song by him, not quite as popular as some of his biggest hits, "I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday":
  3. Esperanza Spalding - wow. Just listen. Just. Precious (studio) Precious (Live) Apple Blossom (so great, so inventive) - I love, love, love this one. So, if y'all have not figured it out yet, I love music in almost all of its forms. I let my ears do the listening.
  4. I just noticed to my horror than neither I nor anyone else ever started an Otis Redding thread. Well, now I have. Let me say up front that I don't like, and never have, "Dock of the Bay," Otis's biggest hit which was released just weeks after his death in a plane crash. The plaintive tone of the song and the fact of the singer-songwriter's recent death are what propelled the song to the top of the charts in 1967. I think it's really a ho-hum piece of material, and it has never ceased to bother me that, contrary to what I was taught at home, it uses "dock" to mean "pier" or "wharf" --an eternal no-no, like calling "foot and mouth disease" "hoof and mouth disease", or calling Welsh rabbit "Welsh Rarebit", or saying "My name is Mr. Browne". ("They call me Mr. Browne" would be perfectly acceptable, but "Mr" is part of no one's name.) If someone cares to link to "Dock of the Bay" they may go ahead and do so, but I won't. But among my favorites:
  5. It is so much more fitting calling Chuck Berry the pivot from R&B to Rock-n-Roll than it is "Rock Around the Clock" - Berry lived his music, and wasn't just slapped together to take advantage of some new fad. There's nothing wrong with Bill Haley & His Comets per se, but ever since I began to think for myself, I've had an uneasy, "Columbus discovered America"-type of feeling about this song, reinforced after seeing "Blackboard Jungle." From chuckberry.com: "We are deeply saddened to announce that Chuck Berry - beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away at his home today at the age of 90. Though his health had deteriorated recently, he spent his last days at home surrounded by the love of his family and friends. The Berry family asks that you respect their privacy during this difficult time." "15 Essential Chuck Berry Songs" by Alan Light on mobile.nytimes.com
  6. Sam Cooke sang like an angel come down to earth. His cruelly curtailed career (shot dead in 1964 aged 33) spanned gospel, blues, rock-n-roll, and, towards the end, a kind of jazz-inflected pop that might be at home in Vegas nightclubs. Here are a couple of more-or-less rock-n-roll numbers. "You Send Me" and "Wonderful World" are better known, but I like these more: "Bring it on Home to Me" (1962) "You're Always on my Mind" (1961) Gospel recordings with the Soul Stirrers (1926-), before Sam Cooke was a pop sensation: "Jesus I'll Never Forget" (Recorded in 1954) "I'm Gonna Build Right on that Shore" (Recorded in 1951) Night-Clubby "Fool's Paradise" (Written in 1955, covered on the 1963 Album "Night Beat"): "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (Written in 1940, covered on the 1961 album, "My Kind of Blues"): As I say, one for the ages.
  7. I know it's a little bit hard not to cringe at the complacent sexism of this material, but Joe Tex was one of the greatest soul singers we ever had, and this was probably his definitive recording, "Hold What You've Got", from 1964. And I love it. I never had the pleasure of seeing Joe Tex perform live.
  8. Strictly speaking, Eric Burdon was the lead singer of "Eric Burdon and War", not of "War", which existed outside his participation with it. Eric Burdon had no role in "The Cisco Kid", which was recorded by War, on their great album The World Is a Ghetto, which was entirely Burdon-less. Don't get me wrong: I love Eric Burdon, but only for the work he actually did.
  9. I almost posted this in "Who are you drinking to", but it's probably better here. Maurice White, founder and presiding genius of the group Earth Wind & Fire, died yesterday. They were among the great musical acts of the 1970s. Here's one of their greatest recordings:
  10. I was having a private conversation with somebody on this site, and we were agreeing that more than anyone else, the founding father of rock and roll was Chuck Berry. But Chuck Berry wasn't an exceptional singer, or an exceptional guitarist, although he certainly wasn't bad as either. But I would like to put forward the claim that the founder of rock-and-roll singing was Little Richard. When you listen to his mid-fifties iconic vocal performances, you hear prefigured just about everything to come: Elvis, John and Paul, Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, John Fogerty, Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Jackie Wilson, even Bob Dylan. Prince. But also the R & B and soul artists like James Brown, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and even Aretha Franklin. You can hear all of them learning what to do when you listen to, and watch, Little Richard murder "Long Tall Sally" (1956): Comment on this extraordinary exhibition is probably superfluous, although I will point out that it seems remarkably like a minstrel show, except the performers are black rather than in black-face. I'm not entirely sure what to make of that. But my goodness, the joy shines through Little Richard's vocal technique and the expressions on his face and his physical moves. This was a singer who knew what he wanted to do and damn, he did it. It's also remarkable how beautiful he was to look at.
  11. Rarely have I seen a musician who put his heart and soul into every performance. The guy toured nearly 300 days a year into his seventies. RIP BB. Live at the Regal
  12. One of the greatest concert albums of all time, "The Johnny Otis Show Live at Monterey!", from the 1970 Monterey Jazz Festival, was once among the crown jewels of my LP collection. From that record, here is Esther Phillips, known in her early years as "Little Esther", with "Little Esther's Blues". She left us way too soon.
  13. Quite possibly the coolest person of the Twentieth Century. Jonah, 1946 That's All,1960 (?) Didn't It Rain, 1964 I came to Sister Rosetta by way of gospel music, and found myself in the middle of rock 'n' roll.
  14. I especially love Billie Holiday's late recordings for Verve. This recording of "April in Paris" from 1956 was included on the wonderful collection "Lady in Autumn: The Best of the Verve Years" released in 1991, which I strongly suggest anyone who cares for singing or for jazz or for Billie Holiday should have. I believe that's the great Ben Webster on tenor sax.
  15. I posted a link to Etta James singing "The Very Thought of You" from her beautiful "Mystery Lady" album over in the Carmen McRae thread. Here's another great track from the same album, "How Deep Is The Ocean." I totally love this album and can't say enough nice things about it: Here, on the other hand, is Etta James doing the kind of thing she was better known for, tearing up Otis Redding's "I Got The Will." I hate to use the word "apotheosis" again so soon, but if this ain't apotheosis, I don't know what is:
  16. As I mentioned in the Lee Wiley thread, Dinah Washington's recording of "Manhattan" (1960) includes an update to the Larry Hart original lyric from "Abie's Irish Rose" to "My Fair Lady" ("and for some high fare/we'll go to 'My Fair/ Lady', say"). In spite of the rather sappy orchestration and the extreme vibrato employed by the singer, I must admit that I adore this version of the song.
  17. "Happy" by Pharrell Williams is one of those songs I'll quickly consider to be an earworm, but not yet; right now, I consider it a personal momento of an old friend who makes me happy - think about this as a "To Whom Are You Drinking Right Now" post. The accompanying video - 4 minutes long, but repeated over-and-over, lasting *24 hours* in duration - can be found at 24hoursofhappy.com. It's an interesting concept that I don't think is meant for listening until completion (*). I like that such a cheerful song is performed in the (normally) sad key of F-Minor. "Happy" will also be released on Williams' second studio album in 2014. (*) Although ...
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