Sunday, February 27, 2011

...from Mark #3 - Little Walter - It's Too Late Brother (1956)

Rolling Stone Playlists:

Quite an interesting selection of choices here. I've interviewed far too many artists over the years and it's always fascinated me how some are music obsessives while others seem utterly uninterested and perhaps less influenced by others.  This Rolling Stone selection rather vindicates that, inspired and educated choices by some (Bruno Mars for example), workmanlike obviousness from others (see Annie Lennox).  Iggy Pops' s certainly one of the most interesting, as a teenager he was obsessed with Chicago blues and saw all the greats live on trips to Chicago, the Muddies, the Wolfs, Junior Wells, you name it.  This Little Walter track has somehow passed me by til now.  It's an unremarkable solo by his standards (he'd often switch harmonicas mid phrase, just for show) but it has a groove to die for. Or in this case, to kill for.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Trails - Whistler's Jug Band - Foldin' Bed

This film of Whistler's Jug Band is a delight to view, over and over again.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Featured Artist - Irma Thomas

Irma Thomas, The Soul Queen of New Orleans, turned 70 earlier this month. Below are 5 tunes chosen from across her varied and magnificent career.

While The City Sleeps - On Vine Street: Early Songs Of Randy Newman

The Hurt's All Gone - Straight from the Soul

Here I Am, Take Me - Down At Muscle Shoals

I Count The Tears - After The Rain

Too Much Thinking - Simply Grand

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

...from Mark #2 - Charlie Rich - A Part Of Your Life/How Long Have You Had Him On Your Mind? (1971)

There's not too much you can be certain of in life but one fact will remain forever true, Charlie Rich is a genius, and trust no man who even momentarily thinks otherwise.  Master of all trades, jack of none, Rich recorded masterfully in every style he turned his hand to, rock and roll, blues, jazz, gospel, soul, country, even northern soul. For some reason this particular beauty is almost impossible to find on CD, in fact it appears it's only available on a rather shoddy 3CD budget set, but it remains a high point in a career that had little else.  For a relatively obscure 45 from 1971, the B-side's also better than most people’s entire artistic careers.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Featured Album - The Roots Of Nick Lowe

An idea for an album anyway.  Below is a selection from a 34 track compilation I put together last year. 

All tunes have been recorded and released by Nick Lowe at one time or another.  As well as writing great songs himself, he has always succeeded when choosing other’s work to cover.  Here’s six of the originals.

Only A Fool Breaks His Own Heart – Long John Baldry (cc The Convincer)

Not Too Long Ago – Joe Stampley (cc At My Age)

There Will Never Be Any Peace – The Chi-Lites (cc The Convincer Bonus CD)

In The Middle Of It All – Arthur Alexander (cc The Doings)

36 Inches High – Jim Ford (cc Jesus Of Cool)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

...from Mark #1 - Bobby Ellis & The Crystalites - Step Softly (1967)

Derrick Harriott is quite a cornerstone artist of Jamaican music. As a teenager in the 50's he formed the doo-woppy vocal group The Jiving Juniors, went solo and made some beautiful rocksteady in the mid 60's
on his own Crystal label (as well as producing great records by others) and was recording right through the 90's. Up til pretty recently he was also still serving behind the counter of Derrick Harriott's record shop in Kingston. I know, because I bought this off him in that very store.  The generic house band at Crystal were, of course, called the Crystalites and this masterpiece of control was released under the name of their trumpeter Bobby Ellis in 1967. A record that has never ceased to amaze and delight me over the last twenty years , the whole band are at their peak but it's the drum fills that get me every time (Joe Isaac ?).
Rocksteady was rarely ever this moody. This ones on a ton of compilations, (including the Trojan Mod Reggae Box) and I'd bet they're all pretty great.

Monday, February 7, 2011

RIP - Clay Hammond (1936 - 2011)

Clay Hammond - Sad News RIPClay Hammond, has died.  His glorious "I'll Make It Up To You" features below.

Live Session - The Wildcards

Currently touring Europe, below are The Wilcards with Hoodoo Preacher, from their 2007 album "Raising Hell".

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gospel Slot - Charlie Rich - Feel Like Going Home

Charlie recorded Feel Like Going Home more than once, including a gospel version on his last album, 1992's Picture's And Paintings, but it's the demo version that best captures the song's full power and dignity.  A further version was featured on another blog last month - click here for more on this fantastic performer.

"As a farmer, Charlie was a pretty good piano player."
Margaret Ann Rich

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Aural Massage - Big Al Downing - I'll Be Holding On (1974)

Who can resist a disco tune with a banjo break?  Big Al Downing's 1974 hit I'll Be Holding On is also notable for its part in the evolution of the 12" single and can be found at Soul Jazz Records as well as below.  And it's a cracker.