musicology #558

Shake It Up & Go #5

(The Valentinos – Lookin’ For A Love)

Penultimate cut of the Shake selection featuring the superb Womack Brothers, (Bobby, Cecil, Harry, Friendly and Curtis), with a 1962 cut on Sam Cooke’s groundbreaking Sar label.  Bobby Womack was a major influence on themusicologist throughout my formative years of the early Seventies. One of the ‘Big 3’ that also included Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers. Of course there were others but these 3 were the main players.

musicology #555

Shake It Up & Go #2

(Ike & Tina Turner – Tina’s Dilemma)

Part two of the ‘Shake’ selection that I played on Saturday night. Big Rhythm & Blues cut courtesy of the Trailblazing Ike Turner, featuring Tina on vocals and, I imagine, the Iketttes on backup.

I remember when I laid down a tribute to Ike on themusicologist to mark his passing I found myself in dialogue with some who felt it was their duty to remind me of his treatment of Tina and pour scorn on the man for his behaviour. I replied that themusicologist is a page for honouring music and passing judgement on peoples ‘business’ holds absolutely no interest for me. Personally I have never laid a hand on a woman or bullied anyone but I have seen the results of it for myself and knew the couple very well and I remember asking her, (as I found it impossible to comprehend), why she stayed to which she replied wholeheartedly that she loved him….who was I to argue.

45 on Juggy Murray’s Sue Label released in the pivotal year of 1962, (important year for mod/ernists)

Listen Tune…

musicology #482

SoulBoy #1

(The Miracles – I’ll Try Something New)

Waiting for the inspiration for a new theme it suddenly arrived yesterday out of nowhere… Soul. Why? well…above all musical genres Soul is in my flesh, blood and bones. Deeply ingrained from before I was born. allow me to outline my historicity

My mum and dad were both Original London Mod/ernists from 1962 and anyone who knows will agree that the authentic soundtrack to Mod/ernist is Soul…Rhythm & Blues too of course but whereas Rhythm&Blues had been around for many years Soul was ‘modern’ (albeit a fusion between Doo Wop and Gospel).

Between 1958 and 1960 the seeds of Soul were sown as the cultural boundaries began to be crossed in earnest and as is often the case it was music that blew the trumpet for change loud and clear. No more would the universal language be categorised strictly by ‘Race’ (my belief is that it’s the only language that speaks to all regardless of colour, nationality or creed). Artists such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Smokey Robinson, Jerry Butler, Curtis Mayfield, Gene Chandler, Dee Clark, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye, (along with a whole host of lesser known but just as illuminating singers, songwriters and musicologists), began to flex their musical muscles and craft the ‘new lick’ without the backing of Corporate thieves and vultures.

In December 1968 themusicologist was born with the soundtrack of Soul ringing in my heart and soul and from that day to this it has been ever present. Beginning with the ‘classics’ I have matured throughout the 70’s 80’s 90’s and into the 21st Century with the heartbeart of such priceless musicology as the soundtrack to my existence. There have been and are many other genres that have had a profound impact on the I but Soul still is (and always will be), my first musical love.

Kicking off with one of my favourite early Soul cuts courtesy of the pioneering  ‘Miracles’ who first recorded in 1958 for Chess, but it wasn’t until hooking up to Berry Gordy’s fledgling Motown Label that the musical sparks began to truly fly. Just like to add that without doubt The Miracles were a foundation stone on which the Berry Gordy empire was built…

musicology #443

NewYork NewYork #2

(Bob Dylan – Talkin’ New York)

Highlighted from his first LP. Recorded in late 1961 but released in March 1962. One of only two songs written by him, (the rest being interpretations). This cut describes his feelings on his arrival and subsequent early days in the big apple. Produced by the legendary John Hammond only two months after their first meeting…Didn’t receive much attention in America but went down well over here in England.

musicology #388

Modernist #16

(The Orlons – The Wah Watusi)

Have to keep it brief today as I’m up to my eyeballs with various things that demand my full attention making it nigh on impossible to wax lyrical about Mod/ernists, Musicology, Sociology, Philosophy, The Bauhaus and all of the other strands that woven together inform who I am or even ‘we’ are.

So without delay hold this cut. Yet another from the magic year of 1962 by vocal group The of the important things about this cut is that it made #2 in the U.S Pop chart which for an ‘R&B’ vocal group was no mean feat and for me highlights one of the reasons that 1962 was an important year sociologically. Before then the likelyhood is that it would have been re-recorded by a more shall we say marketable vocal group but ‘walls’ were breaking down especially in America and ‘Race’ music was leading the charge.

musicology #386

Modernist #14

(The Valentinos – Darling Come Back Home)

Today it’s the turn of youth cult ‘observer’ and prolific writer on the subject Paolo Hewitt with what I think is a worthy insight into Mod/ernist that resonates throughout the whole spectrum from conception right up to today and beyond.

“Modernism has remained Britain’s most enduring youth cult because it’s originators created a blueprint that has proved timeproof. By doing so, they put up a safeguard against the transient nature of fashion. Mod has never withered against the ravages of time because it is so particular. About everything, Detail is all. Mod created, for the very first time, a twenty four hour lifestyle that totally revolved around clothes, music, drugs and attitude. They did not oppose society, they simply ignored it. They created their own simple sign language, devised fashion codes and style statements to develop their very own culture of cool. That they were initially hidden from view did not stop them contributing heavily towards the society that ignored. Their demands for clothes and music laid the foundations for the emergence of these industries in Britain and their style demanded a complete shift in attitude towards menswear. The true Modernist transformed London and made it the centre of ‘Hip’. Their clubs were the best in town, The Dj’s played the best and most exciting records and they danced the best dances.

All this because they had no problem mixing other cultures into their own. They were many things, arrogant, contemptuos, sometimes cruel and peacockis to a ‘man’ but they were also open minded and ambitious. One of their credos was simple; if it’s good, absorb it, wherever it’s from. Consequently Mod musical taste was immaculate an it’s development is entwined with the history of Soul music’s triumphant entry into Britain and when it was time to move on they did so. Which is so perfectly right, so perfectly Modernist”.

Today’s cut is one from themusicologist’s vaults recorded and released in 1962 for Sam Cooke and J.W Alexander’s trailblazing SAR label. Hold this quote from the book ‘Dream Boogie’ about the year in question..

“There was a new kind of pride in the air and a new kind of proclamation. Sam’s ‘natural’ hairstyle, (what became known as the Afro), was finally beginning to catch on and a few months later the Philadelphia Tribune defined ‘Soul’, a term confined for the most part at this point to the downhome instrumental sounds of Jazz musicians such as Bobby Timmons, Horace Silver and Cannonball Adderley as “the word of the hour…a spiritual return  to the sources, an emotional intensity and rhythmis crive that comes from childhood saturation in Negro Gopspel music”. “Oh we all heard it said onetime ‘Wonder Boy’ preacher Soloman Burke, a lifelong Soul Stirrers devotee who had positioned himself somewhere between Sam and Brother Joe May in his own persuasive style, of Sam’s new Soul sound. “Pop audiences heard that yodel…like it was some shiny new thing. But if you knew Sam from Gospel, it was him saying, ‘Hey, it’s me’.

This was in the early months of 1962 at the same time that young working class kids in London were beginning to galvanise a new movement of their own and were instinctively drawn to this fresh sound coming out of America’s big cities. The group in question had a name and sound change from The Womack Brothers to the Valentino’s and it was their preceeding cut ‘Looking For A Love’ that provided them with their first breakthrough but for me this one takes some beating.

musicology #385

Modernist #13

(Gene Chandler – You Threw A Lucky Punch)

After two days of rest themusicologist is coming down the home straight for the Mod/ernist theme this week so I’ve decided to fly by the seat of my pants , (so to speak), and lay down some cuts that might not have been played in the critical years, (1961-1963), but I’m sure would have been if known about. As the theme has unfolded and due in part to the dialogue I feel like I am tuning in to the pace of the music that moved the crowd. As Tony Blue said ‘Shout & Shimmy’ was too fast whereas all the commentators have, (independantly), identified some of the key sounds and what has emerged is that they are all of a certain tempo. No surprise really as my own experience of the various scenes that I have been privliged to have been involved in over the years have all marched to one special beat, (whatever that may be), seems like the ‘biggest’ cuts of the theme so far are all what I would call Mid Tempo…or to put it another way…the ‘Perfect Beat’. Not too fast or too slow but just the right pace to make your feet move without forcing them to. The Cats know the beat of which I speak….the one that would ‘raise the dead’ and compel them to throw whatever ‘shapes’ were in their bones. Of course there are some whose sense of timing and natural rhythm is a joy to behold but even their best is brought out by the same beat that seems to catch all of our dancing feet and moves us onto the floor. Today’s cut is, (for me), in that groove and is also the original to the Mary Wells cut ‘You Beat Me To The Punch’, (musicology #376), sung by none other than the ‘Duke Of Earl’ himself, Gene Chandler whose name, (or if not name then certainly his musical contribution), should be known to Mod/ernists everywhere. Recorded for and released on the Vee Jay label in the magic year 1962.

musicology #384

Modernist #12

(The Drifters – Up On The Roof)

Modernist / Mod / Mods..for me the label is not the issue it’s the philosophy..the ideology that’s important and how it evolved to influence almost every ‘trend’ that followed. That’s what fascinates me. The narrative of the early sixties is well documented from almost every angle other than the ‘street’ perspective in part because the voice of the people is not one that is often heard. As Johnny Spencer said ‘by 1965 the essence and meaning was gutted from the original movement because it was a genuine threat to the staus quo’. For sure the consumer revolution had been managed as far back as the early part of the 20th Century but ‘Mod/ernist’ was never part of the equation because it came up from the street where the establishment had no control or initial interest other than in how to ‘capitalize’.

By the time I was born in 1968 the control was being fought for and for a moment the chance was there to bring down the system but by then the momentum was with the bourgouise intellectuals who when it came down to it didn’t realise that in the words of Martin Luther King there would be ‘No victory without sacrifice’. As the 70’s rolled on everything had been commoditized and the moment passed, (much to the relief of the establishment), who then went on, (in the 80’s), to destroy the working class by giving us ‘something’ to lose in the way of our own property which, of course, wasn’t ours anyway as it belonged to the banks that had sold us into debt slavery.

Interpret my musings how you will but I know how it was to live through these times with a narrative of Mod/ernist as the guiding principle which is after all an Attitude rather than merely a fashion trend. In my opinion part of why the lifestyle of Mod/ernist has been, (and continues to be), so enduring is the underlying principle at the heart of it which is to follow your own path and, (as much as you can), decide for yourself what to do, wear, listen to, watch, read, learn etc.

Today’s 1962 cut by the Drifters is so well known that it is easy to dismiss it as nothing more than pop but if you listen to the words it speaks the language of pure Mod/ernist, the cats who met, walked, talked and lived together metaphorically

“Up On The Roof..way up where the air was fresh and sweet and away from the hustling crowd and all the Rat Race noise down below…….right smack dab in the middle of town..”

Listen Tune…

musicology #382

Modernist #10

(Derrick & Patsy – Housewife’s Choice)

Sticking with the Jamaican selection with a next piece that was spun back in the day. The quote below from a cat named Ian Hebditch confirms conversations about them days that I have had with a good friend of mine’s Dad, (hold this one Don), who is Jamaican, born in 1947 and was there on the London scene at the time in question.

“There was a great degree of respect between the Mods and the West Indian Community. I personally found that. Within the Mod movement I don’t recollect any element of racism at all and by racism I mean anti-black feeling”.

Many a reason for this but one I would like to add is that in my experience Jamaicans have much of the mod/ernist attitude. Confident, Proud, Defiant, Dynamic are all attributes I have come across in my friends and their familys over the years and often have I witnessed this being interpreted as them having ‘a chip on their shoulder’ a misinterpretation that lingers on to this day.

Today’s cut is a 1962 slice from early Ska proponent Derrick Morgan in combination with a female singer by the name of Patsy Todd and I’ll leave it to Johnny Spencer to give you the details of the cut, a picture of the label and an informative piece of writing on it here on his magnificent project

musicology #381

Modernist #9

(Folks Brothers – Oh Carolina)

Today I’m rolling with another quote from early Mod/ernist Patrick Uden..who as far as I’m concerned has much of value to say on the subject.

“You have no idea how dreary it was. It was really dreary. And then what happened was that the first group of 15 year olds born after the war emerged into a world where they had some money to spend. And at the same time the British economy was being turned around, (other countries had been more fortunate following the war), It was going from what’s called a ‘command economy’ to a ‘demand economy’. This meant that things started to appear that people could buy and there were certainly imports starting to come in. Some of them were ‘grey imports like Levi’s coming through the PX stores in American bases and moving into the black market via, you know, the East End markets and that sort of thing. So very slowly, and then quite rapidly, this purchasing power began to affect what was available. And this blossomed into a kind of early spring, if you like. I’m talking now around 1961/2, and that’s when it started, although you can trace the movement, in terms of things like music and so on, back into the 50’swith the interest in Modern Jazz and those sorts of things. But popular Modernism began to emerge around 1961 and I think that’s the real source of it.”

Reflecting on this and other snippets of knowledge from those who were there at the time crystalises in my mind that the most important and enduring aspect of the nameless thing moved out of the shadows in late 1961 and flowered for almost three years before being rinsed by the establishment for many years to come. All the ‘movements’ that I have had the pleasure to be involved in, (Casual/Rare Groove and ‘House’), lasted for the same duration so I conclude that it’s the nature of such things that the vanguard move on to pastures new once the herd pitches in. Maybe that sounds, and is, elitist but I make no excuse for it. The Elite govern and in some cases dictate all aspects of society and in such matters as trends this is no different. I’m not a supporter of Elitism but in my mind there’s no denying that it doesn’t have the power to exert strong influence on the shifting sands change.

Today’s cut, (courtesy of my uncle), is one that was on the vanguard of the change from what’s known as ‘Shuffle’ to ‘Ska’ a piece produced by ‘The Voice Of The People’…Cecil Bustamante Campbell a.k.a Prince Buster who is as responsible as anyone for Jamaican music shaking off it’s colonial/imperial heritage to stand on it’s own as an authentic language for ‘sufferers’ everywhere. Recorded, (according to Steve Barrow who has it on good authority from Owen Gray..thanks Steve), probably late 1961 but released on BlueBeat in the UK in 1962 if memory serves me right. Not only the year of Jamaican Independence but also the year that Mod arrived. Unique in that it was the first recording to feature Rasta ambassador Count Ossie. DEFINATELY played on the scene back in the day on release making it one of the first Jamaican crossover records to have a universal appeal.

musicology #380

Modernist #8

(James Brown – Shout & Shimmy)

First up I want to thank The Countess, Steve Barrow and Tony Blue for their quality input on this theme so far. One of the most valuable things that has emerged as a result, (and cemented my belief), is the key year which seems for all three of them, (independently), to be 1962?. As a student in the history of music, society and the cultures that emerged on the strength of it the dialogue has gone a long way to nailing what I have thought for a while.

As previously mentioned/discussed here themusicologist ‘files’ music on the year it was released and over the years I have come to a conclusion that 1962 was the pivotal year as far as Mod and Soul were concerned..not Modernist or MODS they came before and after and as a result of this theme I’m sure of that now so next week I’ll be laying down a 1962 Selection to help ground my theory in musical evidence. Not just the music of America by the way as Jamaica’s independence was ‘granted’ in that year too so obviously the winds of change were not a Local phenomenon. I could go on but I’ll save it for next week.

Today’s cut is from another Mod/ernist legend, The hardest working man in Show Business, (but certainly not the Godfather of Soul), none other than James Brown and the foundation stones on which he built his well deserved reputation…the Famous Flames with a piece from, you guessed it 1962. I don’t know for sure because I wasn’t there but I’m assuming this would have been played in and around the Capital during the summer of that year?

A 45 on the King label

musicology #239

inmodwetrust #6

(The Marvelettes – Someday, Someway)

Bit late with this final instalment of the mod selection. big night Friday night…the Cyprus cats were back in town to celebrate which, although having nothing to do with ‘mods’ certainly deserves a mention. As the regulars know themusicologist is, for me, a musical diary, a soundtrack connecting my feelings to the sweet sound of music, the benefits of which are many. had a great night made even better by making new connections which was a pleasure.

Music wise today’s cut is another from the Berry Gordy and Motown selection by a girl group whose name burned brightly on the emerging Mod/ernist scene especially in the lead up to Soul establishing itself as a mainstream musical force. B-side to their classic Beechwood 45789. Quality double sider that was definately played in and around London back in the day.

Tamla 45 from the pivotal year concerning mods and soul, (1962), whose paths were inextricably linked on the ‘road to freedom’ as oppressed people discriminated by the colour of their skin or, (as was/is the case on these fair shores), the way they spoke, began to break down, (and through), the walls of class and colour boundries to have more opportunities to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.

musicology #237

inmodwetrust #4

(The Valentinos – Lookin’ For A Love)

today’s slice of the mod/ernist pie, (written by J.W Alexander and Zelda Samuels), features one of themusicologist’s all time favourite, inspirational and also influential artists…Robert Dwayne, (Bobby), Womack who played a BIG part in my musical upbringing back in the early 70’s (continuing up to today). The cat’s career stretches back into the 50’s when as a member of family Gospel group the Womack Brothers he was spotted by none other than the Lion, (Sam Cooke), who was so impressed he remembered them when setting up his ground breaking Sar label and brought them in to record, as well as hiring Bobby as a guitarist and important member of the Sam Cooke ‘family’ both on tour and in the studio. This one is their third recording on the label but their first as the Valentinos.

musicology #234

inmodwetrust #1

(Walter Jackson – That’s What Mama Say)

new theme on themusicologist and one that is very much a part of my musical education due to the fact that both my mum and dad were first generation mod/ernists, (1962-1966). the cuts laid down this week were all played in and around London during the above period.

first up is a piece from one of the premier ‘mod’ labels, operating out of ‘Chi’, OKeh. A label that was one of the first to focus on ‘immigrant’ music in the 1920’s recording many of the early Jazz pioneers such as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Mamie Smith. After some time spent lost in the musical wilderness the company’s fortunes were reignited by employing Carl Davis in 1962 as head of A&R who had the vision to employ Curtis Mayfield as associate producer in 1963 as well as three of the best arrangers Johnny Pate, Riley Hampton and Gerald Sims who is quoted to have said

“the Chicago sound came from basically one source…Curtis Mayfield”

This one from 1963 is sung by one of themusicologist’s favourite singers, Walter Jackson. Produced by the aforementioned Carl Davis, arranged by Riley Hampton and songwriten by none other than Curtis Mayfield with, (possibly), the Impressions harmonising.

musicology #229

communication #7

(Otis Redding – These Arms Of Mine)

time for a slice of Otis…unquestionably one of the finest singers of the Soul genre, (or any other come to that), loved and respected by all the musicians and producers who had the good fortune to work with the man. this one is taken from his first album, (although this cut was recorded and released initially as a Volt 45 in 1962), Pain In My Heart.

Recorded at ‘Soulsville U.S.A’, lyrics by the man himself, produced and probably engineered by Label owner Jim Stewart, (maybe even Steve Cropper?). players of instruments the magnificent Booker T & the MG’s: Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Al Jackson and Lewie Steinberg.

musicology #19

(Delilah – Major Lance)

themusicologist is as much about the sharing of knowledge as the music itself. this fling is a fine example of what musicology means to me.

we were at a dear friends daughters second birthday bash, (happy birthday Nova), on Sunday and one of the guests was a beautiful baby girl whose name is this songs title.

of course as themusicologist there was only one thing to do and I enquired as to whether the child and parent were aware of the TOP tune I am about to throw down…as the answer was no I proposed to attach it to an email, (I would consider changing my name to be associated with such a slice of musicology), but this way it gives themusicologist a chance to indulge his passion for this singer, this particular tune and even more importantly the song writer/producer/musical genius whose message has been a constant inspiration throughout my whole life so without further ado .. this ones for you D*****H … from themusicologist.