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.

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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 Orlons..one 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.