musicology #390

Modernist #18

(Ernestine Anderson – Keep An Eye On Love)

Cats…apologies for leaving you all ‘hanging’ for this final slice..my excuse is that it has been ‘on me like a rash’ for the last couple of weeks and I haven’t been able to find the time for themusicologist. The Project is taking up most of my time leaving precious little for Mod/ernist musings although the combination of the two has produced the latest addition to the Tribute Tees below. Available in two colours, sizes from Small to XLarge and THREE cuts ‘Dubplate’, ‘Classic’, and ‘Double A’, (American Apparel) see Tribute Tees for further information

Final cut on the Mod/ernist theme..and I’m wrapping it up with this fine piece by extraordinary singer Ernestine Anderson whose long career stretches back to the early 50’s when as a teenager she toured with the, (legendary), Johnny Otis band and then Lionel Hampton’s. Essentially a Jazz singer but I’m sure she could ‘sit down’ on any piece of music with effortless ease. Recorded and released in 1963 it won’t come as a surprise to those who know this cut but for those who don’t know it, (as well as them that do),

Released on New York’s Sue Label (another slice of the Juggy Murray pie), and in the UK on the Mod/ernist’s most cherished Red & Yellow label of the same name. Apparently it didn’t get much play at the time, (according to my sources), but for me this piece is ‘well modern’ and If I had been on the wheels of steel back then it would have been one of themusicologist’s choice plays….what’s ironic is the timing of today’s cut. I have honestly tried my best to ‘Keep an Eye’ but all my efforts have been in vain…

LISTEN TUNE…

musicology #389

Modernist #17

(Charlie & Inez Foxx – MockingBird)

Penultimate day of the Mod/ernist theme, (honest guvnuh !!), and then it’s onto musicolological pastures new. Hard for me to leave this theme as I love the music and am really enjoying the dialogue.

Couldn’t complete a mod/ernist theme without including this one from Charlie & Inez Foxx…1963 cut on Juggy Murrays Symbol label. BIG, BIG tune from back in the day.

musicology #387

Modernist #15

(Barbara Lewis – Hello Stranger)

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, a pioneer typographer, photographer, and designer of the modern movement and a master at the Bauhaus in Weimar, may have come closest to defining the Modernist who in his opinion was;

“an idealist and a realist using the language of the poet and the businessman. He thinks in terms of need and function. He is able to analyze his problems, but his fantasy is boundless.”

“The basis of style is the appropriation and reorganisation by the subject of elements in the objective world which would otherwise determine and constrict him. The Mod/ernist combined previously disparate elements to create himself into a metaphor, the appropriateness of which was apparent only to themselves. Like the surrealists they underestimated the ability of the dominant culture to absorb the subversive image and sustain the impact of the anarchic imagination. The magical transformations of the commodities had been mysterious and were often invisible to the neutral observer and no amount of stylistic incantation could possibly effect the oppresive economic mode by which they had been produced”.

Today’s 1963 cut is another Mod/ernist classic but this time courtesy of female vocalist Barbara Lewis..BIG tune on the scene and one of themusicologist’s earliest musical memories. Ranking tune that never fails to hit the spot.

musicology #383

Modernist #11

(Chris Kenner – Land Of 1000 Dances)

Sliding out of the Jamaican selection into one from New Orleans featuring a Cat who is perhaps best known to Mod/ernists for his 1961 cut ‘I Like It Like That’.

Popularised by Wilson Pickett in 1966 this, the 1963 original, speaks volumes for what distinquished the Mod/ernist from the Mods. Hold this quote from an ‘information panel’ on the subject by musicologist Johnny Spencer, (he of the magnificent project)

“By 1964 the Mods had arrived and it was all over for the Modernists, the faces that had piloted this new paradigm of liberty for British youth, a liberation that was carried in the mind from generation to generation. Mods, generally the younger siblings of the Modernists, could not claim the originality of their predecessors, although they shared many of their preferences, smart clothes, Soul music etc, they came to a ready made situation, the territory had been won, what they chose to do was enjoy it. They were more casual and this led to a lack of vigilance, a dropping of the guard, and soon the media and corporate interests were in there, bleeding, filleting and gutting this new market and threat to the status quo. Masses of newer converts, ‘tickets’, were soon sold the concept of Mod: an outfit, pop idols and an attitude, it was small wonder that by 1965 the entire movement was dead, and with the age of the ‘Skinhead’, who also shared a subtle common bond with an emerging, oppressed black culture, the first real and enduring anti-fashion movement started”.

Nailed on..

Today’s cut is based on a spiritual entitled ‘Children Go Where I Send You’, further evidence of the debt owed to the Gospel tradition by the new music emerging out of the urban experience of big cities such as New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Detroit and Memphis where migration had a major impact. Recorded for and released on the fabulous Minit label which had already scored with Mod/ernists by releasing cuts like the above mentioned ‘I Like It Like That’, Ernie K Doe’s ‘Mother In Law’ and Benny Spellman’s ‘Fortune Teller’, (To name but Three)..written by Chris Kenner and Fats Domino.

musicology #375

Modernist #3

(Major Lance – The Monkey Time)

Following yesterday’s dynamic duo of, (an extract from), Johnny Spencer’s excellent ‘Mod/ernist’ critique combined with the equally inspirational Miracles cut I would like to continue by quoting from a piece by Dick Hebdige who wrote a paper, (presumably for a thesis), in 1974 called ‘Style Of The Mods’. The majority of it, (as the title suggests), involves ‘Mods’ which is a different subject but obviously connected.

“All youth styles are threatened with the eventual neutralisation of any oppositional meaning. Mods were particularly susceptible to this combination of limited acceptance and full blooded commercial exploitation. According to George Melly the progenitors of this style appear to have been a group of working class dandies, possibly descended from the devotees of the Italianate style known through the rag trade world as ‘modern’ who were dedicated to clothes and lived in London. Only gradually and with popularisation did this group accumulate other distinctive identity symbols, (The Scooter, Pills and music). By 1963, the all night R&B clubs held this group firmly to Soho and Central London”.

In my personal experience the ‘Modernist’ of the early 1960’s steadfastedly refuses to align themselves with the ‘Mod’ movement that followed even though between 1962-1965, they shared many of the same clubs, dancehalls, venues and of course music. The ‘Modernist’ was not all all interested in imitation and therefore the music had to be Authentic. Be it Modern Jazz, Early Soul, Rhythm & Blues, Blues or the sounds of Jamaica that were beginning to be heard in and around London’s clubs at the time so NO English band imitating R&B would ever have been taken seriously. An exception may have been Georgie Fame’s Blue Fames who were BIG downstairs at the Flamingo but NEVER groups like The Animals, The Who, The Stones, Small Faces etc..they would be considered MOD bands.

Today’s slice of modernist musicology is courtesy of Major Lance whose vocal sound helped revitalise the sound of Black America. Mainly it must be said down to one man…Curtis Mayfield who in 1963 was at the forefront of the OKeh label’s re-emergance as a serious force to be reckoned with. This cut I know for a fact was a firm favourite downstairs at THE club for hip cats of the time ‘The Scene’ , (located in Ham Yard Soho). Arranged by Johnny Pate and produced by Carl Davis

Hold this quote on the cut from Robert Pruter’s definitive book on the subject ‘Chicago Soul’.

“On May 8th 1963, Lance went into the studio again and made what has to be considered recording history. He did three songs; ‘Monkey Time’, ‘Please Don’t Say No More’ and ‘Mama Didn’t Know’, the latter an answer to Curtis Mayfield’s Jan Bradley hit, (or the much more obscure Fascinations cut), from earlier in the year ‘Mama Didn’t Lie’. Monkey time was paired with ‘Mama Didn’t Know’ for Lance’s second release on OKeh, and the record became a monster hit during the summer and early fall, eventually selling more than a million copies. ‘Monkey Time’, featuring the classic brassy sound that distinguished later OKeh hits, launched the OKeh label and popularized a dance of the same name.”

musicology #321

DownbeatTheRuler #1

(Jackie Opel – Eternal Love)

This week’s theme is a tribute to Sir Coxsone Dodd’s Jamaican musical powerhouse..Studio 1. Clement Seymour Dodd was a genuine music lover who set up his sound system ‘Downbeat The Ruler to play Rhythm & Blues after returning from a trip to America in 1954. It wasn’t until 1963 however that he setup the first Recording studio to be owned by a ‘Man on the street’ the legendary Studio 1.

Almost every Jamaican singer or musician of note has at one time passed through the Brentford Road studio and although many were unhappy with the financial arrangements I hope that none would argue that the man was a Giant in the progress of Jamaican musicology.

So without further delay hold this 1963 cut from the majestic and already featured on themusicologist, Jackie Opel with a piece from the earliest days of Studio 1 featuring The cream of Jamaica’s musicians The Skatalites.

musicology #307

Live&Direct #4

(Etta James – Something’s Got A Hold On Me)

Fourth slice of the Live & Direct….and one you may not have heard before? A rousing performance overflowing with Soul, Blues, Rhythm and emotion from a Songstress who certainly tore the house down from beginning to end at the New Era Club in Nashville Tennesee over two performances during September 1963. Taken from the album ‘Rocks The House’….nuff said.