musicology #591

Flow #10

Leon Ware – That’s Why I Came To California

Final cut of today’s 3 course ‘meal’ is one of my all time ‘Boogie’ favourites from a musicologist whose name should be known far and wide but sadly isn’t. Singer, song writer, producer, arranger who songs have been recorded by MANY a legend, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, Minnie Ripperton, Donny Hathaway, Marlena Shaw, Quincy Jones and the list goes on..this one is from 1982. BIG tune…vocal duties shared and co written by Janis Siegel of Manhattan Transfer fame..

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 #516

Duets2 #6

(Vicki Anderson and Bobby Byrd)

Day six of the duets and the cat’s got my tongue again. So without delay I’ll just lay the cut down. Had it lined up as a possible for the recent covers theme but didn’t happen…so here it is. Love the Bobby Womack original and of course the Rufus and Chaka Khan version but husband and wife duo Bobby Byrd and Vicki Anderson work this one in perfect harmony.

musicology #496

SoulBoy #15

(Sam And Dave – Goodnight Baby)

Staying on board the Soul Train for this week as there are far too many cuts and artists who have yet to be featured..Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, James Carr, Sam Cooke, Teddy Pendergrass, Al Green, Aaron Neville, Bobby Bland, Solomon Burke and on and on and on in fact a year still wouldn’t be long enough to dig deep into the Soul Cellar so another week is the LEAST I can do.

Too many pieces to choose from…must have lined up at least 5 cuts…just as I’m about to prepare one a next piece floats out of the speakers to distract my butterfly mind. So without further delay hold this piece from one of the great duets Sam Moore and Dave Prater. So electric were they on stage that Otis Redding refused to go on after them. 1965 release on the Stax Label.

musicology #461

TheManWithTheBag #11

(Jackie Wilson – O Come All Ye Faithful)

Just got back to the ‘Big Smoke’ after  a few days spent in natural paradise with two angels. The landscape up there, (North West England), never fails to inspire me and I always come back with a bit more of a ‘Tigger Bounce’ in my step. Knocking on the Christmas door now as we come down the home straight. Tree’s up, presents beneath it, kids excited. Just have a few more things to do and then it’s kick back time from tomorrow.

A question for you all out there..has the quality of song writing, (and singing come to that), gone downhill over the last few years or am I just not being exposed to the ‘right’ material? don’t know if you noticed but I listen to a LOT of music from as far back as the early 20’s all the way through to today and if the term ‘popular’ has any meaning/value as far as making judgement is concerned then the quality of pop today is, (generally), to my ears..poor. By NO means am I suggesting that quality music isn’t still being made as I don’t need to listen any further than Master Terry Callier, (for instance), to know that marrow trembling cuts are still being made but as I listen to the ‘charts’, (not out of choice but due to having two children over the age of ten), I can’t help but be disappointed. Where are the Dinahs, Arethas, Maxine Browns, Etta James’s? the Sam Cookes, Otis Reddings, Jackie Wilsons, Clyde McPhatters, Ben E Kings, Smokey Robinsons, Marvin Gayes, Curtis Mayfields, Bobby Womacks. The Gregory Issacs, Pat Kellys, Slim Smiths, Ken Boothes, John Holts, (the list could go on and on), who are the singers and songwriters kicking arse and trembling marrows in the 21st Century??

Today’s cut is courtesy of one of the afore mentioned legends, Jackie Wilson. A man who needs no introduction with his version of the hymn ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’

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 #372

SuchIsLife #6

(Bill Withers – World Keeps On Going Around)

Final slice of the SuchIsLife theme…which for me have been less demanding mentally than the two that preceeded it so I’m almost tempted to stick with it but, there’s a subject that I would like to share that is not only close to my heart but has informed the I since birth and that subject is ‘Modernist’. I’ll say no more about it until tomorrow when it kicks off.

Back to today though and what more authentic way to finish than with this cut from a Cat whose influence on themusicologist stretches way back to the early seventies when as a toddler he was often to be heard, (along with Bobby Womack, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder), drifting out of the speakers. Especially this 1973 album ‘Live At Carniege Hall’ which has been etched into my consciousness from the age of 4. Exceptional album from an exceptional Lyricist, Singer, Social Commentator and Performer. Still moves me and always will..every slice a winner. Not often that themusicologist makes recommendations but if you get the chance buy this album.

“Looking at the pictures of the places that he’s been,
Old man told me what he found,
Said it don’t make no difference whether you’re out or whether you’re in,
Know the world keeps going round and round,
Going round and round,

Said he looked at the places, and talk to the faces that he seen,
Then he turned the pictures upside down,
Said it don’t make no difference how many places that you been,
Said the world keeps going round and round,
Going round and around,

Then  he put up the pictures shook his head and with a grin,
He talked about his ups and downs,
Said it don’t make no difference how many fixes you been in,
Know the world keeps going round and round,
Going round and around,

Betty Joe Johnson, don’t you pull no Daisy Mae on me,
Daisy Mae she did me dirty,
so I had to leave her for Anna Lee,
Anna Lee she had big street feet,
she spends her nights out on the road,
So I started seeing Sally Jackson,
I had to let old Anna Lee go,
Sally Jackson was a player,
had another man along with me,
So I just took me one step backwards,
checked up on old Anna Lee,
Anna Lee still had them street feet,
Like to dance all night and sleep all day,
So I just took one more step backwards,
checked up on old Daisy Mae,
Daisy Mae is still doing dirty,
so I tell you what I had to do,
I had to go just one step further, Betty Joe Johnson
And that’s how I know you,

Then he looked at the places, talk to the faces in life that he had seen
Then he turned the pictures upside down,
Said it don’t make no difference how many places that you been,
Said the world keeps a going round and round,
Going round and round”