musicology #0762

Nubag #30 (a year in the life)

(Somebody) Ease My Troublin’ Mind – Sam Cooke
Second time out on themusicologist. One of my PRIMARY tunes.
One more time Cincinnati…
“I wish my baby would come and tell me…..”
“Sometimes, ‘the Lord’ just takes blessed people because they’ve filled their purpose early. Everyone plays their own song. They sing their story to the world and leave behind a melody of memories. Sometimes… their song is cut short and ends too early. But that doesn’t mean their music was any less sweet or that they left any less of an impression.”
– Linda Kage

musicology #0737

Nubag #6 (a year in the life)

Belong to Your Heart – Sam Cooke

“A soul connection is a resonance between two people who respond to the essential beauty of each other’s individual natures, behind their facades, and who connect on this deeper level.

This kind of mutual recognition provides the catalyst for a potent alchemy. It is a sacred alliance whose purpose is to help both partners discover and realize their deepest potentials.

While a heart connection lets us appreciate those we love just as they are, a soul connection opens up a further dimension — seeing and loving them for who they could be, and for who we could become under their influence.

This means recognizing that we both have an important part to play in helping each other become more fully who we are….

A soul connection not only inspires us to expand, but also forces us to confront whatever stands in the way of that expansion.”
John Welwood

 

musicology #0701

aHymnForCon #7

Sam Cooke and the Afrokats (feat Karl Bryan) – Lost and Looking

my baby would have been 20 today. always in my heart, soul and mind.

Mass.7B.Aug.30.2015

musicology #0628

The Silvertones – Bring It On Home

For the next couple of weeks themusicologist is focusing on Lee Perry, The Upsetter, Chicken Scratch, Little Lee. A man whose impact on Jamaica’s, (and the world’s), soundtrack is, (almost), as big as Coxsone Dodd’s.

No surprise that the Upsetter began his career beside Dodd and even less of a surprise that they parted due to, (as far as Lee Perry is concerned), Downbeat’s failure to reward his creative endeavours….a common Jamaican tale which I am not in a position to pass judgement on, (and nor would I no matter what I knew)

Anyway, the(urBan)musicologist ain’t about hearsay and rumour….STRICTLY music and Lee Perry and Coxsone Dodd helped shape Jamaican music into what we know and love.

Studio 1 carried the swing throughout the 1960’s and early 1970’s but Lee Perry emerged with the ‘Soul Rebel’ sound in the late 60’s and wrestled the (recording) Crown from Sir Coxsone between 1972-1977..Channel 1 was there as where a whole host of producers during the period but, (as with Coxsone Dodd), Lee Perry changed the game.

It was Lee Perry who insisted that Bob Marley reform the Wailers rather than go it alone after returning from abroad in 1968 and history went on to be made. It was Lee Perry whose ‘Black Ark’ RULED from late 1973 until 1978 recording a HEAP of classic, KILLER material with many of the great Jamaican musicologists and whenever we reflect on Jamaican musical history Lee Perry’s name is right up there with the Champions.

Today’s cut is courtesy of The Silvertones Gilmore Grant, Keith Coley and Delroy Denton who first recorded for Duke Reid in 1965? with the magnificent Ska tune ‘True Confession’, (buried somewhere on themusicologist !!) following up with some quality Rock Steady and early Reggae for various producers, (including Lee Perry).

Before I drown in a sea of monologue and information please allow me to cut this short..

According to David Katz’s excellent book ‘People Funny Boy’ the rhythms for this piece were recorded at the, (almost completed), Black Ark and the vocals at King Tubby’s Studio at the dawning of 1973? and the musicians consisted of Hux Brown, Ansel Collins, Ranchie McLean and Anthony ‘Benbow’ Creary…

Finally I just want to add that I rate this tune and the Silvertones HIGHLY…oh yeah….It’s a cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘Bring It On Home To Me’

theUpsetter triButetee available in various colours @

bloOdsweatandteeS

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 #509

CoversWeek2 #6

(Donny Hathaway – Jealous Guy)

Somewhat of a dilemma over today’s slice..1 artist 2 majestic covers..what one to lay down? Donny’s version of Ray Charles’s ‘I Believe To My Soul’ or John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ ?? hmmm I think it’s going to be ‘Jealous Guy’. Nothing to choose between them as I said…both top of the ‘covers tree’ but something about this one that resonates stronger with me than ‘I Believe’. Am I a ‘Jealous Guy’…not neccesarily but I know I have been. Is it jealous or insecure? it’s a thin line indeed. Insecure…for sure so in true dialogue style hold this one from Donny’s Live set. Before I finish I just want to add how much I feel the man’s authenticity come through in his music…genuine dialogue between a man and his inner being I believe.

Others of note are Marvin Gaye, of course master John Coltrane, Gil Scott Heron, Terry Callier, Curtis Mayfield, Paul Weller, Dinah washington, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday…there are others I could add but those are the ones who come immediately to mind without thinking long and hard. Recorded live, (1972), at the Bitter End and featuring Cornell Dupree, Mike Howard, Willie Weeks, Fred White and Earl DeRouen

musicology #501

SoulBoy #20

(Eddie Ray – You Are Mine)

hmmm..how to follow yesterday’s cut from the Lion? many have tried, (on stage), and all failed. Sam Cooke stole every show he appeared on and tore the house down everytime both with the Soul Stirrers and as solo artist so I don’t relish the prospect ! still…someone has to so I suppose it’s close my eyes and ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ time and just allow whoever the musicology sword falls on to come in and do their thing..

Today’s cut then is courtesy of a Cat who I know nothing about. Introduced to me via the SUPERB Numero group’s collection of Rare gems..this cut is borrowed from the Top Ranking Series Eccentric Soul: The Prix Label.

Another SoulBoy Marrow Trembler….

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 #490

SoulBoy#9

(O.V Wright – Motherless Child)

Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. Lee Fields was so hot last night but the Menahan Street Band were on fire. Deeeeeeeeeeep Soul and funk that has to be heard and seen live to be fully appreciated. WHAT a show. EVERY song a winner. They almost tore the roof off at the Bloomsbury last night which considering its underground was quite a feat ! If you like Soul and Funk and they are playing in your town then do yourselves a favour and make sure you attend.

Bit of a dilemma as to what to lay down today? TOO MUCH choice on the Soul front and as I go to lay one down another comes up and ‘speaks’. Been listening to Legends like Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Al Green, Leroy Hutson as well lesser known but just as majestic Cats like James Carr, O.V Wright, and a whole host of 45’s from the 60’s and 70’s so rather than face the dilemma I’m just going to lay down this 60’s Soul marrow trembler and be done…..Recorded for and released on Don Robey’s BackBeat Label in 1965, (from the album If It’s Only For Tonight)

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 #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 #371

SuchIsLife #5

(Jackie Wilson – Love Is Funny That Way)

Day five..bit later than intended but Such Is Life..

Today’s cut is from one of the greatest singers to have ever recorded….Jack Leroy Wilson Jr known simply as ‘Jackie’ who ranks right up there with the best. Jackie, Sam Cooke and Curtis Mayfield were instrumental in fusing Rhythm & Blues, Gospel and ‘Popular’ music into what became known as Soul. Of course there were others who deserve recognition but without these three it wouldn’t be the same.

Jackie’s recording career begun in 1951 but really begun to take off after replacing Clyde McPhatter, (who left to form the Drifters),  in Billy Ward’s Dominoes. In 1957 Jackie, (possibly inspired by his greatest ‘rival’ Sam Cooke), went Solo and begun his unfortunate lifelong ‘bondage’ with ‘manager’ Nat Tarnapol who is reported to be the one most responsible for robbing Jackie blind for his whole career. But the least said about him the better. Jackie racked up many hits and was quite possibly the world’s greatest performer whose stage shows are the stuff of legend. He could dance and almost sing anyone under the table but as so often seems the case died broke due to his manager’s ruthless greed and exploitation. This one from 1971, (no idea who is sharing the mic with him), was recorded and released on the Brunswick label.

Listen Tune

musicology #369

SuchIsLife #3

(The Soul Stirrers – Looking Back)

Slipping and sliding from Paul Weller into a slice from the greatest Gospel, (and possibly vocal), group to have ever stepped up to the M.I.C, into the studio or onto the stage, the Soul Stirrers with a fine piece on Sam Cooke and J.W Alexander’s groundbreaking Sar label. I think it’s the majestic Jimmy Outer singing lead on this one backed by Paul Foster, Richard Gibbs, Leroy Crume and J.J Farley. Recorded and released in 1964.

musicology #322

DownbeatTheRuler #2

(Bob Andy – I’m Going Home)

Sir Coxson was a music lover and man on the street but also a businessman and a successful one at that which, in my experience is often not appreciated by those who have been left behind to hustle and scratch for survival on the tough streets of places like Kingston, London, New York etc. The truth is that many would rather see you stumble and fall than lift yourself out of the mean streets especially when, as far as they are concerned, (and maybe rightly so), you have made it off the sweat of their brow. This seems to have been the case with Coxsone as the years rolled on but it’s not easy to keep such an enterprise going, (as many record label owners would attest to), when everyone wants a slice of the pie. Coxsone not only put Studio 1 together but also kept it going right up until his death.

Possibly inspired by Cats like Sam Cooke whose SAR label was, (along with Berry Gordy’s Tamla Motown), a pioneer in the record business, Dodd couldn’t afford to ‘take any prisoners’ so paid the Artist, Arranger, Producer and Musician per side, (or as employee), rather than cut them in on the Action. After all it was he who was taking all the risk so why share the rewards? Any business person would agree with his appraisal of the situation but the Artist wouldn’t. To further highlight the point the singer of today’s cut is quoted to say;

“Clement Dodd is a good mentor and he really provided the facilities for a group of youngsters who would never have had anywhere to go in those days, but he could have done more for them. I would say Jamaican music suffers from a Coxsone syndrome.”

I can see why. It was they who created the ‘product’ for Dodd to capitalise on so why should they not be ‘cut in’? Dodd may say that “if you want a piece of the pie you also have to take some of the risk” which hardly any of the Artists were in a position to do. Cats like Prince Buster, (a businessman and Artist), saw the light and parted company with Dodd as soon as possible to make a name, (and hopefully some ‘corn’), for himself but of the many hundreds in Jamaican music history VERY few have much to show, financially, for their achievements.

What they do have though is a place in musical history that will last long after they have been laid to rest and an army of fans that continue to spread their name. Personally I would rather be the Artist than the businessman.

Anyway enough chat and on with the Downbeat show….

This 1966 !! cut, (his first solo piece), is courtesy of former Paragons founding member and songwriter supreme Keith Anderson, (Bob Andy), apparently backed up by The Wailers but to my ears it sounds more like The Heptones? anyway whoever is harmonising it’s Bob Andy’s wailing lead that cuts through and is one of my personal favourites…featured on one of the greatest Studio 1 LP’s Bob Andy’s Songbook.

Bob Andy….Live on…

musicology #320

SongsOf Protest&Freedom#6

(Otis Redding – A Change Is Gonna  Come)

final cut of the freedom&protest…and what better way to finish with one of the greatest songs sung by one of the greatest singers. Sam Cooke’s original has already featured on themusicologist but couldn’t pass up this opportunity to throw it down again.

Otis singing Sam Cooke…doesn’t get any better. Taken from the LP ‘Otis Blue’…With Issac Hayes on the Keyboards, (and production), as well as the full Stax/Volt family Donald Dunn, Steve Cropper, Al Jackson, Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love, Gene Miller and Fred Newman.

musicology #316

SongsOfProtest&Freedom#2

(Max Romeo – Blowing In The Wind)

Generally speaking protest&freedom springs from the well of first hand experience concerning the trials and tribulations in question. Although, I hasten to add, not always as there is also a concept known as empathy whereby others can feel/appreciate the anguish and frustrations? I’ll be honest with you up until a few months ago this was a concept that I couldn’t accept but then it was explained to me in language I understood and subsequently I felt it.

Today’s cut is, for me, an example of this. A tune that many people know, (or at least have heard), that concerns a human’s right to freedom. The human beings in question are still judged in many ways by the colour of their skin and not the love in their hearts. It might not be as blatant these days but as with all discrimination it is rife. The point I am making here is that Bob Dylan, (the songwriter and original singer of this cut), was empathising.

It wasn’t his personal experience but still he ‘felt’ it and wanted to do what he could to highlight and make comment on the situation. Sam Cooke loved it and was almost upset that it wasn’t written by him.Accordingly ‘The Lion’ was inspired though and wrote one of THE most passionate ‘songs of freedom’ ‘A Change Is  Going To Come’ which, if it hadn’t already been thrown down on themusicologist would most certainly have been in this theme.

This 1969 version is by Jamaica’s own Max Romeo who unfortunately is perhaps best known, (outside of Reggae circles), for the forgettable but, at least in the UK, popular early ‘Skinhead’ cut ‘Wet Dream’. He is MUCH better than that as witnessed by his output over the years.

Listen Tune

musicology #308

Live&Direct #5

(Lou Rawls – Goin’ To Chicago Blues)

Today’s cut features yet another of the great vocalists…Louis Allen Rawls. Life long friend of ‘Mr Soul’ Who was equally at home singing Gospel, Soul or Jazz whose impassioned response to Sam Cooke on the immortal 1962 cut ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ deserves special mention. A singer of the highest order about whom Frank Sinatra was quoted to have said “he has the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game”…

This cut, first performed, (and written), by Jimmy Rushing and the Count Basie band was recorded for Capitol in 1966 featuring musicians James Bond, Earl Palmer, Tommy Strode, Herb Ellis..produced by David Axelrod.

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 #218

12AngryMen #13 (alternativesoundtrack #3)

(Donnie Elbert – What Can I Do)

so it’s almost over…not only for the 12angry but also for this chapter in the book of life. institutions are crashing and burning after almost a century of ‘rinsing’ it. no surprise that ‘man on the street’ is being asked to shoulder the load..it’s all in the game.

the dialogue features two of the three remaining ‘guiltys’ (with Lee J Cobb in commanding form in the supporting role). the music, I must confess, is a personal favourite and any chance to throw it down is good enough reason. but in true musicologist style when the right time come, up steps a tune to ‘express the inexpressible’ and this one is no exception. a piece, (no need to tell you from what year !!), that signals a shift away from Rhythm & Blues into a new style. one where the lead singer steps out of the vocal group shadow and into the spotlight. pioneered by cats like Donnie Elbert, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke this sound became known as Soul…

Listen Tune……