musicology #231

communication #9

(Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted)

A song that we, (should), all know delivered with pathos by one of the great Soul singers about a subject that is plainly close to my heart. Older brother of the Temptation’s member David, Jimmy hasn’t received the acclaim he deserves. This version, (the original), has the spoken intro which was removed for the final mix that made it onto the 45, (can’t understand why?)

Lyrics by James Dean, music composed by William Weatherspoon and Paul Riser, music played by the Funk Brothers, background vocals by The Originals, (Freddie Gorman, Walter Gaines, Hank Dixon, Joe Stubbs), and the Adantes, (Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, Louvain Demps), song produced by Weatherspoon and William Stevenson.

musicology #146

SpectrumOfLove #6

(Flowers – For Real)

the final piece of the ‘Spectrum’ discovered me in complete synchronicity just after the birth of my first child in 1995. it nailed exactly how I felt/feel and, for me, is the benchmark against which all songs and performances on the subject are measured.

It’s one from my personal top 10 tunes of all time and words don’t do it justice so all I will add is that for themusicologist it defines love.

Not often do I recommend CD’s but the one this is borrowed from, (Keb Darge’s Soul Spectrum II), delivers Value, there are at least 5 killers on there that you would have to pay an arm and a leg for to get them on vinyl so if you like your Soul my advice would be to buy it.

p.s starting tomorrow on themusicologists it’s ‘Round 2’ of a previous theme concerning the vocal arts…six pieces a week from each category, female/group/male…

musicology #143

SpectrumOfLove #3

(Maxine Brown – Heaven In Your Arms)

we’ve heard two from the fellas and now its time for the ladies to step into the arena…and who better than Miss Maxine Brown, Soul singer supreme, who’s delicious voice could charm the birds straight out of the trees….

for themusicologist Maxine Brown is one of the greatest Soul singers never, (commercially), known, (and there are MANY), ..her phrasing and timing is perfection. as witnessed on this piece of early, (1961), Big Apple flavoured Soul from the NoMar label. it’s not the first time Maxine has featured on themusicologist, having already laid one, (musicology #39), down on an earlier duets theme with Wand label mate Chuck Jackson but this time she’s centre stage.

musicology #101

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #24

(Impressions – Never Too Much Love)

you know what…I’m angry. angry with the mountain of useless information that is burying wisdom. why? allow me to break it down…today I ran a search for Curtis Mayfield lyrics. first stop can you believe Curtis wasn’t even listed !!! let me say that again…..not even listed…

my conclusion..waste of time unless youre looking for the words to popular, (commercial), songs.

only way to do it then is for me to transcribe them myself…there are a few sites with some lyrics on them but I won’t waste your time linking them so in future I won’t be promoting any ‘lyrics’ sites on themusicologist

if anything it has strengthened my resolve to fly the flag for artists like Curtis and keep them in the public domain…back to the music with this uncomplicated plea for unity from 1963. if you think about it who else was writing and performing songs as deep as this at that time?

“after silence that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
-aldous huxley-

.. listen them lyrics

too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

an old story told now passed from me to you
in simple little words to get my meaning through

young and old I feel will understand
take heed everybody to a wonderful plan
we all know how, get together right now
clap your hands, sing and shout

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

maybe you don’t know how to sing or express words the way you like to say
but everybody I know can clap their hands and make a new friend everyday

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

never too much love, too much love,
never in this world will there be too much love

Curtis Mayfield, Rest In Peace secure in the knowledge that your legacy and inspiration lives on.

musicology #100

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #23

(Impressions – Young Mod’s Forgotten Story)

landmark day today .. 100 posts on themusicologist. especially synchronistic that it’s fallen on Curtis Mayfield’s ‘watch’.

Iv’e banged on enough times during the time we have shared together on themusicologist about how much the man’s music and lyrics have meant to me as babe in arms, young boy, adolescent, teenager, young man, and now as man, (a title you can’t claim before 33 according to the ancients !!), so I’m not going to wax too lyrical today as Curtis says it all with this cut about the end of an era….

“Shall I tell it like it is, aint none of your business…YES IT IS..”

lyrics DON Curtis…lyrics

arranged by Curtis, legendary musicologist Johnnie Pate and rising soul star Donnie Hathaway…

musicology #99

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #22

(Curtis Mayfield – Kung Fu)

I enjoy and get great pleasure out of themusicologist but, (and it’s a price I’m prepared to pay), it takes up a lot of my time and doesn’t keep the wolves from banging on the family door. the bastards are circling, baying for blood and by the look in their eyes they sense victory…

what the wolves haven’t accounted for is, (with music as the proverbial shield and buckler), the determination to ride this wave of uncertainty and pass through this phase of insecurity not only in one piece but stronger, fitter and wiser, holding firm and not giving up as I continue the journey on the road to freedom with these words ringing in my heart and mind.

The wise man builds his house upon the rock while the foolish man builds his house apoun the ever shifting sand.

this cut is taken from the man’s beautifully crafted 1974 album Sweet Exorcist.

musicology #98

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #21

(Jerry Butler&Curtis Mayfield – Find Yourself Another Girl)

round 3 of the Curtis Mayfield well as hard hitting lyricist and social commentator Curtis’s love songs are beyond compare. a genuine poet whose ability to tap into affairs of the heart deserves mention.

singing lead on this is original Impressions lead singer Jerry ‘The Ice Man’ Butler whose nickname is reported to have come from a performance where the p.a cut out and rather than stop Jerry continued to sing, (that and the way in which he performed emotion drenched soul scorchers without breaking sweat)

it was Jerry that insisted on Curtis replacing Phil Upchurch when he left Jerry’s touring band in 1961 to chase fame on the back of his Mod/R&B classic ‘You Can’t Sit Down’

Curtis was only sixteen at the time which is amazing considering the songs he went on to write over the following two years. this is one of those foundation soul cuts from that year..Curtis not only co-wrote it but it’s also him harmonizing and playing guitar.

musicology at it’s finest from two of Soul’s vanguards in perfect harmony

musicology #97

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #20

(Curtis Mayfield – Hard Times)

one of the tunes that convinced me to ‘play-out’ back in London’s Rare Groove days of 1985/6, utilising Curtis as messenger for how it felt growing up on the streets of London at the time.

back then Curtis didn’t figure too tough on the capitals wheels of steel, James Brown, (and related), was the DJ’s choice, (along with a host of others), Curtis didn’t get much of a look in as he wasn’t considered danceable..obviously he was very highly regarded but was mainly enjoyed at home in moments of contemplation.

taken from his 1975 critique ‘There’s No Place Like America Today’

the spoken intro has been added by themusicologist to provide an insight on and from the man himself.

musicology #96

sixartist, sixtune, sixweekspecial #19

(Curtis Mayfield – Mighty Mighty Spade & Whitey)

this week it’s all about the king … Curtis Mayfield.

the cat was first introduced to me as a 2 year old in 1971 and the two albums that are burned into my consciousness are Curtis and the album this cut is taken from..Curtis Live.

my dad, (respect is always due), was a BIG Curtis fan and was responsible for introducing me to music that has always been a constant source of inspiration.

along with Bobby Womack, Bill Withers and Marvin Gaye, Curtis ran ‘tings down in Circus Street. there were many others who made an apearance but, (subjectively), these three are an integral part of themusicologist’s upbringing.

lyrics as hard as nails, music as tough as old boots and vocals full of integrity. I could do four different Curtis sets, producer, songwriter, singer and inspiration, such has been his impact on music. without Curtis Soul would have travelled a different path as would the music of Jamaica and his impact on UK music is most apparent in another of the six/six/six artists Paul Weller, (the other major player in the themusicologists personal growth)

the lyrics to this one are, for me, as good as it gets so now ladies and gentlemen themusicologist is proud to present…Curtis Mayfield

listen tune…

musicology #83

sixartist,sixtune,sixweekspecial #6

(Sam Cooke – A Change Is Going To Come

had to be this one to finish up the Sam Cooke tribute. one from themusicologist’s top10 tunes of all time, regardless of genre…

another quote from the excellent book about Sam Cooke, (Dream Boogie), by Peter Guralnick

“He had given Rene Hall the ‘civil rights’ song he had played for J.W (Alexander), with no specific instructions other than to provide it with the kind of instrumentation and orchestration that it demanded. Rene was in no doubt as to the momentousness of the charge.

“I wanted it to be the greatest thing in my life……..”

’nuff said…

musicology #82

sixartist,sixtune,sixweekspecial #5

(Sam Cooke – Bring It On Home To Me)

if anyone needed reminding or convincing why the Lion is called Mr Soul hold this one from 1963 taken from what is possibly the best live album of all time. bold shout I know and I’m sure many could offer alternatives but whatever your subjective feelings about it…if you don’t own it..and you want one piece of Sam Cooke musicology ‘wrapped round yer vaults’…buy it…and even though the recording couldn’t possibly do the performance real justice for those of us that weren’t there its the best there is.

a quote from the Sam Cooke book by Peter Guralnick about the show

“Upstairs there was a balcony with tables for the patrons and a small office in which the recording engineers, Bob Simpson and Tony Salvatore, set up their equipment. They monitored the sound at a fairly desultory teenage matinee, then adjusted the microphone placement for the first evening show, starting at 10pm.

Sam gave them a cheery greeting before going on, and then the place erupted in a manner that Salvatore, like his partner a neophyte in the world of Rhythm & Blues, was simply not prepared for.

‘There weren’t any brawls or anything like that, but I’ll tell you, it was like a scene out of a movie, the whole building was rocking, and I remarked to Bob, I said, ‘Oh Jesus, I hope this place don’t fall down’ ”

King Curtis and full crew, (The Kingpins), playing the instruments….

musicology #81

sixartist,sixtune,sixweekspecial #4 (Sam Cooke – Driftin’ Blues)

had to bite the bullet, wipe my hard drive and reinstall Windows yesterday so wasn’t able to ‘throw down’. Back in the hot seat now..with the techno issues done and dusted.

out of the bonus cuts and back into the original tribute selection…

this cut taken from his 1963 album ‘Mr Soul’ finds the man paying his own tribute to foundation vocalist Charles Brown, (a major influence for Sam, Ray Charles, Bobby Bland and a host of singers that followed), with a heartfelt rendition of Brown’s 1946 classic ‘Driftin’ Blues.

musicology #80

sixartist,sixtune,sixweekspecial Sam Cooke Bonus #3

(Sam Cooke – Nobody Wants You When You’re Down & Out)

I know there are many out there who will be relating to and feeling this. no doubt that globally things are ‘coming on top’ for the man on the street and while the rich get richer “the little that the poor man got it shall be taken away”

‘Boom And Bust’ baby…crash and burn .. my advice….fiddle this one while Rome burns.

song written by Jimmy Cox, recorded for Sam’s 1961 album ‘My Kind Of Blues”
(Hugo & Luigi production)

musicology #78

sixartist,sixtune,sixweekspecial Sam Cooke Bonus #1

(Sam Cooke – If I Had A Hammer)

so..back in the Sam Cooke saddle after some techno issues regarding the Streaming Audio, (boxnet)

threw a small spanner in themusicologist works but rather than dwell on it I’ll take it as a sign that more Sam Cooke is required. Three bonus slices is how it is going to be dealt with, (mon/tue/wed), and then it’s back onto the original sixtune program for #’s 4/5/6, (thurs/fri/sat)

thinking about it…it’s fitting that Mr Soul gets 3 extra tunes as everything in the sixartist selection that follows shares a connection … his legacy. what was/is it about the man that is so special?

not just his voice which, let’s face it, is second to was his capacity to move people of all colours and creeds communicating a message that crosses all boundries. as an example hold this one from a 1964 performance at the Copa in front of a full supper club audience. for themusicologist a killer performance…the way he drops it into a deeper meaning in the middle is breathtaking.

the way he delivers the message to this audience and then gets them involved is nothing short of a miracle, he also laid Bob Dylan’s freedom anthem Blowing In The Wind on them . Consider that for a moment..Sam Cooke singing Blowing In The Wind to a Copa audience…obviously the call and response to a soul/gospel audience was part of the performance and to be expected but at the Copa, to a tune like this, full of undercurrents is almost beyond belief but Mr Soul rinses it like NOBODY else could have done….

I’m in danger of waxing lyrical…Sam step up brother and let us know what it’s all about.……..

LOUD is how this one should be heard ..

“where?…..where?, (all over this land), that’s the place…huh”

I do believe that’s Bobby Womack, (along with Cliff White), pluckin’ strings

musicology #77

sixartist,sixtune,sixweekspecial # 3

(Sam Cooke – Nobody Knows)

continuing the sixartistweek selection with the third cut from Mr Soul. This one taken from his 1963 album ‘Night Beat’. for themusicologist a special album that helped get me through darkest days … what turned out to sadly be a prophetic song for Sam that I like to think helped him as much as it did me…

a tear jerker that never fails to touch the soul.

musicology #76

sixartist,sixtune,sixweekspecial #2

(Sam Cooke – Let The Good Times Roll)

talk about synchronicity…themusicologist was reminded that today is Sam Cooke’s 77th birthday, (thanks erik), so it’s got to be this one from 1963.

yet another imperious, inspiring slice of over proof musicology from Mr Soul….overflowing with feeling. reminding us to ‘let the good times roll’ no matter what your current predicament which, bearing in mind the circumstances that surround his life at this time, makes it even more inspiring. recorded in December after the 25th take I do believe…such was the desire to ‘get in the groove’.

Mr Cooke …. your message is coming over loud and clear.

is that Bobby Womack harmonising?? Bob if you’re out there let us know..

musicology #61

Fontella Bass – This Would Make Me Happy

the first few weeks of the merry month of December have seen it all and non musical commitments along with so called service providers have kept themusicologist busy but I’m not here to make excuses because after all, is there anything more fulfilling and satisfying than playing, listening and sharing the joy of music…which leads nicely onto this.

fellow musicologist and friend Sean Rowley has presented an opportunity to include, (over the next six weeks), the one tune technique on his excellent show the joy of music which goes out live on BBCRadioLondon in the wee hours of Sunday mornings, (midnight till 2am GMT),

if you’re not a night bird but are still interested in hearing the show ‘live & direct’ click on the joy of music link above, click on Sean Rowley, (second column on the right), where you can stream it for up to seven days after the event. It’s one tune every week selected and introduced by myself … I make an appearance around the 45 minute mark preceeding the majestic Dion DiMucci interview a musicologist of the first degree.

for those not able to tune in and listen I’ll throw said slice of musicology down on themusicaldiary every Saturday starting right here right now

one last thing…not sure if you have heard but this information nugget has, (synchronistically), come to my attention…Ike Turner died on December 12th. The man was a legend and was a leading light in the development of the music that we know and love today from what some hail as the first Rock&Roll record, (Rocket88), in 1951 right through to tunes like River Deep, Mountain High he was instrumental in developing Rhythm&Blues as well as Soul, (something not many were able to do),

it’s more than coincidental that I threw this Ike production in advance of his passing and for themusicologist it is yet another example of music’s magic as well as its power to communicate so with that in mind I am going to pay a week long musical tribute to the man starting with this one

This Would Make Me Happy – sung by Fontella Bass, produced by Ike Turner, written by Oliver ‘Bus Stop’ Sain, for Ikes? LA based Vesuvius label, from the soulful year of 1964. very little is known of the label and according to the oracle, (R&B Indies), there are only two releases on it.

Ike, thank you for the music and the legacy.

musicology #53

coversweek .. day1

(Randy Crawford – Knocking On Heaven’s Door)

due to the popularity of themusicologists recent thematics, (ladiesweek/mansweek/duets/vocalgroups), as well as the personal pleasure gained by sharing such music it’s time to jump back into the saddle and throwdown a new theme.

coversweek .. alternative renditions of well known tunes …

most of the time I favour the original but on occasion an artist brings out something different in the tune and reaches new ground, as is the, (subjective), case with the seven pieces this week.

first up is a female vocalist who has already featured on themusicologist, (musicology #26 ), with a pucker rendition of a Bob Dylan song, (first of two Dylan covers), from the movie Pat Garret & Billy The Kid. themusicologist is a BIG fan of Dylan having grown up listening to the cat from ‘early out’ and I place him high up the learning tree as one o me ‘learning facilitators’ along with father Curtis, the Modfather, the Poet, Van Morrison and a few others so, without further delay ..

musicology #48

vocalgroupaction .. day7

(Back Up Train – Soulmates)

last piece. 1967 .. who can tell us the name of the lead singer?

musicology #39

doublebubble .. day 5

(Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown – Don’t Go)

sticking with the 1965 selection this one brings together two of Souls shining lights that, (as is all too often the case), didn’t receive the accolades due for their musical efforts. Maxine Brown and Chuck Jackson were there recording in the ‘new style’ as Soul emerged from the shadows of Doo Wop and Rhythm & Blues in the early 60’s to become the force it is today. the second tune this week to flow from the pen of the majestic songwriting duet Ashford&Simpson.

just so you know, for themusicologist the term Soul covers any song about affairs of the heart sung with genuine feeling … regardless of race, creed or colour.