Saturday, April 26, 2008

Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog

Big Mama Thornton with Buddy Guy, what's not to like?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Record Store Day

Tomorrow (Saturday April 19th) is Record Store Day. My town has lost two independent record shops in the last year or so and we have nowhere to buy new releases on lovely, shiny, black, vinyl anymore. Why not treat yourself and the record dealer of your choice by patronising their establishment tomorrow and enriching both of your lives.

Friday, April 04, 2008

BlushRadio 13 - Girls Girls Girls

Sorry there's been a bit of a gap between the podcasts - both of us have been really busy over the last couple of months.

We're back now with an all girl edition - hope you enjoy it, let us know what you think!

The Apollas - Mr Creator
I'm starting us off with one of my very favourite Girl Group records. Billie Barnum, Leola Jiles, and Ella Jamerson had recorded quite a number of really nice tunes on the Warner subsidiary label Loma before recording this one on the Warner label which I think is the best of the lot. I don't know of any collections of their Loma/Warner singles, but you can at least find this on on this CD.

Mary Wells - My World Is Empty Without You
The first of this time's LP tracks, this is taken from Mary Wells' post-Motown LP "Two Sides of Mary Wells" and struck me as a very interesting version of one of my favourite Supremes songs. The entire first side of this LP is made up of covers of soul tunes, several of them also worth a listen - the version of Satisfaction drawing mostly on Otis Redding for inspiration is also very enjoyable. That same first side of the LP is present on this collection of her sessions for Atco.

Dynettes - New Guy
Not for the last time, I have to admit that I know next to nothing about this record other than that it's great girl group R&B. It's on the Constellation label from Chicago and judging by the credits on the label does come with some pedigree, being produced by Bill 'Bunky' Sheppard and written and arranged by Maurice Williams (who I think is the same Maurice Williams of Zodiacs and 'Stay' fame). There is a compilation of releases on Constellation available here that should be worth a listen.

Dixie Cups - People Say
Our next tune is from one of the biggest names of the girl group scene. The Dixie Cups (Barbara & Rosa Lee Hawkins and their cousin Joan Johnson) started out as Little Miss & the Muffets, although they changed their name before releasing any records. Their first release, "Chapel of Love" turned out to be their biggest hit but they released many other great tunes and both "People Say" and "Iko Iko" are great favourites around these parts. There are quite a few compilations of their work around, but this one is a good place to start.

Ila Van - Can't Help Loving That Man Of Mine
Another record I don't know a huge amount about, although it does come in a very nice picture sleeve! It's a very enjoyable upbeat and poppy version of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" from Showboat. You can find a copy of it on volume 5 of the excellent Talcum Soul series of compilations.

Miss D.D. Phillips - Hey Little Girl
Another great, uplifting pop song that show very clearly the bittersweet qualities that are a vital part of all the best girl-group songs. The contrast between lyrics and music is a real treat for me. I'm afraid I can't tell you much about her, though!

Mary Love - Satisfied Feeling
The great Mary Love recorded more fantastic soul sides than I can shake a stick at. This one is a little overlooked as it lives on the other side of her beautiful ballad "Baby I'll Come". Both her date of birth and even her birth name are the subjects of some confusion but what is known is that she was born in Sacremento, California and was discovered by Sam Cook's manager, J.W. Alexander. Her many great sides on the Modern label have appeared on a number of CDs on the Kent label, which I'd highly recommend.

Jeanette Williams - Stuff
This one stands out as quite a bit funkier than the rest of this time's podcast. That should come as no great surprise since it was both written and produced by Andre Williams, so good sleazy fun is guaranteed!

Velvelettes - Since You've Been Loving Me
Never the most successful of the girl groups on the Motown roster, the Velvelettes are still one of my favourites - they must have been very highly regarded locally in their day too, since they once famously beat the Supremes in a Battles of the Bands. They're probably best known for their early recordings with Norman Whitfield, "Needle In A Haystack" and "He Was Really Saying Something" in particular. This one is taken from a bit later in their career, being the flip side of "These Things Will Keep Me Loving You". It's still produced by Whitfield, and written by Eddie Holland and Marv Johnson - quite a pedigree! There is a great 2-CD collection of their work available which really shows what a wealth of great recordings they made, and even gives you a chance to hear that Battle of the Bands performance!

Cindy Gibson - I'll Always Love You
Another I know almost nothing about I'm afraid. This one is on the General label from Philadelphia, but if anyone can let me know any more about it I'd be very interested!

Peaches - Music To My Ears
A nice upbeat, uplifting tune once again on the Constellation label. This one is co-produced by Gene Chandler, the Duke of Earl himself, so hardly surprising it has a bit of a swagger about it!

Flirtations - Stay
I'll finish us off with another LP track, this beautiful tune comes from the Flirtations' "Sounds Like the Flirtations" LP on Deram. The album is stuffed full of gems - not least the ever popular "Nothing But a Heartache", but this relatively overlooked gem is well worth a listen too.

I hope you've enjoyed this as much is I did putting it together - hopefully not such a long wait until the next one!
Subscribe to the podcast with Tunes or Download this podcast as mp3

Friday, March 21, 2008

PP Arnold - The First Cut Is The Deepest

Both Ed and I are working on podcasts at the moment and we hope to have the fruit of our labours on here in the next couple of weeks. To tied you over until then we have a clip of the gorgeous PP Arnold. There's a great reggae version of this track by Norma Frazer on the Soul Jazz album Studio One Soul which I highly recommend.

I've added a load of new links, check them out because there's some corkers there.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Evie Sands - I Can't Let Go

Continuing our love in with the unluckiest woman in the history of music, check out this fantastic clip of Evie performing I Can't Let Go.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Motor City's Burning: Detroit from Motown to the Stooges

There was a fantastic documentary about 60's Detroit on BBC4 last night, if you are quick you can catch it on the BBC iPlayer. Sadly, the Marvin Gaye documentary that preceded it hasn't been put up but they are showing Standing In The Shadows Of Motown and the an episode of the fantastic Soul Deep tonight.

Friday, February 08, 2008

BlushRadio 12: Too Much Of A Good Thing

We interrupt this podcast to bring you a shameless plug from the Blush Organisation. On 23rd February Ed and I will be playing a new night in Canterbury called Barefootin’. Here are the details:

Saturday 23rd February

Scribes, King Street, Canterbury

7pm – 1am

Admission free

A map of where to find us can be found here.

Now back to the podcast.

Wilbert Harrison – Let’s Stick Together

Everybody should know this song from Bryan Ferry’s cover but the original is not heard anywhere near enough. The song was reworked as Let’s Work Together and was a big hit a couple of years after this but this is the version that counts.

Jimmy James and the Vagabonds – Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud

The original of this track was by Tony Clarke but this is the one for me. Jimmy James was originally from Jamaica but moved to the UK, along with the Vagabonds, in the mid-sixties. Like Geno Washington, who also relocated here, Jimmy James played US R&B and soul to adoring British audiences hungry to hear the music live. Jimmy James and the Vagabonds played with and borrowed equipment from the Who early in their career and what a great night out that must have been.

Linda Jones – I Can’t Stop Loving My Baby

Linda Jones was born in 1944 in Newark, New Jersey. She released her early records under the name Linda Lane and recorded for Cub, Atco and Blue Cat before moving to Loma in 1967. This track is the flip of her biggest hit Hypnotized which narrowly missed out on the US top 20. Linda sadly died backstage at the Apollo in New York in 1972 after a diabetic attack.

Honey and the Bees – Help Me

Honey and the Bees came from Philadelphia comprised of Nadine Felder, Jean Davis, Gwendolyn Oliver and Cassandra "Ann" Wooten and were originally known as the Yum Yums. They joined Josie in 1970 and found themselves touring with James Brown in the early seventies. This is great girl group soul and to these ears sounds a lot earlier than when it was recorded. They went on to record a number of great tracks on Artic, the most sought after of which is probably Love Addict which is featured on the fantastic Sister Funk 2.

The Shirelles – Too Much Of A Good Thing

I featured the Shirelles in BlushRadio Volume 3. This is a track I have been playing out ever since I first got into soul and the slightly out of tune backing vocals really make this track for me. Everyone should make some room in their collection for the Shirelles and this would be a great place to start.

Jessie Hill – Whip It On Me

Jessie Hill was born in New Orleans in 1932 and is probably best known for Ooh Poo Pah Doo. He was a drummer for Professor Longhair and Huey “Piano” Smith in the 50’s before forming the House Rockers in 1958. This track is a great r&b dancer and look out for the cracking saucy backing vocals.

Cecil Garrett & the Fascinations – Bearcat Pt 1

I know little about the track or the Cecil Garrett but I was turned onto it by Martin Lawrie’s excellent Soul Generation, be sure to check out Martin’s new Titty Shakers website for the utmost in sleazy sounds.

Dean Parrish – Tell Her

Dean Parrish’s I’m On May Way was famously the last record played at the Wigan Casino. One of the most successful blue eyed soul singers, he had hits with ‘I’m On My Way’, ‘Tell Her’, ‘Determination’, ‘Skate’ and the fantastic ‘Bricks, Broken Bottles and Sticks’. Dean is still going strong today and his website is well worth checking out.

Barbara Randolph – Can I Get A Witness

I love this cover of the Marvin Gaye classic, probably not quite as much as the original but the percussion and funky soul vibe fit the song well. She was in line to replace Florence Ballard in The Supremes in 1967 but Diana Ross rejected the idea and instead she signed as with Motown as a solo artist. She is probably best known for her 1968 version of the classic Holland-Dozier-Holland track I Got A Feeling which went on to be a huge track on the northern scene. She sadly died in South Africa in 2002.

The Raeletts – Leave My Man (Woman) Alone

Ray Charles’ backing singers need no introduction and featured in the first BlushRadio podcast . This is a heavy, hard soul number and if I was the woman in question I would heed the warning.

Anyway, I hope that you have enjoyed Volume 12 of BlushRadio and that we see some of you along at Barefootin' on 23rd February. Keep the faith.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or Download this podcast as mp3