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!
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