Friday, December 31, 2010

"Smoke From A Distant Fire" by Sanford-Townsend Band.

OK, more one-hit wonders: These two blue-eyed soul keyboardists from Alabama reunited in L.A. in the 70's as a songwriting team. Their credits include, among others, "I Keep Forgettin' " for Michael McDonald. Their hit came in '77, topping the Cashbox charts and peaking at #9 on Billboard. Recorded at the noted Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama. They opened for Fleetwood Mac during their Rumours Tour to promote their record. Kenny Loggins sings background vocals.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy8ba2eL7cI


Yesterday's answer: "Silhouettes" by the Rays. The doo-wop group The Silhouettes, as in "Get A Job", took their name from this song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E2wBksA7l4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G80FZzgJDoU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9VaNoGscYo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An-hkRxAWrc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsSPRfNPgII

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Silhouettes" by The Rays.

OK, more one-hit wonders: Bob Crewe was riding on a train in Philly in '57 when he saw a couple embracing through a window shade. He took the idea to his co-writer Frank Slay and the rest is doo-wop history. It became the only hit for a Brooklyn-based vocal quartet (#3 - sold over one million copies and was Certified Gold). Legend goes that a local DJ fell asleep while premiering the record and it played on the radio repeatedly for many hours. A minor hit (#60) for Canada's The Diamonds shortly thereafter. Herman's Hermits took it to #5 in '65; their 3rd US hit. The Beatles' "No Reply" is said to have been inspired by this song. Sha Na Na played it at Woodstock. Part of the "Jersey Boys" soundtrack. Song? Group?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_E2wBksA7l4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G80FZzgJDoU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S9VaNoGscYo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An-hkRxAWrc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsSPRfNPgII


Yesterday's answer: "Hey Girl" by Freddie Scott. WAY up there on the all-time makeout songs hit parade!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPRIQFoJdis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfnzTL-949o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YilMQTS7uA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMfLKrGvCzI...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzUEIsayxHQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_SpuemD7os

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Hey Girl" by Freddie Scott.

OK, back to the 60's: Freddie Scott's only Top Ten hit came in '63 with the 1st recording of a Gerry Goffin/Carole King ballad (#10 Pop Singles and R&B). Donny Osmond's '72 rendition peaked at #9, higher than Scott's original version. Also covered by The Righteous Brothers ('66), The Temptations ('69), Billy Joel ('97) and by Ray Charles/Michael McDonald ('04).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPRIQFoJdis
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfnzTL-949o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YilMQTS7uA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMfLKrGvCzI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzUEIsayxHQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_SpuemD7os

Yesterday's answer: "Zigeunerweisen" (Aires Gitanos or Gypsy Airs) by Pablo de Sarasate.
My father had the privilege of seeing Heifetz perform "Zigeunerweisen" at the U. of Puerto Rico Theater as a student - he was hooked after that! I have seen Stern and Perlman perform it - memorable! Papa, remember seeing Stern walking around the grounds at the Caribe Hilton during El Festival Casals?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABm7nMVyNh4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xir-5oAWxXE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk2kfD5ZKls

"Zigeunerweisen" by Pablo de Sarasate.

OK, back to the classics: This 19th century Spanish virtuoso is widely considered to be one of the greatest violinists ever - "impeccable technique and tone of unsurpassed sweetness and purity". As a composer he published at least 54 works. He originally composed his magnum opus in 1878 for violin and piano but subsequently orchestrated it, which is as we know it today. Inspired by the csardas of the Roma people (Romani or Gypsies). A staple on virtuosi repertoires, the composer himself recorded it in 1904. Its one movement is divided into 4 sections. Memorable interpretations by Elman, Francescatti, Heifetz, Stern and Perlman. Artist? Work?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABm7nMVyNh4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xir-5oAWxXE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk2kfD5ZKls

Yesterday's answer: "Up On The Roof" by Laura Nyro. Incredible songwriter - "Wedding Bell Blues", "Stoned Soul Picnic", "And When I Die", "Eli's Coming", "Stoney End", ....!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVYqR0bnoqQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP8OVzVzR6o
http://www.youtube.com/watc...h?v=oJBm5TUHf0s

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Up On The Roof" by Laura Nyro.

OK, back to the 70's: This prolific Brill Building composer/lyricist/singer/pianist left us in '97 after a battle with ovarian cancer. She was a classmate of Janis Ian at NYC's High School of Music and Art. Her songs were extensively covered by the likes of Peter, Paul & Mary, The 5th Dimension, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Barbra Streisand, to name a few. Ironically, her ONLY charting single as a solo artist (#92 in '70) was her version of a Gerry Goffin/Carole King '62 tune 1st recorded by The Drifters. Artist? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVYqR0bnoqQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP8OVzVzR6o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJBm5TUHf0s

Yesterday's answer: "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard. Curiously, Pat Boone DID record it - NOT one of his major hits!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFL047fmsgg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGWUUEQ0Bt0

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard.

OK, back to the 50's: This '56 Blackwell/Johnson/Penniman early rock classic was originally titled "The Thing". Enotris Johnson wrote the core of the lyrics for Penniman to record so she could pay her ailing aunt Mary's medical bills. Killer 12-bar blues chord progression, smokin' piano by the singer and memorable sax solo by Lee Allen. Pat Boone had a hit with his cover of the artist's "Tutti Frutti" so they purposefully made it so upbeat and fast that Boone couldn't cover it. #1 R&B and #6 Pop - #56 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. The Beatles covered it in '64 as part of an EP. Artist? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFL047fmsgg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGWUUEQ0Bt0

Yesterday's answer: "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel. Sometimes I forget Paul Simon's understated mastery of the folk guitar while listening to their ethereal harmonies but then I hear "Homeward Bound" and I say, "DANG HE'S GOOD!"!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6K8wfyzAJQhttp://www.y...outube.com/watch?v=s0_htHcmcbE

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Homeward Bound"

OK, back to the 60's: A 22 year-old Paul Simon was stranded overnight at the Widnes train depot in north England in '65 when he wrote one of his signature songs about missing his then-girlfriend Kathy Chitty and longing to get back to the U.S. It appeared on Simon and Garfunkel's "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" album in '66, peaking at #5 and staying on the charts for 12 weeks. Memorable duet with George Harrison on Saturday Night Live in '75.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6K8wfyzAJQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0_htHcmcbE

Yesterday's answer: "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas". My all-time fave is "Oh Holy Night" but this one is also way up there.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g4lY8Y3eoo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpPdl0StUVs

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"

OK, a little more Christmas cheer: According to ASCAP, this Hugh Martin/Ralph Blane composition is the 3rd most-played Christmas song. Introduced by Judy Garland in the '44 musical film "Meet Me In St. Louis", where she sang it to her sad 5 year-old sister. It became extremely popular among G.I.'s serving overseas during WWII, often bringing them to tears. In '57 Frank Sinatra asked Martin to "jolly up" the lyrics, as he found them too depressing - his version is the most popular one today. It was further re-written to remove any religious references.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g4lY8Y3eoo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpPdl0StUVs

Yesterday's answer: "Little Saint Nick" by The Beach Boys. The B-side was "The Lord's Prayer", a Beach Boys "rarity". Sometimes referred to as "Run Run Reindeer". Even though I'm a Diet Dew guy (not proud to admit it), I loved the Coke commercial.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSynDh_K0E...E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDkRvfo8jVE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_sqD9aE5lY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahe2r5fB5hU

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Little Saint Nick" by The Beach Boys.

OK, a little Christmas cheer (easy!): This B. Wilson/M. Love "modern" Christmas classic was released in December 1963 - a bit of cheer for a nation mourning President Kennedy's recent assassination. #3 on Billboard's Christmas chart and #69 on Cashbox. Very similar in structure and rhythm to "Little Deuce Coupe", released earlier that year - also uses car analogies, "candy apple red", "...with a 4-speed stick". Covered by John Denver and The Muppets in '79 and by Hanson in '97. Used during a recent Coke commercial with polar bears and penguins. Group? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSynDh_K0EE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDkRvfo8jVE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_sqD9aE5lY

Yesterday's answer: "Yes It Is" by The Beatles. John's vocals are probably some of his best ever. George taught my generation how to play the guitar - with this song he showed us how to use 6th chords.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O-wmVqFD4w

"Yes It Is" by The Beatles.

OK, more Fabdom: This doo-wop style Lennon ballad was released in '65 as the B-side to "Ticket To Ride" and on "Beatles VI". It features some of The Beatles' most intricate 3-part harmonies - their 2nd song using 3-part harmony lead vocals which they didn't use again until "Because" in '69. Recorded in a 5 hr. session during which they also taped "I Need You" (!). The 1st Beatles tune to include guitar effects - George experimented with tone pedal swells. John didn't particularly care for the song, "...an attempt to re-write 'This Boy' that didn't work". Macca, however, called it "a very fine song of John's".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O-wmVqFD4w

Yesterday's answer: "Pata Pata" by Miriam Makeba. We had fun with it in '67 when it came out as, in Spanish, "pata" means a female duck and is also slang for leg and lesbian!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-VrfadKbco

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Pata Pata" by Miriam Makeba.

OK, back to the 60's: This South African Grammy winner and civil rights activist nicknamed "Mama Africa" left us two years ago. In the 60's she was the 1st artist to popularize African music in the US and worldwide. Banned from her homeland due to her anti-Apartheid campaigning. Her signature song was written in Xhosa by Dorothy Masuka and translates "touch touch". She first recorded in in '57 and it became immensely popular in Africa. Released in '67 in the US, peaking at #12 on Billboard and at #7 R&B. She died of a heart attack in 2008 in Italy shortly after performing her biggest hit. Artist? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-VrfadKbco

Yesterday's answer: "Hey, Pachuco!" by Royal Crown Revue. Some tremendous ensembles followed in their footsteps - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin' Daddies and The Brian Setzer Orchestra, to name a few. The L.A. Zoot Suit Riots started in '43 at the height of WWII when sailors and Marines stationed in the L.A. area antagonized (or vice versa?) local zoot suit-clad Latino youths who called themselves "pachucos".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4XHcZR0cjY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvuxsmmOepc

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Hey, Pachuco!" by Royal Crown Revue.

OK, more 80's: This Los Angeles-based ensemble formed in 1989 and is widely credited for starting the Swing Revival Movement. Inspired by Louis Prima, a masterful big-band blend of swing and jump blues with a rockabilly inflection. Their biggest hit was inspired by the L.A. Zoot Suit Riots and popularized when they appeared on "The Mask" and "Swingers" playing it. Helio Castroneves and Julianne Hough did a memorable quickstep to the song, winning Season 5 of "Dancing With The Stars". Group? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4XHcZR0cjY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvuxsmmOepc


Yesterday's answer: "Stand" by R.E.M. It might be "inane" but I still love the song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4F9sHyyvqk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjqZ0aIAgFM

"Stand" by R.E.M.

OK, more 80's: This Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe '89 composition was the group's 2nd Top 10 hit, peaking at #6. "It's about making decisions and actually living your life rather than letting it happen...". They challenged each other to write "the most inane and 'bubblegummy' " music and lyrics they could (!). The last two rounds of the chorus are each played one whole step higher than the last one. Great parody and video by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Group? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4F9sHyyvqk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjqZ0aIAgFM


Yesterday's answer: "La Vie En Rose" by Edith Piaf.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKgcKYTStMc

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"La Vie en Rose" by Edith Piaf.

OK, back to the 40's: "La Mome" wrote the lyrics to this somewhat autobiographic classic at the height of World War II, during which she secretly assisted the French resistance. The melody is by Louis "Louiguy" Gugliemi, who also wrote "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White". Mack Davis penned the English version. Won a Grammy Hall Of Fame Award in '98. It debuted in 1946 and appeared in most of the chanteuse's subsequent albums. Sung by Audrey Hepburn in "Sabrina" ('54). Among the many covers, two outstanding ones are Chet Atkins' on solo acoustic guitar and Susan Werner's a capella version. Artist? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKgcKYTStMc


Yesterday's answer: "I Want To Be A Beatle" and "Since I've Been Wearing My Hair Like a Beatle". (Dang, maybe I should start wearing my hair like a Beatle - hey, miracles can happen!) As you might recall, Bobby Wilding co-wrote "Hurt So Bad" with Teddy Randazzo and Bobby Hart.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eguOuFxL04M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHfCbh4Q4lM

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bobby Wilding

OK, more PseudoFabdom (?!): Bobby Wilding recorded two Beatles-themed Barr/Meshel/Weinstein compositions in 1964. Name them.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eguOuFxL04M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHfCbh4Q4lM

Yesterday's answer: "I Wanna Be Your Man". Ringo happens to be my favorite Beatle. He was "allowed" to sing one song per album and it was always a "leftover" song - "throw him a bone!". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-CjxASY3to
http://www.youtube.co...m/watch?v=t6myXYN5u80

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"I Wanna Be Your Man"

OK, more Fabdom: This is THE ONLY Beatles song ever covered by the Rolling Stones. Legend goes that Mick and Keith ran into Paul and John on a street in London on their way to a Stones recording session. Jagger asked them if they had any new material that they could record. Lennon/Macca had previously written some lines to be sung by Ringo. They finished it sitting on the studio floor as The Stones watched in amazement. They released it only as a single 3 weeks before The Beatles did (B-side to "Not Fade Away"). It peaked at #12 in the UK. One of the very few Stones tunes featuring Brian Jones on backup vocals. The Beatles version was released on their 2nd studio album in Nov. '63 with Ringo on double-tracked lead vocals. The "oldest" Beatles song they performed during their last concert 8/29/66 at Candlestick Park in S.F.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-CjxASY3to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6myXYN5u80

Yesterday's answer: "Lambada" by Kaoma.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AfTl5Vg73A

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Lambada" by Kaoma.

OK, back to the 80's: This '89 multi-Platinum release was subtitled "Chorando Se Foi"; the title loosely translates as "whiplash". Recorded by a French pop ensemble fronted by Brazilian vocalist Loalwa Braz. It became a world-wide dance sensation - a blend of northern Brazilian carimbo and Dominican merengue. "A woman makes her lover cry and now she regrets what she did as she sees him leave with tears in his eyes" - (Sam Kinison, where are you?!). It hit #1 on 11 charts worldwide. Based upon an '81 release by Los Kjarkas from Bolivia titled "Llorando Se Fue". Group? Song? For extra credit do the dance dressed appropriately (or inappropriately, as the case may be)!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AfTl5Vg73A

Yesterday's answer: "Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) by The Mamas and The Papas. "Wicked bass line". And those harmonies!!! This one, along with "Look Through My Window" happen to be my 2 favorite M&P songs. Legend goes that there was indeed a steeple outside of John's window in Greenwich Village with a broken clock stuck at 12:30. My daughter Lauren is an avid M&P fan (go figure!) and her fave is "Dancing Bear". "The canyon" is LA's Laurel Canyon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xa7NWRJjPQ

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twelve Thirty (Young Girls are Coming To The Canyon) by The Mamas and The Papas.

OK, back to the 60's: John Phillips wrote this melancholic song in '65, shortly after The Mamas and The Papas relocated from NYC to the L.A. suburb which inspired the tune. First released as a single in '67, it became the lead cut on their last album together in '68. Considered by many their "last great single", it peaked at #20. Rolling Stone Magazine called it "the last recording of the self-proclaimed 'Golden Era'...it's probably the best realized song the group has recorded". Genial transition from Baroque minor chords in the beginning to emphatic majors through the body of the song. The chorus refers to the steady stream of groupies frequenting Denny's house when John moved in with him after one of his many breakups with Michelle.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xa7NWRJjPQ

Yesterday's answer: "Morning Morgantown" by Joni Mitchell. What a beautiful tune! She's the undisputed master of alternate tunings. I saw her in '76 at the Spectrum in Philly - one of the best concerts ever! Three years later I saw her again at the Valley Forge Music Fair during her "jazz" phase - horrendous - one of the very few times I've ever walked out of a concert. Stick to folk, Joni!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxt6zZvz1lo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Morning Morgantown" by Joni Mitchell.

OK, back to the 70's: When a teen-aged Roberta Joan Anderson (Joni Mitchell) left her native Saskatoon she told her mother, "I'm going to Toronto to be a folksinger". She subsequently attended West Virginia University for a short time - the beautiful setting inspired this haunting first cut from her '70 third album, "Ladies Of The Canyon" (Platinum U.S.).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxt6zZvz1lo

Yesterday's answer: "Puppy Love" by Paul Anka. He writes two songs for her and she one for him and then she goes and marries his manager - what the.....?! WHERE'S SAM KINISON WHEN WE NEED HIM???!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuG_fTwoUoU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk1u-5mN...mZQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD45zl7L5Io

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Puppy Love" by Paul Anka.

OK, more 50's/60's: Paul Anka wrote this '59 teen classic about Annette Funicello, whom he dated during a tour. It peaked at #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 for 2 weeks in '60 and at #3 in the UK. Their romance was a media high spot; he referred to her as "glamorous...the kind of girl you want to marry". He also wrote "Talk to Me, Baby" for her. She, in turn, wrote and recorded "Tall Paul" for him - the first time a female artist reached the Top 10 with a rock-and-roll single. She married Paul's manager after the tour (!). Anka had 4 Top 10 hits in less than a year between '59 and '60 with "Lonely Boy", "Put Your Head On My Shoulder", "It's Time to Cry" and this one. Donny Osmond's '72 cover went to #3 in the US and topped the charts in the UK.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuG_fTwoUoU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk1u-5mNmZQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uD45zl7L5Io

Yesterday's answer: "You Can't Judge A Book By The (Its) Cover" by Bo Diddley. Thought about it yesterday while listening to an NPR feature on e-books. They called them "the great concealers". With e-books you have privacy - you don't have to hide your trashy romance novel (Favio!) inside Dostoevsky while reading in public.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccchj7gEqlQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afCYkRJt9Cc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqv88rE49_E

"You Can't Judge A Book By The (Its) Cover" by Bo Diddley.

OK, back to the 60's: This Willie Dixon composition was first recorded and released by Bo Diddley in '62 and was one of Diddley's last hits (#21 R&B, #48 Pop). "Willie Dixon's lyrics use a series of metaphors of all sorts of things you can't (discern) by their appearances before landing on the title phrase". Covered by the early Rolling Stones in '62, by The Yardbirds with Eric Clapton in '63 and by The Fabulous Thunderbirds in '92. Stevie Wonder co-wrote and released a completely different song by the same title in '69.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccchj7gEqlQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afCYkRJt9Cc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqv88rE49_E

Yesterday's answer: James Moody's "Moody's Mood For Love" was his landmark sax solo on "I'm In the Mood For Love". Masterfully covered by Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente, Queen Latifah, Amy Winehouse and Quincy Jones, among many others.http://www.youtub...e.com/watch?v=Vu4QTzpVp4A

"Moody's Mood For Love" by James Moody.

OK, back to the 40's (RIP): This jazz giant left us yesterday at the tender age of 85. An accomplished saxophonist and flautist, he was born partially deaf and with a lisp. His best-known piece was a 1949 sax solo which he improvised during a visit to Sweden. Strongly influenced by Charlie "Bird" Parker, vocalese lyrics were later added by Eddie Jefferson. Further popularized by King Pleasure in '54. The original tune was a 1935 McHugh/Fields composition introduced by Frances Langford in the movie "Every Night At Eight". "Alfalfa" sang it in a '36 "Our Gang" short and it became his signature song. Artist? Solo? Original song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu4QTzpVp4A

Yesterday's answer: "500 Miles". Great tune! If you like 60's folk, you HAVE to watch Christopher Guest's mockumentary "A Mighty Wind". http://amightywindonline.warnerbros.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cgQJzJsM5U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwB2A9HHaCU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLYbDJcqjao
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnaavPxSmk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfY8ffSnzcc

Thursday, December 9, 2010

"500 Miles"

OK, more 60's folk: (You remember what Martin Mull said about the "folk music scare of the '60s"--"that s*** almost caught on! ...") This '61 Hedy West composition is also known as "Railroader's Lament". Inspired by "Reuben's Train", an old Southern fiddle tune. Bobby Bare, Curly Williams and John Phillips have also received writing credits in subsequent versions. "The simple repetitive lyrics offer a lament by a traveler who is far from home, out of money and too ashamed to return." First recorded by the Journeymen in '61. Other versions include a live rendition by The Kingston Trio and a studio cut on Peter, Paul & Mary's 1st album, both in '62. A re-written version by Bobby Bare made the Country charts in '63. Also covered by Sonny & Cher, The Seekers, Roseanne Cash and Peter & Gordon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cgQJzJsM5U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwB2A9HHaCU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLYbDJcqjao
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgnaavPxSmk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfY8ffSnzcc


Yesterday's answer: "Lemon Tree" It compares love to a lemon tree. Not too bad, considering that Gordon Lightfoot has compared girls to rainbow trouts and knotty pines.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3FSRW2qFjM

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Lemon Tree"

OK, more 60's folk: This 60's Will Holt folk classic was inspired by Brazilian composer Jose Carlos Burle's 1937 samba-setanejo "Meu limao, meo limoeiro". "Meu limao" was popularized in Brazil by Wilson Simonal. Covered by Peter, Paul & Mary, The Kingston Trio, The Seekers and Trini Lopez, among many others.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3FSRW2qFjM

Yesterday's answer: Bobby Darin's "Simple Song Of Freedom". THE COOLEST CAT ever to walk the face of the Earth in my book! It became an anthem during the Vietnam era. Covered by Tim Harding just as Bobby covered Tim's "If I Were a Carpenter". Young Jim (Roger) McGuinn was part of Darin's backup band before The Byrds and he always considered Bobby his mentor. As a child he was called Bobby - legend goes that he got his surname from a neon sign at a Chinese restaurant that read "Darin Duck" instead of "Mandarin Duck". Check out Kevin Spacey's "Beyond The Sea" - spot on!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvY99BJzN-M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uVcr7LIusc

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Simple Song Of Freedom" by Bobby Darin.

OK, more 60's: Walden Robert Perciville Cassotto took his artistic name from his childhood nickname and from a malfunctioning Chinese restaurant sign (!). Sammy Davis Jr. called him "the only person I ever wanted to follow". In '69 he sold all his possessions and lived in seclusion in a trailer near Big Sur, CA. There he wrote this seminal "protest" song which changed his career. He established Direction Records, grew a moustache (he just wanted to look like me!), stopped wearing a toupee and basically re-invented himself. Artist? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvY99BJzN-M
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uVcr7LIusc


Yesterday's answer: "Jamaica Farewell" by Harry Belafonte. Many believe that the song is called "Kingston Town". Irving Burgie ("Lord Burgess") was a Brooklynite - his mother was from Barbados and his father from Virginia.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4r5C6MUqO4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX78rpT9tGM

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Jamaica Farewell" by Harry Belafonte.

OK, more 50's: This lovely calypso was written by Lord Burgess and first released on the '56 album "Calypso". It speaks of the beauty of the islands and of love left behind. Peaked at #14 on Billboard. The album was the 1st LP to sell one million copies, is #4 on Billboard's Top 100 Albums, spent 31 weeks at #1, 58 weeks on Top 10 and 99 weeks on the charts! Covered by Jimmy Buffett, Sam Cooke, Carly Simon and Sting. Artist? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4r5C6MUqO4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX78rpT9tGM




Yesterday's answer: "Our House" by Madness. What's happened to MTV? Last I heard, MTV stood for "Music Television" - do they even play music anymore? From Jeff Bluml: "No they don't so I feel they should change the name to Stupid Unrealistic Teenage Angst Soap Opera TV."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shVdK2cbRuA

Saturday, December 4, 2010

"Our House" by Madness.

OK, more one-hit wonders: This British ska/pop group's biggest US hit was an '82 Foreman/Smyth composition that peaked at #7 on Billboard's Hot 100 and at #5 UK in '83. Most of its success came from the witty video during the early days of MTV (when they actually played music!). It won Best Song at the '83 Ivor Novello Awards. Even though widely considered a "one-hit wonder", they did have another US Top 40 hit ("It Must Be Love"). Part of the just-released "Love and Other Drugs" soundtrack. Group? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shVdK2cbRuA


Yesterday's answer: "Thirsty Boots" by Eric Andersen. I first saw him at a coffee house shortly after arriving in Philly in '73 - wonderful singer/songwriter - I also love his "Close The Door Lightly When You Go".
http://www.youtube.com/w...atch?v=g70zT3lXPZc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsmlJCUhcn8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q841UwxzMF0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgxF3j66smg
Yesterday's answer: "Thirsty Boots" by Eric Andersen.

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Thirsty Boots" by Eric Andersen.

OK, back to the 60's: Eric Andersen sang the first part of this Civil Rights Era folk classic to Phil Ochs while at the 14 St. Subway Station in NYC on their way to The Village. "...written to a civil rights worker-friend. Having never gone down to Mississippi myself, I wrote the song about coming back." Ochs liked it and encouraged him to finish it. He wrote the last verse on a matchbook cover while in Judy Collins' bathroom (!). Phil brought Eric onstage at the '66 Philadelphia Folk Festival, where he performed it for the 1st time - he recorded it shortly thereafter. Covered by Judy Collins, The Kingston Trio and John Denver.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g70zT3lXPZc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsmlJCUhcn8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q841UwxzMF0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgxF3j66smg

Yesterday's answer: "Baby I Love You" by the Ronettes. Check out the beehives on the video! Ronnie was the original "bad girl" of rock & roll, having had liaisons with Keith Richards, John Lennon and, of course, crazy ol' Phil.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ_X8SZp1eM
http://www.youtub...e.com/watch?v=gbbRkHazUIg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4H9yZBjgSI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVRWktdnODg

"Baby I Love You" by The Ronettes.

OK, back to the 60's: This '63 release was The Ronettes' 2nd single after the hugely successful "Be My Baby". A Barry/Greenwich composition, it was produced by Phil Spector featuring his trademark "wall of sound". It was released shortly after JFK's assassination when the nation was not in the mood for upbeat songs so it only peaked at #24. Veronica (Ronnie), her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in '07. Cher and Darlene Love & The Blossoms added background vocals with Leon Russell on piano. Dave Edmunds' ('73) and The Ramones' ('80) covers were commercially more successful than the original version. Andy Kim's rendition hit #9 in '69.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ_X8SZp1eM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbbRkHazUIg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4H9yZBjgSI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVRWktdnODg

Yesterday's answer: "Al Di La". Translates as "Beyond" in English and "Mas Alla" en espa~ol. WAY up there on the all-time 60's makeout song hit parade.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ8f8bIxx-E
Absolutamente! Los Latinos hacian una version bien chevere en los bailes!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI-HX2jtvzQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch...?v=wz5J0XmWe2U

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Al Di La"

OK, back to the 60's: This Carlo Donida composition is an Italian love song popularized in '61 when Betty Curtis sang it as Italy's entry at the Eurovision Song Contest. It is also one of Connie Francis' best-known performances. Emilio Pericoli's '62 version peaked at #6 on Billboard and at #3 on Easy Listening. He sang it in the '62 movie "Rome Adventure". The Ray Charles Singers took it to #29 in '64.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ8f8bIxx-E
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI-HX2jtvzQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz5J0XmWe2U

Yesterday's answer: "April Love" by Pat Boone. Now, don't be dissin' ol' Pat! After all, he starred in one of my favorite movies from childhood, "Journey To the Center Of The Earth", as Alec McKuen. Gotta love his full-leather regalia in '97 as prompted by Dick Clark. Black leather boots instead of his trademark patent-leather white loafers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLaKFpMoRt0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eQuRvXGinM&feature=fvst

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"April Love" by Pat Boone.

OK, back to the 50's: This multi-talented artist co-starred with Shirley Jones in his 1st movie (1957). The theme song by the same title, which he also sang, was a Sammy Fein/Paul Francis Weber collaboration. It topped the charts in '57 and was Oscar-nominated for Best Original Song. A devout Christian, he refused to kiss Jones onscreen as she was married in real life. Second biggest-charting artist of the late 50's, 2nd only to Elvis. #9 on Billboard's Top 100 Top 40 Artists 1955-95. Artist? Song?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLaKFpMoRt0

Yesterday's answer: "Love (Can Make You Happy)" by Mercy. Great memories from the most fun summer ever '69 - between Jr. and Sr. years in H.S.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSepq9-JFhs