Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

Blues Monday – Julie London

Despite nearly featuring in my “Sunday Jazz” series Julie London wasn’t really a jazz singer, but she possessed a definite jazz feeling and many of her finest albums (such as Julie Is Her Name and Julie…At Home) feature small-group jazz backings.

In a similar vibe her “About The Blues” wasn’t really aimed at the true “blues” market but was aimed at the 1950s pop market, but it may just be her best orchestral session. Since downbeat torch songs were London’s specialty, the album features an excellent selection of nocturnal but classy blues songs that play to her subtle strengths instead of against them. So as she sings below she had the view that “I Gotta A Right To Sing The Blues”

Julie usually included a couple of new songs in with a selection of standards, and her husband, Bobby Troup, wrote two excellent numbers for the album. One of them, the emotionally devastating “Meaning of the Blues,” is the album’s highlight, and was turned into a jazz standard after Miles Davis recorded it the same year for Miles Ahead.

To buy the music of Julie London click HERE

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Blues, Jazz Vocal, Old Music | , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Jazz – Antonio Forcione & Sabina Sciubba

I am sure I have posted on this album before, however, given it is a real favourite of mine it’s always worth another listen.

Combining Forcione’s undisputed talent with the outstanding ability of  Sabina, this recording is breathtaking in sound (as you would expect from a quality label like Naim which is up there with Linn) and performance quality.

Antonio teamed up with Sabina to produce a stunning album of jazz standards, beautiful original compositions  and rearranged pop classics.

Sabina Sciubba is an international award-winning singer who has  mesmerised audiences all over Europe with her unparalleled brilliance.  Together with Antonio, these two artistic soul mates cast a musical  spell whilst they create a stunning natural work, including a reworking of Lucio Dalla’s homage to the great opera tenor “Caruso”.

Their first and only album together is a rare sonic gem. A musical sensation which envelopes the listener with a rare genius as can be heard in this their take on Stevie Wonder’s “Visions”

Despite its modest presentation, ‘Meet Me In London’ is Naim’s best selling recording to date.

To buy the music of Antonio Forcione & Sabina Sciubba click HERE

June 26, 2011 Posted by | Jazz Vocal, Old Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

Cover Story – Dirty Old Town

“Dirty Old Town” is a song written by Ewan MacColl in 1949 that was made popular by The Dubliners and has been recorded by many others since.

The song was written in reference to Salford, then in Lancashire (now in Greater Manchester), England, and the place where Ewan MacColl was brought up. It was originally composed for an interlude to cover an awkward scene change in Ewan MacColl’s Salford-set, 1949 play Landscape with Chimneys, but with the growing popularity of folk music the song became a standard.

The song paints an evocative yet ultimately bitter picture of industrial northern England, and presages to some extent the Angry Young Man school of the 1950s.

When MacColl first wrote the song, the local council were unhappy at having Salford called a dirty old town and, after considerable criticism, the words of the song were changed from “smelled a Spring on the Salford wind” to “smelled a spring on the smoky wind”.

The Spinners made the first popular recording of the song and they sang “Salford wind”. This was hardly surprising as the lead singer on the track was Mick Groves, a Salfordian.

The song was therefore written about an English town; but because of the song’s later association with The Dubliners and The Pogues, many people tend to think of it as an Irish song, and as such, in Ireland the lyrics are popularly thought to refer to Dublin or Derry – a counter-part to the latter being Phil Coulter‘s “The Town I Loved So Well“.

My favourite version is by Rod Stewart.

 

To buy the music of Rod Stewart click HERE

June 25, 2011 Posted by | Cover Stories, Folk, Old Music, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Blast From The Past – Gene Vincent

Vincent Eugene Craddock (February 11, 1935–October 12, 1971), better known as Gene Vincent, was an American musician who pioneered the styles of rock and roll and rockabilly. His 1956 top ten hit with his Blue Caps, “Be-Bop-A-Lula“, is considered a significant early example of rockabilly.

Gene Vincent’s 1970 self-titled album (shown above), later released in the UK the following year under the title “If Only You Could See Me Today” was the first of a pair of records released by Kama Sutra Records in 1970. Recorded at the legendary Sound Factory recording studio in Hollywood, CA just a year before his untimely death in 1971.

The album was undoubtably an attempt to cash in on the roots-rock surge of the late 60s and early 70s. Just as Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Link Wray, and the Everly Brothers were busy updating their images and fashioning new sounds for the changing times, so was Gene Vincent.

Fortunately, Gene and his band, which featured L.A session ace and Kaleidoscope co-founder Chris Darrow as well as not one, but three members of the infamous Sir Douglas Quintet (Harvey Kagan, Johnny Perez, and Tex-Mex Farfisa fanatic Augie Meyer), were able to deliver an excellent record that expands upon Gene’s classic sound while simultaneously creating a melting pot of numerous roots-rock styles; with touches of Cajun, Tex-Mex, Swamp Rock, Soul, R&B, Country, and Folk.

The first track, a cover of Mickey Newbury’s (also see earlier post on Mickey by clicking HERE) “Sunshine”, is quite possibly the finest version of the song that’s been recorded to date.

When Gene sings “Sunshine, you may find my window/But you won’t find me…Sunshine, as far as I’m concerned don’t be concerned with me,” his lazy laid-back delivery truly embodies the voice of the character in the song–a man who’s tired of struggling to keep out the darkness and has resigned himself to a life of depression and isolation. Almost entirely gone is the rollicking rockabilly style of his younger years, in its place is a laid back yet emotionally expressive vocal style.

“Sunshine” – Gene Vincent

Unjustly dismissed upon its initial release, mostly ignored by long-time fans and deemed a failed attempt at a comeback by much of the rock press of the era, perhaps the time is right for him to receive the credit due for what is not only an excellent time capsule of funky early 70s roots-rock sounds, but actually a really great album with an interesting and varied sound that could’ve and should’ve taken Gene’s career in a new direction had years of  hard livin’ not taken him away from us too soon.

While not extremely pricey, original vinyl copies of Gene Vincent can be a tad tricky to come by, however, Rev-Ola has issued a cd compilation entitled “A Million Shades of Blue” that consists of Gene Vincent as well as the Kama Sutra follow up Day the World Turned Blue.

Original source is from the great blog The Rising Storm

 

To buy the music of Gene Vincent click HERE

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, Rock and Roll | | Leave a comment

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Haven’t had much reggae here recently so here is Marcia Griffiths and her version of one of Ewan MacColl’s greatest songs.

“The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” – Marcia Griffiths

The song was written for Peggy Seeger who later became his wife and is cherished as a MacCall song devoid of politics.

The song entered the pop mainstream when it was released by Peter, Paul and Mary (Album: See What Tomorrow Brings, 1965), and was later recorded by Roberta Flack, in 1972. The Flack version was much slower than the original: an early solo recording by Seeger, for example, clocked in at two and a half minutes long, whereas Flack’s is more than twice that length.

MacColl reputedly hated almost all the recordings of the song, including Flack’s.

His daughter-in-law is quoted as saying:

“He hated all of them. He had a special section in his record collection for them, entitled ‘The Chamber of Horrors’. He said that the Elvis version was like Romeo at the bottom of the Post Office Tower singing up to Juliet. And the other versions, he thought, were travesties: bludgeoning, histrionic and lacking in grace.”

June 22, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Cover Stories, Folk, Old Music, R&B, Reggae, Soul, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Jazz – The Nat King Cole Trio

Almost a perfect Sunday Album.

The smoky, smooth pop vocals of Nat King Cole make us tend to forget that, at heart, he was essentially a jazz performer. His piano proficiency, vocal phrasing, and utter coolness all hark back to his jazz roots which are ideally demonstrated on this album.

Listening to him as pianist and not just as a vocalist, it is easy to understand why Diana Krall rates him as her primary influence, to the extent of recording a whole album in tribute to him and his Trio.

Nobody could sing “Sweet Lorraine” like Nat and he recorded it several times, the first with his Trio in December of 1943.  After Nat evolved into more of a “singer” than a “piano player” in the 1950’s, his jazz audience clamored for more of the “old Nat”, and he obliged with the series of recordings which make up the “After Midnight” album.

During August and September of 1956, Nat invited some guest musicians in with him to re-record some of the old Nat King Cole Trio hits from the 40’s like “Sweet Lorraine”.  In this instance, the great Count Basie sideman, Harry “Sweets” Edison took the honors on his trumpet.

Included was this version of Bobby Troup’s “Route 66” unusual in the way that Nat sings “six six” and not the original “sixty six”

“Route 66” – Nat King Cole and his Trio

 

 

to buy the music of Nat King Cole click HERE

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Jazz Vocal, Old Music, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Bonnie

It is hard to believe that Bonnie has been gone two years today, time flies by even when you are not having fun.

“My Bonnie” – The Beatles with Tony Sheridan

On her way to Houston for a life way too short.

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Old Music, The Dugs | , , | Leave a comment

Father’s Day meets The Old Grey Whistle Test

With it being Father’s Day here in the UK on Sunday I set of this evening bleary eyed to Braehead to do a bit of relevant shopping.

It was only when I set foot in HMV that the concept of time passing hit me straight between the eyes.

It seems like only yesterday I was buying my Dad albums such as “100 Great Church Organ Tunes” or later Shirley Bassey “The Stripper” yet there in front on me on the HMV Father’s Day special display was “Dad’s Rock” 3CD set, “The Old Grey Whistle Test 40th Special Edition” and “New Wave For Dad”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In shock I settled for a book token from Waterstones and returned home and to cheer my self up I downloaded the aforesaid Old Grey Whistle Test CD, 60 tracks for under £10 many of them exclusive live recordings from the show.

So here is an Old Grey Whistle Test special.

From the album and for all cool Dad’s everywhere here is some live music from Tom Waits.

“Small Change” (Live In The Studio) – Tom Waits

To buy the CD click HERE

As a bonus and in celebration of Whispering Bob Harris’s recent OBE award here are some clips from the vaults.

…………….finally perhaps the most famous clip of all.

Coming soon the Old Grey Whistle Test through the ages.

June 17, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, New Releases, Old Music, The Who, Video | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Fun – Elevator Woman

God
Bless These Modern
Inventions

A fifteen year old Amish boy and his
father were in a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but
especially by two shiny,  silver walls that could move apart and then slide back
together again.

The boy asked, ‘What is this
Father?’

The father (never having seen an
elevator) responded, ‘Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I
don’t know what it is.’

While the boy and his father were watching with
amazement, a fat old lady in a wheel chair moved up to the moving walls and
pressed a button.

 

 

The walls
opened, and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and
the boy and his father watched the small numbers above the walls light up
sequentially.

 

They continued to watch until it reached
the last number, and then the numbers began to light in the reverse
order.

 


Finally the walls opened up again and
a gorgeous 24-year-old blond stepped out.

 


The father, not taking his eyes off the
young woman, said quietly to his son…..

 

‘Go get your
Mother’




“Elevator Woman” – Tony McPhee & Friends

 

To buy the music of Tony McPhee click HERE

June 17, 2011 Posted by | Blues, Humour, Old Music | , | Leave a comment

Peck Of The Week – Do You Wanna Dance

“Do You Wanna Dance?” – Bobby Freeman

To buy the music of Bobby Freeman click HERE

June 16, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, Peck Of The Week, Video | , | Leave a comment

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