Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

The Faces

Currently I am reading Andy Neill’s biography of The Faces which also covers in some detail the pre Faces careers of the band taking in amongst others Small Faces, Jeff Beck Group, Steampacket, The Birds and many more it is a great read and can be bought HERE

Below is one of my favourite Faces performances.

The recorded version came via Rod Stewart’s solo album “Every Picture Tells A Story” which as everyone knows was more or less a Faces record anyway.

The song was of course originally recorded by The Temptations and was another step away from the group’s softer records recorded with Smokey Robinson as producer, a change that Norman Whitfield had begun with “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” earlier in the year.

“I’m Losing You” features a much more dramatic arrangement than most contemporary Motown songs: a rock-styled guitar riff (devised by Temptations road manager/band director Cornelius Grant), sharp horn blasts, and the Temptations’ doo-wop vocals paint the backdrop for one of David Ruffin’s trademark raspy lead vocals.

July 2, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Books, Cover Stories, R&B, Soul, Video | , , | 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

Saturday Soul – Smoove & Turrell

Soul as a genre is always marked by its so-called “authenticity”….so when these Geordie guys turn up mixing contemporary electronic sounds with (northern) soul, it works at every level.

The track below is a massive slab of old-school soul taken from their album “Eccentric Audio” which is released on the 27th June.

“Hard Work” – Smoove & Turrell



To buy the music of Smoove & Turrell click HERE

June 18, 2011 Posted by | New Music, New Releases, R&B, Soul, Video | | Leave a comment

Blast From The Past – I Got The Music In Me

Kiki Dee (born Pauline Matthews, 6 March 1947, Little Horton, Bradford, West Yorkshire0,  is a singer with a career spanning more than 40 years.

She is best known for her 1976 duet with Elton John, entitled “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart“, which went to Number 1 both in the UK Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

She sang backing vocals for Dusty Springfield, among others, and was well-regarded by other singers but did not achieve solo success in the UK for many years. However, her 1965 release “Why Don’t I Run Away From You” was a big hit on Radios London and Caroline in 1965, and her 1968 release, “On a Magic Carpet Ride”, which was originally a B-side, has remained popular on the Northern Soul circuit.

It was in fact hit songwriter Mitch Murray who came up with her stage name, and also penned her first single, “Early Night”.

In the United States she became the first white British artist to be signed by Motown, releasing her first Motown single “The Day Will Come (Between Sunday and Monday)” in 1970.

Here is another track from her Motown album “Great Expectations”

“Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” – Kiki Dee

Without doubt her most commercial period was during her time on the Rocket label where she released two albums.

“Loving and Free” – Kiki Dee

and of course

To buy the music of Kiki Dee click HERE

May 11, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, Soul, Video | , | 2 Comments

Saturday Soul – Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin needs no introduction as THE “Queen of Soul” however it is her period on Atlantic Records between 1967 to 1974, during which she recorded 10 studio albums and 3 live albums, which substantiates this accolade and is the “Golden Reign” referred to in the title of this 2CD 2007 Rhino Records release.

The opening track is a demo of what became her signature tune “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” with just a piano, bass and drums from unknown musicians probably from her then touring club band.

In addition to demos and alternative takes of well-known tracks this superb compilation also includes many previously lesser known gems such as Van McCoy’s  “Sweet Bitter Love” which has just the vocal and Aretha on piano.

What is surprising is that so many of these gems did not find release, either as singles or on album, and the sheer breadth of material Aretha attempted. So there’s the Gospel infused Soul that is familiar, but also she interprets Blues from Little Willie John, Pop from the Beatles and songs made famous by a host of Soul artists, always adding her own style. She even does “My Way” and finds something new in the song which is an outtake from the  “Spirit In The Dark” album sessions.

This track alone highlights the top quality off her backing players and singers which included The Sweet Inspirations ,Billy Preston,Melvin Lastie,Bernard Purdie,King Curtis,and the king of the guitar in-fill Mr Cornell Dupree all of whom are just some of the performers who grace this set.

Finally I will leave you with one of Fiona’s favourite songs “At Last” the definitive version remains Etta James’, however, I am sure Fiona would have loved this alternative Aretha arrangement.

Virtually every song here affirms why Aretha holds the place in musical history that she does, but there is nothing here that outdoes what’s already been commercially released, however, it’s doubtful that many who only own Aretha’s greatest hits sets and other compilations from the Atlantic era will become any more of a fan based solely on these tracks.

On the other hand if you love her albums and class yourself as a bit of a “soul/r&b” aficionado then that’s precisely the same reason why you can’t be without this Golden Reign collection.

To buy the music of Aretha Franklin click HERE

“There are singers, then there is Aretha” – Ray Charles

April 9, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, R&B, Soul, Video | | Leave a comment

Dusty In Memphis

The album “Dusty In Memphis” was recorded in 1968 and released in 1969. It was produced by Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin and engineered by Tom Dowd.

Despite it’s almost legendary status now as “the greatest white soul album ever” it was far from a labour of love during the recording and was, initially at least, a commercial flop on both sides of the Atlantic.

Hoping to reinvigorate her career and boost her credibility, Dusty Springfield turned to the roots of soul music. She signed with Atlantic Records, home label of one of her soul music idols, Aretha Franklin.

Although she had sung R&B songs before, she had never released an entire album solely of R&B songs, as such recording an album in Memphis, Tennessee, where some notable blues musicians had grown up was to her a dream come true.

She was backed on the sessions by the back-up singers Sweet Inspirations and the instrumental band Memphis Cats, led by guitarist Reggie Young and bassist Tommy Cogbill. who had previously backed Wilson Pickett, King Curtis and Elvis Presley.

The songs were written by, among others, Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Randy Newman, and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil.

During the sessions at American Studios in Memphis, Springfield stayed in a suite at the Holiday Inn, Rivermont, however,  none of the Dusty in Memphis vocals were actually recorded in Memphis. Springfield was used to arriving at a studio to find the backing tracks already recorded.

In Memphis she was recording in Wilson Pickett’s vocal booth with Aretha Franklin’s musicians. An obsessive soul fan, Springfield should have felt like a homecoming queen. But she hated it.

So the production moved to New York, to a studio with just the three producers present. Springfield would insist on so much backing track in her headphones that she could not hear her own vocals – heartbreaking, really, that of the four people on the planet present at the precise time that these legendary vocals were ever heard live, one of them refused to listen.

But Springfield hated this album, and it took her a year to be won round. Perhaps her own indifference was contagious: it limped to Number 99 on the US album charts, and never hit the British Top 40. Only one UK single was issued, but what a choice: ‘Son of a Preacher Man’.

The song was initially offered to Aretha Franklin to record, but at that point, she declined. Dusty Springfield went on to record it and have the hit, at which point Franklin decided to make her version.

It was Dusty Springfield’s last Top Ten hit in both the UK and the US for almost twenty years, and made the list of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Some may also remember its use in the movie, Pulp Fiction.

Wexler wrote that out of all the songs that were initially recorded for the album, “she approved exactly zero.” For her, he continued, “to say yes to one song was seen as a lifetime commitment.”

Springfield disputed this, saying she did choose two the above  “Son of a Preacher Man” and a personal favourite of mine “Just a Little Lovin'”.

Side A

  1. “Just a Little Lovin'” (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) – 2:18
  2. “So Much Love” (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 3:31
  3. “Son of a Preacher Man” (John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins) – 2:29
  4. “I Don’t Want to Hear It Anymore” (Randy Newman) – 3:11
  5. “Don’t Forget About Me” (Goffin, King) – 2:52
  6. “Breakfast in Bed” (Eddie Hinton, Donnie Fritts) – 2:57

Side B

  1. “Just One Smile” (Randy Newman) – 2:42
  2. “The Windmills of Your Mind” (Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman, Michel Legrand) – 3:51
  3. “In the Land of Make Believe” (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) – 2:32
  4. “No Easy Way Down” (Goffin, King) – 3:11
  5. “I Can’t Make It Alone” (Goffin, King) – 3:57

Bonus Track:-

“Breakfast In Bed” – Dusty Springfield”

You’ve been cryin’
Your face is a mess
Come in baby
You can dry the tears on my dress
She’s hurt you again
I can tell
Oh, I know that look so well

Don’t be shy
You’ve been here before
Pull your shoes off, lie down
And I will lock the door

And no-one has to know
You’ve come here again
Darling it will be
Like it’s always been before
Come on over here

Breakfast in bed
And a kiss or three
You don’t have to say you love me
Breakfast in bed
Nothing need be said
Ain’t no need

What’s your hurry?
Please don’t eat and run
You can let her wait, my darling
It’s been so long
Since I’ve had you here
You will come again
Darling it will be
Like it’s always been before
Hey child

Breakfast in bed
And a kiss or three
You don’t have to say you love me
Breakfast in bed
Nothing need be said

Breakfast in bed
And a kiss or three
You don’t have to say you love me
Breakfast in bed
Nothing need be said, yeah
You don’t have to

To buy Dusty In Memphis click HERE

March 19, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Old Music, R&B, Soul, Video | | Leave a comment

Shuggie Otis

Despite the name I can assure you all that Shuggie Otis is not a soul loving Scot, (the name “Shuggie” actually derives from the meaning “short for sugar” deemed appropriate by his mother when he was born), he is however the son of Johnny Otis and inherited his father’s multi-instrumentalist skills which he would from an early age display with a high ability landing him with a “teenage protegé” reputation to live up to playing with his father’s band from the age of twelve and not long after being asked to join the legendary Al Koopers band, appearing on the album “Kooper Session”

Kooper and the then-fifteen-year-old Otis recorded “Kooper Session” in 1970 over one weekend in New York.

Otis then released his first solo album later that year entitled “Here Comes Shuggie Otis” on Epic Records.

Countless musicians were his guests on this debut attempt, including Johnny, Leon Haywood, Al McKibbon, Wilton Felder, & many others. This further established his reputation & catapulted his fame into the attention of B. B. King, who was quoted in a 1970 issue of Guitar Player magazine admitting Otis was “his favorite new guitarist”.

“Shuggie’s Boogie” – Shuggie Otis

Some of the artists Otis performed & recorded with during that time include Frank Zappa (having played electric bass on “Peaches en Regalia” on the album “Hot Rats”), Etta James, Eddie Vinson, Richard Berry, Louis Jordan, & Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, among many others.

His second album “Freedom Flight” is perhaps his best known work given it contains his “hit” single “Strawberry Letter 23”.

“Strawberry Letter 23” – Shuggie Otis

The reissue of 1974’s audacious “Inspiration Information” a couple of years ago, on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop Records, suddenly brought Shuggie Otis to a new audience.

“Sweet Thang” – Shuggie Otis

The re-release is the most readily available recordings available and as well as new art work featured an additional nine tracks from the previous “Freedom Flight” album.

Given that there has been to date no further Shuggie Otis releases, he did continue to feature on his father’s recordings, the question that arises is how had this teenage modernist, an obvious precursor to Prince and Andre 3000, and one who had rejected the opportunity to join the Stones when Mick Taylor left, fallen out of view?

The answer is by choice as he chose simply to fade into obscurity, often in self-imposed seclusion like Brian Wilson, Peter Green and Syd Barratt for once it seemed it was better to fade away rather than burn out.

As of recently, Otis was heard in an exclusive radio interview claiming his extremely long-awaited fourth album (as yet untitled) will be released sometime in the year 2011 on his own recording label. Also, all tracks were composed, arranged, & recorded by Otis himself.

I wouldn’t hold your breath.

To buy the music of Shuggie Otis click HERE

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Blues, Old Music, R&B, Soul, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

P.P. Arnold

P. P. Arnold (born Patricia Ann Cole, 3 October 1946, Los Angeles, California), is an American-born soul singer who enjoyed considerable success in the United Kingdom in the 1960s and beyond.

After several years touring the United States with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, she came to England in 1966 when the Revue toured there in support of The Rolling Stones. Impressed by her powerful and soulful voice, Mick Jagger convinced Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham to sign Arnold to a recording contract with his newly founded Immediate Records record label. Arnold quit the Turner band to remain in London and establish a solo career.

She enjoyed several major British hits on Immediate, including songs written for her by Paul Korda, who wrote “The Time Has Come.”

She recorded songs written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane from labelmates The Small Faces, who also backed her on several recordings including this track written by Marriot/Lane.

Arnold also provided backing vocals on the group’s hit “Tin Soldier” as well as touring with them during 1968.

Her first backing band, The Blue Jays, had been inherited from American soul singer Ronnie Jones. This was followed by The Nice, led by Keith Emerson on organ who had just quit from The VIP’s – later to be known as Spooky Tooth – on organ and piano, David O’List on guitar, Lee Jackson on bass and Ian Hague on drums. During this period Pat toured alongside Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, Blind Faith, David Bowie and others, and she scored several hits including a cover version of “The First Cut Is the Deepest” and “Angel of the Morning“.

After the collapse of Immediate in the late 1960s, Arnold signed a production contract with the Robert Stigwood Organisation and released two singles on the Polydor label, produced by Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees, but a planned album with Gibb was never completed, though she had prevously recorded this my favourite Bee Gees song.

In 1970 she moved to the musical stage, appearing alongside P.J. Proby in the rock musical Catch My Soul. She then formed a new backing band that included the future members of Ashton, Gardner & Dyke, plus Steve Howe, who would soon join Yes. During this period she contributed session musician backing vocals to many notable UK sessions (including the Nick Drake song “Poor Boy”) and she toured with Eric Clapton, who also produced a number of unreleased sessions with her.

During these sessions she met the American bassist Fuzzy Samuels of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and they subsequently married and had a son. In 1974 she sang on the Freddie King album Burglar and feeling out of place in the rapidly changing British music scene of the mid 1970s, Arnold and Samuels returned to her hometown of Los Angeles.

While living there, Arnold’s marriage to Samuels ended and just two weeks after the split, her daughter Debbie was killed in a car accident. After her daughter’s death Arnold withdrew from public life for some time, not re-emerging until 1978. At this time she was reunited with Barry Gibb, who wanted to complete the never-finished solo album for her. Again this did not materialise, but Arnold was eventually teamed up with Barry’s youngest brother Andy Gibb for a duet recording of the Carole King song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”. Arnold subsequently formed a new band, Inner Circle, but this was not successful.

In 1981 she moved to Hollywood, where she won minor roles in popular TV series including St. Elsewhere and Knots Landing. She returned to England in 1982, wishing to raise her younger son there. She soon began working with leading British reggae band Steel Pulse and returned to the charts in both the UK and Australia thanks to her unmistakable vocal contributions on the hit 1983 cover version of the Staple Singers “Respect Yourself”, recorded with British electro-pop group Kane Gang, which reached #21 in Britian and #19 in Australia.

Without a record contract and unable to play live, Arnold survived by doing sessions for advertising jingles. This eventually led to a successful collaboration with The Beatmasters on the retro-styled hip house/disco hit “Burn It Up”, which reached #14 in Britain in October ’88 and became her third hit to spend 10 weeks or more on the UK singles chart.

Little over a year later she worked with The KLF on the tracks “3 a.m. Eternal” and “Last Train to Trancentral” and Altern-8 on “Evapor 8” (credited as Altern-8, guest vocal P.P. Arnold).

She appeared on Roger Waters‘ album, Amused to Death, in 1992, providing vocals on the song “Perfect Sense”.

Growing dissatisfied with her session singer role, she returned to the musical stage with work in a theatre workshop project.

In 1994 she joined the cast of the award-winning musical Once On This Island as Erzulie, beautiful Goddess of Love. While the production was playing in Birmingham she met leading UK band Ocean Colour Scene, one of the new wave of latter-day mod groups who (like their mentor Paul Weller), idolised The Small Faces.

Her friendship with OCS led to her singing the lead vocal, backed by Primal Scream, on a cover of The Small Faces’ “Understanding”, which was included on a successful Small Faces tribute album. She also worked extensively with Ocean Colour Scene on their 1997 album Marchin’ Already. This was followed by numerous TV appearances including Later with Jools Holland and touring with Ocean Colour Scene in 1997-98.

This success led to plans for her to record her first solo album in decades, but once again it was not completed. Deciding to put together a new band to promote her material, Arnold joined forces with Chaz Jankel, former pianist with Ian Dury and The Blockheads. This was followed by an invitation to tour widely with Roger Waters. She was a backup vocalist on his 1999–2000 tour In the Flesh, (also on the CD and DVD of the same name) as well as the 2006–2008 tour, Dark Side of the Moon Live.

In mid 2007 she released her first recorded work for several years, Five In The Afternoon. The album is a duet with the Blow Monkeys frontman Dr. Robert and has been met with critical acclaim, as have their live performances at several venues.

To buy the music of P.P. Arnold click HERE

February 3, 2011 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Cover Stories, Mod, Old Music, R&B, Soul, Video | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gladys Horton


Gladys Horton, the co-founder of Motown’s The Marvelettes, has passed away at the age of 66. According to her son, Vaughn Thornton, she died on Wednesday in a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, California. She had been recovering from a stroke.

Born in Gainesville, Florida, Horton spent her formative years in Detroit. She formed the group – originally called the Casinyets (‘can’t sing yet’) – at Inskter High School when she was just 15. Having entered a talent show in 1961 they soon came to the attention of Motown head honcho Berry Gordy. Led by the powerful vocals of Horton and Wanda Young, their debut single and biggest hit Please Mr. Postman – Motown’s first US Number 1 – paved the way for a clutch of the label’s female vocal groups including Martha & The Vandellas and The Supremes.

Their music also proved fertile ground for many of Motown’s star producers, among them Holland-Dozier-Holland, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Ashford & Simpson.

They resurfaced in 1964 with Too Many Fish In The Sea,

They eventually split in the early ’70s after several years without a major hit (Horton left the band in 1967). Berry Gordy released the following statement: “I am so saddened to hear of the passing of another Motown great, one of our first, Gladys Horton, who with the Marvelettes, recorded our first #1 hit, Please Mr. Postman, and many others. Gladys was a very, very special lady, and I loved the way she sang with her raspy, soulful voice.”

Original Source :-

February 1, 2011 Posted by | New News, R&B, Soul, Video | , | Leave a comment

2010 Top 30 New and Old #12

John Legend & the Roots - Wake Up!


“I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” – John Legend and The Roots

I wish  I knew how it would feel to be free
I wish I could break all the chains holding me
I wish I could say all the things that  I should say
say 'em loud, say 'em clear
for the whole round world to hear.

I wish I could share all the love that's in my heart
remove all the bars that keep us apart
I wish you could know what it means to be me
Then you'd see and agree
that every man should be free.

I wish I could give all I'm longing to give
I wish I could live like I'm longing to live
I wish that I could do all the things that  I can do
though I'm way overdue I'd be starting anew.

Well I wish  I could be like a bird in the sky
how sweet it would be if I found  I could fly
Oh I'd soar to the sun and look down at the sea
and I'd sing cos I'd know that
and I'd sing cos I'd know that
and I'd sing cos I'd know that
I'd know how it feels to be free
I'd know how it feels to be free
I'd know how it feels to be free

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” is a song written by Billy Taylor & Dick Dallas. Originally recorded by Nina Simone in 1967 on her Silk & Soul album.

Billy Taylor’s own instrumental version, recorded the same year, is used as the theme music for The Film programme on BBC television.

To buy the music of John Legend and The Roots click HERE

To view similar previous post click HERE

Second entry to feature Elkie, this time in her own right as a solo performer with a Dylan cover version the second in a row in this series!

“The Groom’s Still Waiting At The Alter” – Elkie Brooks

To buy the music of Elkie Brooks click HERE

To view another post on Elkie Brooks click HERE

December 19, 2010 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Cover Stories, New Music, Old Music, R&B, Soul | , , , | 4 Comments

%d bloggers like this: