Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

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

New Music – Saint Jude

A week after seeing the great Maggie Bell in concert into my inbox pops information on a great new group with the soul of Stone The Crows… Saint Jude true serendipity!

Not to be mixed up with the US Hardcore Metal band of the same name this group have only relatively recently been signed to a record label and have now released their album, produced by Chris Kimsey, “Diary Of A Soul Fiend”

Kimsey who as a record producer, mixer and musician is most famous for having co-produced The Rolling Stones’ Undercover and Steel Wheels albums and being the engineer on their 1971 album Sticky Fingers as well as 1978’s Some Girls and 1980’s Emotional Rescue.

 Therefore as well as working with Peter Frampton (Frampton Comes Alive), Marillion, The Cult, Peter Tosh, The Psychedelic Furs, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, INXS and many more he is to be taken seriously when he compares saint Jude to be akin to “The Faces fronted by Janis Joplin”

Photo :- Noel Buckley

The “Janis” in question is Lynne Jackaman who draws her inspiration from her love of Aretha Franklin

Saint Jude were formed back in 2005 when she met up with Adam Greene who was a CBGB scene follower guitarist, thus that background together with Jackaman’s soul influences of Franklin and the great Etta James produced the DNA for the band.

Now a fully grown five piece band having added Joe Glossop (Keyboards), Colin Kellogg (Bass) and Lee Cook (Drums) they have like all great bands fine tuned their material on the road for the last few years supporting along the way the likes of The Waterboys at The Albert Hall where the attracted the attention of Jimmy Page who has talked about undertaking some future production work for them.

Another admirer, unsurprisingly, is Ronnie Wood who has in fact jammed on stage with them as you can see from the audience filmed clip below on The Faces classic “(I Know) I’m Losing You”

Picture:- Noel Buckley


Saint Jude are currently on tour in Europe but hopefully will be coming to a venue near you in 2011, in the meantime enjoy this taster from their album.

“Pleased To Meet You” – Saint Jude

Picture:- Noel Buckley


To buy the music of Saint Jude click HERE

November 14, 2010 Posted by | New Music, New Releases, R&B, Video | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eric Clapton


Finally started reading the above book which I received as a Christmas present back in 2007.

I had avoided it as whilst I admire his skill as a guitarist I had always found him a bit soul less or somehow devoid of spirit.

His writing reflects this view though it is now somehow more understanding given his upbringing as a child.

As ever the book throws up points which are new to me or forgotten, here is one of the former.

Clapton  was always held an admiration for atlantic Records and an early highlight of his career was being asked to attend a recording session with Aretha Franklin which delivered this track taken from her 1968 album “Lady Soul”

“Good To Me As I Am To You” – Aretha Franklin

More from the book coming soon.

To buy the music of Aretha Franklin click HERE

To buy Eric Clapton The Autobiography click HERE

Mail on Sunday

“Clapton relates what happened with painful honesty. In other rock stars, such plump contentment might seem hypocritical, even vulgar. But with Eric Clapton, you feel that a little comfort is the least he deserves”


“This is an essential read”

April 10, 2010 Posted by | Books, Old Music | , | Leave a comment

Sunday Sounds – Amazing Grace

Aretha Franklin


Sydney Pollack‘s 1972 film of Aretha Franklin recording her hit gospel LP, Amazing Grace, may finally see the light of day.

After 38 years stuck in the Warner Bros vault, producer Alan Elliott has reassembled the footage and intends on releasing the film later this year, reports Variety. Pollack died in 2008 at the age of 73.

Amazing Grace was recorded live in Los Angeles in January 1972. The resulting recording became the best-selling album of Franklin’s career.

Check out the trailer for Pollack’s film below!


Here is Judy Collins classic version of “Amazing Grace” from her 1970 album “Whales And Nightingales”

“Amazing Grace” – Judy Collins

Finally remember this surprise number one from 1972

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Movies, New News, Old Music, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Drown In My Own Tears

“Drown In My Own Tears” is an all time favourite song of mine and I am sure like many my introduction to it came via Ray Charles.

“Drown In My Own Tears” – Ray Charles

It brings a tear,
Into my eyes,
When I begin,
To realize,
I’ve cried so much,
Since you’ve been gone,
I guess I’m drowning in my own tears,

I sit and cry,
Just like a child
My pouring tears
Are runnin’ wild
If you don’t think
You’ll be home soon
I guess I’ll drown in my own tears

I know it’s true
Into each life
Some rain, rain must pour
I’m so blue
Here without you
It keeps raining
More and more

Why don’t you
Come on home
Oh yes so I won’t
Be all alone
If you don’t think
You’ll be home soon

I guess I’ll
(drown in my own tears)
Ooh, don’t let me
(drown in my own tears)
When I’m in trouble, baby
(drown in my own tears)
Oh, yeah, baby don’t let me
(drown in my own tears)
I guess I’ll drown in my own tears
Oh, mmmmm.

The song, written by Henry Glover was one of Charles’ most important singles during his Atlantic period, where he dominated the R&B singles charts. The song was also one of the first to include background vocals by other singers.

The song would later influence Charles to recruit a singing group he later called the Raelettes. It was also his third number-one single on the Billboard R&B singles chart.

The song was first recorded in 1951 by Lula Reed, on the King label (KING 4527) as part of a split-single 78rpm album. Blues pianist Sonny Thompson was featured on the A-side with the instrumental track, “Clang, Clang, Clang”. “Drown in My Own Tears” was a #5 Billboard R&B hit for Lula Reed.

Here is the Humble Pie cover version

“Drown In My Own Tears” – Humble Pie

It is hardly surprising that the song has been covered by the Queen of Soul

“Drown In My Own Tears” – Aretha Franklin

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Old Music, R&B, Uncategorized, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunday Jazz – Aretha Franklin


No your eyes didn’t deceive you…….yes Aretha Franklin is featured today in Sunday Jazz.

Partly to make up for me bending the genres yesterday to include Louis Jordan in Saturday Soul as the song “Old Age” was appropriate for my birthday I hereby re-address the balance by adding a touch of soul into Sunday Jazz.

Aretha was and remains the Queen of Soul, however, in 1964 she recorded an album called “Unforgettable A Tribute to Dinah Washington” and like Dinah Washington hereself it was a varied collection including a cover of Hank Williams “Cold Cold Heart”  stretching the boundaries of R&B, Blues and Jazz and remains a must have album, though often neglected within Aretha’s vast bounty of recordings.

As Aretha said on the original sleeve notes “I hope this album will give people some idea of the way I felt and will always feel about Dinah”


Here is the title track

“Unforgettable” – Aretha Franklin

To buy the music of Aretha Franklin click HERE


To buy the music of Dinah Washington click HERE

July 5, 2009 Posted by | Blues, Jazz Vocal, Old Music, R&B, Soul, Video | , | Leave a comment

Fiona Friday – Dark End Of The Street

Dan Penn

Dan Penn

It is difficult to describe just how much an influence Dan Penn had on R&B music some of the songs he wrote with Spooner Oldham were from the top drawer.

I have many versions of “Dark End Of The Street” this written with Chips Moman and have probably posted some of them before, probably most recently the Cat Power version, however here is a version featuring Dan from his 1994 album “Do Right Man”


“Dark End Of The Street” – Dan Penn

At the dark end of the street
that is where we always meet
hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
living in darkness, to hide alone

You and me, at the dark end of the street
You and me

I know a time has gonna take it’s toll
we have to pay for the love we stole
It’s a sin and we know it’s wrong
Oh, our love keeps going on strong

Steal away to the dark end of the street
You and me

They gonna find us, they gonna find us
They gonna find us love someday

You and me, at the dark end of the street
You and me

When the daylight all goes around
And by chance we’re both down the town
Please meet, just walk, walk on by
Oh, darling, please don’t you cry

You and me, at the dark end of the street
You and me


April 24, 2009 Posted by | Fiona, Mrs D, Old Music, Soul, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

Tapestry – Carole King


Carole King was first a songwriter and then a musician and with Gerry Goffin, for awhile her husband, forged a writing partnership which stamped it’s influence all over the music world.

As a recording artist she is best known for her 1971 album “Tapestry” the album featured several of their songs already made famous by other artists particularily (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman which Aretha Franklin has aleady claimed as one of her signature tunes.

The album has recently been re-released with an additional CD of solo live performances of the album, here is a review taken from Amazon.

“This nth reissue of Carole King’s second solo LP titled “Tapestry” (originally released In May 1971 in the USA) includes solely the tracks featured on the original LP (there are no “bonus” tracks.)

Epic/Legacy (King’s former label) presents this release as a way to celebrate Carole King’s fifty year career as a recording artist (her first single, “The Right Girl”, was released in May 1958 by ABC.) However, this sounds like good, old, plain corporate hype designed to sell – again – an album that has already been re-released to death. My view is vindicated by the official Carole King website where the accent is put on another live 2-disc set titled “The Living-Room Tour” released on CD in 2005 and now available as a 2-DVD set.

It is nevertheless true that “Tapestry” – along with a few other seminal LP offerings by the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, the CSN&Y foursome, etc. (you name them!) – truly defined the singer-songwriter genre.
It is for its formidable musical achievements that this album sold upwards of 20 million copies worldwide while also winning Carole King four major Grammy awards. Nowadays, it remains everyy bit as fresh as it did in 1971. I recall being stunned by the quality of the work (compositions, singing, arrangements) when I bought my copy on the A&M/Ode UK label. The album was also a fairly big hit in the UK (topping at #24 in the UK LP charts.)

The “Tapestry” album boasts another “new” remastering by Vic Anesini and Jim Irwin. By the way, those two already remastered the 1999 Epic/Legacy re-release (which included two bonus tracks). In my opinion, you will need truly golden ears and a hi-fi to boot to hear any sonic improvement. The dedicated “audiophiles” will probably have opted for the 2006 SACD version, which was also remastered by – you guessed it – Anesini and Irwin. By the way, I reckon that this team has done wonders when reissuing dozens of albums of essential music from the past, either for Columbia/Epic or for Irwin’s own “Sundazed” label. Their sonic achievements are always of the highest order. Their only rivals, regarding reissues, are the guys from Rhino (who are working for Warner!) Anyway, there are only so much new remasterings that you can use.

To entice you to buy this 2-CD set, the second CD includes previously unreleased live, solo performances of the original studio “Tapestry” tracks. The producers have chosen to sequence the live tracks like the original studio album.

It is fair to consider the second album like some kind of “unplugged” CD. This material was recorded live 1973 and 1976 in various US venues. This type of release “from the vaults” has gathered some success of late (think of Neil Young’s “Massey hall 1971” or Stephen Stills’ “Just Roll Tape.”) And, of course, it is enjoyable to hear Carole King’s recorded in this context during her heyday.

Personally, I would have much more appreciated to see the new live tracks released separately from “Tapestry” on their own CD.

For the prospective buyer, there is also another fact to consider. In 1996, Epic/Legacy already released “The Carnegie Hall Concert” (from June 18, 1971.). This solo concert features James Taylor as “special guest” on… “You’ve got a Friend.”
Besides, this CD boasts a more generous track selection (19 songs, although three of them are performed as a 7’46” medley.) The latter album includes 10 interpretations of tunes from “Tapestry” (“Where You Lead” and “Tapestry” are the only two missing.) The inclusion of lesser-known (but very good) songs from “Writer” (King’s first solo album, 1970) and from “Now That Everything’s Been Said” (the 1969 LP she recorded as a member of the City) makes for a more interesting, varied aural experience. By now you must probably be convinced that Anesini and Irwin mastered this one too. Well, you are right!

However good the music on this 2-CD set, I cannot help to find that it will be mostly of interest to collectors. This explains the missing star in my rating”

Carole King is now in her late 60’s but going by her recent appearance on Jools Holland the voice is still there.

Here she is with James Taylor with the sublime “You’ve Got A Friend”

Now for Amy Winehouse and her take on “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”

……………….finally the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin


For more information on Carole King click HERE

To buy Carole King music click HERE

April 13, 2009 Posted by | Video | , , , , | 1 Comment


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