Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

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

2010 Top 30 New and Old #18

This year The Black Keys delivered their best album yet, “Brothers” is the sixth album by the US rock/blues duo outfit.

This their first single from the album has gained yet further coverage resulting from its inclusion as part of the soundtrack to EA Sports FIFA 11 game.

“Tighten Up” – The Black Keys

To buy the music of The Black Keys click HERE

To view a previous post on The Black Keys click HERE

The great Elkie Brooks started out this year as one of my Guilty Pleasures posts purely because to the masses she had become to be seen as a “scampi in a basket” cabaret singer.

To the more discerning music lover she was and remains one of the UK’s best woman R&B singers.

In the first of her two appearances in this year-end review here she is with Vinegar Joe which also included the late great Robert Palmer.

“Proud To Be (A Honky Woman)” – Vinegar Joe

To buy the music of Vinegar Joe click HERE

December 13, 2010 Posted by | Blast from The Past, Blues, Old Music, R&B, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

Guilty Pleasures – Elkie Brooks


To be honest it was touch and go as to whether I thought I had to declare Elkie Brooks as a Guilty Pleasure, however, I decided this post might be an educational one for many who regard her as member of the scampi in a basket set.

Without doubt she isn’t, however, her mainstream image remains from that period where she logged a few Top 30 singles such as “Fool If You Think This Is Over”, “Pearl’s A Singer” and of course her best from that period “Lilac Wine” (see HERE).

However there is more to her than meets the eye as she has one of our best R&B voices up there with Scotland’s own Maggie Bell.

Elkie was born in 1945 as Elaine Bookbinder to a Jewish father and Catholic mother in Broughton and raised in Prestwich.

A professional singer since she was fifteen her debut recording was a cover of Etta James’s “Something’s Got A Hold On Me”, which was released on Decca in 1964. She spent most of the 1960s on Britain’s cabaret scene, a period of her life that she did not particularly enjoy.

In the early 1960s she supported The Beatles in their Christmas show in London, then, as an established act, helped the Small Faces in their early career by introducing them at several venues. She went on to tour the United States with several bands including the Animals.

It was however with Vinegar Joe that she, and her co-singer one Robert Palmer who sadly passed away back in 2003,  made her name.

Their self titled debut album was released in 1972.

The same year saw this released as a single.

“Speed Queen Of Ventura” – Vinegar Joe

Next up, the same year, was the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Gypsies” album

which featured a great version of the Jimi Hendrix classic “Angel”.

Their last release arrived in 1973 with the album “Six Star General”

Here is some rare footage of them performing a track from the album titled “Proud To Be (A Honky Woman)”

Here is a bonus before we move on.

and yes Robert Palmer did sing as well

let’s leave the Vinegar Joe era with some blues.

After a time as backing singer with the American southern boogie band Wet Willie, she returned to England. Her first solo album on A&M records was Rich Man’s Woman (1975). Elkie was given a hard time due to the album’s cover, which was considered outrageous for the time.

It came before a run of sixteen UK hit albums in twenty-five years, starting with Two Days Away released in 1977 and produced by the legendary duo Leiber & Stoller, who had also worked with Elvis Presley and many others.

Brooks wrote some tracks with Leiber and Stoller. The hits “Pearl’s a Singer”, “Sunshine After the Rain” came from this album.

“Sunshine After The Rain” – Elkie Brooks

In 1981 her record company, noting declining sales, decided to release a compilation album made up of her hits to date plus some new material, the album was titled “Pearls” it peaked at #2 staying in the charts for 79 weeks.

At the time it became the biggest ever selling album by a female vocalist in the UK, selling over 1.2 million copies (10,000 copies per week on average). Pearls remains Brooks’ biggest selling album and is the only album by her that A&M continue to release on CD.

One of the new tracks was the Chris Rea song “Fool If You Think It’s Over”

Pearls II (1982), Minutes (1984) and Screen Gems the first album to be produced on CD in the UK (1984) were all UK chart successes.

In 1986 No More the Fool gave her biggest hit single to date while the parent album reached the top 5. Following chart success ensued with the albums The Very Best of (1986), Bookbinders Kid On Bookbinders Kid, she covered “What’s The Matter Baby” previously recorded by Timi Yuro (1988), Inspiration (1981), Round Midnight (1993), Nothin’ But the Blues (1994), Amazing (1996) and The Very Best of (1997). In 1980 Brooks performed at the Knebworth Festival with The Beach Boys, Santana and Mike Oldfield.

It was the “Electric Lady” album released in 2005 which brought her back on to my radar as it was a great return to her R&B roots.

It featured both self penned and cover versions including these Dylan and Doors  classics

I will leave you with what Elkie does best, singing the blues with a tribute to Muddy Waters written by Paul Rodgers.

“Muddy Water Blues” – Elkie Brooks

To buy the music of Elkie Brooks click HERE

To buy the music of Vinegar Joe click HERE

July 15, 2010 Posted by | Guilty Pleasures, Old Music, Video | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wednesday Words – Lilac Wine

Lilac Wine” is a song written by James Shelton (words and music) in 1950.

“When I think more than I want to think
I do things I never should do
I drink much more than I ought to drink
Because it brings me back you…”

It was introduced by Hope Foye in the short-lived theater musical revue, “Dance Me a Song.” It was covered by Eartha Kitt (1953), by Judy Henske on her first, self-named album (1963), by Nina Simone on her album Wild Is The Wind (1966), was a solo hit by Elkie Brooks and appeared on her album Pearls and later by Jeff Buckley on his album Grace (1994).

It was covered live by Sarah Slean in 1997, More recently, the song was covered by Katie Melua on her debut album Call Off the Search (2003). In 2008 it was sung (Jeff Buckley version) at least once as background music in the French film Tell No One and in 2010 appeared on the Jeff Beck album Emotion & Commotion with vocals by Imelda May.

The only artist to have major chart success with the song was Elkie Brooks in 1978 and the song remains closely associated with her, especially in the UK and Europe.

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Fiona, Mrs D, Old Music, Video | , , , | 1 Comment


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