Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

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

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

Rod Stewart

rod-stewart

Your view on Rod Stewart may well be defined by your age or at worst your musical taste.

Fortunately for me I can easily dismiss the majority of his work post 1975 and enjoy some of the greatest R&B drenched rock produced by a white British male singer.

The Faces “A Nod Is As Good As A Wink….To A Blind Horse” is a classic album from 1971, though ironically my favourite track is the brilliant “Debris” which was of course written and sung by the greatness that was Ronnie Lane.

“Debris” – The Faces

two, three, four

I left you on the debris
at the Sunday morning market
you were sorting through the odds and ends
you was looking for a bargin

I heard your footsteps at the front door
and that old familiar love song
’cause you knew you’d find me waiting there
at the top of the stairs

I wouldn’t of went back
just to see how far it was
and you looked shocked to tell me
but I had to love her myself

there’s more trouble at the depot
with the general workers union
and they said they’ll never change a thing
well, they won’t fight and their not working

oh you was my hero
hell you are my good friend
I’ve been there and back
and I know how far it is

but I left you on the Debris
now we both know you got no money
and I wonder what you would have done
without me hanging around

 

the faces

By this time Rod embarked on his solo career with “An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down” (1969) and “Gasoline Alley” (1970), and over the next five years produced a string of classic albums:-

May 1971 “Every Picture Tells A Story”

July 1972 “Never A Dull Moment”

October 1974 “Smiler”

August 1975 “Atlantic Crossing”

This was the watershed for me, the title of the album said it all really and although this album retained some of the energy of the earlier releases it was much more polished and was the last we heard of the raw Rod The Mod.

He crossed the Atlantic and for me forever more became a caricature of all that was wrong with music at the time, from the hair do to the lycra the music had been taken over by the image emphasised by the string of blonde girls on his arm.

This was probably the turning point.

This week sees the release of “The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998”

The Rod Stewart Sessions 1971-1998

Fortunately thanks to iTunes I was able to cherry pick the tracks that I wanted and surprisingly, especially to me, a couple of the better tracks are in fact stripped down versions of songs from some of the latter albums which I have dismissed above which with some rough and ready versions of earlier album tracks and a couple of cover versions amounted to £8 well spent.

Here is a great version of a Isley Brothers 1966 hit

“I Guess I’ll Always Love You” – Rod Stewart

“You’re In My Heart” – Rod Stewart

I didn’t know what day it was
When you walked into the room
I said hello unnoticed
You said goodbye too soon

Breezing through the clientele
Spinning yarns that were so lyrical
I really must confess right here
The attraction was purely physical

I took all those habits of yours
That in the beginning were hard to accept
Your fashion sense, beardsly prints
I put down to experience

The big bosomed lady with the dutch accent
Who tried to change my point of view
Her ad lib lines were well rehearsed
But my heart cried out for you

Chorus:

You’re in my heart, you’re in my soul
You’ll be my breath should i grow old
You are my lover, you’re my best friend
You’re in my soul

My love for you is immeasurable
My respect for you immense
You’re ageless, timeless, lace and fineness
You’re beauty and elegance

You’re a rhapsody, a comedy
You’re a symphony and a play
You’re every love song ever written
But honey what do you see in me

(chorus)

You’re an essay in glamour
Please pardon the grammar
But you’re every schoolboy’s dream
You’re celtic, united, but baby i’ve decided
You’re the best team i’ve ever seen

And there have been many affairs
Many times i’ve thought to leave
But i bite my lip and turn around
’cause you’re the warmest thing i’ve ever found

(chorus)

Finally here is perhaps his best known song……..before it had a title!

“Maggie May” – Rod Stewart

 

 To buy the music of Rod Stewart (and The Faces) click HERE

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Blast from The Past, New News, Old Music, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Anne Nightingale

Anne Nightingale
Anne Nightingale

“Lazy Sunday” by The Small Faces  came on during a Shuffle play on the iPod and I was immediately transported back to the late 70’s when the song was used as the theme tune to Anne Nightingale’s Sunday afternoon Radio One show which was stable listening for me during enforced studying.

Anne at the time was a big fan of The Who and you could always expect a good mix of 70’s rock and new wave, next to listening to John Peel via a single earpice from a small transistor radio under the bed clothes this show was one of the few I listened to on a regular basis.

Anne is now “Annie” and is a big fan of house/dance music and has also written a good autobiography.

Annie (formerly known as Anne) Nightingale MBE is a British radio broadcaster. She was the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1 and since the death of John Peel in October 2004 has been its longest-serving presenter. Her career at the station is more than twenty years longer than that of her nearest competitor in the role, Pete Tong. This is testimony to her rare ability to move with the times and reinvent herself musically. She was known professionally as “Anne” until the early 1990s when she adopted the name “Annie”.

Nightingale was born in London in 1942.[2] After attending Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton, Middlesex and the Polytechic of Central London School of Journalism, she began her career as a journalist in Brighton. Nightingale’s Radio 1 career began in 1970 with a Sunday evening show. She then hosted the singles review show “What’s New” in the early 1970s before graduating to a late-night progressive rock shows then simulcast on the Radio 2 FM frequency. During the later part of the 1970s she presented a Sunday afternoon request show, and by 1980 was presenting a Friday night show and the non-music-based Radio 1 Mailbag. In 1978, Nightingale began presenting the The Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC2; during her tenure, the show moved away from its progressive rock bias and embraced more modern, and popular, styles such as punk rock and new wave.

In the late 1970s her best known show – the Sunday request show – began its run. It was originally broadcast on Sunday afternoons, before moving to a slot immediately after the Top 40 in 1982. The show was one of the first on British radio to regularly play music from CDs. A gimmick was to allow the intro of the first song in the show to play uninterrupted before saying “Hi” in the very last second before the vocals started.

In 1994 Nightingale began her reinvention by ending the request show and moving to a weekend overnight dance music show, initially called “The Chill Out Zone”. She can still be heard in the early hours of Saturday mornings on BBC Radio 1. On her current show she spins breaks, often featuring major breaks DJs such as Plump DJs, Freestylers, Noisia and Meat Katie. Annie also plays live regularly at clubs and festivals around the UK and Europe.

Annie has travelled all over the world to DJ and make musical documentaries including to Russia, Romania, Iraq, Chile, The Philippines and Cuba. However, while in Havana in 1996, she was attacked in a mugging causing multiple injuries and an air-lift back to a London hospital. Since that incident she has worn the distinctive shades which are now part of her image.

She was awarded her MBE in 2002 for services to radio broadcasting. In the same year she was award the Caner Of The Year Award by Muzik Magazine, the award representing an accolade for Annie’s intensive coverage of the scene. In 2004 she was the first female DJ from Radio 1 to be inducted into the Radio Academy Hall Of Fame.

Nightingale has published two autobiographical books: Chase The Fade (1981) ISBN 0713711671 and Wicked Speed (1999) ISBN 0283061979. She has also compiled two Albums Annie On One (1996, Heavenly Recordings) and her own installment of the Breaks DJ mix series Y4K (2007, Distinctive Records).

On 30 September 2007, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of BBC Radio 1 Annie co-hosted a special return of the Request Show with Annie Mac, featuring contributions from musicians such as Paul McCartney and Chemical Ed, excerpts from the original show and Annie’s recollections of regular contributors such as “Night Owl of Croydon”. The show featured many classic tracks which had been requested over the years and closed with one of Annie’s favourites, Cristina‘s version of “Is That All There Is?“.

“Lazy Sunday” – The Small Faces [MP3)

The great Ronnie Lane penned a track called “Annie” for the album Rough Mix which he made with Pete Townshend and whilst not about this Annie in particular it gives me a good excuse to post a Ronnie Lane track.

 “Annie” – Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane [MP3]

This is a 1977 album by Pete Townshend of the Who and the late Ronnie Lane of the Faces. It’s a rarity in that most of it, while unquestionably rock music, is also gentle. Of its eleven songs, eight or nine are extremely beautiful, the singing is tuneful and heartfelt, the playing (lots of stars sitting in) is great, even the lyrics will grab you. (“5✭♫” series introduction here; with an explanation of why the title may look broken.)

The Context · Pete Townshend doesn’t need any further introduction; obviously he’s one of the giants of twentieth-century music (and this would be a piece of evidence I’d use to support that claim). Ronnie Lane, though, was not seen one of the big Faces forces; his artful songwriting and appealing singing on this were a surprise to me when I first ran across it. Lane was diagnosed with MS during the making of this recording; he lived for another twenty years. ¶

The Package · It looked great in the LP format and doesn’t work on CD. Pete and Ronnie have faces like two comfy old shoes, which is truth in advertising because that’s how their voices sound too. The back of the LP was covered with pictures of a zillion little tiny cards, the kind that must have come in packages of cereal or smokes or gum or whatever. ¶

The Music · The arrangements are mostly acoustic, with a sprinkling of electric guitar here and there; the band is mixed well back, leaving lots of space for the voices. Those voices: middle-aged tarnished tenors, neither conventionally beautiful, but with so much heart, and Ronnie exhibits some surprising flexibility and verve. Of the eleven songs, five are by Townshend, two by Lane, two more by Lane-and-friends, one by Townshend and Lane, and then there’s the traditional Till the Rivers All Run Dry. ¶

They mix up the vocals, singing their own songs, harmonizing, and on Townshend’s luminous Heart To Hang Onto, trading off on verse and chorus.

The liner notes say “Ron and Pete play various Acoustic & Electric guitars, mandolins & bass guitars, banjos, ukeleles & very involved mind games.” The band includes Eric Clapton, Rabbit Bundrick, and Henry Spinetti, with guest spots from Charlie Watts, Mel Collins, Boz Burrell, Gallagher & Lyle, Ian Stewart, and John Entwistle.

As for modern day radio there is very little I listen to beyond the background sound of Talk Sport, however if I am around a radio in the afternoon I really enjoy The Tom Morton Show on Radio Scotland, Tom is also a bit of a blogger and you can link here to Tom Morton’s Beatcroft

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Old Music, Radio | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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