I have been a big Joss Stone fan since she was a barefoot 16-year-old phenomenon, singing the blues with the crème of the Louisiana blues players. Not bad for an out of place Brit. She has strayed a bit from those first recordings, but is still a force. Quite the voice.
You like the Motown sound? Bob Babbitt, bass player extraordinaire, was likely responsible for that. He passed away on July 16, leaving behind a huge legacy and body of work. He played bass for Motown’s studio band, The Funk Brothers from 1966 to 1972. This would make a lot of people very familiar with his work, without realizing it. He was the bass player on such hits as Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours“, Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” and Freda Payne‘s “Band of Gold”. He also played with such greats as Phil Collins and Jimi Hendrix. Very diverse portfolio. Here are a few tracks.
Signed Sealed Delivered
Uptight (with Phil Collins)
This is Part 2 of my list.
These songs are the ones that I will remember most from this year. It certainly appears that the world of music is beginning its move away from the pop artists that have been so prevalent and returning to the creation and production of some exceptional songs. About time I’d say. I attribute this to the web and the ability of many new artists to reach the public through such areas as Bandcamp, soundcloud, YouTube, Twitter etc. The advent of these devices has greatly expanded my musical horizons and will continue to do so.
I have chosen not to do a finite top ten list as I appreciated all of these songs and at certain times would have been my number 1. In addition, I have chosen songs new to me this year, meaning they could be from anytime, although the majority are 2012. I hope you enjoy.
The Echo Friendly – Same Mistakes
Haunting melody, interesting harmonies, good video. This one snuck up on me and really grew on me.
The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling
These guys are on a roll. Hope they keep it up. El Camino is a great album. Hope they don’t become the Gallagher’s redux.
Dave Matthews Band – Mercy
I suggest 2 things, in either order. Close your eyes and listen to the lyrics and let the sound wash through you, then open them and watch the video. Great song and message.
Mo Kenney – Sucker
This video is a duet with a favourite of mine, Joel Plaskett. He produced her album as well. Beautiful song.
Mumford & Sons – I Will Wait
I don’t think Phil Spector was thinking banjos when he went with the wall of sound, but it works. And live, incredible. Singing lead, playing guitar and hitting the drum pedal.
Shawn Colvin – All Fall Down
One of those songs where I have absolutely no idea why I like it. I hate the video, by the way. Exceptional in its corniness.
John Mayer – Queen of California
I am an unabashed John Mayer fan. His consistency is amazing. Great player as well.
Phillip Phillips – Home
When I first heard this song on Idol as the required song in the final, I knew there was no way he would lose. For the first time in American Idol history, the chosen first single for the winner was a perfect match. I also did something I had never done for an Idol artist, I bought the song.
- My Favourite Songs of 2012 (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
RIP Herb Reed. The last Platter passed away on June 4 at 83. Enjoy this one and remember one of the classics. One of the great voices of the time.
The previous question was:
Q: What was Motown‘s first million selling hit?
The answer is:
“Shop Around” by The Miracles. The song was recorded and released in 1960. This was before they were known as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The artist on this classic was credited as The Miracles (featuring Bill “Smokey” Robinson”.
We had no winner on this one, so Rebecca’s stupendous award has, once again, been forced to wait on it’s introduction to the world.
Today’s question will leave Motown and move on to Blackburn, Lancashire.
Q: In the song “A Day In The Life” by the Beatles, there is a line referring to a particular place. What is Blackburn, Lancashire and why does it have 4,000 holes in it?
The previous question was:
Q: What was Motown’s first hit?
The answer is
Money – Barrett Strong
Recorded in 1959, Money reached number 2 on the charts. Beatle fans will instantly recognize this song as they did a cover version in 1962 with Peter Best on drums.
Money – The Beatles
Interestingly, Berry Gordy, Motown’s driving force and owner, wrote this song, which helped turned Motown into the hit factory it was known for in the 1960′s and beyond.
No one guessed the answer, so I am unable to bestow my newly minted award on anyone. Thanks to Rebecca for designing the award.
Today’s question, and we will continue in Motown mode is:
Q: What was Motown’s first million selling hit?
I left you all with some homework. The question was very subjective and the answers showed it. Having said that, I did not see any that were anywhere near as disgusting as the one I have put up. It blows away the competition, making all the other contenders smell badly. Feast your eyes on Mr. Methane.
The question for today is:
Q: What was Motown’s first hit?
I am trying to create an official award logo for this series. I am having a blast finding these, then finding the videos to go with the answers. Having said that, I don’t want to wear out the fun so will be changing up a bit on the presentation. How?? I have no flipping idea. I’m sure I’ll have an epiphany at some point.
Anyway on to the answers and a new question.
The previous question was:
First the cover version. I kind of shudder when I hear this song as all I can think of is hair, lots of hair, and really goofy pants.
Tainted Love – Soft Cell
And now the winner. Rebecca2000 guessed correctly that it was Gloria Jones. She receives 17 bajillion points cause she is new to the blog and I kind of like her. I will be emailing you the prize catalogue from which you can choose to spend your points. You need only pay shipping and handling.
No one guessed that it was written by Ed Cobb so no bonus points awarded.
Gloria Jones – The Original
And now a new question for you to ponder. This question is very subjective, and there might be more than one right answer. Who is (or might be) the most disgusting act in music today. This one is for no points and no prizes, just curious to see if you find anything more ridiculous than the one I have chosen.
- Song of the day: Gloria Jones – Tainted Love (thefword.org.uk)
First things first. I completely forgot to congratulate Zapple100 for answering the previous question on who originally performed Respect. Congrats to the Zap for guessing correctly.
Second on the agenda, the last question..
George Harrison, everyone’s favourite Beatle recorded this song in 1987 and was one of his 3 number one songs in the USA. That would be a trivia question on its own. Wait, what’s that sound. You mean he’s not the favourite Beatle. Well, he is mine, no idea why, just seemed more down to earth than the others. At any rate, here’s his version.
Got My Mind Set On You
The answer is James Ray, the bonus answer Rudy Clark. The closest answer came from John The Aussie, sort of. He asked the question while speaking to 100 miners and someone out there said James Raymond. Close enough John, you take the title away from North America to the land of Oz, Australia. Please congratulate John for being the current and reigning Lord of Music Trivia.
James Ray Original
And the new brain teaser is..
Q: Who did the original version of Soft Cell’s classic “Tainted Love”. Yes. it is a cover. For bonus points, who wrote it.
- Music Trivia Question for the Day (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
She spent time in the 90′s and 2000′s with Parliament – Funkadelic. I think most will enjoy this one.
- Former Brainstorm Singer Belita Woods Dies At 63 (detroit.cbslocal.com)
Cleaning out my tags on Shazam and came across this one. Sly and The Family Stone is one great band with a super bass player.
If You Want Me To Stay
Trivia Question of the Day
Who was the first British musician to have a #1 single in the USA.
The last Question answered
Q. Who was the first African-American recording artist?
A: Willie “The Lion” Smith. He played piano on Mamie Smith’s “Crazy Blues” in 1920
Trivia at the end of the post.
On May 1, music lost a true giant, Charles Pitts. He was 65 and suffered from cancer. Charles was a renowned soul and blues guitarist. His major accomplishments included playing with Al Green and Cyndi Lauper on their Grammy nominated albums, a session player at Stax Records, and his time with Isaac Hayes. He played with Hayes for 30 years and created the wah-wah at the beginning of the “Theme from Shaft“. Other credits include backing Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett, Gene Chandler and the Isley Brothers (he created the riff in It’s Your Thing). An outstanding career. His legacy will stay with us forever.
Theme From Shaft
It’s Your Thing
Trivia Question of the Day
What was the first “rock” double album?
The last Question answered
Q. What was the first double album?
A: Benny Goodman‘s “Live At Carnegie Hall” in 1938.
The winner (although admitting it was googled) is A Gripping Life. She has a terrific blog with a mix of movies and music and miscellany.
Sing Sing Sing
- ‘Shaft’ guitarist Charles Pitts dies at 65 (thegrio.com)
- Charles “Skip” Pitts, Shaft Guitarist and Soul Mainstay, Dead at 65 (eonline.com)
I heard this on CBC2 this morning. The artist, Michael Kiwanuka is a UK singer with 1 disk under his belt, “Home Again”. It was released in March of 2012 and had great success in Europe, reaching #4 in the UK. In Canada and the USA, not so much, 35 in Canada and 120 to the south of us. This tune is off the album, also titled “Home Again”. I think I will need to hit iTunes up for this one. Very soulful. Liked it a lot.
- Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again – review (guardian.co.uk)
- Listen to Michael Kiwanuka, Debut Album ‘Home Again’ Out Now (earbits.com)
With this post, we now have covered 100 songs of the list I am working from. Only 400 more to go. This particular set is a really good one. A bit of hip-hop, mixed in with some exceptional classic tunes.
1. Bryan Adams
“Straight From the Heart”
A further entry from one of Canada’s premier singer-songwriters. The man has the knack for writing the big hits, and this is one of them. Great video, the man, a guitar and an adoring audience singing every word
K-os came out with this tune several years ago and it became an instant sing-a-long song that is very hard to get out of your head once you have heard it.
3.Neil Young & Crazy Horse
” Cortez the Killer”
After CSN&Y there was Crazy Horse. Nothing to say, except enjoy the master and his friends in this live version from 2003. The man can play that guitar.
Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Joni is one of the best anywhere. This song is on of my favorites in her catalog.
“Fly by Night”
Rush is another world-wide breakout Canadian artist. Fly By Night was one of the tunes that broke them.
- Canada’s Best Music – 5 Songs At A Time – Part 19 (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
April 12 saw the passing of sax player Andrew Love. He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 71. Andrew was an artist that we have all heard at one point in our life. He and trumpet player Wayne Jackson did session work at (anything that had horns in it was him) Records. They played on recordings by Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Sam and Dave among others. Wayne and Andrew formed The Memphis Horns and began freelancing for sessions. In this period they recorded with Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Al Green, U2 and Dusty Springfield. They also hooked up on tours by the Doobie Brothers, Jimmy Buffet and Robert Cray.
This video is part interview (with Ann Peebles).
This is a great live performance of Satisfaction by Otis Redding, with the Memphis Horns supplying the brass.
As a unit, The Memphis Horns released 9 albums, mostly in the 1970′s.. As one could expect, they specialized in a funk sound. The group received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Grammys. Here is a sample of their work.
- Andrew Love: Saxophonist with the Memphis Horns (independent.co.uk)
- Andrew Love, Saxophonist in Memphis Horns, Has Died | Video (current.com)
I first heard this song from Chris Kirby on CBC2. It was created for their compilation album in 2011 called Road Songs. A really great song with echoes of Steely Dan among others. Up till now, I have not been able to find in online to present here for all of you to enjoy. I did a search yesterday (I do this on a regular basis for this song) and it was recently uploaded. But first, a bit about the artist. Chris is from St John’s, Newfoundland. His sound can only be coined as R&B, but R&B with an east coast twist. He is an up and coming star with astonishing song writing skills. The band is Chris Kirby and the Marquees and they have 2 albums out with a new one on the way. The video below is actually 2 songs. The first is “Free Man” and is the song I was looking for. The second is an Amy Winehouse tribute, “Valerie”. Enjoy.
JD Greer is the subject of today’s post, @jdgreer is his how to find him on Twitter. JD is from California and plays and writes his music. He is an R&B/Pop style artist with a very good voice, well suited to what he does. He is working on an album, and has recorded several songs in the past. This song is a pretty good R&B number called Never Alone. I could not find material for purchase, so if JD reads this maybe drop a comment on where one can buy his music.
- Dan Coyle – Twitter Thursday (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
Today’s set has a wide spectrum of musical taste. We have some hip-hop, a diva or two, some classic rock and some pop. Lets start with some classic rock.
The Stampeders are a 70′s group from Calgary that had a string of hits during this period. This is a live version of the song. Ah, memories. The radio played the crap out of this song in Canada.
2. Andrew Cash
I always liked this song, to bad he’s a politician now.
3. Celine Dion
“The Power of Love”
Especially for El Guapo, cause he loves her sooooo much.
Kardinal Offishall is one of a growing number of influential artists in this genre. This song is performed with Akon.
5. Deborah Cox
“Nobody’s Supposed to be Here”
Some R&B style pop music from a pretty good singer. She hits some pretty good notes in this tune.
- Canada’s Best Music – 5 Songs At A Time – Part 16 (therealcanadianmusicblog.wordpress.com)
Nickolas Ashford passed away on August 22, 2011. He had been suffering from throat cancer. He was 71 years old. An integral part of Motown, Ashford and his wife Valerie Simpson ran the gamut. From writing to backing vocals to solo endeavours, and most famously, as a duo, they were major players in the Barry Gordy network. Their songs were recorded by such diverse talents as The Shirelles, Ray Charles and Marvin Gaye. The song list is phenomenal, “Let’s Get Stoned”, “I Don’t Need No Doctor“, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and their own big hit “Solid“.
It always amazes me how true talent somehow hides in the background, surfacing from time to time in short bursts into the spotlight. Once the exposure fades, they move comfortably and easily into the background to once again write and produce, always creating, always sharing their talents. Nickolas Ashford was one of those people. His body of work supports this fact.
The video is a live version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, performed by Ashford and Simpson. Rest in Peace.
- Nickolas Ashford of Motown duo Ashford and Simpson dies (cnn.com)
- Ain’t No Mountain’s High Enough songwriter Nickolas Ashford dies aged 70 (telegraph.co.uk)
- Songwriter Nickolas Ashford dies at age 70 (omg.yahoo.com)
Jerry Lieber, who, along with Mike Stoller virtually created the R&B pop standard, died on August 22, 2011. He was 78. Some may not know the name, but you would certainly know the songs. Stand By Me. Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock. Yakety Yak. On Broadway. Kansas City. There Goes My Baby. All in all, Lieber and Stoller wrote 24 songs that hit the US charts for “The Coasters” alone. Among his accomplishments are induction to the “Songwriters Hall of Fame” and the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” among many others. Many people, including Phil Spector apprenticed or collaborated with him.
Prior to Lieber and Stoller, R&B was primarily a straight forward in style. They surrounded it with a “big” sound and pop lyrics, allowing the sound to crossover into mainstream radio. This was evident in not only the Coasters and Ben E King, but also for white artists such as Elvis Presley. They were instrumental in moving R&B out of the black clubs into the traditional pop music mould.
A chapter in rock and roll history is now closed. His contributions were large and still impact today’s music. A true giant of the industry.
The video is “Stand By Me”, by Ben E King.
- Jerry Leiber of Songwriting Duo Leiber and Stoller Dead at 78 (spinner.com)
- Rock writing legend Jerry Leiber dead at 78 (thestar.com)
- ‘Hound Dog’ songwriter Jerry Lieber dies aged 78 (telegraph.co.uk)
Some rare footage of Billy Preston, a great keyboardist in his own right (Get Back – The Beatles), performing Agent Double O Soul with Ray Charles. Awesome. You have to be amazed by Ray’s feel for what Billy is doing, although I am thinking that the green suit may have been a bit much for him. Enjoy.
Joss Stone has released a new album called LP1. Just purchased it and wanted to share. After dabbling out of her zone with “Introducing Joss Stone” (her preceding album, which I enjoyed as well), she has moved back into her wheelhouse with a bit more bluesy, rocking style. The songs are growing on me and I am really starting to enjoy. The clip I have attached is “Karma” and was done live on Leno. Note the guitar player, Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame. He collaborated with Joss Stone on this album. He is, or has, created a new entity called SuperHeavy with himself, Mick Jagger and Joss Stone, but that will be another story.
A life led tragically. Amy Winehouse joins an elite group of musical superstars who have passed away at 27. This magical list includes, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and Janis Joplin. All coincidences aside, Amy was a potential icon. When we first discovered her she had just released her second album “Back to Black”. We were stunned and immediately went and got “Frank“, her first disc. Incredible. We did some research and discovered she was being backed up by some great players we already knew, The Dap Kings of Sharon Jones fame, which explained the great sound behind her on several songs. Instant love it was. Fabulous potential in this one. But, as happens so often, the lifestyle caught up with her, and some cannot handle it. It took her away from us several years ago and has now taken her permanently. Say what you want, but I will sorely miss her voice and talent, the rest, not so much.
The first is to a blog I follow, the second is to Th Daily Mail which gives some insight on how she died and the third is a link to her last concert where she was booed offstage. The video is one of my favourites by her “In My Bed”