Archive for the ‘1970s’ Category

Tower of Power, Tina & The Pointers

August 19, 2011

Originally posted October 2, 2008

Well, today’s excursion to YouTube started off very nicely: Here’s a clip of Tower of Power doing a tight version of “This Time It’s Real” from what looks like a club date. Another, briefer clip of the same performance is dated 1985, and that seems about right from the look of things.

But a deeper look unearthed a performance of the same song – “This Time It’s Real” – from a 1973 performance on Soul Train with vocalist Lenny Williams (new to the group on the 1973 album Tower of Power). So we’ll go with that.

Video deleted.

And since that was so good, here’s another performance from that same Soul Train gig of another great song from the Tower of Power album, “So Very Hard To Go.”

Here’s an undated live performance of “Nutbush City Limits” by Tina Turner with a full band. The clothes and the synth solo seem to put this in the 1970s. (Anyone out there have any information?)

Video deleted.

And then, here’s a clip from 1974 of “Yes We Can Can” by the Pointer Sisters, a superb performance featuring the late drummer Gaylord Birch.

I guess a couple folks were concerned this week and asked the Texas Gal if I was okay after I posted only briefly on Monday and not at all Tuesday. I was a bit under the weather, but I’m fine now. Thanks for asking.

The Ronettes, Muddy Waters & Aretha

July 18, 2011

Originally posted June 26, 2008

Did some YouTubing and found a not-so-great video of the Ronettes’ “You Baby,” but I did find a pretty good video from 1965 of the gals on Shindig, peforming what I think is their best song of all (and one of the great singles in rock & roll history), “Be My Baby.”

This intrigues me because the backing obviously isn’t the same as on the record; does that mean it was the Shindogs playing and Ronnie Bennett was singing live? Then why don’t the other two girls have microphones? Anyone know how this all went down?

I dipped into the Muddy Waters stuff and found this performance of “Baby, Please Don’t Go.” It was evidently televised, based on the bug in the upper right corner of the screen, and from the clothing and Waters’ appearance, I’d guess it was sometime in the Seventies. It’s a pretty good look at Waters.

Video deleted

And here’s Aretha Franklin doing “Baby, I Love You” in a clip that appears to have come from a television show about 1967, when the song was on the charts.

Video deleted

CCR, Neil Diamond & Bobby Sherman

June 15, 2011

Originally posted March 6, 2008

There’s an absurdity of riches on YouTube connected to yesterday’s post. Some Thursday mornings, I have to scramble to find something to post here, but today, I had to decide what not to present.

So I’m presenting three videos today, and even with that, it was hard to choose. But it’s a nice problem to have; leaving some behind means I have some backup, a surplus of material if I come to a Thursday when absolutely nothing is available that ties into recent posts.

First, from sometime in the early 1970s – the group disbanded in October 1972, according to the Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits – here’s a concert performance of “Travelin’ Band” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. The start is a bit abrupt, but that minor flaw is redeemed by the great performance and by the great shots of the audience chooglin’ to the music.

I looked for a video of the Hollies doing “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” but I found something that might be better. It’s Neil Diamond, who wrote the song, performing at a small venue.* Based on the haircut, it’s sometime around 1970, when the Hollies’ version went to No. 7 early in the year and Diamond’s version – from his album Tap Root Manuscript – went to No. 20 in the autumn. Neil gets a little melodramatic here, but it’s a pretty good performance.

And last, well, once I found a video of Bobby Sherman performing “Easy Come, Easy Go,” how could I resist? The video was obviously taken from one of the retrospectives on VH1, and there might be a clue somewhere as to its original source. But I’m not worried about it, as it’s too much fun! The classically horrible shirt, the hair, the ladies behind him who come to life only during the instrumental – this isn’t just cheese, it’s Gorgonzola! (A question for the women who were teens back then: Did anyone really think this guy was good-looking? Because I don’t see it. Enlighten me, please.)

*As readers quickly pointed out when this entry was first posted, “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” was written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell, giving me another lesson in checking the fine print on LP jackets. Note added June 15, 2011.

‘The Lights Shine Down The Valley . . .’

May 17, 2011

Originally posted October 16, 2007

I still wonder who Mary was.

Oh, not the young lady I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the girl with whom I had a college romance during a long-ago spring. The Mary I wonder about is the one whose arms Ian Sutherland longed for, the girl who inspired “Arms of Mary.”

I don’t know if “Arms of Mary” qualifies as an obscure song or not. I tend to think it does, at least here in the U.S. In Britain, the version recorded by the Sutherland Brothers & Quiver got as high as No. 6 on the UK’s Top 40 chart during the late spring of 1976. In 1978, on this side of the Atlantic, the Canadian group Chilliwack recorded the song and released it as a single on the Mushroom label; it got to No. 92 on the Cash Box chart and then fell off.

There are a few other versions of the song floating around. A country-ish version was included on Born Yesterday, a 1986 release from the Everly Brothers. The British pop band Smokie recorded a version of the song that was released in a recent box set. As I’ve been unable to track down much information about that recording, my sense is that it’s a 1970s-era recording that remained unreleased until the box set.

Keith Urban recorded a version that was released as a single in 1991, but it didn’t make the charts. That same version is included on the Keith Urban [1991] album that was released in 1997.

Three other versions of the song popped up during the 1990s: Guitarist Leo Kottke included a sweet instrumental on his Peculiaroso album in 1994; Boizone, the Irish boy band that launched Ronan Keating’s career, included the tune on its Said and Done album in 1995. And Dutch singer Piet Veerman covered the song in 1992 on his album In Between.

Since the turn of the century, All-Music Guide has four versions listed, by Kevin Kennedy, Dominic Kirwan, Jim Neyerlin and the group Oizone. I’ve heard none of those, and in fact, until I checked AMG this morning, had heard of none of the performers.

The most intriguing version of the song I’ve come across is the one that I found credited to a singer named Pete Gardner. It’s a folky recording by a fellow with an appealingly gruff voice. It sounds to me like something from the 1970s.

Now, given the rampant inaccuracies that populate the ’Net, that could be entirely wrong. I’m thinking that it is. There was a Pete Gardner who played drums in the second lineup of the British band Fools Dance in the 1980s. There’s a Pete Gardner who has done some acting, according to a Google search. But neither of those seems to have any connection with the folky style of the recording I found.

AMG has a listing for a Pete Gardner, but he’s a photographer. I think I’ve run through all of the various sites I use when tracking down obscure musicians, and none have a Pete Gardner listed. There’s a page for Pete Gardner at AOL Music, but it’s utterly blank, so that means nothing.

If today’s Tuesday Cover truly was recorded by someone named Pete Gardner, then it’s one of the most obscure records ever, as a combined Google search for the terms “Arms of Mary” and “Pete Gardner” results in that extreme rarity: A Google shutout. No documents among the millions – billions? – cataloged by the search engine’s webcrawlers have that combination of terms.

So if it’s not Pete Gardner, who is it? I have no clue, although I admit that after a nearly sleepless night, I may be missing something obvious this morning. So, in the hopes that one of the people who wander by this blog might know, I’m going to post the recording.

If you know who this singer is, leave a comment, please.

Pete Gardner? – “Arms of Mary” [1970s?]