Archive for the ‘Single’ Category

A Radio Tale

June 5, 2015

Originally posted June 12, 2009

It’s one of two things: Either I have the worst summer cold on record (okay, it would technically be a late spring cold), or something in our yard has developed a new and extremely allergenic pollen. Whichever it is I have been sneezing and sniffling for the last couple of days, and my head feels as if someone has stuffed wet rags inside it.

I don’t much care which of the two is the truth (or if in fact, the truth is a third option I’ve not considered). I just want it to stop. For one thing, it makes it hard to think. And if I can’t think, I can’t write, at least not without more of a struggle than usual. So I’m going to take the easy way out today. Yah Shure, caithiseach and I had a tri-cornered round of correspondence this week, sharing a few tunes and our thoughts on those tunes. Along the way, Yah Shure provided me with a single edit of one of my favorite 1970 records, an edit I’d likely not heard in thirty years.

That will show up here tomorrow as a Saturday Single.

He also tossed our way an interesting single from his years as a DJ at St. Cloud’s WJON, the radio station just down Lincoln Avenue from our place. That single’s tale begins, loosely, with memories from his time at WMMR, a student radio station at the University of Minnesota that had much the same purpose as did KVSC at St. Cloud State. I’ll let Yah Shure tell the tale from there.

My music director predecessor at the U’s WMMR was in town last weekend.  Of course, we had to dig out some of the Wimmer goodies from the late ’60s and beyond.  He mentioned a song I’d missed, which was the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest winner, “Ding-A-Dong” by Teach-In.  I downloaded it for a listen, and having discovered that the act was from the Netherlands, I countered with another Dutch tune he’d never heard.  And so begins the story:

“Late At Night” by Maywood had been a number one hit in the Netherlands in July of 1980 on EMI Records.  It took its dear, sweet time before finally washing ashore here, via the tiny L.A.-based Cream label.  To the best of my knowledge, Cream Records never had a hit, although the group Snail put out a decent album and single.  The label’s logo resembled a collision between a “got milk?” ad gone awry and the Sherwin-Williams logo.  Yes, it’s that awful.  Have a look.

Cream Records logo

Maywood consisted of two sisters from Harlingen: Alie and Edith de Vries (aka Alice May and Caren Wood) and their sound was right up ABBA Avenue.  The “Late At Night” single arrived at WJON on March 30, 1981, and the then-chief announcer promptly tossed it into the reject pile.

You-know-who regularly trolled the vinyl graveyard, and that “An EMI-Holland Recording” notation on the bottom of the Cream label warranted an immediate audition.  I thought the record was perfect for WJON, where all things ABBA and Boney M had worked wonders for several years.  But those days had been under a different PD/MD, who knew the market well.  I did manage to play “Late At Night” once on WJON as part of a special show, along with a handful of other new releases with a bit of a retro feel that were not headed for the regular playlist.  It turned out to be my swan song to St. Cloud, as I departed for Oklahoma City a few days later.

Needless to say, Cream Records couldn’t deliver the goods.  Even if WJON had added the record, it would have almost certainly been for naught.  As I’d learned during my days at Heilicher Brothers, the independent distributors rarely took chances on new, unproven labels.  They’d been stiffed too many times in the past when it came to getting credit for unsold returns from such fly-by-night outfits, so they wouldn’t even consider buying any product.  That, in turn, meant no stock in the stores, and no sales meant no airplay.  What a shame.  “Late At Night” was a great record and catchy as hell.  Most of Maywood’s EMI output is no longer in print.

And here’s the record: “Late At Night” by Maywood, Cream 8142 [1981]

The studio version of “Late At Night” is blocked in the U.S. by YouTube, but here’s Maywood performing the song on Dutch television:

(I’m not sure if I need to, but I’ll note for anyone who needs it that PD/MD is, I believe, radio shorthand for Program Director/Music Director.)

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‘I Think I Will Travel To Rio . . .’

June 28, 2013

Originally posted May 21, 2009

Well, I found something pretty interesting at YouTube this morning: Here’s a video that Mike Nesmith put together for his single “Rio” in 1977, when the song went to No. 1 in Australia. This was, as the YouTube poster points out in his comments, four years before MTV went on the air. It’s a witty video, as is the song.

And that’s so good – and I have such a long list of things to do today – that we’ll leave it right there. I think we’ll visit 1972 tomorrow.

A Note
Blogger tells me as I get ready to post this that Echoes In The Wind has 699 posts and this will be No. 700. There have actually been a few more than that, but some have disappeared over these two-plus years. Either way, the only thing to do is . . . celebrate!

“Celebrate” by Three Dog Night, ABC/Dunhill 4229 [1969]

Note: Because some of the first posts on this archives site were created by combining some of the very early posts on the original Blogger site, this is not the 700th post on this site. It’s not far off, though.

Thirty-Nine Years

June 20, 2012

Originally posted May 4, 2009

Allison Krause
Jeffrey Miller
Sandra Scheuer
William Schroeder

“Ohio” by Neil Young, at Toronto’s Massey Hall, January 19, 1971

Look To Tomorrow

June 20, 2012

Originally posted April 21, 2009

I’m a little subpar this morning, so there won’t be a post today, folks. I will be back tomorrow, when I think we’ll dip into the unplayed LP stacks and see what treasures (or dross) linger there. (In doing so, we’ll satisfy our curiosity and the request of the Kiddie Corner Kid for some music by the Willmar Boys’ Chorus.)

Until then, here’s another tune I like from a CD I recently featured. And no, the title is not prophetic, one hopes.

“Tomorrow Never Comes” by Big Head Todd & the Monsters from Sister Sweetly [1993]

About Heartsfield
I got a pleasant note the other day from Heartsfield, the country-rock band whose 1970s music I featured a while back. The band is still going strong and all of its early CDs are in print and available, as are newer albums and some other treasures. You can stop by the band’s website or go see the group’s MySpace page.

Listen To The Train Wreck

June 1, 2012

Originally posted April 14, 2009

There were some requests following Saturday’s post for more information about my database of LPs. It’s a topic I’ve thought about before, but I thought it would be of little interest to others. Since Saturday, though, I’ve given the matter some thought, and I will write about it. But not yet. There is – one assumes – the third annual Vinyl Music Day coming along this summer, and that would be a good time to dig into how my database came to be. (As well as being a grand excuse to pull unique records from the shelf to rip odd mp3s.)

So those who are interested in the history of the database and my methods (the name Rube Goldberg comes to mind; if that name is unfamiliar to you, Google it, and you’ll understand a bit more about my methodology), you’ll have to wait a few months.

But that does not mean that there are not tales to tell now. In fact, Saturday brought me face to face with another extraordinary cover version of a well-known song.

To be honest, it was the comments about my database that got things started. For nearly six years, a box of odd records has been waiting for its contents to be entered into the database. Oh, I tagged the records when I got them, so I knew when they had been purchased. The box of stuff came from a garage sale the Texas Gal and I found somewhere in St. Cloud in May 2003. The folks who were running the sale were about to shut things down, and a box of records was still sitting there.

The price was fifty cents a record or something like that, and the box had some nice stuff in it, some of it in pretty good shape: about half of it was rock and pop mostly from the Seventies and Eighties, but that was stuff I already had (and my copies at home were in just as good a shape or better). The other half of the box was, well, interesting. I mentioned the other week that I have a double album of performances by the Willmar Boys’ Chorus (Willmar being a city about sixty miles southwest of St. Cloud). I found it in this box. The same with Favorite Marches Featuring the Marches of John Philip Sousa by the Norwegian Military Band, and Russian Folk Musical Instruments Anthology (assuming I transliterated and translated correctly) on the Soviet-era Melodiya label.

So why did I buy the box of records if I already had the good half of what was in there, and the half I didn’t have was, well, different? A one-word answer: Commerce.

The folks running the garage sale were, as I said, about to close up, and they asked how much I’d pay for the whole box of records. I took one more quick look at the pop and rock stuff and said ten bucks. They were happy, and I took the box to the car. And the Texas Gal and I ended our Saturday excursion with a trip to the Electric Fetus downtown, where I got about $25 for the rock and pop albums in the box.

That was something I’d done many times during the years I lived in south Minneapolis: Buy a box of records at a garage sale and then make the rounds of the used record stores near my home. I’d generally take the remainder, the records I did not want, to the Salvation Army store about six blocks from my home. I had planned to do that with these St. Cloud garage sale records, but for some reason, I never did, and Saturday found me entering them into the database.

As I did, I had to play a few tracks here and there. I haven’t listened to anything by the Willmar Boys’ Chorus yet, but I have found some, well, interesting tracks. And that’s inspired me to start a new series here at Echoes In The Wind. Today’s mp3 will be the third in the series called Train Wreck Jukebox. (I’m granting ex-post-facto membership to both sides of the Swingers’ “Bay-Hay Bee Doll,” which I shared about a year ago and to Ray Conniff’s rendition of “Photograph,” which I shared two weeks ago.)

In 1968, Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians decided it was time to get with it and clue in the grandpas and grandmas and old fogey uncles who bought their music. The new Lombardo album was titled The New Songs! The New Sounds!

The liner notes by Lee Gillette read, in part:

“More and more of the younger generation are becoming familiar with the sound of the Guy Lombardo orchestra . . . they are attending his concerts across the nation . . . the college set was prominently represented recently during the Royal Canadians, twice-yearly appearances at the Tropicana in Las Vegas . . . and they not only listened, but joined together on the dance floor each evening during the newly-inaugurated dance sessions there.

“The same nostalgic sound of the band is there, but something new has been added. Bobby Christian, one of the nation’s finest percussionists, was flown to the recording session in Las Vegas from Chicago to perform on vibes, Latin-percussion, harpsichord, tambourine, cymbals, drums, to name a few. In Las Vegas, guitarist Bob Morgan was added to the rhythm section with electric guitar and Brazilian type guitars to up-date the over-all sounds of the Royal Canadians. Songs like “Harper Valley P.T.A.” and “Gentle on My Mind” have a new Lombardo rhythmic beat that is now-a-days. Harmonica virtuoso Tommy Morgan was brought in to enhance “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Oh, there’s so much to chew on in that! But I guess I’ll just point to the use of “now-a-days,” which in any usage sounds so very much like 1930, at best. And we’ll ignore the odd diction and punctuation and get to the heart of this post, which is this week’s entry into the Train Wreck Jukebox:

“Folsom Prison Blues” by Guy Lombardo and The Royal Canadians
From The New Songs! The New Sounds! (1968)

Reposts
Cate Brothers by the Cate Brothers, 1975
Original post here.

In One Eye and Out The Other by the Cate Brothers, 1977
Original post here.

Steve Winwood by Steve Winwood, 1977
Original post here.

This Time With The Vocals

February 1, 2012

Originally posted February 22, 2009

Oops!

In Friday’s post, I shared what I thought was my regular copy of the Platters’ “With This Ring.” It turns out I had mislabeled and misfiled what seems to be a karaoke version of the song: No vocals.

I have a few karaoke versions like that, and I keep them in another file. This one – through my carelessness – escaped and was mislabeled. I’m sorry.

Thanks to reader Magkfingrs for pointing out the problem. I’m uploading the correct song to that post, and to this brief Sunday post. (Sorry about the lower bitrate; I’m in the process of upgrading as many of the 128 kbps mp3s – ripped from CDs or vinyl long before I thought about blogging – as I can to 192 kbps, and I haven’t gotten to the Platters yet.)

“With This Ring” by the Platters [Musicor 1229, 1967]

Mary Hopkin, ‘Temma Harbour’ & Froth

December 21, 2011

Originally posted February 4, 2009

I’ve got a little bit of music by Mary Hopkin in my collection: One LP on the shelves and a rip of another album and some singles in the mp3 files. But I have to admit I don’t know either of the albums all that well. I found the LP, Postcard, in 2001, and I know I’ve listened to it, as it’s in the stacks and not in the bins of records waiting for a hearing. But it doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on me, beyond two facts: It’s on Apple and was produced by Paul McCartney.

The other album, Earth Song, Ocean Song, is – I think – something I was referred to by member of a board I frequent. Once I got it, I mentally set it aside, noting as I did that on the album, Hopkin covers one of my favorite songs, “Streets of London.” Since then – and that was a few months ago – I’ve not thought about it much.

So when Hopkin’s single, “Temma Harbour” popped up last week as I was sharing a few songs from 1970, all I really knew about her was her two hit singles. I wrote:

“Mary Hopkin – after being discovered by the Beatles and recorded for their Apple label – was prone to light, frothy and nostalgic singles: ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Those Were The Days’ were the hits. ‘Temma Harbour’ is not quite so frothy and has a tropical lilt to it that I like, so it’s not nearly as wearisome as the other stuff. (Temma Harbour is located on the north coast of the Australian island of Tasmania.)”

Later that day, I got a note from David, a fellow Minnesotan who’s been an occasional correspondent. He pointed out that “Temma Harbour” had reached the U.S. Top 40 (it was on the charts for two weeks, reaching No. 39 in the spring of 1970), and chronicled some of Hopkin’s further success in the British charts.

He also wrote, “[T]o be fair to her, when observing that her career was ‘prone to light, frothy and nostalgic singles’ you might want to note that she resisted that and her second Apple album, Earth Song, Ocean Song, was recorded more to her own preferences, and it’s a lovely compilation of songs by Cat Stevens, Ralph McTell (she’s one of the best at covering his songs, listen to her ‘Silver Birch and Weeping Willow,’ and ‘Kew Gardens’ as well as ‘Streets of London’) and the Apple house writers Gallagher & Lyle (her recording of ‘The Sparrow’ is amazing).  She recorded it with Dave Cousins, Ralph McTell, Danny Thompson, and similar name folkies under Tony Visconti’s production. Of course her approach didn’t yield hits.”

So I went and listened to Earth Song, Ocean Song. I still can’t say I know it well, but it is a much better album than I’d anticipated. “Streets of London” and “Silver Birch and Weeping Willow” are highlights, as are “The Wind” – the Cat Stevens tune – and the album’s closer “Ocean Song.”

Two songs that David mentioned aren’t on the Earth Song, Ocean Song album. I’m not sure how “Kew Gardens” was released, but it’s pretty good. So, too, is the Gallagher & Lyle tune – listed as simply “Sparrow” – that was the B-side of “Goodbye.” I did find a YouTube video using “Kew Gardens” and showing scenery from the actual Kew Gardens in London. And there’s a link to a rip of “Sparrow” below. (I’m making the assumption – perhaps a foolhardy thing to do – that the version of “Sparrow” I have is the same as the one from the Apple single.)

I also went back to my copy of Post Card this week and sampled a bit of it. It’s still pretty frothy, which only underlines David’s point: When Hopkin was allowed to do the things she did best, she was pretty good. (A sidelight to my putting Post Card on the turntable: The fourth track on the second side is “Those Were The Days,” which All-Music Guide says was included only on the British version of the LP. That would mean my copy is a U.K, edition, but based on a few quick looks at other copies of Post Card for sale online, I think that AMG got that one wrong; does anyone know?)

Anyway, here’s Earth Song, Ocean Song.

Tracks:
International
There’s Got To Be More
Silver Birch and Weeping Willow
How Come The Sun
Earth Song
Martha
Streets of London
The Wind
Water, Paper & Clay
Ocean Song

Mary Hopkin – Earth Song, Ocean Song [1971]

“Sparrow” by Mary Hopkin, Apple 1806 [1969]

See You Tomorrow

December 16, 2011

Originally posted January 27, 2009

I had planned to resurrect the “Tuesday Cover” for today, but that’s going to have to wait. I had a minor medical test done today, and along the way, the technician injected me with something that’s made me very woozy and wobbly.

Unhappily, I have no song with “woozy” in its title, and while “wobbly” brings up “Little Bear/Wobbly Cat Upton Stick Dance” by Eliza Carthy & The Kings of Calicutt, I think I’ll pass.

So we’ll give Bettye LaVette another chance to shine and see you tomorrow.

“Waiting For Tomorrow” by Bettye LaVette
From the Child Of The Seventies sessions, ca. 1973

A Day Unlike Any Other

November 30, 2011

Originally posted January 20, 2009

Just one song today. With that song comes a heartfelt hope that its title soon come true for us here in the United States and for everyone around this small world.

Now I’m going to go watch the world change.

“Hard Times Come Again No More” by Mavis Staples
From Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster (2004)

‘It Ain’t A Matter Of Pork ’N’ Beans . . .’

November 16, 2011

Originally posted January 9, 2009

I debated all morning, while I was running some errands, what I should post when I finally got home. And as I rummaged through the mp3s early this afternoon, I thought of a track that I’ve been meaning to post here for some time, one of my favorite album tracks of the early 1970s.

Just to tease things along a little, I’ll list the backing musicians first:

Guitar: Ron Wood and Sam Mitchell.
Piano: Ian Armitt.
Tenor sax: Alan Skidmore.
Bass: Rikki Brown.
Drums: Mickie Waller.

Chorus: Lesley Duncan, Madelene [should no doubt be “Madeline”] Bell, Doris Troy, Kay Garner, Liza Strike, Tony Burrows, Tony Hazzard and Roger Cook.

Producer: Rod Stewart.

There are some pretty interesting names there. The obvious ones are Wood and Stewart. Among the vocalists, the name of Doris Troy (“Just One Look,” No. 10, 1963) jumps out, as does that of Lesley Duncan, who did a lot of session work in England and released some singles in the 1960s and several well-regarded albums during the 1970s. Another name that pops out at me is that of Tony Burrows. Why? Here’s part of what All-Music Guide has to say about Burrows:

“By rights, Tony Burrows should be a one-man oldies package tour – though he never charted a record under his own name, he holds the unusual honor (you can look it up in the Guinness Book of World Records) of having four records in the British Top Ten at once, all under different names. The British session vocalist sang Edison Lighthouse’s ‘Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes),’ White Plains’ ‘My Baby Loves Lovin’,’ the Pipkins’ ridiculous ‘Gimme Dat Ding,’ and the Brotherhood of Man’s ‘United We Stand,’ all of which were big hits in both the U.S. and U.K. in 1970.”

But Burrows – as fascinating as his story is – remains a backing singer here. Whose record was this?

Well, I wondered that, too, the first time I heard the track I’m sharing today. That likely happened in early 1972 in the tiny room we used as a lounge at KVSC, St. Cloud State’s student-run station. And I know I heard the track – which was released in 1971 – on several other stations. It was fairly popular on a good number of FM stations in the months after its release. It was, to be sure, an odd track, even by the standards of a relatively free-form station: It starts with a soliloquy backed by a piano tracing a slightly bluesy, slightly jazzy figure, and it takes a little more than three minutes before the speaker gets to the end of his tale and the music kicks in.

But thirty-seven years after I first heard it, I still get an adrenaline rush as Long John Baldry finishes his tale and Ian Armitt’s piano leads the band into three-and-a-half minutes of kick-ass British blues-rock.

“Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie-Woogie On The King Of Rock & Roll”

Long John Baldry (From It Ain’t Easy, 1971)

(Baldry’s tale and the song are presented as one track on the original LP version of It Ain’t Easy. On the CD, for some reason, the track is listed as two tracks: “Conditional Discharge” and “Don’t Try To Lay No Boogie-Woogie On The King Of Rock & Roll.” Even though the mp3 was ripped from the CD, I’ve held to the original track title.)