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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sample from Drake's "Hotline Bling"

Do I like this for what it is or that it shows off the great Timmy Thomas Track "Why Can't We Live Together" ? - not sure but if it opens it up to a new audience for any reason then i'm for it.

If you like it then seek out "You're A Song I've Always Wanted To Sing" by Timmy and the orginal b side of "Live Together" "Funky me"

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Lianne La Havas - Royal Albert Hall 14th March 2016

I was disappointed not to get tickets to see Adele this week but booked long ago were my tickets for Lianne La Havas at the RAH. 

This was a major event for Ms La Havas and she was excited and humble at the chance to be there.  This girl has it all.  Great songs, tone, voice and attitude.  She is working with a more than capable band and filled the room with her two excellent albums "Is Your Love Big Enough" and "Blood".  The lighting was understated but complemented the mood and sounds and the crowd were quiet and respectful when needed and more reactionary when required. 
Highlights for me were "Unstoppable" a song that took me sometime to embrace when it led the release of "Blood" but its slow build underpinning her soaring vocals was a thing to behold; "What You Don't Do" and "Green and Gold"; my favourite "Midnight" and, with tongue in cheek, "Old" evidence her understanding of engaging with her wider music buying public and showing that she isn't afraid to mix it up a bit between styles.

A "surprise later" was promised and those who have followed her probably dreamed of Prince appearing for some show stopping finale.  More fittingly was the introduction of her school choir and the music teacher who was given credit for the early nurturing of this amazing talent.  Fitting as it was, this was no simple nice gesture, as they worked their magic providing further room filling sounds to the already building band presence.  Forget big star cameos this was a stroke of genius and a great way for a humble south London girl to payback those who contributed to where she is whilst giving something more to her audience. 

two finales followed first with the choir and then a solo cover of "Say A Little Prayer" - the start of a verse fumbled, like a trouper she continued to the full approval of an audience won over.  It was mesmerising (and can be heard on Soundcloud - I recommend it).

"Forget" is a rousing last song and a good way to end a real event of a night - it was obviously something to remember for Lianne La Havas as much as for those who witnessed it.  A real gem of an evening.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Bobby Womack - 1944 - 2014

Bobby Womack has been part of my life since I was 13 - when I first heard "I Can Understand It".  I began to search for his other work and found the goldmine of UA/Minit sides that made his name.  It was only later that I found that this was his second coming.  He had been on the gospel circuit since his early teens with his brothers as the Valentinos, he had written "It's All Over Now" which I knew only from the Stones' cover. He had been a protege of the great Sam Cooke.  He fell from public grace upon marrying Cooke's widow but later restarted his career from the ground up with sessions on guitar and writing for the likes of Aretha, Wilson Picket, and Sly Stone etc.  His live shows brought him back - with versions of standards such as "Fly Me To The Moon".  That brought me up to date.  I was lucky enough to see him at Hammersmith in '76 performing those great songs "Harry Hippie" a tribute to his wayward brother, "That's The Way I Feel About Cha" and "Woman's Gotta Have It".  This resurrection coincided with the world taking soul for more than the 3 minute pleading singles and his  "Communicaton" and "Understanding" albums are outstanding examples of the development of soul following the 60's heyday.

He dabbled with drugs and his addiction pulled him down with later albums producing good works but always falling short (for me) of those classics. He got it together and cut two blinding albums in "The Poet" and the "Poet 2" these again showed that he sits alongside Stevie, Marvin, even in my opinion Otis.  His secret was songs - he then touched a nerve by packaging and passionate delivery.  This is the essence of what soul is to me. In 1987 with "Only Survivor" album again bringing him to the fore he toured and I returned to Hammersmith to see him in his element with an audience engaged in all that had gone before and what was current. At that gig he invited Paul Young onto the stage to perform his then hit version of Hall & Oates "Everytime You Go Away" - Bobby's parts blew him off the stage as the master showed his powers, substance over form on a song that he should have recorded.

My first conversations with my wife were about music, Bobby was heavily featured on the tapes I made her and remain the soundtrack to much of my life.  I return to those songs constantly.

I'm wasn't overwhelmed with the Damon Albarn sponsored Gorillaz collaboration or the "Bravest Man" album that brought him back to public consciousness - but that has more to do with what I'm comparing it with (and perhaps that era can never be repeated) but i'm grateful he was able to have that last hurrah - The great thing for me was that I finally saw my hero getting the high profile that he deserved - Glastonbury, Later with Jools, awards, press and above all deserved recognition.  I saw him one last time in 2011 at the Jazz Cafe where he performed three nights in a venue holding about 400.  This was just before the "Bravest Man" album surfaced and he whilst frail he could still belt out a tune.  He would repeat his "old soul" set at Glastonbury in 2013 to much acclaim.  He continued on the festival circuit and up until two weeks ago was still active performing at Bonnaroo.

There will be many more detailed (and better) obituaries written within the next few days.  For me he has gone but I have him as a continuing companion in the sides that will stay with me always.  He was known as the Preacher, The Last Soul Man and the Poet.  He was all that and more to me.

You will find a number of other posts with Pick n Mixed about Bobby Womack.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Digital Vs Analogue - It's A Personal Thing, Isn't It?

Just read a great article from on the issue of the supposed Superiority of Vinyl.  Let's face it you get something different from a CD or a download.  It's a personal mix between hi-fidelity, convenience in acquiring and in playing and possibly your first experience of a particular track or album.
My listening time is now 80% on the move.  my i-pod allows me to review my collection on the tube each morning and select whatever I want to hear.  I know it sounds different to my vinyl or even CD copies but then Hi-Fi, docking station, computer speakers, Car systems, headphones, ear buds all add to the differences.
I happen to have a lot of CDs - some of which were bought as a first experience of, say, Amy Winehouse - to me CD is her natural home.  Then again hearing the CD version of the Four Tops "Standing in the Shadows of Love" for the first time was a revelation as I'd always been used to the vinyl version on my mum's radiogram playing my older sisters scratched 45rpm.  Which do i prefer - not sure?! Some tracks lose their "sound" if heard digitally.  At the beginning of the CD era a number of classical releases had to be edited as exterior noises from the original concert halls could be heard under the new format, whereas they were previously hidden behind all that surface noise previously. But we got used to that didn't we.  Radio broadcasts narrowed the sound  - Berry Gordy ordered his engineers to play up the beat and the higher end percussion to meet the restrictions of radio play.
And so the argument can rattle on
Of course vinyl is the cool item to own.  But then again isn't it all about the music itself?

Saturday, 30 November 2013

In Appreciation of... Lisa Stansfield

A couple of weeks back I saw Lisa Stansfield at the Indig02.  I was a fan of hers from the Coldcut collaboration "People Hold On " that introduced her to the world but a series of albums that followed proved she was no part player and not only had a great set of pipes but could write nifty tune as well.
I'd not seen her live and given the passing of time wondered how her voice would stand up and what I was going to get for my money.  No worries there - all the fab songs from her heyday were there - still great tunes, still performed with a great voice (with an added  new tone which enhances rather than disappoints).  At an early point we got the "here's a new song..." but frankly this lady hasn't lost any of her craft.  These new tunes "the conversation" and particularly for me "Stupid Heart" fitted well with her set and certainly held up (or more) with the past glories.  "Stupid Heart" could be an old southern soul classic - and needs to be covered by a Mavis Staples or a rejuventaed Aretha (if only she would re-emerge).
On checking the web I found a very similar set from earlier this year at the Java Jazz festival and then coincidentally saw that she was appearing on daytime TV. I Sky+ it and found her live performance of "Heart" once again thrilling.
A new album is due early next year - can't wait.  For those who want her classic sound there is the obvious hits compilation and then the best album of her career "Real Love" which I couldn't live without - Yes Brits do soul very well thank you.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Howling At The Moon - Walter Yetnikoff with David Ritz

Brilliant biog of one of the great Record Men of the boom period of the 70s and 80s.  Yetnikoff took Columbia from the reshaped position left by Clive Davis to top of the market then led the sale of Columbia to Sony.  This is a great read - flawed genius meets the excesses of the age.  The financial rewards in the business at the time drove the lifestyle and the outrageous behaviour  reflected in stories of record industry legend.  Read this after or before hitting Stan Cronyn's "Exploding"  which is the story of arch rival label Warner Brothers.  During the early 80s Yetnikoff used the legend "Fuck the Bunny" to rally his troops at sales conferences to beat Warners to the top spot.  This reflects the era and the man.  Ritz is effective as ever bringing out the human side of a driven individual.  A fun and fascinating read.

New Sounds...Old Sounds


Check out the new tracks posted to BoyRed's SoundCloud


Atlanta Rhythm Section - Spooky (1979)
Young-Holt Unlimited - Just Ain't No Love (1969)
Here's Johnny - Idlewild (1985)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Glastonbury 2013

Great Glasto this year.  particularly enjoyed Of Monsters and Men; Haim; Gabriella Aplin; Jesse Ware; Bobby (of course) and Chic - all from the comfortable campsite that is my sofa.
The Stones and Mumfords are still on my SkyBox!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Not Abba - Dave Haslam

No it wasn't all flares, space hoppers, afros and punks. Neither was it prog rockers , Glam and all frivolous fun.  The 70's was a fab decade but one of political and social change - much of it reflected in the mass media arts of music, film and TV.  This book is a year by year trawl through what happened and when.  It takes me back to my formative years (I was 13 in 1971 ) when adults seemed miserable and brow beaten by life in general - they had good cause - with the rise of UK mainland terrorism; strikes, blackouts and raging inflation.  Teenagers, a second generation if you will from the Summer Of Love period (hippies behind them) saw the new world very differently.  I would recommend this book to anyone but for those of you of a similar age - this and it's fiction counterpart, The Rotters Club are great reads and will take you back to a very real image of a decade of major social change in this country.


Should say I really enjoyed the Brits and thought Justin Timberlake 's performance was fab

Made in Walthamstow - Update

Well not much to say really except that there hasn't been much progress on Made In Walthamstow lately - but then again my posts here and on The Lost Record Covers Club have been few and far between.  Far too busy with work and life in general - that's a good thing right (?)

Monday, 31 December 2012

Marvin - Let's Get It On Era Images

As a young teenager I was seen as having odd taste by my school friends as Marv was my hero and not some glammed up pop star like Bowie, Slade or Marc Bolan. Still after all these years you can see I was right! Such a cool dude.

Life Is A Rock (and The Radio Rolled Me) - 1974

A real One Hit Wonder from the "band" Reunion - a group of session musicians taing advantage of some spare studio time.  Here's the industry related lyrics  - sing along if you can. Released by RCA in 1974.

Life Is A Rock (and The Radio Rolled Me)
B.B. Bumble and the Stingers, Mott the Hoople, Ray Charles Singers
Lonnie Mack and twangin' Eddy, here's my ring we're goin' steady
Take it easy, take me higher, liar liar, house on fire
Locomotion, Poco, Passion, Deeper Purple, Satisfaction
Baby baby gotta gotta gimme gimme gettin' hotter
Sammy's cookin', Lesley Gore and Ritchie Valens, end of story
Mahavishnu, fujiyama, kama-sutra, rama-lama
Richard Perry, Spector, Barry, Archies, Righteous, Nilsson, Harry
Shimmy shimmy ko-ko bop and Fats is back and Finger Poppin'

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

FM, AM, hits are clickin' while the clock is tock-a-tickin'
Friends and Romans, salutations, Brenda and the Tabulations
Carly Simon, I behold her, Rolling Stones and centerfoldin'
Johnny Cash and Johnny Rivers, can't stop now, I got the shivers
Mungo Jerry, Peter Peter Paul and Paul and Mary Mary
Dr. John the nightly tripper, Doris Day and Jack the Ripper
Gotta go Sir, gotta swelter, Leon Russell, Gimme Shelter
Miracles in smokey places, slide guitars and Fender basses
Mushroom omelet, Bonnie Bramlett, Wilson Pickett, stop and kick it

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

Arthur Janov's primal screamin', Hawkins, Jay and
Dale and Ronnie, Kukla, Fran and Norma Okla
Denver, John and Osmond, Donny
JJ Cale and ZZ Top and LL Bean and De De Dinah
David Bowie, Steely Dan and sing me prouder, CC Rider
Edgar Winter, Joanie Sommers, Osmond Brothers, Johnny Thunders
Eric Clapton, pedal wah-wah, Stephen Foster, do-dah do-dah
Good Vibrations, Help Me Rhonda, Surfer Girl and Little Honda
Tighter, tighter, honey, honey, sugar, sugar, yummy, yummy
CBS and Warner Brothers, RCA and all the others

Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
Gotta turn it up louder, so my DJ told me (whoa whoa whoa whoa)
Life is a rock but the radio rolled me
At the end of my rainbow lies a golden oldie

Listen--remember, they're playing our song!
Rock it, sock it, Alan Freed me, Murray Kaufman, try to leave me
Fish, and Swim, and Boston Monkey,
Make it bad and play it funky.
(Wanna take you higher!)

Freddie King and Albert King
And B.B. King and frolicking...

45Cat Entry -

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Deacon Blue - Adele - Alicia Keys - Azadeh

Like most people my interface (oooh get me) with new music has changed.  Whilst I used to be able to rely on good old Radio One to play the current stuff with the odd "exclusive" preview of a forthcoming single; now there are so many sources to my musical world that frankly I feel very disconnected to what is going on.  It's odd as I seem to search out tracks my shopping experiences, form TV ads, the soundtracking to a baking competition on TV and even the odd X-Factor or Dave Arch/Strictly version.  Perhaps it's good that my musical taste is no longer the domain of some radio programmer somewhere.  My interests this month are of varied origin and datestamp.

Months ago I purchased tickets to see Deacon Blue.  I am a big fan of those first three albums, quality music which somehow always seemed a little out of time (perhaps timeless in hindsight).  Anyway with a forthcoming show to attend I've revisited the albums and even invested in the new one "The Hipsters" (hmm - irony).  With high hopes I really suspected to find the tracks that would make the bar attractive as Ricky says mid-set "and here's a new song" - hey it's billed as a 25th anniversary tour! I hear the crowd shout.  How pleasantly surprised am I to find a new album which, frankly, fits right in with the earlier string of sets which are dear to my heart.  Ross' voice remains engaging, the quality songwriting and arrangements, Lorraine McIntosh's harmonising, all are intact and what you used to expect from DC but with a progression that shows their obvious maturity.  It's like they've been frozen for the last 10 years.   And it fits right in with what is current.  I recommend you go to this whether a doubting existing fan or in a Deacon who? search for some quality.

Adele's 007 track "Skyfall" is predictable in it's structure but delicious in it's execution - the girl's phrasing brings it to life and shows a song stylist at her best.  Wonderful.

Alicia Keys is one artist that I will buy any new album without a preview - she has produced such a consistent body of work - again strength in songwriting  - that always hooks me and reels me in slowly. You know that feeling where you start with "not as good as.." and end up thinking "the best" let's hope I'm right about the new one "Girl on Fire" - the lead single of the same title (on YouTube currently) tells me I am.

Back to the Deacon Blue gig and my exciting find of the week.  Arriving early I thought the promo cards being handed out for Azadeh smacked of support act as (frankly) pretty girl with guitar - all very pleasant but a diversion from the main event.  WRONG.

Whilst I loved Deacon Blue, the evening was made by Azadeh's set (with band) .  Strong songs, a sort of Tori come Amy with Paula Cole voice but with a unique feel for her own sound.  The band arrangements built on her performance; she's clearly comfortable being out front and was gracious in the reception she got spending time signing demo's and chatting to audience members in the foyer later - her stage presence rang true, she's obviously passionate about performing her songs her way (and not some popster wannabe) only good came over in a what you see is what you get way - all to her credit.  The demo CD confirmed the show was no fluke and frankly the "demo's" need no work for a release. An internet hunt finds her unsigned - which is hard to believe.  Search her out - you're in for a treat.

Google - azadehmusic

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Perhaps too much already said about our Olympics - but all praise is good.  We did a great job.  Hopefully the lasting legacy from the whole summer is a belief by the British that British is good and we actually can really put on a show on a massive scale whilst the world looks on.  The best quote i've read is that "..we have seen the best of ourselves.." those few words sum it up really.  I'm very proudly British and a Londoner - never more so that the last few weeks.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Lost and Found...

Or actually never lost...

I've had a great time recently going through vinyl that i haven't played for years and have discovered some great album tracks and B sides.

Gene Dozier and The United Front - Give the Women What They Want - a pre-disco funk workout by someone I have never heard of since (this is from the Soul Train album on Phongram 1974) Hear It here on BoyRed's Soundcloud

Ohio Players - Heaven Must Be Like This - the B side of the wonderful "Skintight" this shows their smooth side and is a taster for things that would come in later albums see this on 45Cat

Bessie Banks - Go Now - always known as an old Denny Laine era Moody Blues track in the UK here's the blinding original 45Cat and Hear It Here

Don Covay - It's Better To Have (And Don't Need) - wonderful 1974 track from Covay - shows him moving forward from his Soul Clan/Atlantic days. Hear it Here

Act One - Goodbye Love (We're Through) - another band known more for their uptempo sounds - well one at least - this was the B side of "Tom The Peepe" - well worth flippin'.  Play It Here On The Cloud and the 45Cat entry is here

So many records and so little time....

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bobby Womack Poster

In my current clearout phase this poster from my collection has to go - you can bid for it on ebay at LINK - bidding started at just £5.

I have to stop buying all this stuff!

Monday, 4 June 2012


Is anyone else watching Sky Atlantic's series Smash!.  US TV at it's best, this follows a stage show production based on the Marilyn Monroe life story.  Here we see the writers (including an excellent Debra Messing); a single minded Brit director in the form of Jack Davenport (This is the best i've seen him - totally beleivable as bastard!); Angelica Houston as a recently divorced producer trying to find her business feet on her own for the first time.  The stars really are Megan Hilty (Wicked on Broadway) and Katherine McPhee (apparently a runner-up in American Idol a few years ago).  Hilty clearly shows her stage show experience and is mesmerising - with a powerful voice.  If this ever makes it to the stage I want to hear her do it (sorry lost in the story there for a moment).  McPhee is a revelation as her green newbie character gets to sing songs from the show and others whilst we see her at karaoke bars, performing at a bar mitzvah etc - she has an all round voice - I particularly like her take on Florence's "Shake It Up"

This is good TV and a great Saturday night music fix rolled into one.  I'm so taken I've  just ordered the soundtrack.  Be warned keep way from the Smash website as it will spoil the plotline, iflike me you are watching outside the US where the first season is only mid-way through.

Ronnie Laine - Brother, Can You Spare Me A Dime? (1975)

Ronnie Laine's take on an old song about the US depression.  This was used in a 1975 David Puttnam BBC2(?) TV documentary on the subject and the track was used as the closing credits rolled.  Good version of a powerful song.

To hear it go to BoyRed's SoundCloud/Brother

45Cat Link

Island - WIP 6229

Q. Am i right in thinking that this has also been recorded as "Buddy, Can You Spare Me A Dime?

Saturday, 26 May 2012

The first RCA CD Catalogue - ever!

In 1983 I was working at RCA Records European office coordinating CD releases.  The format launch first in Japan in October 1982 and then Europe in March the following year had gone so well that there was a worldwide shortage of manufacturing capacity.  RCA had got in on the act quickly and had put out about 20 releases both pop and classical.  Whilst you would normally never see both in the same catalogue, this was produced to entice the audiophiles to buy RCA rather than the dominant Philips catalogue. 
Here is the cover of the first ever CD catalogue from the label.
 (The US launch would occur in October 1983)

Marvin Gaye Live In London - 1976

Thanks to Nathalie - who on reading my posts on the MPG gig I attended in 1976 found this picture from the Royal Albert Hall appearance two days later.

Related Posts

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Donna Summer

Sad news of Donna Summer's passing.  Here was a true artist that although always labelled "disco" delivered much more.  Her career in the 70's will forever be associated with the dancefloor and her work with Giorgio Moroder.  Together they took the US disco movement in a fresh direction with the use of electronics that until that point were the tools of experimental rock bands.  Her "I Feel Love" was ground-breaking, and whilst those sounds are familiar to us all now in all genres of music it is her and Moroder's legacy.  One obit this week quotes Bobby Gillespie as saying that he bought "I Feel Love" on the same day that he bought the Sex Pistols "God Save The Queen".  Summer moved away from the scene by recording more mainstream songs on her albums "The Wanderer" and "She Works Hard For The Money" with great success.  For me, her reinvention was complete when she recorded the self titled album produced by Quincy Jones and featuring "State Of Indepedence" "Living In America" and the jazz standard "Lush Life".  Yesterday I spent a long train journey in the company of her career on my ipod.  Her "On the Radio" greatest hits concentrates on her dance-floor hits but includes many lesser known tunes (here anyway) such as "I Love You" and "Sunset People" alongside her "Love To Love You, Baby" her voice and delivery are superb, she was a writer and production contributor.  The "Four Season Of Love" album marked the emergence of dance as a major force outside of the 4 minute (or exiended 10 minute) single.  The album shows the magic between Summer and Moroder and Pete Bellote by delivering a consistent peice. 
Much will be said this week about her, the trials with the conflict of her faith and the sexual nature of her image, her dismissal as a diva disco queen - we should value a game changing body of work, the result of the fate of the early coupling with Moroder/Bellotte and her second and third coming.  Hopefully it may be a catalyst in helping Disco find it's place in serious music history.
For now let's remember her as a fantastic artist.

Westminster Record Fair 2

Attended yesterday's fair with great expectations of a good days crate digging.  This VIP fair isn't as big as the Music Mania event (next one in November) but probably good for those collectors willing to pay the big ticket desirable items.  I'm more of a pile it high and flog it cheap merchant as i like to sort through stuff.  One man's tat is another man's treasure.  So shorter day than expected, but met with the boys in doing so and swung by Fopp! on the way back.  Small haul in the form of Simply Red and Sinatra CDs for my son, together with the "Wondrous Stories" prog compilation and a couple of 70's Biddu albums on vinyl (to follow up meet my current disco craving.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Westminster Record Fair - 19th May

Looking forward to the Westminster VIP Music Fair at Westminster Halls on 19th May.


Westminster Central Hall, London

New Songs For Aretha

Many older artists that we revere have made comeback albums with critical success.  Mavis Staples has enjoyed plaudits for her "new" solo career; Solomon Burke found success through his work in the late 90s and until his death a few years back; Gil Scott-Heron was bang up to date with his "I'm New Here" set just before his death last year and the first sounds from the Bobby Womack album are promising.

The one I want to hear is a new Aretha album.  So here's some songs I think she could make her own.

1. Leavin' - Shelby Lynne
2. Just One Kiss - Raphael Sadiq
3. You Are My Everything - Mary J Blige
4. None Of Us Are Free - Solomon Burke (amongst others)
5. I'm Through Trying To Prove My Love To You - Bobby Womack
6. Ruby Lee - Bill Withers
7. I Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer - Stevie Wonder
8. Between A Man And A Woman - Kate Bush
9. The Nick Of Time - Bonnie Raitt
10. Down By The River - Neil Young

Love Saves The Day - Tim Lawrence

Sub-titled "a history of american dance music culture, 1970-1979" Tim Lawrence's history of the era that is much maligned and dismissed simply as disco is in depth and well informed.  Sources include many of the major players involved from the star DJs (including David Mancuso, whose 1970 Valentine's Day party at his, soon to be The, Loft gave the book it's title); the owners of the clubs; record industry figures; record pool organisers; producers, artists and; many dancers and participants along the way.

From the bringing together of the sounds that existed at the turn of the decade in sets that included soul, motown, Led Zeppelin, African drums, classical, latin and rock tracks creating an eclectic celebration of music above all else.  This was Mancuso's aim.  It was underground, it was new, it was inclusive, throwing off the silo nature of musical taste and the tribes that ascribed to them.  It was based around a downtown New York scene.  Soon it would co-exist with another incarnation by invading mid-town and the hedonistic, indulgent and elitist scene that most people associate with popular disco was born.  Studio 54 was this strain epitomised in one club, but there were many more and as money was the driver this was the form that clubs the USA and the world adopted.  Mancuso continued to be the father figure that everyone looked to but he seemed alone in not chasing the money by sticking to his orginal vision.

The search for new sounds brought mixes, mixers and extended mixes - soon to become a record sales point as these longer versions (or not in some cases) appeared on vinyl in the form of 12" singles.  DJs became remixers, then producers, then artists.

Some of the clubs have become watchwords for musical integrity - The Warehouse, The Paradise Garage, The Loft, The Gallery, Whilst others are notorius for other reasons, mainly sex and drugs.

Nicky Siano, Frankie Knuckles; Tom Moulton, Giorgio Moroder, Earl Young are amongst the artists contributing here.  The featured labels - Prelude, Philadelphia International, SalSoul, Casablanca (which virtually brought down a major single handed) punched above their collective weight against the might of the US entertainment business.  Europe invaded via Giorgio Moroder (albeit with an amercan ex-gospel singer called Donna Summer), Electronics came to the fore with their "I Feel Love" and the adoption of Kraftwerk's "Trans Euro Express" - sounds that would feature heavily in the development of dance music way beyond flares, open shirts and that medallion.

Saturday Night Fever is seen as a high point by many but perhaps that was the beginning of the end - the mass success could be duplicated by individual artists and mainstream acts that tried out the format (Streisand, Stewart etc) soon moved on or back.  The music industry, dissapointed in the lack of the long term cash cow, turned away.

Disco begat House and the development during the 70s sowed the seed for that birth. Whilst disco may be dismissed by many (and there is much to be treated so) the directions taken and the club culture then is the foundation of what came about in the 80s and on.

Tim Lawrence's book shows uses the detail to reflect the cultural shifts not just in the music scene but in the political and social landscapes, and this is the true value of this very important work.  It is well written and draws you in, whether you know some of the obscure tracks (and i've tried to find some since) or not.

It includes discographies from each DJ/Club and an extensive bibliography.

Punblished: 2004 by Duke University Press
ISBN: 0822331985

Monday, 9 April 2012

Lianne La Havas

Like a lot of people I found the beautiful Lianne La Havas via the always reliable "Later With Jools Holland" on BBC2.  Those solo performances with just her unique voice and guitar were mesmerising.  I found the EP "Lost and Found" which included the standout track from the show "No Room For Doubt" - when it arrived the other tracks were there too together with the excellent "Final Form"

all good then - the follow up "Forget" did not disappoint.

Product DetailsThe debut album "Is Your Love Big Enough" is due on 9th July - can't wait.

Lianne's Web Page

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Bobby Womack - Please Forgive My Heart (2012)

Please Forgive My Heart - Single, Bobby WomackThe first track to be issued from the forthcoming album by Bobby Womack is "Please Forgive My Heart" - you know i'm a fan but when I first heard of the album of "BW with beats" I was dubious.  No fears now then after hearing this lead track. Soulful as ever, the voice remains the same and is actually complemented by Damon Albarn and Richard Russell's work.

Absolutely outstanding but nothing more than I expect from him - thanks Albarn and Russell he's back in the studio - if this is a good indication of the album "The Bravest Man In The Universe" due in June, then I can't wait.

Quality stands out and this does by a country mile.

YouTube Video

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Phill Brown - Are We Still Rolling? (2011)

I came across this during my research for Made In Walthamstow and ordered it as it seemed a rather unique take on the record business of the 70s and on - from the perspective of a well respected and accomplished sound engineer.  How fantastic that I found it even more enjoyable as it talked about the work of some of my heroes and favourites (Robert Palmer, Alan Spenner and Steve Winwood in particular) and about albums that I was responsible for manufacturing whilst I was at PolyGram (1978-1983).  It is a personal account of Phill's journey through a career of many highs both commercially and artistically (and at times chemically); of the characters that worked the industry for good or bad (a third devil category are those, there by chance and who treated it all with indifference); of the creation of some fantastic music; of the techniques used and the knowledge, experience and luck that brought them together.  Robert Palmer's forward describes it well when he says -
"This is not a technical manual (although it will certainly function as one) - it's a contemporary thriller.."  "That's what Phill Brown has written here - an adventure story.."  "It's a how-to book and a love story! A self-driven need to understand why creative people do what they do, and how to survive it and them"
When I was trying to get into the business I was told "get a job making the tea and then make yourself useful" - Phill Brown had an entry via his brother who worked at Olympic Studios and he would go and watch/help, obviously fascinated by the process - he found his way in and then did the "make himself useful" bit by working as tape operator at many of the never ending days and night owl sessions of the stars of the day including Hendrix, the Stones, Dusty Springfield. 
I love the mix of tech - mic set ups and reverb units and echo capture and the commercial reality, but the description of the periods of frantic creative process handled by a mixed cast for each new project; the issues (face fits? perhaps?) that led to being on a session or not all give another angle to the industry that interests us all.
One story of a recording struck a particular note with me.  Almost by accident, the author got involved in the recording of an album by Paul Carrack ("NightBird"), eventually co-producing the tracks and organising the sessions comprising a band (for me) to die for (Spenner, Lindscott, Hubbard, Renwick, McCalla, Collins).  Released in 1980 this was one of the last albums I worked on at the PolyGram factory before moving "up west".  I was making the vinyl of some of my heroes. Excited to see Carrack's name on the release sheet ("How Long" remains a favourite) I was disappointed by the artwork and the lack of interest actually given the release by Phonogram - i think we pressed all of 2-3,000.  Reading the chapter, and knowing some of the record guys concerned, tells me why.  I like it as an album - not a favourite - but it has class and epitomises the British rock,soul sound that was fairly ignored by the labels through the late 70s - shame because the Brits were pretty good at it.
As he moved on from the 70s working with Talk Talk, Faithless and Dido you get the feeling he pined for the old days - certainly (like me) he felt the presence of less record men and more money men.  At times his dilemma was compounded as he loved the work that he did and for one reason or another he never got to finish the final product (or be paid) or would lose the friends he had made over the years (his feelings after hearing of Spenner's death and of attending his funeral are understandable).
I finished this liking Phill Brown, seemingly a straight up ordinary guy, who worked in a high period for the industry, just before the suits moved in, he evolved and survived through the respect gained from his previous work - what better recommendation to have.  He doesn't pull punches but also refrains from putting people down, many biogs of this type big up the author by rubbishing their contemporaries - it and he are all the better for it.

He continues to work in the business - holding on to those "old" values of putting the creative process beyond the accountant and by the end you feel that he has (just) come to terms with the 70s being history - he and this book are part of that story and these pages are a worthwhile read and are highly recommended.

ISBN: 978-0-9779903-1-3

Thursday, 26 January 2012

In Appreciation of ... David Essex

David Essex - this guy has done everything.  He rose to fame after trying the pop scene in the 60s through a major role in Godspell! in the West End (alongside a nother new face Jeremy Irons) He had a great pop career from the 1973 "Rock On" through a string of hits via his signing with CBS including "Gonna Make You A Star" and "America" collaborated with the Real Thing to great effect.  Sold out tours (I saw the "All The Fun Of The Fair" tour - a great production lost through the sceaming fans); He was on every cover.  His teeny bopper fame perhaps overrode his musical pedigree in that he wrote a lot of his own stuff and included some unique production from Jeff Wayne and later Essex himself.  He returned the favour to Wayne by appearing on the "War Of The Worlds" album.  At the height of that period he appeared in these two movies about wayward pop icon Jim Maclaine tracing his rise to fame through the rock and roll era with "That'll Be The Day' and about he would continue to rise (and fall) in the 70s in Stardust (also the title of another great single. He wrote and produced the show "Mutiny" starring alongside Sinitta (no great claim to fame there but a name to note).  He signed to Mercury in the later 70's delivering "High Flying Adored" and appearing on the "Evita" Album.  He released a few well received albums including "Imperial Wizard" and "Silver Dream Machine", has continued to appear in TV shows and continue to tour both as a musician and in shows.  In recent years his "All the Fun.." album was turned into a stage show which got good reviews.

A real british talent.

Lots of good comment on 45Cat - Rock On

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Marvin Gaye - Royal Albert Hall (27 September 1976)

In 1976, after a long absence, Marvin Gaye returned to the UK with a triumphant tour which sold out on announcement.  Additional dates would extend the schedule as the faithful turned out to see their hero.  I was one at the front of the queue, never thinking i'd ever get to see him I forked out for two £6 (!) tickets for prime seats at the Albert Hall for the first show.  My wife and I have been talking about it periodically ever since.

His arrival on stage after a short band "overture" stopped proceedings whilst he lapped up the five minute standing ovation.  Turned out in a black suit with open necked shirt topped wih customary red tam - the pictures above could have been from the show (they're not).  It's an image of him at this time that wasn't unfamiliar.  Looking good and in great voice he showed us why he had endured.
Most acts would be lucky to have one career by then Marvin had many.  From teen idol in the early 60's through a career of duets with Mary Wells, Kim Weston and of course Tammi Terrell; braking  away from the Motown machine with his masterpeice "What's Going On" and continued to demonstrate his maturity through "Let's Get It On" "Trouble Man" and "I Want You".  All of these periods were represented in a comprehensive set.
The newer songs from "I Want You" stood up against the classics and that much under-rated album deserved to be there. Tracks from "What's.." had the crowd initially on their feet then reverently sitting to take it all in.  There were many such stand up and rapturous moments.
The presence of the man, his stagecraft oozed the charismatic promise his press always talked about.  Forget odd Marvin; druggy Marvin and here was Marvin the artist - the crowd needed no convincing.
I still hold it as my top gig ever - and not because he's gone and he's revered in any way.  It was an event, repeated here only a few times more.  Large tours of the USA followed when he finally returned home but the UK would not see him again.  I'm thankful that I did.
The later gigs at the Palladium were released in 1977 as "Live at The London Palladium" and the set reflects what I saw. The album featured three live sides for the show and one side with the new long version of "Got To Give It Up".

Monday, 9 January 2012

Isaac Hayes - Shaft Silver Disc Award (1972)

A Cutting from Blues and Soul Magazine July 1972 for the Silver Disc award for international sales of the brilliant "Shaft" main theme.

Shaft Single on 45Cat

Timmy Thomas - Why Can't We Live Together? (1973)

Black and White Ad from Blues And Soul early 1973.  Thomas was recording for the TK stable then - which also brought us KC and the Sunshine Band, Gwen and George McRae, Little Beaver and the wonderful Ms Betty Wright.

Also See Drake's "Hotline Bling"

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Blues and Soul Magazine

My soul music education was supplemented very much from this magazine in the 70s.  I bought import (and unheard of UK) singles and albums on recommendation by it's trusted reviewers.  I've just unearthed a pile from my loft and supplemented the collection from ebay (the orginals cost 15-20p/ebay £7.50!).

Much soul music was ignored by the music press at the time so a specialist mag (and this was the only one until Black Music appeared later in the 70s) was a real treat. Published fortnightly it had a heavy predominance of coverage of the northern soul club scene.

I've scanned a few things from the copies I have and will post them where relevant.  Happy memories.
This front cover from July 1972 features the Stylistics (for some reason lying in the road).
I also found it useful as a number of the artists featured also had their releases pressed at the Walthamstow factory see Made In Walthamstow - so that adds to the research.