Sunday 28 February 2021

Every Elvis Presley CD 1984-2005 - Listed

Elvis fans now have a new source of info on releases following the publication of 'Elvis UK3', a complete discography of Presley CD releases from 1983 through to 2005. The listing covers all labels not just those issued by RCA. The work has been completed by John Townson and Gordon Minto and follows their previous works on Elvis vinyl releases. Entries number 450+ and each is shown with tracklistings, composer and studio details, copies of the artwork and commentary. Included in the listings are record label promotional releases together with compilations featuring the King's material. Along with a great number of others I had the pleasure of supporting the detailed research, contributing to the introduction section which details RCA's move into CD manufacturing in 1983 and the release of the very first Elvis product on the medium. The story of the box set The Legend is also told in these pages The ultimate guide to CD releases is published via the Elvis UK Books website currently available in digital 'flipbook' technology. Buyers will also receive a unique 23 track compilation specially commissioned by the authors. A visit to the website shows sample pages and details for purchase etc. Highly recommended for Elvis fans.

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.

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.

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) - Reunion (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...

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