Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dave Grohl: Times Like These

Well, it had been awhile since I’ve had a Wooden Wednesday selection so I thought I’d find an acoustic song to satisfy this craving. While listening to WRLF in Fairmont, WV last night, I heard the Foo Fighters’ 2002 alternative hit “Times like These.” While searching YouTube for it to use as future post, I also found Dave Grohl’s acoustic rendition of this classic. Grohl provides all guitars, keyboards, and vocals on this solo video.

Written in the key of D, it is not in standard Ionian mode, but rather in mixolydian. This is basically a G-scale that uses the D note as the root. In other words, the scale is D-E-F#-G-A-B-C-D. Grohl’s acoustic version was released nearly four years after the Foo Fighter’s original and got a modicum of airplay as well. Nice stuff.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Lovin' Spoonful: Butchie's Tune

OK, I admit it. I have a problem. I am a binge-watcher. There, I said it. Since June 2014, I’ve been hogging my wife’s Netflix account to watch several programs that I hadn’t had the opportunity to see as of yet. I’ve seen most of the biggies and a few relatively unknowns. I find it easier to follow a series when I have the opportunity to watch it in sequence at my own time – whether that be at 11:00 PM or 5:00 AM.

Recently, I finished watching – well, let me backtrack, I finished watching all of the episodes on Netflix of “Mad Men.” The final seven episodes are not yet online – so, I’ll have to wait to see what happens. When the show originally aired on AMC, I only got to see two episodes – one from season two and one from season four. Without the prior context, I waited for Netflix to pick up the series.

What I’ve seen so far was pretty accurate for its portrayal of the 1960s. I did find some flaws and possible flaws in some of the artifacts – but really only minor ones that only someone with OCD would notice. One of the nice things about the show is that it provided a plethora of music from varying styles.

One of the tunes that caught my ear was the closing song of the 12th episode from season five. It is when Don Draper is driving Glenn Bishop back to the prep school and he allows Glenn to drive his car. The song, “Butchie’s Tune,” was by The Lovin’ Spoonful and was an album cut off their “Daydream” LP from 1966.

Although cowritten by John Sebastian and bassist Steve Boone, the lead vocals were supplied by drummer Joe Butler who still tours as Joe Butler and The Lovin’ Spoonful. One of the shining moments of “Butchie’s Tune” is the countrified guitar licks of Zal Yanovsky who had the pedal steel type Sus4 chords down pat.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sixth Anniversary - Deram Records: I Woke Up This Morning.

Today is a day of celebration. Six years ago today I began this blog on a rainy Saturday afternoon. It was one of the better decisions I’ve made as I have rekindled friendships and made a number of new ones over the six year period. The last two years (especially last year) with the change in jobs, I’ve not kept up with the blog. In 2015, I’ve had long gaps without new posts. Hopefully, that will change.

Before we get to the stats, our final selection to celebrate the music of Deram Records, we bring you an album cut from Ten Years After fourth album for the label: “Ssssh.” In all, Deram released seven Ten Years After albums – five studio, one live, and a compilation album. “Ssssh” was their second album from 1969 and a number of cuts got some album airplay, no singles were issued from the album to my knowledge.

Until the 1971 hit on Columbia, “I’d Love to Change the World,” singles were just a nuisance that the record company released hoping that mainstream radio would pick up on it. With the exception of “I’d Love to Change the World,” it didn’t work and Deram had no hit records from Ten Years After.

To remedy that, we turned to the final cut on “Ssssh” and an Alvin Lee tune – “I Woke Up this Morning.” It really showcases how great a guitarist Alvin Lee was. Even as great a talent as Lee was, he needed a solid band and Ten Years After fulfilled that need. The band was rounded out by Leo Lyons on bass (always a joy to watch), Chick Churchill on keyboards, and Ric Lee on drums. Great stuff for a Saturday – rainy or otherwise.

RBTG’s Sixth Anniversary Retrospect

Like I had reported with every other anniversary, I took a look backward on how we are doing visitor wise. I began this blog on September 26, 2009, but did not start monitoring the visits until October 16, 2009. Currently, we have 95 declared followers of the blog – the same number as in March 2015 when we had our 1600th post. There are many others who have visited frequently without declaring themselves as followers.

As noted above, we have not been vigilant in maintaining posts, but that hasn’t affected our overall numbers. With over 1600 posts, people have been visiting anyway even without new material that was forthcoming.

The cumulative statistics for the blog are listed below:

Unique Visitors190,254
Times Visited213,983
Number of Pages Viewed298,652
People Visiting 200+ Times3,188
People Visiting 101-200 Times1,557
People Visiting 51-100 Times1,486
People Visiting 26-50 Times1,418
Number of Visitor Countries Represented191

The Top Ten Visitor Countries

Since our 1,600th post, three new countries were added to the list: Tajikistan (in Asia), Cuba (in the Caribbean), and Chad in Africa . The Top 10 countries remain the same; however, former tenth position Spain knocked Netherlands out of the ninth position.

1United States105,359
2United Kingdom18,120

As always, I want to take this time to thank all of you for your support of this site and the encouragement to keep going forward. Thanks again for Reading between the Grooves.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Deram Records: Hallelujah Freedom

While the name Junior Campbell won’t mean much for our American audience, it will for the folks in the UK. His only American Top 40 hit was with Marmalade and it was “Reflections of My Life” from 1969 on London Records – Decca Records Ltd.’s American counterpart. Campbell not only sang lead, but also played guitar and keyboards. “Rainbow,” which was a Top 5 release in Britain, made it to #7 on the American A/C chart, but only hit #51 on the Hot 100.

In Britain, both Marmalade and Junior Campbell had numerous hit records. In 1971, William Campbell, Jr. broke from Marmalade and embarked upon a solo career on Decca/London’s subsidiary Deram Records. His second single, “Hallelujah Freedom” from 1972, was his most successful solo recording. While it charted at #10 in the UK, none of his solo recordings charted in the US. Campbell provide piano, guitar, electric piano, and lead and back-up vocals. The recording won the Best British Single of 1972 – which is why we’re including it here.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Deram: My Baby Loves Lovin'

Day Five at our look at Deram Records takes a trip down the pop music memory lane with a hit from 1969: White Plains’ “My Baby Loves Lovin’.” Like their label counterparts The Brotherhood of Man, White Plains initially started as a session group that morphed into a performing group. Like The Brotherhood of Man, Tony Burrows was one of its vocalists.

In addition to White Plains and The Brotherhood of Man, Burrows’ lead vocals can be heard on several other hit records. These include the following: Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes,” The Pipkins “Gimme Dat Ding,” and First Class’ “Beach Baby.” Three of his recordings with different groups were on the charts simultaneously and the public never noticed.

Recorded in October 1969, “My Baby Loves Lovin’” was released in January 1970. Being the most popular record for White Plains, from which Burrows left shortly after the song’s release, “My Baby Loves Lovin’” peaked at #9 in the UK and at #13 in the US.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Deram Records: Repent Walpurgis

For our Wordless Wednesday song from Deram Records, it was a competition between Whistling Jack Smith’s “I was Kaiser Bill’s Batman,” which charted at #20, and Procol Harum’s “Repent Walpurgis,” which failed to chart. Duh!!! Well, if you know me well enough, you would have guessed “Repent Walpurgis” won that battle. Since I had previously featured the band’s only hit on Deram, “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” I had to cull something else from their debut LP.

In Britain, only the “Whiter Shade of Pale” single was released on Deram Records. Their self titled debut LP would be the first release on the newly resurrected Regal Zonophone label – a subsidiary of EMI. In the US, the first Procol Harum LP was issued on Deram and led with “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and eliminated “Good Captain Clack” from the LP’s lineup. Additionally, the song order varied between the transatlantic versions, but “Repent Walpurgis” was the final cut on both.

Written by organist Matthew Fisher, “Repent Walpurgis” is one of the more powerful tunes on the album. Fishers’ overdriven Hammond Organ, Gary Brooker’s piano, and those guitar leads from Robin Trower just conjure up all kinds of images. Fisher felt the song was full of angst and that he thought it should be named “Repent.” One of his band mates said it reminded him of Walpurgis Night – or witches night that occurs prior to St. Walpurga’s Day on May 1. So they combined the thoughts into the title “Repent Walpurgis.”

While the name was ominous, so were the inspirations for this instrumental as they spanned centuries and continents. The primary progression of the tune featuring Cm, Ab/Eb, Dm7b5, and G was directly inspired by the chorus of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons 1967 single “Beggin’.” The piano interlude came primarily from Bach’s “Prelude 1 in C Major” from “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” This is prog rock at its finest.

Alternate Stereo Version

Here’s an alternate take of “Repent Walpurgis” that was shelved until the 1999 release of “Pandora’s Box: The Unused Procol Harum Stereo Versions Plus.” Unlike the original and shorter version, the alternate take is in true stereo not the rechanneled stereo found on American Deram release. While Fisher plays some different organ counterpoint, “Repent Walpurgis” also features more and heavier guitar work by Trower. It becomes quite the jam towards the end when someone whistles to signal to Trower and bassist Dave Knights to wrap it up and they do. It is a rather nice version in its own right.

The Four Season’s Inspiration

To make this feature complete, I found it necessary to add Frankie Valli and the Four Season’s “Beggin’.” Written by Bob Gaudio and Peggy Farina, the single peaked at #16. Although it had a respectable chart showing, it lost in the airplay wars with Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” that charted at #2 and was released two months after “Beggin’.”

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Deram Records: Tuesday Afternoon

One of my favorite bands of all time is The Moody Blues; and thus, it makes them my favorite Deram Records’ act. The classic version of the band released three LPs on the Deram imprint until moving over to their own label, Threshold Records, in 1969. The three Deram albums were “Days of Future Passed,” “In Search of the Lost Chord,” and “On a Threshold of a Dream.” The latter was the inspiration for their new label’s name.

In addition to three albums, five singles appeared on Deram. Being that it is Tuesday, we’ll feature their second seven inch release – “Tuesday Afternoon,” or as it appears on “Days of Future Passed” as “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?).” Justin Hayward, who wrote the tune while sitting in a field playing his guitar, had originally named the song “Tuesday Afternoon”; however, producer Tony Clarke wanted a name that fit with the concept album “Days of Future Passed.” So, it was changed for the time being.

While the album was released in 1967, the “Tuesday Afternoon (Forever Afternoon)” single was not issued until 1968. It was the second single from “Days of Future Passed” with the first, “Nights in White Satin” only making it to #103 with the original 1967 issue. When reissued as a single five years later in 1972, “Nights in White Satin” peaked at #2 and was the band’s highest charting single in the US.

While “Nights in White Satin” did well both times in the UK (#19 and #9), it was not their biggest British release – “Go Now,” with the original lineup, peaked at #1, while the biggest song with the classical version of the band was 1970’s “Question.”

As for “Tuesday Afternoon,” it was not released as a single in the UK and only made it to #24 in the US. This is a pity, as it remains one of the band’s most enduring performances both in terms of airplay and their live performances. “Tuesday Afternoon” is a song that has held up well over its 48-year existence. It just has so much. The clear, ever present vocals of Justin Hayward and the fantastic bass of John Lodge that is occasionally punctuated by Mike Pinder on the piano’s bass register.

Speaking of Pinder, the Mellotron makes this tune – this new sound adds to the overall texture of “Tuesday Afternoon,” as well as numerous Moodies’ recordings to come. I would be remiss if I forgot to also credit Ray Thomas’ flute, Graeme Edge’s drums, and the London Festival Orchestra under the direction of Peter Knight. It just doesn’t get much better than this. “The trees are drawing me near; I've got to find out why. Those gentle voices I hear explain it all with a sigh.”

Although not credited on the album,“Tuesday Afternoon” is paired with a John Lodge composition “(Evening) Time to Get Away.” Here’s the complete album track from “Days of Future Passed.”