Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blues Image: Ride Captain Ride

One-hit Wonder Wednesday this week features a classic cut from 1970: Blues Image with “Ride Captain Ride.” While Blues Image released other singles, “Ride Captain Ride” was their only Top 40 hit. Formed in Tampa, the band made a name for itself in Miami where they frequently opened for up and coming national acts.

“Ride Captain Ride” was written by lead vocalist/guitarist Mike Pinera and keyboardist Skip Konte. Konte plays a Wurlitzer electric piano on this cut. They are joined on this recording by drummer Manny Bertematti, bassist Malcolm Jones, and percussionist Joe Lala. Lala later was with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young and received sub-billing on the cover of “Déjà vu” along with Dallas Reeves.

The guitar fills in the song were provided by Kent Henry who would later replace Mike Pinera when he left the band to join Iron Butterfly. The distorted lead guitar at the end of the cut was supplied by Pineara who takes the song out to the fade. This classic rock one-hit wonder charted at #4.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Hellecasters: Rockin' the Dog

I was familiar with the work of Jerry Donahue with Fotheringay and Fairport Convention as well as his guitar instruction videos, but not of his work with the Hellecasters until recently. At the urging of former Monkee Mike Nesmith, three session guitarists from Nashville got together as the Hellecasters for their first release “The Return of the Hellecasters.”

Donahue was joined by fellow session musicians Will Ray and John Jorgenson. Ray, a native of Richmond, VA, has been known to be one of the best Telecaster pickers in the business. Multi-instrumentalist, John Jorgenson, was in the Desert Rose band and has toured with many well known acts.

All three members of the Hellecasters play modified versions of Fender Telecaster guitars. “The Return of Hellecasters” leans to the country side of the spectrum, but there are some straight forward rock cuts on this instrumental CD. The cut “Rockin’ the Dog” showcases their talents well. It is a perfect selection for “Tasty Licks Tuesday.”

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baskery: Hole In My Soul

For today’s Mélange Monday, I am revisiting a band from Sweden that I’ve featured twice before. Baskery, which defines definition due to their wide range of musical tastes, contains the three Bondesson sisters: Greta on six string banjo and percussion, Stella on double bass, and Sunniva on guitar. All three sisters sing, but Sunniva handles a greater percentage of the lead vocals.

“Hole in My Soul” showcases not only their harmony prowess but the kicking rhythm of the slapping bass and the percussion. There’s something about this rhythmic treatment that I love. “Hole in My Soul” was recorded live in Germany on March 28, 2009. For only three people, they have a much bigger sound. For other cuts that I featured of Baskery see “Haunt You” and “On a Day Like This.”

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Patty Loveless: Diamond in my Crown

From Patty Loveless’ second “Mountain Soul” release, our Spiritual Sunday song is the 2009 recording of “Diamond in my Crown.” While the song has a traditional feel, it is about 20 years old and was written by then husband and wife Paul Kennerly and Emmylou Harris.

The thing I like about this song is the instrumentation – a harmonium – also called a pump organ in the USA. I’m not sure if the second part is overdubbed or if the additional stops are pulled out. I have one of these that I bought at an estate sale back in the late 1980s for $100. The bellow action needed some work, but I was able to fix it.

By the way, harmony vocals are provided by Emmylou Harris. This is a beautiful song that I’ll have to do sometime.


As each long day rolls by and falls behind me.
In the lonely night there's a peacefulness I've found
Tho' I'm weary even then
When I rise to start again
There'll be a diamond, a diamond in my crown
I have wasted all that life has laid before me,
I have watched as all the green fields turn to brown
But I shall not disavow
All these ties that bind me now
There'll be a diamond, a diamond in my crown
Shinning down some day I know
Brighter than all their streets of gold
When the burdens that I carry I will lay down
And the sorrows I have known
I'll see them all be overthrown
There'll be a diamond, a diamond in my crown
Through the passing of the years
I will grow stronger
Just as sure as this old world keeps spinning 'round
Then the closer I will be
To my sweetest victory
There'll be a diamond, a diamond in my crown

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Kiss: Black Diamond

For our bubbling under hit for this Saturday, I take you back to 1974 with the debut, self-titled LP by Kiss and the final cut on the album. Kiss was the first artist to be signed to former Buddah Records company exec Neil Bogart’s new label: Casablanca Records. Although the first to sign with the label, Bill Amesbury had the first release. The “Kiss” album debuted in February 1974 and by June it was certified gold.

“Black Diamond,” which received some airplay, showcased Paul Stanley on 12-string acoustic guitar and lead vocals during the song’s intro. After he yells “Hit it,” drummer Peter Criss takes over the lead. The song slows tempo in the middle and showcases the lead guitar work of Ace Frehley.

At the mastering of the song, the reel to reel deck’s brakes and capstan were disengaged and the power cut to the take up reel giving a very long slow down of the track. A similar effect was used on Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s “Knife Edge” from their debut album. Like “Black Diamond,” “Knife Edge” ended a side giving an unusual ending before the needle lifted off of the platter.

Live Version

In 2003, Kiss appeared live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with a orchestrated version of the song. Three of the original band members appeared on this CD. Ace Frehley, having left the band, was replaced Tommy Thayer who dressed in Frehley’s make-up style. As you can see from the following video, the orchestra, conductor David Campbell, and the Australian Children’s Choir all wore Kiss make-up. It’s a nice rendition of the tune.

Friday, November 25, 2011

David Bowie: Knock on Wood

Although Eddie Floyd co-wrote the song with Steve Cropper and released it originally in 1966, his version only topped the charts at only #28. Years later, Amii Stewart had a number 1 hit with song and I remember vividly playing this hit version at WAMX. Between those releases, David Bowie recorded a live version in 1974 from his LP “David Live.”

In the UK, the song was released as an “A” side with “Panic in Detroit” as the flip; however, in the US, “Knock on Wood” was released as a flip to “Young Americans” – “do you remember your President Nixon?” I really like Bowie’s treatment of this old Stax/Volt classic. If you are wondering who played the killer tenor sax parts, it was the great David Sanborn. I had a chance to meet Sanborn in 1982 when he opened for Al Jarreau in Pittsburgh. A real classy guy.

Other top musicians on this cut include Earl Slick on guitar, Herbie Flowers on bass, Michael Kamen on keys, and Tony Newman on drums. There were others, but those four along with Bowie and Sanborn make up the cast of the better known performers. I’m not sure why RCA didn’t pursue this as an “A” side in the US. It was top 10 hit in the UK and Norway and peaked at 4 in the Republic of Ireland. For our purposes, it is our Friday Flipside.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Neil Diamond: Thank the Lord for the Night Time

Well I can’t prove it, but I remember Neil Diamond’s “Thank the Lord for the Night Time” was used as a commercial bed – I am thinking that is was used for a credit card commercial a few years back. “Thank the Lord for the Night Time” was one of the many hit singles to come from Diamond’s second LP for the BANG label: “Just for You.”

As an aside, BANG was an acronym for the principle owners of the label that included Bert Berns, Ahmet Ertegün, Nesuhi Ertegün, and Gerald (Jerry) Wexler. In addition, their parent organization, Web IV Music, was an acronym of the original owners’ last names Wexler, Ertegün, and Berns. The IV was added as there were four partners. If you notice on the label, the address is the same as Atlantic Records – the company owned by the Ertegün brothers and where Wexler and Berns worked.

I love the production on this record - the rhythm guitar, the drums, the baritone sax, the handclaps, the occasional piano – well, just everything. Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who were Brill Building song writers along with Diamond, produced the album.

When I think of Neil Diamond, I am reminded of one of my professors at Marshall University in the late 1970s. The late Dr. Craig Monroe would expound upon Diamond’s lyrical content; he was probably Diamond's number one fan. I’m not sure what Craig thought of this song, but I am sure that he liked it as well.

Being that today is Thanksgiving, it is fitting that it is our final “thanks” song for this week. “Thank the Lord for the Night Time” peaked on the US charts at #13 during the summer of 1967. Enjoy and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Willaim DeVaughn: Be Thankful For What You Got

Well it took some time to find a song that met the criteria of being a song of thanks and a one-hit-wonder, but have no fear as we dug into the vaults of Roxbury Records for William DeVaughn’s “Be Thankful for What You Got.”

DeVaughn who wrote the song in 1972 invested $900 of his own hard earned money and hired Philadelphia’s Omega Sound team, John Davis and Frank Fioravanti, and the MFSB band to create a hit record sound . . . and they did just did that. Roxbury Records picked up the option in 1974 and two million copies were sold.

While DeVaughn had another R&B hit with “Blood is Thicker than Water,” “Be Thankful for What You Got” was his only Top 40 hit. It charted at #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart. It’s good advice – “Be Thankful for What You Got.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Led Zeppelin: Thank You

From the classic LP, “Led Zeppelin II,” “Thank You” was a song whose lyrics were penned by Robert Plant in honor of his wife Maureen. In fact, it was the first song that Plant authored the entire lyrics. Jimmy Page co-wrote the music.

It is one of Led Zeppelin’s more mellow songs and features Jimmy Page on lead and rhythm 12-string acoustic guitar. He is specifically playing a Vox 12-string acoustic, which was made in Italy by Eko under the Vox brand name.

Bassist John Paul Jones plays a Hammond organ on this track; however, in later concert performances he replaced the organ with a Mellotron. It’s a classic with some tasty acoustic guitar licks from Jimmy Page that helps round out our Thanksgiving week of music.


If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
when mountains crumble to the sea, there would still be you and me.

Kind woman, I give you my all, Kind woman, nothing more.

Little drops of rain whisper of the pain,
Tears of loves lost in the days gone by.
Our love is strong, with you there is no wrong,
together we shall go until we die. My, my, my.
Inspiration's what you are to me, inspiration, look... see.

And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.
Happiness, no more be sad, happiness . . . I'm glad.
If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
If the mountains should crumble to the sea, there would still be you and me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Natalie Merchant: Kind and Generous

We continue our Thanksgiving week of songs. From Natalie Merchant’s second LP “Ophelia,” “Kind and Generous” is often referred to by the hook of the song “thank you.” The video was shot in one day using the crew and performers of a traveling circus.

While the song did not chart in the “Hot 100” per se, it peaked at #18 on the Top 100 airplay chart, #15 on the Top 40 Mainstream chart, #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #1 on the Adult Contemporary Recurrents chart.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bob Marley: Thank You Lord

To kick off the week of Thanksgiving, which occurs in the USA on Thursday, I thought I might use this little known Bob Marley recording of “Thank You Lord” for our Spiritual Sunday song.

While Bob Marley and the Wailers later re-recorded this tune, the original by Bob was recorded in the early 1960s. Since the original recording was not released in the US until many years later, I cannot seem to find an exact date of the original release. It’s a nice little song in the Ska/Reggae tradition. Enjoy.


Thank you, Lord, for what you've done for me.
Thank you, Lord, for what you're doing now.
Thank you, Lord, for ev'ry little thing.
Thank you, Lord, for you made me sing.

Say I'm in no competition,
But I made my decision.
You can keep your opinion.
I'm just calling on the wise man's communion.

Thank you, Lord, for what you've done for me.
Thank you, Lord, for what you're doing now.
Thank you, Lord, for ev'ry little thing.
Thank you, Lord, for you made me sing.

Sing along, sing along.
I don't fear their oppression,
Just to prove my determination.
I don't yield to temptation,
I have learn't my lesson in Revelation.

Thank you, Lord, for what you've done for me.
Thank you, Lord, for what you're doing now.
Thank you, Lord, for ev'ry little thing.
Thank you, Lord, for you made me sing.

Sing along, sing along.

Say I'm in no competition
But I made my decision,
Lord, in my simple way.
Comin', comin', comin', comin'.
I love to pray.

Thank you, Lord, for what you've done for me.
Thank you, Lord, for what you're doing now.
Thank you, Lord, for ev'ry little thing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ten Years After: I'm Going Home

Our Saturday Bubbling Under Song comes from the album “Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More.” The accompanying video of Alvin Lee and Ten Years After come from the motion picture. I remember seeing the movie in the mid 1970s and being fascinated by Alvin’s lightning fast fingers on his Gibson ES-335.

Besides Alvin Lee’s energetic performance, take notice of bassist Leo Lyons pyrotechnics and accompanying percussion on his Fender Jazz Bass. I didn’t remember this from the film and this is probably was because I was mesmerized by Alvin Lee’s technique and speed.

The song also interpolates “Baby Please Don’t,” “Whole Lotta Shaking Going On,” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Going Home” was recorded live on the evening of Sunday, August 17, 1969. Take a listen and watch this great performance by the classic Ten Years After.

Undead Version

A slightly different live version of the same song issued during the previous year on the LP “Undead.” This version provides a little more space for keyboardist Chick Churchill to contribute.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Procol Harum: A Salty Dog

Recorded live in concert in Edmonton, Alberta on November 18, 1971, our Friday Flipside of Procol Harum’s “A Salty Dog” was the “B” side of their hit single “Conquistador.” Released in 1972 from the LP “Procol Harum Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra,” the studio version of “A Salty Dog” was the title cut of Procol Harum’s third album that was released three years earlier in 1969. As Gary Brooker recounts during his introduction of the song, it was the first song they had recorded with an orchestra.

In this live recording, the band was accompanied by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Of the six band members that are credited on this recording, only three had been with the group from the beginning. They included lead vocalist/pianist Gary Brooker, drummer B.J. Wilson, and lyricist Keith Reid. Organist Chris Copping joined the band when Matthew Fisher left the band. He was a member of the prequel to Procol Harum – The Paramounts, which contained Procol Members Brooker, Wilson, Copping, and former guitarist Robin Trower.

Largely influential on the album’s success, the “A” side “Conquistador” charted at #16 on the American charts. “Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra” was Procol Harum’s most successful album and was the only one to be certified gold by the RIAA. It also peaked at #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album chart. Live or Memorex, “A Salty Dog” is one my favorite recordings by the band.


'All hands on deck, we've run afloat!' I heard the captain cry
'Explore the ship, replace the cook: let no one leave alive!'
Across the straits, around the Horn: how far can sailors fly?
A twisted path, our tortured course, and no one left alive

We sailed for parts unknown to man, where ships come home to die
No lofty peak, nor fortress bold, could match our captain's eye
Upon the seventh seasick day we made our port of call
A sand so white, and sea so blue, no mortal place at all

We fired the gun, and burnt the mast, and rowed from ship to shore
The captain cried, we sailors wept: our tears were tears of joy
Now many moons and many Junes have passed since we made land
A salty dog, this seaman's log: your witness my own hand

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ozzy Osbourne: Crazy Train

It’s TV Thursday and Honda took a classic Ozzy Osbourne song and made an amusing commercial for their Pilot SUV. I’ve been wanted to feature this since I saw the commercial the first time several weeks ago, but a good version of the ad had not yet been posted on YouTube. It is now.

My favorite parts of the commercial are the “Aye – aye – aye” and the kid with the cup doing the mock vibra-slap. Despite a lack of Top 40 action on the single (it didn’t even chart in the Hot 100), it is known by just everyone. The song and Ozzy, however, were embraced by Album Radio where “Crazy Train” peaked in 1981 at #9. Somewhere in my vast collection I have a copy of the single and the promotional picture disc.

Honda Pilot Commercial

Honda Pilot Extended Version

To tell you the truth, I liked the :30 second version better, but seeing the full version gives you an idea how a good editor can take a long version of an ad and squeeze it in :30 seconds.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steve Forbert: Romeo's Tune

For one hit wonder Wednesday, we take you back to the beginning of 1980 with Steve Forbert’s only Top 40 hit – “Romeo’s Tune.” When this song was popular, people often compared Forbert as being the next Dylan. Forbert tried to shun all of the comparisons to folk-rock’s iconic songwriter.

I remember playing this tune at WAMX in Ashland, Kentucky where I worked two Saturday shifts. The single charted at #11 and was from Forbert’s second LP, “Jack Rabbit Slim.” While some of his later recordings were critically acclaimed, he never managed to repeat the success of “Romeo’s Tune.”

Live Version


Meet me in the middle of the day
Let me hear you say everything's okay
Bring me southern kisses from your room

Meet me in the middle of the night
Let me hear you say everything's alright
Let me smell the moon in your perfume

Oh, Gods and years will rise and fall
And there's always something more
Lost in talk, I waste my time
And it's all been said before
While further down behind the masquerade
The tears are there
I don't ask for all that much
I just want someone to care

Answer right now

Meet me in the middle of the day
Let me hear you say, everything's okay
Come on out beneath the shining sun

Meet me in the middle of the night
Let me hear you say, everything's alright
Sneak on out beneath the stars and run, yeah

Oh, yeah, yes
Oh, yes

It's king and queen and we must go down round
Behind the chandelier
Where I won't have to speak my mind
And you won't have to hear
Shreds of news and afterthoughts
And complicated scenes
We'll weather down behind the light
And fade like magazines

Meet me in the middle of the day
Let me hear you say, everything's okay
Bring me southern kisses from your room
Hey, hey
Meet me in the middle of the night
Let me hear you say, everything's alright
Let me smell the moon in your perfume
Oh, no
Meet me in the middle of the day
Let me hear you say everything's okay
Let me see you smiling back at me
Meet me in the middle of the night
Let me hear you say, everything's alright
Hold me tight and lovin' love is free

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's A Beautiful Day: Don and Dewey

Well it’s definitely not a traditional song, but the violin is a traditional instrument – and it can rock in the hands of David LaFlamme and “It’s a Beautiful Day.” Since it’s not a traditional song, I’m cooking up a new Tuesday feature called “Tasty Licks Tuesday” as of today.

I’ve been doing the Traditional Tuesday feature for over two years and it is time to retire this trusted friend and try something that’s different. The generic nature of the title will allow for traditional tunes as well as any other genre with “tasty licks” to be served up as appetizer for the rest of your day.

Today’s song was named in honor of fiddler Don “Sugarcane” Harris and his partner Dewey Terry – collectively known as “Don and Dewey” – like the song’s title. Actually parts of this tune sound more like Don and John rather than Don and Dewey. The harmonica is reminiscent of one of Sugarcane Harris’ other collaborators:  John Mayall. Mayall's Bluesbreakers was the venue where I first heard of Harris. LaFlamme’s style on this cut is quite similar to Harris - not quite, but very, very close.

The cut opens their second LP “Marrying Maiden” and It’s a Beautiful Day made no bones about it that they stole the tune from a Deep Purple recording of “Wring that Neck” – a payback to the band since Deep Purple stole their composition “Bombay Calling” for the song “Child in Time” from “Deep Purple in Rock.” “Wring that Neck” came from Purple’s second LP – “The Book of Taliesyn.” Here’s DP’s original.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Spirit: Fresh Garbage

Mélange Monday gives me the opportunity to find music that doesn’t fit any of the predetermined categories for the rest of the week. I thought I’d dip into the well of great 60s album rock with a cut from one of my favorite, but little played bands: Spirit.

The lead cut from the band’s debut LP on Lew Adler’s Ode records was the tune “Fresh Garbage.” I love this tune especially John Locke’s jazz influenced keyboard leads. This band was way ahead of the times in 1968 – very fusion oriented. The song was penned by Jay Ferguson and features he and Randy California on guitars, Mark Andes on bass, and the old man of the band Ed Cassidy on drums. Cassidy was Randy California’s step-father.

The cover of the album was a montage of the five members of the band into one persona – quite “Fresh . . . fresh . . . fresh.”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Michael Omartian: Take Me Down

It’s been a several weeks since I had a spiritual Sunday selection and today’s song takes me back to my first radio gig at WKCC in Grayson, KY in 1974. It was the training ground for a career that lasted 20 years from Grayson to Huntington, WV/Ashland, KY (WEMM, WMUL-FM, & WAMX) to finally Beckley/Oak Hill, WV (WCIR, WOAY, & WWNR). In my current employ, I had the opportunity to host a couple of radio shows for the University on WJLS-AM from 1995-1997 and 2003-2005.

It was an interesting career and small market radio was very, very good to me. Do I miss it, not really – but I frequently dream about it – nightmares of “dead air” actually. In 1974, session musician and producer Michael Omartian released his debut contemporary Christian album “White Horse.”

The album was originally released on ABC-Dunhill; however, when ABC bought out the controlling interest in Word Records in Waco, TX. Omartian’s LP was rereleased on Word’s contemporary label – Myrrh Records. The album we received at the station was on ABC-Dunhill and the single they were pushing was on Myrrh. I don’t remember which cut they were pushing – I think it was either “White Horse” or “Jeremiah,” but “Take Me Down” was the album cut I remember playing.

It is a great album and the production is great, but it does sound like the music of the period – which is not a bad thing. I think that was the main attraction for this particular album – as it fit well with everything that was on the radio in the mid 70s. Omartian’s keyboard work is stellar and he could make a monophonic synthesizer talk. One of the reasons this album sounds great is a number of top studio musicians were on it. “White Horse” features a wonderful solo by guitarist Larry Carlton. Wilton Felder and David Hungate provide the bass. Concert master Sid Sharp does the strings.

I’m not sure I even have a copy of the album. I think I do – but with 15,000 LPs, I cannot say for sure. One of these days, I am going to catalog my collection in my free time. With 20 years in radio, you tend to get a lot of free albums and perhaps when I get some free time I’ll do this – right.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Crosstown Traffic

It’s been a while since I’ve featured any Hendrix and it seems like the perfect morning to feature a little Jimi James sans the Flames. From the classic “Electric Ladyland” album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, “Crosstown Traffic” was a song directed to a young lady that Hendrix was trying to blow off, but she wasn’t getting the message. The lines “You're just like crosstown traffic – so hard to get through to you” speak volumes.

“Crosstown Traffic” was the second US single Reprise released from “Electric Ladyland,” the first being “All Along the Watchtower,” which peaked at #20. “Crosstown Traffic” only charted in the US at #52 and did better in the UK as the third British single charting at #37. I bought my copy (a promotional one at that) at a flea market in 1971 and got the album later in the mid seventies.

Personnel on this recording include the entire Experience with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell who do not appear on the entire album. Each provides backing vocals with the high parts added by Dave Mason who also played 12-string guitar on “All Along the Watchtower.” In addition to Mason, Steve Winwood and Chris Wood from Traffic each play on cuts from this album. To get the unique guitar lead sound, Hendrix used a makeshift kazoo made from a comb and wax paper.


You jump in front of my car when you,
You know all the time that
Ninety miles an hour, girl, is the speed I drive
You tell me it's alright, you don't mind a little pain
You say you just want me to take you for a ride

You're just like crosstown traffic
So hard to get through to you
Crosstown traffic
I don't need to run over you
Crosstown traffic
All you do is slow me down
And I'm tryin' to get on the other side of town

I'm not the only soul who's accused of hit and run
Tire tracks all across your back
I can see you had your fun
But darlin' can't you see my signals turn from green to red
And with you I can see a traffic jam straight up ahead

You're just like crosstown traffic
So hard to get through to you
Crosstown traffic
I don't need to run over you
Crosstown traffic
All you do is slow me down
And I got better things on the other side of town

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Dropkick Murphys: The Green Fields of France

It was the 11th hour of the eleventh day of the 11th month when the Armistice was signed between the Allies and the Central Powers – specifically Germany – ending World War I. That was 1918 and it was the “war to end all wars.” Unfortunately, that was not the case. World War I resulted in World War II and other conflicts – such as issues in the Middle East can be attributed to the carving of the former Ottoman Empire into the countries of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan (then Trans Jordan), Palestine (now Israel), and Turkey.

In addition, the war created Yugoslavia which was fraught with problems and eventually disbanded amidst wars and violence. Germany’s surrender of its colonial holdings gave Japan a foothold in the Mariana Islands when it received Saipan as a spoil of war – leading to a base of operations closer to Pearl Harbor.

In fact most of the problems in the world post 1918 can be indirectly traced to the hand of one man, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, who fired the shot which killed Austro-Hungarian Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand – an action that caused the beginning of World War I or as it was known then, the Great War. In 1999, Time magazine called Princip “the trigger of the 20th century.”

In a blog about music, it is difficult to find a song that deals with the topic of World War I. It is even more difficult to find one to fit our Friday Flipside feature as one. Since I couldn’t I am going to utilize a song by Boston’s Celtic-Punk band – the Dropkick Murphys. In 2005, the band recorded their rendition of Eric Bogle’s “The Green Fields of France” for the LP “The Warrior’s Code.” Bogle was inspired to write the song when traveling across France and seeing the cemeteries dotted with crosses in memory of the war dead. One caught Bogle’s attention, the stone of Irishman Willie McBride of the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. McBride died in 1916 at age 19.

The song has been recorded under three different titles by a wide variety of artists. Besides being known as “The Green Fields of France,” it is also called “Willie McBride” and “No Man’s Land.” Although this particular song has anti-war sentiments, many times in duty to country and honor men and women have gone to war risking their lives for a conflict in which they did not particularly support; however, duty called and they responded. In honor of all the veterans – thanks for your service.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Ramsey Lewis Trio: The "In" Crowd

Well, I spoke to my good friend Ken Miller on the phone yesterday and he asked the question, “What happened, did you quit doing the blog?” Well, I will have to be honest that I’ve been very busy and the blog took a back seat to other priorities in my life. With the gentle prodding from my friend, I felt I needed to get on the stick and write something – and soon. October was pretty much a wash for me, so now that I am (hopefully) back on target, I think I will motivate myself to try and keep up.

It’s TV Thursday and I noticed that one of the Nikon commercials that featured Ashton Kutcher of late featured a hit instrumental from the Ramsey Lewis Trio. “The ‘In’ Crowd” was a top five American hit during the height of Beatlemania and the British Invasion of 1965. The LP of the same name peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart.

The trio featured Ramsey Lewis on piano, bassist Eldee Young, and drummer Isaac "Redd" Holt. Young and Holt left Lewis in 1966 and formed Young-Holt Trio with Don Walker on piano. When Walker was replaced by Ken Chaney, they changed their name to Young-Holt Unlimited and had a #3 hit instrumental in 1968 with “Soulful Strut.”

Lewis’ version was a higher charting cover of Dobie Gray’s hit from the same year. Gray’s original version charted at #13, while The Ramsey Lewis Trio hit #5. It also won the Grammy for the best jazz performance by a small group. The single and album were originally issued on Chess Records’ imprint – “Argo Records.”

Although Chess had used the name for ten years, they changed the label’s identity in 1965 because of a competing label in the United Kingdom had already used the Argo brand. Later pressings of the album and single were released in 1965 under Cadet Records. The Cadet imprint was suspended in 1974 and later reissues were issued on Chess Records.

The inspiration for their jazzy rendition is credited to a suggestion by a coffee shop waitress that the trio should record the song. If this is true, then the rest is history about this classic jazzy hit.

Nikon Coolpix Commercial