Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bobby Caldwell: What You Won't Do For Love

After performing successfully in clubs in Miami, Bobby Caldwell was approached by TK records to sign to an exclusive contract. After his debut album had been recorded, the label felt that the hit potential of the material was questionable and requested that he find another tune and return to the studio. Caldwell and Alfons Kettner collaborated on “What You Won’t Do for Love” and recorded the song.

While the tune wasn’t Caldwell’s choice for the single, the folks at TK were confident that “What You Won’t Do For Love” was the pick and rush released the single on their Clouds subsidiary to R&B radio carefully concealing the fact that Caldwell was white. The song peaked on the R&B charts at #6.

With the success on R&B Radio, “What You Do for Love” crossed over to Top 40 and peaked in 1979 at #9. With the strength of the single, the LP was released under the same title. Promotional copies sent to radio were issued in gold vinyl. Caldwell is featured on lead and backing vocals, bass, keyboards, and guitar. The album peaked on the LP charts at #21.

I remember playing this single on WAMX and enjoying its smooth sounds with horns, funk guitar, a Rhodes piano, and synthesizer. “What You Won’t Do for Love” was Caldwell’s only Top 40 hit although 1980’s “Coming Down from Love” came close at #42.

Another unique promotional item surrounding this hit was that it was released in a limited version of the single that was heart shaped in red vinyl. After seeing the single at the station, I purchased it at one of the local record stores and it become the first of a dozen or so shaped records that I own in my collection. I have another heart shaped single – Yarborough & Peoples’ “Heartbeats.” Enjoy this hit from 1979.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Trevor Jones & Randy Edelman: Promentory

In 1992, Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman were commissioned to compose the music for “The Last of the Mohicans.” One of the better known cuts from the soundtrack is the instrumental “Promentory.” The cut gained some additional exposure when it was used as the bed for a Nike commercial in 2007. A mixture of electronic and traditional instrumentation, it is quite a very nice tune. Towards the end of the ¬tune it fades out into silence and after a few moments it returns to its splendor.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kraftwerk: Radioactivity

Kraftwerk issued their single “Radioactivity” in 1975 and although it was played somewhat on the radio, it failed to chart within the Top 40 in the US; however, it was a number 1 release in France. The Morse code sequence spells R A D I O A C T I V I T Y. The vocal sounds come from the short-lived Vako Orchestron and the bass line is played on a Mini Moog synthesizer. Here’s the single mix of the tune.

The single “Radioactivity” is found on the LP “Radio-Activity” which is intended to have a double meaning – radioactivity and activity on the radio. The album version runs over seven minutes in length and features Geiger counter sounding effects in the intro.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Neko Case: Wayfaring Stranger

From her 2004 album “The Tigers have Spoken,” Neko Case is our Spiritual Sunday artist today. She provides her rendition of the old 18th century spiritual “Wayfaring Stranging” – one of my all time favorite folk songs.

The choir invisible found on this recording was the audience at the third IdeaCity Conference in 2004. They really sound good on this cut and when they break through that first time it is really a pleasant surprise the first time you hear it.

Neko is accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and a banjo. I love the banjo work on this version. I first learned of this talented lady through the Tenor Guitar list as she is a proponent of the four string instrument in both the acoustic and electric varieties. If you are not familiar with her work, check her out.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Splitz Enz: I Got You

Some of my international friends won’t understand my placing Split Enz single “I Got You” in the bubbling under category for this Saturday; however, the answer is simple. While this single was a number one record in Australia and the band’s home country of New Zealand, it only peaked at #53 in 1980. I’m not sure where I heard this song first, but it probably wasn’t played on the radio here. I may have heard it in this little record store in Barboursville, WV that carried the most interesting records.

Come to think of it, I may have just purchased it based on a whim – I would do that with singles as it wasn’t a big investment. I remember buying it in Barboursville back before the Huntington Mall opened. I got it home, placed it on the turntable and loved every minute of it. It still holds up 31 years later. Several of the members of Split Enz went on to form Crowded House – another band that I liked in the 80s. In fact, when I was younger and had a much higher range, I used to sing their hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

“I Got You” has great synthesizer work by Eddie Raynor and Neil Finn’s guitar reminds me of Elliot Easton of The Cars. Tim Finn sang lead on this one and his brother Neil added the backup vocals. It’s music literally from the other side of the world.

I am not sure if their LP “True Colors” was the first album to be released with multiple covers; however, if it isn’t, it probably is the one that had the most covers – nine to be exact. I am told that it was the first album that came with laser etched vinyl. There were several releases in the early eighties that copied this technique. It was quite unique and beautiful to behold. I’m a sucker for weird shaped, colored, and etched vinyl – so yes, I have a copy of the LP.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fleetwood Mac: Gold Dust Woman

Here’s one you don’t hear much anymore – Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” the flipside of “You Make Lovin’ Fun.” It was a double female single as the “A” side was a Christine McVie vehicle, while “Gold Dust Woman” is pure Stevie Nicks. I had this picked out for today before I saw that Stevie Nicks was going to be performing on “Good Morning America” today.

I never got to see Fleetwood Mac in concert, but I saw Stevie Nicks during her “Bella Donna” tour in 1982. While my seats weren’t the best in the world (it was a last minute decision to go), I could still experience Stevie in all of her wardrobe glory. I swear that she did more costume changes that night than Imelda Marcos had shoes.

The song was featured on their best selling album “Rumors” from 1977. “Rumours” was not only a #1 record in the English speaking world – it was certified 19 times platinum in the US, 13 times platinum in Australia, and 11 times platinum in the UK.

The album produced four singles in the US and the worst that any of them performed was the pre-album release of “Go Your Own Way”/”Silver Spring” that charted at #10. “You Make Lovin’ Fun,” the fourth and final single from “Rumours,” peaked at #9.

It’s a great song – of course most of anything Stevie Nicks does is good, but it is not her performance that seals the deal for me. It is Mick Fleetwood’s drumming (and cowbell) and the overlaying of guitars by Lindsey Buckingham. One guitar is processed through a phase shifter with the sweep turned down to a real slow setting. I wonder how many guitar parts are layered on this cut – it’s impossible for me to count.

As for Stevie’s vocals, Mick Fleetwood related that it took her eight takes to get the vocals right. According to his book My Life and Adventures in Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood described Nicks’ demeanor during the early morning session as she was “hunched over in a chair, alternately choosing from her supply of tissues, a Vicks inhaler, a box of lozenges for her sore throat, and a bottle of mineral water.”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Queen: Crazy Little Thing Called Love

This was one of those busy weeks where I haven’t thought much about what I was going to feature on Reading Between the Grooves – that is, except Monday’s post on The Zombies’ “She’s Not There.” I had run out of commercial tunes and hadn’t heard anything exciting on TV that I wanted to feature, that is until Monday evening.

When I got home from work that night, the family was watching Dr. Who and it was the episode that contained Amy’s wedding where the raggedy Doctor returns during the reception. He dances wildly to that great rockabilly number recorded by Queen – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

I loved this tune from the first time I played it at WAMX in 1979. It was a number one record in the US, Australia, and The Netherlands. It peaked at #2 in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand. The single was certified gold in the US and UK. Brian May is not playing his signature home-made guitar on this tune, but rather a Fender Telecaster.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Brewer and Shipley: One Toke Over The Line

This was not my original selection for today, but yesterday, a friend of mine brought up Brewer and Shipley’s only Top 40 hit. Peaking at #10 in 1971, “One Toke over the Line” was from Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley’s third album “Tarkio.”

While “Toke” was a drug culture reference, a number of people who were not aware of this connotation thought that the reference to “Sweet Jesus” qualified it as a gospel song. When I worked for WEMM in Huntington, WV from 1977 to 1981, we had a local gospel album from a group from Hurricane, WV. They featured the song on their album. Even Lawrence Welk called it a modern day spiritual after it was performed on his show. It sounds like Larry was hitting the bubbly a little too much.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Donovan: Tangerine Puppet

Released on his 19th birthday, Donovan’s debut album was known as “What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid” in the UK and “Catch the Wind” in the US. Hickory Records, which held the license from Pye Records in the UK, opted to change the name to match the single release.

On the LP is a short finger style instrumental named “Tangerine Puppet.” I heard this song for the first time on Pandora last week. I thought it might be a nice tune to feature on Traditional Tuesday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reanimating The Zombies: She's Not There

About a month ago I was watching the movie “Kill Bill, Volume 2” and I noticed the late Malcolm McLaren’s interpretation of The Zombies’ hit “She’s not There.” Since the first line of the tune is accentuated in McLaren’s version, he named his rendition as “About Her.” As this version is quite different, I wondered how many other interpretations of this classic oldie from August 1964. Until recently, I was only familiar with the original and the remake by Santana.

As I began to investigate, I found a slew of releases that were radically different from the original hit by The Zombies. All were different and they all had redeeming value. While I couldn’t find all of the different versions of the song, I am including a dozen different renditions of the tune.

The Zombies 1964 Original

Although released in the US as a single in 1964 on Parrot Records, The Zombies self titled album was issued in January 1965 and also featured their follow-up hit “Tell Her No.”

All of The Zombies hits in the US did better in North America than in their native Britain. “She’s Not There” peaked at 2 in the US and Canada and was their biggest hit in the UK peaking at #12.

“She’s not There” was the second song written by Rod Argent whose use of a Hohner Pianet gives the song it’s unique flavor. Colin Blunstone sang the lead on this cut.

Psychodelic Zombies

When Vanilla Fudge released their debut album in 1967, they included a psychedelic rendition of The Zombies hit. Mark Stein provided the lead vocals as well as the thundering Hammond B3 organ on this recording.

The band was rounded out by Carmine Appice on drums, Tim Bogert on bass, and Vince Martell on guitar.

Garage Band Zombies

In 1968, The Litter, a Minneapolis garage band with grunge/psychedelic leanings, released their rendition of “She’s Not There.” The recording on Warwick Records was from the band’s second album “$100 Fine.”

The keyboard lead is reminiscent of the Ray Manzarek’s lead on The Doors’ “Light my Fire,” which was issued the previous year. Denny Waite is the keyboardist. Bill Strandlof’s guitar style is also influenced by The Doors’ Robbie Krieger. Jim Morrison would have fit in well with this little known band from the Upper Midwest. You betcha.

Early Progressive Zombies

The album version of the 1969 single release of “She’s Not There” by The Road features a short prelude called “Follow the Less Traveled Road.” While the song starts out much like the original, the chorus is extended vocally and has some interesting kicks. The Hammond B3 organ lead is, as they say in the vernacular, “outta sight.” The vocals are really good on this one as well.

This version was a local hit in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the label credits the wrong Zombie, Chris White, as writing the song.

The Remade Zombies

In 1969, Deram Records introduced singer Neil MacArthur to the world with a remake of “She’s Not There.” The single peaked at 34 in the UK. The arrangement is quite different from the original with acoustic guitar, distorted guitar, flute, and orchestra.

If the vocals sound interestingly familiar, they should Neil MacArthur was actually The Zombies' lead vocalist Colin Blunstone.

Latin Zombies

When Santana released their 1977 remake of The Zombies classic, it was their first hit to chart within the Top Forty since 1972. It peaked in the US at #27.

From Santana’s album “Moonflower,” it features the legendary leads of Carlos Santana and Greg Walker on vocals.

Punk Zombies

Released during the height of the Punk Rock movement in 1979, the UK Subs released the song as their third single. This British punk band’s version charted in the UK at #36. I love how this version ends – rather abruptly.

Acting like a Zombie

An interesting interpretation of this tune was released by actor Tim Curry in 1981. It is a different but interesting (in a good way) version of “She’s Not There.”

It comes from Curry’s album “Simplicity.” You can hear his command of his spoken word in this version.

Techno-Pop Zombies

A very nice techno-pop release of Rod Argent’s tune was issued in 1983 by the band Panic. This one comes from a 12 inch maxi-single. The 12” singles were primarily used in club play; however, radio occasionally played these remixes.

Indie Zombies

Australian indie rock band, The Cruel Sea, recorded their jazz influenced version of this timeless hit. Parts of the piano reminds me of Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island." It was used on the soundtrack to the motion picture “Boys” and was released in 1996.

Mashuped Zombies

This is the version that started it all for me - Malcolm McClaren’s mashup of Bessie Smith’s recording of St. Louis Blues and McLaren’s use of portions of “She’s Not There’s” lyrics. It gained in popularity for its use in “Kill Bill, Volume 2.”

Dual Zombies

Recorded in 2011 for the opening of the fourth season of HBO’s “True Blood,” Nick Cave and Neko Case combined talents for a highly interesting version of The Zombies’ debut hit. In comparing the talents of Case and Cave, one poster to YouTube called it a “perfect marriage between heaven and hell.” Like all of the other versions, I like this one as well - especially the accordion leads.

Surfin' Zombies

When you think of surf instrumentals – typically, you think of California and the groups that made the genre popular: Dick Dale and the Del-Tones, The Ventures, The Chantays, and others that came along a generation later like the Raybeats. We typically don’t think of Italy. Cosmonauti was a surf instrumental band from Rome. Here’s their 2003 rendition of “She’s Not There” from their LP “Bikini Angel.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Lovell Sisters: One Day I Walk

I just discovered the Lovell Sisters last night while browsing YouTube. I am saddened by two things – one, that I didn’t get to know of them earlier; and second, that the group is no longer together. The core of the group was three sisters: Jessica on fiddle, Rebecca on mandolin and guitar, and Megan on Dobro® and lap steel guitar.

In 2005, the sisters won the Prairie Home Companion National Teen Talent Competition. In 2006, youngest sister Rebecca was the only female and the youngest person (at 15) to win an instrument competition at MerleFest. She was the winner of the mandolin title.

Our Spiritual Sunday selection, “One Day I Walk” was performed live at the 2009 Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee. It was written by Bruce Cockburn whose Christian content is often cryptically found in some of his compositions. This is one of those tunes that you have to listen for the message – it’s there, but not overtly present.

The Lovell Sisters have an excellent interpretation of this tune – much better than Bruce’s original which I featured last year along with k.d. lang’s version. For an acoustic band, they produce a lot of sound. I particularly like Megan’s Dobro® and Daniel Kimbro’s arco bass on this tune.

As mentioned previously, The Lovell Sisters as a band are no more. Oldest sister Jessica Lovell announced at the end of 2009 that she was leaving the group as she planned to marry and she wanted to enter college. Younger sisters Megan and Rebecca continued their musical journey by forming a new band by the name of Larkin Poe and have recorded four EPs. They are also touring regularly.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Eric Clapton: Let it Rain

Although Polydor Records had a small presence in the US during the late 1960s, most of its catalog was released through agreements with other labels. In some cases, Atlantic picked up the option for the Polydor product and these releases often were found issued on their ATCO and Cotillion imprints.

It was not unusual to see the terminology on these recordings listing: “A Product of Polydor-England.” Many of the Clapton related LPs had this designation; however, others including his first solo album listed “By arrangement with the Robert Stigwood Organization, LTD.” These two disclaimers indicated that the recordings were owned by someone else and licensed for release in the United States.

By 1972, Polydor and Phonogram merged to become Polygram. When this occurred, Polydor immediately had its own pressing, distribution, A&R, promotion, sales, and advertising staff in place in the form of Mercury Records, Phonogram’s primary US label. With Polydor now as a fully functional label in the US, no longer was a licensing arrangement necessary.

The switch of the Clapton and related catalog from ATCO seems pretty amicable, as Polydor initially released new compilation albums in North America so as not to directly compete with the original titles offered by ATCO.

In time, the ATCO records ceased being pressed and Polydor began pressing the original LPs with their own imprint. This was a great time to get some back catalog Clapton material as the cutout bins were flooded with albums by Cream, Blind Faith, Clapton, Derek and the Dominoes, and others.

The confusion didn’t stop there, as Robert Stigwood, Clapton’s manager started RSO Records in 1973 and the Clapton LPs were later moved from the Polydor imprint to RSO Records. The craziness continued as RSO originally was distributed by Atlantic, so once again Atlantic was pressing Clapton’s material only on the RSO label.

Until . . . Stigwood attempted to run a fully independent label and provided his own distribution. Again, the Clapton LPs went to the cutout bin. Finally, Stigwood moved distribution over to Polydor (back again with the Clapton material) and then later to Polydor’s parent company Polygram. When Stigwood sold the label to Polydor in 1981, all of the material was re-released on the Polydor label again.

What’s this have to do with our bubbling under song “Let it Rain?” Since that song was originally found on Eric Clapton’s self-titled debut album, there are numerous versions of the vinyl release of the album in the US. They include the following label configurations:
  • ATCO
  • Polydor
  • RSO, distributed by Atlantic
  • RSO (as an independent label)
  • RSO, distributed by Polydor
  • RSO, distributed by Polygram
  • Polydor (again)

Only an obsessive compulsive die-hard Clapton collector would have every one of these iterations. I imagine there is someone out there like this. Some of the short lived versions (such as the original Polydor) will be worth more than the original ATCO pressing because few of these LPs were pressed in comparison.

With Polydor’s effort to begin recouping their investment in the Clapton catalog, they issued the “Let it Rain” single from their new Clapton compilation: “Eric Clapton at His Best.” It was 1972, and I bought this single. Interestingly enough, the other single from the first Clapton LP, “After Midnight” had the same song on the flipside, “Easy Now.” Although “Let it Rain” was issued to promote the new compilation, and not its original LP.

The song was intended to do what ATCO had done earlier in the year with their Eric Clapton compilation, “The History of Eric Clapton.” Its release invigorated the Derek and the Dominoes cut “Layla” and a full 7:10 minute version of the single was released.

The previous year, ATCO had released a 2:43 version of the song to support “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.” I have both versions (talk about obsessive-compulsive). Despite having different lengths and realistically supporting two different albums, both singles were issued under the same catalog number – ATCO 45-6809 and both were credited to the original LP. The first attempt charted at #51, while the full-length version peaked at #10.

Likewise, Polydor hoped that the issuance of “Let it Rain” as a single would boost the new album’s sales. Unfortunately, I believe the public was Claptoned out in 1972 and “Let it Rain” only charted at #48 making a fitting Saturday Bubbling Under Hit. “Bell Bottom Blues” b/w “Little Wing” were issued as a single by Polydor in 1973 to also support “Eric Clapton at His Best.” Although I later bought a used copy of “At His Best,” I got both singles upon release.

I always thought that the vocals on the verse of this tune sounded more like George Harrison and not Eric Clapton. They two shared a symbiotic relationship musically and even shared the same wife too – but not simultaneously.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Bee Gees: I Can't See Nobody

For our Friday Flipside, we feature a Bee Gees’ song from 1967: “I Can’t See Nobody.” It was the “B” side of their first American (and British) single, “New York Mining Disaster 1941.” If that title doesn’t ring a bell, that top 15 hit had the following lyrics: “Have you seen my wife, Mr. Jones? Do you know what it’s like on the outside? Don’t go talking too loud - you’ll cause a landside, Mr. Jones.” It is one of those tunes where the title is never mentioned in the lyrics.

While the “A” side was the hit, the flip has the obvious hook: “I Can’t See Nobody.” The hook and its corresponding title have bothered grammarians since its release. Which begs the question, “When did double negatives become verboten in English?”

In many languages, double negatives connote a strong negative – not a negation of the negative completely. In the lingua franca of the hoi polloi, we use double negatives in the same sense. When communicating danger to our children, we often us “no, NO!” as an emphatic warning. What do we tell children when they do something wrong, they did a “no no.” It isn’t just a “no,” but rather it is a “no no.”

Grammar aside, it’s a haunting song. There ain’t nobody who does it better – no, none.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Red Rider: Lunatic Fringe

TV Thursday takes us back to 2001 when Microsoft debuted the Windows XP operating system. At that time, they promoted the new offering with a commercial bed that featured Canada’s Red Rider. The song was their 1981 recording “Lunatic Fringe.” Only the instrumental bed was used for the commercials.

Although the song was immensely popular on both album and contemporary hit radio, it failed to chart even within Billboard’s Hot 100. Even the album, “As Far As Siam” didn’t make a dent into the Top 200 LP charts; however, it did place in the Pop Album chart at #65.

Tom Cochrane wrote the song about a rise in anti-Semitism that was occurring in the late 70s and early 80s. Prior to writing the song, he had read a book about the Holocaust. The lead guitar is actually Kenny Greer playing a lap steel.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

T. Rex: Bang A Gong (Get It On)

In their native UK, T. Rex (formerly known as Tyrannosaurus Rex) had 17 Top 40 hits. Four of their recordings peaked at the top spot and four landed at number two. Across the Irish Sea, T Rex garnished 10 Top 40 hits that included six number one records. In North America, their success was limited to one Top 40 hit. “Bang a Gong (Get it On)” charted at 10 in the US and 12 in Canada. That was it for T Rex.

The 1971 album release of “Electric Warrior,” however, was not the band’s most popular US album release. That honor falls to the 1972 follow-up, “The Slider” which charted at #17. “Electric Warrior,” hit single and all, only peaked at #32. It’s been a while since I listened to this LP, but I had done “Bang a Gong” in several bands in the 80s after the Power Station covered the song. My interpretation was more like the Marc Bolan’s original.

I only have three of the band’s LPs – “Electric Warrior,” “A Beard of Stars,” and “T. Rex.” The unique depiction of Bolan playing his Les Paul in front of a Marshall stack with an extruded glow was designed by Hipgnosis. The art group designed nearly 200 covers and is probably best known for their work on nearly all of the Pink Floyd albums.

By the way, the saxophone on this track was provided by Ian McDonald formerly of King Crimson, McDonald and Giles, and Foreigner.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks: Milk Shakin' Mama

Here’s a classic TV cut from the Flip Wilson Show from 1972 with one of my favorite bands – Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. “Milk Shakin’ Mama” was from the band’s second (and best in my opinion) album: “Where’s the Money.” This is the classic lineup of the band as well with Sid Page on violin , Jaime Leopold on bass, John Girton on guitar and of course “The Lickettes”: Naiomi Eisenberg and Maryann Price. This originally aired on September 28, 1972.

“Where’s the Money” was my first Dan Hicks’ LP and I suppose I have four or five more. They are hard to classify – perhaps an acoustic throwback to the 1940s with a hint of bad humor. Who would want anything else? Sid Page plays a mean violin on this cut. Naomi Eisenberg also plays fiddle, but is not featured on this cut.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Robert Palmer: Every Kinda People

It’s Mélange Monday and today’s feature is Robert Palmer’s first US hit – “Every Kinda People.” This tune was written by Andy Fraser who was the original bassist for Free and later went on to form Sharks. While “All Right Now” was Fraser’s best known composition, “Every Kinda People” ranks second.

While “Every Kinda People” didn’t chart in the Top 40 of Palmer’s native UK (it peaked at #53), it was a North American hit that charted at #12 in Canada and peaked at #16 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #22 on the Adult Contemporary charts. It was first of three singles from Palmer’s “Double Fun” LP and the only one to chart.

The original single mix on this tune is as near to perfect as any song ever recorded. Most folks reference the bass styling of Bob Babbitt who has played on countless numbers of hit records. That’s only a part of the mystique of “Every Kinda People.” The funk guitar, clavinet, and steel drums all contribute to the overall sound of this recording. This track was produced by Palmer himself.

1989 Remix

For his compilation LP, “Addictions Volume I,” Palmer remixed the tune and extended its length with the addition of an acoustic guitar and percussion. There are also additional synthesizer parts that he added as well. While this mix is good, I still think the original has more magic .


Said the fight to make ends meet
Keeps a man upon his feet
Holding down his job
Trying to show he can't be bought

It takes every kind of people
To make what life's about
Every kind of people
To make the world go 'round

Someone's looking for a lead
In his duty to a King or creed
Protecting what he feels is right
Fights against wrong with his life

There's no profit in deceit
Honest men know that
Revenge does not taste sweet
Whether yellow, black or white
Each and every man's the same inside

It takes every kind of people
To make what life's about
Every kind of people
To make the world go 'round

You know that love's the only goal
That could bring a peace to any soul
Hey, and every man's the same
He wants the sunshine in his name

It takes every kind of people
To make what life's about
Every kind of people
To make the world go 'round

It takes every kind of people
To make what life's about
Every kind of people
To make the world go 'round.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eva Cassidy: Wade In The Water

Eva Cassidy was one of those talents who was rarely known outside of her region until her untimely death in 1996. She had recorded three albums; however, she died of complications of melanoma at the age of 33 before her third album “Eva by Heart” was released. The pothumous recording was her only studio release and features her rendition of the classic spiritual “Wade in the Water.”

In 1998, a compilation of her recordings under the title of “Songbird” was released. The album caught the attention of Terry Wogan of BBC-2 in 2000 and his playing and promotion of the LP rocketed to the number one slot on the British album charts. It was also certified six times platinum in the UK. While her recordings have not attracted audience stateside as in the UK, “Songbird” sold 500,000 copies to become certified gold in the US. “Wade in the Water” is also on that particular LP.

It is unfortunate that her life was taken so shortly from us; however, we are fortunate to at least have her recordings to remember her by.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Alice Cooper: Under My Wheels

Well, I don’t believe I’ve ever featured “the Coop” on Reading Between the Grooves, so a bubbling under hit by one of the musical descendants of Screaming Jay Hawkins is apropos at this point. Alice Cooper made his/their foray into fame by being the band in the motion picture “Diary of a Mad Housewife.” While “the Coop” and company had already realized two LPs for Frank Zappa’s Straight Records at this time, it was a year before Warner Brothers picked up their first popular LP “Love it To Death.”

“Under my Wheels” was one of the two singles from the band’s fourth LP “Killer,” which was released in 1971. Neither song made the Top 40, so both would qualify as bubbling under hits. “Under my Wheels” peaked at #59 on the US charts. The song was written by band members Michael Bruce (guitar and Keyboards) and Dennis Dunaway (bass) and producer Bob Ezrin who played keyboards on this LP. Extra lead guitar on this cut was provided by Rick Derringer no less.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Santana: Taboo

I am about twelve hours late on my post for today. Last evening while researching this song, I opened a web page that proceeded to load malware on my computer – it was a multi-faceted attack that disabled McAfee (which never caught it), disabled Google Chrome, attempted to rewrite my boot-sector (which Adaware stopped), changed my permissions, began to write numerous files to fill up the hard-drive, and locked out my wireless connection.

So, on my lunch hour, I am putting forth my selection for today. I don’t dare miss one, as if I have my math correct, I will celebrate my second anniversary of “Reading Between the Grooves” at the same time as my 700th post. That’s kind of exciting; so in the midst of “downtime,” I am attempting to keep on keeping on.

Today’s Friday Flipside is Santana’s third LP with is called either “Santana” or “Santana III.” It was the B side to “No One to Depend On,” which charted at #36 in 1971. I remember purchasing this single as I loved the A side, but “Taboo” is an excellent tune as well that features the vocals and keyboards of Greg Rollie.

Watch out for those taboo web sites folks. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Allman Brothers: Melissa

Our TV Thursday feature is the musical bed for the Cingular/AT&T Wireless commercial: The Allman Brothers’ “Melissa.” The song was originally recorded by 31st of February for their second album after Duane and Gregg Allman had joined the band. The song was co-written by Gregg Allman and Steve Alaimo, the session’s producer.

The song was inspired by a mother calling her little girl who got away from her in a grocery store. Although recorded in 1968, the original was not released until 1972 when it appeared on an album called Duane and Gregg Allman.

The version with which most are familiar is found on the classic “Eat a Peach” album by the Allman Brothers. This version was recorded by Allman Brothers following Duane Allman’s death. Dicky Betts provides the lead guitar.

31st of February Version

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mike Nesmith & The First National Band: Joanne

The first person to leave The Monkees, that contrived TV musical concoction, was Michael Nesmith. When he exited three years prior to the expiration of his contract, Mike was required to pay a whopping $450K in restitution. His first project after The Monkees was with the First National Band and the album “Magnetic South.”

While not Nesmith’s first solo performance, as he had numerous singles before the Monkees and his “Wichita Train Whistle Sings” project, it was his only solo recording that charted within the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100. The First National Band consisted of the following musicians: Red Rhodes on pedal steel guitar, John Ware on drums, and John London on bass.

This 1970 release of Joanne charted at #21 and the album placed at #143 on the album charts. I have this LP which was pressed on RCA’s Dynaflex vinyl – the thin process that used less material in production as a cost cutting move. You can nearly fold a record before it snaps . . . yes, Virginia, it becomes Dynabreak. Some audiophiles think that there is a poor frequency response on some of the Dynaflex releases.

My copy was used, but its tonality was a little thinner than what I expected. When I carted my copy up to play as an oldie on WCIR, I remember having to add some bass to the recording. It’s an early example of country-rock and showcases the vocal abilities of Nesmith. There is something in the mix that doesn’t sit well with me – I think it may be tremolo used on the bass.  Whatever it is, it's muddying up the sound. Be that as it may, it is a great cut.

Although Mike had many hits with The Monkees, this was his only solo hit - making it his one hit wonder.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ralph McTell: Old Brown Dog

I suppose that this song is a moral story about how people and dogs are much the same – sometimes we appear to have outlived our usefulness; however, we somehow have one last hurrah even in the face of adversaries. Although Ralph McTell sings of an “Old Brown Dog” who is slated to be euthanized, the dog returns to youthful activities and he dies a natural death as his heart ceased its function.

It’s a sad song, but it has a positive ending that the dog went in his own time on his own terms. Something , I hope I get to do and not someone else making that decision for me. The song comes from McTell’s 1971 LP “You Well Meaning Brought Me Here.” I first heard this from a guy who lived in my college dorm. He worked at the local radio station (WGOH) and he procured it as they were ditching some albums.

I got my copy in a similar fashion as WMUL at Marshall University was doing some spring cleaning in 1979. “You Well Meaning Brought Me Here” was headed for the trash heap and I rescued this classic folk-rock LP from a true legend – Ralph McTell.

The song feature the piano of Rick Wakeman and a trio of musicians who would later join Elton John’s band: Davey Johnstone, Caleb Quaye, and Roger Pope. Johnstone plays the very tasteful mandolin parts. The guitar solo that takes the tune out was provided by Caleb Quaye. Its unique tone is courtesy of a Leslie rotating speaker cabinet. Pope, as he would with Elton, handled the back beat.


That old brown dog sleeps in the rain,
Unless the sun has shone.
That old brown dog is all alone,
Since Old Bill been gone.
And sleeping in the rain
Only gives a dog a bad name.
If Bill were alive
Well I know he would decide
To have the same thing done.
That old brown dog he smells so bad,
Say the people from the town.
That old brown dog is almost lame,
Someone should put him down.
It would be an act of kindness,
You know it's for the best.
You bring a rope, bring a gun,
And it'll all be over
Before the dog can guess.
Could an old brown dog have become wise
Guessed they were all after him.
His hearing was failing, and his eyes
Were fast growing dim.
On the day they came to kill him
He sensed a rabbit on a log.
Did anybody see a rabbit
Chased across the meadows
By an old brown dog.
That old brown dog, tail wagging,
As he laid himself down.
It did not seem to matter,
That the rabbit had long gone to ground.
And there in the summer heat,
His old heart ceased to beat.
And high above the meadow
The skylarks singing
As the spark went out.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Justin Hayward & John Lodge: Blue Guitar

My two favorite members of the Moody Blues, Justin Hayward and John Lodge, released their collaboration “Blue Jays”; however, the second single, “Blue Guitar,” did not originally appear on the LP. It was, however, included on the 1987 CD reissue. Even though “Blue Guitar” was credited to both Hayward and Lodge, John Lodge did not appear on the single.

The personnel on “Blue Guitar” was actually Justin Hayward and 10cc. Hayward sang lead vocals and played lead guitar. The 10cc lineup included Lol Creme on guitar, Graham Gouldman on bass, Eric Stewart on keyboards, and Kevin Godley on drums. All four 10cc members contributed back-up vocals.

 The “Blue Jays” LP did quite well charting at #4 on the UK LP charts and #16 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums. “Blue Guitar” performed better in the UK making the top 10 at #8; however, the US release barely scratched the surface by charting at only 94.

On the picture sleeve, the artwork depicted an artist’s rendition of Hayward’s red Gibson ES-335 done up in blue. At the time, Gibson did not have blue as a production color for this particular model. Upon seeing the picture sleeve, a Gibson exec ordered that a custom ES-335 be made up in blue and it was later presented to Justin Hayward.

Beale Street Blue & Pelham Blue ES-335 Models
Since then, Gibson has offered this guitar model in three hues of the color: Pelham blue, translucent blue, and Beale Street blue.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Roy Buchanan: Wayfaring Pilgrim

In 1973, the late Roy Buchanan released his “Second Album,” which featured his instrumental treatment based on the spiritual “Wayfaring Stranger.” Roy titled his instrumental as “Wayfaring Pilgrim.” We don’t usually play instrumentals on our Spiritual Sunday feature, but this one fits. I have included a live version from German TV’s “Rockpalast.” A studio version from the “Second Album” is also provided for continuity’s sake.

Elliot Easton of The Cars placed Buchanan’s “Second Album” at number 9 on his top 12 most influential guitar recordings of all time. Others on his list include The Beatles; Les Paul and Mary Ford; Charlie Christian; Taj Mahal; John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton; Bloomfield, Kooper, and Stills; The Jimi Hendrix Experience; Robert Johnson; Wes Montgomery; and others. Easton’s opinion of the “Second Album” is summed in the following statement: “As a fan of what can be done with the Telecaster, this album pretty much shows you all you need to know. It’s a hair-raising record.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Donovan: Riki Tiki Tavi

Donovan’s “Riki Tiki Tavi,” our bubbling under song from 1970, was one I remember hearing quite a bit on Pittsburgh’s KQV radio during that year. I can’t say that I’ve ever heard it anywhere else – but that was back in the days before radio became akin to McDonalds and Wal-Mart’s mission of one size fits all. This is certainly how radio developed from the late 1970s onward. I liked the old days, as there was more variety.

“Riki Tiki Tavi” charted at #55 and was on his “Open Road” LP, which featured the band of the same name that included Mike Thompson on bass, Mike O’Neill on keyboards, and John Carr on drums.

It is also the first album that Donovan produced. His previous recordings were produced by Mickie Most. Most produced a host of 60s & 70s musicians such as The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Jeff Beck, and Suzi Quatro.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Beatles: You Can't Do That

Today’s Friday flipside, “You Can’t Do That,” was scheduled to be released as The Beatles’ March 1964 “A” side that is until they recorded “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which EMI released as the single.

“You Can’t Do That” was relegated to the flip side, and although not the “A” side, it generated enough airplay to chart at #33 in Canada and #48 in the US. Of course, “Can’t Buy Me Love” was a number one record in the US, the UK, Australia, The Netherlands, and Sweden. In Canada, it placed in the top five peaking at #3.

While “You Can’t Do That” appeared on the “Hard Day’s Night” soundtrack in the UK, it was on “The Beatles’ Second Album” here in the US. The song was the second recorded with the electric 12-string Rickenbacker guitar given to George Harrison by the manufacturer in 1964.

It was second model built by the company and George’s use in “Hard Day’s Night” had a profound effect on Roger (Jim) McGuinn of the Byrds. McGuinn would become the best known owner of the instrument. McGuinn influenced others including Tom Petty to play the 12-string Rickenbacker. The gift valued at $900 in 1964 paid off in greater dividends for the company.

George Harrison’s 12-string Rick was actually first used on “Can’t Buy Me Love,” but it was buried in the mix and not easily heard; however, you can hear it on “You Can’t Do That.” John Lennon, who sang the tune, also played the lead guitar on “You Can’t Do That.” Ringo’s cowbell adds to the tune’s overall charisma.

Hard Day’s Night Outtake

Originally scheduled to appear in the film “Hard Day’s Night,” the video was cut from the film, but later was played on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Live Version

Two Rickenbacker guitars, a Hofner bass, Ludwig drums, Vox Amps, and Sennheiser mikes – You can’t get better than that.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Canned Heat: Let's Work Together

Last week, I noticed the new Blackberry Playbook commercial on TV and was surprised and elated to hear Canned Heat’s “Let’s Work Together” as the ad’s bed. The song was written by Wilbert Harrison (of “Kansas City” fame) and was a reworking of his 1962 single, “Let’s Stick Together.” When Harrison released “Let’s Work Together” in 1969, it was a mid charting hit. Harrison was billed as Wilbert Harrison One Man Band. The song peaked in 1970 at #32.

Upon hearing Harrison’s version, Canned Heat recorded their now classic cover of Harrison’s original. It featured Bob “The Bear” Hite on lead vocals and Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson on slide guitar. Liberty Records released it as a single and the Canned Heat version did slightly better than Harrison’s original by charting at #26. Like other Canned Heat recordings, it’s a gem from one of America’s premier white blues bands. “Let’s Work Together” appeared on their fifth LP "Future Blues."

Canned Heat: Studio Version

Canned Heat: Live Version

Dig the crazy Orange brand amps & cabinets from England. I always wanted one, but alas – I probably will never own one and really no need to have one.

In 2001, they introduced a practice model called “the Orange Crush,” the smaller “Tiny Terror,” and an even smaller “Micro Crush.” All in their signature orange Tolex – very cool indeed.

Wilbert Harrison: “Let’s Work Together” 1969

Wilbert Harrison: “Let’s Stick Together” 1962

And don't forget to boogie, boogie.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Roger Daltrey: Without Your Love

With The Who, Roger Daltrey sang on a number of hit singles. Sixteen of The Who’s singles charted within the Top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 and include the following:
  • “Happy Jack,” #24
  • “I Can See For Miles,” #9
  • “Call Me Lightning,” #40
  • “Magic Bus,” #25
  • “Pinball Wizard,” #19
  • “I’m Free,” #37
  • “Summertime Blues,” #27
  • “See Me, Feel Me,” #12
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” #15
  • “Behind Blue Eyes,” #34
  • “Join Together,” “#17
  • “Relay,” #39
  • “Squeeze Box,” #16
  • “Who Are You,” #14
  • “You Better You Bet,” #18
  • “Athena,” #28

Even though Daltry had these hits under his belt, he only had one hit under his own name. Released in 1980 and from the “McVicar” soundtrack, “Without Your Love” was Daltrey’s one-hit wonder charting at 20. The song was a bigger hit in The Netherlands where it charted at #2.

In addition to singing on the soundtrack, Roger Daltrey played the lead role of English bank robber John McVicar in the movie. One thing I liked about this tune is the mandolin. I played this tune at WAMX in Ashland, Kentucky and it reminds me of my last year at that particular station.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

John Dawson Read: A Friend Of Mine Is Going Blind

I was home on Christmas break during the winter of 1975 and John Dawson Read’s “A Friend of Mine is Going Blind” was being played quite a bit on a station that I discovered while home – WYEP-FM, Listener Supported Radio. There was something about this sad tune that touched me – as many sad songs do.

There are other songs in this same vein that have had a similar effect upon me. To name some, the song “Real People” on Mac McAnally’s debut album that spoke about a school aged boy named John with a brain tumor. Another is Don McLean’s ballad about the self inflicted torture of Vincent Van Gogh that was simply titled “Vincent.” I wrote college English essay on Van Gogh and that song. Even the internal conflict found in The Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” made it my favorite song from their “Who’s Next” LP.

I don’t know why I’ve been drawn to these songs over the years, but there is probably something deep in my psyche that causes me to relate. Neither am I depressed or despondent, but perhaps I rid myself of these negative vibes through the music of others via sublimation.

While Read’s album failed to chart, amazingly the single did at #72 on the Hot 100. I bought the album for myself that Christmas. See if you find a touch of pathos in John Dawson Read’s song about his friend, Tommy Davidson, who was suffering from Muscular Dystrophy which began to manifest itself in the form of blindness . . . “but through the dimness, he sees so much better than me.”

Live Version


While the lyrics on this song are beautiful, there are several occasions that will make the grammar police wince. In order to make the rhyme, John Dawson Reed is forced into using the subjective "I" when the objective "me" is the correct form. Just pretend that when he sings "so much better than I" that a "do" follows and everything will be ducky as they say.

A friend of mine is going blind, but through the dimness
He sees so much better than me
And how he cherishes each new thing that he sees
They are locked in his head, he will save them for when
He's in darkness again

He can't read books and he can't paint pretty pictures
But he understands so much clearer than I
For he knows that all he's missing with his eyes
Is more vivid in the mind of the man who's going blind
And that's why he doesn't mind

Won't you sing Tommy Davidson of things that you have seen
Sing of winter's bite and summer nights
And places you have been
Of dew drops and forget-me-nots and silver silky sheen
Lain across the morning meadow on the hillside

And this friend of mine, he plays guitar and sings his song so well
And he sings so much better than I
He can sing you any pictures in your mind
He will sketch them out in rhyme, draw the details in the lines
And he'll colour it in time

And oh how he loves his guitar, and it loves him
And they play so much sweeter than me
As if to say that come the day that he can't see
He will have at his command so much beauty in his hands
That the loss won't come so hard

Won't you sing Tommy Davidson of things that you have done
Sing of silver seagulls sailing into evening's golden sun
Sing of city streets and villages and people on the run
Tell the people how you know it Tommy Davidson

A friend of mine is going blind but through the dimness
He sees so much better than me
And how he cherishes each new thing that he sees
They are locked in his head, he will save them for when
He's in darkness again.