Week 12 - Fri 19 Mar
Here we go again; it's the RPM Record Club Seven Day Soundtrack, your weekly dose of essential sounds, vibrant vibes and tumultuous tunes.................eeee, I might even push out boat and have half a John Smiths and a slice of Yorkshire brack. Now over to.....
"Hi RPMers, hope you have all had a good week enjoying your picks . Here’s my 3 ....."
Planet Caravan performed by Moon Duo - "This is a black sabbath cover !!!"
"Hi Folks, This week it's all about the ladies, slightly late for International Women's day, I know. My choices pre-dated the awful abduction and murder of Sarah Everard and ensuing events, really feel for her family."
Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands performed by Joan Baez - "1st up, Joan Baez, absolutely incredible voice, talent & person."
Everything Is Free performed by Courtney Barnett & Phoebe Bridgers -
"Finally, a stunning & mesmerising performance......."
Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell -
"Yay for the gals, especially the amazingly, creatively musical gals.
Bonus Track - In honour of St Patrick's day, and especially for Jackie 😁 A very young and weirdly American-sounding Morra with sidekicks.......
Take care all."
"This was on the soundtrack of Queens Gambit which we finished watching this week."
"To keep cheery, I’m reminiscing about New York City; one of my favourite places to visit and explore. Best wishes to everyone and keep safe."
"Some early rock and roll/rockabilly this week..... of the humorous type, but no less essential because of that! Record companies were convinced that rock and roll was a flash in the pan and that, pretty soon, those new fangled 'teenagers' would see sense, start to dress like Mom and Pop and that normal (musical) service would be resumed. Until that return to 'normalcy', and to satisfy the demand, they began to sign virtually anyone who could hold a tune (even that wasn't a prerequisite... and it's a big 'hello' to Fabian here) or look good with a guitar slung around their neck. My first selection doesn't even qualify for either of those two criteria but the other two, however, are the real deal being primal rock-a-billy from the mid 50's."
Dig by Nervous Norvus (7" single. B-side to 'Transfusion' This from US Dot label, released May 6th 1956) - "There are several artists put forward as the progenitors of 'rap'.... for example, Big Bopper's first hit was in1958 and the early ska 'toasters' such as Prince Buster didn't begin recording until the early 1960's. But then we could go back to 'talking blues', initiated by Christopher Allen Bouchillon (billed as "The Talking Comedian of the South,") who is generally credited with creating the "talking blues" form with the song cunningly entitled "Talking Blues," recorded for Columbia Records in Atlanta in 1926 and released in early 1927. But, for the purposes of this diatribe, I'm sticking with Nervous/Jimmy and his panache laden explanation of all things 'hip'..... even if he made up most of the explanation!!! So, for a fuller Jimmy Drake/Nervous Norvus story why not revisit my choice of the top side several months ago?"
RPM Record Club - Week 12 - Fri 20 Nov (google.com)
Ugly and Slouchy by The Maddox Brothers and Rose (from CBS Rare Rockabilly Vol 2 LP Released 1978. Recorded 16th August 1956, released 29th January 1957) - "Here's a real 'Grapes of Wrath' story. Born variously between 1912 and 1925, the band members' family were early victims of the Wall Street Crash and rode the rails in 1933 from Boaz, Alabama to California just before the crush of 'Okies' caused so many problems, including 'white on white' victimisation, in the mid thirties. They struggled to make a living, picking fruit in California, then following the seasons north to Washington State and eastwards inland into Arizona, working dawn to dusk and often eating and sleeping on the ground. 1939 saw the group tearing the Sacramento State Fair band competition apart playing a rocking version of the risque 'Sally let your Bangs hang down' and being officially recognised as California's best 'Hillbilly' band. They recorded regularly through to the mid fifties and appeared at many country music venues but broke up just as rock and roll was beginning to become popular. Rose's 'boogie' style vocals and Fred's 'slap bass' technique was echoed by Sam Phillips and many others during rock's early pioneering days and, such was Fred Maddox's influence that his double bass is on display at the (Hendrix) Experience Music Project in Seattle as a tribute to his then unique playing style. Rose began a successful solo career following her brother's retirement in 1958 placing over a dozen singles in the US Country charts Top 40 between 1959 and 1964, including 11 in the top twenty. Her career included a controversial appearance at the Opry, where she dared to wear a dress baring her midriff, appearances in films and documentaries and, despite several heart attacks, regular tours of the US and Europe. She was awarded a Grammy for her '$35 and a dream' bluegrass album before passing away in 1998. Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Laura Cantrell have all cited Rose as a major influence on their careers and her life was celebrated in the best selling book, 'Ramblin' Rose: The Life and Career of Rose Maddox' by Jonny Whiteside in 1998. 'Ugly and slouchy' plays on the common theme of 'hitting' on an ugly girl safe in the knowledge... well you get the gist. As the lyrics say, "Ugly and slouchy, that's the way I like 'em, There'll never be no fear of them wolves hangin' 'round. Ugly and slouchy, that's the way I like 'em. There'll never be no fear of her lovin' someone else". This probably misogynistic lyric, however, is almost countered in the next verse with "Ugly and slouchy, but she wears my brand. For this little gal of mine, I'd fight most any man" and leads us nicely on to, perhaps, the female response to that misogynism with probably rock and rolls finest female artist."
Hot Dawg! That Made Him Mad by Wanda Jackson (October 1956 single. This from 'Rockin' with Wanda' album, released May 1960) - "Reviewer Richie Unterberger called this LP "absolutely the best collection of Wanda Jackson's rockabilly recordings" and "a leading candidate for the best female rock & roll album of the 1950s." It's a small field admittedly, but he's dead right with his assertion. However, we should remember that this is, essentially, a compilation of Wanda's 1956 to '59 singles and beesides with just 1956's 'The heart you could have had' being shunted onto the earlier ''Lovin' Country Style' album. Wanda signed to Decca, aged 16, in 1954 and was rewarded when her debut single (a duet with Billy Gray) hit number 8 on the Country charts. She refused to tour until she finished High School in 1958 and so it was no surprise when there were no further hits until two changes in fortune. In 1958 Wanda moved to Capitol, recorded the more rock and roll influenced 'I gotta know' and, importantly, began a tour as support to Elvis Presley, with whom she had a brief romantic interlude. Elvis convinced Wanda that rock and roll was the way to further her career and she approached producer Ken Nelson with a view to making her records sound more like Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps releases. Despite the excellence of 'Fujiyama Mama', 'Honey Bop', 'Mean, mean man' (one of my earliest purchases) and nine other singles in the fifties, not one of them approached the charts! Returning, in the main, to a more country style in 1960 she was immediately rewarded with ten of her next twelve singles achieving at least a Top 100 placing (including the belated release of 'Let's have a party' backed by the Blue Caps), with four reaching the top 40. The remainder of the sixties would see Wanda hitting the Country charts on regular occasions but the seventies began with Wanda signing to Christian labels Word and Myrrh. She still achieved fairly regular chart placings but pressure from the UK's rockabilly fans was rewarded with a return to the UK for a series of concerts and more upbeat material. Further Gospel tours and recordings followed, coupled with the occasional more rock influenced releases (including an album with White Stripes head honcho Jack White which hit number 58 on the US album charts!!) and she toured regularly until announcing her retirement on March 27th 2019. Back to 'Hot Dawg! That made him mad' and here, to counteract her boyfriend's lack of romantic interest, Wanda dates her beau's best friend (with friends like that....?) and enjoys the resulting 'hugging and kissing' with her now contrite boyfriend. Further episodes follow with the same result, but I'll leave the denouement for you to discover. For added enjoyment, the video shows Wanda's less than conservative appearance (a real departure from the usual 'country' female singers of the time) with designer made fringed dresses, outre jewelry, glamorous makeup, hip shakes and knowing winks, filmed at the 'Town Hall Party' TV show in Pasadena and featuring the legendary Joe Maphis* on double neck Mosrite lead guitar. This 'live' version is a slightly shorter performance but features great guitar fills from Joe............ wonderful stuff!!!
*Maphis also provided lead breaks for Ricky Nelson, Johnny Burnette and Rose Maddox amongst many others and, in addition, recorded a brace of solo albums including the critically acclaimed Fire in the strings."
"The good news this week is that Jacquie has cut my hair and this time there's roughly the same amount left on each side of my head. (I'm grateful that she does it really, especially as it stresses her out... hopefully barbers will be back in business soon).
Best wishes to all RPMers as always. Now to the music, and it's all new stuff this week."
The Robber by The Weather Station - "I think what she's telling us is that we're all being robbed and that we have turned a blind eye to it. No argument from me there."
Canyonheart by Israel Nash - "The Neil Young comparisons seem unavoidable."
Call Me A Fool by Valerie June (featuring Carla Thomas) - "Wow! Stunning. Listen To The Lioness."
"A quiet week for me, but not politically given the events which have occurred in the wake of a Met Policeman being detained for the murder of Sarah Everard. I realise that I have probably selected this track for inclusion in the past but…. As there has recently been a parliamentary vote to make public protest illegal, I think we may be hearing this song more in the near future… at least while it is still legal to play it!"
Police Dog Blues - Blind Blake (August 1929) - "This is just a jolly nice blues….. coincidentally it has the word Police in its title."
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade - "Also this week, via social media I have been having a discussion about baking and literature with my niece Anna Lotta. (The sourdough recipe need not concern us). I did however confess that I have three different translations of one of my favourite books, and I would love to have access to a copy of the complete and unexpurgated 1880 edition translated by Richard Burton, but never published in its entirety.
Being Icelandic Anna Lotta lives in the very civilised Reykjavik suburbs where the supernatural tales are far more wild and wooly! She admitted that ‘One Thousand and One Arabian Nights’ had passed her by! Though she had some recollection of the Disney version of Aladdin…
As Anna Lotta has recently given birth to a boy (of enormous proportions) I offered to buy her a copy of the book so that they can enjoy it together…. I guess it had better be one of the expurgated versions!"
"Hi RPMers, Here are my three choices for this week... all fairly mellow."
Time Is Like A Promise by Tir Na Nog - "I first encountered Tir Na Nog when they opened for Jethro Tull in 1971 on their 'Thick As A Brick' tour. I was very impressed; two Irish chaps with acoustic guitars and mesmerising songs. I have all three of the LPs they released in the seventies and this is the opening track of their self titled debut (probably the best of the three). Their name comes from Irish mythology and roughly translates as 'Land of the Young'."
Water, Paper and Clay by Mary Hopkin - "Mary Hopkin's career should not be defined by Opportunity Knocks and The Eurovision Song Contest.... as the 'Earth Song/Ocean Song' album proves."
Light Flight by Pentangle - "Some of you may be old enough to remember this as the theme tune to the 1969 BBC TV series 'Take Three Girls'. It's also the opening track to Pentangle's third LP, 'Basket Of Light'."
"Here's my 3. Very best wishes to all as ever - have got to catch up on last week as life got in the way of fun this week but hopefully will be back on track by the end of this evening. Keep the great variety coming. Cheers."
Border Song performed by Eric Clapton - "This is a great cover of a song from Elton's eponymous early album. It's part of a compilation of EJ and Taupin composed tracks recorded by various artists which all give an interesting spin to the original versions."
The Rubber Band Man by The (Detroit) Spinners - "I heard this track a couple of weekends ago and thought it deserved to be included in my 3 this week. I really love the flamboyant style (the outfits and the delivery) of these American groups."
Have a Good Time by Paul Simon (From "Still Crazy After All These Years") - "I played this track recently and still have it return to me on a frequent basis as an "ear worm" mainly due, I suspect, to the fabulous backing by the horn section. Good job I like it but I hope it doesn't give you the same problem."
"Heartfelt wishes to you RPMers and I trust that all’s well with you and yours. This week there's an award winning Gaelic singer who’s writing and performing her own material and a couple of polemical pieces, all with great tunes."
You Got To Run (Spirit of the Wind) by Buffy Sainte Marie and Tanya Tagaq -
#UNIVERSALBASICINCOME by Massive Attack x Young Fathers narrated by Professor Guy Standing -
"Finally got the record player wired up early this week following our house move, so a few favourite "comfort blanket" type LPs were given an airing, the first being............."
Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke) by Hawkwind - "Lead off track from the Hall of the Mountain Grill opus, it's my 2nd fave HW LP and, for me, a truly grounding piece of music when all around seems a little strange. (appologies for the abrupt ending....on the LP this track fades into track 2.....)"
Ryestraw by Lunasa - "The mighty Lunasa gave an online Youtube St Patrick's concert this week, and this set of tunes from 2010s La Nua album kicked off proceedings. Brilliant stuff."
Bring it to Jerome performed by Billy F Gibbons - "Bo Diddly cover given the Billy F Gibbons cool-blues treatment. Bad Ass!"