Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Look Of Love

The Look Of Love (Bacharach/David) - Gladys Knight and the Pips
c/w You're My Everything (Whitfield/Penzabene/Grant)


You may have noticed I get quite excited about Bacharach and David tunes, and here's one of the best. Motown again with Gladys Knight and her 'Pips' singing this classic song from the film 'Casino Royale' (remember Herb Alpert from earlier?) their own way.

The 'Pips' were all relatives of Gladys' and named after cousin Scottie 'Pip' Pippin, but several personnel changes led to the eventual renaming Gladys Knight and the Pips. You see. it's not as bad as it seems, Gladys was a 'Pip' too, and Pip is a perfectly reasonable name for a group. . . .

It's All In The Game

It's All In The Game (Dawes/Sigman) The Four Tops
c/w Love Is The Answer (Robinson/Wakefield/Wilson)


No. 5 hit in the UK for The Four Tops, this is also the only #1 single ever to be written by an American Vice President!

Story is, amateur pianist Charles Dawes wrote the melody in 1911. A friend took it to a publisher who put the tune out for sale. Charles Dawes served as vice president to Calvin Coolidge.

Lyricist Carl Sigman then used the tune for his own words and in 1958 Tommy Edwards took it to No.1 in America. So that's the story of the song. . . .

The Four Tops were Levi Stubbs, Abdul 'Duke' Fakir, Ronaldo 'Obie' Benson and Lawrence Payton and were together from 1953-1997. They were a formative part of the Motown group.


Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu) (Migliacci/Modugno/Parish) - Dean Martin
c/w Outta My Mind (Spence/Bergman/Keith)


"In the Blue Painted Blue", otherwise known as 'Volare' was Domenico Modugno's signature tune and Eurovision song contest entry. Also a hit for Dean Martin (who I've found out, like Tom Jones, shares my birthday) at the height of his fame in 1958.

'Volare' means 'to fly' in Italian and the song describes his feelings when around his lover.


I'm Not In Love

I'm Not In Love (Gouldman/Stewart) 10cc
c/w Good News (Godley/Creme)


Going into the complexities of the recording of this song would bore most people to death, so I'll not do that here. It's complicated. No polyphonic keyboards at this time. And that's already put people to sleep.

Not difficult lyrically, he's not in love - only he is really. Obviously, or he wouldn't be writing it.

It's a recurrent theme in all our lives I'm sure and deserved the immense success it received.

Of course, 10cc also sang 'I don't like cricket' when really they did. It was not as good.

Listen to "Good News" on Last FM here

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Hot Hits 6

Not much info on this one, no blurb on the sleeve, just as it says on the cover, the sixth MFP collection of current hits, as performed by unnamed studio musicians. I'd love to know who these people were but I guess I never will.

This particular album contains an early working of a later Michael Jackson hit and the original version of Foo Fighters "Monkey Wrench".*

NB: Links take you to original artists, not the cover artists on the album, sadly. In time I'll change that. . . .

Track Listing;

Side A

1. Zoo De Zoo Zong
2. River Deep, Mountain High
3. Banner Man
4. Me And You And A Dog Named Boo
5. When You Are A King
6. Pied Piper

Side B

1. Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep
2. Tom-Tom Turnaround
3. Don't Let It Die
4. Black And White
5. Monkey Spanner
6. Co-Co

Back Cover

MFP 5214 1971

* These are complete lies.

Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town

Ruby, Don't Take You Love To Town (Tillis) - Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
c/w Girl Get A Hold Of Yourself (Rogers)


Woah, what have we here? A number one in the UK in 1969 (NME chart, No.2 o the BBC) this is the tale of a disabled soldier begging his lover not to leave him for another, able bodied man - complete with killing fantasies; "If I could move I'd get my gun and put her in the ground."

Yeah, I can see that being a hit.

To top it off it's based on real experiences! Mel Tillis, the author of this tune, had neighbours where he had served in the second world war, was injured and sent to England to recuperate where he met and married his nurse. After moving to Florida he had to make repeat visits to hospital which is when she would see another man!

More like a rap story ,"Yo b#tch ho, I bus' a cap in yo ass - if only I could get my AK!"
Or something. . . .

I quite like the 'b' side and listen to 'Girl, Get A Hold Of Yourself' on Last FM here

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Green Green Grass Of Home

Green Green Grass Of Home (Putman) - Tom Jones
c/w Promise Her Anything (Bacharach & David)

a 1966 UK No.1, Tom tells the story of a man rturning home after some time away, but turns when it is revealed he is dreaming while in prison and is. in reality. awaiting execution.

I personally prefer the 'B' Side, 'Promise Her Anything'.

Feel Like Makin' Love

Feel Like Makin' Love (McDaniels) - Roberta Flack
c/w Conversation Love (Plumer, Seighman)

Can't Take My Eyes Off You

Can't Take My Eyes Off You (Crewe, Gaudio) - Andy Williams
c/w You Are Where Everything Is (De Caro)

Howard Andrew "Paul" Williams released his version of this song in 1967.

And I LOVE it!!

Move Over Darling

Move Over Darling (Melcher, Kanter, Lubin) - Doris Day
c/w Twinkle Lullaby
Music from the film of the same name, in itself a revision of 'Something's Got To Give' where tragically Marilyn Monroe died during filming ans a remake of the 1940 comedy 'My Favourite Wife'.


Rawhide (Washington, Tiomkin) - Frankie Laine with Jimmy Carroll and his orchestra
c/w Journey's End (Ballard Jr., Sherman)

Used as the music for CBS' T.V. Show of the same name, reached No.6 in the UK.

Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35

Rainy Day Women Nos. 12 & 35 - Bob Dylan
c/w Pledging My Time

Opening track from 1966's Blonde On Blonde album.

Wikipedia has this to say:

"The song is essentially a simple blues chord progression in the musical key of F. The parts played by the trombone, tuba, piano, bass, drums, and tambourine remain practically the same in all of the verses, but Dylan's harmonica playing and vocal performance are both wildly varied, and generally not in the same key as other instruments. There can also be heard much laughter and shouting in the background, mixed down to a low volume level, and Dylan himself laughs several times during his vocal delivery."

I need not say more!

(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay

(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (Cropper,Redding) - Otis Redding
c/w My Sweet Lorene (Redding, Hayes, Isobel)

Recorded not long before his death in 1967, this was the first posthumous single to chart in america in 1968.

Redding was particularly popular in the UK and '(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay' made number one.

Stranger On The Shore

Stranger On The Shore (Bilk) - Mr. Acker Bilk with the Leon Young String Chorale
c/w Take My Lips (Maravigliose Labbra)(Usuelli-Sabel)

Clarinet led instrumental written by Bilk for is daughter Jenny, originally named after her, he changed it to Stranger On The Shore and it was used for a BBC TV series also called Stranger On The Shore.

I'll Be There

I'll Be There (Gordy Jr.-West-Hutch-Davis) - The Jackson Five
c/w One More Chance (The Corporation)

Written to follow three 'bubblegum' pop hits this ballad scored No. 4 in the UK chart. Mariah Carey beat that, reaching No.2 22 years later though!

Jermaine, Michael, Tito, Jackie and Marlon made up the group, the most successful being, of course, Michael.

Listen to 'One More Chance' On Last FM

My Guy

My Guy (Robinson) - Mary Wells
c/w 1. You Lost The Sweetest Boy (Holland-Dozier-Holland) 2. Two Lovers (Robinson)

Written and produced by Smokey Robinson, music from The Funk Brothers and backing vocals from The Andantes - Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps, Mary took this straight to No. 1.
Apart from duets this was Mary's last recording for motown, taking an option not to renew her contract after her twenty-first birthday she left for 20th Century Fox but never had the same success.

Give Me Just A Little More Time

Give Me Just A Little More Time (Dunbar, Wayne) - Chairman Of The Board
c/w Since The Days Of Pigtails (and Fairytales) (Dunbar, Wayne)

General Johnson took the lead role in this record actually written by Lamont-Dozier-Holland under a pseudonym Ron Dunbar and Edyth Wayne.

An impending lawsuit from previous employers Motown led to this deception on many early Hot Wax/Invictus releases. Brian, Lamont and Eddie also used Motown's house band 'The Funk Brothers' and on this recording used:
Bob Babbitt - bass,
Dennis Coffey, Eddie Willis and Ray Monette - guitars,
Johnny Griffith - keyboards,
Richard 'Pistol' Allen - drums and
Jack Ashford - percussion.

Listen to 'Since The Days Of Pigtails (and Fairytales)' on Last FM

Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)

Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) (Whitfield, Strong) - The Temptations
c/w You Make Your Own Heaven And Hell Right Here On Earth (Whitfield, Strong)

Recalling The Temptations early work and moving away from their 'psychedelic' phase this is now one of their signature tunes and features the last recording with original members Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams. Kendricks left to pursue a solo career and Williams was forced to leave through ill health.

You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)

You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart) (Bacharach, David) - Dionne Warwick
c/w A House Is Not A Home (Bacharach, David)

Only reaching No. 20 on the UK chart after 'Walk On By' made No. 8 earlier this year, a double Bacharach and David offering surely deserving better?

Marie Dionne Warrick worked with B&D on many singles, too many to go into here, and all of them classics.

Listen to 'A House Is Not A Home' on Last FM

I'm A Believer

I'm A Believer (Diamond) - The Monkees
c/w (I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone (Boyce, Hart)

Neil Diamond penned this UK No.1 for The Monkees, sung By Micky Dolenz.

Together with Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones and Peter Tork they were formed to be the band in the T.V. series of the same name. The world's first manufactured boy band, they eventually took control of their own output through the band, even making the seminal movie 'Head'.

This video put together for '(I'm Not Your) Stepping Stone' features plenty of cool sixties fashions and clips:

Casino Royale

Casino Royale (Bacharach, David) - Herb Alpert
c/w The Wall Street Rag (Coleman) 1967

Title theme to the original James Bond film 'Casino Royale' starring David Niven and Peter Sellers (among many others) and another great tune from Bacharach and David peformed by Herbert Alpert and The Tijuana Brass.

Herb has had 5 No.1's, 28 albums in the Billboard charts, 15 gold albums, 14 platinum albums and 8 Grammy awards. He has sold in excess of 72 MILLION albums worldwide!

He was the 'A' in A&M Records and is now an abstract expressionist painter.

Listen to a sample of 'The Wall Street Rag' on Last FM

Mack The Knife

Mack The Knife (Weill, Blitzstein, Brecht) - Bobby Darin
c/w Was There A Call For Me (Harris, Holmes) 1959

Walden Robert Cassotto or Bobby Darin to you and I scored a UK and US No.1 with the Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht penned 'Mack The Knife'.

A teen idol and big band performer he died at only 37 years old in 1973, here he's performing the song made famous in 1956 by Louis Armstrong

Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday

Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday (Miller, Wells) - Stevie Wonder
c/w I'd Be Fool Right Now (Cosby, May, Wonder) 1969

Stevland Hardaway Judkins, later Morris, had early success with the likes of this 1969 hit which made no.2 in the UK charts.

Going on to become one of the greatest recording artists ever, this was part of the bridging era between 'Little Stevie Wonder' and the artist we all now know.

Sadly this is not the original cover.

Distant Drums

Distant Drums (Walker) - Jim Reeves
c/w Old Tigue (M&R Burke, Reeves) 1966

Jim Reeves' only UK no.1, charting sadly two years after his death in a plane crash in 1964. Written by Cindy Walker.

My grandparents used to play his music but this was always my favourite, originally because of my love of drums but is's also a beautiful song.

This video takes a bit to get going I'm afraid. Amateurs.

It's Not Unusual

It's Not Unusual (Mills, Reed) - Tom Jones
c/w ToWait For Love (Is To Waste Your Life Away)(Bacharach, David) 1965
I love this record! Jones' second Decca single after 'Chills and Fever' and a smash no.1 in the UK and no.10 in the US. Even better is that the b side is a Bacharach and David tune which is also brilliant!

Backed by 'The Ivy League' and recorded near me in West Hampstead it took Jones far beyond the Valleys of Wales and into stardom!

Listen to To Wait For Love on last FM

When Will I See You Again

When Will I See You Again (Gamble/Huff) - The Three Degrees
c/w I Didn't Know (Sigler/Lang) 1974

Fayette Pinkney, Valerie Holiday and Sheila Ferguson performed this million selling single.

If I was around at the time I think I'd have been a big fan judging by the performance below!

Listen to 'I Didn't Know' on Last FM

I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby

I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little More Baby - Barry White
c/w A Little More Baby 1973

Big Barry's first solo hit after a successful period as songwriter and producer.
Real name Barrence Eugene Carter, Barry (for short) went on to record many soul, funk and disco greats.
This is from debut album 'I've So Much To Give' and this track has been sampled in numerous hip hop recordings over the years by artists such as Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim, Ghostface Killah, L.L. Cool J, N.W.A., Mos Def, and Too Short.

It was also spoofed by Sesame Street in a musical skit with Cookie Monster (backed up by the Crumbs Unlimited Orchestra) as "Me going to Munch You Munch You Munch You".

After The Goldrush

After The Goldrush (Neil Young) - Prelude
c/w Johnson Boy (Hume, Vardy) 1973

Taken from the album 'How Long Is Forever' this beautiful a cappella folk version reached no. 21 in the uk charts in 1974.

I'm quite partial to Irene Hume too!

I Couldn't find a link so I made a video.

Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings

Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings (Newbury) - Tom Jones
c/w I'll Never Let You Go (Mills) 1967

Taken from the album 'The Green Green Grass Of Home' which I used to own on vinyl too!

Listen to

I'll Never Let You Go
on Last FM

Monday, 8 June 2009

The Hustle

The Hustle - Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony 1975
c/w Hey Girl, Come And Get It (Hugo & Luigi-George David Weiss)

Taken from the album 'Disco Baby' this disco hit nearly never came to be. One of his New York DJ friends (David Todd) kept asking him to come and wee this new dance - The Hustle. He liked it as thought it was good for people to be dancing together again, not just doing their own thing.
So with an hour of studio time left he recorded what came into his head and 'The Hustle' became his only top 40 single and No. 1, and won a Grammy for 'best pop instrumental'.