Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jazzfest schedule announced

The artist schedule for the New Orleans Jazzfest has been published and although it's fair to say that there are no real surprises, the second weekend looks quite promising and certainly the better of the two. The line up for that weekend includes Aretha Franklin, Neville Brothers, B B King, Irma Thomas, Allen Toussaint, Van Morrison, Sonny Landreth, Bernard Allison, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Clarence Frogman Henry, Aaron Neville, Dixie Cups, Henry Butler, Gene Delafoise and Warren Storm but possibly the most unmissable act is Clarence Carter, who was brilliant when I last saw him about 12 years ago. The full line up (but not yet the times and dates) is here http://www.nojazzfest.com/
Meanwhile I'm off to the sun. I'm flying out tomorrow to the Dominican Republic and I can't wait. One of the books I will be reading while I'm there is The Oracle of Del-Fi (do you get the pun?) - the life story of record producer Bob Keane, who died recently.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish my reader (there's probably only one!) a rocking Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Death list 2009

It's that time of year when we look back at the list of those who have passed away during the year. Here are some of the more notable deaths in music and entertainment during 2009:
Barry Beckett, Molly Bee, Estelle Bennett (pictured with the Ronettes), Eddie Bo, Jimmy Boyd, Piney Brown, Sam Butera, Sam Carr, David Carradine, Johnny Carter, Liam Clancy, Hank Crawford, Blossom Dearie, Dave Dee, Willy DeVille, Jim Dickinson, Luther Dixon, Snooks Eaglin, Farrah Fawcett, Clinton Ford, Ellie Greenwich, Edmund Hockridge, Lux Interior, Michael Jackson, Maurice Jarre, Johnny Jones, Uriel Jones, Bob Keane, Antoinette K-Doe, Allen Klein, Marie Knight, Danny LaRue, Hank Lochlin, Karl Malden, Al Martino, John Martyn, Ricardo Montelban, David 'Fathead' Newman, Les Paul, Fayette Pinkney (pictured), Steve Race, Wendy Richard, Billy Lee Riley, Soupy Sales, Sky Saxon, Don Seals, Mike Seeger, Aaron Schroeder, Shelby Singleton, Gale Storm, Patrick Swayze, Koko Taylor, Richard Todd, Ray Topping, Mary Travers, Gordon Waller, Viola Wills, Edward Woodward. Obituaries of two of the above - Aaron Schroeder and Luther Dixon - appeared in The Times on December 15: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article6956463.ece
Apologies to anyone I've missed and let's hope there aren't too many of the greats going over the winter.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Vinyl obscurities 2

This is the second in my series of vinyl obscurities - again ranging from the sublime to the vaguely ridiculous.
Shirelles: I met him on a Sunday/ I want you to be my boyfriend. Brunswick 05746.
The Shirelles were the premier girl group of the sixties, but here is their first 45 from 1958 when they were just getting started. It's a rare one sided demo and a great record. It was a couple of years before the Shirelles' wonderful run of hits began - with Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Dedicated to the One I Love, Mama Said and so many others. But this, their debut single, shows their budding talent to the full. Eddie 'Buster' Forehand: Young boy blues/You were meant for me. Action ACT 4519.
This was Eddie's sole 45 in the UK, but he is much better known as Little Buster. Blind from childhood, he recorded a number of 45s in the 60s, but then faded from view before being rediscovered in the 1990s. He died in 2006.
Al Tousan: Naomi/ Indinna. London HLU 9291.
Not only did they manage to mis-spell Al's name on the label, but they even mis-spelt the state of Indiana on the B-side. Of course, this is in fact Allen Toussaint, and this was his first release in the UK. It's perhaps not his greatest moment, although it's OK, but he went on to become one of the stars of New Orleans R and B. Interesting that he used the pseudonym Naomi Neville in many of his compositions - no doubt in tribute to this early 45.
Ross McManus: Patsy girl/ I'm the greatest. HMV POP 1279.
This is interesting because of course Ross McManus is in fact Elvis Costello's dad. But the record isn't bad at all. Clearly ska was considered highly commercial because this is a UK version of ska, with backing from Joe Loss's Blue Beats. Joe Loss? I thought all he did was fox trots. Apparently not. This is a pretty good attempt at the ska genre and well worth a listen. Even Bob Dylan thought so apparently, as he played it on one of his radio shows.
Little Tony and his Brothers: Too good/Foxy Little Mama. Decca F 11190.
Britain had its own answer to the out of tune singing of Fabian in Jess Conrad. But this was Italy's answer. Little Tony started off on the Durium label but following promotion on Jack Good's 'Oh Boy' show he moved to Decca and this was his biggest hit with both sides written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. The B side was quite a rocker and it's one of those records that's so bad it's good - out of tune, but strangely attractive. Tony apparently still performs in Italy.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Bob Keane RIP

Thanks to OldiesMusic.com for this:
Legendary producer Bob Keane, who owned the Del-Fi record label and launched the careers of Sam Cooke, Ritchie Valens and Bobby Fuller, died Saturday (November 28) at the age of 87. Born Robert Kuhn in Manhattan Beach, California in 1922, Bob was a big band clarinetist who headed his own band at the age of 17 and later led Artie Shaw's orchestra. In the '50s, he helped start Keen Records, where as head of artists and repertoire he lured Sam Cooke away from gospel music and produced "You Send Me." A falling out over the ownership of Keen caused Bob to form Del-Fi Records, where in 1958 he discovered teenager Ritchie Valens playing at a movie theatre in Pacoima, California. Bob soon became the youngster's producer and manager. With hits like "Come On, Let's Go", "Donna" and "La Bamba," the future looked bright for Ritchie until the infamous 1959 plane crash snuffed out his young life. Tragedy also struck Bob's biggest '60s artist-- Bobby Fuller, whose body was found inside his mother's car outside his apartment. Though the official cause of death was ruled a suicide, most believe Bobby was the victim of foul play. He left behind such hits as "I Fought The Law" and "Love's Made A Fool Of You" on Bob's Mustang label. Over the years, Bob produced or released hits by Johnny Crawford, Ron Holden and Little Caesar & the Romans. He released some of the earliest efforts of Frank Zappa (who also worked as a producer for him) and hired a young Barry White as an artist and producer, as well. Though he retired from the music industry for awhile in the late '60s, interest in Ritchie's death and the desire to promote his own son's musical careers led Bob to re-form Del-Fi in the '90s. Bob's autobiography, "The Oracle Of Del-Fi," was published in 2006. Here, rather belatedly, is his obituary in The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/bob-keane-record-producer-who-kickstarted-the-careers-of-sam-cooke-frank-zappa-and-barry-white-1880948.html

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Nightmare on Coronation Street

Corrie's record collecting cab driver Lloyd is in big trouble. He is known to be a soul fan, with references to northern soul classics by the likes of Gene Chandler in previous episodes. But now his valuable collection is under threat from his ex, Rover's Return landlady Liz, who is upset by his latest liaison with the Street slag Teresa. First, Liz puts a pile of Lloyd's precious singles in his oven and they bend and warp. Then, while he is in the street outside the pub, she starts throwing his records out of the upstairs window: Buddy Ace, Archie Bell and the Drells... And the programme ends with Lloyd in even more trouble - on his knees as though he is proposing to Teresa while Liz looks on. Lloyd's record collection is worth a lot more to him than any woman, so he had better be ready for the worst that life can bring.