Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed RIP

I really can't let the death of such a major music figure as Lou Reed go unremarked. Sadly he has passed away aged 71, following a liver transplant earlier this year.
His early association with John Cale led to the formation of Velvet Underground and his association
with Andy Warhol and relationship with Nico. The album The Velvet Underground With Nico was listed by Rolling Stone as the 13th most influential album of all time despite its lack of success at the time. After leaving the band in 1970 Lou recorded albums for RCA including Lou Reed and Transformer, which included his most famous track, Walk On The Wild Side. Other albums followed included Berlin, Sally Can't Dance and Rock 'n' Roll Animal but Metal Machine Music failed. After a hiatus Velvet Underground reformed in 1990 and Lou recorded his 16th solo album, Magic and Loss, in 1992. He continued to record into the 21st century and even performed before Pope John Paul 2 in Rome in 2000.
I have to say that I never found it essential to see Lou Reed perform (although I liked many of his recordings), but I have enjoyed quite a bit of his work and it's sad to see him go at such a young age.
Here's my favourite track by Lou - Waiting For My Man - and the great Walk On the Wild Side.

Early ska/reggae LPs

A good haul of early ska/reggae LPs at the car boot sale this morning (a quid each!). Here they are:

Top row:
The Champ - The Mohawks. Pama PMLP 5. Mint value £200.
Reggae Hits '69 - Various artists inc Stranger Cole, Derrick & Patsy, Derrick Morgan. Pama ECO 3. Mint value £25.
Natural Reggae - Various artists inc Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Heptones., Bamboo BLP 201. Mint value £50
Middle row:
Nu-beat's Greatest Hits - Various artists inc Laurel Airken, Ethiopians, Rudies etc. Pama Eco 6. Mint value £60.
Crab's Biggest Hits Vol 1 - Various artists inc Versatiles, Ethiopians, Ernest Wilson etc. Pama ECO 2. Mint value £100.
Reggae Power - The Ethiopians. Trojan TTL 10. Mint value £40.
Bottom row:
Scratch The Upsetter Again - Lee Perry/Upsetters. Upsetter TTL 28. Mint value £50.
Reggae Special - Various artists inc Jackie Mittoo, Marcia Griffiths, Hamlins etc. Coxsone CSP 2. Mint value £30.
Duke Reid Golden Hits - Various artists inc The Jamaicans, Silvertones, Justin Hinds etc. Trojan TTL 8. Mint value £40. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gone but not forgotten

It's time to catch up on some music names who have died during the last few weeks. The Vinyl Word lifts a glass to them all.
Roland Janes, who was 80, was a member of the Sun house band and his guitar playing was to the
fore on Jerry Lee Lewis hits such as Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On and High School Confidential, as well as being a member of Billy Lee Riley's backing band The Little Green Men. He recorded some tracks under his own name which went unreleased at the time and set up Rita records, which made it big with Harold Dorman's Mountain Of Love. His Sonic label produced work by Travis Wammack among others, but he left the music busness, only to return in the early 80s to work once more for Sam Phillips.
Jazz and R and B singer Gloria Lynne was 83 when she died after a recording career which stretched over 50 years. Born in Harlem she had US pop hits in the early sixties with June Night, Love I Found You, I'm Glad There Is You, I Wish You Love (her theme song) and an answer song to the Gene McDaniels hit  (You Don't Have To Be) A Tower of Strength. She moved towards jazz and worked with Quincy Jones among others. New York City proclaimed a Gloria Lynne Day in 1995 and she was honoured with a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation two years later.
A final word, too, for jazz singer and guitarist Frank D'Rone, who had a UK hit in 1960 with Strawberry Blonde (The Band Rocked On). He was 81.
Also for Noel Harrison, son of Sir Rex Harrison, best known for The Windmills Of Your Mind, the theme for the Thomas Crowne Affair, which was a UK hit in 1968. An Olympic skier, he moved to the US and then Canada, where he hosted a TV show, before returning to the UK in the 1990s.
Finally, Maxine Powell, the woman who taught etiquette to and imposed refinement on Motown's stars of the 1960s, has died aged 89.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Vinyl 45s from the States

I haven't featured any vinyl on The Vinyl Word lately so here are a few of the quite large bundle of 45s that I picked up on my recent US trip. Check out the Youtube links.
1. Dion - Kissin' Game/ Heaven Help Me.  As a Dion fan I know that Dion only had two 45s released on HMV in the UK (The Wanderer and Lovers Who Wander) but here's another one on the blue HMV label. What's more it's a single which wasn't issued in the UK at all, despite it being released on Laurie in the US in 1961. As the label states, this is a South African release, but I can't help wondering why the UK didn't get this 45.
2. Lucille Starr - The French Song/ Sit Down And Write A Letter To Me. There's nothing very interesting about this record apart from the fact that it's on the UK London American label but has a number totally different from other London 45s. The reason, apparently, is that it was a big hit in the Netherlands and they needed some emergency supplies of the record from the UK, hence the number 3136, rather than the 9900 number on the UK issue.
3. Tammy Montgomery - I Cried/ If You Don't Think. Tammy Montgomery is better known as Tammi Terrell, but prior to that she spent two years with the James Brown revue and recorded this soulful number for his Try Me label in 1963.
4. Barbara George - Send For Me (If You Need Some Lovin')/ Bless You.   Barbara George never repeated the success that she enjoyed with I Know on the AFO label but she made some pretty good records afterwards, including this one, before disappearing from the music business in 1968. I saw her perform a couple of times in New Orleans in the 1990s but sadly she died in 2006.
5. The Jive Bombers - Bad Boy/ When Your Hair Has Turned To Silver.  The lead singer of this New York doowop group, Clarence Palmer, shows off an eccentric vocal style on this 1957 song, which was later covered by Mink DeVille, Ringo Starr and Sha Na Na. Worth a listen though.
6, L C Cooke - Sufferin'/ The Lover. Anything on Sam Cooke's SAR label is worth hearing and this one by his brother is no exception. In fact, L C sounds eerily like his more successful older brother.
7. Raymond Lewis - I'm Gonna Put Some Hurt On You/ Nine Cents Worth Of Chances. Instant is a favourite label of mine, largely because most releases feature the unmistakable piano of Allen Toussaint. This one is a great slice of New Orleans R and B.
8. James 'Sugarboy' Crawford - I Don't Need You/ Morning Star. Most famous for recording the New Orleans anthem Jock-A-Mo in 1954, this 45 just has to be good with Huey Smith and Dave Bartholomew as songwriters. And so it is - a joyous piece of New Orleans. The B side is great too - wonderful swamp pop. Sugarboy died in 2012.
9. Willie Mays - My Sad Heart/ If You Love Me. Willie Mays was one of the most famous US baseball players of the fifties and sixties and this 45, recorded for Don Robey's Duke label, was a one off. I can only find If You Love Me on Youtube, but it's good, very much in the Bobby Bland vein.  Update: I've uploaded my copy to Youtube:
10. Eddie Bo - You're The Only One/ You're With Me. Another great New Orleans musician, Eddie Bo recorded hundreds of tracks between 1956 and his death in 2009. This excellent 45 came out in 1962.
11. Johnny and Jonie - Kee-ro-ryin'/ Just Before Dawn. Finally for rockabilly fans, here's a 1958 single that rocks along by a duo who found success later in the country field.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

King Biscuit photo gallery - last of my US trip

This is the last batch of photos from my latest US road trip, featuring some of the artists who played at the King Biscuit Festival in Helena, Arkansas. Some great acts, and a few so-so ones, but overall a highly enjoyable festival. I'm giving marks out of ten (happy to see comments agreeing or disagreeing.)
Day one. A regular at the festival, this is Sterling Billingsley. 5/10.
 This is Scatchy star Travis Wammack. 7/10.
More rock than blues, this is Hamilton Loomis. 3/10.
 New Orleans' finest, Walter 'Wolfman' Washington. 8/10.
 Heavy rock from Louisiana, this is Sonny Landreth. 5/10.
 Boogie woogie piano player - Marcia Ball.8/10.
 Day two. This is Reba Russell. 4/10.
 Mississippi Spoonman.I've heard more exciting spoon splayers in East End pubs. 4/10.
 This is Cedell Davis. Unfortunately he arrived too late to play.
 Soul/blues singer Sharrie Williams. 7/10.
 Anson Funderburgh with Big Joe Maher. 8/10.
 Star of day two - Gwen White. 10/10.
 Harmonica player Billy Branch. 7/10.
 Soulful bluesman Carl Weathersby. 9/10.
 Blues superstar Robert Cray. 8/10.
 Day three. Bob Margolin with Bob Stroger. 8/10.
 Dr Feelgood Potts. 6/10.
 Stars of the future, the Peterson Brothers. 7/10.
 Blues artists Bill Perry and Cash McCall. 8/10.
 Bill's daughter Shy, who has an album of her own. 7/10.
 Three blues singers watching Bill - can anyone name them all?
 Blind Mississippi Morris. 7/10.
 Joe Louis Walker. 8/10.
 Blues harmonica legend James Cotton. 7/10.
 Undoubted star of day three, Bobby Rush. 10/10.
Bobby wouldn't be Bobby without his booty girls demonstrating twerking to an appreciate audience.
 Final photo. A great trip all round.
Photos by Nick Cobban.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Photos from Clarksdale

Some more photots from my US road trip - this time from in and around Clarksdale, Mississippi, where, they say, the blues was born. This was a good base for our visits to the King Biscuit Festival in Helena (photos of which later).
First, a few miles south of Clarksdale is Po Monkeys, in Merigold, one of the last remaining juke joints in the South.

Playing there the night we went was the All Night Blues Band.
Best known blues club in Clarksdale is the Ground Zero, co-owned by Morgan Freeman.
Rail tracks in the centre of Clarksdale.
The New Roxy Theatre - a theatre which is just a shell, with no roof and no permanent seats. Like most of downtown Clarksdale it is virtually derelict but still hosts music gigs occasionally.
One such show while we were there was by Robert 'Bilbo' Walker.
Another of the few remaining juke joints is Red's in Clarksdale. Here is Deak Harp playing at the club.
There is an excellent Rock and Blues Museum in Clarksdale with a huge collection of vinyl records, photos, posters and other ephemera, including these guitars.
Hidden under a modesty curtain in the museum are these explicit cartoons by John Lennon.
Playing on the streets of Clarksdale on our final day here are Bill Perry and Cash McCall.
Also playing for free, here is Big George Brock.
Hopsons Plantation just outside Clarksdale, hosts live blues most weeks, including the Pinetop Perkins Homecoming.
Here is Terry 'Harmonica' Bean.
Boogie woogie piano player Daryl Davis.
Harmonica player Bob Corritore.
Blues singer Lady A.
Veteran blues man Bob Stroger.
Harmonica legend James Cotton.
Back at Red's at the blues jam, here is Lucious Spiller.
Photos by Nick Cobban.