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Monday, December 31, 2007

OSCAR PETERSON : Soulville Samba (1966)

R.I.P. 1925 - 2007

TORONTO — Few pianists swung as hard or played as fast and with as many grace notes as Canada's Oscar Peterson.
The classically trained musician could play it all, from Chopin and Liszt to blues, stride, boogie, bebop and beyond. He led his own jazz trios, performed with such legendary figures as Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong, who called him "the man with four hands," recorded more than 200 albums and wrote such memorable works as Hymn to Freedom and the Canadiana Suite.
"A virtuoso without peer," concluded his biographer, Gene Lees, in The Will to Swing. When Mr. Peterson died this week, music lovers around the world mourned the loss of a lyrical stylist and one of the greatest piano players of all time.

Sam Jones :
Louis Hayes :
This track was recorded with his trio, but augmented by a number of percussionists, trying to capture the bossa nova/samba feel of the time. This is one of two original tracks on the album "Soul Espan├Ál", but it definitely has some soul to it.

Song: "Soulville Samba" (recorded Dec. 1966)
From the LP "SOUL ESPANOL" (Limelight LM 82044) 1966

Oscar Peterson : piano
Sam Jones : bass
Louis Hayes : drums
Henley Gibson : congas
Marshall Thompson : timbales
Harold Jones : percussion

Get it here: Oscar Peterson - Soulville Samba

Saturday, December 22, 2007

GREG LAKE : I Believe In Father Christmas (1975)

Merry Christmas everyone! In tribute, here is Greg Lake's Xmas song that has surprisingly remained in the public consciousness year after year. Originally released as a single, it was later reissued as a track on the Emerson Lake & Palmer album "Works Volume II".
Here's the blurb from Wikipedia:

"I Believe In Father Christmas" is a song by Greg Lake(most famously a member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Although it is often categorised as a Christmas song, this was not Lake's intention. It is widely believed that Lake wrote the song in protest at the "Commercialization" of Christmas and its effect on the Middle East.
The song is often misinterpreted as an anti-religious song and, because of this, Lake was surprised at its success. He said in a Mojo magazine interview:
"I find it appalling when people say it's politically incorrect to talk about Christmas, you've got to talk about 'The Holiday Season.' Christmas was a time of family warmth and love. There was a feeling of forgiveness, acceptance. And I do believe in Father Christmas."
The song was recorded by Lake in 1975 and released separately from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, it is currently his only hit solo release. The original later appeared on the group's 1977 album "Works Volume II". It has also appeared on several other ELP and Christmas compilation albums. Mostly notable of these re-releases is the 1995 album titled I Believe in Father Christmas which also featured a re-recorded version of the song by the whole band.
The video for this song contains shots of the Vietnam War, which has led to complaints from some that it should not be shown with "light-hearted" Christmas songs. These images of rocket barrages, air strikes, and mobile artillery are a violent backdrop to a peaceful sounding song and create a hard-hitting message.
The instrumental riff between verses comes from the "Troika" portion of Sergei Prokofiev "Lieutenant Kije" written for a 1934 film.
In 1982, it was covered by Toyah Wilcox. In recent years it has been covered by Human Drama(1999), Vertical Horizon(2002), and The Sloppy Horse (2006). Weird Al Yankovic borrowed significantly from the melody of the song for his song "The Night Santa Went Crazy", although he used a totally different style; however, since Lake's song is itself borrows significantly from the Prokofiev melody (a popular classical Christmas piece), Yankovic may simply be borrowing from the same original source.

Song: "I Believe In Father Christmas"
Single A-side, Nov. 1975

Also released on Emerson Lake & Palmer's "Works Volume II" (Atlantic) Nov. 10, 1977

Get it here : Greg Lake - I Believe In Father Christmas

Saturday, December 15, 2007

IKE TURNER & The Kings Of Rhythm - Thinking Black (1969)

Ike Turner
R.I.P. 1931 - 2007

Here is an except from the NY Times obit:

"Ike Turner, the R&B musician, songwriter, bandleader, producer, talent scout and ex-husband of Tina Turner, died on Wednesday at his home in San Marcos, Calif., a San Diego suburb. He was 76.
"His death was announced by Jeanette Bazzell Turner, who married Mr. Turner in 1995. She gave no cause of death, but said he had had emphysema.
"Mr. Turner was best known for discovering Anna Mae Bullock, a teenage singer from Nutbush, Tenn., whom he renamed Tina Turner. The Ike and Tina Turner Revue made a string of hits in the 1960s before the Turners broke up in 1975."

Whatever can be said about Ike Turner's personal life, he still made some good music. This is the opening track off the "A Black Man's Soul" album, which starts with a great breakbeat, and continues with a driving groove. As Ike continued to work with Tina Turner, his band The Kings Of Rhythm soon morphed into The Family Vibes for two albums.

Song : "Thinking Black"
From the LP "A BLACK MAN'S SOUL" (Pompeii SD6003) 1969

Get it here :
Ike Turner - Thinking Black

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Just got back from Vegas, and it's truly a city unlike any other. The lights, the sounds, the glitter, the EXCESS. So in tribute, here is the most well-known song associated with the town.

And a blurb from Wikipedia:
Released as a double-sided single along with "What'd I Say" from the same film, "Viva Las Vegas" was a modest hit at best at the time, reaching number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and number 17 on the UK Singles Chart, improving to number 15 after a reissue in 2007.
However in years since, it has become one of Presley's most recognized numbers. In the 1990s and 2000s, the song has been contained in countless movies, TV sitcoms, either as a reference to the city of Las Vegas, or simply as an expression of joy, or bewilderement in related comedic situations. Somewhat amusingly, it is said that Doc Pomus wrote the words to "Viva Las Vegas" some thirty years before ever venturing west of Newark, New Jersey.
In 2002, the city of Las Vegas requested Elvis Presley Enterprises, the company who handles a portion of Elvis's musical legacy, and all Elvis-related music rights, to allow it to be the official song of the city but negotiations, to this date, have been stalled over the price requested by EPE. Notwithstanding, EPE has not owned the copyright to the song "Viva Las Vegas" since 1993, when it became the property of the families of the long under credited and (believed by many) almost criminally undercompensated songwriters Doc Pomus (Halberstadt, Alex "Lonely Avenue The Unlikely Life & Times of DocPomus". 2007 DaCapo Press) and Mort Shuman. That EPE no longer owns the copyright essentially means that EPE does not have the authority or right to negotiate the use of the song "Viva Las Vegas" in Las Vegas or anywhere else within the United States, its territories and possessions. Although, EPE may be able to negotiate the use of the actual Elvis recording of the song.

Elvis Presley - Viva Las Vegas
-single B-side (b/w "What'd I Say"), Apr. 28, 1964

-also released as an EP, Jul. 1964
Get it here : Elvis Presley - Viva Las Vegas

And as a bonus, I'll leave it to the Dead Kennedys to respond with their take on the song. Fast as always, and listen carefully to the lyrics for the amusing satire.
Dead Kennedys - Viva Las Vegas
-from the LP "FRESH FRUIT FOR ROTTING VEGETABLES" (IRS / Cherry Red) Sep. 1980