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Saturday, April 26, 2008

THE FORTUNES : Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again (1971)

R.I.P. Rod Allen (1944 - 2008)

Well, it was SUPPOSED to rain! Either way, another dead musician. Rod Allen was a member of The Fortunes, one of the numerous British Invasion bands that followed in the wake of The Beatles. He died of liver cancer at age 63.

This track was a bit of a comeback for the group as they entered the 70s, guaranteeing their place on the oldies circuit. Good harmonies, catchy melodies, and strong vocals. A hit!

Song: "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again"
Single A-side (Capitol) 1971

Rod Allen : vocals, bass
Shel Macrae : vocals, guitar
Barry Pritchard : guitar (R.I.P. 1944 - 1999)
Andy Brown : drums

Get it here : Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again

Sunday, April 20, 2008

THE ENID : Punch And Judy Man (1980)

Here is a selection from the vastly underrated UK prog band, The Enid. Very much in the 'symphonic' territory of the genre, these guys have quite a rabid fanbase, mainly due to their continued fusion of classical music with 'rock' instruments. As always their music takes a lot of inspiration of other bands of the era, most notably GENESIS in their more introspective moments. Yet there are some surprising similarities to how VANGELIS composes in some instances.

However, this track is almost completely different than the majority of their work. There is obviously a KING CRIMSON Mk III influence in its aggressive rhythmic patterns and guitar work. The song is effectively split into four sections: the first and third are fast and rhythmic, while the second and fourth slow things down to give the listener a rest (being serious musicians and all, there just HAS to be woodwinds and synths). I like almost being able to bop my head to it. Special mention should go to the drummer Robbie Dobson for playing his a$$ off (take a listen to his playing from 5:02 - 5:15; is Neil Peart making a cameo?).
Here is a blurb from a fansite:
"The album opens with Punch And Judy Man, which as can be aptly deciphered from the title is a schizoid piece of music. It features the band at possibly their rockiest, with various sections devoid of the lush orchestration. In fact the initial section of this particular track is the closest the band come to actually playing progressive rock as most people know it, though this is then contrasted by the melodic orchestration replete with woodwind to finally conclude with the characteristic merging of both classical and rock genres."

Song : "Punch And Judy Man"
LP "SIX PIECES" (PYE Records) 1980
Robert John Godfrey (keyboards)
Stephen Stewart (guitar)
Francis Lickerish (guitar)
Martin Russell (keyboards and bass)
William Gilmour (keyboards)
Robbie Dobson (drums and percussion)

Get it here : Punch And Judy Man

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A TASTE OF HONEY : Boogie Oogie Oogie (1978)

R.I.P. Anthony Joseph "Tony" Ben (1942-2008)

"An accomplished percussionist, Tony moved to Los Angeles in 1972, and soon began touring and recording at Capital Records with the singing group The Sylvers.
Later he joined the group, Ronnie Laws and Pressure, with whom he recorded for the Blue Note Label.
The Ronnie Laws group opened for various artists including War, The Jazz Crusaders, Roy Ayers, Tower of Power, Sarah Vaughn, Grover Washington and Freddie Hubbard.
Later he joined the group A Taste of Honey and recorded 'Boogie Oogie Oogie' with the duo.
Subsequently he toured with Donna Summer, Dionne Warwick, the Commodores, the Spinners, Frankie Vallie, Smokey Robinson, Lou Rawls amongst others.
An automobile accident led to glaucoma, a condition that resulted in the loss of most of his vision. He was diagnosed as 'legally blind', attending the Braille Institute and additionally accompanied Stevie Wonder live.
Tony reunited with Frances Cranon Stubblefield, his high school sweetheart in 1995 and they shared twelve years together prior to his passing."

So here's a classic disco track by A Taste Of Honey, with a double female lead-vocal, lead-instrument attack. Tony Ben had joined this group on percussion, although I'm not sure if he's actually ON this track; yet he did go out on tour to support the album, so we'll leave it at that. This song won the group "Best New Artist" in the 1979 Grammy's however. It's got a great bass-line, great guitar licks, and production by the Mizell brothers.

Song : "Boogie Oogie Oogie"
From the LP "A TASTE OF HONEY" (Capitol) 1978

Hazel P. Payne : lead vocals, backing vocals, guitar
Janice M. Johnson : lead vocals, backing vocals, bass
Perry L. Kibble : keyboards, backing vocals, producer
Donald R. Johnson : drums, backing vocals
Larry & Fonce Mizell : production

Get it here : Boogie Oogie Oogie

Sunday, April 06, 2008

THE SWEET INSPIRATIONS : Dirty Tricks (1974)

Ohhh man, funky grooves from the all-girl vocal group. Originally started by Cissy Houston (mother of Whitney) in the '60s, they were the backup singers for Van Morrison's "Brown-Eyed Girl". They were later were picked up as the backing vocal group for ELVIS PRESLEY from 1969 until his death in 1977. They released a number of their own albums during that time, mostly for Atlantic records, but also had some recordings with Stax.

The Sweet Inspirations on stage behind Elvis:

This track is their second and last single for Stax records before going with Elvis full-time. There is a funky anger here, and great call-and-response vocals.
Enjoy the sunny days!
Song : "Dirty Tricks"
Single A-side (Stax 0203) 1974

Myrna Smith : vocals
Estelle Brown : vocals
Syvlia Shemwell : vocals

Get it here: Dirty Tricks