Friday, March 30, 2012

The Maple Leaf Four

A record on the Embassy label from 1961 I found in a Brighton charity shop recently. I assume they were a Canadian band but not much about them on the internet sadly.

The sleeve notes say -

"Hey there, stranger. Just like to invite you in and set yourself down to hear a mighty fine round-up of some mighty fine songs.

Which is the best way to introduce you to"Home On The range", a collection of the best cowboy songs presented by that sharp shooting, sure shooting quartet, The Maple Leaf Four."

It goes on in that rather irritating fashion and gives you no information about them whatsoever!

Tracks are -

1. Mule Train
2. Call Of The Canyon
3. (Roll Along) Wagon Train
4. Old Shep
5. Home On The Range
6. Ole Faithful

Maple Leaf Four - Side One

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kicking Mule

A nice compilation of folky blues guitar from Kicking Mule on the Sonet label from 1974. Some fine instrumental and a couple of vocal tracks including such notables as Rev. Gary Davies, Stefan Grossman, Woody Mann etc.

Wikipedia says of Rev. Gary Davies-

"Gary Davis was born in Laurens, South Carolina, and was the only one of eight children his mother bore who survived to adulthood. He became blind as an infant. Davis reported that his father was killed in Birmingham, Alabama, when Davis was ten, and Davis later said that he had been told that his father had been shot by the Birmingham High Sheriff. He recalled being poorly treated by his mother and that before his death his father had given him into the care of his paternal grandmother.
He took to the guitar and assumed a unique multi-voice style produced solely with his thumb and index finger, playing not only ragtime and blues tunes, but also traditional and original tunes in four-part harmony
In the mid-1920s, Davis migrated to Durham, North Carolina, a major center for black culture at the time. There he collaborated with a number of other artists in the Piedmont blues scene including Blind Boy Fuller and Bull City Red. In 1935, J. B. Long, a store manager with a reputation for supporting local artists, introduced Davis, Fuller and Red to the American Record Company. The subsequent recording sessions marked the real beginning of Davis' career. During his time in Durham, Davis converted to Christianity; he would later become ordained as a Baptist minister. Following his conversion and especially his ordination, Davis began to express a preference for inspirational gospel music."

Tracks are as follows -

1.Dave Laibman - Granpa Spells
2. Peter Finger - Second Love
3. Rev. Gary Davies - Let Us Get Together
4. Art Rosenbaum - Sallu Goodwin
5. Dave Evans - Sad Pig Dance
6. Larry Sandberg - Delta Swing
7. Dale Miller - Black Berry Rag
8. Peter Finger - Watchtower

Kicking Mule - Side Two

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rythm & Blues Party

This Philips Lp from 1963 has lost it's sleeve somewhere along the way. I tried to find it online but no luck. A great compilation of rockin' R & B blasts from the past including such delights as Balin' Wire by Sil Austin, Pog Wog by Red Prysock and He Got What He wanted by Little Richard to name but a few.

Side one includes -

1.Shufflin' Home - Sil Austin
2. Jim Dandy - Ruth Brown
3. Rockin' Robin - Clyde McPhatter
4. 2 Point 8 - Red Prysock
5. I'll Drown In My Own Tears - Ray Charles
6. Caldonia - Louis Jordan
7. Foot Stompin' - Red Prysock
8. Pink Shade Of Blue - Sil Austin

R & B Party - Side One

Friday, March 23, 2012

Joe Loss

Not a record I would normally buy but I was intrigued by some of the odd song titles. No self respecting mod would ever march to the title song. Hard to believe it was a minor hit at the time. The other tunes on this HMV EP from 1964/65 are far more interesting though and elements of Ska and R&B are clearly heard on tracks like March of The Voomins and Go Home Bill Ludendorff.

Wikipedia says -

"Loss was born in Spitalfields, London, the youngest of four children. His parents, Israel and Ada Loss, were Russian Jews and first cousins. His father was a cabinet-maker who had an office furnishing business. Loss was educated at Jews' Free School, Trinity College of Music and the London College of Music. He started violin lessons at the age of seven and later played violin at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool and also with Oscar Rabin. Loss started band leading in the early 1930s, working at the Astoria Ballroom and soon breaking into variety at the Kit-Cat Club. In 1934 he topped the bill at the Holborn Empire but in the same year moved back to the Astoria Ballroom where he led a twelve piece band. With broadcasting, recording and annual tours in addition to the resident work the band became highly popular over the next few years.In the 1950s Loss was resident band leader at the Hammersmith Palais and was remembered by a trainee nurse at Hammersmith Hospital as being as kind and gentlemanly when she attended him in hospital as in his public persona. His band's signature tune "In the Mood" would often be requested three or more times a night.
Loss's daughter Jennifer was the wife of British coach-builder Robert Jankel.
Loss died on 6 June 1990 and is buried at Bushey Jewish Cemetery in Hertfordshire."

Joe Loss - March Of The Mods/ Morocco Bound

Joe Loss - March Of The Voomins/ Go Home Bill Ludendorff

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Charlie Gillett - Dave Kitson

This rather fuzzy tape from the early 80's features Charlie with guest Dave Kitson who used to promote bands at the Moonlight Club in West Hampstead in London at that time and later went on to produce records and start a record label called Red Flame.
Interesting mix of mostly obscure independent bands of the time and one reggae record to break up the flow of synth pop. This "Undercurrents" radio show was on Capital for about two years I think and I have most of them on tape (this one is numbered 15 ) but most have vanished. Hopefully I can find a few more and please the folk who have requested them over the years.

Guardian obituary for Charlie Gillett HERE.

Charlie Gillett - Dave Kitson

Monday, March 19, 2012

Charlie Gillett - Little Richard/ Danny Holder (Re-up)

A two part City Limits show on Capital here from the early 80's - the first half featuring rock 'n roll pioneer Little Richard who was in London to promote a biography that had just been published. Charlie plays some of his hits and and Richard chooses a couple of his favourites including Ike & Tina Turner and Prince.
The second half of the show is Danny Holder's choice of the Soca and Calypso hits of the time including songs by Relater and Sparrow etc.

Wikipedia says of Little Richard-

"Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932) known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter, pianist and recording artist, considered key in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the 1950s. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame web site entry on Penniman states that:

"He claims to be “the architect of rock and roll,” and history would seem to bear out Little Richard’s boast. More than any other performer - save, perhaps, Elvis Presley, Little Richard blew the lid off the Fifties, laying the foundation for rock and roll with his explosive music and charismatic persona. On record, he made spine-tingling rock and roll. His frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals on such classics as "Tutti Frutti", "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" defined the dynamic sound of rock and roll."

Penniman began his recording career in 1951 by imitating the gospel-influenced style of late-1940s jump blues artist Billy Wright, but did not achieve commercial success until 1955, when, under the guidance of Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, he began recording in a style he had been performing onstage for years, featuring varied rhythm, a heavy backbeat, funky saxophone grooves, over-the-top Gospel-style singing, moans, screams, and other emotive inflections, accompanied by a combination of boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues music. This new music, which included an original injection of funk into the rock and roll beat, inspired James Brown, Elvis Presley, Otis Redding and generations of other rhythm & blues, rock and soul music artists. He was subsequently among the seven initial inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was one of only four of these honorees (along with Ray Charles, James Brown, and Fats Domino) to also receive the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award.

In October 1957, while at the height of stardom, Penniman abruptly quit rock and roll music and became a born-again Christian. In January 1958, he enrolled in and attended Bible college[8] to become a preacher and evangelist and began recording and performing only gospel music for a number of years. He then moved back and forth from rock and roll to the ministry, until he was able to reconcile the two roles in later life."

Charlie Gillett - Little Richard

Charlie Gillett - Danny Holder

Charlie Gillett - Rico (Re-up)

More old radio shows from the archive - one from 1977 with Rico Rodriguez playing some of his influences including Don Drummond and Gene Ammons. Rico now plays in Jools Holland's band but has a lengthy career in Jamaica playing on many Ska sessions in the 60's.

Wikipedia says if Rico -

"Rodriguez was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and was taught to play the trombone by his slightly older schoolmate Don Drummond at the Alpha Boys School. In the 1950s, he became a rasta and became closely musically related to rasta drummer, Count Ossie. In 1961, he moved to the UK and started to play in reggae bands there. In 1976, he recorded the album, Man from Wareika under contract with Island Records.In the late 1970s, with the arrival of the 2 Tone genre, he played with ska revival bands such as The Specials. One of his most notable performances was on The Specials' song, "A Message to You, Rudy".

Rodriguez also helmed his own outfit, Rico and the Rudies, to yield the albums Blow Your Horn and Brixton Cat.

In 1995 Island Records released the album Roots to the Bone, an updated version of Rodriguez's earlier work, Man from Wareika.

Since 1996, amongst other engagements, he has played with Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and he also performs at various ska festivals throughout Europe with his own band.

He was awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) at Buckingham Palace on 12 July 2007, for services to music."

fRoots article about Charlie HERE.

Charlie Gillett - Rico

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Charlie Gillett - Roy Brown (Re-Up)

Another great old Honky Tonk radio show from 1978 broadcast on Radio London. Charlie is talking to R&B pioneer Roy Brown and playing some of his hits from the 40's and 50's and tracks from Roy's latest release. Interspersed with some fascinating tales of how it was for black artists in the record business back then - unscrupulous managers and all.

Wikipedia says -

"Roy James Brown (September 10, 1925 — May 25, 1981 was a pioneering Rhythm & Blues singer, songwriter and musician who had a primary influence on the early development of rock & roll music. Brown sang R&B tunes with a gospel feel, the first blues singer to do so. The "call and response" gospel style was limited to the church prior to Brown's arrival to the music scene. R&B was mostly "jivey" novelty tunes, like "Caledonia" by Louis Jordan and blues sung behind jazzy, boogie-woogie beats like "Roll 'em Pete" by Joe Turner. His seminal "Good Rocking Tonight" was covered by Wynonie Harris, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Pat Boone. In addition, his melismatical pleading, gospel-steeped delivery impacted the vocal styles of B.B. King, Bobby Bland, Jackie Wilson and Little Richard. His role as a crucial link between postwar R&B and rock's initial rise is underappreciated by the masses."

Charlie Gillett - Roy Brown Pt. 1

Charlie Gillett - Roy Brown Pt. 2

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Danny ( Kalauawa) Stewart

Another of those records you just have to buy for the sleeve alone. The music is quite good too despite playing safely in that middle of the road type Hawaiian "easy listening" vein that fans of this music seemt to love. I was once a member of the Hawaiian Tape Club which passed around compilations of exotic south sea island music and most of it was very dull - even duller than this! I sent round a few "novelty" tiki tapes to liven things up a bit but they met with scant response from the mostly fuddy-duddy members.
Heres a quote from the LP sleeve-

"The forces set in motion by the missionaries have made themsleves felt very strongly in the songs that Hawaii now sends out to the world. In the first place there is the effect of a people quite recently pagan very quickly civilised and nourishing beneath the surface an engaging naivete which gives to Hawaiian songs something of the quality of the calypso. But there is also a more direct influence, for the form of Hawaiian music is not ancient in origin but has been evolved and adapted over the last century. Even the Hawaiian guitar and ukulele are imported commodities, though the habit of running the fingers over the strings to give a singing intonation has been developed here more than anywhere else. As a final blow to those who dream of going native it must also be recorded that the form of the songs has been shaped most strongly by the swinging tempo of the hymns that those missionaries originally bought from new England and turned into the popular music of the islands."

Tracks are as follows -

1. Song Of The Islands
2. Lovely Hula Hands
3. Hawaiian War Chant
4. Little Brown Gal
5. Fair Hawaii
6. Sweet Leilani

Danny (Kalauawa) Stewart - Side One

Monday, March 12, 2012

From The Bayou

Another from the dusty attic pile - originally bought at Cheshire Street in East London in the 80's or 90's. A nice selection of Cajun tracks on the Liberty label from 1970 chosen by Mike Leadbitter to tie in with the publication of a book of the same name.

Wikipedia says -

"The first recorded Cajun song, "Allons à Lafayette" (Let's go to Lafayette) was recorded in 1928 by Joe Falcon and Cléoma Breaux. Standard versions of songs started to emerge due to the increase in the availability of phonographs. Some of the earliest recordings of Cajun music that exist were done in Louisiana during the late 1920s by noted historian and American folklorist Alan Lomax.
Many notable musicians during the time period include Joe Falcon and Cleoma Breaux, Amédé Ardoin, Breaux Brothers, Segura Brothers, Leo Soileau accompanied by accordionist Mayuse (Maius) Lafleur or Moise Robin, and Dennis McGee accompanied by fiddler Sady Courville or Ernest Frugé.
By the mid-to-late 1930s, a large influx of English speaking people came for the oil fields in Southwest Louisiana. Also, a large migration of French speaking Cajuns expanded to Texas. It was common for performers to sing in both French and English and borrow heavily from the popular country music and Texas swing music on the radio.
Notable musician Harry Choates recorded the first national hit with a Cajun song, Jolie Blonde in 1946. Other groups from the 1930s and 40s that were able to garner national attention include Leo Soileau and His Four Aces, the Hackberry Ramblers, Happy Fats and the Rhythm Boys, the Alley Boys of Abbeville, the Dixie Ramblers, and J. B. Fuselier and His Merrymakers. Choates' Jolie Blonde, and Hank Williams' song Jambalaya (On the Bayou), which used the melody of the Cajun song Grand Texas, spawned regional and national interest in the music, opening the door to Nashville country music careers for Cajun musicians Jimmy C. Newman, Rufus Thibodeaux, Doug Kershaw, Jo-El Sonnier, and others."

Tracks are -

1. Sweet Thing - Cleveland Crochet
2. Coming Home - Jay Stutes
3. The La La Blues - La La Laverne
4. Mardi Gras Chant - Dewey Balfa
5. Mama Rosin - Little Yvonne Le Blanc
6. La Cucaracha - Nathan Abshire
7. Cajunland Twist - Buck Mouhart

From The Bayou - Side Two

Osayomore Joseph

An LP on the Emotan record label from Nigeria (1982). One of a big stack of Afrobeat I bought in a junk shop in Stepney, East London where I lived for a while in the 70's and 80's. It may even come from Brick Lane flea market which was nearby and a regular haunt on a Sunday.

"Osayomore Joseph arouses too the same curiosity; due to his talent, his energy, his commitment, he calls back(reminds) without hesitating his elder son(brother), Fela. Its style, its musical game(set,play), draws its roots from the earth(ground) edo; but the culture and the language(tongue) edo are strongly influenced by the yoruba culture for centuries. By listening to Osayomore Joseph, we feel(smell) his(her,its) originality edo with its oriental impulses but the inheritance of Fela and the yoruba culture is quite obvious. This sensation can arrest(dread) in the evolution of the artist since its musician's stage(stadium) of the soil until its highlight of all over the world known national singer, as well as in its rhythmic game(set,play) and its instruments. The theme of the contesting, the posture of public polemicist, the rhetoric warrior or politics(policy), satyr, the irony, the stage setting and the parody, all this pulls the decoration(set) of a democratic kalakuta Republic version. Where from the subject of the walking(march), the fight, and especially the name of its firebrand-lighthouse: Osayomore Joseph Liberation Army."

Tracks are as follows -

1. Omonogie
2. Okpani Ya
3. Obo

Osayomore Joseph - Side Two

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mickey Katz - Fiddler On The Roof

Not the usual Mickey Katz humour here but instrumental music from the hit Broadway show on the Ember label from 1967.

The sleeve notes say -

"There are many things in Jewish tradition so undeniably warm and appealing that they are sought out and embraced by all people. Broadway's "Fiddler On The Roof" is the very essence of these traditions, and the public has responded with it's acclaim for this masterpiece of musical theatre, its composer and author Jerry Brock and Sheldon Harnick, and it's star Zero Mostel.

It is in keeping with this spirit that another Yiddish favourite , Mickey Katz, takes the honours here with this captivating instrumental portrayal of "Fiddlers" wonderful score. In this music that depicts the life of a small Jewish community in Czarist Russia, you will experience the depth of a proud father's melancholy wonder upon realising that somewhere between "Sunrise and Sunset" his children have grown to adulthood; the playful philosophy of "If I Were A Rich Man" and the zesty lachiam"Toast To Life; the soulful beauty of a "Sabbath Prayer"; and the nostalgic reminiscence of people about to leave their modest town "Anantevka".

Tracks are -

1. Fiddler On The Roof
2. Sabbath Prayer
3. If I Were A Rich Man
4. Now I Have Everything
5. Medley: Far From The Home I Love/ Anakevka

Mickey Katz - Fiddler On The Roof Side One

Charlie Gillett - Running

Another Charlie Gillett on Capital Radio from the 80's this time a themed show about "Running". The usual eclectic mix of records including The Coasters, Sly & The Family Stone, Spencer Davies Group etc.

Charlie Gillett - Running Pt.1

Charlie Gillett - Running Pt.2

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Alan Stivell

Curious mixture of Breton harp and electric guitars from this 1973 LP on the Fontana label. The songs work best for me when unencumbered by noisy rock musicians and the real folk shines through.

Wikipedia says -

"Alan Stivell (born Alan Cochevelou January 6, 1944) is a Breton musician and singer, recording artist and master of the celtic harp who from the early 1970s revived global interest in the Celtic (specifically Breton) harp and Celtic music as part of world music.

Alan was born in the Auvergnat town of Riom. His father Georges (Jord in Breton) Cochevelou was a civil servant in the French Ministry of Finance who achieved his dream of recreating a Celtic or Breton harp in the small town of Gourin, Brittany. In 1953, Alan began playing the instrument at the age of nine under the tutelage of his father and Denise Megevand, a concert harpist. Alan also learned Celtic mythology, art and history as well as the Breton language, traditional Breton dance and the Scottish bagpipe and the bombarde, a traditional Breton instrument, from the oboe family. Alan began playing concerts at eleven years and studying traditional Breton, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh folk music, also learning the drum, Irish flute, and tin whistle. He competed in and won several Breton traditional music competitions in the Bleimor Pipe band. Alan spent his childhood in Paris, with its cosmopolitan influences from France, Algeria, Morocco and elsewhere. But he fell in love with Breton music and Celtic culture in general, and often went back in his teens to Brittany.
Alan's first recording came in 1960 ("Musique gaelique"), a single that was followed by the LP Telenn Geltiek in 1964. He already recorded solo harp and harp backing singers in 1959 with Breiz ma bro ("Brittany my country") and a Mouez Breiz EP ("Voice of Brittany") with the female singer Andrea Ar Gouilh. His stage name, "Stivell", means "fountain" or "spring" in Breton. This name refers both to the Breton renewal and to his surname "Cochevelou" (an evolution of kozh stivelloù, "the old fountains")."

Tracks are as follows -

1. An Dro Nevez
2. Maro Ma Mestrez
3. Brezhoneg Raok
4. An Hani A Garan
5. Metig
6. Kimiad

Alan Stivell - Side Two

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Frank Luther (re-Up)

Found a couple of years ago in a charity shop in Westcliff - on - Sea in Essex. One of Frank's records for children. I remember his classic "Three Billy Goats Gruff" that used to be played all the time on Children's Favourites on the radio throughout the 50's and 60's.

"Frank Luther (August 4, 1905 - November 16, 1980) was an American country music singer, songwriter and pianist.
Born Frank Luther Crow Lakin, Kansas, he was raised in Bakersfield, California. A trained pianist, he moved to New York City in 1928 to pursue a career in music. A country music singer, he was one of the first "Urban Cowboys", performimg country music at big city clubs as "Frank Luther and his Pards." He is remembered as the composer of "Barnacle Bill The Sailor" written with Carson Robison.
He married Zora Lyman, a fiddle player who performed and recorded with him. Eventually, Luther shifted his focus to children's songs, enjoying considerable success with his recordings on which he sang and told stories. Among the popular albums for children that Frank Luther released were "Raggedy Ann Songs & Stories" and "A Child's First Birthday Record."
For his contribution to the recording industry, Frank Luther has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1708 Vine Street.
Frank Luther died in 1980 in New York city."

Frank Luther - Mr. Small

Friday, March 02, 2012

The Music Of Cosmos

Found in a record shop in Chester today in the 50p box. I was drawn to the sleeve art I suppose rather than the music which is pretty much as you would expect from an 80's TV show - lots of popular classics, Vangelis and few atmospheric oddities like the Bulgarian chanting thrown in for good measure.

Wikipedia says of Carl Sagan -

"Carl Edward Sagan ( /ˈseɪɡən/; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He advocated scientifically skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).
Sagan is known for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. Sagan wrote the novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name."

Tracks are as follows -

1. Symphony No. 19 by Alan Hovhaness (extract)
2. Legacy by Synergy
3. Russian Easter Festival Overture by Nicola Rimspky-Korsakov
4. Inside The Heart Of The Universe by Toru Takemitsu
5. Fly Night Bird by Roy Buchanan
6. Beauborg. Part 2 by Vangelis
7. The Rite Of Spring (extract) by Igor Stravinsky
8. Entends tu les Chiens Aboyer? by Vangelis
9. Bulgarian Shepheardess by Bulgarian Group
10. Heaven & Hell Part 1 by Vangelis

The Music Of Cosmos - Side Two

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Mickey Katz (Re-Up)

Another of those record labels that jump right out at you when you are sifting through piles of Mantovani, Mrs.Mills and Madonna records. Thankfully the songs are as weird and wonderful as the sleeve photo!
Here's what it says on the sleeve blurb-

"The difference between being slipped a Mickey Finn and a Mickey Katz is that you get knocked out in different ways. And in the latter case you keep coming back for more. Well, here's that more: a long playing, high fidelity "mitzeah."
Mickey's approach to a song is simple. He grabs the nation's favourites and gives them the stamp of his unique and abundant wit. The poor unsuspecting tune suddenly finds itself with more twists than a barrel of pretzels and more spice than a plate of pastrami. The famous doggie in the window turns out to be a pickle. It's no longer stars you shouldn't let get in your eyes, it's "schmaltz". And the wheel of fortune , alas, is nothing more than a "schlemiel".
Mickey was a musician before he was a comedian, and he played with several of the country's best bands before winning fame as the top dialectitian in Spike Jones' outfit. Now for his records and shows he hires the finest studio musicians in Hollywood, determined that his material shall not only be funny but musically solid."

For more about Mickey Katz and other great music go HERE.

Tracks are as follows -

1. I'm A Shlemiel Of Fortune
2. A Shmo Is A Shmo
3. Home Ofen Range
4. Patcha-Me
5. That Pickle In The Window
6. Don't Let The Shmaltz Get In Your Eyes

Mickey Katz - Side Two

Val Merrall

A poor tribute to Flanagan & Allen by Val Merrall on the cheapo Avenue label from 1971.
Apparently the nephew of Bud Flanagan and band leader . I found lots of links to the Val Merrall Orchestra but no biography as such.

Tracks are as follows -

1. Who Do You Think (You're Kidding Mr. Hitler)
2. On The Outside Looking In
3. Can't We Meet Again
4. Strolling

Val Merrall - Side One(extract)