Monthly Archives: April 2010

Spring 2010 Playlist

Ok I’ve made the Playlist a helluva lot easier on myself by favoring a slew of songs as I listened to them:

Let’s sit and Spin

1) Doing Things With You
Barbara Mercer (1965)

I was far more familiar with Madeline Bell’s version from approximately the same time frame. But Barbara Mercer’s version is sparser and softer. It seems like what The Supremes would have done with the track (and has a decidedly more Motown ballad feel compared to the Dusty Springfield cast-off feeling of Madeline’s version).

2) “I Want to Make You Happy”
Margaret Mandolph (1964)

Speaking of Dusty Springfield (as always it seems in this blog) I didn’t know that her version of this song was a cover. This original version is more elegant ( Springfield’s version seems like a grindier “Oooch” record), Something you’re surprised that was given to a unheard of singer (it seems more appropriate/sounds like Little Peggy March’s efforts to move into uptown soul).

3) I Had a Dream I Lost You
The Angels (1967)

So The Angels had a career long after the Peak and valley of “My Boyfriends Back” claimed all of the airwaves of late 1963. So this big ballad (again in the style of another artist, very much in a Reparata & The Delrons vein) was their first effort rechristened as The Angels. They spent 1965-66 as The Halos (because of contractual issues surrounding their name) and this was the beautiful single that, sadly went nowhere for them.

4) Stir It Up
Patti LaBelle (1984)

For my foray into the 80s, I love this Patti LaBelle song (totally lost in meaning attached to the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack) about frustration and breaking through to the next stage of life. Kinda needed this as Spring leads me to growing another year older, and a nice kick from my childhood to keep moving on.

5) Killer Joe
The Rocky Fellers (1962)

I’ve always liked this greasy Four Seasons rip off, and was always amused that the group was soo young. Until I looked them up again to find out that they were Filipino (not Puerto Rican as I thought) brothers (the only other Filipino I can think of in 1960s music was half breed Sugar Pie DeSanto).

6) It Hurts To Be In Love
Gene Pitney (1964)

This atypically tough groove for Gene Pitney ranks as my favorite of his hit singles. Most songs never tackled unrequited romance as well and frankly as honest as this song.

7) Have I the Right?
The Honeycombs (1964)

I rarely spotlight British Invasion hits, but I’ve always liked this song for it’s utter awkward, determined and downright weird at times instrumentation and arrangement. What seems like Arabic influence on a Joe Meek production, plus with an Anthemic chorus makes this song an unforgettable listen.

8) Running out of Fools
Aretha Franklin (1964)

I feel like the only person that advocates for Aretha’s Columbia output over her Atlantic output (one time almost coming to blows with the collection manager at Amoeba about the subject). And I think Aretha’s best remembered (although not her biggest hit) single from that era presents her at her nuanced best. In the instruction of having to be more reserved, I think she found notes that in a short few years she’d just belt out, losing all vocal coloring and shading to.

9) I’m Over You
Jan Bradley (1964)

It took nearly 3 years for Jan Bradley to come up with a hit after “Mama Didn’t Lie” went top 20, and this self penned storyline follow up, a more adult, self sufficient extension of her only big hit was this song, with crisp Riley C. Hampton strings.

10) World of Fantasy
The Five Stairsteps (1967)

Appropriate as I drift off to sleep. And to all of you wishing for something to come true as you awake these days. Enjoy your spring


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Breathing new life, brushing off the dust

It’s been nearly a month since I wrote anything here, and yet somehow I still maintain some decent stats (I had a 19 view day on Tax Day! What the hell) So I thought it was about time I delighted the audience with my musings on two of the newest songs to dust off Some old timey grooves.

First up is Melanie Fiona’s “Please Don’t Go (Cry Baby)” Which amps up and borrows from Martha & The Vandellas last #1 R&B/Top Ten Pop hit “Jimmy Mack”

Although it did make me holler in that way, that an awesome sample does… for some reason the song just struck me as a lyrical extension of “Jimmy Mack” itself. The same theme of not wanting to let go of someone you love. I’m still trying to decide whether that elevates the use of the sample… making it seem like an extension of what came before, or it hinders it.

The Second Song is “Switch” by Jazmine Sullivan that borrows from The Marvelettes “Your Cheating Ways” (B-side to “Danger, Heartbreak, Dead Ahead”) from 1965.

This sample, frankly is the better one. It casts a clear connection with the classic Girl Group sound, with an clear evolution of Girl Group themes, with tongue in cheek references that could have passed equally passed in 1965 (see The Marvelettes own “Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers” for example). And, it’s not a thematic twin/kinda sorta switching the aggressive gender roles of the original song.

I’m leaving it to you, the reader, to chime in this month.


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