Monday, February 28, 2011

i love a rainy night

Eddie Rabbitt snapped and clapped his way to the top of the charts and put a song in our hearts. It was already a number one country hit and, when it knocked Dolly Pardon's '9 to 5' out of that spot, it became the last country chart topper to secede another on the pop chart. Rabbitt found a fragment of the song on an old tape and brought it to Even Stevens and David Malloy to help put the finishing touches on it.

Well, I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky
You know it makes me feel good

Well, I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face
Taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadow

Showers washed
All my cares away
I wake up to a sunny day
'Cos I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night


I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
I love to hear the thunder
Watch the lightning
When it lights up the sky
You know it makes me feel good

Well, I love a rainy night
It's such a beautiful sight
I love to feel the rain
On my face
To taste the rain on my lips
In the moonlight shadows

Puts a song
In this heart of mine
Puts a smile on my face every time

'Cos I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Ooh, I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night


Showers washed
All my cares away
I wake up to a sunny day
'Cos I love a rainy night
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night
I love a rainy night
Well, I love a rainy night
You can see it in my eyes
Yeah, I love a rainy night
Well, it makes me high
Ooh, I love a rainy night
You know I do, yeah, yeah
I love a rainy night

I love a rainy night
You can see it in my eyes.

theme from s.w.a.t.

Rhythm Heritage seized control of the charts with this funky theme song to this spin-off of 'The Rookies'. The success of the 'Theme from "S.W.A.T.' couldn't stop the controversial show from being cancelled due to its violent content. Rhythm Heritage was formed by producer Steve Barri and session keyboardist Michael Omartian and has done other theme music for television including the theme from 'Baretta' 'Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow' with Sammy Davis, Jr. and the theme from 'Starsky and Hutch'.

This is the intro to the television show produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg. S.W.A.T. stands for Special Weapons And Tactics.

The hit version of the song comes from Rhythm Heritage's album 'Disco-fied'.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

my life in the bush of ghosts

This dense and funky collaboration exorcised the demons and tapped into something primal with its extensive use of “found vocals and objects”. 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts' influenced several movements in music by drawing together the ambient experimentation of Eno with Byrne's predilection for polyrhythmic world music. It sat on the shelves for months as record companies sought legal permission for the extensive audio samples.

Byrne says:  "I still feel like if I can get a song to work with, say, a basic beat, a rhythm, some chord changes, and a melody, a vocal melody-- if it works with that, then I feel it's written and there's something there. So I intentionally don't get involved with arranging stuff or fussing over the sounds and the edits and the beats too much, at least not in the beginning, because I feel like then you can fool yourself that you've got something there, when you might not. In a certain way, you get some new tools to work with, but I don't know if it ultimately makes the creative process any easier...The idea of making music from an imaginary culture was to give ourselves a set of restrictions and parameters within which to work. Otherwise, we might have just gone on all kinds of creative detours, some of which might have been interesting. But better we confine ourselves to something. Which kind of worked. At least it kept us within bounds for a while, [and] by the time we abandoned that whole idea, which was pretty early on, we already had a direction."

Eno elaborates:   "We are both fairly disenchanted with ordinary song structures - the voice you record is invested with your own personality. What we wanted was to create something more mysterious, and by taking voices out of context, but featuring them dominantly as the main vocal performance, you can go on to create meaning by surrounding the voice with a musical mood.  In a way it was an experiment to see if you can create fairly sophisticated moods with voices outside their linguistic meaning. Basically I'm so fed up with reading reviews of records that concentrate on the lyrics, quoting them as if they had some great relevance, but ignoring the music."

'America Is Waiting' samples an "Unidentified indignant radio host"

'Mea Culpa'
"Inflamed caller and smooth politician replying"

'Regiment' includes Lebanese mountain singer Dunya Yusin and Michael "Busta Cherry" Jones on bass.

'Help Me Somebody'
Reverend Paul Morton

'The Jezebel Spirit'
Unidentified exorcist

Algerian Muslims chanting the Qur'an.  

The song was removed from later editions of the album.  Byrne explains:    "Way back when the record first came out, in 1981, it might have been ’82, we got a request from an Islamic organization in London, and they said, 'We consider this blasphemy that you put grooves to the chanting of the Holy Book.' And we thought, 'Okay, in deference to somebody’s religion, we’ll take it off.' You could probably argue for and against monkeying with something like that. But I think we were certainly feeling very cautious about this whole thing. We made a big effort to try and clear all the voices, and make sure everybody was okay with everything. Because we thought, 'We’re going to get accused of all kinds of things, and so we want to cover our asses as best we can'.” So I think in that sense we reacted maybe with more caution than we had to. But that’s the way it was.”

'Moonlight In Glory'
The Moving Star Hall Singers, Sea Islands, Georgia

'The Carrier'
Dunya Yusin

'A Secret Life'
Samira Tewfik, Egyptian popular singer

'Come With Us'
Unidentified radio evangelist

'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts'
full album:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

muskrat ramble heebie jeebies

Louis Armstrong And His Hot Five cranked out six songs in a single session that transformed jazz as Satchmo sang vocals for the first time and scatted his way even deeper into our hearts. This supergroup only really existed in the studio; but that only cemented its influence. They only played live twice at parties for OKeh Records.

'Georgia Grind' was written by Spencer Williams and features vocals by Lil and Louis.

"I can shake it east, I can shake it west, but way down south I can shake it best."

'Heebie Jeebies' was written by Boyd Atkins. It is often cited as the first example of scat singing, but Gene Greene first recorded scat in his song 'King of the Bungaloos' fifteen years earlier. This rendition was so good, it was the B-side for two singles: 'Georgia Grind' and 'Muskrat Ramble'; and it inspired a whole new generation of jazz singers.  Armstrong maintained that he scatted because he had dropped the sheet music and didn't want to waste the tape:    “When I dropped the paper, I immediately turned into the horn and started to scatting. Just as nothing had happened. When I finished the record I just knew the recording people would throw it out. And to my surprise they all came running out of the controlling booth and said ‘Leave that in.’ My, my, I gave a big sigh of relief. And sure enough – they did publish “Heebie Jeebies” the same way it was mistakenly recorded” 

'Cornet Chop Suey' was written by Louis Armstrong. The band makes nice use of stop timing.

'Oriental Strut' was written by Johnny St. Cyr.

'You're Next' was another Armstrong composition.

The music for 'Muskrat Ramble' was written by Kid Ory. The interplay between his trombone and Armstrong's cornet is legendary. It was the band's first hit.

Friday, February 25, 2011

i forgot to remember to forget  / mystery train

The Hillbilly Cat had his first number one hit with his last single for Sun Records. Stan Kesler and Charlie Feathers wrote 'I Forgot To Remember To Forget' in the classic rockabilly style; but Elvis thought it sounded too country. When they brought in drummer Johnny Bernero, he changed his mind. It spent five weeks on the top of the country chart.  It was released with the classic 'Mystery Train' as the B-side.

'Mystery Train' was written by Junior Parker and Sun Records founder Sam Phillips and peaked at number eleven on the country chart. They were inspired by the Carter Family's 'Worried Man Blues'. It features Scotty Moore on lead guitar, Bill Black on bass, and Presley on vocals and rhythm guitar.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

if i could only remember my name...

David Crosby released this mystical hippie masterpiece with a little help from his friends: Graham Nash, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell, as well as members of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana.

Stephen Barncard engineered the album in Heider's Studio C, where he was also mixing the Dead's 'American Beauty' album. People were coming in and out of the studio and Barncard would record everything. Most of the songs were written by Crosby over the years; but some of them developed during studio jam sessions. He dedicated the album to his girlfriend, Christine Hinton (his “Guinnevere”), who had died in a car accident in 1969.

“I was in a pretty emotional state, trying to stay so deeply in the music that the other thing — Christine — wouldn't drive me under. I needed to work all the time, so I would write constantly, and when I wasn't writing, I was recording, and when I wasn't recording, I would try to get some place to play. It was all I had to hang on to, so I was pretty prolific.”

'If I Could Only Remember My Name' became his biggest solo success, peaking at number twelve on the US album chart.  

'Music Is Love' features Graham Nash and Neil Young and was composed by all three. The phasing effect happened by accident; but Crosby loved it.

The epic 'Cowboy Movie' is a metaphorical story of the breakup of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. It was recorded completely live and includes performances by members of the Grateful Dead: Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann.

The wordless, jazzy 'Tamalpais High (At About 3)' also has Garcia, Lesh, and Kreutzmann, along with Jorma Kaukonen on lead guitar.

'Laughing' includes Nash, Garcia, Lesh, and Kreutzmann. Joni Mitchell sings vocals.

"And I thought I've seen someone
Who seemed at last to know the truth
I was mistaken, only a child laughing in the sun, in the sun"

The anti-government opus 'What Are Their Names' starts out with a jam session that includes Young, Garcia, Lesh, and Kreutzmann. The end of the song features the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra chorus which includes vocals by David Crosby, David Freiberg, Jerry Garcia, Paul Kantner, Phil Lesh, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, and Grace Slick. Crosby, Garcia, Lesh, Shrieve, and Young share writing credit.

"I wonder who they are
The men who really run this land
And I wonder why they run it
With such a thoughtless hand

What are their names
And on what streets do they live?
I'd like to ride right over
This afternoon and give

Them a piece of my mind
About peace for mankind
Peace is not an awful lot
To ask"

'Traction In The Rain'

"It's hard enough, I know
To find the strength to go
Back to where it all began
It's hard enough to gain
Any traction in the rain
You know it's hard for me to understand"

reissue bonus track

"Kids and Dogs"   David Crosby 7:01

'If I Could Only Remember My Name' 
full album:

Side one 
1. "Music Is Love"   David Crosby, Graham Nash, Neil Young 3:16
2. "Cowboy Movie"   David Crosby 8:02
3. "Tamalpais High (at about 3)"   David Crosby 3:29
4. "Laughing"   David Crosby 5:20
Side two
1. "What Are Their Names"   Crosby, Garcia, Lesh, Shrieve, Young 4:09
2. "Traction in the Rain"   David Crosby 3:40
3. "Song with No Words (Tree with No Leaves)"   David Crosby 5:53
4. "Orleans"   traditional 1:56
5. "I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here"   David Crosby 1:19

alternative version:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

9 to 5

The Queen of Country Music poured herself a cup of ambition and had her first number one on the pop chart with this song inspired by the National Association of Working Women. Dolly Parton wrote the song while the movie of the same name was filming. She realized when she rubbed her acrylic fingernails together that it sounded like a typewriter, and, since the film was about secretaries, decided to use that sound in the actual recording. The song won Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. It also won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Song and received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations.

Tumble outta bed
And stumble to the kitchen
Pour myself a cup of ambition
Yawnin' and stretchin' and try to come to life

Jump in the shower
And the blood starts pumpin'
Out on the streets
The traffic starts jumpin'
With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5

Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin'
And no givin'
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

9 to 5, for service and devotion
You would think that I
Would deserve a fair promotion
Want to move ahead
But the boss won't seem to let me
I swear sometimes that man is out to get me

They let you dream
Just a' watch 'em shatter
You're just a step
On the boss man's ladder
But you got dream he'll never take away

In the same boat
With a lot of your friends
Waitin' for the day
Your ship 'll come in
And the tide's gonna turn
An' it's all gonna roll you away

Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin'
And no givin'
They just use your mind
And you never get the credit
It's enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it

9 to 5, yeah, they got you where they want you
There's a better life
And you think about it don't you
It's a rich man's game
No matter what they call it
And you spend your life
Putting money in his wallet

Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin'
And no givin'
They just use you mind
And they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you
Crazy if you love it

9 to 5, yeah, they got you where they want you
There's a better life
And you think about it don't you
It's a rich man's game
No matter what they call it
And you spend your life
Putting money in his wallet

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

come back, sweet papa

Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five returned to the studio in the windy city with this swinging fox trot. The song was written by Paul Barbarin and Luis Russell who were part of rival King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators who played across the street from Dreamland at the Plantation Café. This was the first of twenty two songs that Armstrong recorded in seven sessions over ten days. He played cornet on all of these tracks. His Hot Five also included Kid Ory on trombone, Johnny Dodds on clarinet and saxophone, Lil Armstrong on Piano, and Johnny St. Cyr on banjo.

Monday, February 21, 2011

king of america

Declan Patrick Aloysious MacManus had his '86 comeback by channelling his inner Elvis and bringing musicians from Presley's TCB band into the Costello Show for this journey into Americana. In the wake of the failure of his marriage and the commercial and artistic failure of 'Goodbye Cruel World', Costello needed a change. He enlisted the help of T-Bone Burnett and Mitchell Froom to bring in session musicians that would help him strip down his sound. The result is an album of understated acoustic grace that showcases his incomparable voice in a number of different musical genres from rockabilly to country to rhythm and blues to folk to blues. 'King Of America' has genuine depth and is one of his most consistant records. For the first time, he used his real name; but the record company wanted him to stick with his stage name. In the liner notes Costello refers to himself as "Little Hands of Concrete" due to his propensity for breaking strings.

Most of the songs were written largely during an acoustic tour with T Bone Burnett during which the duo took on the moniker of The Coward Brothers.  Costello says:   "By the time we entered Hollywood's Ocean Way Studios, we had booked several line-ups to tackle the songs. The first consisted of Ron Tutt on drums, Jerry Scheff on bass, and James Burton on guitar. This trio had been a major part of Elvis Presley's "T.C.B." band, although I was actually more familiar with Ron and James' recordings with Gram Parsons. It turned out that Jerry, whose musical background included the Navy and modern jazz, had also featured on records ranging from The 5th Dimension's "Up, Up, And Away" to The Doors' "L.A. Woman".  James Burton is one of the few guitar players who is almost always called "legendary". This is because he is amazing, and his credits stretch from Dale Hawkins' "Suzie Q", through his years with Ricky Nelson and Elvis Presley to a fantastic range of session and stage appearances, Jerry Lee Lewis, Emmylou Harris, and Randy Newman being only three of my favourites from the hundreds of artists he has played with.  These sessions were cut as "live" as possible. T-Bone and engineer Larry Hirsch had miked me so that my vocal and guitar performance were central to the sound picture."

The first single was a cover of the Animal's 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood'. It was a top forty hit in the US and the UK. It is one of the few songs in which you hear Costello sing the words "I love you."

"Brilliant Mistake"

"I wish that I could push a button
And talk in the past and not the present tense
And watch this hurtin' feeling disappear
Like it was common sense
It was a fine idea at the time
Now it's a brilliant mistake"

'Lovable' was co-written with future wife Cait O'Riordan and was released as a single in the US.

"You're so sweet, you're so honest
You say, “I'll be true to you boy”
But I won't promise
Then you say you love me
Then you show me

As you lie there so lifelike below me"

"Our Little Angel"

"You'll come in a sweetheart and you'll go out a stranger
Well you try to love her but she's so contrary
Like a chainsaw running through a dictionary
So get your mind off the sweet behind of our little angel"

"Indoor fireworks
Can still burn your fingers
Indoor fireworks
We swore we were safe as houses
They're not so spectacular
They don't burn up in the sky
But they can dazzle or delight
Or bring a tear
When the smoke gets in your eyes"

"You're the twinkle in your daddy's eye,
A name you spray and scribble,
You made the girls all turn their heads,
And in turn they made you miserable.
To be the heir apparent, to the kingdom of the invisible.
So you knock the kids about a bit, because they've got your name,
And you knock the kids about a bit, until they feel the same.
And they feel like knocking down the little palaces."

"At a dock in Southampton full of tearful goodbyes
Newsreel commentators said "Cheerio, G.I. brides"
Soon they'll be finding the cold facts and lies
New words for suspenders and young girls backsides
Now I'm in America and running from you
Like my grandfather before me walked the streets of New York
And I think of all the women I pretend mean more than you
When I open my mouth and I can't seem to talk
Now it seems we've been crying for years and for years
Now I don't speak any English just American without tears
Just American without tears"

"The poisoned rose
On a Valentine card
That you take straight to the heart
That you call my junkyard
But if all I can do
is save pieces of you
The piece of your mind
The piece of your heart
Didn't tear me apart
Like the poisoned rose
I received from you"

"I'll Wear it Proudly / Loveable" live

'King of America' full album playlist:

All tracks written by Declan MacManus except as noted

Side one
"Brilliant Mistake" — 3:45
"Lovable" (MacManus, Cait O'Riordan) — 2:53
"Our Little Angel" — 4:06
"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (Bennie Benjamin, Sol Marcus, Gloria Caldwell) — 3:22
"Glitter Gulch" — 3:17
"Indoor Fireworks" — 4:10
"Little Palaces" — 3:49
"I'll Wear It Proudly" — 4:25
Side two
"American Without Tears" — 4:34
"Eisenhower Blues" (J. B. Lenoir) — 3:46
"Poisoned Rose" — 4:07
"The Big Light" — 2:33
"Jack of All Parades" — 5:18
"Suit of Lights" — 4:06
"Sleep of The Just" — 3:51