Posts Tagged ‘Allen Toussaint’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #90 – Labelle: “Lady Marmalade” b/w “Space Children”– Epic 8-50048

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #90 – Labelle: “Lady Marmalade” b/w “Space Children”– Epic 8-50048

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”

With that one line from today’s jukebox classic, American music fans were introduced to a certain creole lady of the night and also got a French lesson. At the same time, America also discovered the wonders of Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, who collectively went under the moniker of Labelle.

Labelle was not a new entity in the music business. The group formed in the 1960s in Philadelphia under the name The Blue Belles with the same lineup as above, plus Cindy Birdsong (who went on become a member of Diana Ross and The Supremes). They scored several soulful doo wop flavored ballads that highlighted Patti’s huge set of pipes including “Down the Aisle (The Wedding Song),” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Over the Rainbow.”

The group changed their name to Labelle after Birdsong left for The Supremes in 1967 and shared co-billing with Laura Nyro on her Gonna Take A Miracle, album which in my estimation is one of the greatest records ever recorded. (If you’ve never heard this album, stop reading and go to Spotify immediately!) By 1974, the group changed their persona and became an outlandish funk group. The group’s sexually infused personality and freaky party attire made them huge with the Gay community, and to this day, Patti LaBelle is still one of their main divas.

“Lady Marmalade” was written by Bob Crewe, who also wrote most of the Four Seasons’ biggest hits with Bob Gaudio, and Kenny Nolan, who along with Crewe wrote Frankie Valli’s “My Eyes Adored You” and many others. The track was produced by none other than recently-passed New Orleans’ favorite son, Allen Toussaint, who wrote numerous hits including “Working In The Coalmine,” “Yes We Can-Can,” “Fortune Teller,” “Southern Nights” and “Mother-In-Law,” to name but a few. He is also heard playing piano on the track.

Labelle was not the first group to take a crack at recording the song. It was originally recorded by Nolan’s group, Eleventh Hour in 1974. It was Toussaint who chose the song for Labelle’s chart-topping album Nightbirds. The song topped the R&B and Pop Singles charts in 1975, knocking out another Crewe and Nolan’s composition, “My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli from the top slot.

The song saw a resurgence in popularity in 2001 when it topped the charts again after it was recorded by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, and Pink. That version was produced by Missy Elliott for the soundtrack to the film Moulin Rouge. It went on to win the 2001 Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. It is the only song to top the U.S. and UK charts twice. The song was also covered by All Saints (who topped the UK charts with it), Sheila E., the disco group Boogie Knights and Lords Of Acid.

The aforementioned hook of the song, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” which translates to “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?,” was originally spoken in the play A Streetcar Named Desire by the character Blanche DuBois. When LaBelle performed the song on TV, they were forced to change the famous line to “Voulez-vous danser avec moi, ce soir?” which means “Do you want to dance with me tonight.”

Patti Labelle: “I swear I had no idea for a while what it meant, until I asked Bob Crewe, who recorded it, ‘what’s voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?’ He told me, ‘Oh gosh’, I said, ‘what will my mother think?’” (New Musical Express via Songfacts.com)

By 1977, Labelle’s popularity began to decline and all three members went their separate ways, each scoring hits on their own. Today, Patti LaBelle is still the most visible member of the group and has rightfully held on to her title as Diva.

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

I’ve posted the whole album here for your listening pleasure!

Edited: December 1st, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #9 – The Pointer Sisters: “Yes We Can Can” b/w “Jada” – Blue Thumb 45 RPM Single BTA-229 (1973) (Q1/R1)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #9 – The Pointer Sisters: “Yes We Can Can” b/w “Jada” – Blue Thumb 45 RPM Single BTA-229 (1973) (Q1/R1)

This Allen Toussaint-penned gem comes from the Pointer’s self-titled debut album from 1973. It’s infectious…it’s funky…it’s contagious…it’s been often sampled, but never improved upon!

The Pointer Sisters were indeed real sisters. They began as a duo performing under the moniker “Pointers, A Pair” in 1969 featuring sisters June and Bonnie. Anita joined in 1970 and they became in-demand background vocalists, singing for the likes of Grace Slick, Sylvester, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop. While backing Bishop in 1971, they were signed by Atlantic Records where they released several singles that went nowhere. Sister Ruth joined in 1972 when they signed with Blue Thumb Records.

On Blue Thumb, their goal was to meld their jazz and vocalese style of singing with the sounds of be-bop and funk in order to create something new and unique. They topped this all off by dressing in 1940s clothing making them stand out amongst the funky threaded artists of the early 1970s. One of the first songs they recorded for the album was Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can” which came to them via producer David Rubinson.

The song established the sisters as a recording act reaching #11 on the pop charts and #12 on R&B. Backing the Pointers on the album were Willie Fulton on guitar, Dexter Plates on bass and Gaylord Birch on drums. The album also included the top forty hit “Wang Dang Doodle,” plus the Wilton Felder composed “That’s How I Feel” and the flip of today’s single “Jada,” which was named after Anita Pointer’s daughter.

While the group found early success in the 1970s, their career really took off in the 1980s with a string of smash hits including their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” “He’s So Shy,” “Slow Hand,” “Automatic,” “Jump (For My Love),” “I’m So Excited,” and “Neutron Dance.”

Today’s Song Of The Day was written by Allen Toussaint and originally recorded in 1970 by Lee Dorsey under the title “Yes We Can.” Toussaint is one of New Orleans’ favorite sons, responsible for penning a jukebox full of classics that have spun gold for those who have recorded them. Songs like “Mother-In-Law” (Ernie K-Doe), “Working In The Coal Mine” (Lee Dorsey, Devo), “Fortune Teller” (Benny Spellman, Rolling Stones, The Who), “Southern Nights” (Glen Campbell), “Java” (Al Hirt), “Whipped Cream” (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass), “Sneaking Sally Through The Alley” (Robert Palmer), “What Do You Want The Girl To Do” (Boz Scaggs) and today’s Song Of The Day have poured out of his pen and up the charts, and these are just the tip of his iceberg of hits.

Toussaint has also contributed his arrangement and production talents to a stellar list of albums including Paul McCartney & Wings’ Venus And Mars and its single “Listen To What The Man Said,” Labelle’s Nightbirds and its single “Lady Marmalade,” The Band albums Rock Of Ages, Cahoots and The Last Waltz, and Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees. Post Katrina, he recorded an essential album with Elvis Costello called The River in Reverse, a traditional New Orleans jazz album called The Bright Mississippi and an exceptional live album.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: March 24th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #90 – Labelle: “Lady Marmalade” b/w “Space Children”– Epic 8-50048

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #90 – Labelle: “Lady Marmalade” b/w “Space Children”– Epic 8-50048

Welcome back my friends, to the series that never ends…

“Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?”

With that one line from today’s jukebox classic, American music fans were introduced to a certain creole lady of the night and also got a French lesson. At the same time, America also discovered the wonders of Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, who collectively went under the moniker of Labelle.

Labelle was not a new entity in the music business. The group formed in the 1960s in Philadelphia under the name The Blue Belles with the same lineup as above, plus Cindy Birdsong (who went on become a member of Diana Ross and The Supremes). They scored several soulful doo wop flavored ballads that highlighted Patti’s huge set of pipes including “Down The Aisle (The Wedding Song),” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Over The Rainbow.”

The group changed their name to Labelle after Birdsong left for The Supremes in 1967 and shared co-billing with Laura Nyro on her Gonna Take A Miracle, album which in my estimation is one of the greatest records ever recorded. (If you’ve never heard this album, stop reading and go to Spotify immediately!) By 1974, the group changed their persona and became an outlandish funk group. The group’s sexually infused personality and freaky party attire made them huge with the Gay community, and to this day, Patti LaBelle is still their main diva.

“Lady Marmalade” was written by Bob Crewe, who also wrote most of the Four Seasons’ biggest hits with Bob Gaudio, and Kenny Nolan, who along with Crewe wrote Frankie Valli’s “My Eyes Adored You” and many others. The track was produced by none other than New Orleans’ favorite son,  Allen Toussaint, who wrote numerous hits including “Working In The Coalmine,” “Yes We Can-Can,” “Fortune Teller,” “Southern Nights” and “Mother-In-Law,” to name but a few. He is also heard playing piano on the track.

Labelle was not the first group to take a crack at recording the song. It was originally recorded by Nolan’s group, Eleventh Hour in 1974. It was Toussaint who chose the song for Labelle’s chart-topping album Nightbirds. The song topped the R&B and Pop Singles charts in 1975, knocking out Crewe and Nolan’s composition, “My Eyes Adored You” by Frankie Valli from the top slot.

The song saw a resurgence in popularity in 2001 when it topped the charts again after it was recorded by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, and Pink. That version was produced by Missy Elliott for the soundtrack to the film Moulin Rouge. It went on to win the 2001 Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. It is the only song to top the U.S. and UK charts twice. The song was also covered by All Saints (who topped the UK charts with it), Sheila E., the disco group Boogie Knights and Lords Of Acid.

The aforementioned hook of the song, “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?” which translates to “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?,” was originally spoken in  the play A Streetcar Named Desire by the character Blanche DuBois. When LaBelle performed the song on TV, they were forced to change the famous line to “Voulez-vous danser avec moi, ce soir?” which means “Do you want to dance with me tonight.”

Patti Labelle: “I swear I had no idea for a while what it meant, until I asked Bob Crewe, who recorded it, ‘what’s voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir?’ He told me, ‘Oh gosh’, I said, ‘what will my mother think?’” (New Musical Express via Songfacts.com)

By 1977, Labelle’s popularity began to decline and all three members went their separate ways, each scoring hits on their own. Today, Patti LaBelle is still the most visible member of the group and has rightfully held on to her title as Diva.

“The Jukebox Series” focused on the 80 records that currently inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. Over the years, records have come and gone out of the ranks of the juke, but they were all at one time juke-worthy. I’ve decided to expand “The Jukebox Series” to include many of the “juke-worthy” records that are no longer currently in the mix, but at one time inhabited a coveted slot.

Edited: March 17th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #9 – The Pointer Sisters: “Yes We Can Can” b/w “Jada” – Blue Thumb 45 RPM Single BTA-229 (1973) (Q1/R1)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #9 – The Pointer Sisters: “Yes We Can Can” b/w “Jada” – Blue Thumb 45 RPM Single BTA-229 (1973) (Q1/R1)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

This Allen Toussaint-penned gem comes from the Pointer’s debut album from 1973.  It’s infectious…it’s funky…it’s contagious…it’s been often sampled, but never improved upon!

The Pointer Sisters were indeed real sisters. They began as a duo performing under the moniker “Pointers, A Pair” in 1969 featuring sisters June and Bonnie. Anita joined in 1970 and they became in-demand background vocalists, singing for the likes of Grace Slick, Sylvester, Boz Scaggs and Elvin Bishop. While backing Bishop in 1971, they were signed by Atlantic Records where they released several singles that went nowhere. Sister Ruth joined in 1972 when they signed with Blue Thumb Records.

On Blue Thumb, their goal was to meld their jazz and vocalese style of singing with the sounds of be-bop and funk in order to create something new and unique. They topped this all off by dressing in 1940s clothing making them stand out amongst the funky threaded artists of the early 1970s. One of the first songs they recorded for the album was Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can” which came to them via producer David Rubinson.

The song established the sisters as a recording act reaching #11 on the pop charts and #12 on R&B. Backing the Pointers on the album were Willie Fulton on guitar, Dexter Plates on bass and Gaylord Birch on drums. The album also included the top forty hit “Wang Dang Doodle,” plus the Wilton Felder composed “That’s How I Feel” and the flip of today’s single “Jada,” which was named after Anita Pointer’s daughter.

While the group found early success in the 1970s, their career really took off in the 1980s with a string of smash hits including their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Fire,” “He’s So Shy,” “Slow Hand,” “Automatic,” “Jump (For My Love),” “I’m So Excited,” and “Neutron Dance.”

Today’s Song Of The Day was written by Allen Toussaint and originally recorded in 1970 by Lee Dorsey under the title “Yes We Can.” Toussaint is one of New Orleans’ favorite sons, responsible for penning a jukebox full of classics that have spun gold for those who have recorded them. Songs like “Mother-In-Law” (Ernie K-Doe), “Working In The Coal Mine” (Lee Dorsey, Devo), “Fortune Teller” (Benny Spellman, Rolling Stones, The Who), “Southern Nights” (Glen Campbell), “Java” (Al Hirt), “Whipped Cream” (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass), “Sneaking Sally Through The Alley” (Robert Palmer), “What Do You Want The Girl To Do” (Boz Scaggs) and today’s Song Of The Day have poured out of his pen and up the charts, and these are just the tip of his ice berg of hits.

Toussaint has also contributed his arrangement and production talents to a stellar list of albums including Paul McCartney & Wings’ Venus And Mars and its single “Listen To What The Man Said,” Labelle’s Nightbirds and its single “Lady Marmalade,” The Band albums Rock Of Ages, Cahoots and The Last Waltz, and Boz Scaggs’ Silk Degrees. Post Katrina, he recorded an essential album with Elvis Costello called The River In Reverse, a traditional New Orleans jazz album called The Bright Mississippi and an exceptional new live album released several weeks ago.

Edited: October 18th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/15/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Whipped Cream” by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass

Before forming the Tijuana Brass and a record company (A&M) that still lives today, Herb Alpert was best known for co-writing Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” and producing tracks for Jan & Dean.  All that changed in 1962 when he recorded “The Lonely Bull” in his garage and gave birth to one of the biggest recording acts of the 1960s rivaling The Beatles.

The first few Tijuana Brass albums were recorded with a cadre of Los Angeles studio musicians. For the group’s fourth album, Whipped Cream & Other Delights, Alpert recruited future Tijuana Brass members John Pisano (guitar) and Bob Edmondson (trombone) and augmented them with Wrecking Crew members Hal Blaine, Carol Kaye, Chuck Berghofer, and Russell Bridges (aka Leon Russell). Once the album took off, Alpert solidified the TJB lineup by adding Nick Ceroli (drums), Pat Senatore (bass), Tonni Kalash (trumpet), Lou Pagani (piano), and Julius Wechter who played marimba and vibes only on studio recordings.

The food-themed album featuring such tasty tunes as “Tangerine,” “Butterball,” “Peanuts” and “Love Potion No. 9,” topped the charts and sold over 6 million copies in the United States. It also won five Grammy Awards, three for the single, “A Taste of Honey.’ Sol Lake, who contributed numerous original songs to the TJB repertoire, wrote “Green Peppers,’ “Bittersweet Samba” and “El Garbanzo” for the album.

Today’s Song Of The Day is an Allen Toussaint-penned creation (under the pseudonym Naomi Neville) that was heard regularly on the TV game show, The Dating Game, as bachelorettes were being introduced to the audience.  Three other songs from the album, “Lollipops And Roses,” “Lemon Tree” and “Ladyfingers” were also used on the show as musical cues, as well as “Spanish Flea” from the TJB’s follow-up album, Going Places!.

And then there’s the album cover…the most iconic in all of recorded music…the cover that launched millions of young adolescent boys sex lives!

The model on the cover, Dolores Erickson, was three months pregnant when the photo was taken!  It was parodied by such artists as Pat Cooper (Spaghetti Sauce & Other Delights), Soul Asylum (Clam Dip & Other Delights), Cherry Capri and the Martini Kings (Creamy Cocktails & Other Delights), The Frivolous Five (Sour Cream & Other Delights), plus on Herb Alpert tribute albums by Peter Nero and Dave Lewis.

Thanks to my buddy Kent, I am the proud owner of not one…not two…but 151 copies of this record…can you really ever get enough “Whipped Cream & Other Delights?”

Edited: March 14th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 11/8/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Yes We Can-Can” by Allen Toussaint

He is one of New Orleans’ favorite sons, responsible for penning a jukebox full of classics that have spun gold for those who have recorded them. Songs like “Mother-In-Law” (Ernie K-Doe), “Working In The Coal Mine” (Lee Dorsey, Devo), “Fortune Teller” (Benny Spellman, Rolling Stones, The Who), “Southern Nights” (Glen Campbell), “Java” (Al Hirt), “Whipped Cream” (Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass), “Sneaking Sally Through The Alley” (Robert Palmer), “What Do You Want The Girl To Do” (Boz Scaggs) and this song recorded by The Pointer Sisters have poured out of his pen and up the charts for numerous artists over the years, and these are just the tip of his ice berg of hits. Toussaint has also contributed his arrangement and production talents to a stellar list of albums including Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Venus And Mars,” Labelle’s “Nightbirds,” The Band’s “Rock Of Ages,” “Cahoots” and “The Last Waltz” and Boz Scaggs’ “Silk Degrees.” Post Katrina, he recorded an essential album with Elvis Costello (“The River In Reverse”) and his latest endeavor is “The Bright Mississippi,” an exceptional traditional New Orleans jazz band album.

Edited: November 7th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/14/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Sailing Shoes/Hey Julia/Sneakin’ Sally Thru The Alley” by Robert Palmer

This is the opening triptych of songs from Palmer’s debut solo album from 1974. But it wasn’t the first time we heard from Palmer since he had been a member of the band Vinegar Joe before this releasing three critically acclaimed albums that were ignored by the public during the early ’70s. “Sailing Shoes” was a Little Feat cover written by Lowell George. The band backing Palmer on this album was indeed Little Feat who would continue working with Palmer on his second album, “Pressure Drop” the following year and backed him on tour. “Hey Julia” was a Palmer original, while the album’s title cut is an Allen Toussaint original. There is a great video on YouTube of “Sneakin’ Sally” that shows where the album cover shot came from, but it does not include the other two songs. (http://youtu.be/ICPAmS1TtIM – Thanks to Mike for pointing this out to me.) Palmer would go on to score numerous hits on the charts, create some of the most iconic music videos of all time and join forces with members of Duran Duran in the group Power Station. Palmer left us too early succumbing to a heart attack at the age of 54.

Edited: March 14th, 2012

Song Of The Day – 7/30/11

Song Of The Day – “Cissy Strut” by The Meters

This 1969 instrumental is practically ground zero for all of Rap and Hip Hop tracks. It’s the essence of songs like this Allen Toussaint-produced classic that informs the genre with its groove and beats. The Meters were formed by Aaron Neville as a backing band for some of New Orleans’ greatest acts like Chris Kenner and Lee Dorsey.

Edited: July 29th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 4/2/11

Song Of The Day – “Yes We Can Can” by The Pointer Sisters

This Allen Toussaint-penned gem comes from the Pointer’s debut album from 1973.  It’s infectious…it’s funky…it’s contagious…it’s been often sampled, but never improved upon!

Edited: April 1st, 2011