Posts Tagged ‘Aretha Franklin’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #73 – Aretha Franklin: “Day Dreaming” b/w “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” – Atlantic 45-2866 (E8/F8)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #73 – Aretha Franklin: “Day Dreaming” b/w “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” – Atlantic 45-2866 (E8/F8)

Today’s jukebox classic is a self-penned nugget from Aretha Franklin’s classic Young, Gifted and Black album. The song features some of the most lilting and sensuous vocals Reethy ever captured on record.

Young, Gifted and Black was Aretha’s most consistent platter and it captured her at her absolute prime in a year that saw the release of classic soul albums like Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book, Curtis Mayfield’s Super Fly, Al Green’s I’m So In Love With You and Let’s Stay Together, Bill Withers’ Still Bill and Cymande’s self-titled debut. Amongst its tune stack are the hit singles “Rock Steady” and “Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool for You Baby),” along with today’s song “Day Dreaming.” The album won Aretha her sixth Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Female Artist in 1973.

“Day Dreaming” was released in 1972 and climbed to #5 on the pop charts, while topping the Hot Soul Singles charts for two weeks and selling over a million copies. The track features Donny Hathaway on electric piano, jazz great Hubert Laws on flute, session greats Chuck Rainey and Cornell Dupree on guitar and Bernard Purdie on drums. It was produced by the Atlantic Records supreme team of Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd and it has been covered by the likes of Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole, Will Downing, Corinne Bailey Rae and many others.

The subject of Aretha’s day dreaming was said to be Temptations singer Dennis Edwards, however Franklin has never disclosed who the man of her day dreams really was. Franklin: “’Day Dreaming’ was rather personal and I was thinking about someone who used to be a friend of mine. I’ll give you a hint. Used to be with one of the hottest groups in the country, tall, dark and fine. ‘OOOOwww wooo wooo wheee!” – he could sing!” (Aretha Franklin: The Queen Of Soul by Mark Bego via songfacts.com)

The song was released during the height of the singer songwriter era casting Aretha Franklin in a new light as one of the most influential female singer songwriters of the day, along with Roberta Flack, Carole King and Carly Simon who composed and performed their own material.

The flip of today’s single is Aretha’s take on the Otis Redding classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” which originally appeared on his Otis Blue album in 1965. The song was written by Otis Redding and Jerry Butler, who also recorded his own version. Aretha’s cover was also included on Young, Gifted and Black. The song has been covered by a myriad of artists including The Rolling Stones, Percy Sledge, Ike and Tina Turner, Etta James, The Tindersticks, Joe Cocker and Seal.

“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 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: September 14th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #5 – Ben E. King – “Spanish Harlem” b/w “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” – Atlantic Oldies 45 OS-13068 (I1/J1)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #5 – Ben E. King – “Spanish Harlem” b/w “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” – Atlantic Oldies 45 OS-13068 (I1/J1)

Today’s Song of the Day exposes me for who I really am…a sucker for a great pop song. Give me a lush hummable melody and a simple lyric that I can relate to, add to it some strings for sweetening, and I’m a happy boy. So it should come as no surprise that the music that emanated from The Brill Building in New York City (1619 Broadway on 49th Street) from the late 1950s through the mid-sixties is right up my alley.

I think that growing up in proximity to New York City gave me an added appreciation of the music that came from that building’s hallowed halls, as the rhythm of the streets, the vibe and sounds of the city are inherent in every recording, and “Spanish Harlem” is certainly no different.

Today’s jukebox classic is from a double A-sided single I purchased cheaply on line when I first got the juke. It is one of the original records I put in there, and it is also one that I can’t see myself ever taking out. I just never tire of Ben E. King’s classic “Spanish Harlem.”

The Spanish Harlem section of New York City was a crime-ridden Latino neighborhood, and the 1960 hit was written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector and released on the burgeoning Atco record label. Leiber’s partner Mike Stoller, did the arrangement on the track and came up with the song’s signature intro fill that runs throughout; however he does not receive a composer credit. Mike Stoller: “I presumed my contribution was seminal to the composition, but I also knew that Phil didn’t want to share credit with anyone but Jerry, so I kept quiet.” (Songfacts.com)

The song was King’s first hit after leaving The Drifters, climbing to the #15 position on the R&B charts and #10 Pop, and it also served as the title track of his debut solo album. Singing background vocals was a then-unknown Dionne Warwick (as a member of The Gospelaires). The day the track was cut was indeed very productive, as King also recorded his follow-up single “Stand By Me” during the same session.

“Spanish Harlem” was also covered by Aretha Franklin in 1971 who scored an even bigger hit with it climbing to the #1 position on the R&B charts and #2 on the Pop charts. Dr. John is also heard playing piano on her version. The song was also covered by the likes of Laura Nyro (on her essential 1971 album Gonna Take A Miracle), Jay And The Americans, The Mamas & The Papas, Leon Russell, Chet Atkins, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and even Led Zeppelin, who used to incorporate the song’s melody into live performances of “Dazed And Confused.”

The flip of this double A-sided 45 is King’s 1962 version of “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” which was written by Atlantic Records head honcho Ahmet Ertegun and Betty Nelson (although my 45RPM copy is credited only to “Nugetre” which is Ertegun backwards). King’s version of the song climbed to the #2 position on the R&B charts and up to #11 on the Pop side. The song was also covered again by Aretha Franklin on her 1970 album Spirit in the Dark. Her version peaked at #1 on the R&B charts and went to #11 Pop.

“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.

Edited: March 15th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Work Song” by Nina Simone

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Work Song” by Nina Simone

Here’s one that was released the year I was born, yet it sounds as hip and current as, well, I am. OK, it is hipper and more current than I am, but it goes to show just how timeless Nina Simone’s recordings really are.

Simone’s interpretive talents as a singer and piano player earned her the nickname, “The High Priestess of Soul,” and put her right up there with greats like Anita O’Day, Odetta, Sarah Vaughan and Judy Henske, who all possess a similar earthy style. She was a terrific songwriter, comfortable mingling soul, gospel, folk and blues into a stew that was uniquely her own, and she was also an outspoken Civil Rights activist.

It took a long time for me to crack the hard façade that Nina Simone projected, before I could really appreciate the depths of her talent. Her severe earnestness over the struggles she faced as a black woman during the infancy of the civil rights movement created a seemingly impenetrable barrier between me and her music. But with maturity on my side, I’ve come to love and respect Simone’s whole approach, and the influence she’s had on everyone from Laura Nyro and John Lennon (who cited her recording of “I Put A Spell On You” as an inspiration for The Beatles “Michelle”) to Alicia Keys and Diana Krall.

Simone came to Colpix Records in 1959, after scoring a big hit with “I Loves You, Porgy” on the Bethlehem label. Her deal at Colpix gave her complete artistic control over the material she recorded which was unheard of at the time, and she released nine albums for the label, seven of which were recorded live in front of an audience. Today’s Song of the Day, the much covered “Work Song” written by Nat Adderly and Oscar Brown, Jr., is from her second record for the label, 1961’s studio effort Forbidden Fruit.

Part of the album’s excellence comes down to Simone’s sympathetic backing trio consisting of Chris White on bass, Bobby Hamilton on drums, and crucially, the great Al Schackman on guitar, whose tasty licks light up this entire recording, especially on the tunes “Just Say I Love Him” and the album’s opener “Rags And Old Iron.” But its Simone’s vocals and amazing piano accompaniments, especially on “Gin House Blues,” the swaggering “I Love To Love” and the album’s title track, “Forbidden Fruit,” that really elevate the proceedings to new heights of gospel fervor.

Later albums like Nina Simone In Concert from 1964 and the essential RCA album Nina Simone Sings The Blues from 1967, included signature songs that dealt with the civil rights issues of black women like “Mississippi Goddam,” “Backlash Blues,” “Four Women” and “To Be Young, Gifted And Black,” which was later covered by Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway. She was also responsible for introducing the songs “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “House of the Rising Sun,” years before The Animals recorded them.

Additionally, her recordings of “Sinnerman” and “Forbidden Fruit” were sampled by the likes of Kanye West and Timbaland, but her greatest success came surprisingly from the song “My Baby Cares For Me” which was recorded on her 1960 debut album for Colpix, but didn’t become popular until 1987 when it was used in a UK television commercial for Chanel No. 5 perfume.

Edited: February 15th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #73 – Aretha Franklin: “Day Dreaming” b/w “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” – Atlantic 45-2866 (E8/F8)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #73 – Aretha Franklin: “Day Dreaming” b/w “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” – Atlantic 45-2866  (E8/F8)

“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.

Today’s jukebox classic is a self-penned nugget from Aretha Franklin’s classic Young, Gifted and Black album. The song features some of the most lilting and sensuous vocals Reethy ever captured on record. The album was Aretha’s most consistent platter and it captured her at her absolute prime in a year that saw the release of classic soul albums like Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book, Curtis Mayfield’s Super Fly, Al Green’s I’m So In Love With You and Let’s Stay Together,  Bill Withers’ Still Bill and Cymande’s self-titled debut.  Amongst its tune stack are the hit singles “Rock Steady” and “Oh Me Oh My (I’m A Fool For You Baby),” along with today’s song “Day Dreaming.” The album won Aretha her sixth Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Female Artist in 1973.

“Day Dreaming” was released in 1972 and climbed to #5 on the pop charts, while topping the Hot Soul Singles charts for two weeks and selling over a million copies. The track features Donny Hathaway on electric piano, jazz great Hubert Laws on flute, Chuck Rainey and Cornell Dupree on guitar and Bernard Purdie on drums. It was produced by the Atlantic Records supreme team of Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd and it has been covered by the likes of Mary J. Blige, Natalie Cole, Will Downing, Corinne Bailey Rae and many others.

The subject of Aretha’s day dreaming was said to be Temptations singer Dennis Edwards, however Franklin has never disclosed who the man of her day dreams really was. Franklin: “’Day Dreaming’ was rather personal and I was thinking about someone who used to be a friend of mine. I’ll give you a hint. Used to be with one of the hottest groups in the country, tall, dark and fine. ‘OOOOwww wooo wooo wheee!” – he could sing!” (Aretha Franklin: The Queen Of Soul by Mark Bego)

The song was released during the height of the singer songwriter era casting Aretha Franklin in a new light as one of the most influential female singer songwriters of the day, along with Roberta Flack, Carole King and Carly Simon who composed and performed their own material.

The flip of today’s single is Aretha’s take on the Otis Redding classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” which originally appeared on his Otis Blue album in 1965. The song was written by Otis Redding and Jerry Butler, who also recorded his own version. Aretha’s cover was also included on Young, Gifted and Black. The song has been covered by a myriad of artists including The Rolling Stones, Percy Sledge, Ike and Tina Turner, Etta James, The Tindersticks, Joe Cocker and Seal.

Edited: February 6th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #5 – Ben E. King – “Spanish Harlem” b/w “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” – Atlantic Oldies 45 OS-13068 (I1/J1)

45 adapter001BenEKingspanishharlem

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #5 – Ben E. King  – “Spanish Harlem” b/w “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”  – Atlantic Oldies 45 OS-13068  (I1/J1)

“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.

Today’s Song Of The Day exposes me for who I really am…a sucker for a great pop song. Give me a lush hummable melody and a simple lyric that I can relate to, add to it some strings for sweetening, and I’m a happy boy. So it should come as no surprise that the music that emanated from The Brill Building in New York City (1619 Broadway on 49th Street) from the late 1950s through the mid-sixties is right up my alley.

I think that growing up in proximity to New York City gave me an added appreciation of the music that came from that building’s hallowed halls, as the rhythm of the streets, the vibe and sounds of the city are inherent in every recording, and “Spanish Harlem” is certainly no different.

Today’s jukebox classic is from a double A-sided single I purchased cheaply on line when I first got the juke. It is one of the original records that I put in there, and it is also one that I can’t see myself ever taking out. I just never tire of Ben E. King’s classic “Spanish Harlem.”

The Spanish Harlem section of New York City was a crime-ridden Latino neighborhood, and the 1960 hit was written by Jerry Lieber and Phil Spector and released on the burgeoning Atco record label. Lieber’s partner Mike Stoller, did the arrangement on the track and came up with the song’s signature intro fill that runs throughout the song; however he does not receive a composer credit. Mike Stoller: “I presumed my contribution was seminal to the composition, but I also knew that Phil didn’t want to share credit with anyone but Jerry, so I kept quiet.”

The song was King’s first hit after leaving The Drifters, climbing to the #15 position on the R&B charts and #10 Pop, and it also served as the title track of his debut solo album. Singing background vocals was a then-unknown Dionne Warwick (as a member of The Gospelaires). The day the track was cut was indeed very productive, as King also recorded his follow-up single “Stand By Me” during the same session.

Aretha Franklin covered the song in 1971 and scored an even bigger hit with it climbing to the #1 position on the R&B charts and #2 on the Pop charts. Dr. John is also heard playing piano on her version. The song was also covered by the likes of Larua Nyro (on her essential 1971 album Gonna Take A Miracle), Jay And The Americans, The Mamas & The Papas, Leon Russell, Chet Atkins, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and even Led Zeppelin, who used to incorporate the song’s melody into live performances of “Dazed And Confused.”

The flip of this double A-sided 45 is King’s 1962 version of “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)” which was written by Atlantic Records head honcho Ahmet Ertegun and Betty Nelson (although my 45RPM copy is credited only to “Nugetre” which is Ertegun backwards). King’s version of the song climbed to the #2 position on the R&B charts and up to #11 on the Pop side. The song was also covered again by Aretha Franklin on her 1970 album Spirit In The Dark. Her version peaked at #1 on the R&B charts and went to #11 Pop.

Edited: October 11th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 2/17/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Work Song” by Nina Simone

Here’s one that was released the year I was born, yet it sounds as hip and current as, well, I am.  OK, it is hipper and more current than I am, but it goes to show just how timeless Nina Simone’s recordings really were.

Simone’s interpretive talents as a singer and piano player earned her the nickname, “The High Priestess Of Soul,” and put her right up there with greats like Anita O’Day, Odetta, Sarah Vaughan and Judy Henske, who all possess a similar earthy style. She was a terrific songwriter, comfortable mingling soul, gospel, folk and blues into a stew that was uniquely her own, and she was also an outspoken Civil Rights activist.

It took a long time for me to crack the hard façade that Nina Simone projected, before I could really appreciate the depths of her talent. Her severe earnestness over the struggles she faced as a black woman during the infancy of the civil rights movement created a seemingly impenetrable barrier between me and her music. But with maturity on my side, I’ve come to love and respect Simone’s whole approach, and the influence she’s had on everyone from Laura Nyro and John Lennon (who cited her recording of “I Put A Spell On You” as an inspiration for The Beatles “Michelle”) to Alicia Keys and Diana Krall.

Simone came to Colpix Records in 1959, after scoring a big hit with “I Loves You, Porgy” on the Bethlehem label. Her deal at Colpix gave her complete artistic control over the material she recorded which was unheard of at the time, and she released nine albums for the label, seven of which were recorded live in front of an audience.  Today’s Song Of The Day, the much covered “Work Song” written by Nat Adderly and Oscar Brown, Jr., is from her second record for the label, 1961’s studio effort Forbidden Fruit.

Part of the album’s excellence comes down to Simone’s sympathetic backing trio consisting of Chris White on bass, Bobby Hamilton on drums, and crucially, the great Al Schackman on guitar, whose tasty licks light up this entire recording, especially on the tunes “Just Say I Love Him” and the album’s opener “Rags And Old Iron.” But its Simone’s vocals and amazing piano accompaniments, especially on “Gin House Blues,” the swaggering “I Love To Love” and the album’s title track, “Forbidden Fruit,” that really elevate the proceedings to new heights of gospel fervor.

Later albums like Nina Simone In Concert from 1964 and the essential RCA album Nina Simone Sings The Blues from 1967, included signature songs that dealt with the civil rights issues of black women like “Mississippi Goddam,” “Backlash Blues,” “Four Women” and “To Be Young, Gifted And Black,” which was later covered by Aretha Franklin and Donny Hathaway.  She was also responsible for introducing the songs “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “House Of The Rising Sun,” years before The Animals recorded them.

Additionally, her recording of “Sinnerman” was sampled by the likes of Kanye West and Timbaland, but her greatest success came surprisingly from the song “My Baby Cares For Me” which was recorded on  her 1960 debut album for Colpix, but didn’t become popular until 1987 when it was used in a UK television commercial for Chanel No. 5 perfume.

Edited: February 16th, 2013