Posts Tagged ‘Memphis’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #62– Johnny Rivers: “Secret Agent Man” b/w “Memphis” – Liberty Silver Spotlight Series 45 XW-101 (C7/D7)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #62– Johnny Rivers: “Secret Agent Man” b/w “Memphis” – Liberty Silver Spotlight Series 45 XW-101 (C7/D7)

Johnny Rivers is a singer, songwriter, record producer and record label owner who is probably best known for the numerous live records he released featuring cover versions of popular songs recorded at The Whiskey A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. He scored numerous hits during the ‘60s and ‘70s, including “Maybellene,” “The Midnight Special,” “Mountain Of Love,” “The Seventh Son,” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?,” “Poor Side Of Town,” “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” “Memphis” (the B-side of today’s jukebox classic) and today’s song, “Secret Agent Man.”

“Secret Agent Man” was written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri for the American adaptation of the British TV spy show Danger Man. The song was picked up for use on American TV for the show Secret Agent which ran from 1964 through 1966. The original demo used the Danger Man title instead of Secret Agent Man.

The original studio incarnation of the song was one verse and the chorus, however once the song and the show gained in popularity, two more versus were written and added to the song. The full version of “Secret Agent Man” was recorded live at The Whiskey A Go-Go and released on the …And You Know You Wanna Dance album in 1966. Personnel on the album included Chuck Day on bass, Mickey Jones on drums, Larry Knechtel on organ, Joe Osborn on bass and guitar and Johnny Rivers on vocals and electric guitar. The song was later retouched in the studio before it was released as a single. The single climbed all the way to number three on the charts in 1966 and sold over one million copies. P.F. Sloan was responsible for the indelible guitar riff that drives the song.

Sloan: “Somebody thought I should do a full length instrumental of the song. So I did. Meanwhile the song was picked by CBS and Johnny Rivers recorded the quick 15-second song for the TV show. The Ventures, the genius guitar instrumental group, heard the demo and recorded and released the song way before Rivers even had a finished song. The publishers asked me to finish the song, Rivers recorded it, not one of his favorite songs back then, but he’s happier with it now.” (P.F. Sloan Website via Songfacts.com)

The song has been covered by the likes of Devo, Mel Tormé, Blotto, The Toasters, Agent Orange, Blues Traveler, Hank Williams Jr., Bruce Willis, Alvin & The Chipmunks, and dozens of punk bands who performed this song live on stage as part of their shows. The song has also been used to hawk everything from Wal-Mart to Chase Bank, and was also featured in the movies Repo Man, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

The flip of today’s double A-sided single is Rivers’ recording of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” which was also recorded live at The Whiskey A Go-Go and featured on Rivers’ debut album the Johnny Rivers Live At The Whiskey A Go Go album. Rivers’ recording of “Memphis” climbed to the number two position of the charts in 1964 and also sold well over one million copies.

In 1966, Rivers’ launched his own record label called Soul City Records and signed The 5th Dimension who scored numerous hit records for the label. As the sixties faded, Rivers’ changed gears and began to record psychedelic music to keep up with the times. His Realization album was not a big hit, but is nevertheless well worth seeking out.

Rivers hit the charts again in the 1972 with “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” which climbed to number six and also sold over a million copies. He continues to perform and record to this day. If ever an artist deserved to be a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame, Johnny Rivers is the man.

Growing up, “Secret Agent Man” was my son’s favorite song in the jukebox. When he was small he used to think the lyrics said “Secret Asian Man” and he’d run around the living room whenever it was played singing those lyrics as loud as he could. Today he’s 18 and proud to admit that he now knows better…

“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: August 9th, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #62– Johnny Rivers: “Secret Agent Man” b/w “Memphis” – Liberty Silver Spotlight Series 45 XW-101 (C7/D7)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #62– Johnny Rivers: “Secret Agent Man” b/w “Memphis” – Liberty Silver Spotlight Series 45 XW-101 (C7/D7)

“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.

Johnny Rivers is a singer, songwriter, record producer and record label owner who is probably best known for the numerous live records he released featuring cover versions of popular songs recorded at The Whiskey A Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. He scored numerous hits during the ‘60s and ‘70s, including “Maybellene,” “The Midnight Special,” “Mountain Of Love,” “The Seventh Son,” “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?,” “Poor Side Of Town,” “Baby I Need Your Lovin’,” “Memphis” (the B-side of today’s jukebox classic) and today’s song, “Secret Agent Man.”

“Secret Agent Man” was written by P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri for the American adaptation of the British TV spy show Danger Man. The song was picked up for use on American TV for the show Secret Agent which ran from 1964 through 1966. The original demo used the Danger Man title instead of Secret Agent Man.

The original studio incarnation of the song was one verse and the chorus, however once the song and the show gained in popularity, two more versus were written and added to the song. The full version of “Secret Agent Man” was recorded live at The Whiskey A Go-Go and released on the …And You Know You Wanna Dance album in 1966. Personnel on the album included Chuck Day on bass, Mickey Jones on drums, Larry Knechtel on organ, Joe Osborn on bass and guitar and Johnny Rivers on vocals and electric guitar. The song was later retouched in the studio before it was released as a single. The single climbed all the way to number three on the charts in 1966 and sold over one million copies. P.F. Sloan was responsible for the indelible guitar riff that drives the song.

Sloan: “Somebody thought I should do a full length instrumental of the song. So I did. Meanwhile the song was picked by CBS and Johnny Rivers recorded the quick 15-second song for the TV show. The Ventures, the genius guitar instrumental group, heard the demo and recorded and released the song way before Rivers even had a finished song. The publishers asked me to finish the song, Rivers recorded it, not one of his favorite songs back then, but he’s happier with it now.” (P.F. Sloan Website via Songfacts)

The song has been covered by the likes of Devo, Mel Tormé, Blotto, The Toasters, Agent Orange, Blues Traveler, Hank Williams Jr., Bruce Willis, Alvin & The Chipmunks, and dozens of punk bands who performed this song live on stage as part of their shows. The song has also been used to hawk everything from Wal-Mart to Chase Bank, and was also featured in the movies Repo Man, Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

The flip of today’s double A-sided single is Rivers’ recording of Chuck Berry’s “Memphis” which was also recorded live at The Whiskey A Go-Go and featured on Rivers’ debut album the Johnny Rivers Live At The Whiskey A Go Go album. Rivers’ recording of “Memphis” climbed to the number two position of the charts in 1964 and also sold well over one million copies.

In 1966, Rivers’ launched his own record label called Soul City Records and signed The 5th Dimension who scored numerous hit records for the label. As the sixties faded, Rivers’ changed gears and began to record psychedelic music to keep up with the times. His Realization album was not a big hit, but is nevertheless well worth seeking out.

Rivers hit the charts again in the 1972 with “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” which climbed to number six and also sold over a million copies. He continues to perform and record to this day. If ever an artist deserved to be a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame, Johnny Rivers is the man.

Growing up, “Secret Agent Man” was my son’s favorite song in the jukebox. When he was small he used to think the lyrics said “Secret Asian Man” and he’d run around the living room whenever it was played singing those lyrics as loud as he could. Today he’s 16 and proud to admit that he now knows better…

Edited: January 20th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 3/21/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Love On A Two Way Street” by Boz Scaggs

Boz Scaggs has led a dual career over the years. On one hand, he’s been a master bluesman who cut his teeth recording with the likes of Steve Miller and Duane Allman, and then there’s the silky-smooth soul man who became a platinum- plated superstar during the late ‘70s. Fortunately for his fans, both sides of Scaggs are present on his essential new album, Memphis.

The record was recorded in three days at Royal Studios in Memphis, the hallowed ground where Willie Mitchell once worked with Al Green on his biggest hits. Matched with sympathetic backing from drummer Steve Jordan (who also produced), Ray Parker Jr. on guitar and Willie Weeks on bass, plus special guests including Spooner Oldham on keyboards and Lester Snell on string arrangements, Scaggs has delivered his best record since Silk Degrees.

The soul man is evident on well chosen covers like Tony Joe White’s classic “Rainy Night In Georgia,” Mink DeVille’s “Mixed Up Shook Up Girl,” Steely Dan’s Countdown To Ecstasy rarity, “Pearl Of The Quarter,” and today’s Song Of The Day, “Love On A Two-Way Street,” which was a hit for the Moments in 1970, and again for Stacy Lattisaw in 1981.

The album’s opener “Gone Baby Gone” sounds like a long-lost outtake from Silk Degrees, and along with the album’s closer “Sunny Gone,” is one of two originals here. And Scaggs would have been totally remiss if he’d gone all the way to Royal Studios and had not taken a shot at an Al Green cover. His superb version of Green’s “So Good To Be Here” features an equally superb string arrangement by Willie Mitchell.

Boz’s grittier side can be felt on his version of Mink DeVille’s “Cadillac Walk,” featuring a guitar part inspired by Buddy Miller, and also on “Dry Spell” with guests Keb’ Mo on guitar and Charlie Musselwhite on harmonica.  Elsewhere, Scaggs takes the blues standard “Corrina, Corrina” out for a leisurely stroll, and then kicks it up a notch on Jimmy Reed’s sinewy “You Got Me Cryin’” (featuring ace guitar work by Rick Vito).

In the hands of a less adept singer, this album wouldn’t be much more than musical comfort food for the baby boomer generation, but Scaggs brings something fresh and real to each song making this exceptional new record a must have.

Edited: March 20th, 2013