Posts Tagged ‘The Rolling Stones’

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #77 – The Rolling Stones: “Honky Tonk Woman” b/w “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”– London 45-910 (N8/P8)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #77 – The Rolling Stones: “Honky Tonk Woman” b/w “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”– London 45-910 (N8/P8)

The first thing that grabs you is the cowbell, and if that doesn’t get your immediate attention, then you’re dead. Then comes Charlie Watts’ rim-shot snare attack that sets up one of the funkiest drum patterns this side of Memphis. Enter the hip-swaying guitar crunch of Keith Richards and Bill Wyman’s funk-infused bass playing that sets this track (and you, the listener) into motion. The rest of the band kicks into the groove…yes, on this one, it’s all about the groove. And the groove of “Honky Tonk Woman” is as infectious as it is incessant.

It’s got all the makings of not only one, but two great tracks on a double sided single paired with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on the flip. It’s what made 45s great back in the day. Two great songs with the flip side of the single equally as strong as the top side. The Beatles’ did it with “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” cohabitating on the same seven inch. The Beach Boys also did it with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice and “God Only Knows.” The Monkees gave us “I’m A Believer” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” on one single, and then there was the pairing of “Till The End Of The Day” and “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” by The Kinks. The world of vinyl is littered with hundreds of others. (At the end of this post, share some of your classic single pairings…anyway, back to the music at hand…)

Several versions of “Honky Tonk Woman,” the top side of today’s jukebox classic, were recorded by The Stones in 1969. There was today’s single version that found its way onto the compilation album Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2). The original was a country version that was based on Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues” and recorded before the electric version. It was later released on their Let It Bleed album under the title “Country Honk” with a much slower tempo with different lyrics. A third version was performed in concert and captured on Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! with a different second verse. Doesn’t matter which version’s your pleasure, they’re all superb! The single topped both the US and UK charts in 1969, and it’s been a staple of The Stones’ concerts ever since.

The “Country Honk” version was the group’s first attempt at the song and it is notable for being Brian Jones’ last recording with the band. According to Keith Richards, the electric take of the track was influenced by Jones’ replacement Mick Taylor. Richards: “… the song was originally written as a real Hank Williams/Jimmie Rodgers/1930s country song. And it got turned around to this other thing by Mick Taylor, who got into a completely different feel, throwing it off the wall another way.” (Crawdaddy via Wikipedia). However, since memory isn’t Mr. Richards’ strong suit, Mick Taylor says: “I added something to ‘Honky Tonk Woman’, but it was more or less complete by the time I arrived and did my overdubs.” (McPherson, Ian. Track Talk: Honky Tonk Women via Wikipedia) Over the years, Ry Cooder has also taken credit for inspiring the electric riff as well.

The original British single was released the day after Brian Jones death on the fourth of July, 1969, and copies of the record were given away free to those who stayed to clean the park up after the tribute concert they gave in Hyde Park in Jones’ memory. The song has been covered by the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, Waylon Jennings, Joe Cocker, Gram Parsons, Travis Tritt, Elton John, Billy Joel, Taj Mahal, Leslie West, The Meters, The Pogues, Tesla and Def Leppard.

On the flip lies the epic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” another stone cold classic from Let It Bleed that broke boundaries of what an AM hit record could be. The album version of the song clocked in at seven and a half minutes and featured vocals on the intro and the long fade by the London Bach Choir. The single version which clocks in at a still-long-for-radio five minutes, eschews the choir intro. The song did not chart when it was first released, however it ultimately reached #42 on the charts in 1973 and remains one of their most popular songs in concert. Once Let It Bleed was released, The London Bach Choir unsuccessfully tried to have their name removed from the credits because of the album’s title and the inclusion of the song “Midnight Rambler” which was about a serial killer.

The group had a hard time recording “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” because Charlie Watts could not get catch the groove of the song. As a result, producer Jimmy Miller handles the drum duties on this track. Mick Jagger: “‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ was something I just played on the acoustic guitar—one of those bedroom songs. It proved to be quite difficult to record because Charlie couldn’t play the groove and so Jimmy Miller had to play the drums. I’d also had this idea of having a choir, probably a gospel choir, on the track, but there wasn’t one around at that point. Jack Nitzsche, or somebody, said that we could get the London Bach Choir and we said, ‘That will be a laugh.” (Loewenstein, Dora; Dodd, Philip (2003). According to the Rolling Stones. San Francisco: Chronicle Books via Wikipedia) The lineup on the song also featured Al Kooper, who played the organ and the French horn part.

This is another Rolling Stones classic that has seen its share of cover version by the likes of Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Def Leppard, Luther Allison, Rusted Root, Steel Pulse, the cast of Glee and numerous others.

“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. And no jukebox is complete without a single by The Rolling Stones!

Edited: September 28th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #27 – Arthur Alexander: “Anna (Go To Him)” b/w “You Better Move On” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL-3375 (N3/P3)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #27 – Arthur Alexander: “Anna (Go To Him)” b/w “You Better Move On” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL-3375 (N3/P3)

He’s the only artist to be covered by the holy quartet of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Others who rushed to his deep well of first-rate copyrights included The Hollies, Ry Cooder, Pearl Jam, Ike & Tina Turner, Marshall Crenshaw, George Jones, Otis Redding, The Bee Gees, Humble Pie, and Dusty Springfield, and that’s only a small sampling of those who have recorded his tunes.

Yet, Arthur Alexander, the man who wrote such classics as “Soldier Of Love (Lay Down Your Arms),” “Sally Sue Brown,” “Detroit City,” “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” and the two songs on today’s jukebox single, remains largely unknown to most people today, or even worse, totally forgotten.

The A-side of today’s double-A-sided jukebox single was originally written, recorded and released as a single on the Dot label by Alexander in 1962. Alexander’s version charted at #68 on the pop charts, while climbing to #10 on the R&B lists. The song is notable because it was covered by The Beatles for their debut album Please Please Me. It was a favorite of John Lennon’s and became part of the group’s early live repertoire. Lennon had a bad cold during the marathon session that produced their first album, which accounts for the roughness of his voice on “Anna.”

If Alexander’s recordings weren’t enough to guarantee him legendary status, he, along with Donnie Fritts, Rick Hall and Tom Stafford, converted a dilapidated tobacco warehouse in Alabama into a recording studio, and launched the famed Muscle Shoals Studios with his first single “You Better Move On” in the early 1960s. Alexander’s original version of the song charted at #24 on the pop charts in 1962 and sold 800,000 copies making it possible for Muscle Shoals to relocate its facilities to 603 East Avalon Avenue. The backing musicians on the track included Dan Penn, Tommy Roe (of “Dizzy” fame) and Joe Tex.

The song was also covered by The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, The Moody Blues, Dean Martin, Johnny Rivers, Billy “Crash” Craddock (whose version was a #10 country hit), Mink DeVille and George Jones and Johnny Paycheck (whose duo version peaked at #18 on the country charts).

The music business was a tricky proposition then as it is now, and fame and fortune largely alluded him, but not for lack of trying. After a string of seminal southern soul recordings that made others rich and famous, Alexander moved from record label to record label releasing a series of albums and singles throughout the sixties and seventies that garnered little or no airplay, including an eponymously titled album for Warner Brothers in 1972 and the 1975 minor hit single “Every Day I Have To Cry” for Buddah Records.

From 1977 through 1992, Alexander dropped out of the music industry completely and drove a van for senior citizens. After being inducted into the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame, he came back to music and recorded his last record, Lonely Just Like Me for Elektra records in 1993. Sadly days after launching his comeback with a new band, Alexander died of a heart attack.

For further listening, check out The Ultimate Arthur Alexander for his original recordings, and the tribute album Adios Amigo: A Tribute To Arthur Alexander featuring covers of his songs by the likes of Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Roger McGuinn, Nick Lowe, John Prine and Frank Black. Both CDs were issued by Razor & Tie music.

“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: May 11th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Claudine” by The Rolling Stones

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Claudine” by The Rolling Stones

Today’s Song of the Day by Eric Berman is an outtake by The Rolling Stones from the Some Girls album sessions. The subject of the song is Claudine Longet, who was 19 years old when she met and married Andy Williams who was 14 years her senior. She had three children with Williams, and in the mid-sixties pursued an acting and singing career.

She met Olympic skier Vladimir “Spider” Sabich while at a celebrity ski tournament in Bear Valley in 1972. By 1975 she and her children had moved into Sabich’s chalet in the Starwood section of Aspen, Colorado. Things went well between the two for nearly a year until the relationship started to deteriorate and Sabich requested that Longet vacate the premises. On March 21, 1976 Sabich was shot in his bathroom by a .22 caliber pistol.

Longet’s lawyers pleaded the case as an accident and Longet testified that Sabich had been showing her how to use the gun when it went off. Ballistics experts at the trial testified that the safety catch was defective on the gun.

Sabich was killed by a single bullet to the abdomen and bled to death on the way to the hospital. (The only inaccuracy in the song is the reference to three shots.) He was 31 years old.

On January 14, 1977 Longet was convicted of negligent homicide and spent 30 days in the Pitkin County Jail. Claudine was granted family rights during the week which meant that she only served time on the weekends. She went on to marry her defense attorney and continues to live in Aspen.

Edited: January 4th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” by The Rolling Stones

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’” by The Rolling Stones

He played saxophone on the road or on recordings with everybody, including The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Ronnie Wood, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Donovan, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart & The Faces, Harry Nilsson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Warren Zevon, Keith Richards, John Hiatt, Keith Moon, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, B.B. King, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Bobby Vee, Dion & the Belmonts, Dr. John and even Barbra Streisand. The list goes on and on, but in my book today’s Song of the Day by Eric Berman is the quintessential Bobby Keys sax solo. Rest in peace you crazy horn man!

Edited: December 2nd, 2014

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)” by Arthur Alexander

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – “Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)” by Arthur Alexander

He’s the only artist to be covered by the holy quartet of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Others who rushed to his deep well of first-rate copyrights included The Hollies, Ry Cooder, Pearl Jam, Ike & Tina Turner, Marshall Crenshaw, George Jones, Otis Redding, The Bee Gees, Humble Pie, and Dusty Springfield, and that’s only a small sampling of those who have recorded his tunes.

Yet, Arthur Alexander, the man who wrote such classics as “Anna (Go To Him),” “You Better Move On,” “Sally Sue Brown,” “Detroit City,” “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” and today’s Song of the Day by Eric Berman, remains largely unknown to most people, or even worse, totally forgotten.

And if his recordings weren’t enough to guarantee him legendary status, he, along with Donnie Fritts, Rick Hall and Tom Stafford, converted a dilapidated tobacco warehouse in Alabama into a recording studio, and launched the famed Muscle Shoals Studios with his first single “You Better Move On” in the early 1960s.

The music business was a tricky proposition then as it is now, and fame and fortune largely alluded him, but not for lack of trying. After a string of seminal southern soul recordings that made others rich and famous, Alexander moved from record label to record label releasing a series of albums and singles throughout the sixties and seventies that garnered little or no airplay, including an eponymously titled album for Warner Brothers in 1972 and the 1975 minor hit single “Every Day I Have To Cry” for the Buddah label.

From 1977 through 1992, Alexander dropped out of the music industry completely and drove a van for senior citizens. After being inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, he came back to music and recorded his last record, Lonely Just like Me for Elektra records in 1993. Sadly days after launching his comeback with a new band, Alexander died of a heart attack.

For further listening, check out The Ultimate Arthur Alexander for his original recordings, and the tribute album Adios Amigo: A Tribute to Arthur Alexander featuring covers of his songs by the likes of Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Roger McGuinn, Nick Lowe, John Prine and Frank Black. Both CDs were issued by Razor & Tie music and are essential.

Edited: November 4th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Silver Train” by The Rolling Stones

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Silver Train” by The Rolling Stones

Today’s Song Of the Day by Eric Berman hails from one of the most maligned albums in the entire Rolling Stones’ catalog, Goats Head Soup, and I’ve never really understood why.

Certainly, its proximity as the follow up to the mighty Exile On Main Street has something to do with it, however Exile was not well received upon its release either. But while Exile has risen to the top of the Stones’ pops in critical acclaim, Goats Head Soup still remains the black sheep of the family.

My age has much to do with my affection for this album since it was the first Stones album I purchased as a new release. Most folks older than I generally dismiss the record as pretty awful, however any album that includes this songs, “Dancing With Mr. D,” “Star Star,” “100 Years Ago,” “Coming Down Again,” “Heartbreaker,” “Winter” and “Angie” can’t be all bad.

“Silver Train” was also the B-side to the aforementioned “Angie” single and was originally worked up as a demo during the Sticky Fingers sessions in 1970. I have also provided the demo version here for your listening pleasure. I’m not sure where the official clip comes from, but it sure looks like it was prepared for The Midnight Special” TV show.

Edited: August 12th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #84 – Billy Preston: “Will It Go Round In Circle” b/w “Blackbird”– A&M-1411

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #84 – Billy Preston: “Will It Go Round In Circle” b/w “Blackbird”– A&M-1411

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

“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.

He truly was the fifth Beatle…he was also a Rolling Stone, and Billy Preston also did numerous sessions with a stellar cast of characters that included Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, The Beach Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Little Richard, Sly & The Family Stone, Peter Frampton, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and dozens of others. He also co-wrote Joe Cocker’s smash hit “You Are So Beautiful” and sent his own hits like “Space Race,” “Outa-Space,” “Nothing From Nothing,” “With You I’m Born Again” (with Syreeta Wright) and today’s jukebox classic, “Will It Go Round In Circles” up the charts.

The list of albums he’s appeared on reads like a history of classic rock ‘n’ roll including The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goats Head Soup, It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, Love You Live, Black And Blue and Tattoo You,  The Beatles’ Let It Be and Abbey Road, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, The Concert For Bangla Desh, Dark Horse, Extra Texture, Thirty-Three & 1/3 and Gone Troppo, and Ringo Starr’s Ringo and Goodnight Vienna. He was, indeed the Forrest Gump of keyboards to the biggest bands in the land. And if that’s not enough, he was also the first musical guest on Saturday Night Live, he inspired Miles Davis who named a song after him on his Get Up With It album, and he also coined the phrase “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” for Stephen Stills.

Preston first came into The Beatles’ circle back in 1962 when he was a sixteen year old touring member of Little Richard’s band. But it wasn’t until 1969 when George Harrison walked out on the Let It Be sessions, and returned with Preston in tow in an effort to get the other three fabs to be on their best behavior during the acrimonious sessions that led to their last two albums as a group. At one point, John Lennon suggested that they add Preston as the fifth member of the band to which McCartney quipped that four Beatles were bad enough. (The Beatles – A/B Road: The Complete Get back Sessions, January 24th via Wikipedia)

“George Harrison, a friend of Preston, had quit, walked out of the studio and gone to a Ray Charles concert in London, where Preston was playing organ. Harrison brought Preston back to the studio, where his keen musicianship and gregarious personality temporarily calmed the tension.” (Harrington, Richard (June 8, 2006). “‘Fifth Beatle’ Billy Preston Made the Greats Even Greater”. Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-10-02 via Wikipedia)

Preston was signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label where he launched his solo career in 1969 with the gospel single “That’s The Way God Planned It” and the album of the same name that were both produced by George Harrison. After a second Apple LP release went nowhere, Preston signed with A&M Records where he found his greatest solo success.

Today’s jukebox classic was one of two chart-topping singles Billy Preston recorded (“Nothing From Nothing” was the other). The song was written by Bruce Fisher, who was working in the mail room of NBC-TV and Billy Preston. Inspiration for the song came after Preston walked into the writing session and told Fisher “I got a song that ain’t got no melody.” The song was originally released on his 1972 solo album Music Is My Life that featured the musicianship of The Brothers Johnson (George Johnson on guitar and Louis Johnson on bass), and a horn section that included Tom Scott and Jim Horn. The flip of today’s single is Preston’s gospel-flavored cover of the Beatles’ classic “Blackbird.”

During his later years, Preston served time in prison for tax evasion and suffered from kidney disease and high blood pressure. He died in June of 2006 after several months in a coma of malignant hypertension which caused his kidneys to shut down and respiratory failure.

Edited: February 27th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #77 – The Rolling Stones: “Honky Tonk Woman” b/w “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”– London 45-910 (N8/P8)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #77 – The Rolling Stones: “Honky Tonk Woman” b/w “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”– London 45-910 (N8/P8)

“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. And no jukebox is complete without a single by The Rolling Stones!

The first thing that grabs you is the cowbell, and if that doesn’t get your immediate attention, then you’re dead. Then comes Charlie Watts’ rim-shot snare attack that sets up one of the funkiest drum patterns this side of Memphis. Enter the hip-swaying guitar crunch of Keith Richards and Bill Wyman’s funk-infused bass playing that sets this track (and you the listener) into motion. The rest of the band kicks into the groove…yes, on this one, it’s all about the groove. And the groove of “Honky Tonk Woman” is as infectious as it is incessant.

It’s got all the makings of not only one, but two great tracks on a double sided single paired with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on the flip. It’s what made 45s great back in the day. Two great songs with the flip side of the single equally as strong as the top side. The Beatles’ did it with “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” cohabitating on the same seven inch. The Beach Boys also did it with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice and “God Only Knows.” The Monkees gave us “I’m A Believer” and “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” on one single, and then there was the pairing of “Till The End Of The Day” and “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” by The Kinks. The world of vinyl is littered with dozens of others. At the end  of this post, share some of your classic single pairings…anyway, back to the music at hand…

Several versions of “Honky Tonk Woman,” the top side of today’s jukebox classic, were recorded by The Stones in 1969. There was today’s single version that found its way onto the compilation album Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2). The original was a country version that was based on Hank Williams’ “Honky Tonk Blues” and recorded before the electric version. It was later released on their Let It Bleed album under the title “Country Honk” with a much slower tempo with different lyrics. A third version was performed in concert and captured on Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! with a different second verse. Doesn’t matter which version’s your pleasure, they’re all superb! The single topped both the US and UK charts in 1969, and it’s been a staple of The Stones’ concerts ever since.

The “Country Honk” version was the group’s first attempt at the song and it is notable for being Brian Jones’ last recording with the band. According to Keith Richards, the electric take of the track was influenced by Jones’ replacement Mick Taylor. Richards: “… the song was originally written as a real Hank Williams/Jimmie Rodgers/1930s country song. And it got turned around to this other thing by Mick Taylor, who got into a completely different feel, throwing it off the wall another way.” (Crawdaddy via Wikipedia). However, since memory isn’t Mr. Richards’ strong suit, Mick Taylor says: “I added something to ‘Honky Tonk Woman’, but it was more or less complete by the time I arrived and did my overdubs.” (McPherson, Ian. Track Talk: Honky Tonk Women via Wikipedia) Over the years, Ry Cooder has also taken credit for inspiring the electric riff as well.

The original British single was released the day after Brian Jones death on the fourth of July, 1969, and copies of the record were given away free to those who stayed to clean the park up after the tribute concert they gave in Hyde Park in Jones’ memory. The song has been covered by the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, Waylon Jennings, Joe Cocker, Gram Parsons, Travis Tritt, Elton John, Billy Joel, Taj Mahal, Leslie West, The Meters, The Pogues, Tesla and Def Leppard.

On the flip lies the epic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” another stone cold classic from Let It Bleed that broke boundaries of what an AM hit record could be. The album version of the song clocked in at seven and a half minutes and featured vocals on the intro and the long fade by the London Bach Choir. The single version which clocks in at a still-long-for-radio five minutes, eschews the choir intro. The song did not chart when it was first released, however it ultimately reached #42 on the charts in 1973 and remains one of their most popular songs in concert. Once Let It Bleed was released, The London Bach Choir unsuccessfully tried to have their name removed from the credits because of the album’s title and the inclusion of the song “Midnight Rambler” which was about a serial killer.

The group had a hard time recording “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” because Charlie Watts could not get catch the groove of the song. As a result, producer Jimmy Miller handles the drum duties on this track. Mick Jagger: “‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ was something I just played on the acoustic guitar—one of those bedroom songs. It proved to be quite difficult to record because Charlie couldn’t play the groove and so Jimmy Miller had to play the drums. I’d also had this idea of having a choir, probably a gospel choir, on the track, but there wasn’t one around at that point. Jack Nitzsche, or somebody, said that we could get the London Bach Choir and we said, ‘That will be a laugh.” (Loewenstein, Dora; Dodd, Philip (2003). According to the Rolling Stones. San Francisco: Chronicle Books via Wikipedia) The lineup on the song also featured Al Kooper, who played the organ and the French horn part.

This is another Rolling Stones classic that has seen its share of cover version by the likes of Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, George Michael, Def Leppard, Luther Allison, Rusted Root, Steel Pulse, the cast of Glee and numerous others.

Edited: February 12th, 2014

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #27 – Arthur Alexander: “Anna (Go To Him)” b/w “You Better Move On” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL-3375 (N3/P3)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #27 – Arthur Alexander: “Anna (Go To Him)” b/w “You Better Move On” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL-3375 (N3/P3)

“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.

He’s the only artist to be covered by the holy quartet of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Others who rushed to his deep well of first-rate copyrights included The Hollies, Ry Cooder, Pearl Jam, Ike & Tina Turner, Marshall Crenshaw, George Jones, Otis Redding, The Bee Gees, Humble Pie, and Dusty Springfield, and that’s only a small sampling of those who have recorded his tunes.

Yet, Arthur Alexander, the man who wrote such classics as “Soldier Of Love (Lay Down Your Arms),” “Sally Sue Brown,” “Detroit City,” “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” and the two songs on today’s jukebox single, remains largely unknown to most people today, or even worse, totally forgotten.

The A-side of today’s double-A-sided jukebox single was originally written, recorded and released as a single on the Dot label by Alexander in 1962. Alexander’s version charted at #68 on the pop charts, while climbing to #10 on the R&B lists. The song is notable because it was covered by The Beatles for their debut album Please Please Me. It was a favorite of John Lennon’s and became part of the group’s early live repertoire. Lennon had a bad cold during the marathon session that produced their first album, which accounts for the roughness of his voice.

If Alexander’s recordings weren’t enough to guarantee him legendary status, he, along with Donnie Fritts, Rick Hall and Tom Stafford, converted a dilapidated tobacco warehouse in Alabama into a recording studio, and launched the famed Muscle Shoals Studios with his first single “You Better Move On” in the early 1960s. Alexander’s original version of the song charted at #24 on the pop charts in 1962 and sold 800,000 copies making it possible for Muscle Shoals to relocate its facilities to 603 East Avalon Avenue. The backing musicians on the track included Dan Penn, Tommy Roe and Joe Tex.

The song was also covered by The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, The Moody Blues, Dean Martin, Johnny Rivers, Billy “Crash” Craddock (whose version was a #10 country hit), Mink DeVille and George Jones and Johnny Paycheck (whose duo version peaked at #18 on the country charts).

The music business was a tricky proposition then as it is now, and fame and fortune largely alluded him, but not for lack of trying. After a string of seminal southern soul recordings that made others rich and famous, Alexander moved from record label to record label releasing a series of albums and singles throughout the sixties and seventies that garnered little or no airplay, including an eponymously titled album for Warner Brothers in 1972 and the 1975 minor hit single “Every Day I Have To Cry” for Buddah Records.

From 1977 through 1992, Alexander dropped out of the music industry completely and drove a van for senior citizens. After being inducted into the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame, he came back to music and recorded his last record, Lonely Just Like Me for Elektra records in 1993. Sadly days after launching his comeback with a new band, Alexander died of a heart attack.

For further listening, check out The Ultimate Arthur Alexander for his original recordings, and the tribute album Adios Amigo: A Tribute To Arthur Alexander featuring covers of his songs by the likes of Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Roger McGuinn, Nick Lowe, John Prine and Frank Black. Both CDs were issued by Razor & Tie music.

Edited: November 12th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 1/22/13

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Jumping Jack Flash” by Ananda Shankar

East certainly met West on Ananda Shankar’s eponymously titled first album from 1970.

Shankar’s father was the Indian choreographer, Uday Shankar, while his more-famous uncle was the master sitar player, Ravi Shankar. Although, Ananda also became famous for playing sitar, he did not study under his uncle, but rather studied traditional Indian music with Lalmani Misra at Banaras Hindu University. Shankar was first exposed to Western sounds when he traveled with members of his famous family, as they performed on concert stages across America during the 1960s.

The concept for his debut album was simple, meld Western rock sounds with the traditional music of Shankar’s homeland, India. To this end, Shankar moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s and fell in with the west coast rock crowd, jamming with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and many others. This led to him forming a band for his debut album for Reprise that included session great Jerry Scheff (Elvis Presley) on bass, and Paul Lewinson on moog synthesizer, that along with Shankar’s droning on the sitar, provided an extra layer of space to the soundscapes.

The album mixed popular rock songs of the day like The Doors’ “Light My Fire” and today’s Song Of The Day, The Rolling Stones’ “Jumping Jack Flash” with contemporary classical Indian music composed by Shankar himself. It was produced by Alex Hassilev, who was an original member of the folk group The Limeliters (along with Lou Gottlieb and Glenn Yarbrough) during the 1950s and ‘60s.

While his version of the two rock songs do seem somewhat novel (in a very cool way) today, the classical Indian cuts on the record are the real reason to tune in, especially the 13-minute “Raghupati” which was used many years later as part of the soundtrack to the video game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, and the entrancing “Metamorphosis.”

His second album, “Ananda Shankar And His Music” was a jazz-funk affair released in 1975 that has since become a much sought after record for club DJs. Shankar continued to make musical soundscapes combining his sitar playing with electronics throughout the 80s and 90s until his sudden death from a heart attack in 1999. His music was used extensively several years ago throughout the short-lived NBC situation comedy “Outsourced.”

For those interested in hearing more, the album “Ananda Shankar “was reissued on CD several years ago by Collector’s Choice Music.

Edited: January 21st, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – 10/17/12

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Born To Sing” by Van Morrison

I’m always fascinated by how the record companies approach the marketing of their legacy artists. To the record company, legacy artists are loss leaders, they have name value but don’t sell the number of records they used to. Many of these artists are either kept on their label’s roster for their marquee value, or they find themselves cutting distribution deals with independent labels like Concord Records to release their records. Paul McCartney and Paul Simon have recently gone down this route with their latest releases, and McCartney has gone as far as re-releasing his entire back catalog for the umpteenth time as well. I find it very telling which artists get the promotional bucks behind their releases versus those that don’t. For instance, the build up to Bob Dylan’s latest album “Tempest” went on for months, culminating in live streams a week before the release and a plethora of ways to purchase his new music, including one bundle that included a signature harmonica (for $119.99). With all the promotional muscle behind his release, Dylan only debuted on the charts at number three (roughly 110,000 in sales), a full two slots below the debut of his last record. Neil Young is deep into promotion for his second release this year, the forthcoming double-disc “Psychedelic Pill.” Neil recorded with Crazy Horse for the first time in seven years resulting in the “Americana” album earlier this year. Like that album, several tracks debuted with social media in the form of videos, well in advance of their release. While on tour, Neil has pretty much ignored the “Americana” album in favor of debuting many of the songs that will end up on “Pill.” Meanwhile, members of Crazy Horse hit the media trail giving interviews about the recording sessions of both albums. And just to ensure that your holiday gift giving will be Neil-filled, a biography “Waging Heavy Peace” and a concert film “Journeys” are also hitting the shelves this fall. The Rolling Stones seem hell-bent on milking every last dollar out of their 50th Anniversary with a book, a hits record and some concert dates. The band reconvened in the studio to record only two new songs. These songs will form the basis of their upcoming hits album called “Grrrr” that will be released in every which way to make you buy music you largely already own. There will be a single disc, double disc and multi-disc version released on CD and, of course, the obligatory over-priced multi-disc vinyl version. Since not much has happened on the charts for the band since their 40th anniversary hits album “Forty Licks,” you can pretty much count on shelling out your dough to buy songs you already own in order to get the two new songs. What will follow are a handful of live dates at two venues: one in Newark NJ and one across the pond at the O2 Arena in London. Top ticket price for the New Jersey show will cost some rich boomer $750.00. This brings us to Van Morrison, another legacy artist that stands about as tall as Dylan, Young, Simon, McCartney and The Stones. His awkwardly-titled new album “Born To Sing – No Plan B” has seemingly appeared with very little fanfare. The far more reclusive Morrison gave only one promotional interview behind the album to Mojo. While Van’s new release is largely a mixed bag, his singing is as committed as ever. It kind of makes me wonder why it is that Morrison’s new album hasn’t been met with the same fanfare and the five-star reviews of the rest of the lot?

Edited: October 16th, 2012

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Claudine” by The Rolling Stones

 

 

 

 

 

Song Of The Day – “Claudine” by The Rolling Stones

An outtake from the “Some Girls” sessions that has finally seen the light of day on the recent deluxe reissue of the album. At the age of 19 Claudine Longet met Andy Williams and married him, although she was 14 years younger. She had three children with Williams, and in the mid-sixties pursued an acting and singing career. She met Olympic skier Vladimir “Spider” Sabich while at a celebrity ski tournament in Bear Valley in 1972. By 1975 she and her children had moved into Sabich’s chalet in the Starwood section of Aspen, Colorado. Things went well between the two for nearly a year until the relationship started to deteriorate and Sabich asked that she leave the premises by April 1, 1976. On March 21, 1976 Sabich was shot dead on his bathroom floor with a .22 caliber pistol. Longet was responsible for what her lawyers described as an “accident”. She said that Sabich had been showing her how to use the gun when it went off. Ballistics experts at the trial testified that the safety catch was defective on the gun. He was killed by a single bullet (the only inaccuracy in the song is the reference to three shots) to the abdomen and bled to death on the way to the hospital. He was 31 years old. On January 14, 1977 she was convicted of negligent homicide and spent 30 days in the Pitkin County Jail. Claudine was granted family rights during the week which meant that she only served time on the weekends. She went on to marry her defense attorney and continues to live in Aspen.

Edited: December 14th, 2011

Song Of The Day – 10/3/11

Song Of The Day – “19th Nervous Breakdown” by The Rolling Stones

Mick Jagger’s new group, Super Heavy, is neither super nor heavy. If you really want super heavy, start with this 1966 track from The Rolling Stones’ essential “Aftermath” album. Tough, rollicking, snide…and there’s nothing like Bill Wyman’s downward spiral of a bass line on the fade.

Edited: October 3rd, 2011