Tag Archives: music

Smokey Robinson is 75

SmokeyUsually, when a musical artist reached the age of 70, I would indicate my favorite songs that they recorded. For some reason, though, five years ago, I listed some of my favorite songs WRITTEN by Smokey Robinson. And his legendary songwriting, and producing, IS worthy of note, and absolutely VITAL to the success of Motown Records.

A bit of Motown trivia: I Heard It Through the Grapevine, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, was first recorded by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles [LISTEN], but Berry Gordy rejected it, and Marvin Gaye’s version as well. He allowed Gladys Knight and the Pips to release it, and they had a #2 hit. Then, the other versions were released, with Marvin having a massive hit.

I haven’t heard it yet, but the artist released a new album, “Smokey & Friends” on August 19, 2014 on Verve Records, a duets collection “with Contemporary and Classic Artists such as Elton John, James Taylor, Mary J. Blige, Aloe Blacc, Jessie J, Miguel, CeeLo, Ledisi and more. It was his highest-charting album in 33 years.

The “problem” with putting together this list Continue reading Smokey Robinson is 75

Never heard of that band – oh, THEM!

I was reminded that back in the early 1970s, the student government at the State University College of New York at New Paltz put on a bunch of concerts, many of which I attended. But I remember reading about one in the Fall of 1971 by some group I had never heard of. The show cost only 50 cents, but I passed.

That group was Continue reading Never heard of that band – oh, THEM!

Songs: Who Drank My Beer (While I Was In The Rear) and Bargain Days (Half Off)

who drank my beer.chuckA few years back, I was musing about my father’s 45s record collection. For those of you too young, a 45 was a single vinyl record played on a “record player,” that had a turntable that rotated at 45 revolutions per minute.

For some reason, I was thinking about them again recently on a particular poor night of sleep (someone talking on speaker phone next door, two dogs barking, and a stiff neck from sleeping on the sofa to avoid the aforementioned, et al.)

Bill Carlisle and the Carlisles performing Bargain Days (Half Off) was released in 1955. You can listen to it HERE or HERE, and read the lyrics, written by Bill Carlisle, to boot. If I wanted to buy it on eBay, I probably could. The B-side was Nine Have Tried (and Nine Have Died), “and you’re gonna make it ten.”

As I noted previously, Dad also owned a version by someone performing Who Drank My Beer (While I Was In The Rear), written by a guy named Billy Austin, according to the label, though All Music attributes it to singer Dave Bartholomew. I didn’t know who performed it when I looked a few years ago, but I knew it wasn’t by Bartholomew [LISTEN], whose version is much bluesier; the one in my head was more country, and more comedic. It also was not the Tommy Duncan version [LISTEN].

I’m now positive that Dad’s 45 version was the one by Chuck Murphy from 1952, which you can LISTEN to, along with its B-side, Oceana Roll on CORAL 60800. The label was similar to the one shown, except it was orange. If I had any doubt, it was sealed when I heard the last line asking the bartender for “one on the house.”

None of the versions charted on either the pop charts or rhythm & blues charts, but I don’t have access to the country charts. Nor do I know which version, if any, was the original, though I’m guessing Bartholemew’s. This song has also been covered by Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan, and by Buster Poindexter. If any of you (meaning Dustbury) have any insight, I’d love to hear it.

My favorite music: an iteration

music-notesArthur the AmeriNZ asks:

Over the years, you’ve mentioned songs and albums you loved, and you’ve shared various rankings, or, at least, lists. Do you have a personal “Top Ten” of songs, and is it static or ever-changing? Both songs and albums, by the way.

The easy part to answer is that the lists are ever-changing.

Let’s try the songs:

10. You Won’t See Me-The Beatles.
I realized in the last five years that it is the Mal Evans sustained chord on the Hammond organ throughout the last verse, last chorus and outro that gives this McCartney song a special buzz.

9. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow – Carole King
Featuring the Mitchell-Taylor Boy and Girl Chorus. This arrangement practically begs for a cappella singing. From Tapestry, which I played so much, I wore out the LP.
Continue reading My favorite music: an iteration