Archive for the ‘The Righteous Brothers’ Category

The Forum

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

The River Is Wide / The Forum

Listen: The River Is Wide / The Forum

There was many a single during the year 1967 like this one. Although most acts survived to release three or four, it was usually only one that made a splash, picking up late night pre FM progressive play on the many AM Top 40′s that would go a bit free form in the early hours, especially prevalent during that summer. These singles would many times graduate to daytime play and eventually maintain themselves a several month spread across the US pop stations, and be regarded as signature to the year of flower power, even through to the present.

As with Sagittarius ‘My World Fell Down’, The Avant-Garde ‘Naturally Stoned’, The Third Rail ‘Run Run Run’ or The Strawberry Children ‘Love Years Coming’, The Forum’s ‘The River Is Wide’ has earned this honor. WNDR, the tighter of of the two Syracuse Top 40′s charted it.

Partially MOR, partially Rotary Connection underground soul, a hint of Bill Medley’s Righteous Brothers baritone vocal and some Four Seasons meets Fifth Dimension backgrounds, all produced under the guidance of Les Baxter and Norm Ratner. An unlikely recipe that collided perfectly together and was easily labeled as psychedelic when no other explanation would suffice.

From one of the many stacks WMCR donated my way, it’s fun reading what the label’s promotion guy wrote to the station’s MD on the single’s original company sleeve above.

The Righteous Brothers

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Listen: Justine / The Righteous Brothers
Dear Delilah / The Righteous Brothers

Seems in the 60′s, with singles deals being the prevalent form of partnership between record company and artist, an act could basically be on two labels at once. Not an uncommon occurrence, particularly with the RnB and Soul acts. Therefore, the usual result being one label would have success, with the other forever limping behind, trying to trade off it’s back.

In the world of The Righteous Brothers, such seemed the case with Moonglow, an Atlantic imprint, and Phil Spector’s Philles Records. But in reality, they were signed to Moonglow proper from ’63 to ’66. During that time, Moonglow would also license their services to Spector. His releases were typical Wall Of Sound productions and the much bigger hits, whereas their more homegrown, raw RnB came out through Moonglow, consistently charting low as with ‘Justine’.

That single only reached #85 during July ’65, but got played into the ground on the Syracuse Top 40′s. It’s wild, Little Richard delivery a perfect showcase for the pair’s distinctive baritone grounded vs. tenor off the chain duets.

Listen: Now I’ve Got A Witness / The Rolling Stones
Now I've Got A Witness / The Rolling Stones

It’s well documented that The Rolling Stones were indeed extremely knowledgable American blues and RnB record collectors. What’s fun is to occasionally stumble on an obscure single with some uncanny resemblance toward an original song the band recorded, all the while fantasizing they picked up that very record during one of their excursions through the Mom and Pop stores of Harlem or East LA. I like to think ‘Justine’ was one such record, at least when listening to their ‘Now I’ve Got A Witness’ from the ENGLAND’S NEWEST HIT MAKERS album.

Listen: (You’re My) Soul & Inspiration / The Righteous Brothers
(You're My) Soul & Inspiration / The Righteous Brothers

The first single with new label Verve, after leaving both Moonglow and Philles in early ’66 was classic in more than one way. Clearly, Bill Medley (one half of The Righteous Brothers), paid close attention during his time in the studio with Phil Spector, thereby lifting every last technique off the master, and applying them to his very own production of their #1, ‘(You’re My) Soul & Inspiration’.

Yes, I loved the record at the time, but so wished they had their image down like The Walker Brothers for instance, who were coincidentally doing the exact same style of music but looked about one trillion times better.

The Vogues

Friday, December 4th, 2009

VoguesUK, The Vogues,  American London, Len Berry

Listen: You’re The One / The Vogues VoguesYoure.mp3

One of the member’s vocal style bordered on yodeling and these guys looked not unlike The Four Seasons or The Righteous Brothers aka dreadful. But the early singles: hands down greatness. It’s hard to pick a favorite, as both ‘Five O’ Clock World’ and ‘In The Land Of Milk And Honey’ are close runners up, but I’m going with ‘You’re The One’.

The Vogues eventually moved to Reprise where the schmaltz sound and image got….worse. Suddenly they were more like The Letterman than ever before, although I can admit it, ‘Turn Around, Look At Me’ is an occasional guilty pleasure.