Archive for the ‘Ike & Tina Turner’ Category

The Vibrations

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Listen: Gonna Get Along Without You Now/ The Vibrations

According to one of my favorite books ever, THE NORTHERN SOUL PRICE GUIDE, this white label promo, in mint condition, easily goes for £50. Fun reading, but the real deal price guide these days is There you get the past several years worth of final sale amounts for any record that commanded $25 or more. According to the site, a $52 May 2012 winning bid for the wlp of ‘Gonna Get Along Without You Now’ was it’s highest in three years. That’s as far as the data goes back.

Therefore my £24 (approximately $37) win was indeed a bargain when compared to the prices set in the guide. Never mind, this single’s a bargain at £100 if truth be told.

Having tastes that always ran toward the mid chart, or better yet, flop follow-ups, likewise my parallel fondness was for the seemingly second division players. Just as Inez & Charlie Foxx sat sideline when Ike & Tina Turner were in reach, so too did The Vibrations when say, The Temptations were around. According to the mainstream that is, but in my world, I coveted any single by either.

It’s seriously hard to recollect a song attempted in more diverse styles through the years than this. Country, reggae, alternative, disco, ska, Euro-dance, rock steady and even Latin via Trini Lopez, which is version that first introduced me to the track. No idea why his was played so heavily in upstate New York at the time (’67). Trust me, it wasn’t often a #93 BILLBOARD peak meant a record got hammered by both our local Top 40′s. And it’s not like there was a Latin scene going on in subzero Syracuse that winter either.

Unfortunately, The Vibrations’ version never graced my ears while current in ’66. Years later I stumbled on it, unable to ignore any Okeh single with their Cadbury purple labels and matching sleeves. One play and boom, the amphetamine mess of an arrangement and speed pitched chorus made me a fan for life.

Wilbert Harrison One Man Band / Prince La La / Derek Martin

Monday, December 30th, 2013

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS / Various Artists:


Listen: Let’s Work Together (Parts 1 & 2) / Wilbert Harrison One Man Band

Side 2:

Listen: She Put The Hurt On Me / Prince La La

Listen: Daddy Rollin’ Stone / Derek Martin

Just check my previous two posts. Not hard to guess, I’ve been picking through the various artists section of my wall shelf.

Weirdly enough, this is usually a head scratching process. I don’t do it often, but every time seems to unearth a multi-artist record, usually an EP, that I’d never really noticed before, suddenly falling into the ‘where on earth did I get this from’ category. And honestly, it happens every single time. One source, the UK weeklies, who for a few years there during the late 80′s/early 90′s were including free EP’s, whether it be NME, Music Week or Melody Maker, with each issue. I religiously grabbed every one and stuck them in that VA section for a rainy day. The entire chunk now being a treasure trove of both obscure and focus tracks.

When the Ensign label got all hot and bothered about the Sue Records catalog, which I’m guessing they could suddenly access via their 1983 Island distribution deal, they issued a series of four song EP’s religiously honoring the labels iconic history. Some were single artist compilation EP’s by Ike & Tina Turner or Inez & Charlie Foxx. Others were theme centric: SUE INSTRUMENTALS, THE SUE SOUL SISTERS and this, the latter’s partner, THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS. I played all three in the past few hours and basically did a blindfold drill to choose today’s 31 Days Of December – All EP’s post.

THE SUE SOUL BROTHERS, most likely by design, builds around much covered songs from Sue’s UK catalog. And there were many songs to choose from here, not forgetting, the Sue UK label issued the American Sue releases along with various blues and RnB singles from small and indie US labels. Initially, Juggy Murray, who owned Sue in the US was reportedly furious with Chris Blackwell and Guy Stevens, the day to day guy at Island/Sue in London. Apparently, neither had cleared the idea of picking up product from other US companies and slapping a Sue label on it for the UK.

As a result, other than the bothersome bad blood, Sue’s British catalog and discography rivaled the majors like Decca’s, who bolstered their output and image by repping Atlantic, Monument, Tribe, RCA, Coral and others in Britain. Island became the little indie that could, even harder in the 60′s, when swimming against the tide of Decca, CBS, EMI and Pye was near impossible.

And so, the team at Ensign picked some solid originals here that went on to become widely popular as covers. Loads of bands, including The Who and John’s Children released Derek Martin’s ‘Daddy Rollin’ Stone’ during the Mod era.

Canned Heat, blues experts themselves, took Wilbert Harrison’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ Top 40 in 1970, delaying their version to give the original a chance to sell and reach #32 on BILLBOARD. In a loose full circle chain of events, John Mayall chose to record Wilbert Harrison’s ‘Let’s Work Together’ for his fantastic, and I do mean fantastic, Island album, A SENSE OF PLACE from 1990.

Ike & Tina Turner

Saturday, December 21st, 2013


Side 1:

Listen: I’ve Been Loving You Too Long / Ike & Tina Turner

Side 2:

Listen: A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knockin’ Everyday) / Ike & Tina Turner

Listen: Respect / Ike & Tina Turner

In 1971, United Artists released Ike & Tina Turner’s tenth live album WHAT YOU HEAR IS WHAT YOU GET – LIVE AT CARNEGIE HALL in the US. Despite being a double record and rather too padded with current soul covers, it still peaked at #25 on BILLBOARD’s Top 200, their highest ever chart entry along with WORKIN’ TOGETHER from the previous year.

They were hot off their biggest (#4) and only US Top 10 single, ‘Proud Mary’, of which a live version was included.

But seriously, how lopsided are those details? Ike & Tina Turner had one Top 10 single and only managed to reach #25 in the album chart, despite being amongst of the biggest live attractions in America and around the world during the 60′s / early 70′s?

Well, their records didn’t get much mainstream exposure on Top 40 radio, a permanently damaging mark on Phil Spector’s career and psyche, although rumor has it his ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ production was blackballed by the then venomous payola demanding radio community.

Or possibly, Ike & Tina Turner’s act was just too raw, too suggestive and too hard hitting. Reality wasn’t always a friend of the mainstream.

Some of their previous, should have been hit singles were included on the double set. Two being ‘Ive Been Loving You Too Long’ and ‘A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knockin’ Everyday)’, both part of the three song jukebox only EP above.

The Ikettes

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

FINE, FINE, FINE / The Ikettes:

Side 1:

Listen: (He’s Gonna Be) Fine, Fine, Fine / The Ikettes

Listen: How Come / The Ikettes

Side 2:

Listen: Peaches ‘n’ Cream / The Ikettes

Listen: The Biggest Players / The Ikettes

Lord knows how many hours I’ve spent wondering what Ike Turner’s recording sessions with The Ikettes must have been like. Who exactly were The Ikettes in fact? Now there’s a mystery probably never to be unraveled lurking behind that curtain. No doubt these details have had inquiring minds swirling for decades.

Of equal interest is Steve Venet’s involvement, credited as Ike’s co-producer on these original Modern Records masters. Not only did he produce The Reflections, The Essex and the infamous GREATEST HITS FROM OUTER SPACE album, but he actually was in the studio with The Ikettes and basically, the players from The Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Wow.

He’s also one in the same as songwriter to a couple of my lifetime favorites: ‘Action’ by Freddy Cannon and ‘Primitive’ originally released in 1966 by The Groupies then covered by The Cramps on PSYCHEDELIC JUNGLE. Have mercy.


Monday, October 8th, 2012

X - See How We Are

X - See How We Are

Listen: See How We Are / X

Let me tell you one thing. We are very, very lucky, because X still exist and tour regularly. In fact, they may be more powerful live than ever. The original lineup of Exene Cervenka, DJ Bonebrake, John Doe and Billy Zoom has been reunited for several years now and are doing deservedly great business. There’s a lot of sense in sticking out that long stretch that usually ends in legend.

Now X certainly are legends. So many reasons: right up there with Johnny and Ivy resides Billy for greatest guitarist, flawless and razor sharp at every given moment. DJ still the powerhouse metronome, Exene the most magnetic and perfect female front person of her generation, and John, one of the greatest voices ever with those ‘desert at night’ tones only Jim Morrison rivaled. When singing or harmonizing together, John and Exene would actually create a 3rd voice, their timbres meshing so perfectly. Two singers, three voices. Pretty unique. And as writers, forget it. Yes living legends. More honest, hard working, and appreciative people you will not find.

Back in the Elektra days, I was very lucky to be their A&R guy, making several albums with them, and over both lineups. After Billy left in ’86, Tony Gilkyson joined, fitting the bill effortlessly. An incredible player as well and guitarist on this track. When Tony left around ’97, Billy rejoined to present. A&Ring them was a two fold experience: always rewarding, always frustrating.

Rewarding because at the studio, you knew this was the best place in the solar system to be, watching John and Exene through the control room window mastering a vocal take on one mic live. Wow. It still gives me tingles.

But frustrating knowing how the promotion department would have a difficult time with programers, and most likely be forced to accept defeat while sharing a $100 bottle of wine with some pampered PD.

Like all the greats, X couldn’t get their fair shake from radio. Bob Krasnow loved this track when he heard it. He walked into my office late one evening around 9 pm. We were all still there, everyone stayed late. It was a company full of people who loved their jobs and glowed in the success of the label that all had contributed to in some way. No one ever got fired. We never worried about that. So Bob says “I hear you brought back some new X ruffs from LA. I want to hear them”. I handed him an unfinished version of ‘See How We Are’ on cassette and he left.

This track was actually started at Capitol Studios on Hollywood Blvd and it was haunting wandering around those halls with Exene, talking about the legends in framed pictures, that had recorded there prior. It was that work-in-progress version I had given him, and I knew the song was ace. Sure enough, ten minutes later he’s back at my door. “This is fucking incredible, they are the voices of rebellion. This, Kevin, is important stuff”.

I can hear his words as plainly now as when he spoke them, God love him. Words from the guy who had produced Ike & Tina Turner and Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, and now in praise of X. For whatever reason, we released ’4th Of July’ as the first single from the SEE HOW WE ARE album against Bob’s instincts. He thought that was too commercial, too formula when played up against ‘See How We Are’, but the radio department felt it was more palatable, singable, like Springsteen. Actually, it was all those things and yes, it too should have been a hit. He said, “You always have to put your best foot forward, you only get one chance”.

He was right. Even though as Chairman, I don’t know why he didn’t force the team to go for this single but he didn’t. Although released as a 12″ to radio, the commercial 7″ was cancelled. Only a handful of finished sleeves (pictured) and three test pressings were made. I think Howard or Alago got the third. I have the other two. You always need a safety copy.

A dealer recently asked how much one was worth to me, he wanted desperately to buy it. I said “It doesn’t have a price tag but for everything else, there’s Mastercard”. He got nasty, called me an arrogant cunt. Seriously, he did. Not exactly the way to get that second copy off me despite his admittedly accurate description of my response.

Listen: Highway 61 Revisited (Again) / X

Thanks to reader Mark Deming, his suggestion to also post ‘Highway 61 Revisted (Again)’ was a superb one. All this time, I thought it had come out as a bonus reissue track or part of a cd comp. Wrong. So here it it for all X fans to worship, as I do.

Ike & Tina Turner

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Listen: Baby – Get It On / Ike & Tina Turner

Seemingly undaunted by failure, Ike & Tina Turner churned out singles at a hectic, continuous pace for more than a decade.

Come ’75, the number declined, as opposed to say their ’64 – ’68 run. By this point, the tradeoff was certainly more album releases than just about any other act. No doubt encouraged by the United Artists funded, but Ike & Tina Turner owned Bolic Sound in the Inglewood section of Los Angeles, they flooded the market with an endless stream of jam based, second rate songs. Or so it seemed at the time.

Their live draw was at a peak, and in concert, much of what sounded pedestrian on vinyl surely exploded on the stage. Playing so many of those releases, as I often do, their once current but generic, assembly line weakness quite honestly has gotten more and more appealing as both time and distance increase. As do the once unappealing covers.

What some might still consider a careless, bland or demo-like snare sound now stamp a period date smack onto each record. A true hidden charm being the clarity and precision of Ike’s studio technique.

‘Baby – Get It On’ easily exemplifies the above claim, and was to be their last BILLBOARD Top 100 entry, peaking at #88 in ’75.

Don’t care, sounds better than ever to me. Combining Ike’s cliched lyrics, Tina’s ever inspired, dutiful call/response delivery, that drum sound and a clear stereo mix easily allows the sum to become greater than the parts.

What I, and most likely, we all used to pass up at garage and house sales have become eyebrow raisers nowadays. Yes, trust me, Ike & Tina Turner’s mid 70′s United Artists singles are worth grabbing.

Jimmy McCracklin

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Listen: Dog (Part 2) / Jimmy McCracklin

‘Dog (Part 2)’ was the second of eight singles Jimmy McCracklin issued between ’67 and ’70 on Minit, a sister label of Imperial, where he’d been signed since ’62 and had an additional seventeen releases. All in all, twenty five 45′s during an eight year run with basically one label group, Liberty Records, of which both Minit and Imperial were imprints .

At 90 years old, he can boast a recording career that began in 1945, continuing until most recently, 1999. Yes, 54 years. Given that he performed during 2010, his recording days may not be over yet. I would sure like to shake this guy’s hand.

Like the A side, ‘Dog (Part 1)’, this flip is largely an instrumental style backing track. For all we know, those female voices just may have been The Ikettes. Remember, Ike & Tina Turner were on Minit during this period as well.

Having co-written the Otis Redding and Carla Thomas hit, ‘Tramp’ with Lowell Fulson, released in ’67, and this having been issued around that same time, maybe ‘Dog (Parts 1 & 2)’ were the formative demo beginnings of ‘Tramp’.

Regardless, a great jukebox filler on a winter Sunday afternoon, and a needed artifact, if only for the title.

Ike & Tina Turner

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Listen: The Argument / Ike & Tina Turner

Nothing can change the shape of things to come, as Max Frost & The Troopers once professed.

I was in a Sue Records loop that I just couldn’t get out of on Thanksgiving night. Must have played every Ike & Tina Turner release on the label at least once, each side included.

Lord, I’d totally forgotten about ‘The Argument’, lyrically. Almost valid enough to stand up in court.

Ike Turner

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Listen: Right On / Ike Turner

Lux and Ivy once pulled me aside in Toronto’s Kop’s Collectibles while we were shopping for 45′s just after doing a MUCH MUSIC interview. In deadpan seriousness, Ivy handed me an Ike Turner single proclaiming if I did not own it, I needed it. “He’s incredible, like seriously incredible.”

“Forget all that whoee about his domestic life, the records, just get ‘em all”, Lux in an almost scolding tone.

I have obeyed, and as an email I recently got specific to my several posts on this blog conveyed, you can never have enough Ike & Tina Turner.

‘Right On’ came out as a 7″ back when I was a college rep for United Artists, desperately interested in The Move, Wizzard, The Bonzo Dog Band and Family from their current roster, but also into the occasional Blue Note (who they distributed) funk-jazz release and any Monk Higgins or Bobby Womack single.

How I missed, misplaced or failed to pay attention to ‘Right On’ is a scary blank in my memory. It’s so good, so racey, so unforgettable. What the fuck happened? Did I black out for three months or something? Well, I’ll never know. But as I lie here in bed, with it on repeat and type this post, I can tell you one thing. At this very moment, it’s my favorite record in the whole wide world.

These lyrics are hysterical. Listen to every one. It may take a few plays, and I suggest headphones, but you’ll pick them up. Ike’s delivery will get in your face, maybe even scare you a bit, his voice is that alive. Wow.

Last week, while out on the Matt & Kim / blink-182 tour, we had a day off in Pittsburgh. Typically, they hit the Warhol museum, I think the crew went to a sporting event of some stadium sort, and I hit today’s version of the yellow pages, Google, looking for used 45′s. First thing that comes up: Jerry’s Records.

I rang to ask, did they have 45′s from the 50′s and 60′s. It was Jerry who answered.

Affirmative. “About 700,000.”

Hmm, ok, sounds like a bit of a stretch, but certainly more than a few boxes, and it was close, four miles. What the heck.

Lord have mercy. This was the most jaw dropping, overwhelming record store I can recall being in, maybe ever. If you visit, and you seriously must, be ready. What you see pictured above is one row from the $3 section of 45′s, then a few of those rows representing around one third of that total $3 section. Plus there’s the $7 section, the new arrivals and the $100+ locked room, none of those even pictured here. In total, they all take up maybe one quarter, tops, of the entire shop. The rest is albums. The walls are lined with memorabilia and every space is crammed with old displays and trade ads and, and, and……

I stood there frozen, body and brain. Couldn’t think of one single I needed for like five minutes. It was that powerful. But once I got going….forget it.

Promise yourself you will visit, and don’t plan on doing it in just one day. Maybe bring a stretcher. You might need to leave on it.

Like ‘Right On’, which I purchased at Jerry’s, I’d somehow never heard of either.

Aren’t records the greatest! There are so many, you never run out of the need to keep looking.

Jessie Hill

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Listen: Ooh Poo Pah Doo (Part 1) / Jessie Hill

As legend has it, by his teens, drummer Jesse Hill formed his first group, The House Rockers in ’51′ followed by periods drumming with both Professor Longhair and Huey Piano Smith. Well oiled, he formed a new version of The House Rockers in ’58, this time with a focus on singing.

The origins of ‘Ooh Poo Pah Doo’ reportedly lie with local pianist known only as Big Four from who Jesse Hill reportedly modeled his lyrics and melody, later fleshing the song out with an intro from Dave Bartholomew. Honed to a sharp edge on stage, he demo’d then shopped it to some local record labels. Ultimately recording the song at Cosimo Matassa’s studio with Allen Toussaint producing. Released by Minit in early ’60, the single became an instant favourite at Mardi Gras, eventually going on to sell 800,000 copies and cracking both the BILLBOARD R&B Top 5 and the pop Hot 100 (#28).

Eventually moving to Los Angeles, Jesse Hill found plenty of work both writing for and playing with fellow New Orleans musicians including Harold Battiste and Mac Rebennack as they passed through town to record. During the period, he placed songs with loads of local RnB labels, even Sonny & Cher, and as well, Ike & Tina Turner, who took ‘Ooh Poo Pah Doo’ to #60 in ’71.

Ike & Tina Turner

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Listen: Tell Her I’m Not Home / Ike & Tina Turner
Tell Her I'm Not Home / Ike & Tina Turner

Embarrassing but true, during all the years I worked for Bob Krasnow at Elektra, I did not know of this record, although there were very many Ike & Tina Turner records I did know. In fact, the day Howard brought me in to meet him, essentially to get his blessing before joining the A&R staff, it was an Ike & Tina Turner single that probably helped get me the job.

I’d pretty much fumbled my way through some lop sided answer to his question, inquiring as to why I wanted an A&R job in the first place. Before leaving, I just had to get some details on one of the Ike & Tina Turner records Bob had produced, ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’ from OUTTA SEASON, with it’s infamous white faced, watermelon eating cover art. It was clearly of great interest to him that I knew such a detail at all, and thus began our real relationship.

A year or so after young and foolishly leaving Elektra for Island, I stumbled on the UK stock copy, pictured above. How could I not buy any single by Ike & Tina Turner that I didn’t own, but as a great bonus, when the producer was Bob?

Easily, ‘Tell Her I’m Not Home’ stands the test of time as one of their finest, with it’s legendary spoken intro, and use of Tchaikovsky’s ’1812 Overture’ riff, beating The Move to it by a good six months. With both occurring before the song even really starts, what’s not to freak over?

I faxed a scan of the label to Bob’s office a week or so later, feeling a bit timid given we hadn’t had contact since I’d left, basically, complimenting him on my new found favorite song intro, to which he scribbled back something quite friendly. It was a nice moment.

Brenda Holloway / Vivian Green

Monday, June 27th, 2011

brendahollowayuka, brenda holloway, tamla, motown, vivian green

Listen: Every Little Bit Hurts / Brenda Holloway
Every Little Bit Hurts / Brenda Holloway

Listen: Every Little Bit Hurts / Vivian Green
Every Little Bit Hurts / Vivian Green

Written by Ed Cobb, ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ is nothing like his other massive hit, The Standells’ ‘Dirty Water’. With writing credits as diverse as The Chocolate Watch Band and Gloria Jones, it’s doubly impressive.

There was an HBO program several seasons back, AMERICAN DREAMS, all about Philadelphia in the 60′s. The daughter of the family it centered around was a dancer on AMERICAN BANDSTAND, so every episode featured a current artist kitted out as someone who had appeared on the show during that time period, and doing the same song originally performed. When they wanted Vivian Green, there weren’t many cover choices left as they’d already used material from Mary Wells and Tina Turner. The 60′s were an era of girl groups, but as Vivian was a solo artist, Motown acts like The Supremes or Martha & The Vandellas weren’t options. I suggested Brenda Holloway, never expecting them to go for it, but they did.

Doing the TV show was a two day affair. Day one, Vivian went in to record her vocal at Ocean Way Studios and on day two, she was dolled up in costume (looking exactly like Brenda Holloway to a T) and mimed the newly re-recorded version on a mock AMERICAN BANSTAND stage. It was a blast.

Vivian was completely prepared, plus being the flawless vocalist that she is, laid it down in one take. Everyone’s jaw dropped. The engineer said “You’re done” and her response was “I was only warming up. You mean I can’t sing it again?” Of course they let her, but also said if she wanted to bail and go shopping, they had what they needed. The above Vivian Green version is that first take.

Brenda Holloway actually called later that day, having heard the new version, to thank Vivian for a job well done.

Ike & Tina Turner

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Listen: Nutbush City Limits / Ike & Tina Turner
INutbush City Limits / Ike & Tina Turner

Given that Ike & Tina Turner’s Bolic Sound Studio from the 70′s was quite near LAX, I asked my cab driver would he please cruise past it’s address, 1310 North La Brea, on our way to the airport yesterday. And of course, he did. Every Los Angeles trip I try to visit some historic location or landmark, most of the time only historic to me, usually bringing on the creeps, which is exactly the plan. More often than not, they now provide zero clues to the past. Like after an auto accident is cleared away, the street cleaned up, like it never happened. All that history just gutted, renovated, erased. It’s disgraceful.

Such was the case here. Given the early morning hour, it meant the area stood deserted, smoggy and still asleep. The building now connected to it’s legend only in address. Equal parts sad and eerie. What went on behind those walls in the early 70′s? What about the decor? What happened to all that equipment, furniture, or those wall hangings, plaques? I recall friends from United Artists working in the label’s office at the time, saying Ike Turner’s deal, which included large advances and complete studio funding, pretty much sank their ship. When you’re spending someone else’s dime, you tend to over-decorate I’m sure.

One thing was certain, there, right in front of my eyes, just a few yards away, stood the building where Ike & Tina Turner recorded and mixed a portion of their vast output. Lucky enough, we hit a red light. I had a solid minute to just stare and zone and imagine. Surely some priceless characters spilled out into the broad daylight, splat onto that corner, in who knows what outfits or states, after many an all night session. Not to mention, the boxes of promos arriving for each release. Where did they all go?

Ike & Tina Turner

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Listen: Cussin’ Cryin’ & Carryin’ On (Single Mix) / Ike & Tina Turner
Cussin' Cryin' & Carryin' On (Single Mix) / Ike & Tina Turner

A seemingly precise representation of the delta, chitlin’ circuit RnB Ike Turner could master in a four hour session when he wanted to, providing Tina Turner was there, that is. Even though it was recorded in Los Angeles, ‘Cussin’ Cryin’ & Carryin’ On’ still felt rural.

The single was released twice, both times on Pompeii and about a year apart. Wish I had some, any info as to why. Trust me, I have dug deep, but uncovered none. Oddly, as with almost every other Ike & Tina Turner record from the period, this never did get a UK issue. How is that even possible, it’s so good.

‘Cussin’ Cryin’ & Carryin’ On’ and their general sound during the era, tortures at what I’m convinced was missed by not seeing The Ike & Tina Turner Review in full, sweaty action during ’64/’65/’66′. If only I’d been born a few years earlier, well at least ten to cover it safely. The live shows I could have attended, and records I could have acquired. Wow.

Jack Nitzsche

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Listen: The Lonely Surfer / Jack Nitzsche
The Lonely Surfer / Jack Nitzsche

Somewhere in this collection a US copy of ‘The Lonely Surfer’ lurks. Must have taken it out to dj with, because my recollection of it sounding huge and rather scary through the sound system at Brooklyn Bowl is quite vivid.

The sport of surfing was not big in the UK, nor was the musical genre, unsurprisingly. Given that UK pressings of surf singles are thin on the ground, finding this Jack Nitzsche 7″ in a tattered box of 45′s on a freezing October morning along the Portobello Road market indeed felt quite the anomaly.

Jack himself, well he was so entrenched in LA’s recording scene during the early 60′s that coining the ultimate surf anthem isn’t really a shocker. His many credits often included arrangements, something no one really does these days, not exclusively and certainly not for money. The guy kept a lot of plates in the air, working with Phil Spector at Philles, organizing THE TAMI SHOW, taking Doris Day to #1 in the pop charts, arranging for The Rolling Stones when they were at the RCA studios and managing to keep up a solo career on Reprise. There alone his array of releases included Chopin style renditions of then current pop hits to, well, surf anthems like ‘The Lonely Surfer’.

Having arranged and orchestrated Ike & Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ would be a pretty daunting accomplishment for anyone to top, but in many ways that’s exactly what he does on ‘The Lonely Surfer’. From the title to the eerie horns, he’s captured a dark and alarming side of the supposedly sunshine and fun theme. Sorry but this record has always reminded me of seedy old Hollywood, the unsolved Bobby Fuller murder and Sal Mineo’s as well.

By the way, ever noticed that some of the best surf records have the most unhappy horn bits on them.

Inez & Charlie Foxx

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

Listen: (1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx
(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days / Inez & Charlie Foxx

There’s not a person I play this to who doesn’t, after one spin, decide they need a copy.

I was always extremely partial to this poor man’s Ike & Tina Turner, as I’d seen them referred to. Inez & Charlie Foxx had their biggest love in the UK, like so many before and after would too. But seeing them perform on Cleveland’s UPBEAT show in the 60′s confirmed my loyalty. UPBEAT was a weekly music program, with a good six to ten acts miming their latest releases on every episode. I guess the local network cornered all of them as they passed through Cleveland, happy to get any TV exposure. It was syndicated to various cities in the US, including Syracuse hence I got to see it every Sunday.

There’s a website for the show, and it is particularly boring to navigate – I believe the producer’s son deals with the estate, and basically highlights only the name acts, when the true interest in the show would be the many obscure ones that were on. Hopefully that footage was preserved and will be freed up. There is definitely a goldmine there.

So it was May of ’67 when I saw Inez & Charlie on that very show. We had recently upgraded to a family color TV, so everything was a technicolor dream come true. No bigger one than Inez Foxx in a skin tight floor length carnation pink dress playing a matching pink Stratocaster; and brother Charlie off behind her to the left singing and dancing on a very small riser perfectly clad in a matching pink chino suit, black shirt and pink tie. Talk about having your visual together. And ‘(1-2-3-4-5-6-7) Count The Days’ was the song they performed. Produced and written by Charlie Foxx and Swamp Dogg, Gene Pitney covered it a year or so later. As great a singer as he definitely was, it was no match for Inez Foxx’s delivery. Along with Inez & Charlie Foxx’s ‘Come By Here’, ‘Tightrope’ and ‘Hurt By Love’, it’s a life long favorite.

Jack Dupree

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Tongue Tied Blues / Jack Dupree

Listen: Tongue Tied Blues / Jack Dupree

This was a bizarre discovery from that very first pile of singles I blagged off WMCR, claiming to be from the local Children’s Hospital and needing donations. There were many greats in that stack of about fifty (The Others, The Pretty Things, Inez & Charlie Foxx, The Mickey Finn, The Hullaballoos, Ike & Tina Turner, Jimmy Reed), but this earned an immediate spot.

I played it for everyone, all as baffled as myself on first listen. We were feeling confidently hip to this blues music The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds and The Kinks claimed as their influences, even though we simply were not. A true and pure example had yet to be served our way until that very first spin of ‘Tongue Tied Blues’. Just listen and you’ll understand.

Ike & Tina Turner

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Listen: Sexy Ida (Part 1) / Ike & Tina Turner IkeTinaSexyIda.mp3

You are correct, this is not my first Ike & Tina Turner post, nor will it be the last. My wall shelf easily has a foot long upright section dedicated to their singles, all of them essentials.

I recently played ‘Sexy Ida (Part 1) at the Brooklyn Bowl residency, and man did it sound hot through a big PA. Parts 1 and 2 would certainly have you thinking a six or seven minute album version was lazily divided into halves so as to fit the whole song onto a 7″. Not the case here, which is a rare occasion – indeed possibly one of a kind.

Listen: Sexy Ida (Part 2) / Ike & Tina Turner IkeTinaIda2.mp3

‘Sexy Ida (Part 2) is in fact a less black, more rock-of -the day rendition. Sounds to me like their recent mainstream successes with ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘I Want To Take You Higher’ inspired Ike Turner to record a more guitar heavy rendition to the track, just in case the white underground and pop stations took a shine. In fact, it has a uncanny resemblance to The Rolling Stones, who Ike & Tina Turner had been touring with quite frequently at the time. Despite Part 2 being pressed up as a double sided DJ promo, it was Part 1 that got some traction, eventually struggling to an unjust #65 on Billboard’s Top 100 (#29 Black) in early ’74.

Choose your favorite – but it should be well easy to guess mine.

Lorraine Ellison

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Stay With Me / Lorraine Ellison

Listen: Stay With Me / Lorraine Ellison LorraineStay.mp3

I was thinking about my previous post (The Exciters) and a whole lot of Bert Burns details kept coming to mind, like one of his reportedly last songs, written with Jerry Ragovoy, being ‘Piece Of My Heart’. After being made super famous by Big Brother & The Holding Company, there really was no point in trying to compete with a re-recordings, although some did. Janis Joplin clearly had a definitive knowledge of the great RnB singers at that time. I remember her being interviewed by Dick Cavett and mentioning her favorite being Tina Turner. Neither he nor the silent audience knew who that was. She dug up and recorded greats by Garnet Mimms, Bobby Womack, Howard Tate and obviously Jerry Ragovoy (who wrote many of the aforementioned); undeniably making them hers.

There’s a cd compilation currently available, TIME IS ON MY SIDE – THE JERRY RAGOVOY STORY 1953-2003. I highly suggest getting a copy. It overviews an impressive array of styles, but mostly pure RnB. One of the songs it includes is ‘Stay With Me’ by Lorraine Ellison. Now oddly enough, I love her version even though I don’t love love love her voice. I like her an awful lot, but prefer a bit more husk. When combining her with Ragovoy’s songs though, it always works.

Now the following is a true story. If someone were to tell it to me, I wouldn’t believe them – it’s so far fetched. About 8 years ago, I went down to the village to meet Kate Hyman for lunch. She was looking at a small, really run down (needed gutting to be exact), brownstone and suggested we meet there (just off Carmine Street), have a look and go eat. I love looking at property and she knew it – so bang, we had a plan. A mutual friend, Glen Schiller, was the agent and he walked us through the then rotting, water damaged debris of a home – now renovated and clearly worth a fortune. I was a little timid about going up the stairs but followed along. There was literally nothing, and I mean nothing, in the building except a perfect, US promo copy of Lorraine Ellison’s ‘Stay With Me’ (the second issue – pictured at the top) propped against a bedroom wall. I know – you think I’m lying. I swear on my Mother’s life – this is true. I couldn’t believe it. There should have been a faint sound of ‘magic’ or ‘angels’ or ‘fairydust’ backgrounding my arm reaching down and chiming when as fingers met the sleeve, just in the movies.

This copy was mint. The sleeve factory fresh. What the fuck was this doing here? I asked Glen – he didn’t have a clue and said “Take it”. Well you only need to say that to me once. I did. So there you go – meant to be.

The Ikettes

Monday, May 24th, 2010

This blog began two years ago with The Ikettes post below. As with SO MANY RECORDS SO LITTLE TIME’s first birthday, on this it’s second – I am re-posting that very first entry, and plan to do it every year to come.

An added bonus this time round is the addition of the single’s B side and accompanying story.

Listen: What’cha Gonna Do / The Ikettes

The Ikettes only Phi-Dan release came out in early ’66. This was around the time of Phil Spector’s involvement with Ike & Tina, not just producing, but also including them on his Big TNT Show, filmed in November of ’65. The lineup on this record, courtesy of the fantastic booklet from Ace Records’ recent Ikettes anthology, CAN’T SIT DOWN….’COS IT FEELS SO GOOD, was P. P. Arnold on lead vocals, with Tina, Brenda Holloway and her sister Patrice on backgrounds. I’m launching this blog with The Ikettes simply because it’s a record I’m currently nuts about. Actually, right now, I’m in a serious Ikettes phase, fueled by the aforementioned CD. I was in London last week with Matt & Kim, and staying with Roger Armstrong, a great friend who founded Ace. It was one of the discs he gave me, and I just poured over the booklet on the entire flight back home to New York. The CD is a must. And also try finding the single (the CD only draws from their releases on Modern Records). As you can hear, it’ll be worth the search. I picked it up off eBay a few months back having no idea it had existed. $65 later, it’s one of those great moments when you realize there’s always something else to add to the collection.

Listen: Down Down / The Ikettes

On May 16th – just last week, I had the shocking honor of receiving an email from Rose Smith aka Rose Ikette. Rose, along with Pat Arnold (P. P. Arnold) were in the ’65 – ’66 lineup of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue featuring The Ikettes.

Rose had found the blog while searching for a copy of ‘What’cha Gonna Do’ and it’s flipside ‘Down Down’. She was at these sessions and as it turns out, does the lead vocal on ‘Down Down’.

What a fantastic song, it feels very gospel, almost religious. Apparently getting some decent airplay on LA soul radio at the time of release, Rose hadn’t heard it for years. I sent her an mp3 of the track, and we plan to talk, later today in fact. How’s that for a coincidence? She has kindly promised to share many details about the period, lineup, various sessions and her infamous trip to the UK when they shared a tour with The Rolling Stones. Pat never came back, but instead became P. P. Arnold, signed to Immediate and had a decent run of UK hits. Rose also hung around London long enough to contribute some vocals on various Immediate singles as well.

Meanwhile, here’s ‘Down Down’, with Rose and The Ikettes.