Archive for the ‘Ben E. King’ Category

Ben E. King

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Listen: What Is Soul? / Ben E. King

Bob Gallo’s name, like Ben E. King’s, always draws me in. The two have written together for decades. As well, Bob has produced a bulk of recordings, not only for Ben E. King, but also Atlantic Records, including The Young Rascals’ ‘Groovin’. This guy has basically worked on every kind of music from James Brown & The Famous Flames’ ‘It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World’ to ? & The Mysterians’ ’96 Tears’.

‘What Is Soul’ was oddly a non hit at pop when released in ’66. Despite being the B side to ‘They Don’t Give Medals to Yesterday’s Heroes’, ‘What Is Soul’ suddenly got play in Detroit, New York and Washington DC, so Atco repressed it, changing the label copy to indicate ‘What Is Soul’ as the plug side. It’s under performance from RnB radio’s listeners, entering Billboard’s Soul chart for a mere two weeks, and peaking at #38, discouraged the label to attempt spreading the record Top 40. A very pop leaning song structure may have been the culprit to the hardcore, but I still think, what a missed opportunity every time I play it.

Ben E. King

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Listen: Groovin’ / Ben E. King
Groovin' / Ben E. King

This was an easy one. Everybody knows Ben E. King’s crooner greats, and God knows, there can’t be a living soul on earth who doesn’t cherish ‘Supernatural Thing’. But in the ultimate quest for something more formative, something that proves the hits were complimented by stuff way more raw, look and you will find ‘Groovin”, his B side from ’64.

Spyder Turner

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

spyderstand, MGM, Spyder Turner, Billy Stewart, Ben E. King, Sirius, James Brown, Eddie Kendricks

Listen: Stand By Me / Spyder Turner Spyder.mp3

This version of ‘Stand By Me’ is the one way too many people overlooked or more likely, sadly never heard – despite it being a big US hit (#3 Pop, #12 RnB) in ’67. The accompanying album is great too. If you stumble on a copy, buy it.

Credit to Sirius Radio. I caught this one while listening during a recent JetBlue flight. I don’t recall the station’s name, maybe The Joint or something like that.

A possible blame for his short career may indeed be MGM Records. They just didn’t have the roster, and therefore the leverage, when it came to RnB. A+ for trying though.

Listen through until the end – he does some killer vocal impersonations. The Billy Stewart take is spot on and Jackie Wilson’s is priceless. They’re all pretty sweet.

The Drifters / The Walker Brothers

Monday, August 17th, 2009

drifterstheregoesuka, The Drifters, Ben E. King, The Walker Brothers, Scott Walker, Ivor Raymonde, Philips, John Franz, London American

Listen: There Goes My Baby / The Drifters DriftersThere.mp3

Listen: There Goes My Baby / The Walker Brothers WalkerBrothersThereGoes.mp3

Speaking of The Drifters, as I did in my previous post, one of their Ben E. King written hits, ‘There Goes My Baby’, not only stands up on it’s own, but shows that a great song interpreted well can sometimes even get better. Hate to be politically incorrect, but my opinion is just that when it comes to The Walker Brothers version of ‘There Goes My Baby’.

Don’t misunderstand, I like both, maybe it’s just The Walker Brothers’ haircuts, my official diagnosis of having terminal Scott Walker disease or probably my admitted lack of Doo Wop appreciation. Why theirs wasn’t released as a 7″ in the UK remains a mystery to me. Those Ivor Raymonde ‘Night Of Fear’ leaning orchestral riffs just take the cake. John Franz, what were you thinking?

Ben E. King

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

benekingsupernaturalusa, Ben E. King, Atlantic

Listen: Supernatural Thing (Part 1) / Ben E. King BenEKingSupernatural.mp3

Tell me this doesn’t sound fantastic the very second it starts and I’ll tell you you’re a liar. Doesn’t even matter if you don’t prefer a particular genre of music, certain songs transcend all that. Any person can hear a seminal record regardless. Clearly this is one.

Talk about reinventing yourself – here you go. A member of The Drifters, basically a Doo Wop group in ’58, he only recorded a dozen or so songs with them before wising up to money bullshit and went solo. He hit quick with ‘Spanish Harlem’ and the hits continued. Despite all that early 60′s success dying down as a result of the British Invasion, he powered back in ’75 with this.

Yeah, it reached #1 both Pop and RnB. Great, it’s the real deal. I play it often.