Archive for the ‘Burt Bacharach’ Category


Friday, October 15th, 2010

What The World Needs Now Is Love / Jackie DeShannon

Listen: What The World Needs Now Is Love / Jackie DeShannon What The World Needs Now Is.mp3

Put A Little Love In Your Heart / Jackie DeShannon

Listen: Put A Little Love In Your Heart / Jackie DeShannon Put A Little Love In Your H.mp3

She was on one of those fund drive, non profit shows, where you can get some 8 CD set of the ‘golden age’ for a $150 pledge, and then there were a bunch of other 60′s acts playing for a mummified audience to hawk the whole shabang.

The Association were on too. They sounded great, but ouch did they look awful.

Jackie DeShannon on the other hand, sounded and looked beautiful, classy, deservedly confident. Did all the hits, which sadly totaled two (‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’, ‘Put A Little Love In Your Heart’). In her day, she was churning out singles, for years really. Signed to Liberty and part of the now romantic LA record business which included Phil Spector and Jack Nitzsche, many times the songs were not her own.

A Lifetime Of Loneliness / Jackie DeShannon

Listen: A Lifetime Of Loneliness / Jackie DeShannon A Lifetime Of Loneliness.mp3

There were a patch of Bacharach/David releases. Some were a bit over-written, too many parts, and not so memorable at the time (‘A Lifetime Of Loneliness’ comes to mind). This was never the case with those she had a hand in writing. Doesn’t matter, fact is, they all sound classic now.

Jim Lahat told me Jackie DeShannon made her first UK trip in ’07, stopped by the BBC for an interview, and was a total class act. She sure looked it the other night.

When You Walk In The Room / Jackie DeShannon

Listen: When You Walk In The Room / Jackie DeShannon 01 When You Walk In The Room.mp3

And when she wrote a smash, she really would hit it out of the park: ‘When You Walk In The Room’. Hard to believe her version charted for only one week in January ’64, peaking at #99.

The Cryin’ Shames

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Listen: Please Stay / The Cryin’ Shames
Please Stay / The Cryin' Shames

The Cryin’ Shames ‘Please Stay’ was also from the haul that brought the Marsha Gee record into my collection. Unlike hers, this song I knew about and had a UK copy of. But finding a US pressing was quite an event.

The Drifters had a hit with ‘Please Stay’ in ’61, and their version of this Burt Bacharach classic is indeed great. This one however, has the added ambience of Joe Meek’s production.

Much has been deservedly written about Joe Meek, one of England’s first independent producers. In those days, late 50′s / early 60′s, all the producers were on the label staff. They did their job, and got their pay check. But it all began to change around ’63 and Joe Meek was a catalyst. This of course meant that, because he had built his own studio, he would not only produce the records but own the masters too. The labels didn’t like not owning their catalog, as Joe Meek and the other independent producers would license titles to the majors for a certain time period only. So he was always given terrible treatment.

Get one of the books about him. He was fascinating. And he had a real thing about other worlds. His huge international hit, ‘Telstar’ by The Tornadoes had his signature, haunting extra-terrestrial, almost frightening sound to it. Pretty much all his other recordings did too. You can certainly hear it on ‘Please Stay’, his last ever UK chart entry. Lead vocalist, Charlie Crane, had an amazing voice. One quite perfect for his Meeksville sound as well as this track.

For some time the Dick Clark footage had been embeddable via youtube. Now disabled, but still there. Go direct.

Listen: Nobody Waved Goodbye / The Cryin’ Shames
Nobody Waved Goodbye / The Cryin' Shames

Joe Meek claimed to be possessed by the ghost of Buddy Holly, and on the anniversary of his death, February 3, 1967, he took his own life, along with his landlady’s. Horribly demonized by a lawsuit that left him penniless, his Tornadoes royalties tied up in litigation, one of the last records he made was by this same band: The Cryin’ Shames, titled ‘Nobody Waved Goodbye’. Yikes.

Roberta Flack

Monday, January 4th, 2010

RobertaFirstTimeUS, Roberta Flack, Atlantic, Donny Hathaway

RobertaFirstTimeUKA, Roberta Flack, Atlantic, Donny Hathaway

Listen: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face / Roberta Flack RobertaFirst.mp3

One of the first signs of major label desperation started to reveal itself around ’04. I worked A&R at Columbia, and it was obvious many young, debut acts were being file shared, as opposed to purchased on CD. So the making of new recordings by classic artists became the MO. Bob Dylan and Barbra Streisand were having #1 albums, after struggling to get any real sales blips for years. So Don Ienner, our chairman, suggested we find classic acts who were still relevant – even though most people had forgotten they were….still relevant. Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Bette Midler, Burt Bacharach and umm, Wilson Phillips.

I wanted to sign Roberta Flack.

Coincidentally, I had seen her a few weeks prior at B.B. King’s, and she was jawdropping. Voice 100% intact, beautiful and get this – hysterical. Her between song banter was a riot, more like Millie Jackson than the Roberta Flack I expected. We all blushed more than once. First rule: if she plays anywhere near you – GO. You will be knocked out.

I’m convinced I have a great idea and mention this to Vicki Wickham, figuring she may have a contact for Roberta. Sure enough she instructed me to leave it with her. A few days later, I get buzzed “Roberta Flack is on line one”. Holy shit. I pick up meagerly and she says “Kevin, this is Roberta Flack”. I apologetically put her on hold quickly, literally screamed, then went back calmly to proceed with the conversation. What a lovely lady. We talked for ages about making an album, even getting the songs Stevie Wonder had written for her and Donny Hathaway out of storage. She offered to call him, thereby inviting his voice on the potential duets now that Donny was gone. Sounded amazing.

Well Donnie Ienner passed. His gut wasn’t feeling it I suppose.

The major label world is a funny one. When you’re hot, you’re hot. Or when the boss is feeling good about you, your ideas are exciting, if not – there’s no winning. Yet the next guy down the hall can have the same idea and it flies. Who can say where Roberta and I fit in to that time line.