Archive for the ‘Ashford & Simpson’ Category

The Apollas

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Listen: You’re Absolutely Right / The Apollas

For the longest time, I couldn’t quite understand the addictive cult obsession with Northern Soul, and then one day the light went off in my head. I still can’t explain it easily, but I get it. And God, is it addicting. Like when I get into that moment and I really need a proper Northern tune, nothing else suffices.

The inventory of undiscovered Northern necessities is forever high. Undiscovered not meaning unheard of or without some crazy book value but instead, undiscovered in that I don’t have a copy yet. It’s just not enough to actually hear it via a cd comp or on youtube, but to hear it on record, that’s the mainline.

Another official addiction problem this past year in my little world became Loma Records, the Los Angeles based soul label Bob Krasnow headed up for Warner Brothers in the mid 60′s. And there, in the thick of that incredible catalog, sat an aforementioned, or should I say just described, Northern necessity. The Apollas ‘You’re Absolutely Right’, an early Ashford & Simpson co-write with Jo Armstead, formerly one of The Ikettes.

And this devil escaped me for months on eBay, I kept getting outbid by a dollar or two. Until I’d had quite enough and eSniped a crazy high limit price, resulting in this promo pressing beauty turning up last week while on tour with Matt & Kim. Trust me, I rang the house daily inquiring about it’s arrival. All three family members just stopped answering my calls until on Saturday, Lucy phoned with the news that a record had arrived.

I could not get home from JFK fast enough on Sunday.

Here it is, it’s mine. Life is now complete, temporarily that is.

Big Mama Thornton

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

BigMamaStonedUSA, Big Mama Thornton

Listen: Let’s Go Get Stoned / Big Mama Thornton BigMamaStoned.mp3

Covered by everyone from Manfred Mann to Ray Charles via his infamous version, ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’ is as ubiquitous as “Strangers In The Night’ or ‘Satisfaction’.

During the late 60′s/early 70′s, during the heights of electric blues rock’s success, seems every last band dug up some deserving song, and in hindsight rather obvious classic from the genre, added on some whitewash and brought it successfully to the masses, tunes like ‘Let’s Go Get Stoned’ were everywhere. Add to that, the phenomenon of Janis Joplin – and you’ve get many a previously struggling original blues artist, particularly female ones, suddenly sharing bills with the biggest album selling underground bands of the day at The Fillmores, Avalon Ballroom, in War Memorials and college gymnasiums around the country. Big Mama Thornton was no exception.

Signed to Mercury and released around the time of Mother Earth’s almost breakthrough success, her renewed version of the surprisingly-penned-by Ashford & Simpson classic got some FM play in my neck of the woods. Never ever expecting a soul to buy it, I was well pleased to find a promo in the local used record bin for a quarter. Still sounds authenically ruff and tumble to this day.