Archive for the ‘Bobby Womack’ Category

Georgie Fame

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Daylight / Georgie Fame

Listen: Daylight / Georgie Fame

I think this song may qualify as a bit of a guilty pleasure, as it is a touch schmaltzy, although my pal Phil, who has super taste in music, loves it. Then again, it was written by Bobby Womack and now a sought after hit on the Northern Soul circuit. Plus Georgie has such a great voice, and the whole idea that he perfected his sound doing all-nighters at the Flamingo Club on Wardour Street in London during the swinging 60′s alongside Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, is, well, all I really need. Basically he always emulated Mose Allison and conventiently helped invent mod-jazz in the process.

As with some of his early hits like ‘Get Away’, this was produced by the great Denny Cordell. When I worked at Island in the early 90′s, Chris Blackwell brought Denny in to oversee A&R. Most everybody got their noses out of joint by his arrival but not me. I mean this was the guy who had produced The Move. He did the whistle sound, fingers to mouth, on ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’, helped start Deram and Regal Zonophone, and then Shelter. So we hit it off immediately, and I often think of the many great times and meals we had together. He was a serious cook. Plus he introduced me to so many people from the UK, all of whom would stop by to see him when passing through town. I remember when he brought Tony Colton into my office. He was the vocalist for Heads Hands & Feet who I became an instant fan of when seeing them open for Humble Pie. Tony had also produced a then obscure, now kind of appreciated gem: ON THE BOARDS by Taste. So this was a big deal to me.

Yeah, Denny was a great great pal….he produced this track as part of the 2nd album Georgie made for Island that the company then proceeded not to issue, still. Seriously, what hasn’t been released at this point? Island was a great place in many ways, but they had a very bad habit of making albums and not releasing them. I know of a few still in the vaults from Marianne Faithfull, and unfortunately countless others from The Smoke to Don Covay.

So this track, ‘Daylight’, and it’s B side, ‘Three Legged Mule’ came out in ’77 as 7″ & 12″ singles, and has finally been reissued as part of the ISLAND YEARS ’74 – ’76 anthology.

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.

Bobby Womack / The J. Geils Band

Friday, March 26th, 2010


Listen: Looking For A Love / The J. Geils Band JGeilsLooking.mp3

I used to pretty much ignore The J. Geils Band during this period, well always if the truth be told. They were a six piece, one too many in my imaginary rule book, and man did they look bad. Endlessly touring, always playing upstate New York, mostly with some up and coming UK band as support. So, I’d go to the show, but usually found my way backstage to talk with said English group, stalking them for obscure info and details while they boogied through their headline set. It was way more exciting to stand in a crowded dressing room talking to Steve Marriott or Phil May than listen to The J. Geils Band’s blues jams.

Now I wish I could have found a way to do both. Eddie & The Hot Rods were big fans, and I started to appreciate them in hindsight. Barrie Masters constantly pestered everyone about them. So now, I can listen and appreciate them a lot more. Please accept my apologies guys, but you did need a visual make over I’m afraid.

BobbyWomackLookinUSA, Bobby Womack, The J. Geils Band, United Artists, Atlantic

BobbyWomackLookin, Bobby Womack, The J. Geils Band, United Artists, Atlantic

Listen: Lookin’ For A Love / Bobby Womack BobbyWomackLookin.mp3

Bobby Womack, on the other hand, was always a favorite. Funny enough, the English group fan in me had a lot to do with that as well. I was very friendly with Rich Fazekas from United Artists’ LA office in the early 70′s, when they had two distinct sounds to their roster: one a bunch of UK bands like The Move, Hawkwind, Brinsley Schwarz and Family; then the other RnB via Ike & Tina Turner, Monk Higgins, Marlena Shaw, Donald Byrd and Bobby Womack.

It was Roger Chapman who cornered me at the label’s LA location on Sunset, giving a stern lecture about both Bill Withers and Bobby Womack. He took me into Marty Cerf’s office and forced several new tracks from Bobby Womack’s then current COMMUNICATION album on me, at the same time recounting he and Family’s first exposure to Bill Wither’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’. It was on the car radio somewhere between Houston and Dallas, and they would literally pull over every time it came on, drooling as it played. Being a Family freak, I hung on his every word of advice, hence my initial Bobby Womack crash course and eventual worship.

Barbara Mason

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

barbaramasonreadyuka, Barbara Mason, Arctic, London American

Listen: Yes I’m Ready / Barbara Mason BarbaraMasonReady.mp3

barbaramasonshackin, Barbara Mason, Don Davis, Buddah

Listen: Shackin’ Up / Barbara Mason BarbaraMasonShackin.mp3

Basically, a Philly girl who came up through Gospel. ‘Yes I’m Ready’ reached #5 in ’65, with an intro the had me believing it was the soundtrack to being drunk. Her delivery drew me right in with that imaginery alcohol slur. Like Barbara Lewis from around the same time, she was one of the soul voices that sat nicely between all the English Invasion songs on Top 40 radio.

You wouldn’t know she was a church girl from some of her 70′s output, like the great ‘Shackin’ Up’. Not unlike Millie Jackson, and produced by Don Davis (Eddie Floyd, Bobby Womack, Albert King, The Dramatics, Carla Thomas, Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton), it just sums up liberated female voices during the mid 70′s and deserved a way higher Billboard chart placing than #91.


Monday, February 2nd, 2009

My Little Red Book / Love

Listen: My Little Red Book / Love

7 And 7 Is / Love

Listen: 7 And 7 Is / Love

Love Jukebox tab

Above: Jukebox Tab filled out by Arthur Lee

Stephanie Knows Who / Love

Listen: Stephanie Knows Who / Love

She Comes In Colors / Love

Listen: She Comes In Colors / Love

Orange Skies / Love

Listen: Orange Skies / Love

Que Vida / Love

Listen: Que Vida / Love

Alone Again Or / Love

Alone Again Or / Love

Alone Again Or / Love

Listen: Alone Again Or / Love

Softly To Me / Love

Listen: Softly To Me / Love

Your Mind And We Belong Together / Love

Your Mind And We Belong Together / Love

Listen: Your Mind And We Belong Together / Love

LoveEverlastingUS, Love, Arthur Lee, Blue Thumb, Bob Krasnow

The Everlasting First / Love

Listen: The Everlasting First / Love

What do Love have in common with The High Numbers, JJ Cale, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Mose Allison and Rockpile? Well, in this case, Tom Petty. He played them all, and more, on his Sirius/XM radio show, which I heard for the first time on the red eye from Seattle to New York Saturday night.

I don’t own a satellite capable device having been so disinterested in American radio for decades, and very bitter that it’s dummied down music as being a big part of culture in the US. Therefore figured it was more of the same. A few friends have, to be fair, tried convincing me otherwise. The very first time I heard it, on one of the now partnered networks, was in Kimberly Boley’s office at Sony. I asked her what she was listening to and she said satellite radio and that she loved it. I said sure but do they play The Cramps, just to throw a real wrench into the moment. She dialed up their station that most likely would, and The Cramps were playing that very second. Swear to God. I guess I should’ve taken it as a sign.

The flight was meant to be a time to finally get some rest. I’d been on Matt & Kim’s tour for several days and it had been non stop, stay awake. But this flight I’d earmarked as a sleeper. That was not meant to be. Spent the whole time flipping round these channels, then started jotting down some of the things I’d heard and kinda liked (The Soft Pack, Titus Andronicus), and some records I needed to look up once in the house to be sure I had (Chuck Jackson & Maxine Brown, Titus Turner, Bobby Womack). It was a noticeable change hearing so much variety: Lemon Jelly, Roxy Music (two stations playing two different songs simultaneously), Mott The Hoople, Eurythmics, LCD Soundsystem, Joan Armatrading, Nick Drake, The Nice. It was endless. You see, there is room for everyone. What a democratic concept.

There’s one thing that hasn’t changed though: the tired, lazy, hokey US DJ presenter. Does a building need to fall on these people? Unlike the BBC, and Radio 1 in particular, that presentation is lightning fast sonically and annoucer-wise. So with the luxury of access to BBC stations (Radio 1, 2, 6, Radio London) via internet streaming and my new discovery of satellite, I think things are pretty tolerable out there. I’d get subscribed up if I ever drove anywhere.

Back to Tom Petty’s program. He played Love’s ’7 And 7 Is’ on this particular episode. Interestingly named, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Love. Many times, I crave hearing the music and thoroughly enjoy it. Other times, it sounds so lame, and twee, and overrated.

Some strong opposing opinions out there about Arthur Lee too. Met him the one time, and he was cool about doing the jukebox tab, but I was with Gary Umbo, a Love hardcore who I’m pretty sure Arthur knew and was friendly with. Undeniably some great singles though, and if you’re like me, it’s hard to forget the first time hearing ‘My Little Red Book’. It was a pretty big hit everywhere rightfully. Then ’7 and 7 Is’ came out, and that was the loudest cut record I’d ever heard. You can’t turn it down. Just try.

When I worked at Elektra in ’85, our mailroom guy Mark Cohen came down to my office telling me there was a closet that was about to be part of the renovation underway to create more office space. It was full of old chairs, cabinets, typewriters AND some boxes of old 45′s. Was I interested, they’ll be tossed otherwise.

It was a treasure trove. About 200 singles in all, and a virtual history of Elektra’s early 7′s. So many amazing things, I never separated the lot, kept them as they were. Loads of Tom Rush, The Voices Of East Harlem, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Beefeaters, Tim Buckley, plus a mixture of US and UK presses.

Every Love single was there, promos and stock, and some UK copies as well. Many are pictured here. Note the withdrawn copy of ‘Stephanie Knows Who’ / ‘Orange Skies’ (EK 45608). The catalog number was re-assigned as EK 45608 (REV). I’m guessing to indicate ‘revised’, replacing the A side with ‘She Comes In Colors’. I knew of the switch but wasn’t aware original copies had been pressed until that day.

Also, for some reason unknown as it wasn’t an Elektra master, the pile included a UK pressing of ‘The Everlasting First’. It was originally released in the US on Blue Thumb, Bob Krasnow’s label. Although he was our chairman and boss at Elektra, he had no idea why the record was included there either. “Maybe I gave Holtzman a copy then, and yeah that is Jimi playing the lead”. Thankfully he didn’t reclaim it.

Not long after, the front desk somehow decided to forward through an irate Arthur Lee to my line. I pick up and he launched into a rage about unpaid royalties and how Elektra, and even I myself, were stealing from him, so much so that he had to move in with his aunt in Nashville or some such place. I was very unequipped to handle this one, so politely sent him through to Gary Casson in business affairs, where I’m sure the rampage ended abruptly.

Bobby Womack

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Across 110th Street / Bobby Womack

Listen: Across 110th Street / Bobby Womack Across 110th Street.mp3

Think grainy, washed out color, heroin in Harlem 70′s blaxploitation films and you’ll have a spot-on stereotypical description of ‘Across 110th Street’. Formula even. Probably more known for his less gimmicky writing, this still is a favorite track. Any of those accusations – all of which I’ve read – are way overshadowed by an almost perfect soundtrack theme. It’s funny how so much of that era’s music was similar in production and instrumentation. It’s all rolled up nicely in this one song. As always, a stellar vocal too.

Womack & Womack

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

MPB / Womack & Womack

Somehow, when I worked for Elektra in ‘84/’85 , Womack & Womack passed me by. They’d had some hits in the UK for the label, which should have tipped me off that I’d be interested. Here in the US, they never could get any traction at RnB or Pop stations. I still find it baffling. The Elektra singles ‘Love Wars’ and ‘Strange And Funny’ were great, and seemed to fit the sound of urban radio just fine. Nonetheless……no go at US radio. Like W&W, I moved to Island in ‘88. What a coincidence. And a repeat of the big UK/no US success pattern continued for them. This time I noticed. They were an interesting bunch, not only Cecil and Linda (who are W&W), but all the kids and their parents; the whole lot were on stage with them and seemingly constantly by their side. I was sitting in Chris Blackwell’s office when the cover slick for their only Island album came up from the art department for his approval. He was credited as producer, and immediately asked the assistant delivering the slick, ‘Why am I listed as producer?’. Her logical response was, ‘That’s how the credits came in from Linda’. He looked at me and said, ’I’ve never even met them!’. She proceeded to chase down the confusion. Strange and funny indeed. Cecil’s first wife was Mary Wells and second, Linda Cooke – Sam Cooke’s daughter. Not a bad run. His brother of course, is Bobby. Some family right?. All of their albums are worth owning, especially CONSCIENCE, from which this track comes. It may have a touch of ‘80 sonics, but it never fails to raise the question: ‘Who is this?’, even from the most knowledgeable.