Archive for the ‘Jukebox’ Category

Willie Mitchell

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

That Driving Beat / Willie Mitchell

That Driving Beat / Willie Mitchell

Listen: That Driving Beat / Willie Mitchell
That Driving Beat / Willie Mitchell

Seems Willie Mitchell had that soulful teen dance thing down, not too ghetto but just right. ‘That Driving Beat’ is one of the few he’s ever released with vocals, to my knowledge, and I’ve got about thirty of his 7′s. Admittedly not sure if it’s the man himself or one of his Hi rhythm section doing the singing, but it’s way hot. Check out the ‘Satisfaction’ riff in there too.

The single’s featured on many UK comps, being a well liked Mod track back in ’65 too. ‘That Driving Beat’ was exactly that, a purple hearts eye opening bumper. You can see why it became a favourite.

Listen: Bad Eye / Willie Mitchell
Bad Eye / Willie Mitchell

WOLF Chart 5-14-66

I actually got to hear Willie Mitchell regularly on my local Top 40 station in the 60′s. Yeah, for some reason WOLF always played his singles. Mind you only for a few weeks, just enough to chart in the 30′s then off (click on the WOLF survey above to enlarge and have a look). Maybe they did it for flavor or favor, the station did play a lot from London Records and their imprints. Lucky me.

Prayer meetin' / Willie Mitchell

Listen: Prayer Meetin’ / Willie Mitchell
Prayer Meetin' / Willie Mitchell

I took interest in the Hi Label as well, being part of London Records, one of my favorites. This led me to check out their other acts, thereby discovering Ann Pebbles, O. V. Wright, Otis Clay and Al Green, all of whom Willie Mitchell produced. His singles never ever disappoint. If you see them, buy them. And then buy a jukebox to put them in. Best money you’ll ever spend.

Willie Mitchell’s releases always had great titles, like ‘Prayer Meetin’ from ’68. This heavy Hammond Jimmy Smith written instrumental being his more typical vein, all bluesy with a bit of slither.

J. J. Cale

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Listen: Travelin’ Light / J. J. Cale
JJCaleTravelin.mp3

March ’77, Corinne and I made our first trip to England together for a fortnight of fun. We ended up staying at the then seedy Royal Scott Hotel, way before the area became chic. But seriously, it was heaven to us, a real taste of old London, now long gone.

Most importantly, the visit marked our first meeting with Howard. Who knew then that we’d become life long friends. HT showed us around for two weeks solid, and must’ve been glad to see the back of us.

This was a time almost like no other, with the energy of punk united against the stale old guard, and HT had every night sorted: The Damned, The Jam, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Ultravox, Eater, Johnny Moped, The Sex Pistols, The Heartbreakers, Sham 69, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Rockpile, The Downliners Sect, Generation X, The Clash, The Vibrators. Pretty sick, right?

We would start every morning in one of the many rickety cafes along Argyle Square or Crestfield Street, covering traditional English breakfast fry ups of eggs, chips and mushy peas with plenty of HP Sauce, gagging back several sugary teas, then scouring either the record shops or dumpy street markets, Corinne looking for deco jewelry and vintage clothes, me for used 45′s. By early evening, flying on Cadbury Flakes or Fry’s Chocolate Creams, we’d meet Howard, always in a swinging pub with a happening jukebox.

He introduced me to Andrew Lauder on one of those nights, and we all found quite a lot to talk about simply by scouring through the records in The Hope & Anchor’s jukebox. ‘Travelin’ Light’ was visually playing at the time, meaning the machine was a vintage model, one whereby you can watch the vinyl spinning round. Easily, it made for a lasting memory.

Released by Denny Cordell’s Shelter Records, quite possibly ‘Travelin’ Light’ was a single simply to allow the B side, ‘Cocaine’, availability to jukeboxes and club dj’s. For obvious reasons, that track doubled as bragging rights amongst us all, and along with Dillinger’s ‘Cokane In My Brain’, became our cheap theme.

Still it’s this A side, ‘Travelin’ Light’, that I can play endlessly and never tire of, all the while doubling as a journey back in time, to that jukebox and those incredible two weeks.

The Staple Singers

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

We The People / The Staple Singers

Listen: We The People / The Staple Singers
We

I constantly regret never seeing The Staple Singers when Pops was alive. I actually was obsessed with this single for the longest time, starting around me getting my first jukebox in ’87. It’s actually the B side to their ‘Oh La Di Da’ hit from ’73, peaking at #33 in Billboard’s Pop chart, primarily because of RnB airplay and sales, as I never once remember hearing that song on the radio back then.

I was pretty cautious to put only extra, well played records in the jukebox, as my original Rock-Ola would definitely do a number on them. These titles were no brainers in the good old garage sale days, when you’d pick this stuff up for 10¢ a piece, tops. Not having the strength to pass up even the most marginal single, I ended up with hundreds of doubles, that are still oozing out of my over stuffed garage. Forget about putting a car, bike or anything else in there. Last summer, I would just manage to squeeze a few more records in and rapidly have to slam the door. An episode of Horders looms. I have since organized it all a bit, but they are still stacked pretty much to the ceiling. It does make for a fun afternoon digging in. You forget all the titles you end up with, well I do at least. So there are always gems to put a smile on my face when rummaging through.

Well ‘We The People’ just sounded so hot on the jukebox that I became addicted. I particularly love the lyrics, perfect circa ’72 /’73 with the hot pants references etc. This never shows up on any of their compilations, but is on the album, BE ALTITUDE – RESPECT YOURSELF.

The Modern Jazz Quartet

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Listen: Summertime / The Modern Jazz Quartet MJQSummertime.mp3

The Modern Jazz Quartet’s run with Atlantic Records was a superior one, every new album as superb as the last. Their vibes/piano/bass/drums template perfectly proceeded to calm my nerves. When it comes to jazz, gentle and sparse wins over harsh and busy any day of the week.

In the early 90′s, many a company trip to Seattle became my norm. Corinne and I loved it there, and near moved into one of the endless 50′s ranch houses seemingly round every corner. The junking was superb and the vinyl shops were as close as you can come to dying and going to heaven in the US.

It’s where my fetish for jazz 7″s began. There was a chain of used vinyl only stores, all sectioned within by genre. Nobody seemed even slightly interested in the jazz singles. Albums yes, singles no. If virtually no competition wasn’t enough, the $1 price tag was the straw. Basically anything on Verve, Blue Note, Prestige and Atlantic were no brainers. In only a few visits, my jazz collection went from zilch to very complete. Plus they fed the jukebox perfectly.

‘Summertime’ looked radiant sitting there in The Modern Jazz Quartet’s bin. Shiny Atlantic label (on plastic as opposed to vinyl) + original stock sleeve + unplayed pressing + can’t-lose song delivered via their signature approach + $1 price tag = jackpot.

When I finally got home, ‘Summertime’ went directly onto the Seeburg. It still resides there today, having weathered, I would guess, hundreds of spins hence it’s lovingly played condition. Their version turned out to be better than I could ever have expected.

Them

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Richard Cory / Them

Listen: Richard Corey / Them
Richard

Wolf Chart 6-25-66

I religiously collected local radio station charts placed in all the record shops and record departments at the variety stores. Every town had them. They’re really fun to scour nowadays for the national non-hits as well as being a great snapshot of the music you could hear at that given moment. If you search ‘music survey’ at eBay, there are always a bunch listed for auction.

I recall WT Grants on Salina Street in Syracuse had a huge record department, and stocked everything you could want, especially as WOLF, one of the town’s two Top 40 stations was pretty adventurous, playing a lot of obscure English rock and US RnB. This was a God send for me from ’65 – ’67, until they buckled and went all Billboard on us. That said record department had a soda counter attached to it, up a few steps with typical glittery colored American Graffiti style booths looking down on the hustle/bustle of kids pawing through and buying records (today you see the same activity at an Apple store or Game Stop), and they had a great jukebox. It was jammed with all the latest up and comers. I remember investing a dime to hear ‘Bend It’, well not only hear it but watch the single spin round on the store’s lavender/purple Rock-ola, at the same time admiring a factory printed Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich jukebox tab to accompany it. I wonder where that tab ended up. Hate to think.

My only problem with WT Grants or Walt’s being there were so many choices, and not enough money to buy them all on my $1 a week allowance and some cash from mowing lawns. I still get cold sweats hearing a lawn mover. I would literally walk up and back neighbor’s yards behind their mowers deciding what record this torturous act would earn me and I distinctly remember suffering through several yards earning enough to buy The Cream FRESH CREAM. I went cheap, and sprung for the mono pressing as they were $1 less. Who knew then that monos would end up way more valuable than their stereo counterparts. Man, am I happy I bought them: The Pink Floyd PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN, The Jimi Hendrix Experience AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE and Big Brother & The Holding Company CHEAP THRILLS to mention a few that reaped incredible returns. Well if I ever decide to sell them that is. I soon figured out other ways to get all these records and more for free. That saga is covered in my Jack Dupree post for the more curious of you.

Meanwhile, the one record that got played by WOLF (and I bet only by WOLF in the whole of the US as I’ve never seen it on any other local chart, ever) but not stocked, was ‘Richard Corey’ by Them. It’s actually a Paul Simon cover and Van Morrison reportedly hated it.

If you couldn’t find something at Grant’s there was also Walt’s Records, just down a block and right next to a peanut shop, freshly roasting their wares.

Walt’s was a great shrine to obscure stuff, and very RnB heavy. The place smelled fantastic, a constant mixture of vinyl and those roasted nuts. Like Grant’s, I was told they “couldn’t get” this single by Them either. “Couldn’t get”, what the hell does that mean? Turns out the lyric “He went home last night and put a bullet through his head” was a big deal….I’m guessing neither outlet dared stock it just in case. Guns were not cool once. It’s a shame that’s changed. And it took me years to find this as I’m sure not many were pressed. How WOLF got away with playing ‘Richard Corey’ heavily for several weeks without a problem is surprising, but they did.

The Skatalites

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Listen: Guns Of Nararone / The Skatalites SkatalitesNavarone.mp3

Is it just me, or do many of the most revered early ska singles sound off centered? Maybe a result of specific tuning, or a lack thereof. I’m not complaining, it works, but definitely noticeable.

Talk about an intro, this captures it all. The drums on the edge of distortion and, go ahead, laugh – the immediate connection with James Bond’s DR. NO. In hindsight, that was my first exposure to ska. Soon after came Millie’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’ and The Angels’ ‘Jamaica Joe’, but I made no connection with those songs having a specific genre identity for decades. They were just great records to this youngster.

I’ve no idea how many times ‘Guns Of Navarone’ was re-released, and therefore, how many Island label designs it graced. Certainly, in ’77, when ska/reggae was the politically correct music for punks and punk bands to like, instead of their own, it had a nice blip. This sleeve (although obviously not the promo pressing above it) is from that era.

Listen: Marcus Garvey / The Skatalites SkatalitesGarvey.mp3

Yet another reissue hence later label design, still carrying the copy, or lack of (writer/publisher/producer) from it’s first time around. God knows why, but I didn’t flip this one over to find yet another favorite on the B side for the longest time. Though impossible to tire of either, I do find myself punching D7 on the jukebox in order to play ‘Marcus Garvey’ probably two to one against it’s A side.

One thing these two songs remind me of constantly is that 7″ from DR. NO that lurks somewhere in my 45 shelves – for the life of me I can’t remember which artist it’s credited to – hence my never ending search through the collection’s otherwise efficient alphabetical artist listing in search of said record.

The Modern Jazz Quartet

Friday, May 7th, 2010

ModernJazz, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Prestige

Listen: Django (Part 1) / The Modern Jazz Quartet MJQDjango.mp3

MJQDjango2, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Prestige

Listen: Django (Part 2) / The Modern Jazz Quartet MJODjano2.mp3

‘Dijango’ would make a nice segue from the previous post’s ‘Moments in Love’, I’m positive they would blend together flawlessly.

SEEBURG 222a_small.JPG, Seeburg 22, Seeburg, Jukebox

One of the many virtues of my Seeburg 222 is how calming yet live jazz singles sound when playing. Possibly it’s the old tube amps, or those cone speakers – whatever the case may be, this isn’t the first time I’ve pulled a copy out of the wall rack to share here on the site as a result of it coming up when I just push about thirty random selection numbers – then let the box play for an hour or so. I guess it was the 50′s version of a ‘shuffle’ feature.

I love The Modern Jazz Quartet. They are exactly they way I appreciate jazz lineups the most. I call it small combo. In their case drums, bass, guitar and piano/xylophone. An immaculate conception.

They have many fine singles, and albums as well. Good for anytime of the day or night, regardless of season.

Horst Jankowski

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

HorstWalkRed, Horst Jankowski, Mercury

Listen: A Walk In The Black Forest / Horst Jankowski HorstForest.mp3

A good dose of instrumental muzak never hurt anyone. Having been occasionally amazed in a supermarket or drug store by a version of some really un-obvious choice is the best part. I wish I could remember a few, but other than The Seeds ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’, I can not. Even hearing that took a good minute to identify, they can really trip you up.

Somehow, Horst Jankowski managed a US #12 Billboard single, and a UK #3 with ‘A Walk In The Black Forest’ in ’65. Great song title as well. The album from which it came reached #18 here in the States. His easy listening, and presumably inexpensive to make LP’s were released, minimum of three per year through 1970, with four in ’67 alone. It made for a nice break in a landscape of Motown and British Invasion pop radio I will admit. Today, it’s more than happening when it gets the unexpected spin my the jukebox.

HorstZabadak, Horst Jankowski, Mercury, Dave Dee Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich

Listen: Zabadak / Horst Jankowski HorstZabadak.mp3

I’ve not seen that many other singles by the fellow, given the number of albums issued, but they may have simply evaded me. One big surprise was stumbling on his extremely easy listening version of ‘Zabadak’. I knew of several others, easily a dozen from obscure places around Europe and Japan. The most famous being those by Boney M, Dana Valery and The Sorrows. The wildest one comes as part of the German Decca LP release by The Charing Cross Boys: DANCE TO THE SONGS OF DAVE DEE, DOZY, BEAKY, MICK & TICH, which by the way I’m jonsing for.

Found this one at a record fair – you guessed it, in a 10 for $1 box. That’s 10¢ each for those of you without a calculator or a knack for math.

Boogaloo Joe Jones

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Right On / Boogaloo Joe Jones

Listen: Right On / Boogaloo Joe Jones 01 Right On.mp3

It pays to hit church sales even when it’s raining. I learned my junking skills years ago, and have really calmed down the obsession in the last few. But I decided to hit a rummage this AM. It was gloomy when I woke up, just like in the fall when most of the good rummage/church/Jewish center sales are, so almost nostalgically, I got up and went. If I’d known last night what a nice pile of jazz 7″ers were awaiting me, I wouldn’t have slept at all. Etta Jones, Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery, Jimmy McGriff, Brother Jack McDuff….I know, it’s cruel to continue. And the sweet checkout lady, who remembered me dragging my daughter Lucy last year, asked about her, quite happy I was buying a cake from their bake sale to bring home – so she gave me the singles (about 20) and a citrus orange (with a 70′s ‘Love American Style’ flower pattern in lemon & butterscotch) crock pot for $2.00 total. I’m knee deep in them, all cleaned and bagged. I always loved this one. It might be a bit PC of me to choose, but it sounds so warm in mono on vinyl. I tried it in the jukebox – WOW! Scary. They were made for each other – I’d swear it was mastered through Seeburg speakers if I didn’t know better. Now I do have a few of BJJ’s albums, seems he only recorded for about 12 years (’66-’78) and word is he’s a preacher in Pennsylvania. He also is listed as Ivan ‘Boogaloo Joe’ Jones, depending on where you look. His BLACK WHIP album from 73 for Fantasy has some good things (‘Freak Off’ and ‘Black Whip’), but also some dodgy covers of McCartney’s ‘My Love’ and Elton’s ‘Daniel’. Ouch. I prefer the earlier 60′s stuff, like ‘Right On’ that feature his immaculate guitar style without the clutter of noisy brass jazz, which I loathe.