Archive for the ‘WEA’ Category

Johnny Adams

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Listen: Salt Of The Earth / Johnny Adams

Save your money for a rainy day, an old wive’s tale. It was one of my parent’s commandments. I learned well and let it spill over to records too. In the busy peak years of focusing on work and career, I’d just blag or buy tons of singles, on road trips around the US and UK, as well, out of other people’s collections. By the eighties, even pre-CD, most industry folks were dumping their 45′s, an apparently embarrassing possession. Never understood that one, but certainly was happy with the trend.

Likewise with label sales and promotion reps. They couldn’t unload 7′s from their trunks fast enough. Well I advocated a no single left behind policy, and hoarded every last one, tucking them away in parents attics, in-laws cellars and various garages for years. Finally consolidated them into a couple of locations with all intentions to organize the lot. That was twenty years ago.

So on the occasional Saturday, like yesterday, I undo the locks, and dig deep, going back in time, opening boxes whose contents are complete surprises. One such surprise: ‘Salt Of The Earth’ by Johnny Adams on Atlantic.

Don’t even ask me how this single, or for that matter, Johnny Adams slipped past me all these years. I have no answer. It was amongst a box of untouched, unplayed WEA promos from ’72. I know exactly where they came from too. The local sales guy, Jack Riehle. The heavens above walked me into his life, and I think I became his human recycling bin. Jack would dump trunk loads on 7′s my way regularly. The senses would throttle into overload each time. I’d pull out the obvious ones then box up the rest, for a rainy day.

Mother Earth / Willie Nelson & Tracy Nelson

Friday, July 17th, 2009

motherearthmeusa, mother earth, tracy nelson, mercury

Listen: Mother Earth (Single Edit) / Mother Earth MotherEarthEdit.mp3

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Listen: Down So Low / Mother Earth MotherEarthDown.mp3

motherearthdidmypartuka, mother earth. mercury, wille nelson, tacey nelson

Listen: I Did My Part / Mother Earth MotherEarthIDidMyPart.mp3

A best friend in high school, Mark, literally fell in love with Tracy Nelson. This wasn’t just fandom. He wrote her letters, and when Mother Earth finally came to the Northeast playing Syracuse with Three Dog Night. For some unexplainable reason, the mere idea of being in a room with her, despite the other nine thousand strong concert goers, gave him the shakes. To be young and in love with your idol is a great combination.

Mother Earth’s debut album, LIVING WITH THE ANIMALS spawned the perfect 7′s: the band’s namesake signature ‘Mother Earth’ and one of the greatest white gospel/blues songs ever ‘Down So Low’. The chances of them being hits were slim, but to focus your trusty overnight stoner underground radio DJ on just the right LP tracks to spin, they did the trick. Hearing both ‘Down So Low’ and ‘Mother Earth’ from the transistor stuffed in my pillow gave them a far away exotic attraction, coming off even more stripped down than early Big Brother & The Holding Company. Tracy Nelson and Janis Joplin captured and held down the white blues fort. Plain and simple: none of the other female voices in the US underground movement could touch them.

Tracy Nelson was beautiful and her country blues voice was not to be messed with. All of her recordings with Prestige, Mercury, both as a member of Mother Earth and solo, as well as Reprise are permanent fixtures in my library.

motherearthrevolution, mother earth, tracy nelson, united artists, revolution soundtrack

Listen: Revolution / Mother Earth MotherEartRevolution.mp3

Likewise Mother Earth’s theme song to the REVOLUTION film on United Artists. UA seemed to be home of the soundtrack albums (Goldfinger, Dr. No, Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush), which they always released singles from. ‘Revolution’ was perfect political slant for the band, given their kind of dark blues image.

tracynelsonwhiskey, mother earth, mercury, wille nelson, tracy nelson

Listen: Whiskey River / Willie Nelson & Tracy Nelson WillieTracy.mp3

In ’74, I suddenly found myself holding a 45 by her and Willie Nelson. Many times a year Jack Riehle, the WEA salesman for upstate NY, unloaded his boxes of unwanted 7′s my way. Those were much anticipated bi-annual moments as I do recall. With no warning, here was a fantastic two sider, and my first thought was they must be related, Not true. It’s B side, ‘Whiskey River’ became our favorite. Corinne and I named our first cat Whiskey, and I’d play it over and over for him, ears always perking on Willie’s first deep ‘Whiskey’ intro. We still smile about that.

The Screaming Blue Messiahs

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Bikini Red / The Screaming Blue Messiahs

Listen: Bikini Red / The Screaming Blue Messiahs ScreamingBlueBikiniRed.mp3

Bikini Red / The Screaming Blue Messiahs

Brilliant single. Please listen all the way through. Try to find one for your collection as well. Howard and I picked up their option from WEA UK, allowing us to release their records via Elektra. Not only were the albums great, so too were the guys. Bill Carter is one of the most talented fellows ever. They needed a tour to support the first US release in ’87. I had an idea. Ask Lux and Ivy if The Cramps would be interested in the band supporting their summer US dates. The answer: Yes! Bang, we killed two birds with one stone. The Messiahs had a hot tour, and Howard and/or I could use Elektra’s money to ‘cover’ as many dates as possible on behalf of the label. We ended up seeing the package many, many times. Well done.