Archive for the ‘Taj Mahal’ Category

The Crystals

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Listen: Little Boy / The Crystals CrystalsLittleBoy.mp3

How is it possible that ‘Little Boy’ was not a hit. It will always be one of the unexplained wonders of the world. No surprise Phil Spector flipped his lid. This (#92), ‘River Deep – Mountain High’ (#88), The Ramones ‘Baby I Love You (never charted at all). How appalling. What an embarrassment.

I do recall hearing the record a lot in my hometown though. All the Phillies singles seemed to get played upstate. And when ‘Little Boy’ was current, I neglected to get me a copy. It wasn’t until summer ’73 when I finally bought one for 35p at Graham Stapleton’s stall outside Cheapo Cheapo Records on Rupert Street in London’s Soho. What a bargain. As always, the label copy name checks included Larry Levine and Jack Nitzsche.

Fast forward to the late 80′s. I’m working at Island, A&Ring Marianne Faithfull. The company was searching for something a bit more current on the upcoming album. She’d done STRANGE WEATHER prior, and it’s old Europe Prague winebar angle was getting tired. I’d suggested New Order produce. Chris wasn’t feeling that. It was apparently too young a look. Somewhere in the mix, Jack Nitzsche became the possible candidate, so off to LA went Marianne to try writing with him, see if some result could develop.

He had just produced the soundtrack to THE HOT SPOT, a truly terrific album with John Lee Hooker, Miles Davis and Taj Mahal. There was even a single released, and that’s posted elsewhere on this blog.

Jack actually called me one day with an update, basically saying nothing much was getting done. Not the best news, but getting a call from Jack Nitzsche with any news at all was huge in my book.

No sooner did he ring than Marianne was on the phone.

“I need to get out of here. All he wants to do is fuck me”

“So do it”


She was back in NY days later. So much for that collaboration.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by LaLa Brooks

John Lee Hooker / Miles Davis / Taj Mahal

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Bank Robbery / John Lee Hooker / Miles Davis /Taj Mahal

Listen: Bank Robbery / John Lee Hooker, Miles Davis & Taj Mahal HotSpot.mp3

This couldn’t have a more politically correct cast of characters. In addition to the players, there’s Jack Nitzsche and Dennis Hopper. One could confuse this as a tasty, well hip selection to post. But let me tell you, not only is this a great single regardless who’s on it – it’s amazing that it’s a single at all. Not many labels in the 90′s would’ve pressed this onto a 7″. I cherish my copy, and with a picture sleeve to boot.

From the soundtrack to THE HOT SPOT, Chris Blackwell picked it up for release when the cult film was doing the Sundance circuit. I remember him asking me if I thought he’d overpaid for it. Not one person in the office could stop listening to it for weeks. Overpaid? No way.