Posts Tagged ‘Keith Richards’

Ian & The Zodiacs

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Listen: So Much In Love With You / Ian & The Zodiacs

Usually not one for the Liverpool sound, even I found the occasional exception. Top of the list would indeed be The Cryin’ Shames, and included somewhere, Ian & The Zodiacs. Yes, despite their twee delivery, I suppose it’s the nostalgia in me that finds this soft spot toward them. Plus I liked their name, and was always a big fan of their label group, Philips/Mercury/Fontana/Smash.

I recall seeing their album in a local shop, it may have even been my introduction to the band. Back in 1965, to be afforded an album, with only a single or two to spark it’s sale, especially when they were stiffs, was rare. But it gave us all a chance to see a color photo of them, itself a treat.

As was the case with Ian & The Zodiacs, their label Philips jumped on the US youth market’s insatiable taste for anything British Invasion related. Hence it seems the whole marketing plan for this band was to simply announce themselves as such, right there on the front cover of their debut, and as it turned out only, album:

“We’re new. We’re from England. We have a new sound”.

The last bit wasn’t really true at all, this debut single being a Mick Jagger / Keith Richards cover, made somewhat famous as the only UK chart hit by The Mighty Avengers, who like The Rolling Stones were also managed by Andrew Loog Oldham.

Also covered by The Herd, ‘So Much In Love’ or ‘So Much In Love With You’, as it’s titled here, possibly to avoid crediting the correct songwriters (Mick and Keith – see label above), is a rather perfect British Invasion, not my term btw, song. At least that’s my opinion.

And so, on July 31, 1965, ‘So Much In Love With You’ sat at #131 on BILLBOARD’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart, whatever on earth that meant. Airplay in some small town? A few boxes sold by mistake when the warehouse were meant to ship a much bigger current hit? A nice dinner for the chart compiler at BILLBOARD’s main office? I do recall when working at Elektra during a weekly Wednesday marketing meeting, our company trade publications rep mentioning ‘begging for bullets during her BILLBOARD lunch’. Hmm.

Regardless, hopefully Ian & The Zodiacs basked in their seven days of US fame during that fateful hot July week, as they were never to chart again.

Ray Charles & His Orchestra

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Listen: Worried Life Blues / Ray Charles & His Orchestra

Big Maceo and Tampa Red are credited with ‘Worried Life Blues’, sometimes known and recorded as ‘Someday Baby Blues’. Combined, the song(s) clock in as one of the most recorded blues tracks ever, with Bob Dylan, The Blues Magoos, Eric Clapton, The Animals, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Junior Parker, Keith Richards and B.B. King amongst the most familiar.

Ray Charles first cut ‘Someday Baby”, a very faithful version of ‘Worried Life Blues’ except for the title, on his THE GENIUS SINGS THE BLUES album. Later, this re-recorded and re-titled version made it’s way to a 7″ B side in the UK.

To some, ‘Worried Life Blues’ probably sounds like any old formula blues song 101. Despite his fetish for fur coats and loads of 70′s schlock covers, Ray Charles had the voice to always rise above the clutter, turning what might have been a throwaway single into a record I ended up playing a lot, and still do.

Eric B. & Rakim

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Move the Crowd / Eric B. & Rakim

Move the Crowd / Eric B. & Rakim

Listen: Move The Crowd / Eric B. & Rakim 05 Move The Crowd.mp3

There’s just something about a hip hop track when it’s on 7″ vinyl. Luckily, the 45 configuration was still pretty prevalent during the 80′s but far from the format of choice for the genre. Therefore, very few were manufactured, and even fewer sold. Now, not unlike Jazz singles, they’re fairly collectable and are almost like novelty items. I, for one, stock piled them all: Sugarhill, Def Jam, Wild Pitch, Rock-A-Fella, Tommy Boy etc. So yeah, really appreciative to have the Eric B. & Rakim stuff on 7′s.

In the day, these guys were usually hanging around the Island offices on 4th & Broadway, when the company was located above Tower Records. It was a pretty fun location. All the latest releases one floor down, and Keith Richards living in a duplex at the top – a constant hub-bub of activity. Island seemed to be a place the artists liked to visit, and milling about, sometimes all day. It was not uncommon to have say, Melissa Etheridge and Etta James talking in the hallway, or like one memorable afternoon on my office couch, Chris Blackwell with Phranc, Marianne Faithfull and Julian Cope.

Eric B. and definitely Rakim were often playing records in Kathy Jacobson’s office. Rakim in particular was a mensch, polite, humble and really smart.

I have played ‘Move The Crowd’ hundreds and hundreds of times. It sounds great in the car, on the headphones, definitely on the jukebox, seriously everywhere.