Posts Tagged ‘Melissa Etheridge’

Wally Badarou

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Listen: Theme From Countryman / Wally Badarou

This single sits front of the 7″ soundtrack section in a wall shelf that I pass everyday of my life, when I’m in town that is. Suddenly it occurred to me, I had no idea what it sounded like. Well that’s all changed. If ‘Theme From Countryman’ had lyrics, I could sing you every last one at this point, that’s how many times it’s been on repeat. One of many lessons learned: never dump a record, you just can not predict know when it may become a cornerstone in your collection.

As an unofficial member of Level 42, Wally Badarou held little interest to me, and his endless studio involvements somehow the same. Boy, was I stupid.

Firstly, his accomplishments are an eye opener: a member of The Compass Point All Stars with Sly & Robbie, Barry Reynolds, Mikey Chung and Sticky Thompson, the in-house recording team of Compass Point Studios responsible for a long series of albums by Grace Jones, Joe Cocker, Black Uhuru, Gwen Guthrie, Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs, Robert Palmer, Marianne Faithfull, Herbie Hancock, M, Talking Heads, Melissa Etheridge, Manu Dibango and Miriam Makeba. Yeah, gasp.

Secondly, a gifted composer of incidental film music, possibly even harder to do well than calculating a Top 40 hit.

The single lead me to pull out the full length COUNTRYMAN double album soundtrack, thereby discovering, upon a typical credit scour, that Kwaku Baah played a big part in the musician lineup. Currently obsessed with his annoyingly under appreciated and extremely scarce TRANCE album from ’77, credited to Kwaku Baah & Ganoua, I rabidly advise finding a copy. And while you’re at it, both the COUNTRYMAN soundtrack and it’s accompanying 7″.


Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Listen: Groovemaster / Arrow

The Island offices on 4th Street, right above Tower Records, were a real hubbub of activity back in the late 80′s and early 90′s. Seems a day wouldn’t go by when at least someone from the roster would stop by. Julian Cope, Phranc, Toots Hibbert, Bootsy Collins, Melissa Etheridge, Etta James, Third World, Rakim, Marianne Faithfull, Anthrax. Seriously, there was never a dull moment.

Arrow lived locally, and seemed genuinely thrilled to have a group of friends at the company, all of whom attended his many in Central Park or SOB’s shows. He was forever a happy jolt to any workday.

Seeing him live was a quick trip to carnival, there was no way you could have a bad time. For an hour or so, everyone danced and laughed and got rid of all their troubles. Sounds all very patronizing I’ll agree, but it really did happen that way.

Despite some of the sonic trappings of his Mango releases, like those electronic drums for instance, overall I have the fondest memories of ‘Groovemaster’ and those days when it was a current single. Not being one for Latin music, like truly not at all, ‘Grooovemaster’ just slides by unscathed. Hey, after all, it was World Music. Most importantly, it’s only possible to remember the good times associated with all things Arrow.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Arrow

Melissa Etheridge

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Listen: Breathe / Melissa Etheridge MelissaBreathe.mp3

There was a moment around the release of her second album, BRAVE & CRAZY, when Melissa Etheridge hit her stride. Sure, that first album opened a big door yet looking back now, I think it was a bit stiff and uncomfortable. This second release however, was a natural. Seemed she loosened her image simultaneously, losing the initial housewife look, as one journalist coined it, for a jeans/t-shirt and gel-free hair. Live shows from the period were about the best thing you could hope to see. If you went to any, you know the deal. Twenty or so years later – still strong.

In no way to dwarf her greatness, it must be said, having one of the best and unsung managers in the business behind the curtain made for an even stronger result. Bill Leopold, not once did he take his eye off the ball. Like Melissa, Bill never forgot anyone along the way who helped, big or small.

‘Breathe’ from ’04, was another in a long line of great singles, and first from an outside writer. The album, LUCKY, was full of good stuff, and ranks up there with BRAVE & CRAZY. Problem with her singles, as with so many others like her, they’re all becoming harder and harder to find on 7″, making that moment of acquisition even more appreciated.

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.