Tuesday, December 6, 2016


I'll readily admit I haven't listened to a song by the band Wax (the late Andrew Gold and Graham Gouldman) since the late-'80s (has anyone ?).  I didn't even realize they'd released a fourth studio album - 1989's "A Hundred Thousand in Fresh Notes".   Part of my ignorance can be blamed on the fact the collection didn't see a US release.

My recollections of Wax were of two talented pop craftsmen how knew their way around a catchy melody and who knew how to blend their voices into a highly commercial package.  At the same time, their sound was way '80s and hasn't aged particularly well.

Against that backdrop the song 'Maybe' recently caught me ear.  While the song has that '80s production feel, Gold's voice was instantly recognizable; wrapped around a melody that grabbed you by the throat and simply wouldn't let go.  Their harmonies were too-die-for and the Bacharach-and-David styled horn flourishes were simply icing on the cake.   This was the kind of tune 10cc always dreamed about writing.

Here's a YouTube link to let you judge for yourself:

Sunday, November 27, 2016


You're Getting a Little Too Smart   (Abrim Tilmon) - 3:39

You just knew that opening drum solo was going to get sampled to death and it has - 2Pac ('Only Fear of Death');  Common ('I Want You'); L.L. Cool J ('Back Seat of My Jeep'), Limp Bizkit ('The Nookei'), etc., etc. ,   ...  Same with the hypnotizing bass line.  Imagine what a mash-up of a Detroit soul group and Sly and the Family Stone would sound like and you'll be in the aural ballpark for this one.  Simply killer tune that you won't be able to it still through.  The song was tapped as a single:

- 1973's 'You're Getting a Little Too Smart' b/w 'Heaven Couldn't Be Like That' (Westbound catalog number W 213) # 101 pop; # 28 R&B

And here's a YouTube link so you can check it out yourself:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=556zH4MuPL8

Friday, November 25, 2016


The glorious, slinky, and insidiously catchy, 'So In Love' was one of those rare songs that was worth the cost of the parent album by itself.   Vocally and on guitar, Mayfield at his best - it's the perfect first dance tune for a wedding.  And the horn arrangement, which has always reminded me of something off of a reggae tune), was too-die-for great.   Easy to see why it was a single and returned Mayfield to the charts.

- 1975's 'So In Love' b/w 'Hard Times' (Curtom catalog number CHS 0105)

Here's a link to a YouTube clip of the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bll10yozxRI

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Seriously, I can hear the sarcasm already ...  The Hudson Brothers.  What a dork.

The funny thing about this is I was 16-17 when The Hudson Brothers had their brush with stardom.  At that age I was already too old to have captured Hudson fever.  As a result, I knew relatively little about the group.

Hollywood Situation   (Bill Hudson - Mark Hudson - Brett Hudson) - 2:49   rating: **** stars

'Hollywood Situation' was the tune that captured Casablanca Records' attention and was originally planned as their lead off single.  Label President Neal Bogart liked the song so much he agreed to finance an album - 1974's "Hollywood Siutation".  For anyone who thought these guys were nothing more than a television joke, the title track will come as a major shock.  Power pop ?  Commercial rock ?  Who cares about the musical label ?  Opening up with one of the catchiest guitar riffs I've heard in a long time and the nifty refrain,the tune melded a first-rate rock melody with a set of funny lyrics that took dead aim at their reputations. The song was just that friggin' good !!!  

Judge for yourself.  Here's the link to a YouTube clip:  

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Eric Mercury was a largely unknown Canadian singer/songwriter who found himself recording with the Stax affiliated Enterprise label.  His label debut was an enjoyable set of soul tunes, that occasionally came a bit too close to Richie Havens territory.   While there were quite a few good songs, the standout was:

 It's Time for Me To Love You   (Steve Cropper - Eric Mercury - William Smith) -  9:23  

Seriously, this may be one of the funkiest jams to ever come out of Stax.   The song retained a distinctive Stax flavor, but the combination of The Memphis Horns, William "Smitty" Smith's Hammond B-3 fills (and you thought only Booker T. Jones could pull off that sound), Richie Simpson's machine gun drums, the Latin percussion touches, and the song's extended arrangement made it quite unlike your normal Stax release.  Try sitting still through this one.  Clocking in at over nine minutes, it was simply too short.  A rarity for me in that this tune deserves five stars.


Monday, November 7, 2016


At work I mentioned to a friend I'd seen Peter Gabriel and Sting this past summer.  He asked if they'd played "Sky Blue'.  The answer was no, but having heard the studio version I can remember being less than overwhelmed, so it wasn't a great disappointment for me.  Yeah, I remember the song had a typically stark and stunning Gabriel melody, but so does most everything in his catalog.   And them I stumbled across a 2003 live performance of the song.  Taken from Gabriel's "Growing Up Live" concert DVD, the live performance wasn't all that different from the studio version, with the exception of what the The Blind Boys of Alabama brought to the song ...  simply stunning.  Around the six minute mark the Blind Boys cut loose and it's ... well spine tingling.


And if you find "Sky Blue" stunning, then check out "Cloudless".  Basically the same song without Gabriel's voice, but with the addition of a distinctive African flavor.


Saturday, October 29, 2016


Bury the Remains   (Peter Vandertogt) - 3:11   rating: **** stars

Recorded by the Canadian band Noah and the leadoff track from their self-titled 1970 LP, to my ears 'Bury the Remains' was a near perfect garage rock-pop tune.  Offering a  wonderful mixture of jittery guitars, stabbing organ, and syrupy sweet vocals, imagine CSN&Y had they shared a garage rock background ...   And was that an anti-drug lyric I detected ?  If so, that was the case, talk about being quite daring for the time.  Wish there were a YouTube clip for this one, but there doesn't seem to be.uite darine time.


I hear a lot of music in my life and most of it gets filed away under the category of quickly forgotten.  But ...  every now and then there's a tune that manages to work it's way through all the clutter and make it's way into the frontal lobe.   So, here I'll gather up some of those tunes.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)   (Johnny Bristol - Harvey Fuqua - Vernon Bullock) - 2:59   


Bless their souls, but The Heats of Stone had the misfortune of being an exceptionally talented group signed to a label that was packed with equally talented outfit.  Add to that, they wrote much of their own material and weren't your typical roll-over-and-do-what-management-asks.  That probably spelled the end of their working relationship with Motown.

Their lone album for Motown's V.I.P. label is great.  You can see my comments at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/HEARTSofSTONE.htm

As good as their lone album for Motown's V.I.P. subsidiary was, this tune was one of the highlights.  Yeah, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Johnny Bristol, and even Kenny G. may have had the bigger hits with their versions of this song, but to my ears Hearts of Stone recorded the definitive version.  Beach music at its best - one of those things I have never been able to shake out of my head.  They just sound like they're having so much fun on this one and their harmonies never sounded better.

You can check the tune out on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=go9LsmOLFY4    can


Sunday, February 7, 2016


What a Good Man He Is   (William Robinson - A. Cleveland) - 2:59

This tune was one of the highlight on Terrell's uneven 1968 "Irresistible" album.  In fact, it gets my vote for the album's standout track,  It was simply irresistible (ha).  As if Terrell didn't have enough appeal, on this one she brought all of her sassy edge to the fore.  Makes you wonder if she was thinking about then-boyfriend David Ruffin ...  Motown apparently intended to release it as a single, but for some reason elected not to - perhaps it was just too sexy for the marketplace ?  Shame they didn't since it was a simply killer performance.   Always loved the organ on this one.

And for anyone who hasn't heard thus song, here's a link to a YouTube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h630sn66iQ8