I've spent days and days and days making mid-century modern holiday decorations for the Sugar Town Sno-Ball. I'm covered in green glitter and glue!
Right about now I'm really looking for the MUSIC portion of this party. And I can't wait to hear what my special guest DJ Larsupreme has in store for us!
Since I'm up to my eyeballs in holiday glimmer and shimmer, this seems like a great opportunity to list my favorite holiday albums on vinyl:
1. Ella Wishes You a Swingin' Christmas
2. Huey Piano Smith - Twas the Night Before Christmas
3. Christmas with the Miracles 1963
4. Vince Guaraldi - A Charlie Brown Christmas
5. A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra
6. A Christmas Gift For You (featuring Darlene Love, The Crystals, Ronettes, etc)
7. Elvis' Christmas Album
8. Merry From Lena (Horne)
9. Lou Rawls - Merry Christmas Ho! Ho! Ho!
10. Ramsey Lewis Trio - More Sounds of Christmas
See you on Saturday at the Spare Room!
I have to admit, I came to appreciate Buck Owens through other artists' versions of his songs. Primarily Ray Charles, but there were many others. My selection of the day is one of Buck's finest as performed by Oklahoman country-pop singer Jody Miller (whose birthday is today). Like a lot of country of the 1960s, this record incorporates elements of pop and soul (check out that pumping dirty horn driving this song along). I tell ya, it doesn't get much better than this.
Many years ago my dear friend Erika introduced me to the greatest celebrity tie-in promotional LP of all time. In 1978 Sammy Davis Jr did some incredibly entertaining commercials for Alka Seltzer. They offered an incentive to their loyal customers- send in proof of purchases and receive this special album which included to long versions of Sammy's different Alka Seltzer songs. This is the magical "rock" version made especially for holiday relief. Will it calm your guts? Doubtful. It's a little tooo fast, fast, FAST for that.
On this day in 1939 Anna Mae Bullock was born in Nutbush, TN. She would become one of the mightiest voices of the 20th Century. There ain't another like her. There never could be. Tina Turner has become a (s)hero to women everywhere, and a voice that rips through the darkness. Like a chainsaw, it cuts through the BS to the heart of every matter.
We all know her story, many of us have lived aspects of it. She has become the physical representation of what we want to believe lives somewhere inside of every disadvantaged person: determination, perseverance, and the ability to triumph over a system that is stacked against us. Over the past 55 (!) years Tina has even helped to coax that out of us from time to time.
My selection of the day is a great example. This is from Ike & Tina Turner's LP "Come Together" which is a psychedelic soul masterpiece and easily in my top 10 favorite soul LPs of all time. This is their sequel to Curtis Mayfield's anthem of the Civil Rights Movement "Keep on Pushin," a song they had performed in their live act for years. Their rock-infused, fuzz-frenzied, soul freakout, turns up the urgency in the fight against the machine. It's a message just as relevant today as it was when it was first released 44 years ago, which perhaps makes it all the more compelling. To me it still sounds fresh, raw, and real.
REALNESS, that's what we're gonna need a whole lot more of it we're going to keep on pushing for a lasting change in America.
What can I say after a night like last night? Déjà vu? It's 1992 all over again and it seems so little has changed. But I know that's not entirely true. Though these egregious injustices remain, what is different (from 1992) is that in general, the young people of this nation have a much broader view of the human condition and seem to be invested in pushing for a real change for everyone. I have to believe that.
Though I come back to it again and again, this is the only song that felt appropriate today.
It's my favorite time of the year, MASHED POTATO SEASON! In honor of that most delicious of mushy starches, I thought I'd feature what is currently my favorite mashed potato dance record. This was gifted to me by my dear friend and sometimes DJ partner, Wild Man James. How could I not love a girl group named in honor of Carrie Grant?! There are a couple of on-line sources that say that it's Bill Haley & the Comets backing Carrie on this cut. Of course, you can't believe everything you read on the internet, but if it's true then this is by far the best Bill Haley and the Comets record ever. It's a high kilowatt workout, able to power any Cuisinart mashing your potatoes this holiday weekend.
So pour some gravy on it and get all kinds of sloppy with me!
This morning my girlfriend has laid down the law. She has pointed out that it is not good for me to be constantly working and has therefore ordered me to take myself on an adventure date. So, I will follow orders and not spend my entire day working on Sugar Town decorations. I will actually go out and see something.
In honor of that, the Record of the Day is "Get Away" by Brit R&B singer Georgie Fame.
Take me away Georgie!
45 years ago legendary eccentric producer Swamp Dogg brought Doris Curry into a Muscle Shoals studio to record her first album. It would prove to be perhaps the definitive deep soul LP. At least as far as Dave Godin, the man who coined the term, was concerned. In the UK Doris Duke (her stage name was taken from the heiress) is legendary. In the states she is certainly not celebrated enough.
My selection of the day is the second single from the above mentioned LP. The beautifully crafted, clever composition was written by Swamp Dogg and Gary "US" Bonds. The production perfectly captures the emotion of a woman who has just faced the shock of finding her lover in the arms of another. How would I feel in such a situation? I would want to high-tail it out of there as fast as my feet could carry me. The rhythm of the piano, which simultaneously portrays a racing heartbeat and a hurried footstep, makes me feel as if I'm running right along side Doris as she talks herself though a devastating realization. It's pure genius.
Today one of the my favorite lady pioneers of country music turns 81. Jean Shepard was one of the original female country singers who specialized in songs with a strong feminist message. Starting with 1954's "Two Whoops and a Holler" Ms. Shepard delivered record after empowering record about female independence and self-worth. She laid down the law in songs like "Sad Singin' And Slow Ridin'" and let the world know that she wasn't interested in being anybody's second fiddle.
She actually started her career in the male-dominated country music scene, as a bass player in an all-female country band. So it's no surprise that once she headed down the road as a singer, she would choose to deliver such a powerful feminist message.
My selection of the day however, is not one of her feminist songs, but rather an incredibly unique record from 1964. It's rare for me to say this, but I think this is my favorite country record right now. It's the story of a banjo-playing country girl falling in love with a bongo beatnik from "New York State" and the merging of their musical styles. It's the living end! Like, crazy man! Dig it
DJ Action Slacks
I'm excited to highlight some of my favorite records in a variety of genres (soul, R&B, classic country, rockabilly, oldies, garage rock, etc). These won't all necessarily be "dance" records per se. They will all be records that I believe deserve a special listen. I simply love good music, rare or not. Hopefully you will spend some time here and love music right along with me! Lets give this a shot!