Friday, February 26, 2010

Hand Jive (Live At The Firewood)- The Great Pretenders

Wayout "Willie & The Hand Jive" is over half a century old. The 1950's dance craze was created from sheer necessity. The limited floor space in London's cramped coffee shops and juke joints left all the rambunctious teenagers with only one available option, a space conserving "Hand Jive". 

Grease, which reintroduced the dance to popular culture back in 1978, has been carrying that Hand Jive torch far too long. The 21st century is way overdue for another hand jiving revival. Maybe Gap could air another khakis commercial, or perhaps Konami could create a Dance Dance Hand Jive Revolution?  Or, better yet, maybe neighborhoods could start Hand Jive flash mobs? Hey, it worked for Thriller!

Here's a 1970s lounge recording by The Great Pretenders. Its slowed down and funked up with some really cool breaks. Can you dig that jive? Yeah, I knew that you could.

The original Willie & The Hand Jive by Otis Rush

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Heart Is Closed For The Season- Bettye Swann

I've retired most sad songs from my personal record collection. Listening to anything too melancholy can develop into an addictively depressing habit (ask any Smiths fan). One of those few exceptions is Bettye Swann. This Shreveport native's brokenhearted confessions are just too damn irresistible to ignore!
Her 1968 single "My Heart Is Closed For The Season" provides a certain battle weary commiseration for the romantically downtrodden. I like its punchy drumming, and I like how the song sucks you into her whole love mess. She might play the unfortunate ex here, but I'm the one who keeps coming back for another listen. 


Monday, February 22, 2010

Ride The Iron Horse - Fred Lowery With Big Bo & The Arrows

Everyone has their own signature dance move. Maybe you specialize in Boogaloo, The Shing-A-Ling, The Broadway, The Break Back, The Watermelon,The Uptight, The Karate, The Crawl, The Gangster Butt Boogie, or The Funky Penguin. Maybe you're into Hip-Huggin', Twisting or Mashing The Potato late into the midnight hour. It's your thing and you can do whatever you wanna do. However, in this land overflowing with a thousand dances, the Iron Horse is the only one that's guaranteed to get this urban cowboy on the floor.

There are several Iron Horse themed songs but my absolute favorite is the 1969 Cotillion release by Fred Lowery featuring Big Bo and His Arrows. "Ride The Iron Horse" is one wildly funky 45, partner. Once Fred says "Boogity Boogity, Hi Ho Silver" you know the dance party has begun.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fat 'n Funky - Charles Crawford

Springtime is nearly here. Can you feel it? This "Fat 'N Funky" 45 is straight outta Shreveport Louisiana. No emo vampires here, just a sweet celebration of some big girl lovin'.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Did You Give The World Some Love Today Baby - Doris

On her 1970 LP "Did You Give The World Some Love Today Baby" Swedish bombshell Doris Svenska asks the most pertinent question of the day. The whole album swings, croons and kicks with an amazing amount of production slickness. In fact, Doris's title track is one of my least favorite songs on the record! The eleven other songs are all eclectic aces that, combined together, make for an extremely enjoyable listen. Very groovy and highly recommended, especially for Petula Clark enthusiasts.


Friday, February 12, 2010

(You) Got What I Need - Freddie Scott

There would be no Biz Markie without Freddie Scott. Any old school fans of "The Biz" should know where he drew his influence from. Can't say he drew any singing talent from that same source. What's that expression? One man's class is another man's trash class. Or something along those lines.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The House That Jack Built - Thelma Jones

 The original, and much more funkier song that Aretha Franklin eventually made famous. Can you guess which one I prefer?


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Whole Lotta Love - Collective Consciousness Society

Brilliant, jazzy-funk-rock interpretation of the great, but overplayed Led Zeppelin classic. You can't ever go wrong with funky flutes, fuzzy guitars and heavy drums. C.C.S. 1970's version even manages to make this rock standard swing without compromising on the overall attitude. Sheer brilliance!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Song To The Siren - Pat Boone

"Song To The Siren" blew me away, as much as folk song could, when I first heard This Mortal Coil's version on 4AD. Its such a beautiful song, no matter who's singing it. Even with Pat Boone's comically unnecessary pirate and seagulls introduction this particular cover still succeeds. Its from Boone's 1969 Departure LP and is considered somewhat of a collectors' find. Enjoy.


All versions aside there's still no substitution for Tim Buckley's original featured in the video below.
Song To The Siren

Luca | MySpace Video

Thursday, February 4, 2010

(Baby) Don't Leave Me - Lamont Dozier

Lamont Dozier of the former Motown powerhouse production team Holland-Dozier-Holland pleads with style in "(Baby) Don't Leave Me". The 45 was released back in 1972 on his own renegade Invictus label. This song has so much gut-wrenching sincerity, and some killer breaks too. Personally, I think it surpasses the Temptation's "Ain't Too Proud Too Beg". It also paints a rather vivid picture of a winter's breakup. Dig it.


 Here's the instrumental version. Still great, with or without Lamont's vocal.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Look At That Girl - Otis Redding

"Look At That Girl" was released posthumously as a single and as the final track off Redding's penultimate 1969 Love Man LP. Essentially, this song provides an inkling of the funky direction Otis was heading before his untimely death at the age of 26. I might be sentenced for soul heresy by suggesting this, but its my belief that the King of Soul's greatest recordings were the potential ones he could've created between 1967 and 1974,  had he somehow survived that tragic plane crash.