So if illegal free downloading is killing music, what is legal free downloading to it? Just ask UK Grime Star aka the Godfather of Grime aka Richard Cowie. Last Thursday he gave away 203 unreleased songs, it was such a big giveaway with such a big response that it caused a temporary meltdown on his web forum. But the fans seem to have loved it. Personally I think it’s a brilliant idea, although I suspect that his record company and management might not be so pleased. read the Wiley story in the Guardian by clicking here. This of course is in the same week that Prince gave away his new album for free with UK tabloid the Daily Mirror. Before you ask yes I did lower my standards and buy the tabloid simply to get a hold of the purple one’s new album, 20Ten. It’s actually rather good, especially as it just cost me the price of a tabloid and of course the shame of buying said tabloid. As for giving the album away free I’m sure Prince was paid a more than princely sum by the Mirror. Incidentally the Daily Mirror gave the album a five-star rating, hmmmmmmm I wonder why that was?
This year also sees the 5oth birthday of the Etch-A-Sketch. So why is that in a music blog I hear you ask? Well simply because a number of artists have created some excellent art on them including some music related works including Elvis and the Beatles which you can see below. Click here to read the Guardian story on this topic. The most well-known of these artists are Americans George Vlosich and Geoff Gagliardi. It’s quite amazing that this toy is that old and has hardly changed at all in that time.
Finally for today’s post I have to wish a very happy birthday to one of my favourite female singers of all time, the supremely talented Millie Jackson, she is 66 today. The first song of hers I ever owned was “My Man A Sweet Man” which I brought on 7 inch vinyl when I was about 12 years old. The song was quite a hit on the Northern Soul circuit in the UK. Later I really got into her albums, especially ‘Caught Up’ and ‘Still Caught Up’ If these had been recorded by a rock act they would have been even more highly acclaimed concept albums. The stories revolve around affairs and break-ups. I have seen her live just once, back in 1978 at the Victoria Apollo in London with my good mate Glen Voisey. If you’re reading this do you remember that show?
Millie is short for Mildred and I definitely prefer Millie, obviously no disrespect for any Mildreds reading this of course. Her first really big hit in the US was “Hurts So Good” in 1973 and was featured in the blaxploitation movie ‘Cleopatra Jones’. There was also a great reggae cover of the song from Susan Cadogan in 1975. The ‘Caught Up’ album came out in 1974 and featured Millie’s superb cover of Luther Ingram’s “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Wanna Be Right” which became a million selling single and earned a grammy nomination too. In 1979 she recorded an album of duets with Isaac Hayes, ‘Royal Rappins’ which for me was ok but a long way from classic. She also recorded a hit duet with Elton John in 1985, the song was “Act Of War“. She has covered songs by artists as diverse as Merle Haggard (“If You’re Not Back In Love By Monday“), Boney M (“Never Change Lovers In The Middle Of The Night“) and Exile (“Kiss You All Over“). Unsurprisingly this is the first and possibly last mention of Boney M in this blog.
Millie was also a forerunner in the early days of rap, which was nothing like todays rap, but more like talking in the rhythm of the song and was normally a featured part of an album or song. One of the classic Millie raps was “Logs And Thangs“. She now has her own record label, Weird Wreckuds and was a radio presenter for many years in Atlanta. Some her album covers often appear in the worst ever covers lists, notably ‘Back To The Shit”. But forget the album covers, for me Millie always will be one of the greatest soul voices the world has ever seen. I hope you had a great birthday Millie!