With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé” – Advent day 9 December 9, 2013

3d-9-number-like-christmas-toy-7227322It’s day 9 of the With Just A Hint Of Mayhem Christmas Advent calendar which means it is now December 9th. We haven’t put our decorations up yet and probably won’t put them up until much nearer the big day. Have you put your baubles on your tree yet?

johnsfaceFollowing on from yesterdays post which referenced the anniversary of John Lennon’s murder with a Beatles song today I offer you a song from Lennon’s solo career. In keeping with the numbers theme of this years advent posts it has a number in the title; can you guess which song it is? Well I’ll put you out of your misery, it’s “#9 Dream”. Taken from Lennon’s 1974 album ‘Walls And Bridges’ it only made number 23 in the UK chart but was a top ten hit in the USA. In fact it reached a rather appropriate number 9. May Pang who was Lennon’s partner for much of his ‘lost weekend’ recorded the backing vocals for the song. She has also said that the vocal refrain ‘Ah! böwakawa poussé, poussé’ in the lyrics came to John in a dream. In fact the whole song was an interpretation of that dream. It is one of my favourite Lennon songs and has been covered by REM, Andrea Corr and A-Ha.

220px-1969-tempts-cloud9The second song in todays line-up comes from the Temptations. It is their 1968 single “Cloud Nine”. It was the first release to feature Dennis Edwards in place of David Ruffin. The song was written by multi-talented producer Norman Whitfield and former Motown artist Barrett Strong. It stemmed from Whitfield being exposed to a new style of music via Sly and the Family Stone‘s hit “Dance To The Music”. At first he was reluctant to move too far from the hit making formula employed up to now. It was Temptation Otis Williams that convinced him to do it. I for one am glad that he did because it led to some amazing psychedelic funk workouts right into the 70s.


“In old Temptations’ rain, I’m duckin’” December 11, 2011

Hasn’t time flown? We’re already at 11th December and we’ve arrived at the letter K in my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar for 2011. We need to truck on for just a little while before Christmas so to help with that journey how about the marvellous “Keep On Truckin’” from the magnificent Mr Eddie Kendricks. The song was an US number one and a UK number 18 in 1973.

Eddie spent a several years with the Temptations and finally left in part because he was allegedly unhappy with the late 60s psychedelic direction the group was taking. The last Temptations hit single that he appeared on was the sublime “Just My Imagination”. It is also alleged that another 1971 hit for the Temptations “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)” was directed at Kendricks and another former Temptation; David Ruffin.

“Keep On Truckin'” was written by Leonard Caston, Jr, Anita Poree and Frank Wilson. (You may recall that Frank was featured in this Advent Calendar on December 4th. Had he lived he would have been 72 in six days. But sadly he succumbed to lung cancer aged just 52 in 1992.


“As you board the train, you feel the pain That starts as you depart, yeah” December 6, 2011

Can you believe that it’s now less than 20 days until the big bearded weirdy in red arrives? Yes it’s December 6th and time to rip off todays flimsy cardboard flap on my Advent Calendar which regular readers know has an ABC of Motown theme in 2011. Today is celebrating the letter F in the Motown lexicon and it’s a Jimmy Ruffin classic “Farewell Is A Lonely Sound” which reached the UK top 10 in 1970. Like many of his contemporaries he is the son of a minister. He is also the older brother of the sadly departed David Ruffin, formerly a member of the classic Temptations line-up. Neither of them are related to reggae singer Bruce Ruffin. This was a popular misconception in the 1970s; well certainly to me and my teenage friends!

Jimmy and David began their careers by singing gospel songs in church. Jimmy had a stint in the US Army and when he returned home in 1964 he was asked to audition for a place in the Temptations. Which he may well have got had his brother not auditioned as well. David sadly died aged just 50 in 1991 after an alleged accidental cocaine overdose.

Jimmy is now 72 and his 10-year-old granddaughter may well be on the verge of a successful career as a singer too. Aiyana-Lee Anderson recorded a song “As One” earlier this year to raise money for victims of the Japanese earthquake. Aiyana-Lee has been given the chance to record an album in LA as a result of the on-line success of “As One”. She lives with her moth in North London (Kingsbury) and attends the Sylvia Young Theatre School.


“They say give yourself a chance,son, don’t let life pass you by” December 3, 2011

Are you ready for the third instalment of the ABC of Motown advent calendar? I hope so, because todays song is from the incredibly talented vocal group, the Temptations. The song is “Cloud Nine” a US no 6 hit for the band in 1968. It reached number 15 in the UK. It was included on their 1969 album of the same name. The song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. Once again it was the Funk Brothers that were the band on the session.

It is a great showcase for the whole group trading vocals. In a sense you could argue that there isn’t really a lead vocalist on this song. It was also the first Temptations single featuring Dennis Edwards who had replaced David Ruffin. It has been suggested that the song is drug related and Berry Gordy is alleged to have had this view. The lyric about ‘riding high on cloud nine’ might suggest to some that he is right.


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