With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“You sigh, the song begins, you speak and I hear violins” November 21, 2017


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Today I heard of the death of American jazz, pop, gospel (and many other genres) singer  and actress Della Reese. She was 86 years old and I have been a fan for many years. The reason I became a Della Reese fan is down to my sadly departed father who as it turns out was born just three months after Della. Anyway during his years in the Royal Navy, a submariner no less, my Dad collected quite a few records mostly Elvis Presley, Brenda Lee and Della Reese. I no longer have any of the original vinyl that he had but in recent years I have managed to get hold of a few rather excellent Della Reese vinyl albums.

della-reese

At 13 she became a backing singer for legendary gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and her first tour was with Nat King Cole. She worked with many jazz legends including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington. She made a staggering 17 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, her first was in 1957. She had her own American TV show ‘Della’ which aired from 1969 to 1970. As an actress she starred in US TV series ‘Touched By An Angel’, she also made an appearance in the Eddie Murphy film ‘Harlem Nights’. In the 1980s she became an ordained minister. She will, I am sure be very sadly missed. My thoughts are with Della’s family, friends and fans. Della Reese RIP.

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“I’m just about at the end of my rope, but I can’t stop trying, I can’t give up hope” December 15, 2011


Smokey and the Miracles really tried their best to help out in the promotion of my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar

Have you been good? Will Santa bring you lots of goodies (I mean as in presents as opposed to Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie of course)? I hope you are getting excited anyway as we’re now on day 15 of my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar, yes folks it’s December 15th and it’s the letter O. the song is from one of my favourite Motown voices, Smokey Robinson. It comes from his days with the Miracles and it is “Ooo Baby Baby

The song was written by Smokey and Pete Moore of the Miracles. The strings were arranged by Pete Moore. As is usual with almost all Motown hits it was the supremely talented Funk Brothers who provided the backing. “Ooo Baby Baby” reached number 16 in the US chart in 1965. A cover version of the song by Linda Ronstadt hit number 7 in the US in 1979. sadly it never charted in the UK. It has been covered by many other artists in addition to Ronstadt; including Todd Rundgren, Ella Fitzgerald and Shalamar who covered it as part of their “Uptown Festival” hit from 1977. That recording was actually a medley of classic Motown hits.

Smokey’s real name is William Robinson Jnr. His Uncle Claude gave him the nickname ‘Smokey Joe’ when Smokey was a boy. Smokey initially thought of it as his cowboy name, but as he got older his Uncle explained that as young Master Robinson was quite light-skinned it was a name to remind him of his roots. He dropped the Joe part of the nickname when he was a teenager. A couple of Smokey’s children also have interesting names too. There is a son called Berry, named after Motown President Berry Gordy. Smokey was Vice President of the label from 1961 until 1988. He also has a daughter called Tamla named after a label from the Motown portfolio. Those Motown fans from the UK will be very familiar with the amalgamated name the label took in Europe where it was known as Tamla Motown.

He also gets a mention in a couple of hit songs too. Firstly there is the sublime “Genius Of Love” from Talking Heads offshoot the Tom Tom Club in 1981. Most notably though he was the main man in ABC’s 1987 hit “When Smokey Sings”

 

“But I believe in love and I know that you do too” October 8, 2011


Many of you know that Catwoman (a.k.a. Catherine Lee now Catherine Adamson) and I recently got married. As you might have guessed music did play quite a big part in the day, beyond just the choice of first dance. We chose a small but special group of songs for our guests to listen to while they were waiting for the beautiful bride to arrive and the ceremony to start. Those songs were;

“You Do Something To Me” – Paul Weller

“Loving You” – Johnny Nash

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – Aretha Franklin

“Kentish Town Waltz” – Imelda May

“Saving Grace” – Rumer

“You’re In My Heart” – Rod Stewart

The Man With The Child In His Eyes” – Kate Bush

It took us months to choose the song that Catherine would walk up the aisle to and we believe in the end it was the perfect choice. It
was Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”

Then we had four songs very carefully selected for the signing of the register. Those were;

“At Last” – Etta James

“Teach Me Tiger” – April Stevens

“Wild Is The Wind” – David Bowie

“Inside Out” – Imelda May

We even chose the song for us to exit the ceremony room. That simply had to be “This Will Be” from Natalie Cole. We even managed a half decent jig on the way out of the room to that one!

We also chose a selection of swing type songs as background to the serving of champagne and canapés or as I like to say; fizzies n fod! The background music for the wedding breakfast (incidentally why is it called a breakfast when it’s not usually in the morning?) was carefully selected classic soul and Motown love songs. These two sets are included as a list at the end of this post.

Then of course it was time for the first dance, the title of which was also immortalised on my cufflinks for the wedding day. It had to be
the really beautiful Nick Cave ballad, “Into My Arms” Probably the only song I know that includes the phrase ‘interventionist god’ in its lyrics.

We hired a swing band for the evening; the truly excellent and very talented Chris Hilton Little Big Band. They did two sets of around an
hour each combining swing classics and swing arrangements of many other hits too. Their version of “I Wanna Be Like You” from the Jungle Book was a real rocking party tune.

There was also a very special guest appearance after the bands first set. A long overdue set from the superstar DJs of the 70s ‘Bill
& Glen the Disco Men’ this was their first gig in more than 30 years. They had specially designed wigs and costumes. Well ok cheap T Shirts with their pictures on and tacky 70s wigs from the party shop. None the less the boys really rocked the joint with a storming set of pure 70s disco classics, many of which haven’t been aired in years. In case you were wondering, the Bill part of the team is me and the Glen part is my best buddy Glen Voisey. We went to Ryefield Primary School together in Hillingdon in the  late 60s. It was my selection that managed to actually clear the dance floor though; personally in my defence I just feel that there was no one with enough class and taste to really appreciate the finer points of Mr Dooley Silverspoon’s amazing “Bump Me Baby” The full Bill and Glen set was;

“Boogie Nights” – Heatwave

“Get Dancin'” – Disco Tex And The Sex-O-Lettes

“Ain’t Gonna Bump No More” – Joe Tex

“Bump Me Baby” – Dooley Silverspoon

“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” – Sylvester

“Get Down Tonight” – KC & The Sunshine Band

“Rock The Boat” – Hues Corporation

“September” – Earth, Wind & Fire

In addition to all of this there were also two other musical related items on the day; one was a reading of the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Wedding Song” lyrics from the Planet Waves album. This was read by our good friend and wife of my best man, Caron Godbold-Derbyshire. (The other two readings were not music related but were superb none the less, so thank you also to Rachel Vernelle and Ruth Smethurst). The second of these musical pieces was a part of my speech at the end of the wedding breakfast. I wanted to do
something along the lines of what Peter Sellers did in the 60s with George Martin, when he recorded a version of the Beatles “A Hard Days Night” in the style of Laurence Olivier.

It took me ages to come up with the right song. I considered Kylie’s “I Should Be So Lucky” and “Love Is All Around” from the Troggs or Wet Wet Wet. But then the weekend before the wedding I saw Madness at the Reading Festival and I knew what song I was going to try in a Olivier style; it simply had to be “It Must Be Love”, and it was! I introduced that part of the speech as something Shakespearian, using some props; a cape and a skull. I kicked off with “Alas poor Yorrick…….” And then went straight into “It Must Be Love” in my
best Olivier style. I felt it could have worked really well or could have bombed completely. I think it went quite well, but obviously I would appreciate any comments from those of you who were there!

I should also add that my excellent Best Man, Mr John Williams also managed to include a little section from David Bowie’s “Heroes” in his speech!

Thank you for reading this far into what has been a rather self-indulgent post, but I hoped that you have enjoyed the music too. I would
also be interested to hear any stories you have of music used at weddings; be they your own or those of friends and family.

Fizzies n Fod Background Music

“That’s Amore” – Dean Martin

“S Wonderful” – Ella Fitzgerald

Papa Loves Mambo” – Perry Como

“Volare (Nel Blu, Di Pinto Di Blu)” – Dean Martin

“Bewitched” – Doris Day With The Mellomen

“All Of Me” – Ella Fitzgerald

“Beyond The Sea” – Bobby Darin

“Cheek To Cheek” – Ella Fitzgerald

“Everybody Loves A Lover” – Doris Day With Frank DeVol & His Orchestra

“Everybody Loves Somebody” – Dean Martin

“A Fine Romance” – Ella Fitzgerald

“I’ll Never Stop Loving You” – Doris Day

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” – Frank Sinatra

“I Get A Kick Out Of You” – Frank Sinatra

“It Had To Be You” – Bobby Darin

“Just In Time” – Tony Bennett

“L-O-V-E” – Nat King Cole

“Let’s Fall in Love” – Vic Damone

“Looks, Looks, Looks” – Sparks

“(Love Is) The Tender Trap” – Sammy Davis, Jr

“Mambo Italiano” – Dean Martin

“Move Over Darling” – Doris Day

“My Kind Of Girl” – Matt Monro

“Pennies From Heaven” – Doris Day; With Frank De Vol & His Orchestra

“Secret Love” – Doris Day

“Sway” – Dean Martin

“That Funny Feeling” – Bobby Darin

“Unforgettable” – Nat King Cole

“A Very Precious Love” – Doris Day

“Who’s Your Little Who-Zis!” – Dean Martin

“You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You” – Dean Martin

“You Belong To Me” – Dean Martin

“Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” – Judy Garland

Wedding Breakfast Background Music

“Feel Like Makin’ Love” – Roberta Flack

“It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” – James Brown

“My Girl” – The Temptations

“Too Busy Thinking About My Baby” – Marvin Gaye

“Lovin’ You” – Minnie Riperton

“Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” – Gladys Knight & The Pips

“You Are My Starship” – Norman Connors

“Zoom” – Fat Larry’s Band

“(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” – Aretha Franklin

“I Say A Little Prayer” – Aretha Franklin

“Now That We Found Love” – The O’Jays

“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” – Stevie Wonder

“The Look of Love” – Gladys Knight & The Pips

“My Guy” – Mary Wells

“Doobedood Ndoobe Doobedood Ndoobe Doobedood Ndoo” – Diana Ross

“Heaven Must Have Sent You” – The Elgins

“I’ll Say Forever My Love” – Jimmy Ruffin

“Still Water (Love)” – The Four Tops

“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – Diana Ross

“It’s Wonderful (To Be Loved By You)” – Jimmy Ruffin

“For Once In My Life” – Stevie Wonder

“I’m In A Different World” – The Four Tops

“I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” – Diana Ross & The Supremes With The Temptations

“If I Were A Carpenter” – The Four Tops

“Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

“It Takes Two” – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

“You Can Do Magic” – Limmie & The Family Cookin’

“Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” – Detroit Spinners

“Gonna Make You An Offer …” – Jimmy Helms

“My Cherie Amour” – Stevie Wonder

“Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love Babe” – Barry White

“Help Me Make It Through The Night” – Gladys Knight & The Pips

“Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)” – The O’Jays

“You Make Me Feel Brand New”  The Stylistics

“I’ll Be There”  The Jackson 5

“Let’s Stay Together”  Al Green

“Close The Door” Teddy Pendergrass

 

 
RUSSIA PHOTOS

RUSSIA PHOTOS is a blog run by Alex Markovich. E-mail: MarkovichUniverse AT gmail DOT com

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