With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“My lonely days are over and life is like a song” January 20, 2012


I have some sad news to pass on, which by now you may already know; Etta James, soul singer extraordinaire has passed away after a long battle with leukaemia and dementia. The former Jamesetta Hawkins died just days before her 74th birthday. Unfortunately she was never as successful as some of her contemporaries such as Diana Ross. Personally I feel that Etta’s voice was streets ahead of Ms. Ross.

Etta seemed to be able to turn her voice to many different styles; soul, blues, rock and even some bawdy numbers. My lovely wife Catherine aka Catwoman wanted a special mention in this post as Etta’s “At Last” was the first song played after we signed the register at our wedding last September. That is one of many songs played that day that still mean a lot to us both.

Etta had a hard life being mostly abandoned to a number of carers by her 14-year-old mother after her birth in 1938. She also struggled against a serious drug addiction for many years. She has been the recipient of six Grammys including two for her earlier songs; the previously mentioned “At Last” and “The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry)”. Both were Grammy Hall Of Fame Awards in 1999 and 2008 respectively for  qualitative or historical significance. “The Wallflower” was her only US R & B number one back in 1955 when she was still a teenager.

My thoughts go out to her family, friends and fans. RIP Etta James.

 

“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

 

“See that girl she does something to my chemistry” July 12, 2010


These two music deaths almost passed me by, they certainly didn’t seem to get much in the way of column inches in the UK press. But on July 6th Harvey Fuqua died of a heart attack aged 80 and on July 10th Sugar Minott died aged just 54, the cause of his death has not yet been announced but he was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2009. So I won’t let their passing go unmarked in my blog!

Harvey Fuqua in the Moonglows along with a very young Marvin Gaye

Harvey Fuqua first came to prominence in a group called the Moonglows along with a certain Mr Marvin Gaye. He had quite a musical pedigree. His Uncle, Charlie Fuqua was a member of the Ink Spots and he was also married to Berry Gordy’s sister Gwen. he was responsible for bringing the Spinners (aka the Detroit Spinners and the Motown Spinners in the UK) and Johnny Bristol to Motown. He went on to produce quite a few hits with Bristol. He worked closely with Marvin Gaye and it was Fuqua’s idea that Marvin record a series of duets with Tammi Terrell. He was the producer on Gaye’s first post Motown album ‘Midnight Love’ which featured the classic “Sexual Healing” In the late 70s Harvey discovered the late, great Disco artist Sylvester and produced two of his biggest hits; “Dance (Disco Heat)” and “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” My favourite Slyvester cut though is “Was It Something That I Said?” Mr Fuqua had such a rich musical history and career he will be sadly missed. Click on the song title to hear a great duet he did with the wonderful Etta James, called “If I Can’t Have You” (which incidentally is not the same as the Yvonne Elliman song of the same name from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

Harvey Fuqua with Stella Ragland and Smokey Robinson

Lincoln Barrington Minott began his career as a member of the African Brothers in 1969. Here they are with “Hold Tight” from 1970. He went on to record with top Jamaican producers; Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd and Rupie Edwards. He relocated to the UK from Jamaica in 1980 and had his biggest UK chart success with  a cover of an old Michael Jackson song “Good Thing Going” which reached number 4 in 1981. He recorded hundreds of tracks during his career. In 2006 he appeared on the Easy Stars album of Radiohead covers, titled ‘Radiodread’. He provided guest vocals on the track “Exit Music (For A Film)” Click on the song title for one of my favourite Minott songs, “Lovers Rock“. So like Mr Fuqua the music industry has lost another very talented man.

The late, great Sugar Minott

 

 
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