With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Tryin’ to live without your love is one long sleepless night” May 13, 2015


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A few months back I finally succumbed to the seductive ways of Spotify and I signed up for the premium service. Oh boy I wished that I had done it sooner. The amount of new albums that I have listened to lately is phenomenal. My current faves are ‘The Day Is My Enemy’ and ‘The Magic Whip’ by the Prodigy and Blur respectively. I have also rediscovered some classic old albums especially in the reggae genre; Culture, Peter Tosh and Third World to name a few.

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On top of all this there are countless playlists and it is these that I use for my workouts in the gym. Yes I have been a regular gym goer since January this year. Let me tell you I wasn’t just gifted with such a buff body, I have to work at it! Anyway the reason for this post other than to give Spotify yet more free publicity is to mention a song that popped up on one of those playlists in the gym last night. It was a kind of greatest hits of the 70s playlist and the song has always been one of my favourites.

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Hearing it once again made me think that perhaps it is one of the finest most timeless pop songs ever. I am talking about the Jackson 5‘s magnificent “I Want You Back”. Put aside any prejudices about what Michael became, before he became the weird, cartoon-like plastic surgeon’s Mr Potato Head he was a supremely talented young boy. His pre-adolescent vocals on this song are electrifying. On top of that you get the full might of the marvellous Funk Brothers who were the Motown house band. James Jamerson‘s bass line is sublime in my opinion. Berry Gordy Jr certainly rated it as he had a share in writing it. I would love to hear your opinion on the song and any other suggestions for the finest and most timeless pop songs.

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“For my wrongs I’ve no excuses, I couldn’t blame you if you refused me” December 20, 2011


Please allow me to paraphrase from an Elton John song for just a moment; ‘ho ho ho grab a beer, the bearded weirdy’s nearly here’. Yes folks in just a few days Old Saint Nick will be giving your chimney a good clean with his beard. Don’t worry if you don’t have a chimney, in that case he’ll just break into your house. Of course he is the only person who illegally enters your property and leaves stuff rather than taking anything, well not counting the odd tipple or mince-pie of course. Anyway it’s now December 20th and therefore day 20 of my ABC of Motown Advent calendar. Which brings us to the letter T. For me this was an easy choice. It’s “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” from the stellar band that was Junior Walker and the All Stars.

Surprisingly for me Junior Walker wasn’t his real name. When he was born in June 1931 in Blytheville, Arkansas he was called Autry DeWalt Mixon, Jr. He played in a number of bands from the age of 14 including the Jumping Jacks and the Rhythm Rockers before settling on the All Stars. The band was spotted by Johnny Bristol who was friendly with Harvey Fuqua who had is own Harvey label. Fuqua signed the band in 1961 but they didn’t have much success until the Harvey label was bought by Berry Gordy to become part of his Motown empire.

Their first Motown hit was the timeless classic “Shotgun” which was written by Junior Walker and produced by Berry Gordy himself. It also featured Funk Brother James Jamerson on bass. That song reached number 4 in the US Billboard chart and was an US R & B number one in 1965. They had plenty more hits but the only one that equalled “Shotgun” in the charts was “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” in 1969, that song also hit number 13 in the UK. Sadly Junior died from cancer aged just 64 back in 1995.

“Take Me Girl I’m Ready” was originally an US hit in 1971 reaching number 50 in the Billboard chart. It was written by Pamela Sawyer, Gloria Jones and Johnny Bristol. Bristol produced the song which was arranged by Dave Van DePitte. It was a record I could never get hold of in my early teenage years, but then it was finally reissued in the UK in 1977. Obviously I bought it as soon as it came out. I no longer have the vinyl copy but I have it on CD and MP3.

I have blogged about this song before with regards to its appearance on a pub jukebox. Myself and a bunch of friends used to be regulars at the Windmill pub in Ruislip Manor back in 1977/ 78 and “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” was selection number 77A on the pub jukebox. Usually it was myself or my good friend Glen Voisey who were first at the jukebox and without looking we would always select 77A. However on one occasion I approached the jukebox as usual and fed my coins into it and then hit the buttons for 77A. I then started looking for what other tracks I would choose. After a few seconds of that scratchy stylus hitting plastic sound a familiar refrain started. However it wasn’t Junior Walker, much to my dismay and embarrassment it was “Save All Your Kisses For Me” by Brotherhood Of Man. My friends just started laughing and muttered about disowning me, but I was able to prove that I had indeed chosen 77A. The landlord stepped in to support me when he said that all the records on the jukebox had been replaced and the old tenant of 77A no longer lived on the machine. It was a devastatingly disappointing moment for me, but as they say, ‘what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger’!

So without further ado please enjoy the former occupant of 77A on the Windmill pub jukebox in the late 70s; “Take Me Girl I’m Ready” from Junior Walker and the All Stars. This one goes out to Glen Voisey, Keith Plant, Chris Skinner, Neil Payne, Phil Isaacs and Jonesy (aka Bryan Jones)!

RIP the Windmill Pub in Ruislip Manor. It was built in the 1930s and closed down in 2006. Like many of my old haunts it has been knocked down or put to use other than as a pub.

 

“And I’m breaking out, I’m breaking out, last chance to lose control” October 31, 2011


Musicradar.com readers have voted Muse’s “Hysteria” as the greatest bass line of all time. The full list including song, band/ artist and bass player is;

01. “Hysteria” – Muse (Chris Wolstenholme)
02. “YYZ” – Rush (Geddy Lee)
03. “Another One Bites The Dust” – Queen (John Deacon)
04. “Under Pressure” – Queen & David Bowie (John Deacon)
05. “Money” – Pink Floyd (Roger Waters)
06. “Orion” – Metallica (Cliff Burton)
07. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson (Louis Johnson)
08. “Roundabout” – Yes (Chris Squire)
09. “My Generation” – The Who (John Entwistle)
10. “Schism” – Tool (Justin Chancellor)
11. “Give It Away” – Red Hot Chili Peppers (Flea)
12. “The Lemon Song” – Led Zeppelin (John Paul Jones)
13. “Taxman” – The Beatles (Paul McCartney)
14. “Good Times” – Chic (Bernard Edwards)
15. “The Chicken” – Jaco Pastorius
16. “Walk On The Wild Side” – Lou Reed (Herbie Flowers)
17. What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye (James Jamerson)
18. “Stand By Me” – Ben E King (Wendell Marshall)
19. “The Guns Of Brixton” – The Clash (Paul Simonon)
20. “Sweet Emotion” – Aerosmith (Tom Hamilton)
21. “Super Freak” – Rick James (Oscar Alston)
22. “Pusherman” – Curtis Mayfield (Joseph “Lucky” Scott)
23. “These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” – Nancy Sinatra (Carol Kaye/Chuck Berghofer)
24. “In The Midnight Hour” – Wilson Pickett (Donald “Duck” Dunn)
25. “Make It Funky” – James Brown (Fred Thomas)

Click here to check it out on the musicradar site. I was really pleased to see that my three favourite bass players are in there; James Jamerson, Donald “Duck” Dunn and Bernard Edwards. Who is your favourite bass player and what songs do you think are missing from this list? While you’re thinking about it enjoy the top 5 below;

 

 
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