With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“You keep playing where you shouldn’t be playing” August 7, 2017


Carol-Kaye-opener

Who is the bass session player that has played on more sessions than any other bass player? Well according to the Berklee College of Music in Boston it is Carol Kaye who has played on more than 10,000 sessions over four decades.

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She contributed to the Beach Boys classic album ‘Pet Sounds’, songs by Simon & Garfunkel, the Monkees, Ray Charles, Love, Glen Campbell, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, Ike & Tina Turner, Nancy Sinatra and Johnny Mathis to name but a few. She also played on many Phil Spector productions as well as a number of film soundtracks from the likes of Quincy Jones and Lalo Schifrin. In addition to bass guitar she also plays guitar and banjo. The now 82 year old Carol Kaye is without doubt one hell of a talented lady. Now enjoy just a small selection of the hits that she played on.

 

“You ask how much I need you, must I explain?” – Advent day 12 December 12, 2013


5978003639_50e93ae9fbI’m getting just a little bit more excited now it is the 12th of December after all. In keeping with this years With Just A Hint Of Mayhem advent posts I have two diametrically opposed songs for you today. But obviously two that have the number twelve in their titles.

250px-Johnny_NashFirst up is the timeless song “Twelfth Of Never” which was initially recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1957. He apparently didn’t like the song and it was demoted to the B Side of “Chances Are”. The song has been recorded by many, many artists since then. The Mathis version made it to number 9 in the US charts and Donny Osmond took it to number one in the UK and number 8 in the USA in 1973. The list of cover versions is almost endless and includes; Nina Simone, Barry Gibb, Cliff Richard, Tammy Wynette, Chi-Lites, Glen Campbell, Cher, Dolly Parton, Roger Whittaker, Barry Manilow, Andy Williams, Olivia Newton John, Hank Marvin and Jeff Buckley. Jeff’s version can be found on the Legacy edition of ‘Live At The Sin E’ and remains very faithful to the Nina Simone version of the song. The regular readers among you will know that I am a big fan of Texan crooner Johnny Nash. In fact I would go as far as saying that his singing voice is my favourite voice ever. Anyway I haven’t posted about Mr Nash for quite a while so I thought I would use his version of the “Twelfth Of Never” taken from his 1968 album ‘Soul Folk’.

strokesThe second song today flows from the Julian Casablancas post from yesterday. It is “12:51” by the band that Julian is a big part of; the Strokes. The song was written by Mr Casablancas and was the first single released from the bands second album ‘Room On Fire’ in 2003. The song made it to number 7 in the UK and reached the top 40 in Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden. The songs original title was “Supernova”. The video for the song was directed by Roman Ford Coppola, the son of Francis Ford Coppola and the cousin of Nicolas Cage. It has a theme that is very reminiscent of the ‘Tron’ the 1982 movie. When the band played a number of Japanese dates to support the release of the ‘Room On Fire’ album in 2003 they included a cover of the Frank Sinatra classic written by Paul Anka “My Way”, only they sang it with Japanese lyrics!

 

“Fleet Street looked everywhere and the Police did too” a.k.a 10 Lords a leaping December 22, 2012


10_lords_leaping

As if I wasn’t struggling for space already my true love has now given me 10 lords a leaping. It was bad enough trying to keep the 9 ladies dancing still while I put them in storage yesterday, but these 10 Lords are even more feisty. Anyway you have probably worked out that it is now day 10 in my 12 days of Christmas series of posts; hence the 10 Lords a leaping. Unlike some of the earlier bird related gifts the Lords are not yet an endangered species, but given the movement for House Of Lords reform I’d like to think that they will be endangered in the future!

George-Harrison

I have selected two Lord related songs for you today. Starting with the first ever solo number one by a member of the Beatles. It’s none other than the Quiet One, George Harrison with “My Sweet Lord” which made it to the top of the charts in 1971 in the UK, US, Canada, Austria, Switzerland and Norway to name but a few. It returned to the number one spot in the UK in 2002 following the George’s death two months earlier. The song comes from what in my opinion is one of the best albums released in the 70s, ‘All Things Must Pass’. Too much has been written about the ridiculous plagiarism that was brought against Harrison over his songs apparent similarity to the Chiffons “He’s So Fine” so I’ll say no more on that.

georgeharrison__span

But what I find interesting is the stories and rumours about who may have played on the recording of the song. some of those stories include; Ringo Starr on tambourine, John Lennon on rhythm guitar, all four members of Badfinger taking part along with Gary Wright and some rhythm guitar parts overdubbed by Peter Frampton later. Harrison originally worked up the song with Billy Preston as part of a wish to write a gospel song. At one stage Harrison allegedly wanted to give the song to the famous gospel group the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

BEATLES FIRST US VISIT 1964

The song has been covered in the studio or in live performance by quite a diverse group of artists including; Richie Havens, Andy Williams, John Holt, Edwin Starr, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Julio Iglesias, Boy George, Osibisa, Nina Hagen and Jose Feliciano. There was also a somewhat cheeky “My Sweet Lord” cover released in 1975 by the Chiffons. Perhaps George should have sued them for that!

black_box_recorder_1271353026_crop_550x540

The second song choice today is “Lord Lucan Is Missing” from one of my favourite acts of the 90s/ 00s, Black Box Recorder. The band never really set the charts alight, but they have always been a great live attraction, Sadly I have so far never seen them live. The studio nucleus of the band is Sarah Nixey, Luke Haines formerly of the Auteurs and John Moores once a member of the Jesus and Mary Chain. The song featured on the bands first album, ‘England Made Me’ from 1998. That album also contained a couple of great cover versions too; “Up Town Top Ranking” (Althea and Donna) and “Seasons In The Sun” (Terry Jacks).

black_box_recorder_2_1_

Since his disappearance in 1974 Lord Lucan has allegedly been sighted in every corner of the globe, none of these have so far proved to be real but included; France, Goa, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia and Colombia. Lord Lucan, or to give him his full name and title, Richard John Bingham, 7th Earl of Lucan, would have just turned 78 if he is still alive. Personally I think he is probably long dead. What do you think?

Blimey Freddie Mercury looks a bit grumpy doesn't he?

Blimey Freddie Mercury looks a bit grumpy doesn’t he?

images (1)

 

“Pretty lights on the tree I’m watching them shine” December 25, 2010


As a special Billy Christmas bonus for those of you who have stuck with me through each and every one of the 25 posts on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar. Here are the 21 UK Christmas number ones that did not get seen or heard on any of the original posts. Enjoy them as you digest your turkey and enjoy a nice glass of wine 🙂

And finally at the end of the post I couldn’t resist adding another bonus, the final song is my favourite Christmas song ever, it’s Darlene Love with “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

1953       Frankie Laine     “Answer Me

1954       Winifred Atwell  “Let’s Have Another Party

1956       Johnnie Ray        “Just Walkin’ in the Rain

1959       Emile Ford & The Checkmates    “What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?

1969       Rolf Harris           “Two Little Boys

1976       Johnny MathisWhen A Child Is Born (Soleado)

1977       Wings    “Mull of Kintyre

1980       St Winifred’s School ChoirThere’s No-one Quite Like Grandma

1982       Renée and Renato          “Save Your Love

1985       Shakin’ Stevens                “Merry Christmas Everyone

1992       Whitney HoustonI Will Always Love You

1993       Mr BlobbyMr Blobby

1994       East 17 “Stay Another Day

1995       Michael JacksonEarth Song

1997       Spice Girls           “Too Much

2000       Bob The Builder                “Can We Fix It?

2001       Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman              “Somethin’ Stupid

2005       Shayne Ward     “That’s My Goal

2006       Leona Lewis       “A Moment Like This

2007       Leon Jackson     “When You Believe

2008       Alexandra Burke              “Hallelujah

 

“I like to see you, but then again, that doesn’t mean you mean that much to me” June 30, 2009


Hello again good people of the Blogosphere, how are you all on this sweaty and hot day (well it is in the UK at the moment) Well ok technically it’s hot and I’m sweaty.

Today’s post may be somewhat random in terms of content but you know what? That’s how I like it!

Some of you may know that I travel down south every Monday morning from York on the 6 a.m. train to London. This means that I get up at 5 a.m. Whay am I telling you this in a music blog? Well last Sunday night I went to bed around 11pm and some inconsiderate muppet (apologies to Mr Henson) at the end of the street decided to play what seemed like his entire collection of Shirley Bassey songs at high volume until almost 2 am. In between songs he could be heard discussing, again at great volume, the death of Michael Jackson. Things like “He’s all over the bloody papers and TV, I mean what’s that all about, he’s just a fookin’ pervy freak” Well Mr Noisemaker that may well have been true, but it’s clear that you are a completely inconsiderate bastard. I was going to come and knock on your door that night, but I doubt that you would have heard me. So I opted for a cunning plan. It was me who banged on your door Monday morning at 5.20 am while I was waiting for my taxi. I was disappointed that you didn’t answer, but oh how pleased I was when I looked back as the cab turned the corner to see you stepping out of your door with a very tired and puzzled expression. What would I have given for your door to slam shut behind you at that point. If there is any chance that you read this post, just be aware that I will do the same thing again if you persist in disturbing the neighbourhood in the same way again. You are obviously a Shirley bassey fan, so here is a few snippets of trivia about dame Shirley. Did you know that she is the only person to record more than one James Bond theme? Well it’s true and she actually recorded three; “Goldfinger” from 1963, “Diamonds Are Forever” from 1973 and “Moonraker” from 1979. Incidentally “Moonraker” was written for Johnny Mathis, well it’s your loss Johnny! She became a Dame Of The British Empire (DBE) in 1999. When Dame Shirley appeared at Glastonbury in 2005 the Arctic Monkeys played a cover of “Diamonds Are Forever” in her honour. Her vocals were also sampled by Kanye West on his hit “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” I bet you can’t guess which of her songs he sampled? 😉 She will be 72 in December which makes her old enough to be my Mum. My very own mother was 73 in February this year and in my opinion a certainty to reach triple figures

🙂

Dame Shirley enters the mud wrestling ring at Glastonbury in 2005

Dame Shirley enters the mud wrestling ring at Glastonbury in 2005

Many of you are aware that my son Luke is in a truly brilliant band called Steal The Smile and if you’re not then you clearly haven’t been reading my posts regularly enough. Anyway Steal The Smile have a new single out tomorrow 1st July. So get yourself over to their MySpace page and buy it and tell them I sent you! It’s called “Rome Was Built To Burn” and they are doing some gigs to promote it, including one at the FaceBar in Reading this Thursday (2nd July). So get yourself down there, you won’t be disappointed! Click here to visit their MySpace page

Gig poster for the mighty Steal The Smiles single launch party at the FaceBar in Reading Thursday July 2nd 2009. Be there or be Rhomboid

Gig poster for the mighty Steal The Smiles single launch party at the FaceBar in Reading Thursday July 2nd 2009. Be there or be Rhomboid

And finally, let’s get back to the kind of stuff that I published when I first kicked off this here blog back in February. On this day in  1975, 10CC were at No.1 on the UK singles chart with ‘I’m Not In Love’. The instrumental break featured the repeated spoken phrase: ‘Be quiet, big boys don’t cry…’, which resonated with a sixteen year old me and was spoken by Kathy Warren, the receptionist at Strawberry Studios, Stockport, Cheshire where the band recorded the track. Apparently Jonathan King ‘discoverd’ Ten cc and came up with their name, allegedly the average male’s ejaculate adds up to 9cc……… well you can guess the rest. Jonathan also claims to have discovered Genesis and now he is in jail for kiddie fiddling which he denies, so what are we to believe? well good people I’ll leave that up to you!

kevin Godley was somewhat miffed that the other band members hadn't told him about the shave your beard off for charity gig they had recently played

kevin Godley was somewhat miffed that the other band members hadn't told him about the shave your beard off for charity gig they had recently played

 

“and the more I find out the less I know” May 4, 2009


This is the first in a not particularly regular series of posts covering some of my most favourite and in some cases poorly recognised artists. First up it’s Mr Johnny Nash. Johnny, despite his greatest success coming with reggae was actually born in Houston Texas on August 19th 1940. Like many of his contemporaries he sang in the choir at his local Baptist Church in his childhood and youth. He became a regular on a local television show called ‘Matinee’ in 1953 where he mainly performed covers of current hits. In another potential big break he entered a talent contest in the early 50’s where he eventually lost out to none other than the mighty Joe Tex. In 1956 he began a seven-year run of appearances on Arthur Godfrey’s radio and tv shows. Godfrey claimed to have ‘discovered’ Nash. Perhaps in the same way that Diana Ross ‘discovered’ the Jackson 5, she didn’t and it was in fact Gladys Knight. Johnny’s recording career began in the fifties when he signed a deal with ABC-Paramount and released his debut single “A Teenager Sings The Blues” Indeed he even had some US hits. Notably a cover of the Doris Day song “A Very Special Love” in late 1958 and also “The Teen Commandments” The latter was actually a collaboration with Paul Anka and George Hamilton IV. ABC had tried to market Johnny as another Johnny Mathis which led to him becoming disillusioned and did nothing to enhance his fledgling career. In my opinion this suggests that even in the 50’s the record labels would still opt for the easy route. ABC had a handsome black crooner on their books so they thought the easiest step would be to market him just like another handsome black crooner; Johnny Mathis. I feel that both had very distinct voices and should have been developed and promoted as individuals.

An Early Shot Of Johnny Nash

An Early Shot Of Johnny Nash

This disillusionment with the record industry saw Nash take his first steps in what could have been a very successful parallel career as an actor with a starring role in the film “Take A Giant Step”. It turned out to be his only starring role. He played a black teenager raised in white neighbourhood who struggles to fit in. Johnny won a Silver Sail award from the Locarno International Film Festival for his performance. The film’s Executive Producer was Burt Lancaster. It was filmed in 1958. As far as I am aware there has never been a DVD release. In 1960 he appeared in the movie ‘Key Witness’ alongside the supremely talented Dennis Hopper which received some good reviews and a degree of critical acclaim in Europe. After this he made a return to the recording studio where he recorded a string of middle-of-the-road tunes. None of these singles (which included releases on the Warner Brothers, Groove and Argo labels amongst others) were able to even dent the charts so once again his singing career began to tail off. Eventually he recorded the R & B song “Let’s Move And Groove Together” in 1965. This reached the dizzy heights of the US R & B top 5. But perhaps much more significantly for Nash the record became a massive hit in Jamaica. He embarked on a promotional tour of Jamaica in 1967. In a follow up trip he recorded the single “Hold Me Tight” which was based around a very strong reggae groove. This recording was made at Byron Lee’s (off of Byron Lee and the Dragonaires) Federal Studios. The single was released on the JAD label, which Nash had set up with producer Arthur Jenkins and businessman Danny Simms. The label’s name was made up of the first letter of the owner’s first names. The song reached the top 5 in both the US and the UK. He also reached the top 40 again with a reggae cover of the late great Sam Cooke’s “Cupid” which has more recently been covered by the talented Miss Amy Winehouse. In the same period he also had a hit with a cover of the Bill Johnson song “You Got Soul” Sadly JAD folded in the early 70’s. Click here to listen to Johnny’s “(I’m So) Glad You’re My Baby” from 1967 and a cover of “Ole Man River” which I had never heard until I started researching this post, just click the title for that one 🙂

The cover of Johnny Nash's "Hold Me Tight" album

The cover of Johnny Nash's "Hold Me Tight" album

After “Cupid” went higher in the UK chart (no. 6) than it did in the US (no. 39) Nash decided to move to the UK in 1971. That year he became the first artist to have a major hit with a Bob Marley composition, the classic “Stir It Up” This was the first Johnny Nash single I ever bought and it also made me search for more of Bob Marley’s music too. Nash had met the Wailers while visiting Jamaica in the late 60’s. Nash was impressed enough to sign Bob, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh to an exclusive deal with JAD records. He also produced a number of songs for the band. By the time he released “Stir It Up” Nash was signed to CBS/ Epic Records. The follow up was the classic “I Can See Clearly Now” which was a top ten hit in the UK and went to the top of the charts in the US where it stayed for four weeks. Click here to see Johnny performing the song on Bert Sugarman’s Midnight Special TV Show in 1973. Many people have covered the song. Notably Jimmy Cliff for the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ and perhaps rather strangely, given that he was blind, Ray Charles. Following his success with a reggae influenced sound Johnny moved to Jamaica in 1972 where I believe he still owns a recording studio. The Wailers had backed Johnny on some of the recordings he made in 1971/72 and John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick who also played with Free was a contributor to the ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ album. One of Bundrick’s songs and indeed one of my favourites from that album was “The Fish And The Alley Of Destruction” This has strangely been left off the extremely hard to find CD reissue of the album. Click here to listen to Johnny perform the excellent “Cream Puff”

The cover of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" album

The cover of Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now" album

After this success in the early 70’s Nash had yet another chart hiatus despite releasing what I believe to be his best album “My Merry Go Round” in 1973. This has now been reissued on CD, you really should make every effort to buy it! He was back in the charts in July 1975 where he reached number one in the UK with the song “Tears On My Pillow” Contrary to some sources on the internet this was not a cover of the Little Anthony And The Imperials song of the same name nor is it the same song that Kylie Minogue released a few years back. The song was originally called “I Can’t Take It” and was written by Ernie Smith a Jamaican singer/songwriter

The cover of my favourite Johnny Nash album "My Merry Go Round"

The cover of my favourite Johnny Nash album "My Merry Go Round"

The cover of Johnny Nash's "Tears On My Pillow" album

The cover of Johnny Nash's "Tears On My Pillow" album

Johnny had a few more chart hits in the 70’s, notably with another Sam Cooke cover “(What A) Wonderful World” he was known to be recording with engineer Andy Bradley at Sugarhill Studios in Houston in 2006, although this might have been remastering old material rather than recording anything new. He seems to have retired now although I would love to hear from someone who can tell me that isn’t the case. In the meantime I think it’s a travesty that his back catalogue has largely been ignored for CD reissue. “My Merry Go Round” and “Tears On My Pillow” were both reissued in 2007 and apart from a number of compilations that’s about it. Surely it’s about time all of the Nash albums were reissued on CD I for one would buy them all! Those reissues should also include an album he recorded with Kim Weston in the late 60s and also the score he recorded for a Swedish movie in 1971. Who knows if it hadn’t have been for Johnny maybe Bob Marley and indeed reggae wouldn’t have proved so successful and durable as it did. I’m not religious in any way but if I did believe in angels I reckon they would sing with a voice like the wonderfully talented Johnny Nash!

Johnny Nash with Andy Bradley at the Sugarhill Studios in Houston, Texas in April 2006

Johnny Nash with Andy Bradley at the Sugarhill Studios in Houston, Texas in April 2006

I would like to finish this post with my favourite Johnny Nash single “There Are More Questions Than Answers

If you’re a fellow Johnny Nash fan feel free to get in touch 🙂

 

 
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