Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy And The Poor Boys (1969)

FrontCover1Creedence Clearwater Revival, also referred to as Creedence and CCR, was an American rock band formed in El Cerrito, California. The band initially consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty; his brother, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty; bassist Stu Cook; and drummer Doug Clifford. These members had played together since 1959, first as the Blue Velvets and later as the Golliwogs, before settling on the Creedence Clearwater Revival name in 1967.

CCR’s musical style encompassed roots rock, swamp rock, blues rock, Southern rock, country rock, and blue-eyed soul. Belying their origins in the East Bay subregion of the San Francisco Bay Area, the band often played in a Southern rock style, with lyrics about bayous, catfish, the Mississippi River and other elements of Southern United States iconography. The band’s songs rarely dealt with romantic love, concentrating instead on political and socially conscious lyrics about topics such as the Vietnam War. The band performed at the 1969 Woodstock festival in Upstate New York, and was the first major act signed to appear there.

CCR disbanded acrimoniously in late 1972 after four years of chart-topping success. Tom Fogerty had officially left the previous year, and John was at odds with the remaining members over matters of business and artistic control, all of which resulted in subsequent lawsuits among the former bandmates. Fogerty’s ongoing disagreements with Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz created further protracted court battles, and John Fogerty refused to perform with the two other surviving members at Creedence’s 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Though the band has never officially reunited, John Fogerty continues to perform CCR songs as part of his solo act, while Cook and Clifford have performed as Creedence Clearwater Revisited since the 1990s.

CCR’s music is still a staple of U.S. classic rock radio airplay; 28 million CCR records have been sold in the U.S. alone. The compilation album Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits, originally released in 1976, is still on the Billboard 200 album chart and reached the 500-weeks mark in December 2020. It has been awarded 10x platinum.

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Willy and the Poor Boys is the fourth studio album by American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival, released by Fantasy Records in November 1969. It was the last of three studio albums the band released that year, arriving just three months after Green River.

The album features the songs “Down on the Corner”, from which the album got its name, and “Fortunate Son”, which is a well-known protest song. Creedence also released its own version of “Cotton Fields” on this album, which reached the #1 position in Mexico.

The album was planned to be formed around a concept introduced in “Down on the Corner”, with Creedence taking on the identity of an old-time jug band called “Willy and The Poor Boys”. However, this was dropped rather quickly, except for the cover, where the band remains in character.

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By the fall of 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the hottest rock bands in the world, having scored three consecutive #2 singles and the #1 album Green River. In addition, the group had performed at the landmark Woodstock Festival in August and made several high-profile television appearances, including The Ed Sullivan Show. Bandleader and songwriter John Fogerty had assumed control of the band after several years of futility, but, despite their growing success, the other members – bassist Stu Cook, drummer Doug Clifford and guitarist Tom Fogerty, John’s older brother – began to chafe under Fogerty’s demanding, autocratic leadership. The band’s output in 1969 alone – three full-length albums – was staggering considering that they were touring nonstop throughout. “That was a bit of overkill and I never did understand that,” Clifford stated to Jeb Wright of Goldmine in 2013, “Fogerty told us that if we were ever off the charts, then we would be forgotten… To make it worse, it might sound funny, but we had double-sided hits, and that was kind of a curse, as we were burning through material twice as fast. If we’d spread it out, we would not have had to put out three albums in one year.” The fiercely competitive Fogerty remained unapologetic, insisting to Guitar World’s Harold Steinblatt in 1998, “Everyone advised me against putting out great B-sides. They’d tell me I was wasting potential hits. And I looked at them and said, ‘Baloney. Look at the Beatles. Look at Elvis. It’s the quickest way to show them all that good music.”

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In August, CCR released its third LP, Green River. Shortly after, it began recording songs for its next LP, Willy and the Poor Boys. Two months later the band released its eighth single, “Down on the Corner” b/w “Fortunate Son”. The single’s A-side reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and its B-side made it to #14. “Down on the Corner” chronicles the tale of the fictional band Willy and the Poor Boys, and how they play on street corners to cheer people up and ask for nickels. The song makes reference to a washboard, a kazoo, a Kalamazoo Guitar, and a gut bass.[6] In a 1969 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show[citation needed], the boys performed the song as Willy and the Poor Boys. Stu Cook played a gut bass, Doug Clifford the washboard, and Tom Fogerty the Kalamazoo, which mimicked the appearance of the band as they appear on the album cover.

“Down on the Corner” b/w “Fortunate Son” peaked at #3 on December 20, 1969 on the Hot 100. “Fortunate Son” is a counterculture era anti-war anthem, criticizing militant patriotic behavior and those who support the use of military force without having to “pay the costs” themselves (either financially or by serving in a wartime military) The song, released during the Vietnam War, is not explicit in its criticism of that war in particular, but its attacks on the elite classes (the families that give birth to eponymous “fortunate sons”) of the United States and their withdrawal from the costs of nationalistic imperialism are easy to contextualize to that conflict. The song was inspired by the wedding of David Eisenhower, the grandson of United States President Dwight David Eisenhower, to Julie Nixon, the daughter of President Richard Nixon, in 1968. The song’s author told Rolling Stone:

Julie Nixon was hanging around with David Eisenhower, and you just had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war. In 1968, the majority of the country thought morale was great among the troops, and eighty percent of them were in favor of the war. But to some of us who were watching closely, we just knew we were headed for trouble.

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In 1993, Fogerty confessed to Rolling Stone’s Michael Goldberg, “It was written, of course, during the Nixon era, and well, let’s say I was very non-supportive of Mr. Nixon.” The song has been widely used to protest military actions and elitism in Western society, particularly in the United States; as an added consequence of its popularity, it has even been used in completely unrelated situations, such as to advertise blue jeans. It attracted criticism when Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, and Zac Brown performed the song together at the November 2014 Concert for Valor in Washington, D.C. Fogerty, a military veteran, defended their song choice.

Fogerty’s revulsion with President Nixon can also be found on the album’s closing track, “Effigy.” In 2013 the singer-songwriter told David Cavanagh of Uncut that the tune was his response to Nixon emerging from the White House one afternoon and sneering at the anti-war demonstrators outside, with Fogerty remembering, “He said, ‘Nothing you do here today will have any effect on me. I’m going back inside to watch the football game.'”

“Don’t Look Now” displays Fogerty’s concern for the working poor (“Who will take the coal from the mine? Who will take the salt from the earth?”). As recounted in the VH1 Legends episode on the band, Fogerty once stated to Time magazine, “I see things through lower class eyes.”

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The Chuck Berry-guitar romp “It Came Out of the Sky” tells the tale of a farmer who finds a UFO in his field and unwittingly becomes the most famous man in America. The album also includes two instrumental tracks in “Poorboy Shuffle” and “Side o’ the Road”, the former of which segues directly into the song “Feelin’ Blue.”

The LP also contains two songs associated with blues and folk legend Lead Belly: “Cotton Fields” and “The Midnight Special”. In 2012, Fogerty explained to Uncut, “Lead Belly was a big influence. I learned about him through Pete Seeger. When you listen to those guys, you’re getting down to the root of the tree.” In 1982 the band’s rendition of Lead Belly’s “Cotton Fields” made #50 on Billboard magazine’s Country Singles chart.

When the band members were finalizing the album, they and photographer Basul Parik went over to the intersection of Peralta St. and Hollis St. in Oakland, California and shot the photograph of the cover at Duck Kee Market owned by Ruby Lee.

The album was released in November as Fantasy 8397, and in 1970 made the Top 50 in six countries, including France where it reached #1. On December 16, 1970, the Recording Industry Association of America certified the album gold (500,000 units sold). Almost 20 years later, on December 13, 1990, the album was certified platinum (1,000,000 units sold) and 2x platinum (2,000,000 units sold).

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The album was well received, exemplified by the original review in Rolling Stone, which stated it was “the best one yet”. In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, Robert Christgau also believed it was the group’s best record while writing, “Fogerty’s subtlety as a political songwriter (have you ever really dug the words of ‘Fortunate Son’?) comes as no surprise.”[18] He later included it in his “Basic Record Library” of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).

In a retrospective review, AllMusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine contrasted Willy and the Poor Boys with the band’s previous album, Green River, because the songs were softer and more upbeat, except for “Effigy”, and stating that “Fortunate Son” is not as dated as most of the other protest songs of the era. However, he also feels the song is a little out of place on the album. He also compared “Poorboy Shuffle” to songs performed by jug bands and called the album “one of the greatest pure rock & roll albums ever cut”. In the Blender magazine review of the album it was called the opposite of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and psychedelic rock, which the reviewer feels is because of the band’s performance at the Woodstock Festival. For his Rolling Stone review of the 40th anniversary reissue of the album, Barry Walters called the album “relaxed” and gives credit to Fogerty for writing a protest song, “Fortunate Son”, that has a good beat to it.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 392 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time; the list’s 2012 edition had it ranked 309th. In the 2020 edition, the album reached number 193. On June 10, 2008, the album was remastered and released by Concord Music Group as a compact disc, with three bonus tracks. The album was remastered and reissued on 180-gram vinyl by Analogue Productions in 2006. (wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Doug Clifford (drums, washboard on 04.)
Stu Cook (bass, washtub bass on 04., background vocals)
John Fogerty (vocals, lead guitar, piano, percussion, harmonica on 04.)
Tom Fogerty (guitar, background vocals)

CCR3Tracklist:
01. Down On The Corner (J.Fogerty) 2.48
02. It Came Out Of The Sky (J.Fogerty) 2.57
03. Cotton Fields (Ledbetter) 2.55
04. Poorboy Shuffle (J.Fogerty) 2.27
05. Feelin’ Blue (J.Fogerty) 5.03
06. Fortunate Son (J.Fogerty) 2.22
07. Don’t Look Now (It Ain’t You Or Me) (J.Fogerty) 2.12
08. The Midnight Special (Traditional) 4.15
09. Side O’ the Road (J.Fogerty) 3.25
10. Effigy(J.Fogerty) 6.28

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Some folks are born made to wave the flag
They’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
They point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no senator’s son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, yeah
But when the taxman comes to the door
The house look a like a rummage sale

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

Yeah, some folks inherit star-spangled eyes
They send you down to war
And when you ask ’em, “How much should we give?”
They only answer, “More, more, more”

It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no military son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, one
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

More from Creedence Clearwater Revival:
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Shania Twain – Come On Over (1997)

FrontCover1Eilleen “Shania” Twain (born Eilleen Regina Edwards; August 28, 1965) is a Canadian singer and songwriter. She has sold over 100 million records, making her the best-selling female artist in country music history and one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Her success garnered her several honorific titles including the “Queen of Country Pop”. Billboard named her as the leader of the ’90s country-pop crossover stars.

Raised in Timmins, Ontario, Twain pursued singing and songwriting from a young age before signing with Mercury Nashville Records in the early 1990s. Her self-titled debut studio album was a commercial failure upon release in 1993.[8] After collaborating with producer and later husband Robert John “Mutt” Lange, Twain rose to fame with her second studio album, The Woman in Me (1995), which brought her widespread success. It sold over 20 million copies worldwide, spawned eight singles, including “Any Man of Mine” and earned her a Grammy Award. Her third studio album, Come On Over (1997), became the best-selling studio album by a female act in any genre and the best-selling country album of all time, selling over 40 million copies worldwide. Come On Over produced twelve singles, including “You’re Still the One”, “From This Moment On”, “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and earned Twain four Grammy Awards. Her fourth studio album, Up! (2002), spawned eight singles, including “I’m Gonna Getcha Good!”, “Ka-Ching!” and “Forever and for Always”, selling over 20 million copies worldwide, also being certified Diamond in the United States.

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In 2004, after releasing her Greatest Hits album, which produced three new singles including “Party for Two”, Twain entered a hiatus, revealing years later that diagnoses with Lyme disease and dysphonia led to a severely weakened singing voice. She chronicled her vocal rehabilitation on the OWN miniseries Why Not? with Shania Twain, released her first single in seven years in 2012, “Today Is Your Day”, and published an autobiography, From This Moment On. Twain returned to performing the following year with an exclusive concert residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Shania: Still the One, which ran until 2014. ShaniaTwain03In 2015, she launched the North American Rock This Country Tour, which was billed as her farewell tour. Twain released her first studio album in 15 years in 2017, Now, and embarked on the Now Tour in 2018. In 2019, she started her second Las Vegas residency, Let’s Go! at the Zappos Theater.

Twain has received five Grammy Awards, a World Music Award, 27 BMI Songwriter Awards, stars on Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and an induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.[18] According to the RIAA she is the only female artist in history to have three (consecutive) albums certified Diamond by the RIAA[19] and is the sixth best-selling female artist in the United States. Altogether, Twain is ranked as the 10th best-selling artist of the Nielsen SoundScan era. Billboard listed Twain as the 13th Greatest Music Video Female Solo Artist of all time (42nd overall)

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Come On Over is the third studio album recorded by Canadian country music singer Shania Twain. It was released on November 4, 1997, and became the best-selling country album, the best selling album by a Canadian and is recognized by Guinness World Records as the biggest-selling studio album by a solo female artist, and the best-selling album in the USA by a solo female artist. It is the ninth all-time best-selling album in the United States, and worldwide. It is also the sixteenth best-selling album in the United Kingdom.

As of 2020, Come On Over has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, shipped over 20 million copies in the United States, with over 15.7 million copies sold according to Nielsen SoundScan, and another 1.99 million through BMG Music Clubs. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and stayed there for 50 non-consecutive weeks and is recognized by Guinness World Records as the album with the most weeks at No.1 on the US Top Country Albums chart. It stayed in the top ten for 151 weeks. Ten of the sixteen tracks hit the top 20 of the Hot Country Songs chart, eight of which hit top 10, including three No. 1s.

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Seven of the tracks also made the Top 50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Twain promoted the album with television performances and interviews. It was further promoted with the successful Come On Over Tour, which visited North America, Oceania and Europe. Out of the album’s sixteen tracks, twelve were released as singles, including “Love Gets Me Every Time”, “Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)”, “You’re Still the One”, “From This Moment On”, “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”. The album was also promoted with a succession of music videos for the singles. The fifth single, “When”, was the only single from the album to not be released in the United States.

The album was nominated for six awards at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Best Country Album. “You’re Still the One”, which peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 2, was nominated for four awards, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance, winning the latter two. The album received a further three nominations at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year for “You’ve Got a Way”, Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” and Best Country Song for “Come On Over”, winning the latter two.

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After releasing and promoting her breakthrough album The Woman in Me, Come On Over saw Twain entirely collaborating with producer and then husband Robert John “Mutt” Lange on a variety of country pop numbers, mostly uptempo. Given much more creative freedom than for its predecessor, Twain and Lange sought to break the conventional country music formula on the album and explore the country pop genre to its fullest extent.

Twain decided not to tour off The Woman in Me partly because she felt she needed more powerful music to do a powerful show. Twain and her husband commenced songwriting material for the album as early as 1994, and often wrote apart to later intertwine their ideas. The recording process was intensive, with Lange dedicating overzealous time and patience to each individual track. Though the singer indicated her sonic preferences, she ultimately ceded all production to Lange. On the international version, Twain and Lange revisited the tracks to strip them of country influences and increase the album’s marketability beyond the US and Canada.

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The album was a blockbuster success, becoming the biggest-selling studio album of all time by a female artist, the biggest-selling country music album, the biggest-selling album by a Canadian act and the ninth biggest-selling album in music history. Three different versions of the album were released, the original country version, released in 1997, and the revised pop/international versions released in 1998 and 1999. The album was also supported by an extensive world tour by Twain.
Twain topped her own record with the release of Come On Over, beating out her previous Diamond selling album The Woman in Me, as the best-selling country music album ever released and the best-selling studio album ever released by a female artist in any genre. Debuting at No. 2 on the US Billboard 200 with a moderate 172,000 copies (3,000 units behind Mase’s Harlem World), the album showed its consistency when it moved another ShaniaTwain01170,000 copies in its second week (a 1.2% decrease) to stay at No. 2 again behind Barbra Streisand’s Higher Ground. The RIAA certified Come on Over Gold, Platinum and 2× platinum on December 23, 1997. It sold more than 100,000 units in each of 62 weeks. During the Thanksgiving week of 1999, the Come On Over: International Version was released in conjunction to Shania’s Thanksgiving CBS special, Come On Over that week earned the Billboard chart “Greatest Gainer” title, jumping 24–11 on the Billboard 200, a 246% increase in sales from a 57,000 the previous week to a 197,000 the week after. The album’s best sales week was its 110th week, during which it sold 355,000 units to settle at number ten (Christmas 1999). The album stayed on the top 10 for 54 weeks, set a record for longest stay in the Top 20 of the Billboard 200 of 112 weeks, and in top 40 for 127 consecutive weeks. Come On Over topped the Billboard Country album chart for a record 50 weeks, finishing second to Garth Brooks’ Sevens in 1998, finishing first in 1999, and third in 2000 behind Dixie Chicks’ Fly and Faith Hill’s Breathe. It was certified diamond by the RIAA on April 7, 1999. Despite its considerable sales, the album never reached the top of the Billboard 200.

Come On Over was the first album to reach both 14 million (in September 2001) and 15 million (in August 2004) in sales in the US since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan started tracking music sales. It ranks as the second best-selling album of the Nielsen SoundScan era in the US, with over 15.73 million copies sold by October 2017, behind its nearest rival, Metallica’s 1991 self-titled album (16.1 million as of 2015).[23] However, these figures do not include sales through such entities as BMG Music Club, where Come on Over has sold 1.99 million copies while Metallica has sold fewer than 298,000 copies.

The album topped the charts for 11 weeks in the UK. The album is one of the highest-selling albums ever in Australia, reaching 18 times platinum and spending 19 weeks at No. 1 and 165 weeks in the top 100 (or more than three years). It is still the best-selling album of the 1990s in Australia.(wikipedia)

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Shania Twain’s second record, The Woman in Me, became a blockbuster, appealing as much to a pop audience as it did to the country audience. Part of the reason for its success was how producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange — best-known for his work with Def Leppard, the Cars, and AC/DC — steered Twain toward the big choruses and instrumentation that always was a signature of his speciality, AOR radio. Come on Over, the sequel to The Woman in Me, continues that approach, breaking from contemporary country conventions in a number of ways. Not only does the music lean toward rock, but its 16 songs and, as the cover proudly claims, “Hour of Music,” break from the country tradition of cheap, short albums of ten songs that last about a half-hour.

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Furthermore, all 16 songs and Lange-Twain originals and Shania’s sleek, sexy photos suggest a New York fashion model, not a honky tonker. And there isn’t any honky tonk here, which is just as well, since the fiddles are processed to sound like synthesizers and talk boxes never sound good on down-home, gritty rave-ups. No, Shania sticks to what she does best, which is countrified mainstream pop. Purists will complain that there’s little country here, and there really isn’t. However, what is here is professionally crafted country-pop — even the filler (which there is, unfortunately, too much of) sounds good — which is delivered with conviction, if not style, by Shania, and that is enough to make it a thoroughly successful follow-up to one of the most successful country albums by a female in history. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Bruce Bouton (pedal steel-guitar, lap steel guitar)
Larry Byrom (slide guitar)
Joe Chemay (bass)
Stuart Duncan (fiddle)
Larry Franklin (fiddle)
Paul Franklin (pedal steel-guitar, “cosmic steel”
Rob Hajacos (fiddle)
John Hobbs (piano)
Dann Huff (guitar, bass, sitar, organ)
John Hughey (pedal steel-guitar)
John Barlow Jarvis (piano)
Robert John “Mutt” Lange (background vocals)
Paul Leim (drums)
Brent Mason (lead guitar)
Joey Miskulin (accordion)
Michael Omartian (piano
Eric Silver (mandolin)
Arthur Stead (keyboards, synthesizer)
Shania Twain (vocals)
Biff Watson (guitar)
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Bryan White (vocals on 05.)
Carl Marsh and David Hamilton (strings on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Man! I Feel Like a Woman! 3:53
02. I’m Holdin’ On to Love (To Save My Life) 3.27
03. Love Gets Me Every Time 3.34
04. Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You) 3.34
05. From This Moment On 4.41
06. Come On Over 2.54
07. When 3.39
08. Whatever You Do! Don’t! 3.49
09. If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask! 4.04
10. Still The One 3:34
11. Honey, I’m Home 3.35
12. That Don’t Impress Me Much 3.39
13. Black Eyes, Blue Tears 3.40
14. I Won’t Leave You Lonely 4.12
15. Rock This Country! 4.22
16. You’ve Got A Way 3.30

All songs written by Shania Twain and Robert John “Mutt” Lange

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Let me let you in on a secret
How to treat a woman right
If you’re lookin’ for a place in her heart
It ain’t gonna happen overnight
First you gotta learn to listen
To understand her deepest thoughts
She needs to know you can be friends
Before she’ll give you all she’s got
If you start from the heart
You’ll see love is gonna play it’s part
If you want to get to know her
Really get inside her mind
If you want to move in closer
Take it slow, yeah take your time
You must start from the heart and then
If you want to touch her
Really want to touch her
If you want to touch her, ask
A little physical attraction
Romantic, old-fashioned charm
And a lot of love and tenderness
Is gonna get you into her arms
If you start from the heart
You’ll see love is gonna play it’s part
If you want to get to know her
Really get inside her mind
If you want to move in closer
Take it slow, yeah take your time
You must start from the heart and then
If you want to touch her
Really want to touch her
If you want to touch her, ask
Let me let you in on a secret
How to treat a woman right
If you’re lookin’ for a place in her heart
It ain’t gonna happen no it ain’t gonna happen
If you want to get to know her
Really get inside her mind
If you want to move in closer
Take it slow, yeah take your time
If you want to get to know her
Really get inside her mind
If you want to move in closer
Take it slow, yeah take your time
If you start from the heart
You’ll see love is gonna play it’s part
If you want to touch her
Really want to touch her
If you want to touch her, ask

The offical website of Shania Twain:Website

Freddie Roulette – Sweet Funky Steel (1973)

FrontCover1Frederick Martin Roulette (born May 3, 1939) is an American electric blues lap steel guitarist and singer. He is best known as an exponent of the lap steel guitar. He is a member of the band Daphne Blue and has collaborated with Earl Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Henry Kaiser, and Harvey Mandel. He has also released several solo albums. One commentator described Roulette as an “excellent musician”.

A short documentary of Freddie Roulette appears on the video-sharing site YouTube that chronicles Roulette’s time with the Daphne Blue Band. The online Blues encyclopedia, “All About Blues Music,” describes Roulette’s long tenure with the Daphne Blue Band and notes: “Freddie has also released an album, ‘Daphne Blue: Legendary Blues Instrumentals’ which contains 15 excellent tracks, which [Freddie] considers to be among his finest works.”

Roulette’s family was originally from New Orleans, but he was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois. He learned to play the steel guitar in high school. He started playing in clubs in Chicago in his teens, and in 1965 began work in Earl Hooker’s backing band, touring and performing with him until 1969.

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Hooker’s band, with the pianist Pinetop Perkins, the harmonica player Carey Bell, the vocalist Andrew Odom, and Roulette, was “widely acclaimed” and “considered one of the best Earl had ever carried with him”. Roulette performed on several of Hooker’s singles; his 1967 album, The Genius of Earl Hooker; and the 1969 follow-up, 2 Bugs and a Roach.

Roulette later developed a friendship with Charlie Musselwhite and (credited as Fred Roulette) recorded with him on the 1969 album Chicago Blue Stars. He toured with Musselwhite and backed him on the albums Tennessee Woman and Memphis, Tennessee, before relocating to the San Francisco, California, area where he has lived ever since. He played there in a band with Luther Tucker and recorded with Earl Hooker’s cousin John Lee Hooker.

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After leaving Chicago for the San Francisco Bay area, Roulette began “teaming up with the 14-year-old guitarist Ray Bronner (‘Daphne Blue Ray’), and some veterans from Chicago in the band Daphne Blue, Freddie was often joined by ‘Big Moose’ (Johnny Walker), ‘Pinetop Perkins’ and Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown at gigs and on record.” “Freddie released an album, Daphne Blue: Legendary Blues Instrumentals, which contains 15 excellent tracks, which he considers to be among his finest works.”

In 1973, Roulette released his debut solo album, Sweet Funky Steel, which was produced by the guitarist Harvey Mandel. Don “Sugarcane” Harris played on several tracks. Over the next twenty years, Roulette continued to perform with other musicians and occasionally led his own band, while also working full-time as an apartment manager. On the 1996 album Psychedelic Guitar Circus, he worked in a group with Mandel, Kaiser and Steve Kimock. Grammy nominee, producer/composer Larry Hoffman brought Freddie to Chicago where the artist recorded his 1997 solo album, Back in Chicago: Jammin’ with Willie Kent and the Gents, with Willie Kent and Chico Banks, on Hi Horse Records.

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The album won an award from Living Blues magazine as Best Blues Album of 1997. Following that album’s success, Roulette began performing widely at blues festivals and recorded the 1998 album Spirit of Steel, featuring the Holmes Brothers and produced by Kaiser. He also contributed to Kaiser’s album Yo Miles, a tribute to Miles Davis.

Roulette’s solo album Man of Steel (2006) featured guitar playing by Will Bernard and David Lindley; Kaiser also played guitar and produced the album.[15] It was recorded in Fantasy Studios, in Berkeley, California, and included strains of jazz, country, soul and reggae in the overall blues setting. In the same year, Roulette played locally in a small combo including Mike Hinton.

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Roulette has played at numerous music festivals over the years, including the Long Beach Blues Festival, the San Francisco Blues Festival (1979), and the Calgary Folk Music Festival (2000). He continues to play club dates in the San Francisco area, often with Mandel. In 2012, Jammin’ With Friends was recorded at three separate studios with various musicians. It was produced by Michael Borbridge, who also played drums on all the tracks.

As of 2015, Roulette still played with Daphne Blue, with Blue Ray Bronner.

In February 2019, the Chicago Reader published an article on Roulette and his band members, along with sound clips, titled: “The Secret History of Chicago Music: Pivotal Musicians That Somehow Haven’t Gotten Their Just Dues.” (wikipedia)

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Freddie Roulette coaxes all manner of sweet, funky feeling out of his doubleneck lap steel guitar on his debut solo album:

Prior to Sweet Funky Steel, Roulette had played with Charlie Musselwhite and the Chicago Blue Stars, whose 1969 debut LP kicks off with the “Fred Roulette” composition, “I Need Your Loving.”

Billboard included this album as an “Also Recommended” pick (under ‘jazz’) in its September 29, 1973 issue with these words of praise:

How fascinating (and sad) that Freddie Roulette would release his groundbreaking album Sweet Funky Steel in 1973 — and then issue no other recordings for over 20 years. One gets the sense that this album may have been a bit ahead of its time and had to wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

With the release of Psychedelic Guitar Circus (1994), Back in Chicago (1996), Spirit of Steel (1999), Man of Steel (2006) and Jamming with Friends (2012), it would seem that the artist and his audience have, at last, found each other. zeroto180.org)

Yes … this album is a true gem !

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Personnel:
Victor Conte (bass, guitar)
Coleman Head (guitar)
Paul Lagos (drums)
Freddie Roulette (pedal steel-guitar)
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Richard Aplanap (saxophone on 02. + 08.)
Lonnie Castille (drums on 04., 05. + 08.)
Bruce Conte (guitar on 08.)
Don “Sugarcaine” Harris (violin on 04. + 08.))
Harvey Mandel (guitar on 03.)
Randy Resnick (guitar on 04. + 05.)

FreddieRoulette06Tracklist:
01. Smoked Fish (Conte) 3.09
02. Joaquin (Roulette) 3.50
03. Del Conto Shuffle (Conte) 5.04
04. Cause And Effect (Roulette) 4.04
05. Mr. Roulette (Resnick) 3.13
06. Million Dollar Feeling (Head) 3.31
07. Springtime (Head) 4.02
08. Alleluia (Lobo) 4.20

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