Joe South – Games People Play (1969)

FrontCover1.jpgJoe South (born Joseph Alfred Souter; February 28, 1940 – September 5, 2012) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. Best known for his songwriting, South won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1970 for “Games People Play” and was again nominated for the award in 1972 for “Rose Garden”.

South started his pop career in July 1958 with the NRC Records novelty hit “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor”. After this hit, South’s music grew increasingly serious.

In 1959, South wrote two songs which were recorded by Gene Vincent: “I Might Have Known”, which was on the album Sounds Like Gene Vincent (Capitol Records, 1959), and “Gone Gone Gone” which was included on the album The Crazy Beat of Gene Vincent (Capitol Records, 1963).

South had met and was encouraged by Bill Lowery, an Atlanta music publisher and radio personality. He began his recording career in Atlanta with the National Recording Corporation, where he served as staff guitarist along with other NRC artists Ray Stevens and Jerry Reed. South’s earliest recordings have been re-released by NRC on CD. He soon returned to Nashville with The Manrando Group and then onto Charlie Wayne Felts Promotions. (Charlie Wayne Felts is the cousin of Rockabilly Hall of Fame Inductee and Grand Ole Opry Member, Narvel Felts.)

South was also a prominent sideman, playing guitar on Tommy Roe’s “Sheila”, Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album, and Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”. South played electric guitar on Simon & Garfunkel’s second album, Sounds of Silence, although Al Gorgoni and/or Vinnie Bell feature on the title track.

JouSouth1965A

Billy Joe Royal recorded five South songs: “Down in the Boondocks” (also covered in 1969 by Penny DeHaven), “I Knew You When”, “Yo-Yo” (later a hit for The Osmonds), “Hush” (later a hit for Deep Purple, Somebody’s Image with Russell Morris, and Kula Shaker), and “Rose Garden” (see below).

Responding to late 1960s issues, South’s style changed radically, most evident in his biggest single, 1969’s pungent, no-nonsense “Games People Play” (purportedly inspired by Eric Berne’s book of the same name), a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Accompanied by a lush string sound, an organ, and brass, the production won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. South followed up with “Birds of a Feather” (originally “Bubbled Under” at No. 106 on February 10–17, 1968, more successful as a cover by The Raiders that peaked on the Hot 100 at No. 23 on October 23–30, 1971) and two other soul-searchers, the back-to-nature “Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home” (also covered eight months later by Brook Benton With The Dixie Flyers) and the socially provocative “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” (also covered by Elvis Presley in a Las Vegas era version, Bryan Ferry, and Coldcut).

JoeSouth01

South’s most commercially successful composition was Lynn Anderson’s 1971 country/pop monster hit “Rose Garden”, which was a hit in 16 countries worldwide. Anderson won a Grammy Award for her vocals, and South earned two Grammy Nominations for it, as Best Country Song and (general) Song of the Year. South wrote more hits for Anderson, such as “How Can I Unlove You” (Billboard Country No. 1) and “Fool Me” (Billboard Country No. 3). Freddy Weller, Jeannie C. Riley, and Penny DeHaven also had hits on the Billboard country chart with South songs. In addition, other artists who have recorded South-penned songs include Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Carol Burnett, Andy Williams, Kitty Wells, Dottie West, Jim Nabors, Arlen Roth, Liz Anderson, The Georgia Satellites, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Ike & Tina Turner, Hank Williams Jr., James Taylor, the Tams, and k. d. lang, although most covered versions of South’s best known songs.

Photo of Joe SOUTH and Tommy ROE and Billy Joe ROYAL

The 1971 suicide of South’s brother, Tommy, resulted in him becoming clinically depressed. Tommy South had been his backing band’s drummer and accompanied South not only in live performances but also on recording sessions when South produced hits for other artists, including Royal, Sandy Posey, and Friend and Lover, including their #10 Billboard hit song “Reach Out of the Darkness.”[4] In an interview with Amy Duncan of Christian Science Monitor, South said, “I didn’t see myself doing [drugs] for the kicks. I did it more or less to keep going, and to tap into inspiration. I equated the chemicals with the inspiration.” South’s drug use resulted in a surly attitude toward audiences, and he left Capitol after two unsuccessful albums. South lived for a time in the 1970s on the Hawaiian island of Maui. He said, “I really kicked myself around for years … one of the main hang-ups was I just refused to forgive myself,” he told Duncan. “You know, you can go through drug treatment centers, and it’s not a permanent healing until it’s a spiritual healing.”

JoeSouth03.jpg

No information is available about South’s first marriage, divorce or his first wife. In 1987, South married his second wife, Jan Tant. South said his second marriage helped turn things around, and his wife Jan Tant’s inspiration helped him return to writing songs and occasional appearances in public.

South fathered one child, son Craig South, who is a voice-over artist in Southern California.

South’s final recording, “Oprah Cried”, was made in 2009 and released as a bonus track on the re-release of the albums So the Seeds are Growing and A Look Inside on one CD.

South died at his home in Buford, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta, on September 5, 2012, of heart failure. He was 72. Both Joe and his second wife, Jan Tant, who died in 1999, are buried in Mount Harmony Memorial Gardens Cemetery, in Mableton (Cobb County), Georgia. (by wikipecdia)

JoeSouth05

To some degree, Games People Play was a rushed album, issued to capitalize on the unexpected hit single title track (which had first been issued as an LP-only cut on South’s previous long-player, Introspect). Three songs that had appeared on Introspect (“Games People Play,” “Birds of a Feather,” and “These Are Not My People”) were placed on Games People Play as well, and some of the other songs (like “Untie Me” and “Concrete Jungle”) had been recorded by other artists as early as 1962. For all that, however, it was a pretty cracking good set of country-soul-rock, and if it was hastily thrown together, it certainly didn’t show in the songwriting, production, or performances. South’s sage, humanistic, and somewhat outside-looking-in view of the madding crowd came through forcefully in “Party People,” “These Are Not My People,” and “Birds of a Feather.” Wholehearted romantic lust and confusion laced his energetic recastings of “Untie Me” (first a hit for the Tams back in 1962) and “Hush” (which had just been a smash for Deep Purple), as well as the respectable Elvis Presley-meets-Neil Diamond-styled “Heart’s Desire,” which had the catchiness of a hit single. The dabs of psychedelia throughout the record — some electric guitar here, some weird echo there (both at once on “Hole in Your Soul,” the most avowedly strange track) — might have been trendy, but were nonetheless effective. Quite a lot of fine music not found on best-of compilations awaits South fans who have yet to discover this record. (by Richie Unterberger)

The “Games People Play” single .. from all over the world:

Singles.jpg

Personnel:
Joe South (vocals)
+
a bunch of unknown studio musicians

BackCover

Tracklist:
01. Games People Play 3.35
02. Party People 4.25
03. Untie Me 2.39
04. Concrete Jungle 2.54
05. Hole In Your Soul 3.39
06. Hush 3.45
07. Birds Of A Feather 4.23
08. Hearts Desire 2.53
09. Leanin’ On You 2.51
10. I Knew You When 2.55
11. These Are Not My People 2.30
+
12. Games People Play (instrumental version recorded by Harvey Mandel) 4.49

All songs written by Joe South

LabelB1.jpg

*
**

Talkin’ about you and me, yeah
And the games people play
Oh, the games people play now
Every night and every day now

Never meanin’ what they say, yeah
Never say what they mean
First you wind away your hours
In your concrete towers

Soon you’ll be covered up in flowers
In the back of a black limousine
People walkin’ up to you
Singin’ glory hallelujah
Then they try to sock it to you, yeah
Oh, in the name of the lord

Na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Na-na-na, na-na-na, na-na-na
Talkin’ about you and me, yeah
And the games people play

JoeSouth04

Joe South (February 28, 1940 – September 5, 2012)

Abba – Ring Ring (1973)

AbbaFrontCover1Ring Ring is the debut studio album by the Swedish group credited to Björn Benny & Agnetha Frida, who later became the pop group ABBA. It was released in Scandinavia and a limited number of other territories, including Germany, Australia, South Africa and Mexico, on 26 March 1973 through Polar Music.[2] The album was a chart-topping album in Belgium, and a big success in the Netherlands, Norway and South Africa.[3]

The album was re-released in Australasia in 1975, but was not released in the United Kingdom until 1992, and the United States until 1995.

When the first song “People Need Love” was recorded in the spring of 1972, the group was just one of many projects the four members were involved in. Only after the title track, “Ring Ring” became a hit, did the four decide to go on working together as a permanent group. The original 1973 Polar version of the album opens with “Ring Ring (Bara du slog en signal)”, the Swedish version of the track, and places the English-language version as track four on side two.

The track “She’s My Kind of Girl”, included on the international editions, is in fact a song by Björn & Benny which dates back to 1969, which was a hit in Japan, and had also been included on the b-side of the English version of the “Ring Ring” single in Scandinavia. Ring Ring also features a song co-written by Agnetha Fältskog. Although she had composed much of her Swedish solo output, the song “Disillusion”, for which she wrote the music, is the only song released on an ABBA album to feature a songwriting contribution from her. (by wikipedia)

Abba1973

If it seems as though the familiar ABBA sound isn’t present on this album, that’s because there was no entity known as ABBA at the time that the earliest sides here were recorded. Growing out of an attempt by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus to record together with their respective companions, Agnetha Faltskog and Frida “Anni-Frid” Lyngstad, the first side cut here, “People Need Love,” featured the two men singing just as prominently as the women, and was credited to “Bjorn and Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid.” It was only after its release and the cutting of a further single, “Ring, Ring,” that the more familiar sound of the quartet began to coalesce along with the idea of a permanent professional association.

Single

Unreleased in the United States until 1995, this album is more of a generic European pop release than an ABBA release; the music has several unusual attributes, including Andersson and Ulvaeus singing lead on several cuts, and also one original song, the moody ballad “Disillusion,” co-authored by Agnetha Faltskog. Most of what’s here is pleasantly upbeat Europop, with unusually good playing and a lot of spirit, all showing the influence of mainstream American and British pop/rock, including the late-era Beatles and early Elton John, and on the title track, a Phil Spector-proportioned production. Ring Ring was reissued in October of 2001 with extensive notes, state-of-the-art sound, and three bonus tracks: the single B-sides “Merry-Go-Round” and “Santa Rosa” (a smooth piece of California-style rock in the mold of the early Eagles) and the Swedish version of “Ring, Ring” (which charted number one in Sweden to the English version’s number two spot). (by Bruce Eder)

Abba1973_02

Personnel:
Benny Andersson (keyboards, vocals, mellotron)
Agnetha Fältskog (vocals)
Anni-Frid Lyngstad (vocals)
Björn Ulvaeus (guitar, vocals)
+
Ola Brunkert (drums)
Rutger Gunnarsson (bass)
Roger Palm (drums)
Janne Schaffer (guitar)
Mike Watson (bass)

LPBackCover
Tracklist:
01. Ring Ring (Bara Du Slog En Signal) (Andersson/Anderson/Ulvaeus) 3.07
02. Another Town, Another Train (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 3.13
03. Disillusion (Fältskog/Ulvaeus) 3.08
04. People Need Love (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 2.46
05. I Saw It In The Mirror (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 2-34
06. Nina, Pretty Ballerina (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 2.54
07. Love Isn’t Easy (But It Sure Is Hard Enough) (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 2.55
08. Me And Bobby And Bobby’s Brother (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 2.52
09. He Is Your Brother (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 3.20
10. She´s My Kind Of Girl (Andersson/Ulvaeus) 2.45
11. I Am Just A Girl (Andersson/Anderson/Ulvaeus) 3.04
12. Rock’n Roll Band (Andersson/Ulvaeus)  3:09

LabelB1

*
**

Carole King – Tapestry (1971)

LPFrontCover1Tapestry is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Carole King, released in 1971 on Ode Records and produced by Lou Adler. It is one of the best-selling albums of all time, with over 25 million copies sold worldwide. In the United States, it has been certified Diamond by the RIAA with more than 10 million copies sold.[3] It received four Grammy Awards in 1972, including Album of the Year. The lead single from the album — “It’s Too Late”/”I Feel the Earth Move” — spent five weeks at number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts. In 2003, Tapestry was ranked number 36 on Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time

King wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, several of which had already been hits for other artists such as Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and The Shirelles’ “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (in 1960). Three songs were co-written with King’s ex-husband Gerry Goffin. James Taylor, who encouraged King to sing her own songs and who also played on Tapestry, would later have a number one hit with “You’ve Got a Friend”. Two songs were co-written with Toni Stern: “It’s Too Late” and “Where You Lead”.

The album was recorded at Studio B, A&M Recording Studios during January 1971 with the support of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, plus various experienced session musicians. Several of the musicians worked simultaneously on Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim album.

InTheStudio01

The cover photograph was taken by A&M staff photographer Jim McCrary at King’s Laurel Canyon home. It shows her sitting in a window frame, holding a tapestry she hand-stitched herself, with her cat Telemachus at her feet.

Along with being selected Album of the Year, it also received Grammys for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year (“It’s Too Late”), and Song of the Year (“You’ve Got a Friend”), making King the first solo female artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, and the first woman to win the Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

The album remained on the Billboard charts for 313 weeks (second only to Pink Floyd’s 724 weeks with The Dark Side of the Moon).
Grammy Awards
Year Winner Category
1972 Tapestry Album of the Year
1972 “It’s Too Late” Record of the Year
1972 “You’ve Got a Friend” Song of the Year
1972 Tapestry Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female

Carole16

Tapestry was number one on the Billboard 200 for 15 consecutive weeks, and held the record for most weeks at number one by a female solo artist for over 20 years until surpassed by Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album in 1993, which spent 20 weeks at number one. It still holds the record for most consecutive weeks at number one by a female solo artist. The album was listed on the Billboard 200 for 318 weeks between 1971 and 2011 (302 weeks consecutively from April 10,1971 to January 15, 1977), the longest by a female solo artist until Adele’s 21 surpassed it in 2017. In terms of time on the charts, it ranks fifth overall, and in terms of length on the charts for solo musical acts it ranks second. Of all the albums by female artists to be certified Diamond, it was the first released, although it was not the first being certified. In Canada, the album was number one for 9 weeks beginning July 3, 1971

Several songs on Tapestry were recorded by other artists and became hits while the album was still on the charts: James Taylor’s 1971 cover of “You’ve Got a Friend” hit number one in the US and number four in the UK, and Barbra Streisand’s 1971 studio recording of “Where You Lead” reached number 40 while a live recording of a medley in which Streisand paired the song with the Sweet Inspirations hit “Sweet Inspiration” reached number 37 the following year.

Tapestry Recording Sessions

Various artists combined to re-record all the original tracks for more than one tribute album. The first, released in 1995 and entitled Tapestry Revisited: A Tribute to Carole King, was certified gold. The second, in 2003, was entitled A New Tapestry — Carole King Tribute. In 2010 Australian recording artist Marcia Hines recorded a tribute album, Marcia Sings Tapestry.

“Her songs are like stories or sonic movies,” observed Tori Amos. “You want to walk into them. With ‘I Feel the Earth Move’ or ‘It’s Too Late’, you’re right there.”

In 2003, Tapestry was named number 36 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, was listed by VH1 as number 39 on their list of 100 Greatest Albums, and was one of 50 recordings chosen to be added to the National Recording Registry. Recordings added to the National Recording Registry are picked to be preserved in the Library of Congress as they are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important.”

In March 2016 it was announced that Carole King would perform the album live in its entirety for the first time at the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park, London on 3 July 2016.. The performance was released the next year as Tapestry: Live at Hyde Park. (by wikipedia)

Single

Carole King’s second album, Tapestry, has fulfilled the promise of her first and confirmed the fact that she is one of the most creative figures in all of pop music. It is an album of surpassing personal-intimacy and musical accomplishment and a work infused with a sense of artistic purpose. It is also easy to listen to and easy to enjoy.

Miss King’s past accomplishments have become something of a pop music legend. She and her former husband and lyricist, Gerry Goffin, were one of the three great independent pop song-writing teams of the Sixties, the other two being Burt Bacharach and Hat David, and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. It is as much to their credit that they not only wrote one of Aretha Franklin‘s best songs, “Natural Woman,” but Steve Lawrence and Edyie Gorme’s best, “Go Away Little Girl,” as well. They wrote the Animals’ best pop record, “Don’t Bring Me Down,” and Bobby Vee’s best seller, “Take Good Care of My Baby.” Then there was “Chains” and “Don’t Say Nothing Bad About My Baby” for the Cookies, “One Fine Day” for the Chiffons, “The Locomotion” for Little Eva, and “Oh, No, Not My Baby” for Maxine Brown. And, of course, there were some for the groups: They wrote Herman’s Hermits best song, “Something Tells Me I’m Into Something Good,” two for the Righteous Brothers, “For Once In My Life” and the overlooked and under-rated “Hung On You,” and “Goin’ Back” and “Wasn’t Born to Follow” for the Byrds. She even had a hit for herself about ten years ago called “It Might As Well Rain Until September.” On top of them all, there was “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” for the Shirelles and “Up On the Roof” for the Drifters.

MC1

A Gerry Goffin-Carole King song was always engagingly sentimental. It was boy-girl, loneliness-togetherness, “Don’t Bring Me Down” versus “Hung On You.’ ‘My baby’s got me locked up in chains” versus “Will you still love me tomorrow” music the very core of the rock & roll lyric sensibility. The music expressed the outlook with a sweetness that ultimately shine through no matter what the context. The chorus of “Hung On You” is simply a beautiful tune. “Chains” has a blues structure but the melody is pretty, pretty pop music. Even “The Locomotion” has an amazingly distinctive melody line for a dance song. (And Little Eva ten years ago sounds so exactly like Carole King today one can only assume that Carole taught it to her note for note and breath for breath.)

The songs of Goffin and King are superb examples of the song writing craft of the Sixties. Finely honed to meet the demands of the clients who commissioned them, and written with the requirements of AM radio always firmly in mind, they still managed to express themselves in a rich and personal way. Like Hollywood directors who learned how to make the limitations of the system work for them by the use of their own imagination, Goffin and King made the limitations of AM music work for them and in the process created something of their own pop vision.

CaroleKing02

Towards the late Sixties the independent song-writing system broke down as more and more artists preferred to write their own material. Feeling the pressure, Miss King, now separated from Goffin, struck out as a performer, first in the unsuccessful group the City, and now as a solo artist. Not surprisingly, the music she is making today is closely related to the music she created in the Sixties.

The theme of both Writer and Tapestry is the search for lasting friendship, friendship that can be trusted, friendship that can be felt. Those feelings are expressed in a music that is substantially looser and more far ranging than the early melodies. No longer confined to the requirements of writing for someone else and for AM radio the music has grown more intricate, more subtle, and more technically impressive. Similarly, the production on both her albums has been in a soft-sounding, FM-oriented approach, eschewing AM style altogether. These changes have not been altogether positive.

Carole King: Writer was a blessing despite its faults. The rhythm section was made up mainly of her musical friends from Jo Mama and the arrangements sounded like they were pieced together in the studio. The production was poor, managing to sound both labored and sloppy at the same time. Carole herself was mixed too low on many cuts and the band would up with an unusually tinny sound, considering the kind of music they were playing. And yet Carole’s own personal determination and talent transcended these irritants to make the whole thing very worthwhile. (by Jon Landau, Rolling Stone, April 29, 1971)

CDBackCover1

Personnel:
Curtis Amy (flute, saxophone, strings)
David Campbell (cello, viola)
Carole King (keyboards, vocals)
Terry King (cello, saxophone)
Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar (guitar, percussion, vocals)
Russ Kunkel (drums)
Charles “Charlie” Larkey (bass)
Joel O’Brien (drums)
Tim Powers (drums)
Ralph Schuckett (piano)
Barry Socher (violin, saxophone, viola)
Perry Steinberg (bass, violin, saxophone)
James Taylor (guitar, background vocals)
+
background vocals:
Joni Mitchell – Julia Tillman – Merry Clayton

LPBooklet.jpg

Tracklist:
01. I Feel The Earth Move (King) 3.00
02. So Far Away (King) 3.55
03. It’s Too Late (King/Stern) 3.54
04. Home Again (King) 2.29
05. Beautiful (King) 3.08
06. Way Over Yonder (King) 4.49
07. You’ve Got A Friend (King) 5.09
08. Where You Lead (King/Stern) 3.20
09. Will You Love Me Tomorrow? (Goffin/King) 4.13
10. Smackwater Jack (Goffin/King) 3.42
11. Tapestry (King) 3.15
12. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Goffin/King/Wexler) 3.59
+
13. Out In The Cold (bonus track) (King) 2.44
14. Smackwater Jack (Live in Boston, May 21, 1973) (bonus track) (Goffin/King) 3.21

LabelB1

 

*
**

CaroleKing01

Linda Ronstadt – Hasten Down The Wind (1976)

FrontCover1Hasten Down the Wind is the Grammy Award-winning seventh studio album by singer/songwriter/producer Linda Ronstadt. Released in 1976, it became her third straight million-selling album. Ronstadt was the first female artist in history to accomplish this feat. The album earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1977, her second of 11 Grammys. It represented a slight departure from 1974’s Heart Like a Wheel and 1975’s Prisoner in Disguise in that she chose to showcase new songwriters over the traditional country rock sound she had been producing up to that point. A more serious and poignant album than its predecessors, it won critical acclaim.

Hasten Down the Wind is the Grammy Award-winning seventh studio album by singer/songwriter/producer Linda Ronstadt. Released in 1976, it became her third straight million-selling album. Ronstadt was the first female artist in history to accomplish this feat. The album earned her a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1977, her second of 11 Grammys. It represented a slight departure from 1974’s Heart Like a Wheel and 1975’s Prisoner in Disguise in that she chose to showcase new songwriters over the traditional country rock sound she had been producing up to that point. A more serious and poignant album than its predecessors, it won critical acclaim.

The album showcased songs from artists such as Warren Zevon (“Hasten Down the Wind”) and Karla Bonoff (“Someone to Lay Down Beside Me”), both of whom would soon be making a name for themselves in the singer-songwriter world. The album included a cover of a cover: “The Tattler” by Washington Phillips, which Ry Cooder had re-arranged for his 1974 album Paradise and Lunch. A reworking of the late Patsy Cline’s classic “Crazy” was a Top 10 Country hit for Ronstadt in early 1977.

Ronstadt01
Her third album to go platinum, Hasten Down the Wind spent several weeks in the top three of the Billboard album charts. It was also the second of four number 1 Country albums for her. (by wikipedia)

This is Linda Ronstadt’s tenth album (including the three made with her first group, the Stone Poneys). While it is certainly not in a league with her masterpiece, Heart like a Wheel (and I’m beginning to believe its perfection occurs but once in an artist’s career), Hasten down the Wind is nonetheless representative of Ronstadt redivivus, of Ronstadt, the sensitive, introspective stirring we have admired all these years.

Aside from the inclusion of two innocuous songs — “Lo Siento Mi Vida” and Karla Bonoff’s “If He’s Ever Near” — the album’s problems are fairly well exemplified by the totally wrongheaded interpretation of the Warren Zevon-penned title song, which delineates the chilling tale of a lover’s indecisiveness. In the original version, stinging, venomous guitar lines plus ethereal guitar solos accentuated Zevon’s weary vocal. Here, strings and Andrew Gold’s impersonal piano accompaniment take the song all the way out of the danger zone, and Ronstadt’s carefully articulated, stodgy vocal belies her misunderstanding. When she is joined on the chorus by Don Henley (of the Eagles) the impact of the song’s touching and mystifying lyric is completely blunted by the beauty of the harmonizing.

Ronstadt02

The album’s only other major mistake is John and Johanna Hall’s “Give One Heart,” one of the worst songs — reggae or otherwise — I’ve heard. Orleans couldn’t salvage it, nor can Ronstadt. No amount of sweetening can rescue lyrics as inane as “That’s the paradox of I love you” or “If your baby loves you right/You can have skyrockets any old night.” A rock & roll bridge has been punched up, which only makes things worse by forcing a scream from Ronstadt as she tries to move up the scale. Worse still, one verse of an immaculately beautiful reggae song, “Rivers of Babylon,” is ruined by being used as a prelude to “Give One Heart.”

Otherwise the album is in good shape. And in a few instances it’s as good as anything Ronstadt has done.

I’ve always appreciated Ronstadt’s good-natured approach to her remakes of rock ‘n’ roll oldies. The version of “That’ll Be the Day” included here neither alters my feelings for nor threatens the Buddy Holly original. Her reading could be tougher, but the music behind it — particularly the solo sparring between guitarists Andrew Gold and Waddy Wachtel — has enough bite to overcome the vocal shortcomings.

Ronstadt03

Ry Cooder’s “The Tattler” is one of the album’s two gems. Swirling electric piano figures and a barely audible mandolin establish an irresistibly exotic ambiance. Ronstadt’s interpretation is extraordinarily subtle, sly and witty. She sounds at peace with herself as she sings of foolish lovers who don’t take the time to discover love’s true meaning. She doesn’t battle the instruments; she doesn’t strain for high notes. She simply allows the beauty of this well-structured song to speak for itself.

Ultimately, there is the Ronstadt-Gold song, “Try Me Again.” As in “Love Has No Pride” and “Long Long Time,” something precious is at stake here. The song’s theme summons from Ronstadt myriad emotions; midway through the first verse, she is befuddled — not yet wanting to admit what is going on in her life:

Lately I ain’t been feelin’ right
And I don’t know the cure, no
Still I can’t keep from wonderin’
If I still figure in your life

Realization and abject resignation in the second verse turn into frustration by the third (“When you say you tried/And you know you lied/My hands are tied”), which elicits the final, desperate plea of the title.

Ronstadt04

Near the end of the song, Gold hammers out angry piano chords beneath Dan Dugmore’s sorrowful steel guitar lines, then comes back with a powerful guitar solo that is the instrumental topping for the quintessential Ronstadt performance.

Willie Nelson’s “Crazy,” an inspired choice, follows. After the tumult of “Try Me Again,” “Crazy” is rather a boozy coda; a “what the hell, you gotta give love a try” barroom ballad that is lighthearted and loose enough for Ronstadt to falter on the last line without destroying the mood.

This isn’t Heart like a Wheel. But it is, despite its flaws, a fine album that begs closer inspection than, I fear, many of us are willing to give to Linda Ronstadt’s art. Like the best moments of the preceding nine, though, the best moments of Hasten down the Wind will be with us a long, long time. (by David McGee, Rolling Stone, 1976)

BackCover1.jpg

Personnel:
Michael Botts (drums)
Dan Dugmore (guitar, steel-guitar)
Kenny Edwards (bass, mandolin, background vocals)
Andrew Gold (keyboards, clavinet, guitar, clavichord, background vocals)
Russ Kunkel (drums)
Linda Ronstadt (vocals)
Wendy Waldman (guitar, background vocals)
+
Peter Asher (guitar, percussion, background vocals)
David Campbell (viola)
Richard Feves (bass)
Don Henley (drums, vocals)
Dennis Karmazyn (cello)
Clarence McDonald (keyboards)
Paul Polivnick (viola)
Charles Veal (violin)
Ken Yerke (violin, viola)
+
vocals/background vocals:
Herb Pedersen – Bill Thedford – Ron Hickland – Gerry Garrett – Sherlie Matthews – Clydie King – Gerald Garrett – Jim Gilstrap – Pat Henderson – Ron Hicklin – Becky Louis – Karla Bonoff

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Lose Again (Bonoff) 3.37
02. The Tattler (Cooder/Titelman/Phillips) 3:56
03. If He’s Ever Near (Bonoff) 3:15
04. That’ll Be The Day (Allison/Holly/Petty) 2:32
05. Lo Siento Mi Vida (I’m Sorry My Love) (L.Ronstadt/Edwards/G.Ronstadt) 3:54
06. Hasten Down The Wind (Zevon) 2:40
07. Rivers Of Babylon (Dowe/McNaughton) 0:52
08. Give One Heart /John Hall/Johanna Hall) 4:07
09. Try Me Again (L. Ronstadt/Gold) 3:59
10. Crazy (W.Nelson) 3:58
11. Down So Low (T.Nelson) 4:08
12. Someone To Lay Down Beside Me (Bonoff) 3.58

LabelB1

*
**

France Gall – Live (Au Theatre des Champs Elysées) (1978)

FrontCover1France Gall (born Isabelle Geneviève Marie Anne Gall on 9 October, 1947 in Paris, France – died 7 January 2018) was an influential singer who performed for many decades. She notably represented Luxembourg in the 1965 Eurovision Song Contest with “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son”; that winning song was just one of many that she performed which had been written by Serge Gainsbourg. Her career spanned roughly forty years, primarily in France, but she was best known over the world for the songs she that performed in the 60s, many of them a part of the ye-ye style. She sang in both French and English.

Besides the highly successful “Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son”, she also notably sung “Les Sucettes” and “Baby Pop”. In France, she was perhaps more known for the chanson songs she sang in the late-70s through the mid-80s, many of them written by her husband, Michel Berger, who died in 1992. In 1987, she had some additional international success with her Ella Fitzgerald tribute “Ella, elle l’a”. She still recorded music into the new millennium.

France Gall died on 7 january 2018 at age 70 in a hospital in Paris. (by www.last.fm)

PosterGall was seduced by Michel Berger’s music when she heard his song “Attends-moi” (“Wait for Me”) one day in 1973. During a later radio broadcast, she asked him for his opinion on songs which her then producer wanted her to record. Although he was disconcerted by the quality of the songs, there would be no question of collaboration.

Only six months later, in 1974, after she sang vocals on the song “Mon fils rira du rock’n’roll” on Berger’s new album, Gall’s publisher asked him, at her behest, to write for her. Gall had already made her mind up that “It will be him and nobody else”. In 1974, “La Déclaration d’amour” was to be the first in a long line of hits which marked a turning point in Gall’s career. Meanwhile, the two artists, whose affinities became more than musical, married on 22 June 1976. Since their marriage, Gall has only sung songs written by Berger.[15] They remained married until his death in 1992.

And here´s a good live-Album from 1978 with songs from Michel Berger … a typical Seventies production a perfect shwo with very good musisians and …  … what a beautiful voice !

Gall died of an infection complicated from cancer at the American Hospital of Paris, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, on 7 January 2018 at the age of 70

Gall01

Michel Berger & France Gall

Personnel:
Mary Lou Benoit (percussion)
France Gall (vocals)
Bonnie Johnson (drums)
Peggy Mitchell (bass)
Patti Quatro (guitar)
Colleen Stewart (piano)
Gail Thompson (saxophone)
Melissa Vardey (keyboards)
+
Background vocals:

Florence Bertoux – Lisa Deluxe – Stella Vander
+
strings:
Anne Etevenon – Béatrice Crenne – Marie-Rose Dumonteil – Sophie Cuvillier

Booklet1.jpg

Tracklist:
01. Musique 4.55
02. Samba Mambo 3.24
03. Si Maman Si 3:05
04- Comment Lui Dire 3.20
05. Ce Soir Je Ne Dors Pas 3.02
06. La Déclaration 3.20
07. Ce Garçon Qui Danse 3.20
08. Je L’aimais 4.48
09. Chanson D’une Terrienne 6.20
10. Chanson Pour Consoler 2.20
11. La Chanson De Maggie 3.00
12. Ça Balance Pas Mal A Paris 2.30
13. Le Meilleur De Soi-même 3.55
14. Mais Aime-la 9.30
15. Présentation Des Musiciennes 5.40
16. Viens Je T’emmène 4.55
17. Quand On Est Enfant 1.47

All Songs written by MIchel Berger

LabelD1

*
**

Gall02

France Gall (9 October 1947 – 7 January 2018)

 

Willie Nelson – Stardust (1978)

FrontCover1Stardust is the 23rd studio album by Willie Nelson that spans the genres of pop, jazz, and country music. Its ten songs consist entirely of pop standards that Nelson picked from among his favorites. Nelson asked Booker T. Jones, who was his neighbor in Malibu at the time, to arrange a version of “Moonlight in Vermont”. Impressed with Jones’s work, Nelson asked him to produce the entire album. Nelson’s decision to record such well-known tracks was controversial among Columbia executives because he had distinguished himself in the outlaw country genre. Recording of the album took only ten days.

Released in April, Stardust was met with high sales and near-universal positive reviews. It peaked at number one in Billboard’s Top Country Albums and number thirty in the Billboard 200. Meanwhile, it charted at number one in Canadian RPM’s Country Albums and number twenty-eight in RPM’s Top Albums. The singles “Blue Skies” and “All of Me” peaked respectively at numbers one and three in Billboard’s Hot Country Singles.

In 1979, Nelson won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for the song “Georgia on My Mind”. Stardust was on the Billboard’s Country Album charts for ten years—from its release until 1988. The album also reached number one in New WillieNelsonZealand and number five in Australia in 1980. In 2003, the album was ranked number 257 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was originally certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in December 1978. In 1984, when it was certified triple platinum, Nelson was the highest-grossing concert act in the United States. In 2002, the album was certified quintuple platinum, and it was later inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame class of 2015. (by wikipedia)

At the height of outlaw country, Willie Nelson pulled off perhaps the riskiest move of the entire bunch. He set aside originals, country, and folk and recorded Stardust, a collection of pop standards produced by Booker T. Jones. Well, it’s not entirely accurate to say that he put away country and folk, since these are highly idiosyncratic interpretations of “Georgia on My Mind,” “All of Me,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” blending pop, country, jazz, and folk in equal measures. It’s not that Willie makes these songs his own, it’s that he reimagines these songs in a way that nobody else could, and with his trusty touring band, he makes these versions indelible.

WillieNelson2

It may be strange to think that this album, containing no originals from one of America’s greatest songwriters, is what made him a star, and it continues to be one of his most beloved records, but it’s appropriate, actually. Stardust showcases Nelson’s skills as a musician and his entire aesthetic — where there is nothing separating classic American musical forms, it can all be played together — perhaps better than any other album, which is why it was a sensation upon its release and grows stronger with each passing year. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

Booklet03A

Personnel:
Paul English (drums)
Chris Ethridge (bass)
Booker T. Jones (keyboards)
Rex Ludwick (drums)
Bobbie Nelson (piano)
Willie Nelson (vocals, guitar)
Jody Payne (guitar)
Mickey Raphael (harmonica)
Bee Spears (bass)

Booklet04A

Tracklist:
01. “Stardust (Carmichael/Parish) 3.53
02. Georgia On My Mind (Carmichael/Gorrell) 4.20
03. Blue Skies (Berlin) 3.34
04. All Of Me (Simons/Marks) 3.54
05. Unchained Melody (North/Zaret) 3.50
06. September Song (Weill/Anderson) 4-35
07. On The Sunny Side Of The Street (McHugh/Fields) 2.36
08. Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf/Blackburn) 3.25
09. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington/Russell) 2.33
10. Someone To Watch Over Me (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 4.03
+
11. Scarlet Ribbons (Danzig/Segal) 4.30
12. I Can See Clearly Now (Nash)  4.18

Label

*
**

Mišo Kovač – San Francisco + 3 (1967)

FrontCover1And here´s a very rare single from Yugoslavia from 1967 !

Mišo Kovač a.k.a. Mate Mišo Kovač (born 16 July 1941), is a Croatian singer of pop-folk and schlager music. He is the biggest selling artist from the former Yugoslavia, with well over 20 million records, cassettes and compact discs sold to date.

 

Mišo Kovač was born to Zrinka and Jakov Kovač on July 16, 1941, in Tribunj, a modern-day Croatian town near Šibenik, at a time when the region was under Italian occupation during World War II. He had a sister named Blanka and a brother named Ratko. His paternal family is of distant Sicilian origin.

During his youth Mišo Kovač lived in the same street in Šibenik as Vice Vukov (b. August 3, 1936 in Šibenik; d. September 24, 2008 in Zagreb) and Arsen Dedić (b. July 28, 1938 in Šibenik; d. August 17, 2015 in Zagreb). Mišo made the HNK Šibenik (Founded in 1921, they were in the Yugoslav Second Division at the time) junior team as a goal-keeper and also barracked for HNK Hajduk Split (Established in 1911, they were in the Yugoslav First Division at the time), often travelling by boat from Šibenik to Split on game day to see HNK Hajduk Split play. His earliest goals in life were to eventually represent HNK Hajduk Miso02Split, but that changed at age 16 when he heard Ljube Lučev sing and then devoted himself entirely to music. His early musical influences were Italian artists Luciana Tajolija, Tony Dellaga and Adriano Celentano, as well as American singers, Johnnie Ray, Elvis Presley, and later Willie Nelson. In 1961 he shared equal first place with Mirko Vukšić, future guitarist with Croatian group Mi [We], in a talent contest called “Prvi glas Šibenika” (First voice of Šibenik), where he covered an Elvis Presley hit.

 

He then served in the Yugoslav Army, being stationed at Belgrade, where he sang every Saturday night to his fellow conscripts and friends. After military service he went to live in Zagreb, hoping to develop his career. His first big break came in 1964 at a talent contest in Karlovac, where he was noticed by leading music producers after singing “Ne mogu prestat da te volim” (his rendition of I can’t stop loving you by Ray Charles), which also became his first recording soon after.

In very short time four of his singles/EP’s were certified Silver (with sales of over 50,000) – they included: “Ja odlazim” (I’m Leavin’) (1966 EP), “Vrijeme plakanja” (Crying time) (1967 EP), San Francisko (San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)) (1968 EP) and “Da je duži moj dan” (If I only had time) (1968).

His first huge hit came in 1969 with the song, “Više se nećeš vratiti” (You won’t be coming back), written by Đorđe Novković and selling well over 400,000 copies (later re-recorded in 1985), as well as a Gold disc award for “Čemu da živim” (What should I live for), and in 1970 he earned another Silver disc award with “Serenada” (Seranade).

Miso03

In 1971, he won his first prestigious Split Festival with the song, “Proplakat će zora” (Dawn will cry), which went on to sell well over half a million copies and could be the best selling single ever in the former Yugoslavia (but very difficult to prove since the war). Mišo donated all his earnings from the song to building a new highway from Zagreb to Split. He also gained two other Silver disc awards in 1971 with the hits, “Mornaru za sretan put” (Sailor have a safe trip) and “Za mene sreće nema” (There is no luck for me). He also released his first album in 1971, self-titled, and it eventually earned him a Platinum award for sales of well over 200,000 copies.

He nearly died in a car accident near Zadar in 1971 when his car was completely destroyed and as a result he had a scar above his upper lip. During his recovery Mišo decided to let his moustache grow to hide his scar, and the moustache later became his trademark.

In 1972, Mišo went to see one of his idols, Elvis Presley, perform live at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and the King’s rendition of Frank Sinatra hit, “My Way” left a lasting impression on him. In the same year back at home he was awarded another Gold disc award with, “Zalij to cvijeće suzama sreće” (Pour this flower with tears of happiness).

Miso04

Another Gold Disc award came in 1974 with the hit, “Drugi joj raspliće kosu a ja je volim” (Somebody else untangles her hair but I love her) (with sales of well over 100,000). The following year he recorded “Ostala si uvjek ista” (You remained always the same), which Mišo later claimed was his personal best recording of his career. That song was re-issued ten years later on an album with the same title which sold well over 400,000 copies (certified Diamond award and his best selling album ever).

Further gold discs followed, with “Noćas ćemo zemlji k’o materi reći” (Tonight our homeland will be spoken of like our mothers) in 1977, “Dobra ti večer, mati moja” (Good evening, to my mother) in 1980, “Dalmacija u mom oku” (Dalmatia in my eyes) in 1982 [which is still seen as a semi-official anthem of Dalmatia, although it didn’t even make the national charts when first released but a live version hit #2 in 1988], and “Šibenske kale” (Streets of Šibenik) in 1982. Then, between 1985-88 he issued some of his biggest hits and well known songs like, “Ako me ostaviš” (If you leave me), “Jedan dan života” (One day of life), Sutra mi sude (Tomorrow they will judge me), “Odavno više ne plačem zbog tebe” (I stopped crying long ago about you), “Ja nemam više razloga da živim” (I don’t have any reason to live), “Ti si pjesma moje duše” (Seven Spanish Angels, title translates as “You’re the song of my soul’), “Svi pjevaju, ja ne čujem” (Everybody’s singing, but I can’t hear) and many others.

Miso01

 

Four of his albums released in the 1980s earned Platinum awards with sales of over 200,000, with “Dalmacija u mom oku” (Dalmatia in my eyes) in 1982, “Zajedno smo” (We are together) in 1984, “Mali mi je jedan život” (One life is too short) in 1987 and “Mišo! Koncert” (Mišo! Concert, recorded live) in 1988.

In the next two decades, Mišo Kovač won many prestigious festival awards, topped music charts (albeit not so much the national Yugoslavian charts) and sold well over 20 million records during his long and successful career (making him the biggest ever selling artist in the former Yugoslavia).

Mišo Kovač divorced his first wife Ljubica Komadina after four years of marriage, and in 1973 he married former Miss Teen Yugoslavia of 1970, Anita Baturina (b. June 1, 1953 in Split), they had two children, son Eduard ‘Edi’ Kovač (b. June 3, 1975 in Split; d. April 9, 1992 in Zagreb) and daughter Ivana Kovač (b. September 1, 1977 in Zagreb, she’s also a renowned singer in her own right).

His life and career turned sour with the outbreak of war in Croatia and his first appearance on Croatian television after the collapse of Yugoslavia occurred in 1991 during Croatian War of Independence when Mišo Kovač showed his reluctant patriotism with a song inspired by attacks from the Krajina Serbs and JNA on his native Šibenik, “Grobovi im nikad oprostiti neće” (The graves will never forgive them).

At the same time Mišo Kovač’s son, ‘Edi’, joined the special unit of Croatian Army called Škorpioni [the Scorpions] and in 1992 he was fatally shot in Zagreb in controversial circumstances, with his death being officially declared as an accident. Mišo Kovač was deeply affected by the tragedy and refused to believe the official reason for his sons death. He claimed that his son was murdered and his quest to find his son’s killers got him involved with the far right Croatian Party of Rights. He began to support the party and appear at their rallies, dressing in the black uniform of the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS), the party’s militia. He also changed his first name from Mišo to Mate.

The death of his son had a devastating effect on his personal life and marriage, and in 1996 he divorced Anita Baturina, followed by years of alcohol abuse and severe depression caused him to try and commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest in 1999. After fully recovering and returning to the music scene, he married Lydia Pintarić. Kovač often spoke about his loyalty and gratitude to Lydia and the importance of their relationship and marriage she had towards his recovery.

Miso06

He’s also been quoted saying that he still only needs “a carton of tobacco, 5 coffees, half a pizza and one coca cola drink to survive each day”, which he made when the media in Croatia issued reports that all the money he earned during his fame has been spent on the many women he loved in his life and that he was penniless.

In 2012, Institut hrvatske glazbe [Institute of Croatian Music] presented Mišo Kovač with the Porin za životno djelo [Porin award for life achievement], and he still enjoys the reputation and fame of a musical legend and has many loyal fans all over the former Yugoslavia.

In 2016, he released a new single, “Takav Sam Rođen”.

Also in 2016, his 1987 hit “Poljubi zemlju” was played on the Mars rover Opportunity, the first ever pop song from Croatia (and probably any Eastern European country for that matter) to be played on an alien planet. (by wikipedia)

You´ll hear the Yugoslavian version of the monster hit “San Francisco” (you know … Scott McKenzie) and three more songs … pretty good pop songs …

Miso05

Personnel:
Mišo Kovač (vocals)
+
Orchestra under the direction of Stjepan Mihaljinec

BackCover1

Tracklist:
01. San Francisco (Phillips/Krajac) 2.47
02. Ne zuguj, Ljubavi (Mihaljinec/Britvic) 2.36
03. Daj da odem (Release Me) (Miller/Yount/Williams/Krajac) 3.03
04. Htjela to ti ili ne (Dann/Selebaj) 2.25

LabelA1

*
**