Spice Girls – Spice (1996)

FrontCover1.jpgSpice Girls were the first major British pop music phenomenon of the mid-’90s to not have a debt to independent pop/rock. Instead, the all-female quintet derived from the dance-pop tradition that made Take That the most popular British group of the early ’90s, but there was one crucial difference. Spice Girls used dance-pop as a musical base, but they infused the music with a fiercely independent, feminist stance that was equal parts Madonna, post-riot grrrl alternative rock feminism, and a co-opting of the good-times-all-the-time stance of England’s new lad culture. Their proud, all-girl image and catchy dance-pop appealed to younger listeners, while their colorful, sexy personalities and sense of humor appealed to older music fans, making Spice Girls a cross-generational success. The group also became chart-toppers throughout Europe in 1996, before concentrating in America in early 1997.

Every member of Spice Girls was given a specific identity by the British press from the outset, and each label was as much an extension of their own personality as it was a marketing tool, since each name derived from their debut single and video, “Wannabe.” Geri Estelle Halliwell was the “sexy Spice”; Melanie Janine Brown was the “scary Spice”; Victoria Adams was “the posh Spice”; Melanie Jayne Chisholm was “the sporty Spice”; Emma Lee Bunton was “the baby Spice.” Each persona was exploited in the group’s press articles and videos, which helped send “Wannabe” to the top of the charts upon its summer release in 1996. If all of the invented personalities made Spice Girls seem manufactured, that’s because they were to a certain extent.

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Every member of the group was active in England’s theatrical, film, and modeling circuit before the group’s formation, and they all responded to an advertisement requesting five “lively girls” for a musical group in the summer of 1993. The manager who placed the ad chose all five members of Spice Girls, yet the women rejected his plans for their career and set out on their own two months after forming. For the next two years, the Girls fought to get a record contract, since most record labels insisted that the band pick one member as a clear leader, which is something the group refused.

Eventually, Spice Girls signed a contract to Virgin Records. They were without a manager, though, which made recording a debut album nearly impossible. All five members moved into a house and went on the dole as they searched for a manager. By the end of 1995, the group had signed with Annie Lennox’s manager Simon Fuller, and began writing songs with Elliot Kennedy. “Wannabe,” Spice Girls’ first single, was released in the summer of 1996 and became the first debut single by an all-female band to enter the British charts at number one. It remained there for seven weeks, and by the end of the year, “Wannabe” had hit number one in 21 other countries. Immediately following the success of “Wannabe,”

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Spice Girls became media icons in Britain as stories of their encounters with other celebrities became fodder for numerous tabloids, as did nude photos of Halliwell that she posed for earlier in her career. All of this added to the group’s momentum, and their second single, “Say You’ll Be There,” entered the charts at number one in the fall, selling 200,000 copies a week. Spice, their debut album, was released at the end of the year, accompanied by their first ballad, “2 Become 1.” Both the album and single went directly to number one, staying there for several weeks; both records were at number one over the Christmas week, making Spice Girls one of three artists to achieve that feat.

Having topped the charts in virtually every other country in the Western world, Spice Girls concentrated on America in early 1997, releasing “Wannabe” in January and Spice in February.

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They became massive stars in the U.S. as well, also scoring the hits “Say You’ll Be There” and “2 Become 1”; Spiceworld, their second LP, appeared later in the year in conjunction with their feature film of the same name. In May 1998, Geri Halliwell departed from the band, not citing major reasons for leaving the group. She did release a solo album, Schizophonic, a year later, but nothing chart-topping to match the success of her former band. Still not deterred by the absence of Ginger Spice, Spice Girls trudged on — Melanie B. married Spice Girls dancer Jimmy Gulzar and released the solo single, a duet with Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot called “I Want You Back.” By Christmas, Spice Girls scored a number one hit with Goodbye and with a career floating high, their personal lives were moving as well. Melanie B. gave birth to a daughter named Phoenix Chi in February 1999, and Adams followed a month later with a son, Brooklyn Joseph. And now only known as Victoria Beckham, Posh Spice married Manchester United soccer star David Beckham later that summer. Becoming now more noticeable for their social status than their singing, Spice Girls took a well-deserved break while Melanie C. took over the English charts with her successful solo effort Northern Star, which was released in the U.S. in fall 1999. The following year, the girls headed back into the studio with high-profile producers Rodney Jerkins, Terry Lewis, and Jimmy Jam (Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige) to record a follow-up to their pop-friendly Spiceworld.

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In the middle of recording, Melanie B. divorced Gulzar and endured a bitter custody battle throughout the remainder of 2000. Spice Girls’ creative power overruled media scrutiny so that they could fully focus on the new R&B sound they were trying for and a the new collaboration united the foursome once again to release the third album Forever, which hit American shores in fall 2000.

The group began to splinter not long after the release of Forever, which made little impact outside of the UK where it only had one hit single — the chart-topping double-sided single “Holler”/”Let Love Lead the Way” — before the Spice Girls stopped promoting the album. Just three months after the album’s November 2000 release, the band announced that they were separating in February of 2001.

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Over the next few years, the Spice Girls may not have existed as a group, but they were never out of various taboild headlines in the UK and America. As the wife of football superstar David Beckham, Victoria got the most attention, but Mel B wasn’t far behind thanks to her ill-fated romance with actor Eddie Murphy, which resulted in an out-of-wedlock child. Mel Chisholm had a steady career as a pop singer while Emma Bunton had some chart success of her own with her 2001 album A Girl Like Me and its 2004 successor, Free Me. Meanwhile, Geri Halliwell split her time between recording and TV projects.

After years of persistent rumors of a reunion — peaking heavily yet never materializing for Bob Geldolf’s 2005 charity event Live 8 — the Spice Girls announced in June 2007 that they would be reuniting for an eleven-concert tour beginning that December, which would be accompanied by a new greatest hits album and documentary.

In 2010, it was announced that the Spice Girls had joined forces with Simon Fuller to develop a musical based on their songs. Viva Forever: The Musical – penned by British comedienne Jennifer Saunders – was announced at a press conference in June 2012. After much speculation in the British press, the Spice Girls reformed once more for the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.

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Spice doesn’t need to be original to be entertaining, nor do the Spice Girls need to be good singers. It just has to be executed well, and the innocuous dance-pop of Spice is infectious. None of the Girls have great voices, but they do exude personality and charisma, which is what drives bouncy dance-pop like “Wannabe,” with its ridiculous “zig-a-zig-ahhh” hook, into pure pop guilty pleasure. What is surprising is how the sultry soul of “Say You’ll Be There” is more than just a guilty pleasure, and how ballads like “2 Become 1” are perfect adult contemporary confections. The rest of the album isn’t quite as catchy as those first three singles, but it is still irresistible, immaculately crafted pop that gets by on the skills of the producer and the charisma of the five Spices. Sure, the last half of the album is forgettable, but it sounds good while it’s on, which is the key to a good dance-pop record. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

The Spice was really not my kind of music … but their first hit single “Wannabe” was one ofthe finest pop records in the Ninties !

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Personnel:
Mel B – Emma Bunton – Melanie C – Geri Halliwell (vocals)
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Absolute (instruments on 02., 04., 05. +  07.– 09.)
Matt Rowe (keyboards, programming on 01., 03., 06. + 10.)
Richard Stannard (keyboards, programming 01., 03., 06. + 10.); background vocals on 10.)
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Pete Davis (additional programming on 03.)
Jackie Drew (violin on 06.)
Eric Gooden (background vocals on 05.)
Judd Lander (harmonica on 02.)
Greg Lester (guitar on 03. + 06.)
Mary Pearce (background vocals on 07.)
Statik (additional programming on 03. + 05.)
Paul Waller (additional programming on 03. + 04.)
Tony Ward (cello on 06.)
Dave Way (additional programming on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Wannabe (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 2.53
02. Say You’ll Be There (Spice Girls/Kennedy) 3.56
03. 2 Become 1 (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 4.01
04. Love Thing (Spice Girls/Kennedy/Bayliss) 3.38
05. Last Time Lover (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.11
06. Mama (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 5.05
07. Who Do You Think You Are (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.00
08. Something Kinda Funny (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.05
09. Naked (Spice Girls/Watkins/Wilson) 4.25
10. If U Can’t Dance (Spice Girls/Stannard/Rowe) 3.48

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Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazig ah.

If you want my future forget my past,
If you wanna get with me better make it fast,
Now don’t go wasting, my precious time,
Get your act together we can be just fine.

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazang ah.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,(gottagetwithmyfriends!)
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

So what you think about that? Now you know how I feel.
Say you can handle my love are you for real,(are you for real)
I won’t be hasty, I’ll give you a try
If you really bug me then I’ll say goodbye.

Yo I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want,
So tell me what you want, what you really really want,
I wanna ha, I wanna ha, I wanna ha I wanna ha, I wanna really
Really really wanna zigazig ah.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

So here’s a story from A to Z, you wanna get with me
You gotta listen carefully,
We got Em in the place who likes it in your face,
We got G like mc who likes it on an
Easy V doesn’t come for free, shes a real lady
And as for me.. Ha you’ll see.
Slam your body down and wind it all around
Slam your body down and wind it all around.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends,
Make it last forever friendship never ends,
If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give,
Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.

If you wanna be my lover, you gotta, you gotta, you
Gotta,
You gotta, you gotta!!!!! Make it last forever (stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!)
Slam your body down and wind it all around?
Slam your body down and wind it all around.(ha ha ha ha)
Slam your body down and wind it all around.
Slam your body down zigazig ah

Phil Collins – Serious Hits … Live (1990)

FrontCover1.jpgSerious Hits… Live! is the name of Phil Collins’ 1990 live album, released on vinyl and CD. It is also the title of the 2003 DVD video release of his concert at Berlin’s Waldbühne on 15 July 1990. (The original 1990 VHS and Betamax version of the video was titled Seriously Live.) The songs on the CD version are taken from various concerts during the Seriously, Live! World Tour. At the Brit Awards in 1992, the album brought Collins a nomination for British Male Artist.

When compiling the tracks for the album, instead of providing the experience of a complete live concert, the producers took the approach of putting together a “hits only” selection of songs. On the final song of the album, Collins thanks the fans in Chicago.

The live video and DVD version features one entire concert. The live performance at Berlin’s Waldbühne has been hailed by Collins as his best performance due to the energy of the German people after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The DVD presents an in-depth look at his solo concert experience. Special moments include the crowd not allowing the concert to continue with prolonged applause after “Something Happened on the Way to Heaven” and the lighter vigil during “Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore”. (by wikipedia)

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Along with being a multi-talented musician and an excellent songwriter, Phil Collins is one of the best live performers in rock. His songs usually stay true to their original form, he puts plenty of fire into his vocals, and best of all, every one of his in-concert qualities transfers well into album form. Serious Hits…Live! is a wonderful example of this, with not only 15 tracks, but 15 of Phil’s best tracks, performed with an overcharged amount of enthusiasm and energy. There’s an equal number of ballads and fast songs on the album, but even on the slow stuff, Collins puts a lot of passion and feeling into the lyrics. Efforts such as “One More Night,” “Do You Remember?,” and especially his best ballad, “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” are heartfelt and unhindered. His moods shift easily without any false emotional dramatics, which in turn enhances the ambience of the songs. The tracks are taken from a number of shows during his Serious Tour in 1990, but his performance level remains enthusiastic the whole album through and the change of venues goes unnoticed, which is again another plus.

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Collins is just as sharp on the quicker tunes, with some wonderful percussion filling in behind him. The drumming is stellar on “Easy Lover” and again on “Sussudio,” but the album’s only downfall is its lack of credits, leaving the identities of the musicians a mystery. The album makes up for this with a spine-chilling version of “In the Air Tonight” as Collins does a good job of capturing the song’s haunting air, and from here the album switches gears with “You Can’t Hurry Love” but doing so with undefiled perfection. Almost all of the songs here broke Billboard’s Top Ten, and five of these tracks hit number one, which makes Serious Hits…Live! truly live up to it’s name. (by Mike DeGagne)

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Personnel:
Brad Cole (keyboards)
Phil Collins (vocals, piano, drums)
Leland Sklar (bass)
Daryl Stuermer (guitar)
Chester Thompson (drums)
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The Phenix Horns:
Rahmlee Michael Davis (trumpet)
Harry Kim (trumpet)
Don Myrick (saxophone)
Louis “Lui Lui” Satterfield (trombone)
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The Seriousettes (background vocals):
Bridgette Bryant – Arnold McCuller – Fred White

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Tracklist:
01. Something Happened On The Way To Heaven (Collins/Stuermer) 5.00
02. Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)  (Collins) 3.29
03. Who Said I Would (Collins) 4.28
04. One More Night (Collins) 5.49
05. Don’t Lose My Number (Collins) 4.42
06. Do You Remember? (Collins) 5.40
07. Another Day In Paradise (Collins) 5.36
08. Separate Lives (Bishop) 5.17
09. In The Air Tonight (Collins) 6.35
10. You Can’t Hurry Love (Dozier, E.Holland/B.Holland) 2.54
11. Two Hearts (Collins/Lamont/Dozier) 3.07
12. Sussudio (Collins) 7.14
13. A Groovy Kind Of Love (Bayer-Sager/Wine) 3.30
14. Easy Lover (Bailey/Collins/East) 4.46
15. Take Me Home (Collins) 8.39

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The Christians – Colour (1990)

FrontCover1.jpgThe Christians are a musical ensemble from Liverpool, England, who had the highest selling debut album of any artist at Island Records and international chart hits in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The name of the band refers to the surname of the three brothers that were originally in the line-up, and is also coincidentally guitarist Henry Priestman’s middle name.

Garry Christian (born 27 February 1955, Liverpool) (lead vocals), Roger Christian (born 13 February 1950; died 8 March 1998 from brain tumour) (vocals, instrumentalist), Russell Christian (born 8 July 1956) (keyboards, saxophone, vocals), and Henry Priestman (born Henry Christian Priestman, 21 June 1955, in Kingston upon Hull, brought up in Liverpool) (keyboards, guitars, vocals) formed the band in 1985. Paul Barlow (drums), Mike Bulger (guitar/vocals) and Tony Jones on bass were also early members. Because of a reluctance to tour, Roger left in 1987.

TheChristians01In Rock: The Rough Guide, critic Charles Bottomley, described them as “The Temptations in ripped jeans, producing gritty-centred songs in a sugary vocal shell”.

Colour is the second album by British soul group The Christians. It was released in January 1990 by Island Records and peaked at number one on the UK Albums Chart. It also reached the Top 20 in several European countries due, notably, to the success of its lead single “Words”. (by wikipedia)

Given the obvious talent at the Christians’ disposal, it’s odd how uninspiring their music is. Gary Christian has a remarkable voice, soulful without resorting to the showy mannerisms that derail so many lesser singers. In his previous band, the Yachts, keyboardist Henry Priestman revealed himself to be one of the wittiest and most melodically subtle songwriters of the post-punk age, as well as one of its most immediately distinctive instrumentalists. The subtle melodicism is still there on 1990’s Colour, but the cleverness and distinctive personality are pretty much gone. The lyrics are uniformly po-faced and mushily inspirational, with none of the sparkling wit of the Yachts, and Laurie Latham’s ultra-slick production doesn’t even have the over-the-top sonic gimmickry of his earlier albums for Squeeze and Paul Young, making Colour musically indistinguishable from the likes of Phil Collins and Simple Minds.

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Worst of all, the songs are absurdly elongated, stretching three minutes’ worth of musical and lyrical content into tracks that tend to stretch into the five- to seven-minute range. Despite the title, Colour is stultifyingly monochromatic. The closing “In My Hour of Need” is a charming sendoff, though, by far the most memorable track on the album. (by Stewart Mason)

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Personnel:
Garry A. Christian (vocals)
Russell Christian (saxophone, vocals)
Henry Priestman (keyboards, guitar, vocals)
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Steve Ferrone (drums)
Pino Palladino (bass)
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The London Community Gospel Choir (on 09.)

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Tracklist:
01. Man Don’t Cry (Priestman) 4.46
02. I Found Out (Priestman) 4.30
03. Greenbank Drive (Priestman) 4.25
04. All Talk (Priestman) 4.37
05. Words (Traditional/Priestman) 7.04
06. Community Of Spirit (G.Christian) 5.13
07. There You Go Again (Priestman) 6.00
08. One More Baby In Black (Priestman) 5.42
09. In My Hour Of Need (Priestman) 6.24

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Labels.jpgThe labels of the vinyl edition

 

Al Jarreau – This Time (1980)

FrontCover1.jpgThis Time is the fourth studio album by Jazz vocalist Al Jarreau, released in 1980 on Warner Bros. Records. The release marked a change in Jarreau’s sound to a more R&B-oriented flavor. As a result, the album achieved more success on the mainstream charts than his previous works, while also topping the Jazz Charts. It also reached #6 on the R&B charts and #27 on the Billboard 200.” In 1981 “Never Givin’ Up” gave Jarreau a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male.

This Time marked Jarreau’s first foray into the top 40 on the Hot 200 or top ten on the R&B charts, as well as his first #1 on the Jazz charts. His next album would prove even more successful, topping both the Jazz and R&B charts.

“Never Givin’ Up” peaked at #26 R&B, while “Distracted” and Gimme What You Got” peaked at #61 and #63 on the R&B charts.

“Never Givin’ Up” received a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male in 1981, Jarreau’s first nomination in the R&B field. It lost to Jarreau’s Warner Bros. labelmate George Benson for the Give Me the Night album, who had recently undergone a similar change in sound. (by wikipedia)

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Al Jarreau finally found success in the U.S. after 1975’s We Got By. The later albums that followed ,like 1977’s live Look to the Rainbow and 1978’s All Fly Home found him attaining the all-important cult status and accolades from the jazz community. Those facts made his switch to pop/R&B on This Time even more surprising. For This Time, Jarreau is paired with producer Jay Graydon. Despite his jazz credentials, This Time does prove that this style is where Jarreau truly prospers. The jittery “Never Give It Up” and the melodic and pensive “Gimme What You Got” have a crisp and refined L.A. sound, and Jarreau gives the songs weight with his methodical yet playful vocals. In the same vein, the poignantly sung and arranged “Your Sweet Love” displays Jarreau’s gift of ringing emotion where you’d least expect it. Jarreau also adds deft lyrics to jazz standards “(A Rhyme) This Time” and “(I Can Recall) Spain.” The best song to bridge the gap between the two incarnations, “Alonzo,” is strikingly beautiful and has Jarreau nearly reaching operatic heights. During its release, This Time was stunning for its fresh sound and a sense of warmth. Upon repeated plays, those attributes still ring true. (by Jason Elias)

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Personnel:
Tom Canning (keyboards)
Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar)
George Duke (piano)
Chuck Findley (horn, trumpet)
David Foster (piano)
Steve Gadd (drums)
Steve George (synthesizer)
Jay Graydon (guitar, synthesizer)
Jerry Hey (flugelhorn, trumpet)
Ralph Humphrey (drums, percussion)
Al Jarreau (vocals, percussion)
Earl Klugh (guitar)
Abraham Laboriel, Sr. (bass)
Greg Mathieson (keyboards, synthesizer)
Michael Omartian (synthesizer)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Earl Lon Price (saxophone)
William Frank “Bill” Reichenbach Jr. (trombone)
Les Thompson (harmonica)
Carlos Vega (drums)
Larry Williams (piano, synthesizer)

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Tracklist:
01. Never Givin’ Up (Canning/Jarreau) 3.59
02. Gimme What You Got (Canning/Jarreau) 3.46
03. Love Is Real (Canning/Jarreau/Kellock) 4.26
04. Alonzo (Jarreau) 5.27
05. (If I Could Only) Change Your Mind (Canning/Willis) 4.18
06. Spain (I Can Recall) (Corea/Jarreau/Maren) 6.33
07. Distracted (Jarreau) 5.53
08. Your Sweet Love (Canning/Jarreau/Kellock) 4.15
09. (A Rhyme) This Time (Jarreau/Klugh) 3.42

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Wynder K. Frog – Sunshine Super Frog (1967)

frontcover1And here´s a real intersting story about a great session musicians from UK:

Mick Weaver (born 16 June 1944, Bolton, Lancashire, England) is an English session musician, best known for his playing of the Hammond B3 organ, and as an exponent of the blues and funk.

Weaver’s band performed as Wynder K. Frog and became popular on the student union and club circuit of the mid sixties. A brief merging of this band with Herbie Goins and the Night-Timers took his work to a higher level. Wynder K. Frogg—they are billed under this spelling—appeared on the bill at The Savile Theatre, London on 24 September 1967 supporting Traffic on their first U.K. presentation. Also on the bill were Jackie Edwards and Nirvana. The compere was David Symonds.

When Steve Winwood left Traffic to form Blind Faith, Weaver was recruited to replace him and Traffic became Mason, Capaldi, Wood and Frog, soon shortened to Wooden Frog. They played a few gigs before dissolving three months later when Traffic reformed. After this he recorded with solo artists such as Buddy Guy, Dave Gilmour, Joe Cocker, Eric Burdon, Frankie Miller, Roger Chapman Steve Marriott and Gary Moore as well as Taj Mahal and The Blues Band, also playing keyboards with Steve Marriott’s Majik Mijits. (by wikipedia)

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And here´s the debut album of  the UK Hammond wizard Mick Weaver, a.k.a. Wynder K. Frog.Wynder K. Frog:

The Wynder K. Frog story evolves around Mick Weaver. After he switched from piano to organ he joined a band named The Chapters that would soon be renamed Wynder K. Frog and perform material from James Brown’s Flames, Booker T. and The MGs or even songs learned through Georgie Fame’s recordings and Graham Bond’s repertoire. Wynder K. Frog moved to London and became regulars in the city’s R&B scene playing at Swingin’ London’s clubs like the Tiles or The Marquee. A contract with Island Records was secured and – under the wings of producers like Chris Blackwell, Guy Stevens, Jimmy Miller or Gus Dudgeon – Wynder K Frog, a name that would eventually be used as a pseudonym for Weaver more than a proper band name, did some some amazing Hammond organ-ized recordings and issued in three LPs and a bunch of cool 45s.

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At the end of the 1960s, Weaver would quit the “band scene” to become one of the most in demand session musicians and throughout his career he’d be heard backing names such as Eric Burdon, Roger Chapman, Dave Gilmour, Keef Hartley, Alexis Korner, Ralph McTell, Taj Mahal or Otis Rush a.o, but his LPs as Wynder K Frog are classic Hammond sound from the 1960s UK and will appeal to those into Brian Auger, Graham Bond, The Artwoods, Zoot Money, Jimmy McGriff, Booker T. & The MGs and the likes.

Recorded mostly in 1966 and issued in 1967, Wynder K Frog’s first LP came out of sessions produced by Chris Blackwell, Jimmy Miller and Syd Dale. Weaver was assuming more and more the identity of Wynder K Frog and was backed by session musicians rather than by his live band. It consisted in organ led instrumental covers of songs from the Island catalogue, some built over rejected backing tracks for other artists of the label like Jimmy Cliff, Jackie Edwards and Owen Gray and some new recordings of hits like Spencer Davis Group’s “Somebody Help Me”, plus some covers of american R&B hits by the likes of Sam & Dave, Willie Mitchell or Wilson Pickett. The end result gave an idea of the Wynder K Frog sound, resulting in a top mix of dance club go-go sounds, perfect for any allnighter at the Tiles or any Swingin’ London venue of the 1960s.

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Rare French EP, 1967

Master of the Hammond B4 organ, Mick Weaver had played with his own band in the mid-sixties mostly playing Student Union gigs and average size clubs etc. He was approached by Island Records to record his organ over a set of instrumental backing tracks produced by top session musicians from New York. The result was a very cohesive union of soulful horns and Weaver honing in on his keyboard skills at every opportunity. (by Trevor H. Faull)

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As I bonus track we can hear his verion of “I´m A Man” from The Spencer Davis Group, officially “recorded live in Paris”:

Hi. I know that it says recorded in live Paris on the single but I met Mick Weaver at a gig and asked him about this. He laughed and said that it was Chris Blackwell’s idea to say that and it was actually recorded live in London at Brigitte Bardot’s birthday party! (by elvispreseli)

Nice story …

Personnel:
Mick Weaver (orgn)
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a bunch of unknown studio musicians

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Tracklist:
01. Sunshine Superman (Leitch) 2.35
02. I Feel So Bad (Edwards) 2.25
03. Oh Mary (Edwards) 2.34
04. Blues For A Frog (Dale) 3.03
05. Somebody Help Me (Edwards) 2.45
06. Mercy (Harris) 1.57
07. Hold On, I’m Coming (Hayes/Porter) 2.12
08. Shook, Shimmy And Shake (Gray) 2.14
09. Insence (Fallon/Miller) 2.29
10. Walking To New Orleans (Domino/Bartholomew/Guidry) 2.01
11. (Don’t Fight It) Feel It (Pickett/Cropper) 2.21
12. Dancin’ Pain (Miller) 2.30
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13. I´m A Man (live) (Miller/Winwood) 3.20

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mick weaver

Johnny Logan – Irishman In America (2008)

FrontCover1.jpgJohnny Logan is building a lot of bridges on his album “Irishman in America“. A bridge between Ireland and America. A bridge between past and present. A bridge between those of us who are still alive and those of our dear ones who have crossed to the land of the dead. Johnny Logan takes us down many roads and has many ambitions with his album. It comes as a continuation of the album called “The Irish Connection”. The recordings practically sent Logan on a journey around the globe. He recorded the rhythmic section – that is drums and bas – in Denmark together with his Danish band. Then he went to Germany to record all the keys, among others keyboard and piano, then he went to Nashville, USA to record the stringed instruments, pedal guitar and steel guitar, dobro, banjo, and the American fiddle – that is the violin. “There is not a single electric guitar on the album. Everything is made with acoustic guitars”, Johnny Logan explains in a voice reverberating with pride. From the USA he had to go back to Ireland to record the Irish fiddle and the characteristic Irish tin whistle. Beyond “Irishman in America” Logan has also written the songs “Sorry”, “Bridges of my Heart” and “Dancing with my Father”. The latter is also building a bridge to the beloved dear ones who have passed away, as it goes in the first lines of the chorus: “So I go/ dancing with my father/ through the streets of yesterday….”. The American link which Logan is making is connected to the history of Ireland, which saw thousands of men and women crossing the Atlantic Ocean to the land on the other side.

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Along they brought a musical tradition that has influenced the music which arose in the USA. “Thus bluegrass and the Cajun music have been strongly inspired by Irish music”, says Johnny Logan. But it is neither bluegrass nor Cajun songs that Logan has chosen for the album from America’s enormous backlist. He has chosen songs that in one way or another have meant something to him. And they are all very different. Right from “This Land is your Land”, which is an old American traditional, to “Piece of my Heart”, which is one of the biggest hits from the folk-rock-queen Janice Joplin. “It was important for me to find some songs which had a groove which touched me. They are all songs that were popular in the USA in the 70’ies, because I was very attracted to the country in those days and to everything on the music stage then. For example I simply love Janice Joplin, so it was only natural for me to include one of her songs”. Yet another bridge between the USA and Ireland – and between the USA and the Logan family – is the bridge that was built when Johnny’s dad, Patrick O’Hagan sang for the three American presidents, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. But otherwise it is mainly musically that Johnny Logan wishes to build bridges. He does that by allowing the two musical traditions to blend in untraditional arrangements where for example the Irish and the American fiddle are practically battling in the same tune. But, of course, quite true to Johnny Logan’s heart – a mainly friendly battle. (by Rie Nielsen)

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Personnel:
Pauli Andreasen (guitar)
Jesper Andersen (drums, percussion)
Peter Dencker (accordion background vocals))
Lloyd Green (pedal steel-guitar)
Tommy Keane (pipe)
Andreas Linse (keyboards)
Johnny Logan (vocals)
Charlie McCoy (harmonica)
John Sheahan (fiddle, whistle)
Michael Sherrard (guitar)
Jacob Skytte (bass)
Wanda Wick (guitar, dobro, banjo, mandolin, fiddle)
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background vocals:
Heidi Trolle – Adam Sherrard – Fionn Sherrard – Jack Sherrard

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Tracklist:
01. Rocky Road To Dublin (Traditional) 3.19
02. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (Robertson) 3.39
03. Belle Of Belfast (Traditional) 4.26
04. Dancing With My Father (Linse/Sherrard) 4.56
05. This Land Is Your Land (Guthrie) 3.55
06. Piece Of My Heart (Berns/Ragovoy) 4.07
07. The Alabama Song (Brecht/Weill) 4.37
08. Bridges Of My Heart (Sherrard) 3.41
09. Sorry (Linse/Sherrard) 3.53
10. Paddy On The Railway (Traditional) 3.17
11. Waxies Dargle (Traditional) 2.48
12. Irishman In America (Sherrard) 5.02
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13. Why Me (Logan) 3.32

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Dana Valery – Same (1975)

LPFrontCover1Dana Valery Catalano (born Fausta Dana Galli; 1944, Codogno) is an Italian-born South African-reared singer, actress, and television performer who started her career in the entertainment industry at the age of 16 in Johannesburg, South Africa where her family emigrated from Italy in 1947.

The Codogno-born singer has performed on television, radio, Broadway and in live concert performances worldwide, including major cities such as New York, London, Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Johannesburg. She is the sister of singer and actor Sergio Franchi.

Valery starred in three productions of the South African musical revue Wait A Minim!: The Original 1962 South African production; The 1964 London production; and the Broadway production which ran for 456 performances at the John Golden Theatre from 7 March 1966 – 15 April 1967. Miss Valery recorded Original Cast Albums of all three productions.

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In 1965, she appeared on the British television series called Ladybirds for ITV Southern England. In the programme, interviewers Shaw Taylor and Terence Carroll attempt to find out about the individual behind the image. She appeared on several different television shows in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. One such appearance was as a panellist on the episode of the television game show, What’s My Line? that featured then-Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, as a contestant.

Dana Catalano made a career change later in life to become a healer. Her areas of expertise include Reiki and hypnotherapy. Her main practice is based in New York.

She is married to Peter Catalano who has worked both as a musician, trained at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and as an architect.

DanaValery02The couple founded a company dedicating its efforts to good health and meaningful relationships. They have hosted the New York radio talk show, Natural Harmony which is dedicated to these ideals.

Valery’s first USA album was an RCA collaboration album with Al Hirt and Boots Randolph. Her solo debut album in the United States was called Dana Valery. The cover artwork shows her wearing black against a black background, resulting in a cameo-like effect. This album can still be found on Internet record stores and auction sites. This album was issued on RCA’s custom label – Phantom. She recorded ten LP albums, two EPs, and a number of singles in South Africa prior to going abroad. In Johannesburg, Dana won two SARIE awards in (1964 and 1965) for Best Female Vocalist (by wikipedia)

And here´s her rare album for Phantom Records … produced by the one and only Leslie West !

This 1975 album by female vocalist Dana Valery  is a very underrated, must be heard classic. Italian-born Dana had been singing for well over a decade , cutting her first records in , of all places, South Africa. There she recorded for Columbia, and had several 45’s released in the US also, including her soulful version of Paul Simon’s “You Don´t Know Where Your Interest lies”. She also had played on the stage, made TV appearances and cut other singles as well. She also is the sister to the late singer Sergio Franchi. Her first US album was in 1972 with the Soul label, Brunswick, “Not The Flower But The Root”. In 1975, she worked with ex-Mountain guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Leslie West on his album, “The Great Fatsby” , and also on this, her self-titled 2nd album. Both Dana’s and West’s albums may have been been recorded simaltaneously, as both came out in 1975, have the same musicians playing on both albums and were released on Phantom Records.

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“Dana Valery” is a great album of both rock, and some rock ballads. She’s got an excellent voice that can sing out with power, or softer with restraint. Her version of the Lobo  hit “I’d Love You To Want Me” is a perfect song for her, with acoustic guitars that build up as her voice carries the song to new heights. Neil Sedaka’s “Solitaire” is also in the same vein, another great take that stands apart from other versions. Biggest surprise is her version of The Rolling Stones’ “Play With Fire”. The production is a mix of powerful lead & background vocals, guitars and an atmospheric production. Sort of conjures up mysticism, and expands the short Stones version into a longer rock jam. Leslie West surrounds Dana with production and playing that does not get in the way of the main attraction, her voice.
A mix of rock with some noteworthy ballads make this album a consistent listening experience. Other rockers include “Power To All Our Friends”,  “To Be Alive”, and “Music And My Man”, the latter 2 songs of which Dana co-wrote with Leslie and others . The more acoustic ballad oriented songs include the exquisite Paul Williams-Roger Nichols penned “I Never Had It So Good” and Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers To Cross”. The Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is a fun version that opens up Side 2.
This is a great, initially overlooked album that is being listened to today more than when it was released. Coupled with West’s “The Great Fatsby”, on which Dana contributed many lead & background vocals, this has some excellent music that stands the test of time. (by melomanodiscos.blogspot)

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Personnel:
Don Kretmar (bass)
Corky Laing (drums, percussion)
Dana Valery (vocals)
Frank Vicari (saxophone, flute)
Sredni Vollmer (harmonica, percussion)
Leslie West (guitar, background vocals)
Howie Wyeth (keyboards, mellotron)

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Tracklist:
01. I’d Love You To Want Me (Lobo) 2.45
02. Solitaire (Sedaka) 3.01
03. Play With Fire (Jagger/Richards) 3.32
04. Power To All Our Friends (Flett/Fletcher) 2.28
05. I Never Had It So Good (Williams/Nichols) 4.21
06. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Lennon/McCartney) 2.41
07. On Fire For You (Elliot) 3.20
08. To Be Alive (Valery/I.Stone/M.Stone/West) 2.10
09. Music And My Man (Valery/West/Saunders) 2.43
10. Many Rivers To Cross (Cliff) 2.19

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