Friday, April 29, 2011

the right number

"After four movies, three concerts, and two-and-a-half museums, you sleep with him. It seems the right number of cultural events."

-from How to Be an Other Woman in the collection of short stories Self-Help, by Lorrie Moore

The Soul Children - I'll Be the Other Woman : Friction

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Soul - It Was Jesus Talking To Me

one day, one day
i was walking along
i heard a voice
but i saw no one

though the voice i heard
i tell you it sounded so sweet
then i knew it was jesus
and he was talking to me

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Lenka, Two Lenka...

My heart is playing tricks on me
And it's building bricks on me
I can't break through
And I can't face you

My world is turning slowly now
But it's burning up somehow
I need some time
To know what's right

'Cause it's only in the quiet that I feel some relief
I'm trying hard not to resist the joy
Don't listen to me I'm being paranoid
I might try hard but it's too hard to avoid

My heart skips a beat

Three years later, and Australian artist Lenka is back with her aptly titled second album, Two. Her first self titled album was one that I enjoyed for it's sunny, light-hearted playfulness, and you can still see traces of that in the opening few tracks of her newest album. For example, My Heart Skips A Beat, the second song of eleven. But as you progress deeper into the album, you'll find that Lenka has matured in many ways, starting with her voice, which sounds a little more developed three years later. Her music in general, in fact, has matured since she emerged three years ago, with the complexity of the instrumentation as well as their variety. While many of the songs have an electronic slant much like the bird and the bee, other songs feel more natural in their composition. While the over all feel of the album might show development, Lenka's voice still gently ensnares with it's inherent preciousness, albeit one that is beginning to show some wisdom gained through time.

and a lovely cover:

Visit her website, her label Epic Records, and become her friend on MySpace and Facebook.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Bang Years

"The times were tough and it looked like they'd be getting a whole lot tougher unless something happened soon. I was an old man of twenty-three and after six years of writing songs with the crazy notion that I could make a living at it, not a thing was breaking my way."

-Neil Diamond in the liner notes for The Bang Years

I've never shied away from 'fessing up for my love of the Diamond. No, I'm not taking David Lee Roth (although I do prefer him as a front man vs. Van Hagar, but I digress), I mean Neil Diamond. I first admitted it here about three years ago when writing about one of his new releases under the guidance of the brilliance known as Rick Rubin, his album Home Before Dark. Since then I've mentioned him a few times, always with due reverence and respect of course. When I caught wind of The Bang Years, I was nearly ecstatic.

In the liner notes for the album, written by Diamond himself, he recounts the struggles that most fans are probably unaware of in his early years. Considering the fact that he was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, it might come as a surprise that his initial forays into the music field were met with little to no success. Early in his career, he worked as a songwriter for the dynamic duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and their company, where he didn't pen a single memorable hit of any size. It wasn't until after getting fired and his friends Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry bringing him over to Atlantic Records that the musical genius he would become finally started to emerge with the outpouring of Diamond staples including Solitary Man, Cherry, Cherry, Thank the Lord for the Night Time, Red, Red, Wine, and others.

All of these classics would appear on the Atlantic subsidiary Bang Records between 1966 and 1968, a period when Diamond would create some of his signature songs. These recordings have been brought together onto one disc with the release of The Bang Years. Presented in their original mono recordings, these songs include some Diamond originals and other covers of contemporary songs of the time including Paul Simon's Red Rubber Ball, Ritchie Valens La Bamba, Tommy James and the Shondells' Hanky Panky and others. Also here you'll find the song most commonly associated with The Monkees, although originally written by Diamond, I'm A Believer.

For Diamond fans, this collection brings together and presents a musician at his birth, exploding with ideas, rich with musical inspiration. Coupled with self-penned liner notes, it gives an insightful view into the beginning of a career that still continues on.

Visit his website, the compilation's label Columbia Records, and become his friend on MySpace and Facebook.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Soul - When He Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters)

But when he touches me
But when she touches me
When he touches me
But when she touches me

With your hands or with your lips
Even with your fingertips

Oh, when she touches me
The way she touches me
Nothing else matters
Come on, touch me, baby
Oh, nothing else matters
In the midnight hour, baby
Nothing else matters
When you're close to me
Nothing else matters

Peaches & Herb - When He Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters) : When He Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters) 7"

Peaches & Herb - Thank You : When He Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters) 7" B-side

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Special Day

Today is the 4th annual Record Store Day celebration.

Irma Thomas - Old Records : Soul of the Night

It is also the 5th anniversary of this blog.

The Arcade Fire - Five Years (David Bowie cover) : Live at Fashion Rocks 9-9-05

One is more exciting than the other.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Joy and Pain

Remember when you first found love how you felt so good
Kind that last forever more so you thought it would
Suddenly the things you see got you hurt so bad, so bad
How come the things that make us happy make us sad
Well it seems to me that

Joy and pain
are like sunshine and rain
Joy and pain
are like sunshine and rain

Love can be bitter love can be sweet
Sometimes devotion and sometimes deceit
The ones that you care for give you so much pain
Oh but it's alright they're both one in the same

Saturday, April 09, 2011

I Can't Stop Loving You

(I can't stop loving you)
I've made up my mind
To live in memory of the lonesome times
(I can't stop wanting you)
It's useless to say
So I'll just live my life in dreams of yesterday
(Dreams of yesterday)
Those happy hours that we once knew
Tho' long ago, they still make me blue
They say that time heals a broken heart
But time has stood still since we've been apart

Yesterday I posted up a track from Sam & Ruby's album The Here and the Now, which prompted a reader to ask about another song they thought they had done that went something like "i cant stop missing you/ i've made up my mind." While not exactly right, the duo did do a song that went "i can't stop loving you/ i've made up my mind." The name of the song is quite appropriately I Can't Stop Loving You, and it's an old country song first written and performed by Don Gibson in 1957. In 1962, Ray Charles covered it on his groundbreaking album Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music. Since then, it's been covered by everyone under the sun. Here is a selective sampling of some of them; which is your favorite?

Sam & Ruby - I Can't Stop Loving You : Sony/ATV Nashville Classic Covers: Volume One

Don Gibson - I Can't Stop Loving You : RCA Country Legends: Don Gibson

Ray Charles - I Can't Stop Loving You : Complete Country & Western Recordings: 1959-1986 [Disc 1]

Ike and Tina Turner - I Can't Stop Loving You : Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show

Frank Sinatra - I Can't Stop Loving You : It Might As Well Be Swing

Elvis Presley - I Can't Stop Loving You : Live in Las Vegas

Martina McBride - I Can't Stop Loving You : Timeless

Friday, April 08, 2011

Need Me Less

you will find one day
that when you least expect
you will be that someone who will give as much as get
and when that wisdom comes
and you look back on us
you will know that this is love

i will have to take away my best
being fine alone will be the hardest test
you'll never grow if i don't go
you gotta try
and learn to need me less
i gotta try to learn to need you less

Sam & Ruby - Need Me Less : The Here and the Now

Visit their label Rykodisc and become their friend on MySpace.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday Soul - All Your Goodies Are Gone

Here are two of Michigan's finest soul musicians (legendary Funk Brothers guitarist Dennis Coffey and relative newcomer Mayer Hawthorne) collaborating on a cover of a classic Parliament track, All Your Goodies Are Gone. The studio version of this interpretation can be found on Coffey's upcoming self-titled release hitting shelves later this month from Strut Records. Perhaps best known for his breakbeat classic Scorpio, Coffey was instrumental not just in creating funky instrumentals, but also for incorporating the wah wah guitar sound into soul music in the 60's. On his upcoming albums, Coffey does a handful of interpretations (including Wilson Picket's Don't Knock My Love, 100 Proof Aged In Soul's Somebody’s Been Sleeping (In My Bed), and the above video), as well as some new originals. All together, just more proof that Coffey's guitar is pretty darn funky.

Parliament - All Your Goodies Are Gone : Up For the Down Stroke

Visit Dennis Coffey's website, his label Strut Records, and become his friend on MySpace and Facebook.