Mick Ronson – Slaughter On 10th Avenue (1974)

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Slaughter on 10th Avenue is the debut album by Mick Ronson, released in 1974.

For inspiration, Ronson relied on Annette Peacock’s 1972 album I’m the One; he used the title track and her arrangement of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender”. Two songs were co-written by Ronson with Scott Richardson, who had been involved in the Ann Arbor music scene since the mid-’60s and came to prominence as lead singer of the SRC. Richardson was brought into the Bowie camp by Angie Bowie, who met him through Ron Asheton of the Stooges. During the recording of the album, Ronson considered putting together a new band with Richardson, Aynsley Dunbar, and Trevor Bolder, to be called the Fallen Angels, but plans fell through.

Reflecting, a decade after the fact, on his launch as a solo rock & roll superstar, Mick Ronson shrugged indifferently, as though he’d really had no say in the matter. David Bowie had just “retired” and, in the absence of the singing sensation with whom Ronson had already risen to unexpected heights, manager Tony DeFries was anxious to keep at least one of his many pots boiling. “Tony said to me, ‘okay, we can make you a big star, get you a deal with RCA, all that.’ So I said ‘wonderful,’ and went off to make my own record.”

Was there ever a launch like the one which awaited Mick Ronson? For a few weeks through the early spring of 1974, you couldn’t turn around without his blonde tresses and sad doe eyes staring out from the video still selected to represent his solo career: “Slaughter on 10th Avenue,” a histrionic guitar rendition of the Richard Rodgers movie classic, was an inspired choice, and the accompanying video — Ronson watching helplessly as his girl is gunned down on the street — remains one of the unseen classics of the genre. No mere miming potboiler for this Kid — Ronson got the full Hollywood treatment. The same can be said for the accompanying album. Slaughter on 10th Avenue remains a startling achievement, however it is viewed. Guitar gods, after all, were ten-a-penny through the ’70s. But could Ritchie Blackmore sing? Jimmy Page? Robin Trower? Ronno’s voice wasn’t strong, but with sensitive material and lyrics he could get behind, he was unbeatable. A deliciously Pelvis-less “Love Me Tender” opens the album with warm depth and sparkling cadences; “Only After Dark,” co-written with one-time SRC main man Scott Richardson, proved he hadn’t left the hard riffing behind. The watchword throughout was variety — from the proto-Springsteen-esque “Growing Up and I’m Fine” (the first and only Bowie/Ronson composition to be publicly acknowledged) to the chest-beating Euro-angst of “Music Is Lethal” — all were a showcase for Ronson the performer, rather than the man who garroted Gibsons for fun, and initial reviews of the album made that point. Of course, the guitar didn’t get off scot-free. The scorching ARP/guitar duel which concludes “Hey Ma, Get Papa” and, of course, the title track itself, were evidence of Ronson’s love for his day job, but today, it is the absence of screeching, squealing, neck-twisting frenzy which has ensured that Slaughter on 10th Avenue remain so much more than just another guitar picker’s solo record; that the album does, in fact, stand alongside any of Bowie’s own, immediately post-Ronson albums as a snapshot of a special time, when the triple disciplines of glam, rock, and “Precious Art” slammed into one another without a care in the world.

 

Tracklist

1.  “Love Me Tender”   (George R. Poulton, Ken Darby) – 4:50
2.  “Growing Up and I’m Fine”   (David Bowie) – 3:10
3.  “Only After Dark”   (Mick Ronson, Scott Richardson) – 3:30
4.  “Music Is Lethal”   (Lucio Battisti, English lyrics by Bowie) – 5:10
5.  “I’m the One”   (Annette Peacock) – 5:03
6.  “Pleasure Man / Hey Ma Get Papa”   (Ronson, Richardson, Bowie) – 8:55
7.  “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue”   (Richard Rodgers) – 4:41

 

Personnel
Mick Ronson – guitar, piano, vocals, arrangement, conductor
Trevor Bolder – bass, trumpet, trombone
Aynsley Dunbar – drums, percussion
Mike Garson – piano, electric piano, organ
David Hentschel – ARP on “Hey Ma Get Papa”
Margaret Ronson – backing vocals
Dennis MacKay – engineer, backing vocals
Sidney Sax – strings
Leee Black Childers – cover
Producer – Mick Ronson

Notes
Released: February 1974
Recorded: July 1973 Studio Château d’Hérouville, Hérouville, France Trident Studios, London, England
Genre: Rock, glam rock
Length: 35:19

Label – RCA Records

Working Week – Working Nights (1985)

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Working Week was a British jazz-dance musical ensemble, active in the 1980s and 1990s.

Working Week was formed in 1983, by guitarist Simon Booth and saxophonist Larry Stabbins, from the ashes of the proto new wave jazz-pop band Weekend, which ceased to exist when singer Alison Statton left to become a schoolteacher. Weekend also paved the way for other Brit jazz-pop bands that followed such as Everything But The Girl and Swing Out Sister. The duo released its debut single “Venceremos (We Will Win)” the following year, a tribute to Chilean protest singer Víctor Jara featuring vocal contributions from Robert Wyatt and Tracey Thorn from Everything but the Girl. It became the band’s sole entry in the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at #64. The single featured founder members of the London School of Samba, notably Bosco de Oliveira and Dawson Miller. Other early members of the group also performed with the band. Singer Julie Tippetts provided vocals for the follow-up “Storm of Light”.

A debut album, Working Nights was released in April 1985, with vocalist Juliet Roberts added as a full-time member of the band. Initial copies of the LP had a bonus 12″ featuring (Jalaluddin) Jalal Mansur Nuriddin (also known as Lightnin’ Rod, birth name Alafia Pudin) of The Last Poets.

The original vinyl release consisted of the first eight tracks on this reissue; a set of tunes that still sounds sharp and exciting almost 30 years after its release. The additional tracks—a mix of alternative versions, live recordings and remixes—are no mere fillers. The extensive list of guest musicians and singers is a veritable who’s who of the best, most forward-looking, performers of the time, such as trumpeters Guy Barker and Harry Beckett, saxophonist Chris Biscoe, trombonist Annie Whitehead and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo.

These players add a real spark to the music: Dave Bitelli’s clarinet on “Venceremos” heightens the song’s intensity; Whitehead’s powerful, raw solo energizes “No Cure, No Pay”; while Beckett adds his own fiery solo to the same track. Stabbins is also an emphatic presence on the frontline, showing his technical and emotional range with a soprano sax solo on “Autumn Boy” and tenor solo on Marvin Gaye’s “Inner City Blues.”

The guest vocalists are also stellar. Tracey Thorn, of Everything But The Girl, and Robert Wyatt duet on all three versions of “Venceremos (We Will Win),” while Julie Tippetts leads on “Storm Of Light.” These three voices have their own soulfulness, a contrast to Roberts’ more raw-edged sound but still full of emotion and commitment. There’s also a fluid, intense rap from The Last Poets’ Jalal on “Stella Marin

 

Tracklist

1. “Inner City Blues” (Marvin Gaye, James Nyx Jr.) – 5:44
2. “Sweet Nothing” (Booth) – 3:39
3. “Who’s Fooling Who” – 5:04
4. “Thought I’d Never See You Again” – 6:26
5. “Autumn Boy” – 6:33
6. “Solo” – 4:40
7. “Venceremos” (Booth) – 4:41
8. “No Cure No Pay” (Stabbins) – 8:28

All tracks composed by Simon Booth and Larry Stabbins, except where noted.

Companies, etc.

Recorded At – Power Plant Studios
Recorded At – Dining Suite
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Copyright (c) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Published By – Warner Bros. Music Ltd.
Published By – Jobete Music (UK) Ltd.
Distributed By – Virgin Records Ltd.

Credits

Arranged By [Horns] – Larry Stabbins (tracks: 2 to 9)
Arranged By [Strings] – Nick Ingman
Bass – Chucho Merchan (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 7), Ernest Mothle (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 8)
Drums – Louis Moholo, Nic France (tracks: 1, 3, 4), Roy Dodds (tracks: 2, 5, 6, 8)
Engineer – Ben Rogan, John Acock, Pete Brown 
Engineer [Assistant] – Simon Driscoll
Engineer [Production] – Mike Pela, Steve Churchyard
Guitar [Additional] – Robin Millar (tracks: 1, 3, 5)
Mixed By – Robin Millar
Percussion – Dawson (tracks: 2, 5 to 8), Joao Bosco De Oliveira (tracks: 2, 5 to 8), Martin Ditcham (tracks: 1, 3, 4)
Piano – Kim Burton
Producer – Robin Millar (tracks: 1 to 7, 9)
Producer, Guitar, Arranged By [Songs] – Simon Booth
Saxophone [Soprano], Saxophone [Tenor], Flute, Arranged By [Songs] – Larry Stabbins
Trombone – Annie Whitehead (tracks: 2, 6, 8), Malcolm Griffiths (tracks: 3, 4, 5)
Trumpet – Guy Barker (tracks: 1, 3, 4), Harry Beckett (tracks: 2, 5, 8)
Vocals – Jalal, Juliet Roberts

Notes

Release Date 1985
Genre: Jazz, Latin, Funk / Soul
Style: Acid Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Latin Jazz, Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funk
Duration: 56:16

Label – Virgin Records

Ted Leo And The Pharmacists – Living With The Living (2007)

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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (sometimes written Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Ted Leo + Pharmacists, or TL/Rx) are an American rock band formed in 1999 in Washington, D.C. They have released six full-length studio albums and have toured internationally. Though the group’s lineup has fluctuated throughout their career, singer/guitarist Ted Leo has remained the band’s main songwriter, creative force, and only constant member. The group’s music combines elements of punk rock, indie rock, art punk,[1] traditional rock, and occasionally folk music and dub reggae.

When it comes to consistency, Ted Leo is the man. When it comes to writing songs bristling with nervy energy and sincere conviction that inspire, question, and reflect, there are only a few of his peers that can really measure up. Living with the Living marks full-length number five for Leo and his crew of Pharmacists, and it’s another literate and stirring collection of songs built around his sweetly elastic voice and tightly wound guitars. On personal and human levels, he hits it all — anger, happiness, frustration, love, uncertainty, hope, sadness, rebellion — in songs that burst with passion and a true zest for being alive; cuts like the bright immediacy of “The Sons of Cain” and the tender Irish-flavored frolic of “A Bottle of Buckie” find Leo in top form and easily put a smile on one’s face. Bitter political assertions surface like usual, yet nothing in Leo’s career thus far hits quite as hard as the acerbically blunt rant of “Bomb.Repeat.Bomb.” Brazen, in-your-face and stretched to the seams with seething defiance, Leo basically barks a giant fuck you to the government.

It’s all upfront danger and burning emotion when he spits, “Oh sure, you could mobilize a million troops…but then people start to ask questions/So when you drop in out of the white clouds in a blue sky/Don’t worry about them having to see the whites of your blue eyes.” The anxious pace and shout-singing make the song a definite standout, and though there are other tracks present to further vary things a bit — the dub-inflected “The Unwanted Things,” the slow-paced poignancy of “The Toro and the Toreador” — the one fault (if you can find one at all with him) is that Leo has basically been writing the same album for the last few years. All excellent albums with stellar songs, but really, there’s not much sonically to separate his records (or his pretty straightforward, by-now almost formulaic songs) out from one another. Plenty of Living with the Living measures up with his best, so it’s really hard to knock such a likable guy who obviously knows his strengths and can consistently execute great songs — sentimental and motivating, socially conscious and challenging, Leo hardly falters. Yet although his mixture of politics, heart and intelligence with taut guitars and a sweet falsetto will presumably be engaging forever (and Leo hits much more than he ever misses), it’s getting hard to ignore that little voice inside that wants something more from him. Something a bit different that stretches his songwriting further and shows that he’s really trying to push himself. There’s no denying his talent, and five winning albums is still a hell of a streak. But Ted, we know you’ve got more in you.

 

Tracklist

1. “Fourth World War” – 0:35
2. “The Sons of Cain” – 3:59
3. “Army Bound” – 3:11
4. “Who Do You Love?” – 4:14
5. “Colleen” – 3:05
6. “A Bottle of Buckie” – 3:11
7. “Bomb.Repeat.Bomb.” – 3:18
8. “La Costa Brava” – 5:56
9. “Annunciation Day/Born on Christmas Day” – 1:33
10. “The Unwanted Things” – 4:33
11. “The Lost Brigade” – 7:28
12. “The World Stops Turning” – 3:26
13. “Some Beginner’s Mind” – 3:50
14. “The Toro and the Toreador” – 6:09
15. “C.I.A.” – 6:33
16. “The Vain Parade” (iTunes bonus track) – 6:28

All songs written by Ted Leo.

Personnel
Ted Leo – guitar, vocals, other instrumentation
Dave Lerner – bass
Chris Wilson – drums

Album information
Record label: Touch and Go Records
Recorded September 24, 2006 – October 5, 2006 at Longview Farms in North Brookfield, Massachusetts with engineering by Ian Neill, and October 8, 2006 – October 14, 2006 at Blind Spot Studios in Washington, D.C. with engineering by Brendan Canty
Mixed October 15, 2006 – October 22, 2006 at Blind Spot Studios in Washington, D.C. by Ted Leo and Brendan Canty
Mastered November 28, 2006 at SAE Studios in Phoenix, Arizona by Roger Seibel
Design by Jodi V.B. and Ida Pearle
Photography by Shawn Brackbill
Producer by Brendan Canty

Notes
Released: March 20, 2007
Recorded: September–October 2006
Genre: Art punk, punk rock, indie rock
Length: 61:07

Label – Touch and Go Records

Steel Pulse – Earth Crisis (1984)

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Steel Pulse are a roots reggae musical band, from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, England, which has a large number of Afro-Caribbean, Indian and other Asian migrants. They originally formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School – composed of David Hinds (lead vocals, guitar), Basil Gabbidon (lead guitar, vocals), and Ronald McQueen (bass); along with Basil’s brother Colin briefly on drums and Michael Riley (vocals, percussion). Steel Pulse were the first non-Jamaican act to win the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album.

Earth Crisis is a roots reggae album released by Steel Pulse in January 1984. It is Steel Pulse’s fifth studio album. On the album cover are pictures of American President Ronald Reagan, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, Pope John Paul II, a Ku Klux Klansman, a Vietnamese refugee, and other historical pictures.

Not quite the landmark that Handsworth Revolution was, Earth Crisis suffers from uneven songwriting and dated, polished production that’s sometimes too slick for its own good. What’s more, the album is poorly sequenced, placing the weakest cuts, “Steppin’ Out” and “Tightrope,” at the very beginning. “Throne of Gold,” the album’s love song, has beautiful lyrics but lacks a truly compelling melody to get them across. After that, the album picks up with a string of superior songs, all of which decry social injustice and have powerful music to back them up, though they occasionally drag on longer than they need to and are saddled with horn and synthesizer parts that sound superfluous. Still, the strength of material in the album’s second half definitely proves why Steel Pulse earned their reputation as a top-notch act. Had the songs been more focused, the production less slick, and the album sequenced correctly, Earth Crisis would stand as a watershed album of the ’80s. As it stands, it’s certainly worth hearing, but probably not the place where newcomers should be introduced to Steel Pulse’s talents.

Earth Crisis peaked at #154 on The Billboard 200 chart in 1984.

 

Tracklist

1. “Steppin’ Out” – 4:02
2. “Tightrope” – 4:10
3. “Throne of Gold” – 4:25
4. “Roller Skates” – 4:54
5. “Earth Crisis” – 4:55
6. “Bodyguard” – 4:26
7. “Grab Education” – 6:12
8. “Wild Goose Chase” – 5:40

All tracks written by David Hinds.

Personnel
Steve “Grizzly” Nesbitt – drums & percussion
Selwyn “Bumbo” Brown – Keyboards & vocals
David Hinds – Lead vox, rhythm, & Lead Guitar
Alphonso Martin – percussion & vocals
Ronald “Stepper” McQueen – Bass
Jimmy Haynes – Bass & Lead Guitar
Carl Atkins – Sax solo

Credits
Mixed By – Dennis Thompson, Mark Stent, Terry Barham
Producer – Jimmy Haynes, Steel Pulse

Companies, etc.
Mastered At – Sterling Sound

Notes
Released: January 1984
Recorded: Horizon Studio, Coventry, England, 1983
Genre: Reggae
Length: 38:44

Label – Elektra Records

Stabbing Westward – (1996) Wither Blister Burn + Peel

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Wither Blister Burn & Peel is the second album released on Columbia Records by the American industrial rock band Stabbing Westward. The album was recorded in New York State in late 1995, and was released on January 4, 1996 in New York City and Los Angeles. The album was released throughout the rest of the United States on January 23, 1996, and includes the singles “What Do I Have To Do?” and “Shame”, which helped push the album to gold status.

Stabbing Westward’s second album finds them discarding the lo-fi aggro-synth assault of their first album for a more mainstream “guitar-driven sound.” While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you have to wonder why they would do such a thing. Is it because they wished to become mainstream and “get paid,” as the saying goes? Or was it a producer who thought, “Hmmm, I can turn them into a money-making machine…”? The general consensus is that Stabbing Westward are ripping off Nine Inch Nails, but upon closer inspection you will probably find they owe more to the British synth poppers Depeche Mode than anyone. This is especially true on the “emotional” synth-bass of “What Do I Have to Do?” and the alien landscape sounds of “Sleep.” Is a critic’s reasoning, “Oh well, who remembers synth pop anyway? Let’s just say they sound like Nine Inch Nails and nobody will care…”? Sure, Christopher Hall writes depressing lyrics and sings in a way reminiscent of Trent Reznor, but the question is, are they a good band? The answer is both yes and no. They appear to want to be a good band but are held back because they let themselves succumb to many musical clichés and formulas. With Wither Blister Burn & Peel, they’ve lost the creative spark they had with their first album, Ungod, and any potential that had been amassed. They can keep this up, though, just as long as it continues to sell. Seriously though, its an OK album as long as you’re not expecting too much from it. If you’re looking for an album with lots of depth, you will be sorely disappointed.

“What Do I Have To Do?” was the band’s first hit, thanks to heavy MTV exposure, first reaching the Modern Rock Tracks chart, where it would peak at #11, then achieving even greater success on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it peaked at #7. “Shame” was released soon after, matching “What Do I Have To Do”‘s #7 peak on the Mainstream Rock chart, and peaking at #14 on the Modern Rock chart.

 

Tracklist

1.  “I Don’t Believe” – 4:21
2.  “Shame” – 4:54
3.  “What Do I Have to Do?” – 4:09
4.  “Why” – 6:08
5.  “Inside You” – 3:43
6.  “Falls Apart” – 3:57
7.  “So Wrong” – 3:24
8.  “Crushing Me” – 4:21
9.  “Sleep” – 5:21
10.  “Slipping Away” – 6:15

All tracks written by Stabbing Westward.

 

Personnel
Christopher Hall – lead vocals, guitar, drum machine programming
Mark Eliopulos – guitar, backing vocals
Jim Sellers – bass
Walter Flakus – keyboards, programming
Andy Kubiszewski – drums, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Producer – John Fryer

 

Notes
Released: January 23, 1996
Recorded: 1995 in New York City
Genre: Industrial rock, industrial metal, alternative metal
Length: 46:36

Label – Columbia Records

The Stanky Brown Group – If The Lights Don´t Get You The Helots Will (1977)

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According to Jerry Cordasco and he should know, he was the drummer for The SBG, they were from New Jersey, NOT Austrailia. I didn’t make that up, I heard or read it somewhere, but nevertheless the record has been set straight now).

The Jersey based boys put out 3 albums in the mid ’70’s before disappearing off the radar. There are some weak moments on this first effort as there is on many first efforts, but there are also some great tunes that are well done. My favorites include Masquerade, Let’s Get To Livin’ and U. B. U.

I was the drummer for Stanky Brown. We were NOT an Australian band at all but were from New Jersey. We were originally signed to Arista Records and released a single for them called “Rockin Rollin Star”. We were managed by John Scher, one of the biggest east coast promoters and owner of the Capitol Theater in Passaic, NJ.
I think you might have gotten confused about the Austrailian thing because our third album on Sire was produced by Charles Fisher of Austraila (he later produced Savage Garden).
I did play with the Blues Brothers early on along with the rest of Stanky Brown as the rhythm section. I also toured with Jonathan Edwards along with Richard Bunkiewicz on bass, and we did a live album with him (that might be one for you to review!).
I now have a recording studio as does Jim Brown. Interestingly enough we are in the process of re-recording some Stanky Brown stuff.

If you’re up for hearing new things that you missed the first time around then I’d suggest taking the time to download this one and give it a listen. I feel like I say it all the time but it’s true, this is another band which didn’t get the recognition their talent should’ve entitled them to receive.
As a side note I learned while searching for a website or other online info that Jerry Cordasco (drummer) went on to play drums for the Blues Brothers among many others.

Here is the 2nd effort from this 70’s New Jersey band.
Solid effort full of catchy tunes that are toe tappers.
I think it’s a tighter effort and more solid all around this time around.

 

Tracklist

1.  Coal Town – 3:20
2.  Life Beyond – 4:04
3.  Woman, Don’t Let It Slip Away – 3:25
4.  Confident Man – 3:14
5.  Faith In The Family – 3:53
6.  Alone Tonight – 3:11
7.  Good To Me – 3:00
8.  As A Lover, I’m A Loser – 2:32
9.   Stop In The Name Of Love   (Holland/ Dozier/ Holland) – 3:06
10.  Free And Easy – 5:03

All arrangements by James Brown and Stanky Brown

 
Personnel
James Brown – Vocals/ Keyboards
Jeffrey Leynor – Vocals/ Guitars
Richard Bunkiewicz – Bass
Jerry M. Cordasco – Drums/ Percussion
Alan J. Ross – Sax/ Clarinet/ Flute
Jimmy Miller – Guitar
Chris Dedrick – Strings and Horns Arrangements

with
Elliot Randall – Electric-Guitar
Jimmy Maelen – Congas on track 7
Werner Fritzsching – Guitar on tracks 3 & 8 / Solo-Guitar on track 1
Lynn Pitney – Background Vocals on tracks 7, 8 & 9
David Lasley – Background Vocals on tracks 7, 8 & 9
Arnold McCuller – Background Vocals on tracks 7, 8 & 9

 
Credits
Produced By – Hank Medress & Dave Appell
Engineer – Billy Radice
Assistant Engineer – Michael Getlin
Mixed By – Hank Medress, Dave Appell, Billy Radice
Mastered By – Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk, New York, N. Y.
Cover Art – Moshe Brakha

 
Notes

Release Date: 1977
Recorded At – The Hit Factory, New York, N. Y.
Genre: Pop/Rock
Duration: 35:30

Label – Sire Records

Soul Children – Best Of Two Worlds (1971)

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The Soul Children was an American vocal group who recorded soul music for Stax Records in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They had three top 10 hits on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart – “The Sweeter He Is” (1969), “Hearsay” (1972), and “I’ll Be the Other Woman” (1973) – all of which crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100.

The group was formed in 1968 by Isaac Hayes and David Porter of Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, after Sam & Dave, one of the label’s top acts, were forced to leave Stax and return to the Atlantic label following the termination of the Stax/Atlantic partnership. As leading songwriters and producers for the label, Hayes and Porter put together a vocal group with two male and two female singers, all of whom sang lead on some of the group’s recordings. The original members were Norman West, John Colbert (a.k.a. J. Blackfoot), Anita Louis, and Shelbra Bennett. Colbert, who had been known from childhood as Blackfoot for his habit of walking barefoot on the tarred sidewalks of Memphis during the hot summers, had recorded solo singles before joining The Bar-Kays as lead singer, after four original band members were killed with Otis Redding in a plane crash. Anita Louis was a backing singer on some of the records produced by Hayes and Porter. Shelbra Bennett recently had joined the label as a singer. Norman West, Jr., the last to join the group, grew up in Louisiana, and sang in church with his brothers Joe, James, and Robert. He replaced William Bell as a member of The Del-Rios in 1962, later recorded several unsuccessful solo singles in Memphis, and sang with Colors Incorporated, a rock band formed by members of Jerry Lee Lewis’ band.

The Soul Children’s second Stax album is something of a lost artefact, simply because of the fact that producer David Porter himself never felt at ease at the time of recording it, neither with himself nor with his writing/producing partner Ronnie Williams. Despite Porter’s ambivalent stance towards the record, it nonetheless features plenty of pure Southern Soul-idified gold!

Case in point is the preposterous opener “Bring It Here”… a massive funk beast propelled by the Muscle Shoals rhythm section and the Soul Children’s group vocalizing. A truly insane slab of total groove… That freight train-paced gospel funk thunders on on the anthemic “Put Your World In My World”, with a great solo spot for J. Blackfoot’s hoarse, raspy, beltin’ vocal.

Thick southern-styled rock and soul make up the titanic grooves of “Wrap It Up Tonight” and the brassy “Hang-Ups of Holding On” whereas a more ‘uptown’ vibe shines through on the almost Philly-sounding “Give Me One Good Reason”.

Ballad-wise there’s plenty to rejoice in here as well; “Thank You For a Precious Night” is a lovely orchestrated, dreamy love song topped with a hard socking, gospelfide pre-chorus which serves as the perfect vehicle for the two ladies of the group – Anita Louis and Shelbra Bennett.

Shelbra does some old time testifyin’ on the poignant “Got to Get Away From It All”, talking to her mother about her man’s physical and mental abuse… Heavy, both lyrically as musically.

The group joins forces together on the luscious, long drawn out ballad “Let’s Make a Sweet Thing Sweeter”, which incorporates a decidedly bluesy, rompin’ vamp for the chorus part.

Without a doubt, “Finish Me Off” is the strangest cut here… The Soul Children almost sound operatic on the main hook, whereas the body of the song is firmly steeped in the country soul tradition. Very impressive.

Lastly, there’s the super sweet (but not sugarly sick), delicate closer “Don’t Break Away”, with the spotlight on J. Blackfoot’s counterpart Norman West.

I don’t know why David Porter thinks so lowely of this LP… It has both grade A soul shakers and beautifully crafted ballads, all enhanced by the Children’s super tight vocals and the Muscle Shoals backing band. If you’re into Southern Soul, this album is a must-have.

 

Tracklist

A1.  Bring It Here – 2:47
A2.  Thanks For A Precious Nothing – 3:23
A3.  Put Your World In My World – 4:03
A4.  Give Me One Good Reason Why – 4:17
A5.  Got To Get Away From It All – 3:26

B1.  The Hang Ups Of Holding On (Parts 1 And 2) – 8:22
B2.  Wrap It Tonight – 2:55
B3.  Let’s Make A Sweet Thing Sweeter – 4:37
B4.  Finish Me Off – 3:48
B5.  Don’t Break Away – 4:21

 
Companies, etc.

Pressed By – Monarch Record Mfg. Co.

 
Credits

Producer – David Porter, Ronnie Williams
Vocals – J. Blackfoot

 
Notes

Released: 1971
Genre: Soul / Funk
Styles: Northern Soul
Total Length: 41:59

Label – Stax Records

Patty Smyth – Never Enough (1987)

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Patricia “Patty” Smyth (born June 26, 1957) is an American singer and songwriter. She first came into national attention in the band Scandal. She went on to record and perform on her own. Her distinctive voice and new-wave image gained broad exposure through video recordings aired on cable music video channels such as MTV. Her debut album Never Enough was well received, and generated a pair of Top 40 hits.

Never Enough is the debut album by former Scandal singer Patty Smyth. It was released in 1987 on Columbia Records (also the group’s label) three years after the band’s breakup in 1984.

In an interview with Smyth on The Bloomberg Report, she said the album “was never supposed to be a solo record; it was meant to be a record by Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth. Even though the band had broken up, I was still with Keith Mack; it was Zack & I that had ended our partnership.”

Though she would have success as a songwriter later on, here she only co-wrote two tracks, the first and the last. The first of these two, “Never Enough” (the album’s title track) was actually a slight rewrite of a song with the same title from the self-titled debut album of then-current (in 1987) Hooters bandmembers Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian’s former band, Baby Grand. The original version featured different lyrics sung by Baby Grand frontman David Kagan.[3] In fact, Hyman and Bazilian, as well as others associated with The Hooters, including producer Rick Chertoff had a significant hand in the making of this album.

The album includes two cover versions, one of “Downtown Train” by Tom Waits, which was covered that same year by country singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter for her album Hometown Girl, and the retitled “Call To Heaven” originally called “Les Morts Dansant” by British hard rock band Magnum featured on their 1985 album On a Storyteller’s Night.

The LP reached a peak of 66 in the U.S. and spawned three singles: the title track (#61 pop, #4 U.S. Mainstream Rock Tracks), “Downtown Train” (#95 pop, #40 Mainstream) and “Isn’t It Enough” (failed to chart on pop, #26 Mainstream).

The album was produced by William Wittman and Rick Chertoff.

 

Tracklist

1. “Never Enough”   (R. Hyman, D. Kagan, E. Bazilian, R. Chertoff, P. Smyth) – 4:15
2. “Downtown Train”   (Tom Waits) – 5:05
3. “Give It Time”   (Hyman, Kagan) – 4:17
4. “Call To Heaven”   (Tony Clarkin) – 5:06
5. “The River Cried”   (Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly) – 4:16
6. “Isn’t It Enough”   (Danny Wilde, Nick Trevisick) – 4:22
7. “Sue Lee”   (Willie Nile, Chertoff) – 3:48
8. “Tough Love”   (Nick Gilder, Duane Hitchings) – 4:54
9. “Heartache Heard ‘Round the World”   (Hyman, Bazilian, Chertoff, Smyth) – 4:54

Production

Produced by Rick Chertoff and William Wittman
Recorded, engineered and mixed by John Agnello
Mastered by George Marino

Personnel

Patty Smyth: Lead Vocal
Ellison Chase, John Leffler, Kasim Sulton, Rory Dodd, Eric Troyer, Andy King, William Wittman, John Agnello: Backing Vocals
Eric Bazilian, Rick Di Fonzo, Keith Mack, William Wittman: Guitars
Tommy Conwell: Guest Lead Guitar on track 1
Rob Hyman, Ralph Schuckett, Richard Termini, Peter Wood, Eric Bazilian: Keyboards
Neil Jason: Bass
Anton Fig: Drums, Percussion
Ray Spiegel: Tabla
David Sanborn: Saxophone on track 2
Magic Dick: Harmonica on track 3

Notes

Released: 1987
Recorded: 1986
Genre: Rock
Length: 41:04

Label – Columbia Records

Sleater-Kinney – The Hot Rock (1999)

by Record Facts

Sleater-Kinney is an American rock band that formed in Olympia, Washington, in 1994. The band’s lineup features Corin Tucker (vocals and guitar), Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals), and Janet Weiss (drums). Sleater-Kinney was influenced by riot grrrl and is a key part of the American indie rock scene. The band is also known for its feminist and left-leaning politics.

“The Hot Rock” is their fourth studio album, released on February 23, 1999, by Kill Rock Stars. It was produced by Roger Moutenot and recorded at Avast studio in Seattle, Washington in July 1998. The Hot Rock marks a considerable change in the band’s sound, veering into a more relaxed and gloomy direction than the raucous punk rock style of its predecessors. The lyrical themes of the album explore issues of failed relationships and personal uncertainty.

Expectations for Sleater-Kinney’s fourth album were stratospheric, with the raging, tuneful feminist catharsis of Call the Doctor and Dig Me Out having garnered near-universal critical raves and outlandish media hype. Afraid of falling into a predictable rut, though, the band bravely pushed its range of expression into more personal, subdued, and cerebral territory on The Hot Rock. That means the record isn’t quite as immediately satisfying as its two brilliant predecessors, but it does reward those willing to spend time absorbing its nervy introspection and moodiness. Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein push relentlessly for more complex interplay, both in their vocal and instrumental work; even the gentlest songs might break into unexpected dissonance or take an angular, off-kilter melodic direction. As such, there’s never an obvious, gut-level anthem that jumps out at the listener in the manner of an “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone” or “Words and Guitar,” but the intensity simmering under the surface does bubble over often, thanks to the group’s greater use of dynamic shifts. There are fewer protest songs this time around, as most of the lyrics explore failed relationships and personal uncertainty, yet it manages to retain the sense of empowering catharsis that makes the group so compelling.

The Hot Rock can invite comparisons to a less jam-oriented Television or a minimalist version of indie compatriots Helium (not to mention the obvious Kim Gordon homage on “Get Up”), but in the end, it stands on its own as Sleater-Kinney’s most progressive and experimental work, as well as their darkest.

 

Tracklist

1.  “Start Together” – 2:38
2.  “Hot Rock” – 3:17
3.  “The End of You” – 3:20
4.  “Burn, Don’t Freeze” – 3:19
5.  “God Is a Number” – 3:44
6.  “Banned from the End of the World” – -2:09
7.  “Don’t Talk Like” – 3:04
8.  “Get Up” – 3:46
9.  “One Song for You” – 2:49
10.  “The Size of Our Love” – 3:12
11.  “Living in Exile” – 2:31
12.  “Memorize Your Lines” – 3:10
13.  “A Quarter to Three” – 4:03

All music composed by Sleater-Kinney.

Sleater-Kinney

Carrie Brownstein – guitar, vocals
Corin Tucker – vocals, guitar
Janet Weiss – drums, percussion

Additional musicians

Seth Warren – violin on “The Size of Our Love” and “Memorize Your Lines”
Roger Moutenot – slide guitar on “A Quarter to Three”

Technical personnel

Roger Moutenot – production
Kip Beelman – engineering
Greg Calbi – mastering

Notes

Released: February 23, 1999
Recorded: July 1998 at Avast! studios in Seattle, Washington
Genre: Indie rock
Length: 41:40

Label – Kill Rock Stars

Skinny Puppy – The Process (1996)

by Record Facts

The Process is the eighth studio album by Canadian industrial band Skinny Puppy. Released through American Recordings on February 27, 1996, The Process was the band’s final album before reforming in 2000 and releasing The Greater Wrong of the Right in 2004. Skinny Puppy’s keyboardist, Dwayne Goettel, died near the end of The Process’s creation, and the album was fraught with difficult production and record label intrusion.

Skinny Puppy’s final album as a band, The Process took three years to complete thanks to a series of minor and major catastrophes — cEvin Key’s acting-related injury, Nivek Ogre’s departure from the group, Dwayne Goettel’s fatal heroin overdose, and several producer changes (David Ogilvie is the only one officially credited, but Martin Atkins, Roli Mosimann, and Greg Reely all took their turns). With all the turmoil surrounding the various recording sessions, it’s little wonder that the end result is a muddled affair. It’s not for lack of trying, though — The Process does attempt to broaden Skinny Puppy’s sound beyond the usual industrial abrasion, leaning in a more melodic, straightforward direction and employing a fairly basic, stripped-down mix. Unfortunately, the group can’t quite pull it off consistently, whether it’s because melody just isn’t Ogre’s vocal strength, or whether because they couldn’t quite find the focus required to push their sound to a different level.

The latter certainly plays a part in the failed attempt to make The Process a concept album about a 1960s psychotherapy cult; the thematic unity just isn’t there, and the concept winds up indecipherable. Still, credit must be given to the band for having finished the record at all, and in its own way, the confusion of The Process speaks volumes.

 

Tracklist

1. “Jahya” – 3:34
2. “Death” – 3:56
3. “Candle” – 4:58
4. “Hardset Head” – 4:06
5. “Cult” – 3:03
6. “Process” – 5:02
7. “Curcible” – 3:28
8. “Blue Serge” – 5:13
9. “Morter” – 4:39
10. “Amnesia” – 4:20
11. “Cellar Heat” – 0:49

 

Skinny Puppy
Nivek Ogre – vocals, guitar, synths
cEvin Key – drums, bass, guitar, mixing
Dwayne Goettel – keyboards, synths, production

 

Additional musicians
Philth – wave manipulation (tracks 9, 10)
Pepperdine – viola and cello section (track 5)
Lorne Bouquet – backing vocals (tracks 3, 4)
Troll – guitar (track 5)
Pat Sprawl – guitar (tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7)

 

Technical personnel
Martin Atkins – production, voices (track 2)
Dave Ogilvie – mixing, guitar (track 5)
Ken “Hi-Watt” Marshall – mixing
Steven R. Gilmore – artwork
Anthony Valcic – editing, mastering
Gary Winger – mixing assistance

 

Notes

Released. February 27, 1996
Recorded: November 1993 – May 1995
Studio Subconscious Studios (Vancouver, California)
Shangri-La Studios (Malibu, California)
Soundhouse Studio (Seattle, Washington)
Genre: Post-industrial, electro-industrial 
Length: 43:08

Label: American Recordings