BIRMINGHAM RECORD COLLECTORS
DEDICATED TO THE COLLECTING OF MUSIC, ITS PRESERVATION, AND LASTING FRIENDSHIP
MONTHLY MEETING THIS SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8th 2017
2:00 PM HOMEWOOD LIBRARY – 1721 OXMOOR ROAD 35209
NEXT MEETING SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12th, 2017 THE SECOND SUNDAY
THIS MONTH’S MEETING
Last month we reviewed our record show and some good ideas and comments were taken in. We want to make our show the best we can for the comfort of our dealers and customers and for the quality of convenience and hospitality and fun. Any changes made will be announced soon.
If you enjoy kicking back and listening to some great sounds then be sure and make out October meeting. Two of our members will be spinning tunes for our enjoyment. Mike and Gary make a concerted effort to search for songs that, although didn’t get picked for radio air time are ones that should have. Good, fun songs that I know you’ll enjoy. And they also have some inside info on some of the performers and songs they play. I have been with these guys taking turns playing 45’s and believe me, they provide some great sounds. Mark this Sunday as a day to make the meeting. You won’t regret it.
As we come closer to the end of another year let me say thanks to out monthly program planner, John. He has done a great job over the last 2-3 years providing us with some fun, informative, and special programs we all have enjoyed. If you haven’t made a meeting lately or if you are new to the club, please drop by and get acquainted with BRC again or for the first time. Bring a friend.
OPINIONS AND BELLY BUTTONS
It has always amazed me to see an article or hear a discussion on the ‘greatest’ song, performer, LP, instrumentalist, etc, etc, etc. If it was asked at one of our meetings what the ‘greatest’ this or that is or was I am sure we’d get almost as many OPINIONS as we have people at the meeting. Any time ‘greatest’ is put before something then you are about to hear someones OPINION according to their tastes. And you can also replace the word ‘greatest’ with ‘the first’ this or that and you’ll get OPINIONS also. Not necessarily fact. OPINIONS are like belly buttons, we all have one.
I mention that because I wanted to give my opinion on a subject I guess you could say I just made up. Recently while watching a weekly documentary program entitled ‘Classic Albums’, where an album is discussed with those involved or so-called music historians and writers, a thought came to me about the ‘greatest’ or ‘highly influential’ songs from a certain era. But I quickly changed it to ‘my favorite’ of ‘fun’ songs from a certain era since I will be giving my opinion and nothing based on facts.
The classic album that was being discussed that night was the Cream’s, Disraeli Gears. When they got to the song, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, I started thinking about how that song was so different from so many other songs of the time. A little ahead of its time?? Maybe, probably not, I don’t know. I would have to go back and check out all the songs to truly say that. But because I can recall being in high school at the time and knowing that song was one I really enjoyed I started thinking of other songs from British performers that would fall into that same category for me. So I decided to make the rules like this – British band, 1960’s, original composition, favorite or fun for me. So here goes.
Well, first off, in no particular order, I’ll mention ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ by Cream. Great beginning with Jack Bruce’ riff on bass. He has stated that the riff line came to him after attending a Jimi Hendrix concert. Writing credits go to Bruce, Eric Clapton, and Pete Brown. Another aspect of the song I enjoy is Ginger Baker’s drumming. With Bruce, Baker, and Clapton making up Cream, it was one heck of a band musically. One thing not to forget is how much input all three had to the sound the band created, it was not just a Clapton band and sound. In fact Jack Bruce was basically the lead singer for the band. This was a song I really enjoyed from the British Invasion era.
Next I have a song that just made it as a 60’s song. It was recorded during the summer of 1969 by a band that went on to be a super band of the 70’s but not with the same line-up or genre of music. Before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac, the leader of the band would have been Peter Green. At this time the band was strictly a blues band recording songs by likes of blues-men, Robert Johnson and Elmore James. On their 3rd LP came a song that was released as a single entitled ‘Oh Well’, although it took a while. The first UK pressing as well as the first US pressing did not include ‘Oh Well’. Two months later a second US pressing was released and the song, because it was doing well on the charts was included. The song that was released off the original LP that was to be the hit was ‘Rattlesnake Shake’ (fun song also). But it didn’t do well so ‘Oh Well’ was released. Who can forget this songs with lines like, ‘I can’t help about the shape I’m in, I can’t sing, I ain’t pretty and my legs are thin. But don’t ask me what I think of you I might not give the answer that you want me to.’ Two versions were put out, a 2:19 version w/out the long slower break, and the 8:56 version which included the 5:39 classical influenced slow part. I like both.
One group from the 60’s era British Invasion that I probably liked practically everything they recorded was Them. Them was (or is it Them were ??? Oh Well) the band that had Van Morrison as their leader. ‘Here Comes the Night’ was one I also enjoyed as was their killer version of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’. But one of my rules for this is an original composition. Those weren’t. Of their original songs, ‘Gloria’ fit into what I liked. Hard driving rock song with a touch of blues and a little punk (?). Written by Morrison, this song came on a 45 that included ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ as the flip. Hard to beat that. He wrote this at age 18. What was I doing at age 18? It sure wasn’t writing classic rock songs. He said at times he would perform the song on stage ad-libing lyrics sometimes going for 15-20 minutes. The song was covered by many US groups including The Gants, The Doors, Shadows of Knights, and Jimi Hendrix.
Who was Spencer Davis? Although he formed a band called The Spencer Davis Group, the member who got most of the notoriety was Steve Winwood. Winwood was only fifteen when he and his brother joined up with Davis and later performed and recorded as The Spencer Davis Group. I am sure Davis was very talented and was well-known in British musical circles but because of the musical talent Winwood had and being the lead singer Davis was all but forgotten as time went on. But the group did some very good songs and had some major success. One song that stands out to me was ‘Gimme Some Lovin”. Again it was one of those songs that, in 1966 was just so different. A great opening riff and continuous driving beat made the song a big hit for the group. And it only took an hour to put it together. Under pressure from their manager to come up with a song to record they started working at 11:00 AM one morning and by noon it was done. How much did they make per hour that day when all was said and done?
‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, ‘The Last Time’, ’19th Nervous Breakdown’, ‘Get Off My Cloud’, ‘Honky Tonk Women’ and the list goes on and on for the Rolling Stones. But one song that stood out to me, again as being so different and memorable was ‘Heart of Stone’. Written by Jagger and Richards it would reach #19 on the charts. I’ve always felt the song made the teenagers parents uneasy. Very bluesy and talking about running around with any woman he wanted and nothing they could do would ever break his heart-well at least until he met this one(he sings the line ‘What’s different about her? I don’t really know’). Another one of those fun songs of the British Invasion era that sticks in my mind as being a favorite.
All this started as I watched a TV program about an LP done by the Cream. Although some people don’t appreciate the British Invasion I have to what I have said before to many people, I feel like without the Brits loving American music so much we would have forgotten so many great songs we grew up with. They covered songs of Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Goffin & King, Carl Perkins, Larry Williams, Arthur Alexander, Willie Dixon, Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, as well as some Motown releases. American music was going in a different direction as we got into the 1960’s and a lot of R&R was being forgotten – but not by the Brits. I think what make some people dislike the invasion was that some songs were recorded and released by Brits not long after a US release and the British version did better on the charts. Irma Thomas’ ‘Time Is On My Side’ (Stones) and Bessie Banks’ ‘Go Now’ (Moody Blues) were two examples.
Well, so many songs and not enough space and memory. I know there were some great B-sides and LP recordings from that era that I have probably never heard that you have fond memories of. Maybe one day I’ll make a list of LP cuts that I have enjoyed over the years as much as any hit. Better yet, send me your favorites. I would love to include them. Hope this brought back some good memories.
Sam Frazier, BRC Hall of Fame member will be at Seasick Records for the release of his new CD, Take Me Back, on Friday, Oct 6 from 6-7 PM. 5508 Crestwood Blvd, Birmingham 35212. 205-677-3166. On Sept 23 Sam was inducted into the Alabama Blues Hall of Fame.
HEY! HAVE YOU HEARD THIS ONE?
‘The Spider and the Fly’
The Rolling Stones
(A cut from their Out of Our Heads LP)
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD THIS HIT?
The Moody Blues
(1964 – # 6)