Atlanta Georgia Stray 45 by The Hondells

April 30, 2012

Gary Usher was a songwriter and producer who gained fame through his association with the Beach Boys.

He also liked to put together studio bands. The best known was The Hondells who had a top ten hit during 1964 with the Brian Wilson song, “Little Honda” and the equally brilliant flip side, “Hot Rod High.”

Usher used studio musicians to record as the Hondells including Glen Campbell and Hal Blaine. He did assemble a touring band for a short time. The Hondells had three singles make the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart while recording for the Mercury label.

By the time they recorded “Atlanta Georgia Stray” for the Columbia label the group was about finished and Usher was about to move on to his next project.

Shake, Rattle and Roll by Big Joe Turner

April 30, 2012

Big Joe Turner, 1911-1985, began his career during the late 1920’s. For the next 20 plus years he made a name for himself as a blues artist.

All that changed during the 1950s when he moved his style over to a rock ‘n’ roll sound and suddenly, at the age of 43, he found himself a star.

“Shake, Rattle and Roll” was one of the seminal songs of early rock ‘n’ roll. The lyrics were raw and the vocal frenetic but the music was able to fuse blues and black rhythms into a mix that formed early rock.

During the 1960s he would return to his blues roots. He was elected to the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1983 and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame during 1987.

(It’s No) Sin by Eddy Howard

April 29, 2012

The Big Band era was just about over in terms of chart success but Eddy Howard and His Orchestra still had one big hit song left in them.

He formed his first band during 1939 and had a great deal of success during the 1940s. His second and last number one hit came during 1951 when “(It’s No) Sin” reached the top of three BILLBOAD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Charts.

Best Sellers In Stores Chart – Dec. 15, 1951 – 2 weeks at #1.
Most Played By Disc Jockeys Chart – Nov. 17, 1951 – 7 weeks at #1.
Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart – Nov. 29, 1951 – 1 weeks at #1.

He was a rare big band leader who provided his own vocals. He died in his sleep during 1963 at the age of 48.

Respect 45 by Aretha Franklin

April 29, 2012

Aretha Franklin recorded for the Columbia label for close to six years, 1961-1966, without much success. While some of her signles did make the chart, there were no big hits.

That all changed when she signed with the Atlantic label during the mid-1960s. Her first chart single for Atlamtic, “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” made the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE top ten. The second was one of the greatest singles and vocal performances of all time.

“Respect” was released during early 1967 and before it finished its chart run, it had topped bith the BILLBOARD Pop Singles and Rhythm & Blues Charts.

Aretha Franklin was a gritty, gospel based R&B vocalist and performer, whose voice just overwhelmed the listener. The song was a cross between the civil rights movement and a person’s sex life. It has reverberated down through music histroy.

Cold Cold Heart by Tony Bennett

April 28, 2012

Tony Bennett had his first number one hit during September, 1951, when his “Because Of You,” topped all three of the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Charts.

It didn’t take him long to have his second number one as his release of “Cold Cold Heart” replaced “Because Of You,” which gave him two in a row.

“Cold Cold Heart” will always be associated with Hank Williams who took it to the top of the Country Charts and it remains one of the signature songs of not only Williams career but of country music as well.

Tony Bennett recorded a straight pop rendition of this country classic. It reached the top of two BILLBOARD Pop Charts.

Best Sellers In Stores Chart – November 3, 1951 – 6 weeks at #1.
Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart – December 8, 1951 – 3 weeks at #1.

Bennett’s version sounds very different from Williams and a little dated today. It may not be the memerable version but it was one of the biggest hits of his distinguihed career.

Until Its Time For You To Go 45 by Elvis Presley

April 28, 2012

Elvis Presley had some ups and downs in his career during the 1970s. “Until Its Time For You To Go” was somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

The song began life as a gentle folk composition by Buffy Sainte-Marie. Elvis took it in a pop direction with his patented vocal.

Released during early January of 1972, it peaked at number 40 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It remains one of the more obscure Elvis releases to make the top 40.

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ 45 by The Righteous Brothers

April 28, 2012

Phil Spector made his mark by producing some of the best singles in rock ‘n’ roll history through his famous wall of sound. He usually worked with female vocal groups such as the Ronettes and Crystals.

The Righteous Brothers may have seemed out of place on the Spector’s Phillies label of artists but the results were spectacular.

Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield were an unusal duo as they rotated the lead vocal rather than singing in a classic duet style.

“You’ve Lost THat Lovin’ Feelin,” entered the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart just before Christmas, 1964, and eventually spent two weeks in the number one position. It also reached number two on the Rhythm & Blues Chart. It reached number one in the U.K. as well, just beating out Cilla Black’s version of the song, which peaked at number two.

It was a rare song that began with no intumental intro. but immediately started with the vocal. The song just built throughout as Spector multi-layered the vocals and backing instruments.

BMI stated that it was the most played song on radio during the 20th century, surpassing seven-million plays.

Falling Off The Sky by the db’s

April 27, 2012

The dB’s were first formed during the late 1970s by friends, singer/songwriter/guitarists Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, bassist Gene Holder, and drummer Will Rigby. Their early 1980s albums, Stands For Decibels, and Repercussions, received a great deal of critical, if not commercial success. The albums were instrumental in helping to modernize the power pop idiom of music. By the late 1980s, all the original members had gone their separate ways and the dB’s were no more.

The lights went back on for the band when the four original members began performing together in 2005. Their series of reunion concerts went so well that the band decided to record a new album of original material. There obviously was no hurry, as Holsapple and Stamey took some time off to record a duo album during 2009. The new album is now complete and has a street date of June 12 under the title Falling Off The Sky. It is the first dB’s studio album in 25 years and the first to feature all the founding members in 30 years.

The band has not changed its sound very much. The lyrics may not have the anger as did their early material, but the jangling guitars and sense of purpose are still in place. It all adds up to an updating and not a reinventing of their sound. If you are familiar with the band’s past work, the music will be instantly recognizable. If you have not explored their music, this will be a pleasant pop surprise.

From beginning to end the tracks flow into one another. The opening track, “That Time Is Gone,” immediately establishes that they can still produce hard-edged pop as the twin guitars of Stamey and Holsapple unite and soar. There is also the romantic “Before We Were Born,” the tuneful “World To Cry,” and the clanging music of the fatalistic “Send Me Something Real.”

The album’s surprising treat is the debut of drummer Will Rigby’s first composition to grace one of their albums. “Write Back” is a radio friendly tune, which is also sung by Rigby, and is a hit single in waiting.

At heart, Falling Off The Sky, is an album where four old friends just get together and create the kind of music that makes them happy. The dB’s may not have issued an album that will change the course of modern music, but they have produced some music that is enjoyable and highly listenable and sometimes that is enough.

Article first published as Music Review: The dB’s – Falling Off The Sky on Blogcritics.

Ghost Of Browder Holler by Chelle Rose

April 27, 2012

My father’s ancestors came from the Smoky Mountain region of North Carolina and Tennessee. I remember visiting my grandparents and the lifestyle and music was and remains very distinct to the area. Bluegrass music, tough ballads of loss, and stories of hardship dominate the stories and tales.

All of which brings is to Chelle Rose. While she is now living in Nashville, her music remains firmly rooted in her Appalachian roots. She has now released her second album, Ghost Of Browder Holler, which reconnects her to the people and heritage of her youth. Produced by Texas songsmith Ray Wylie Hubbard, the songs echo the beauty and harshness of life in this mountain area of the eastern United States.

She has gathered about her a number of musicians that fit in well with her style of music. Drummer Rick Richards, bassist George Reiff, electric guitarist Billy Cassis, mandolin player Brad Rice, keyboardist Ian McLagan, and acoustic guitarist/harmonica player Ray Wylie Hubbard all seem to be in touch with the music of the area. Rose accompanies herself on the acoustic guitar and her gravelly voice is synonymous with the region.

The opening track, “Browder Holler Boy,” establishes her tough tone and style. I don’t know whether to envy or feel sorry for the boy in question. “Caney Fork Tennessee” presents a lifestyle complete with chicken and dumplings and midnight like molasses. Just as you are getting comfortable she comes close to hitting you with a visceral rock song that ramps up the energy. This three-song stretch sets the tone for what will follow.

“Russ Morgan (Preacher Man)” is a caricature of the preachers that continually rise and fall in the area. “Leona Barnett” is the story of a woman who goes to work in the mines after he husband is killed in an accident. The palate is then cleared again by “Alimony,” which may have raw lyrics but is another guitar based energetic track.

Ghost Of Browder Holler finds Chelle Rose delving into her heritage. It may be raw, stark, and depressing in places but it is a personal and interesting look into not only her stories and memories but the ghosts of the area as well.

Article first published as Music Review: Chelle Rose – Ghost Of Browder Holler on Blogcritics.

Tutti Frutti 45 by Little Richard

April 27, 2012

During the 1950s, parents were a little afraid of the developing rock ‘n’ roll scene. Little Richard did nothing to still those concerns.

His wild style made him one of the original wild men of rock ‘n’ roll. What was lost in his pumping piano and frenetic vocals was a sense of rhythm and structure.

“Tutti Frutti” was his first chart hit reaching number 17 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It just roars out of the speakers and leaves you breathless. Released during late 1955, it was one of the songs that provided a foundation for the early rock ‘n’ roll sound.