Put Your Hand In The Hand 45 by Ocean

August 31, 2012

Ocean was a Canadian pop band consisting of vocalist Janice Martin, guitarist David Tamblyn, keyboardist Greg Brown, bassist Jeff Jones, and drummer Charles Slater.

“Put Your Hand In The Hand” was a gospel pop song originally recorded by Anne Murray. Ocean recorded a peppy version of the song and issued it as a single. Released during early 1971, it almost made it to the top, peaking at number two on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

Ocean would place three more singles on the lower regions of the BILLBOARD Pop Chart in the United States. By 1975 the band was a memory leaving behind one million selling single.

Crazy Arms 45 by Bob Beckham

August 30, 2012

Another Saturday Night 45 by Same Cooke

August 29, 2012

Sam Cooke, 1931-1964, was one of the seminal music figures of the 1950s and early 1960s. He was a black artist who continually crossed-over to the mainly white pop charts. He had 29 top 40 pop hits during his all to short career. He was also one of the originators of the soul sound, which influenced the generation of artists that followed him.

He had a number of memorable hits. Songs such as “You Send Me,” “Chain Gang,” “Twisting The Night AWay,” and “I’ll Come Running Back To You” were some of the better singles of the pre-Beatles era.

“Another Saturday Night” was released during March of 1963. It topped the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart and reached number 10 on the Pop Chart. It was another smooth performance from Cooke and will still leave you wanting more.

Sh-Boom by The Crew Cuts

August 28, 2012

The Crew Cuts were a Canadian vocal group who were one of the first acts to cover the black hits of the day. They took their name from their hair cuts.

“Sh-Boom” was their biggest hit. While it came during 1954, it is a song that has always been associated with the rock ‘n’ roll era. The song was originally released by the doo-wop group The Chords, who reached number nine on the pop and number three on the rhythm & blues chart. The Crew Cuts would add non-sensical lyrics and take it to the top of the charts.

Best Sellers In Store Chart – 8/7/54 – 7 weeks at #1.
Most Played By Disc Jockeys Chart – 8/7/54 – 9 weeks at #1.
Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart – 8/21/54 – 8 weeks at #1.

“Sh-Boom” is a rare song from the first half of the 1950s that still receives airplay on oldies stations.

Overture From Tommy 45 by the Assembled Multitude

August 28, 2012

The Assembled Multitude was one of those groups that was never a real band. Producer Tom Sellers (died in a house fire, 1988)recorded with studio musicians. He formed the group during 1970 and many of the participants would go on to play for the artists who recorded for the Philadelphia International Label.

It was an instrumental unit who covered many of the popular songs of the era. They actually had a good sound if you were into an up-tempo cross between pop and easy listening.

Their biggest hit was a re-working of the Who’s “Overture From Tommy.” Released during the late spring of 1970, it reached number 16 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It may not have been rock ‘n’ roll but but it resonated with the rock audience of the day.

Instant Karma (We All Shine On) 45 by John Lennon

August 27, 2012

I was never a real fan of John Lennon’s first two solo singles, “Give Peace A Chance” and “Cold Turkey.” The third remains one of my favorite Lennon songs.

“Instant Karma (We All Shine On)” was released during early 1970 and was his first solo single to crack the top ten. It reached number three on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

It was a rocker with George Harrison contributing the guitar work and Billy Preston on keyboards. The music had a raw feel to it and was different from much of what he would produce during his all too short solo career.

The Very Best Of Cannonball Adderley by Cannonball Adderley

August 26, 2012

Cannonball Adderley (1928-1975) was one of America’s premier jazz saxophonist’s during his all too short 20 year career. In addition to leading his own groups, he was a noted sideman for many of the leading jazz artists of the day, including Miles Davis, 1957-59. He also worked outside the jazz medium at times with excursions into rock and roll and rhythm & blues territory.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, his music was positive and ebullient. Yet underlying it all was a very soulful style. His sound evolved from the bop school, to Miles Davis modal phase, to the electrified funk stylings of his later career, to the commercial jazz of his signature song, “Mercy Mercy Mercy.”

His music now returns as a part of the ongoing Concord Music Group’s The Very Best Of series that resurrects some of the better tracks by many of the leading lights of American Jazz’s classic era. The Very Best Of Cannonball Adderley is an eclectic mix of 10 tracks that spans his career,but eschews his most commercially successful period with Capital Records. As such, it gives a flavor of his music but the jumps from one era to the next only scratch the surface of his sound and style.

The first and oldest track from 1958, “A Little Taste,” finds him playing with such stalwarts as pianist Bill Evans and trumpet player Blue Mitchell. His solo was one of the better excursions of his early career and is a fine introduction to his music.

“This Here” is an 11 minute live track recorded at The Jazz Workshop in San Francisco, October 20, 1959, with his quintet. He is backed by cornet player Nat Adderley, bassist Sam Jones, pianist Bobby Timmons, and drummer Louis Hayes. His lengthy solos soar over the instrumental foundations as his soulful style looks ahead to his fusions of soul and jazz.

“Know What I Mean” found him in a simpler setting as he and pianist Bill Evans are backed by only a bass and drums. The interplay between Evans and Adderley make you wish the song was longer than its five minutes.

The jump ahead to 1975, the year of his death at age 46, has synthesizer player George Duke on hand, which gave him a far different musician to play off and against. The electric rhythms present a nice example of just how far his sound had evolved and the direction it was headed.

Cannonball Adderley has been gone almost four decades, but his music still sounds vibrant. The power of his playing and the joyful and soulful sounds he could coax from his instrument are always worth a listen. The Very Best Of Cannonball Adderley is a nice slice of his music and will leave you wanting more.

Article first published as Music Review: Cannonball Adderley – The Very Best Of Cannonball Adderley on Blogcritics.

Three Coins In The Fountain by The Four Aces

August 25, 2012

Al Alberts, Dave Mahoney, Lou Silvestri, and Rosario Vaccaro formed the Four Aces during the late 1940s. They were a classic pre-rock ‘n’ roll vocal group. They placed 44 singles on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Charts, all during the 1950s. Their first 29 chart singles all cracked the top 30.

They had two number one singles during their career. Their first, “Three Coins In The Fountain,” just made it to the number one position. It did not top The Best Sellers In Stores Chart or The Most Played By Disc Jockeys Chart. It did howver spend the week of July 24, 1954 on top of the Most Played In Jukeboxes Chart, which qualified it as a number one hit.

The group still remains active today; however there are no original members.

Guantanamera 45 by The Sandpipers

August 25, 2012

Jim Brady, Richard Schoff, and Mike Piano first came together as the Four Seasons. They were a vocal group and did not realize that one of the greatest vocal groups of all time already had that name. THey changed their name to the Grads and finally to The Sandpipers. They also added female singer Pamela Ramcier and used her voice in place of strings giving the group a very unique sound.

The can best be described as a light, and I mean light, folk/rock group. They were primaily an album group with seven of their releases reaching the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart but they did manage to chart four singles.

Their biggest hit originated in Cuba and was brought to the United States by Pete Seeger. “Guantanamera” was a big hit during the summer of 1966 reaching number nine on the BILLBOARD Singles Chart.

The group disbanded during 1975 and there have been no reunions to date.

Summer Holiday by Jimmy Griffin

August 24, 2012

Frank Sinatra started the Reprise label during 1960 and used it to release albums by many of his friends and colleagues such as Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Jo Stafford, and Sammy Davis Jr. When producer Jimmy Bowen was hired by the label he had a different vision and began looking for talent to make the label attractive to a younger audience.

One of the first artists he signed was the 20 year old Jimmy Griffin who he hoped to turn into a pop idol. He decided to produce Griffin’s debut album himself and brought in Jack Nitzsche to arrange the music. The result was Summer Holiday, which was a lightweight sunny pop album that was pleasant according to early-60s music standards but made little commercial impact.

Summer Holiday has now returned as a Real Gone Music reissue. The original 12 track album has been enhanced by all of his non-album tracks that were released as singles.

In many ways it was a typical album of the era. Cover songs were combined with some new material that all fit together into a pop mix. While Bowen would go on to produce dozens of hits; here he tried to mold Griffin into a younger version of the older artists he was trying to replace. Some of the best session musicians of the era provided the instrumental backing including Leon Russell, Glen Campbell, and Hal Blaine.

The title song had been a hit in England for Cliff Richard. His version is lighter than the original and the arrangement was breezy. He also moved the Eddie Cochran rocker, “Summertime Blues,” into a pop vein, which was a real stretch. He was on much more solid ground with such hits of the day as “Love Letters in the Sand,” and “Sealed with a Kiss.” Two of the more successful songs were co-written by Campbell. “What Kind of Girl Are You” and “My Baby Made Me Cry” fit his vocal style

The bonus tracks are more of the same. The best of the lot was “Little Miss Cool,” written by Sonny Bono, which has an edge to it. He gives a surprisingly effective cover of The Beatles “All My Loving.” On the other hand such songs as “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” and “Try” seem antiquated even by early-60s standards.

When his contact with Reprise expired, he formed a writing relationship with Robb Royer. They produced songs for such artists as Cher, Bobby Vee, Brian Hyland, Lesley Gore, and even the garage rock band, The Standells. Their greatest hour came when writing under the pseudonyms Arthur James and Robb Wilson, they won the Academy Award for their song “For All We Know.” The best was yet to come for he duo as they joined up with vocalist David Gates to form Bread, which was one of the more commercially successful light rock groups of the ’70s.

Summer Holiday is an album that is frozen in time. It presents a nice slice of music from a simpler era and remains an a smooth listen nearly 50 years later.