Archive for the ‘1960s’ Category

Tesfa-Maryam Kidane – Heywete (late 1960s/early 1970s)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

From Senegal to Ethiopia.

Difficult to find out too much about this record. It appears on Volume 10 of the peerless Ethiopiques series of CDs (I’m almost a completist, though we are now up to 30 volumes!)

A wonderfully laid-back and evocative instrumental with Kidane’s saxophone holding the whole thing together – understated bass and percussion underpin the melody.  a piano fills in the spaces until a stunning guitar solo prompts the bass to move into Afro-funk perfection! Beautiful.


The Fall – Wings (1983)

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

The Fall at close to the peak of their powers. Taken from the seminal double 7″ single “Kicker Conspiracy”, “Wings” finds Mark E. Smith channeling his inner Stooges. Relentless guitar, a pounding bass and lyrics worth an effort to decipher …

Ended up under Ardwick Bridge.
With some veterans from the U.S. Civil War.
They were under Irish patronage.
We shot dead a stupid sergeant,
but I got hit in the crossfire.
The lucky hit made me hit a time lock.

Nope, me, neither.

Great video!

Ernie K-Doe – Mother-In-Law (1961)

June 5, 2016 Leave a comment

Written by the late Allen Toussaint and released as a single on the wonderful Minit Records in 1961, Mother-In-Law is not (spoiler alert) a song that is overly complimentary about the woman in question. A few lines to illustrate this:

The worst person I know ….

Satan should be her name …

But if she would leave that would be the solution …

A jolly tune though!

Art Ensemble of Chicago – Theme De Yoyo (1969)

January 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Sunday night, must be time for a spot of avant-garde jazz … and it gets no finer than this to my mind.

Part of the soundtrack to the film Les Stances a Sophie, this track features simply relentless bass and drums, killer trumpet and sax, and occasional vocals by the legendary Fontella Bass who was, at the time, Lester Bowie’s wife (he’s on the trumpet).

The lyrics are stupendous, if occasionally baffling …!

Your head is like a yoyo,
your neck is like the string,
Your body’s like a camembert
oozing from its skin.

Your fanny’s like two sperm whales
floating down the Seine
Your voice is like a long fuck
that’s music to your brain.

Your eyes are two blind eagles
that kill what they can’t see
Your hands are like two shovels
digging in me.

And your love is like an oil-well
Dig, dig, dig, dig it,
On the Champs-Elysees.

Simply never stops, utterly perfect!



Nina Simone – Wild is the Wind (1964)

January 13, 2015 Leave a comment

This song has a remarkable history!

Written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, the track was originally recorded by Johnny Mathis (of all people!) for the 1957 film Wild Is the Wind. His is a sugary, anodyne reading that I advise all to steer clear of.

I first became familiar with this song through David Bowie’s wonderful version that he recorded for his classic Station to Station LP of 1976. I was also aware of Nina Simone’s first version that was recorded for her At Town Hall LP in 1959. However, it is her, later, studio version of 1964 which is the definitive reading.

A vocal of unparalleled depth and power with understated bass and drums and simply mesmerising piano adds up to a perfect record!

Whoever sings this has the advantage of some of the best lyrics of all time:

Love me, love me, love me, say you do
Let me fly away with you
For my love is like the wind
And wild is the wind

Give me more than one caress
Satisfy this hungriness
Let the wind blow through your heart
For wild is the wind

You touch me
I hear the sound of mandolins
You kiss me
With your kiss my life begins
You’re spring to me
All things to me

Don’t you know you’re life itself
Like a leaf clings to a tree
Oh my darling, cling to me
For we’re creatures of the wind
And wild is the wind
So wild is the wind

The 1964 LP version and then Nina’s earlier recording (for comparative purposes!) from 1959.


? and the Mysterians – 96 Tears (1966)

January 3, 2015 Leave a comment

Question Mark and the Mysterians “96 Tears” reached number one in the USA in October 1966 and is a foundation stone of 1960’s garage and 1970’s punk rock.  – right up there with the Kingsmen’s 1963 recording of Richard Berry’s classic “Louie Louie” (which the latter originally recorded in 1955).

The organ kicks off, the bass rumbles into action, the drums make an understated entrance, the organ riff reaches perfection  and then ?’s vocals wander in, drawling laconically:

Too many teardrops
For one heart to be crying
Too many teardrops
For one heart to carry on

The song was written by ? himself (aka Rudy Martinez) and some followers may recall The Stranglers taking a version of 96 Tears into the UK singles chart in 1990.

A perfect Saturday night record.

The Love Affair – Everlasting Love (1968)

January 1, 2015 Leave a comment

This is one of the best records ever made.

One could argue that this was “manufactured” in a manner that anticipates the fodder of the X-Factor but the times were different,  the incentives complex, and the quality of the confection? Off the scale.

Originally written by Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden, the song was first recorded by Robert Knight in 1967 and reached the US top 40. See below for his stellar reading.

However, in January 1968, Love Affair took the song to #1 in the UK. They had initially recorded the song playing all the instruments themselves, with Muff Winwood producing, but CBS Records rejected it as uncommercial, and arranged for a new version to be recorded under the musical direction of Keith Mansfield and with Mike Smith producing, in which vocalist Steve Ellis sang to a backing track performed by an orchestra, brass section and backing vocalists, including Kiki Dee and Madeline Bell. While it was in the charts the group inadvertently caused some controversy in the press when they admitted that they had not played on it, although this had long since been common practice in the pop industry.

I am frankly unconcerned about the provenance – the role of the bass guitar around 20 seconds warrants a place in musical history only challenged by the opening bars of My Generation by The Who …

The Love Affair masterpiece and the Robert Knight original as a close second …

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