A very sad day indeed for the world.
This song would have been worth posting on any day of any year but, today, it just has to be essential. A great song, which I first heard when I bought the superb compilation “Hits And Misses: Muhammed Ali And The Ultimate Sound Of Fistfighting” a few years ago (released on the wonderful Trikont label, details here)
I remember the “Thrilla in Manila” quite well because I was a young boy living in Hong Kong in 1975 in the same time zone as the Philippines. My mum was very excited and followed it avidly!
I’ve previously posted an Ali tribute here (using the medium of reggae) but Eddie Curtis’ “Louisville Lip” is a worthy addition to the bestmusicofalime.
Every so often, you stumble upon a song and have a “double-take” as to the year it was recorded.
“Space Guitar” by Johnny Watson, “The Train Kept A Rollin‘” by Johnny Burnette, “Hallogallo” by Neu are just three examples from my experience.
“Wine, Women, Whiskey” by Papa Lightfoot is in the same bracket for me.
Recorded sometime after 1952, and released on the peerless Imperial Records label in 1954, the bass and overdriven guitar seem to invent glam rock even as you listen to it and then the treated vocals and ruthless harmonica create a sound that transcends a period when Elvis was still musing on how he might change the world of popular music and Captain Beefheart was still contemplating his first signs of stubble.
A stunning record: brief, succinct, powerful, impassioned … a fine addition to the bestmusicofalltime!
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.
Imperial Records are one of my all time favourite record labels and this is typical of the genius of their output.
By far and away the best of these records (and still the most popular entry ever on this blog with 690 hits – as of today), is Jimmy Liggins’ stupendous “I Ain’t Drunk” posted here.
The Kidds never quite hit the Liggins’ heights and, frankly, I am struggling to transcribe the lyrics in a manner that might remain within the bounds of 21st century decency. However, I presume it’s just my ears playing tricks on me, so over to you ….
Elvis Presley at his purest.
Taken from his early recordings for Sun Records, “Tomorrow Night” confirms Elvis as one of the greatest voices in history.
The first recording of this song was made by Lonnie Johnson in 1948 but the track was actually written by Sam Coslow and Will Grosz.
The Lonnie Johnson recording has a rougher, rawer, feel to it which might appeal to some.
However, Elvis’ recording strips the music back to the barest bones and, as his voice soars over the spectral backing, genius is revealed …
From the same sessions, I’ve already posted Presley’s definitive reading of Blue Moon here.
Any track inspired by Booker T and the MG’s peerless “Green Onions” (check here) is likely to be a winner and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me” does not disappoint.
I first heard this track on one of those wonderful NME cassettes released in the 1980s (check here for my “other blog” dedicated to those cassettes!). The Booker T riff, with a killer vocal and harmonica results in an all time classic.
The reinvention of the venerable blues genius RL Burnside was completed in 1996 with his stunning collaboration with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion …!
The “A Ass Pocket Full of Whiskey” LP was released on the wonderful Matador Records in 1996. Among the many highlights, the guitar on “Poor Boy” remains one of my all time favourites.