Your Long Blonde Hair and Your Eyes of Blue

3008. V.A.: History of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 1: The Roots 1947-52 3009. V.A.: History of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 2: The Golden Years 1953-55 3010. V.A.: Atlantic Rhythm and Blues, Volume 1: 1947-1952 3011. V.A.: Atlantic Rhythm and Blues, Volume 7: 1969-1974 3012. V.A.: History of Rhythm and Blues Vocal Groups 3013. V.A.: This Is Soul 3014. V.A.: Apollo Saturday Night 3015. V.A.: The Best of Chess Vocal Groups 3016. V.A.: The Best of Chess Rhythm & Blues 3017. V.A.: The Best of Chess/Checker/Cadet Soul 3018. V.A.: Chess Sisters of Soul, Volume 1 3019. V.A.: New Orleans Rhythm & Blues 3020. V.A.: Never Before Released Masters from Motown's Brightest Stars - The 1960's 3021. V.A.: From the Vaults 3022. V.A.: Hard-To-Find Motown Classics, Volume One 3023. V.A.: Hard-To-Find Motown Classics, Volume Two Mixworthy: "Thin Line Between Love and Hate," Persuaders; "Clean Up Woman," Betty Wright; and "Love Won't Let Me Wait," Major Harris, #3011; "Mr. Lee," Bobbettes, #3012; "Cool Jerk," Capitols, #3013; "Temptation 'Bout to Get Me," Knight Brothers, and "Dear One (It Was a Night)," Gems, #3015; "Does Your Mama Know About Me," Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, and "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," Jimmy Ruffin, #3022; "Smiling Faces Sometimes," Undisputed Truth, and "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'," Velvelettes, #3023. The next couple of sections cover soul and R&B from the late '40s to the early '70s, beginning with collections on Atlantic (#3008-3014), Chess (#3015-3019), and Motown (#3020-3023). If you conducted an ILM poll (or polled any large group of similarly oriented music listeners; once again, I'll refrain from using the "R" word) on the greatest label ever, my guess would be that Atlantic would come out on top. As my relatively low number of Wilson Pickett/Ray Charles/Otis Redding/Sam & Dave/Solomon Burke (etc.) picks in the alphabetical section already made clear, it wouldn't be high on my own list. (I probably ended up listing a couple of dozen Atlantic songs anyway, just by default.) Atlantic almost always kept the rough edges intact, whether it was soul, doo-wop, girl-group, or any other style of black pop; if you're someone who counts rough edges as synonomous with honesty and urgency when it comes to music, a box set's worth of Atlantic stuff would just barely serve as a starting point...Tommy Chong played guitar for Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers (insert your own drug joke, I'm too tired to think of one myself at the moment). He also co-wrote "Does Your Mama Know About Me," enough to grant Canadian Content status to the song (Chong was born in Ed- monton), so it probably still gets some airplay on CHUM today. Our 35% Cancon regula- tion has been keeping the likes of Pagliaro, Valdy, and Keith Hampshire in cigarette money for decades..."Smiling Faces Sometimes" is one of my favourite songs ever, but it's also more than that. I don't know if there's a song I have more admiration for-- for its wisdom, for its strangeness, and for the fact that it was onto something his- torically new and important before anyone else got there. I compiled a meticulously chronological early-70s soul CD for someone last Christmas--the dates were taken from Billboard and ordered by week of chart entry--and before Riot, before Superfly, before "Superstition", before War, before any of the stark, paranoid black pop that sound- tracked that era, the Undisputed Truth were first out of the blocks in June of '71. Allowing that there were earlier hints that something unfamiliar was coming into being (Sly's "Thank You [Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin]" was pretty out there), the creepiness of "Smiling Faces Sometimes" must have been startling. It's not a Nixon song in name, but it may be the greatest Nixon song of them all. ________________________________________________________________________________ 3024. V.A.: Okeh Rhythm & Blues 3025. V.A.: The Roots of Rock, Volume 6: Sunset Soul 3026. V.A.: Old King Gold, Volume 4 3027. V.A.: Hurt So Bad: Early Sixties Soul, 1950-1965 3028. V.A.: Tears in My Eyes 3029. V.A.: What's Happening...Stateside? 3030. V.A.: "The Beat Is On": Sue Instrumentals, 1959-1967 3031. V.A.: The Detroit Girl Groups 3032. V.A.: The History of Hi Records: Rhythm & Blues, Volume One 3033. V.A.: The Gamble Records All Stars 3034. V.A.: Soul's Greatest Hits 3035. V.A.: 15 Original Big Hits, Volume 2 3036. V.A.: Hot Wax Greatest Hits 3037. V.A.: Heart & Soul Mixworthy: "Cry," Johnny Ray, #3024; "Hurt So Bad," Little Anthony & the Imperials; "Mother-In-Law," Ernie K-Doe; "Wish Someone Would Care," Irma Thomas; and "A Cer- tain Girl," Ernie K-Doe, #3027; "I Wanna Make You Happy," Margaret Mandolph, and "This Must End," Impressions, #3028; "Don't Rush Me," Baby Dolls, #3033; "The Name Game," Shirley Ellis, and "Yes, I'm Ready," Barbara Mason, #3034; "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get," Dramatics, #3035; "Me and Mrs. Jones," Billy Paul, and "Rainy Night in Georgia," Brook Benton, #3037. The rest of soul and R&B: anything that's not Atlantic, Chess, or Motown, including, to lead off the mixworthy list, one very strange white guy. I probably should have #3015 filed in the same '60s section where the Spector collections and Dream Babies are, but one of those Detroit girl groups was the Primettes, who were the Supremes- plus-one a couple of years before the fact. Diana Ross is pictured on the cover, so I instinctively filed it in soul/R&B--silly when Darlene Love's over in the '60s pop section. Before this devolves into a dorky was-the-first-Jam-album-punk-or-new-wave? meditation--with the always complicated minefield of race thrown into the equation (i.e., I'm probably overcompensating for the occasionally voiced charge that '60s Motown wasn't "black enough")--I'll move on...I've got good Little Anthony, Irma Thomas, and Barbara Mason collections on CD, but I only have these stray tracks on vinyl. The Irma Thomas cut is duplicated on #3027 and #3029; great song, but I've gone on to discover "Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)" (B-side of the original "Time Is on My Side"), which is even better. After Fats Domino, I heard Ir- ma Thomas mentioned most often in the first few days post-Katrina as one of the unac- counted-for hometown musical icons. Both are alive and well...Margaret Mandolph's "I Wanna Make You Happy" is amazing. For the longest time, I could not locate a single piece of information on either her or the song (beyond the matrix number--Planetary 106--supplied by #3028's song credits): nothing in whatever soul books I have, noth- ing on the internet, nothing anywhere. I finally located a short paragraph buried in an online "History of America's Girl Groups" by Shelia Burgel. The biggest eyeopener is that Margaret was 13 years old. Little Eva, Millie Small, and Lesley Gore made some famous records that everyone would agree were pretty great, but they didn't get their names on anything quite this good. Opening line: "What a nice party/And I know just why I'm feeling so blue..." ________________________________________________________________________________ 3038. V.A.: Let's Have a Party 3039. V.A.: Mercury Rockabillies 3040. V.A.: Starday-Dixie Rockabillys, Volume One 3041. V.A.: Starday-Dixie Rockabillys, Volume Two 3042. V.A.: King-Federal Rockabillys 3043. V.A.: Hillbilly Music...Thank God! Volume 1 3044. V.A.: Country Hits of the '40s 3045. V.A.: The Roots of Rock, Volume 10: Sun Country 3046. V.A.: Tennessee Country 3047. V.A.: 30 Grand Ole Country & Western Favorites 3048. V.A.: Cream of the Country Crop 3049. V.A.: All Time Country Greats 3050. V.A.: Country & Western Winners 3051. V.A.: Great Stars of Country Music 3052. V.A.: Country-Western Radio 3053. V.A.: Greatest Country Hits of the 80's, 1980 3054. V.A.: Don't Shoot 3055. V.A.: The Story of the Blues 3056. V.A.: St. Louis Town 1929-1933 3057. V.A.: Southern Sanctified Singers 3058. V.A.: Memphis Beat 3059. V.A.: Cajun Vol. 1--Abbeville Breakdown Mixworthy: "One Hand Loose" and "Bottle to the Baby," Charlie Feathers, and "Eeny Meeny Miney Mo," Bob & Lucille, #3042; "You're Learning" and "I Wish It Had Been a Dream," Louvin Brothers, #3043; "Got You on My Mind," Miller Sisters, #3045; "I'm Lonesome," Ernie Chaffin, #3046; "So Lonesome and Blue," Del Reeves, #3047; "In the Jailhouse Now," Webb Pierce; "Please Help Me, I'm Falling," Hank Locklin; and "Oh, Lonesome Me," Don Gibson, #3049. Rockabilly, country, and blues. It's been at least 20 years since I listened to some of the songs listed above, so I'm really relying on memory and name recognition here. Whatever rockabilly I own was mostly bought in the early '80s, when I was under the influence of the Cramps, X, and local hillbillies the Viletones, whose frontman Steven Leckie was then in the throes of a very severe Elvis complex. I said earlier that I had a bit of interaction with Leckie at the time through Vinyl Museum Norm. One recollec- tion still cracks me up: him all excited about this new British band he'd bought on import who were the real thing, living heirs to Sun studios and the wild abandon of the earliest rockabilly...the Stray Cats! My enthusiasm didn't much outlast the moment when Hüsker Dü came along and supplanted X and the Cramps as my favourite band, but I can still see why it's one of those genres (like mid-60s garage) that stops time for some people, a pure and unselfconscious version of rock and roll that was never bet- tered (leaving aside the narrowness and reactionaryism that often accompanies such devotion)...Speaking of which, I guess I could be called a reactionary when it comes to country music. When country sounds like "old" country--which for me covers anything and everything from the Carter Family through to the arrival of Hee-Haw--there's a lot of it that I love, and there'd undoubtedly be lots more if I took the initiative to investigate a little. But I start to lose the plot through the '70s, and when I hear country music of the past few years that's supposed to be a big deal because it chal- lenges the genre's inherent conservatism or stodginess or whatever--stuff like the Kentucky Headhunters, or Confederate Railroad, or Big & Rich, or Brooks & Dunn--it almost always makes me cringe. Basically, the more that newer country tries to sound like (what it apparently perceives to be) "rock," the more it sounds like bad Sha Na Na to me. (I'm aware, I should say, that almost all rock music that tries to sound like rock these days is just as bad, albeit a different kind of bad.) I downloaded the New Riders of the Purple Sage's first album last week, a pretty and thoroughly predictable bit of fluff that I'm liking a lot. I wish country had stayed on some- thing resembling that course. ________________________________________________________________________________ 3060. V.A.: Nuggets 3061. V.A.: Pebbles 3062. V.A.: Pebbles Volume 2 3063. V.A.: Boulders 7 3064. V.A.: Mindrocker Volume 2 3065. V.A.: The Sound of the Sixties 3066. V.A.: The History of Northwest Rock Volume 1 3067. V.A.: The History of Northwest Rock Volume Two 3068. V.A.: The History of Northwest Rock Volume III 3069. V.A.: The History of Latino Rock: Vol. 1 -- 1956-1965, The Eastside Sound 3070. V.A.: The Best of Louie, Louie 3071. V.A.: Golden Hits from the Gang at Bang 3072. V.A.: Michigan Rocks 3073. V.A.: Thunder Alley • Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 3074. V.A.: Beat-Parade 1967 im Jaguar-Club 3075. V.A.: The Fabulous Bubblegum Years 3076. V.A.: Revolution • Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 3077. V.A.: The Autumn Records Story Mixworthy: "Lies," Knickerbockers; "A Public Execution," Mouse; "Liar, Liar," Cast- aways; "You're Gonna Miss Me," Thirteenth Floor Elevators; "Psychotic Reaction," Count Five; "Baby Please Don't Go," Amboy Dukes; and "Open My Eyes," Nazz, #3060; "Don't Come Around," Trolls, #3064; "My Heart Cries," Romanceers, #3069; "Louie, Louie," Black Flag, #3070; "Hang on Sloopy" and "Sorrow," McCoys, #3071; "Journey to the Center of Your Mind," Amboy Dukes, #3072; "Simon Says," 1910 Fruitgum Company; "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy" and "Chewy, Chewy," Ohio Express; and "Gimme Some Lovin'," Crazy Elephant, #3075; "Free Advice," Great Society; "Sad Little Girl," Beau Brum- mels; and "No. 1," Charlatans, #3077. Garage, garage, garage, with a couple of spiritual descendents, bubblegum and hippie- jangle, tacked on at the end. (The Latino-rock collection actually leans more towards R&B and non-garagey--uh, regular?--rock and roll, but the Premiers and Cannibal & the Headhunters are on there, so I've always filed it here.) Next to all the '90s stuff I've been catching up on, I've accumulated more garage music than anything else since I started downloading a year ago. I always hope that once you get past the "Hey Joe" cover, the "In the Midnight Hour" cover, the three Rolling Stones covers, and the 13 useless originals that fill up every garage compilation, there's bound to be one excellent song. Sometimes things work out exactly as planned; other times they stick on a fourteenth useless original. I'm being unfair--there's a lot of garage music I love, but I guess my point is that, for a genre that gets excavated by reissue labels like Sundazed and Rhino (and many others far more obscure) as if there's an inexhaust- ible reservoir of brilliance, it's been my experience that the ratio of inspired-to generic starts to reverse itself dramatically once you move beyond Nuggets. I think a box set or at least greatly-expanded version of Nuggets was put out sometime in the past few years; my copy's the blue-cover Sire reissue from the late '70s, which I got as a cutout at Cheapies. I've listed seven songs from it, having already accounted for the Seeds and the Barbarians tracks in the alphabetical section, ranking Nuggets with American Graffiti as the most used compilation in my collection...There's defi- nitely stuff I've missed on albums #3061-3068--I was listening to Mindrocker last week and noticed a couple of good songs on side one for the radio show--but the Trolls' "Don't Come Around" is the only thing I know I've put on more than a couple of tapes and CDs for friends. Nuggets, pebbles, boulders--are there any Concrete, Sediment, or Gravel collections worth owning?...The Gang at Bang was salvaged from my parents' col- lection. One of them, I'm not totally sure which (leaning towards my mom), initialled the front cover inside the bubble that lists the four McCoys songs. With some trepi- dation, I Googled "Gang at Bang" for an image--got one on page three, and never had to avert my eyes once...#3074 is a German LP split between the Rags, the Lions, and the People. You can run, but you can't hide: among the many covers is "Hey Joe"...I wrote a bit about the Charlatans last year. The one album they managed to get out in their lifetime (Philips, 1969) would be near the top of my list of things I have on CD but wish I had on vinyl instead. "Time to Get Straight" is the only song on there as good as "No. 1" from the Autumn collection, but the album's delayed release and quick disappearance just adds to the general fascination I have for the band.

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