Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland - Showdown! (Great Blues US 1985)

Kamis, 31 Januari 2013 0 komentar

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Showdown! is a blues album by Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland, released in 1985 through Alligator Records. The album won the Best Traditional Blues Recording Grammy Award in 1986.

Cray found himself in some pretty intimidating company for this Grammy-winning blues guitar summit meeting, but he wasn't deterred, holding his own alongside his idol Albert Collins and Texas great Johnny Copeland. Cray's delivery of Muddy Waters' rhumba-rocking "She's into Something" was one of the set's many highlights.

This excellent 1985 Alligator release finds three guitar legends squaring off, cutting heads, and forming a brotherhood forged in blues. The elder statesman and leader here is the irrepressible Albert Collins, whose guitar sound and unique approach to the blues has been bending ears since the '50s. Johnny Copeland, the "Texas Twister," an early disciple and longtime friend of Collins, is also here, showing he's moved well beyond Collins's early tutelage. The youngest gun is Robert Cray, another musician Collins took under his wing (some 15 years after he first met Copeland). Backed only by a bassist, drummer, and organist (the spare backing band helps put the guitar work at center stage), Collins, Copeland, and Cray go toe-to-toe on these tracks. 

What's especially intriguing is that each song gives equal air time to each musician, making room for solos all around and even, on some tracks, shared vocals. Copeland is the wildest here, with his wooly, rough-hewn voice and blistering leads, counterbalanced by Cray, who lends a laid-back air of sophistication to the proceedings. Collins brings it all together with his signature "icy" style. SHOWDOWN! is a dream come true for blues-guitar fans. Recorded at Streeterville Studios, Chicago, Illinois. Includes liner notes by Bruce Iglauer & Dick Shurman. Full performer name: Albert Collins/Robert Cray/Johnny Copeland. Personnel includes: Albert Collins (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Robert Cray, Johnny Copeland (vocals, guitar); Allen Batts (organ); Johnny B. Gayden (bass); Casey Jones (drums). Personnel: Johnny Copeland (vocals, guitar); Albert Collins (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Robert Cray (vocals, guitar); Allen Batts (organ); Casey Jones (drums). Audio Mixer: Justin Niebank. Liner Note Authors: Dick Shurman; Bruce Iglauer. Recording information: Streeterville Studios, Chicago, IL. Photographer: Paul Natkin. Q - Recommended - " joyfully loose and spontaneous a blues session as anybody's cut for a decade and a half..."

SHOWDOWN! is one of the most successful collaborations in modern blues recording, bringing Collins together with two of his best-known proteges, Johnny Copeland and Robert Cray....the album features a selection of great songs, with plenty of room for state-of-the-art guitar virtuosity..." 

01."T-Bone Shuffle" (T-Bone Walker) – 4:54 
02."The Moon Is Full" (Gwen Collins) – 4:59 
03."Lion's Den" (Copeland) – 3:55 
04."She's Into Something" (Carl Wright) – 3:49 
05."Bring Your Fine Self Home" – 4:30 
06."Black Cat Bone" (Semien, Harding Wilson) – 4:54 
07."The Dream" (Unknown) – 5:28 
08."Albert's Alley (Collins) – 4:01 
09."Blackjack" (Ray Charles) – 6:26

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B.B. King - B.B. King In London (Great Blues US 1971)

Rabu, 30 Januari 2013 0 komentar

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B.B. King in London is a studio album by B.B. King recorded in London in 1971. He is accompanied by US session musicians and various British R&B musicians, including Alexis Korner, and members of Spooky Tooth, Humble Pie and with Rick Wright - not of Pink Floyd fame as some have stated. Rick and his female companion Fritz started a short-lived blues-based band Sunrise which came to an end after Rick's death in a car accident.

As was the case with many early rock and blues legends (Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters) in the early '70s, B.B. King went to London to cut an album with an assortment of rock royalty of the day. 1971's B.B. KING IN LONDON found the King Of The Blues using members of Fleetwood Mac, Spooky Tooth and Humble Pie as sidemen on an assortment of blues classics and numbers written especially for this project. On Fleecie Moore's jump blues classic "Caledonia," King rubs shoulders with Peter Green and plays some nimble-fingered guitar on the Gary Wright-penned instrumental "Wet Hayshark," powered by the dual drumming of Jim Gordon and Ringo Starr (who plays on three songs in total). 

British blues godfather Alexis Korner contributed the instrumental "Alexis' Boogie" in which King duets with Korner on acoustic guitar while Steve Marriott wails away on harmonica. Other highlights include Louis Jordan's "We Can't Agree," here turned into a mid-tempo stroll and Dr. John trading in his piano for a guitar on "Ghetto Woman," a rare song with string arrangements that doesn't come off sounding mawkish. King's brightest playing comes on the joyous "Power Of The Blues" and the Stax-soaked fullness of "Ain't Nobody Home."  

Recorded at Olympic Studios and Command Studios, London, England. Released 11 October 1971 (US) and 19 November 1971 (UK)

* B.B. King - lead guitar, vocals 
* Ringo Starr - drums 
* Peter Green - guitar 
* Alexis Korner - guitar 
* Duster Bennett - harmonica 
* Steve Marriott - harmonica
* Steve Winwood - organ player
  and many more... 

01."Caldonia" (Fleecie Moore) -- 4:01 
02."Blue Shadows" (Lloyd Glenn) -- 5:11 
03."Alexis Boogie" (Alexis Korner) -- 3:30 
04."We Can't Agree" (Wilhelmina Gray, Louis Jordan) -- 4:48 
05."Ghetto Woman" (Dave Clark, B.B. King) -- 5:15 
06."Wet Hayshark" (Gary Wright) -- 2:29 
07."Part-Time Love" (Clay Hammond) -- 3:17 
08."The Power of the Blues" (Pete Wingfield) -- 2:23 
09."Ain't Nobody Home" (Jerry Ragovoy) -- 3:09

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NEW EDITION: Stray Dog - Stray Dog (Tremendeous Hardrock UK 1973)

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Stray Dog were a blues-based hard rock band formed in Texas in the early 1970s. They recorded three albums before disbanding around 1976.

They originally formed in Texas under the name of Aphrodite, from there they moved to Denver, Colorado, they became very popular with the audience's in Denver. At this stage they were introduced to Neville Chesters a former Road Manager for Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Neville Chesters convinced the Band to go to London where he, with a friend and also a former Tour Manager Lorenzio Mazzio, Introduced Snuffy Walden to Greg Lake, who, subsequently signed them to the ELP's label, Manticore Records. At this stage Randy Reader was replaced by Leslie Sampson. Lake produced three tracks on the 1973 debut self titled album, Stray Dog, with the band producing the remainder.

In March 1973, the British music magazine, NME, reported that Stray Dog were to support ELP on their world tour, which was due to commence in Germany at the end of that month.

Stray Dog's follow-up, While You're Down There (1974), was co-produced by Austin Godsey and the band, which featured new members Tim Dulaine on second guitar and vocals, and keyboardist Luis Cabaza. The additions of Dulaine and Cabaza radically changed the band's sound from blues-based power trio to a more subdued and commercial AOR rock sound. Much of the material on While You're Down There was written and sung by Dulaine, with founder Walden's contributions being reduced. Only two tracks, "I Would" and the instrumental "Worldwinds", retained a sound and stylistic approach reminiscent of their debut.

Sampson also played previously in another power trio, Road, with Noel Redding, and American guitarist Rod Richards. They produced one self-titled 1972 album on the Rare Earth label. After the demise of Stray Dog, Walden went on to write and produce the theme songs for several popular American television programs.

This blues-based US heavy metal group started life as a power-trio in 1973. Formed by Snuffy Walden (vocals, guitar), Alan Roberts (bass, vocals) and Leslie Sampson (b. 1950; drums), their style incorporated elements of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Timmy Dulaine (guitar, vocals) and Luis Cabaza (keyboards) were added in 1974, with rather negative results. The aggression and power of the three-piece had been dissipated by needlessly intricate arrangements. While You’re Down There was another disappointment and following management and contractual problems, the band went their separate ways in 1975. 

Another one of my top ten albums of all time, this first album by the Anglo-American power trio was originally released onELP's Manticore label and (well) produced by Greg Lake. At first listen, a lot of these songs almost sound more like jams, but there's actually quite a bit of controlled chaos going on. 

P.S. If the name Snuffy Walden sounds familiar, it may be because you saw his name as musical director for "The Wonder Years", and now does the same on "The West Wing". The grandiose orchestral scores are quite a bit different than Stray Dog's supercharged boogie! 

Hard Rock band signed to EMERSON LAKE & PALMER's Manticore label, hence production on both albums by Greg Lake. A trio of vocalist / guitarist Snuffy Walden, bassist Alan Roberts and ex ROAD drummer Les Sampson. STRAY DOG added second guitarist Tim Dulaine and keyboard player Luis Cabaza for the second effort.

Snuffy Walden became a renowned session guitarist performing for numerous major artists. Pre STRAY DOG he had laid down the guitars on the 1973 RABBITT album 'Broken Arrows'. Roberts went on to AALON for one album. Excellent Hardrock, not to be missed!

01. Tramp (How it Is)  
02. Crazy 
03. A Letter 
04. Chevrolet  
05. Speak of The Devil  
06. Slave  
07. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road)   

Bonus Tracks: 
08. Crazy (Live at Reading Rehearsals London '73) 
09. The Journey (Live at Reading Rehearsals London '73  
10. Eric Takes a Walk (Live at Reading Rehearsals London '73) 
11. Rocky Mountain Suite (Bad Road) (Live at Reading Rehearsals London '73) 
12. Tramp (How it Is) (Live in Rome, Italy '73)  
13. Dog's Blues - incl. Guitar Solo (Live in Rome, Italy '73) 
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Ufo - No Heavy Petting (Classic Hardrock UK 1976)

Selasa, 29 Januari 2013 0 komentar

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No Heavy Petting is the fifth studio album by the British rock band UFO, released in 1976. It is the first UFO album to feature a full-time keyboard player as a member of the band, making this their first record as a five-piece band. While keyboardist Danny Peyronel only stayed in the band for this one album, he did co-write several tracks on the record.

In the beginning UFO cranked up some excellent space rock for a few years but as soon as the band recruited Michael Schenker on guitar, their direction shifted towards a more hard rock based sound that proved to be hugely influential for later groups. With 1976's "No Heavy Petting", the band continued to show artistic growth although not as much as with the previous collection "Force It" (1975). Still this album tends to be the most overlooked one form the Schenker period containing many examples of UFO's great songwriting. In addition to Michael Schenker on guitar, the line-up features Phil Mogg on vocals, Pete Way on bass, Andy Parker on drums and a new addition to the band since the "Force It" tour: Danny Peyronel on keyboards/backing vocals who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina! I've always thought that is really cool since... that's where I'm from too! It's great to be able to listen to UFO with a member from my own city and country of birth!

The intense hard rock opener "Natural Thing" starts the album with the rhythm section of Way/Parker playing tightly. The verse, the pre-chorus and chorus are all killer and a seemingly The Who-inspired passage provides an effective link to the second verse. This tune has always been a crowd pleaser and while this studio take delivers the goods, an even better version of it appears on the immortal live LP "Strangers In The Night" as a medley with the awesome ballad "Out In The Street". After it's over, we go into "I'm A Loser", in my opinion the album's best written and most complex song. An acoustic guitar introduces it with an harmonized melody on top. Mogg is in excellent form throughout and Schenker plays one of his best ever solos! It's very melodic yet highly technical for its time. Before its conclusion Peyronel plays a fast three chord pattern eventually concluding with the F, G, and A chord progression that sends it into the stratosphere! It's an epic finale!
Drummer Parker lent a hand in the songwriting process for "Can You Roll Her" (Mogg/Schenker/Parker) providing a killer dual bass drum beat! This is the shortest song on the album (2:50) and the lyrics talk about a motorcyclist doing well over the speed limit with Schenker delivering an appropriately fast, aggressive solo towards the end. Definitely a highlight!

Now it's time for a ballad: the Schenker/Mogg written "Belladonna". The emphasis is put on guitar arpeggios with Peyronel doubling them on harpsichord. The result is a solid, atmospheric, haunting composition with a brilliant lead melody form Schenker in the middle plus an emotional vocal performance from Mogg. I have always felt a little disappointed with the song's arrangement though since it is totally devoid of Parker's drumming! Perhaps it would have been cool to incorporate a "Stairway To Heaven" type of dynamics, that is to have the drums come forward in the middle or just like the band did on the following album with the ballad "Try Me" with Parker coming forward in time for the final solo! On my first listen, I was expecting something like that to happen but it never came...still it's an excellent tune! I liked how that E major chord is added during the solo.

The riff-driven "Reasons Love" comes next with some heavy drumming from Parker (perhaps to make up for his absence on the previous track). The main riff is augmented by a funky chord on the verses. But the middle Schenker delivers a blistering lead that makes use of the mixolydian scale! This is it folks: air guitar heaven! Now pay attention to track number six "Highway Lady": a fast-paced hard rocking tune written by Peyronel on his own and it is a tribute to the ladies of the road. The guitar and piano blend well throughout while Schenker managed to come up with another highly melodic solo again!

In "On With The Action" the band slows down the tempo considerably. Lyrically, it's a tale about the night-life of the city. Schenker is playing at his melodic best here but this time the scale is based around a combination of bluesy/minor! An amazing performance from him! I'm gonna go ahead and tell you that this song actually sounds much better live! The "Doctor Doctor" (live version) '79 single, taken from "Strangers In The Night" actually had a excellent live take of "On With The Action" recorded during the Obsession tour in 1978. The problem? That version is still hard to find! It was disappoinitng to find out that the 2008 "Strangers" remaster version left that b-side off.

Their cover of Frankie Miller's "A Fool In Love" follows. Here the band brings forward a bluesy hard rock style with a pop twist that is similar to the group Free. The solo is short & sweet and right before it there's a cool bridge. Very enjoyable! The last piece "Martian Landscape" is another composition that Peyronel provided and it's an amazing reflective ballad. His tremolo-phased keyboard dominates but Schenker added a cool harmonized motif that repeats until the fade out. Peyronel explained in an interview that the song was not written about Mars, it is actually about Argentina! That's really cool...UFO has a song about my country! That was the end on the original album but today is our lucky day... [By Chappa "Larcha"]

* Phil Mogg - vocals 
* Michael Schenker - guitar 
* Danny Peyronel - keyboards, vocals 
* Pete Way - bass 
* Andy Parker - drums 

01."Natural Thing" (Michael Schenker, Phil Mogg, Pete Way) - 4:01 
02."I'm a Loser" (Schenker, Mogg) - 3:55 
03."Can You Roll Her" (Danny Peyronel, Mogg, Andy Parker) - 2:58 
04."Belladonna" (Schenker, Mogg) - 4:32 
05."Reasons Love" (Schenker, Mogg) - 3:17 
06."Highway Lady" (Peyronel) - 3:49 
07."On with the Action" (Schenker, Mogg, Peyronel) - 5:03 
08."A Fool in Love" (Frankie Miller, Andy Fraser) - 2:50 
09."Martian Landscape" (Peyronel, Mogg, Parker) - 5:11 

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Sly and The Family Stone - Stand! (Psychedelic Soul 1969)

Senin, 28 Januari 2013 0 komentar

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Stand! is the fourth studio album by soul/funk band Sly and the Family Stone, released May 3, 1969 on Epic Records. Written and produced by lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, Stand! was the band's breakout album. It went on to sell over three million copies and become one of the most successful albums of the 1960s. The album sold over 500,000 copies in the year of its release and was certified gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America on December 4, 1969. By 1986, it had sold well over 1 million copies and had been certified platinum in sales by the RIAA on November 26 of that same year. Stand! is considered one of the artistic high-points of the band's career and includes several landmark songs, among them hit singles, such as "Sing a Simple Song", "I Want to Take You Higher", "Stand!", and "Everyday People". In 2003, the album was ranked number 118 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Stand! was recorded after Life, a commercially unsuccessful album. Despite the Family Stone's early 1968 single "Dance to the Music" being a top ten hit in the United States, none of the band's first three albums charted above 100 on the Billboard 200. Stand! broke this trend, reaching number thirteen on the Billboard 200, and launching Sly Stone and his bandmates Freddie Stone, Larry Graham, Rose Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico into the pop music mainstream.

Much of the album was recorded in the San Francisco area at studios such as Pacific High Recording Studios. The band’s A&R director and photographer Stephen Paley recalled how "together" Sly Stone was while working on Stand!, down to his constant referencing of Orchestration, a how-to book on orchestral arrangement by Walter Piston. Stone's attitude while working on the album would contrast sharply with the erratic behavior and work ethic he would develop after becoming dependent upon cocaine within a year of the release of Stand! 

Stand! begins with the title track. Sly Stone sings lead on "Stand", which plays out as a mid-tempo number for two minutes before launching into a gospel break for the final forty-nine seconds of the song. Most of the Family Stone was unavailable for the session where Sly recorded the final version of the gospel extension, and he, drummer Gregg Errico, and horn players Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini used session players instead. Errico recalls that many liked the gospel extension more than they did the song proper: "People would always ask, 'why didn't you go there and let that be the song?'" The second track on the album is "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey", a criticism of racism. The song has very few lyrics, save for a verse by Rose Stone and the song's chorus: Don't call me "nigger", whitey./Don't call me "whitey", nigger. Once "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" concludes, the album launches into the high-tempo "I Want to Take You Higher". Freddie Stone, Larry Graham, Rose Stone, and Sly Stone each take turns delivering the lead vocal. All seven members of the band deliver the shouted backing vocals on the recording, and Sly Stone, Robinson, Freddie Stone, Graham, and Martini are all given instrumental solos.

"Somebody's Watching You" follows "I Want to Take You Higher", and is a somber number about paranoia. Sly Stone, Graham, Freddie Stone, and Rose Stone deliver the song's lead vocal in unison, with the song lyrics reflecting the constant need for a successful person to always have to watch his back. The song's slightly pessimistic tone would be expanded upon later in the band's career with "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and the There's a Riot Goin' On LP. "Somebody's Watching You" would be covered as a Top 40 hit for the Family Stone's background vocal group, Little Sister, whose version was the first Top 40 single to feature use of a drum machine. Side A concludes with "Sing a Simple Song", which urges the audience to "sing a simple song" and "try a little do re mi fa so la ti do". Motown artists such as Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Temptations, and The Jackson 5 recorded covers of "Sing a Simple Song", and the song's guitar riff can be heard on the recordings of Ike & Tina Turner ("Bold Soul Sister" from The Hunter, 1969), Jimi Hendrix (Band of Gypsys, 1970), and Miles Davis (A Tribute to Jack Johnson, 1971).

"Everyday People", already a number-one hit single in the United States by the time of the album's release, opens Side B. The most familiar selection on the album, "Everyday People" criticises racism and prejudice, and popularized the expression "different strokes for different folks". Sly Stone, Rose Stone, and Cynthia Robinson sing lead on the song, and Larry Graham introduced the beginnings of the slap-pop style of bass playing he would later expand upon for "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)". The second track on Side B is "Sex Machine", a thirteen-minute jam, which features Sly again scatting through a vocoder, and allowing each band member an extended solo. Gregg Errico's solo closes out the song; while he was recording his solo, the other band members were apparently standing around him and making fun of him, which is why they are all heard bursting into laughter during the final seconds of the track. Stand! concludes with "You Can Make It If You Try", sung by Sly Stone, Freddie Stone, and Larry Graham. For this track, Sly Stone played the bass instead of Larry Graham.

Stand! is among the most sampled recordings in popular music history; late 20th century hip hop producers were particularly fond of sampling Gregg Errico's drum lines from "Sing a Simple Song" and "You Can Make It If You Try", and either looping the tracks or chopping them up and using the drum sounds. The drums from these two tracks can be found on literally hundreds of hip-hop and contemporary R&B songs, by artists such as LL Cool J, The Jungle Brothers, Digital Underground, Ice Cube, TLC, Jodeci, and many more. Arrested Development, an act heavily influenced by Sly & the Family Stone, borrowed from some of the tracks on Stand! for various tracks on their 1992 debut album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of.... Several 3 Years, 5 Months... tracks contain samples of Stand! tracks, most prominently the vocals samples from the end of "Sing a Simple Song" included in Arrested Development's "Mr. Wendel", their "People Everyday" borrows the chorus from "Everyday People", and the coda of "Fishin' For Religion" mirrors the gospel ending of "Stand".

Psychedelis Soul:
Psychedelic soul, sometimes called black rock, is a sub-genre of soul music, which mixes the characteristics of soul with psychedelic rock. It came to prominence in the late 1960s and continued into the 1970s, playing a major role in the development of funk music and disco.

Following the lead of Jimi Hendrix in psychedelic rock, in the late 1960s psychedelia began to have a widespread impact on African American musicians, particularly the stars of the Motown label. Influenced by the civil rights movement, it had a darker and more political edge than much acid rock. Building on the funk sound of James Brown, it was pioneered by Sly and the Family Stone with songs like "Dance to the Music" (1968), "Everyday People" (1968) and "I Want to Take You Higher" (1969), which had a sound that emphasized distorted electric rhythm guitar and strong basslines. Also important were the Temptations and their producer Norman Whitfield, who moved from a relatively light vocal group into much more serious material with "Cloud Nine" (1968), "Runaway Child, Running Wild" (1969) and "Psychedelic Shack" (1969).

Other Motown acts soon followed into psychedelic territory, including established performers like the Supremes with "Reflections" (1967), "Love Child" (1968), and "Stoned Love" (1970). Psychedelic influences could also be heard in the work of Stevie Wonder and in Marvin Gaye's socially conscious work from What's Going On (1971). Acts that broke through with psychedelic soul included The Chambers Brothers with "Time Has Come Today" (1966, but charting in 1968), The 5th Dimension with a cover of Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic" (1968), Edwin Starr's "War" (1970) and the Undisputed Truth's "Smiling Faces Sometimes" (1971).

George Clinton's interdependent Funkadelic and Parliament ensembles and their various spin-offs, took the genre to its most extreme lengths, making funk almost a religion in the 1970s. Influenced by Detroit rock groups including MC5 and The Stooges, they used extended distorted guitar solos and psychedelic sound effects, coupled with surreal imagery and stage antics, especially on early albums such as Funkadelic (1970), Free Your Mind...And Your Ass Will Follow (1970), and Maggot Brain (1971), producing over forty singles, including three in the US top ten, and three platinum albums. [AMG]

01."Stand!" – 3:08 
02."Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" – 5:58 
03."I Want to Take You Higher" – 5:22 
04."Somebody's Watching You" – 3:20 
05."Sing a Simple Song" – 3:56 
06."Everyday People" – 2:21 
07."Sex Machine" – 13:45 
08."You Can Make It If You Try" – 3:37

09."Stand!" (mono single version) 
10."I Want To Take You Higher" (mono single version) 
11."You Can Make It If You Try" (mono single version) 
12."Soul Clappin' II" (previously unreleased) 
13."My Brain (Zig-Zag)" (previously unreleased instrumental)

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Sly and The Family Stone - Life (Classic Funk US 1968)

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Life is the third studio album by funk/soul band Sly and the Family Stone, released in September 1968 on Epic/CBS Records.

Unlike its predecessor, Dance to the Music, Life was not a commercial success, although it has received mostly positive reviews from music critics over the years. Many of its songs, including "M'Lady", "Fun", "Love City", as well as the title track, became popular staples in the Family Stone's live show. A middle ground between the fiery A Whole New Thing and the more commercial Dance to the Music, Life features very little use of studio effects, and is instead more driven by frontman Sly Stone's compositions. Topics for the album's songs include the dating scene ("Dynamite!", "Chicken", "M'Lady"), groupies ("Jane is a Groupee"), and "plastic" (or "fake") people (the Beatlesque "Plastic Jim"). Of particular note is that the Family Stone's main themes of unity and integration are explored here in several songs ("Fun", "Harmony", "Life", and "Love City"). The next Family Stone LP, Stand!, would focus almost exclusively on these topics.

Just a matter of months after Dance to the Music, Sly & the Family Stone turned around and delivered Life, a record that leapfrogged over its predecessor in terms of accomplishment and achievement. The most noteworthy difference is the heavier reliance on psychedelics and fuzz guitars, plus a sharpening of songcraft that extends to even throwaways like "Chicken." As it turned out, Life didn't have any hits -- the double A-sided single "Life"/"M'Lady" barely cracked the Top 100 -- yet this feels considerably more song-oriented than its predecessor, as each track is a concise slice of tightly wound dance-funk. 

All the more impressive is that the group is able to strut their stuff within this context, trading off vocals and blending into an unstoppable force where it's impossible to separate the instruments, even as they solo. The songwriting might still be perfunctory or derivative in spots -- listen to how they appropriate "Eleanor Rigby" on "Plastic Jim" -- but what's impressive is how even the borrowed or recycled moments sound fresh in context. And then there are the cuts that work on their own, whether it's the aforementioned double-sided single, "Fun," "Dynamite!," or several other cuts here -- these are brilliant, intoxicating slices of funk-pop that get by as much on sound as song, and they're hard to resist. [Wikipedia + AMG]

01."Dynamite!" – 2:46 
02."Chicken" – 2:14 
03."Plastic Jim" – 3:31 
04."Fun" – 2:23 
05."Into My Own Thing" – 2:15 
06."Harmony" – 2:52 
07."Life" – 3:02 
08."Love City" – 2:44 
09."I'm An Animal" – 3:20 
10."M'Lady" – 2:46 
11."Jane is a Groupee" – 2:50 

12."Dynamite" (mono single version) 
13."Seven More Days" (previously unreleased) 
14."Pressure" (previously unreleased) 
15."Sorrow" (previously unreleased) 

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B.B. King - Live in Japan (Great Blues Japan/US 1971)

Minggu, 27 Januari 2013 0 komentar

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When BB King landed in Tokyo in March 1971, the Blues legend was riding high on a well-deserved surge in popular acclaim and commercial success. The Thrill Is Gone had become King’s highest-ever charting single the previous year, and as he hit the Sankei Hall stage with his touring band, Live In Cook County Jail was starting a lucrative climb into the US album charts. To avoid harming sales of the latter disc perhaps, his record company decided to release the Tokyo dates only in Japan, leaving America to wait another 28 years. By then of course the LP had become a highly sought-after collectible, and for good reason – the recording captures King and his band in phenomenal form. 

In contrast to …Cook County Jail’s brevity, Live In Japan offers more than seventy minutes of diverse yet consistently outstanding material. Classics such as Sweet Sixteen, The Thrill Is Gone and How Blue Can You Get? are delivered with tremendous passion and clout, while a rare live version of Hummingbird simply takes off on a barrage of ringing notes from Lucille and a fanfare of horns. King’s vocals are magnificent throughout, particularly on Eyesight To The Blind, where he ranges from a bawled holler to a tremulous, breathless gasp with astonishing ease. Several long instrumentals, such as Japanese Boogie and Jamming At Sankei Hall, offer an invaluable snapshot of King’s live improvisational skills, as well as some magical solos from trumpet player John Browning, pianist Ron Levy and King’s long-time drummer Sonny Freeman. While not as widely celebrated as some of his other concert albums, Live In Japan is both an artful and thorough testament to the multi-faceted genius of one of music’s true living legends.

Live in Japan was originally released as a two-LP set in Japan 1971. At the time, King's superb Live in Cook County Jail was a respectable seller for ABC, and the label also planned to release In London -- so ABC felt that because a fair amount of live King albums were coming out in the U.S., it was best to release the Sankei Hall recording only in Japan. But many of King's American fans wanted it anyway, and collectors went out of their way to find imported copies of the double LP. 

Parts of Live in Japan did come out on various U.S. releases, but it was not released in its entirety in the U.S until this 1999 reissue. Backed by many of the same players heard on Live in Cook County Jail, King is in excellent form on spirited, gutsy performances of "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Sweet Sixteen" as well as Sonny Boy Williamson's "Eyesight to the Blind," Leon Russell's "Hummingbird," and Peter Chatman's "Every Day I Have the Blues." The instrumentals "Japanese Boogie" and "Jamming at Sankei Hall" give the band a chance to let loose and improvise, and "Lucille" (King's name for his guitar) gets in some passionate, inspired solos. Although Live at the Regal and Live in Cook County Jail are King's most essential live albums, Live in Japan is a fine CD that his fans will definitely want.

Recorded live at Sankei Hall, Tokyo, Japan on March 4 & 7, 1971. Originally released on ABC-Japan (841). Includes liner notes by Andy McKaie. Personnel: B.B. King (vocals, guitar); Earl Turbinton (alto saxophone); Louis Hubert (tenor saxophone); John Browning (trumpet); Joseph Burton (trombone); Ron Levy (piano); Wilton Freeman (bass); Sonny Freeman (drums). 

01."Every Day I Have the Blues" - 2:10 
02."How Blue Can You Get?" - 5:17 
03."Eyesight to the Blind" - 4:03 
04."Niji Baby" - 6:27 
05."You're Still My Woman" - 5:56 
06."Chains and Things" - 5:41 
07."Sweet Sixteen" - 6:00 
08."Hummingbird" - 4:08 
09."Darlin' You Know I Love You" - 4:26 
10."Japanese Boogie" - 9:17 
11."Jamming at Sankei Hall" - 9:35 
12."The Thrill Is Gone" - 5:36 
13."Hikari #88" - 7:57 

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France EP, releasedate unknown

The Isley Brothers - This Old Heart of Mine (Great R&B US 1966)

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This Old Heart of Mine is a 1966 album released by The Isley Brothers on the Tamla (Motown) label. The album, their first with the seminal Detroit-based music label, yielded the Isleys' biggest hit in their early period with the title track. Other charted singles including "Take Some Time Out for Love" and "I Guess I'll Always Love You". The album's cover was controversial because it did not depict the three African American brothers, instead using a picture of two white teenage lovers on a beach. The cover would be parodied in the 1991 movie, The Five Heartbeats, where the group and its manager are taken aback that the group's faces were not shown on their album cover, inciting Leon's J.T. character to balk, "I ain't ever seen five niggas on Elvis Presley's album cover."

Despite the early success of their Motown debut, the Isley Brothers would be alienated from the label because it treated them as a second-string group. They soon left for Buddah Records and reforming their own T-Neck label in 1969 finding long-lasting success soon afterwards.

"This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" is an Isley Brothers song from 1966 that was a hit for them during their brief tenure on Motown's Tamla label. Featuring Ronald Isley on lead vocal, "This Old Heart of Mine" peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number six on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.

The single was the group's only major hit while on Motown, and then in 1969 the Isleys left Motown to restart their own T-Neck label. Tammi Terrell recorded and released the song as a part of her Irresistible album released in January, 1969.

Written by Motown's main songwriting team Holland–Dozier–Holland alongside Sylvia Moy, "This Old Heart of Mine", produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, was originally intended for The Supremes (who later recorded their own version for their Supremes A' Go-Go album). The hooks of this and an earlier H-D-H production, The Supremes' "Back in My Arms Again," are identical.

The Isley Brothers are an American musical group consisting of brothers Ron and Ernie Isley. The founding members of the band were Ronald Isley, older brothers Rudy and Kelly and younger brother Vernon. Originally formed as a gospel quartet, following the death of brother Vernon, the remaining trio launched a career into doo-wop scoring with their first million-selling hit single, "Shout", in 1959. Follow-up successes came with the 1962 single, "Twist and Shout" and the 1966 Motown single, "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)".

Following the release of their 1969 Grammy Award winning hit, "It's Your Thing" and subsequent other hits on their own label, the family eventually grew to include younger brothers Ernie and Marvin Isley as well as brother-in-law Chris Jasper. From 1973 until 1983, the group would release a successive string of hit albums and singles on the R&B charts, becoming one of the few successful black groups to successfully cross over into the pop charts due to their mixture of soul, funk and rock thanks to the albums, 3 + 3 and The Heat Is On and also helped pioneer the quiet storm format with a string of ballads on their 1970s and 1980s albums.

Since then, the group has gone through different lineup changes becoming one of the few acts to have successfully charted a single or an album in five decades. The group has been awarded with accolades including inductions to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as well as the R&B Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

The origins of the Isley Brothers were in the Lincoln Heights suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. The original quartet version of the brothers was inspired by their father O'Kelly Isley, Sr., a singer in a local gospel group, who had envisioned his sons being "the next Mills Brothers" having his four eldest sons, Kelly, Rudy, Ronnie and Vernon, sing together in church at early ages. The quartet formed in 1954 and began touring the gospel night circuit with their parents as their background musicians. Their gospel career halted after Vernon Isley was struck and killed by a passing motorist while riding his bicycle. Vernon's death briefly broke up the group as the brothers struggled to cope with it. Eventually, their parents advised them to regroup the following year.

After a couple years singing gospel music, the brothers decided to switch genres. Their parents agreed with their decision helping to send them off to New York in 1956 where they begin scouting for record deals, finally signing with the Teenage record label where they recorded their first single, "Angels Cried". The record was released and eventually flopped as did a follow-up, "The Cow Jumped Over the Moon". In 1958, they released the ballad, "Don't Be Jealous", on a different label, however that record also bombed. By the summer of 1959, the Isley family had moved from Cincinnati to a home in Englewood, New Jersey.

The group supported themselves by opening for bigger R&B acts on a variety of package concert gigs. One night, while opening up for Jackie Wilson, they did a spontaneous cover of Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops", which caught the eye of a scout for RCA, who immediately told staff of the brothers. RCA later signed the Isleys and recorded several singles. Their second single, which was one of the first the brothers penned together spontaneously, was a gospel blues number they titled simply "Shout". The record became their first to chart, reaching #47 on Billboard's Hot 100. While other singles - including another group-penned number, "Respectable" - failed to chart, the brothers began making an investment on "Shout", which would be covered by numerous rock and R&B acts and would later be included in commercials and as a theme song and marketing hook for the Buffalo Bills.

The brothers left RCA in 1962 and signed with the Scepter subsidiary Wand. In hopes to branch out and sing ballads, the group had decided on cutting the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song, "Make It Easy on Yourself", until being told that someone else had released it as a single. Wand advised them to record a dance song called "Twist & Shout", partially due to producer Bert Berns showing Phil Spector a lesson on how to produce properly since Spector's production of the Top Notes' original version had flopped. The Isleys' version became a hit, reaching #17 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B chart, later inspiring a hit cover by The Beatles. After the Beatles' version became a hit in the UK in 1963, the brothers' original charted in 1964 peaking at #42 prompting the brothers to promote the single there. They employed Elton John as a keyboardist during their 1964 UK tour. Despite the promise of the Kelly-led "Nobody but Me", the record failed to chart and the brothers soon switched labels again, signing with United Artists in early 1964, where they recorded an early version of "That Lady", titled "Who's That Lady". They would also record the song "Love Is a Wonderful Thing", a song that would later become part of a court case involving the Isleys and Michael Bolton.

Later in 1964, frustrated by the record business, the brothers created their own label, T-Neck Records (initially distributed by Atlantic), where they began recording their own singles with their band, which would later include then-unknown guitarist Jimi Hendrix. With Hendrix, the brothers cut the songs, "Testify" and "Move Over and Let Me Dance" (actually issued on Atlantic). While "Testify" made something of a local buzz, due to T-Neck being a vanity label, they weren't able to send it to record labels. However, "Move Over" and "Wild as a Tiger" did get the attention of Atlantic Records, who signed the act briefly in 1965, by which Hendrix had already left to perform for Little Richard. Their Atlantic Records singles bombed and the brothers halted any more releases from T-Neck after getting an offer from Motown Records CEO Berry Gordy to sign with Motown. Sent to the label's Tamla division, the brothers recorded the Holland-Dozier-Holland composition, "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)". The record became a hit reaching as high as #11 on the Hot 100 and #6 R&B. It also found success overseas peaking at #3 in the UK. Though they had more chart action with Motown than with previous labels, the group struggled with follow-ups and when their contract was up in 1968, the brothers opted not to renew it.

01."Nowhere to Run" – 2:50 
02."Stop! In the Name of Love" – 2:58 
03."This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" – 2:52 
04."Take Some Time Out for Love" (Robert Gordy, Thomas Kemp) – 2:29 
05."I Guess I'll Always Love You" – 2:48 
06."Baby Don't You Do It" – 2:32 
07."Who Could Ever Doubt My Love" – 2:35 
08."Put Yourself in My Place" – 2:39 
09."I Hear a Symphony" – 3:19 
10."Just Ain't Enough Love" – 2:16 
11."There's No Love Left" – 2:59 
12."Seek and You Shall Find" (Ivy Hunter, William "Mickey" Stevenson) – 3:33

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Gladys Knight & Pips - Everybody Needs Love (Great R&B US 1967)

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Everybody Needs Love is a 1967 album by Gladys Knight & the Pips, their first album for Motown Records' Soul imprint. The LP, chiefly produced by Norman Whitfield, features the singles "Just Walk in My Shoes", the 1966 group's Motown debut, "Everybody Needs Love", and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine".

"Everybody Needs Love", which peaked at number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100, was Knight & the Pips first major Motown hit, but "Grapevine", which peaked at number 2, was a major success for the group and Motown. Selling over 2.5 million copies, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" became Motown's best-selling single to that point.  Its success would be overshadowed by Marvin Gaye's version of the song, which would be issued on Motown's Tamla label a year after Knight & the Pips' recording.

Gladys Knight & The Pips were an R&B/soul family musical act from Atlanta, Georgia, active from 1953 to 1989. The group was best known for their string of hit singles on Motown's "Soul" record label and Buddah Records from 1967 to 1975, including "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (1967) and "Midnight Train to Georgia" (1973). The longest-lived incarnation of the act featured Gladys Knight on lead vocals, with The Pips, who included her brother Merald "Bubba" Knight and their cousins Edward Patten and William Guest, as backup singers.

Gladys Knight was born in 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. At the age of seven in 1952, she won Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour television show contest. The following year, she, her brother Bubba, sister Brenda, and their cousins William and Eleanor Guest started a singing group called "The Pips" (named after another cousin, James "Pip" Woods). The Pips began to perform and tour, eventually replacing Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest with cousins Langston George and Edward Patten in 1959.

The Pips scored their first hit in 1961 with "Every Beat of My Heart", a cover of a Hank Ballard & The Midnighters song written by Johnny Otis. The group had recorded the song for a friend in Atlanta, who promptly sold the master to Vee-Jay Records and cut the group out of the record's profits. The Pips recorded a second version of "Every Beat" with Bobby Robinson as the producer, and the song became a #1 R&B and #6 pop hit. Shortly afterwards, Langston George left the group, and the remaining members continued as a quartet, now billed as Gladys Knight & the Pips. Typically, most of the act's recordings featured Knight's contralto on lead vocals and the three male members of the group, usually referred to as "The Pips" by themselves, providing characteristic background vocals.
UK Promo 1966

After a second Vee-Jay hit, "Letter Full of Tears", in 1962, Knight quit the group to start a family with husband James Newman, giving birth to James Gaston Newman III in August of that year. Her second child Kenya Maria Newman was born in November the following year. The Pips toured on their own for two years, until Knight returned to the act in 1964 in order to support her two children.

The group developed a reputation for exciting and polished live performances that enabled them to work even without the benefit of best-selling records. Choreographer Cholly Atkins designed "fast-stepping" dance routines that became a signature of the Pips' stage presentation.

In spite of another hit with 1964's "Giving Up" (later covered by Donny Hathaway and The Ad Libs), Knight and the Pips did not achieve widespread success until 1966, after signing to Motown Records. While at Motown in 1968, Gladys Knight was the first person to suggest that Berry Gordy sign an up-and-coming act from Gary, Indiana called The Jackson Five.

The group's third Motown single was the Top 40 hit "Everybody Needs Love", released in 1967. Another 1967 single, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", provided a career-making breakthrough. "Grapevine" became a #2 pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a #1 R&B hit for six weeks. The record sold 2.5 million copies, and at the time was Motown's best-selling single ever. Producer Norman Whitfield recorded four versions of the song with various artists for potential single release; Knight and the Pips' version was the only one that Motown chief Berry Gordy did not veto. In late 1968, "Grapevine" would become an even bigger hit for Marvin Gaye, whose version, recorded before Knight's but released a year afterwards at Whitfield's insistence, became a #1 pop hit for seven weeks.

Further hits for the group included "The Nitty Gritty" (1969), "Friendship Train" (1969), one of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong's "psychedelic soul" songs, the #1 R&B "If I Were Your Woman" (1970, later covered by Stephanie Mills, Shanice and Alicia Keys), and "I Don't Want To Do Wrong" (1971). Their biggest Motown hit was 1973's #1 R&B/#2 pop hit "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)", which won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus.

"Neither One of Us" also happened to be one of their last Motown hits, as Knight and the Pips departed Motown for Buddah Records in 1973. While at Motown, Knight & the Pips recorded for Soul Records, a label Motown used for acts that recorded material with more of an R&B flavor than a pop flavor. On the A&E Network television program Biography, Knight stated that she and the Pips were regarded as a second-string act, and that "Diana (Ross) & the Supremes, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye were given all the hits, while we took the leftovers." In Knight's autobiography Between Each Line of Pain and Glory: My Life Story, she stated that Diana Ross had the group removed from being The Supremes' opening act on a 1968 tour for, according to Knight, being too good.

Many of Gladys Knight and the Pips' hits in the mid-1970s were written by country songwriter Jim Weatherly. Knight and the Pips charted with five of Weatherly's songs in 1973 and 1974: "Midnight Train to Georgia," "Neither One of Us," "Where Peaceful Waters Flow," "The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me," and "Between Her Goodbye and My Hello."

01. "Everybody Needs Love"   Norman Whitfield, Edward Holland, Jr. 2:57 
02. "I'll Be Standing By"   Valerie Simpson, Nickolas Ashford 2:22 
03. "Since I've Lost You"   Whitfield, Barrett Strong 2:34 
04. "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"   Whitfield, Strong 2:58 
05. "You Don't Love Me No More"   Whitfield, Strong, Roger Penzabene 2:28 
06. "Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone"   Whitfield, Sylvia Moy, Cornelius Grant 2:26  
07. "Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me"   Strong, Penzabene, Grant 2:54 
08. "He's My Kind of Fella"   Harvey Fuqua, Johnny Bristol 2:53 
09. "Yes, I'm Ready"   Barbara Mason 3:00 
10. "My Bed of Thorns"   William "Smokey" Robinson 2:52 
11. "Do You Love Me Just a Little, Honey"   Bristol, Fuqua, Vernon Bullock, Gladys Knight 2:59 
12. "Just Walk in My Shoes"   Helen Lewis Mastor, Kay Lewis Miller 2:26 

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Martha and The Vandellas (Dance Party & Heatwave (R&B 1965 & 1963)

Jumat, 25 Januari 2013 0 komentar

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2 Albums on 1 CD

Dance Party (1965):
Dance Party is a 1965 album released by American Motown and soul girl group Martha and the Vandellas on the Gordy (Motown) label. The album was the group's third and much like The Miracles' Mickey's Monkey album mainly consisted of dance tunes. Among the singles featured on the album include their 1964 landmark single, "Dancing in the Street", their follow-up smash, "Nowhere to Run", the hit, "Wild One", and the famous b-side, "Motoring". The album was mostly produced by William "Mickey" Stevenson with several nods from Holland-Dozier-Holland.

One of the great party albums of the 1960s, Dance Party was, oddly enough, the work of a Motown act that wasn't known for delivering great albums. Martha & the Vandellas had enjoyed some serious hits from 1964 onward, but hadn't quite measured up in the LP department until the release of Dance Party in the spring of 1965. Made up of material from singles that went back to the previous summer, the album benefited from the presence of the group's biggest single, "Dancing in the Street," its follow-up, the hypnotically pounding, driving, soaring "Wild One," and the classic "Nowhere to Run," surrounded by a trio of well-above-average B-sides and covers of such Motown dance standards as "Mickey's Monkey" and "Hitch Hike." Even the rest was hardly filler, however, with Martha Reeves turning in a gloriously impassioned performance on the ballad "There He Is (At My Door)" and the group acquitting itself beautifully on "Motoring." Each side was always good for at least two plays at any self-respecting teen party of the '60s, and it all still holds up today. 

Heat Wave (1963):
Heat Wave is the second album released by American Motown girl group Martha and the Vandellas. Released in 1963 on Motown's Gordy imprint, intended to capitialize on the success of the title track, which rose to number four on the pop singles chart and number-one on the R&B singles chart. The album was produced by the likes of Holland-Dozier-Holland (who composed the group's first five hit singles) and Mickey Stevenson. This was the last album to feature original Vandella Annette Beard.

The material is composed almost entirely of cover versions of songs that were popular at the time. These range from pop tunes like "Then He Kissed Me" and "My Boyfriend's Back" to mainstream standards such as "More" (the theme from the 1962 film Mondo Cane) and "Danke Schoen." The folk song "If I Had a Hammer" is also included as the Peter, Paul, and Mary version was big at the time. On its original release Heat Wave charted lowly at 125 on the U.S. albums chart.

Martha & the Vandellas began making their first noise on the pop and soul charts with this 1963 album. The title song was a classic, while there were also decent remakes of such vintage tunes as "Mocking Bird" and "My Boyfriend's Back." These proved that the group was a singles rather than an album act, and that a little more effort needed to be extended toward finding more material (they even put "Danke Schoen" on this album). But no one really cared, since "Heat Wave" was such a triumph.

Martha and the Vandellas (known from 1967 to 1972 as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas) were an American vocal group who found fame in the 1960s with a string of hit singles on Motown's Gordy label. Founded in 1960 by friends Annette Beard, Rosalind Ashford and Gloria Williams, the band eventually included Martha Reeves, who moved up in ranks as lead vocalist of the group after Williams' departure in 1962. The group signed with and eventually recorded all of their singles for Motown's Gordy imprint.

The group's string of hits included "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave", "Nowhere to Run", "Jimmy Mack" and "Dancing in the Street", the latter song becoming their signature single. During their nine-year run on the charts from 1963 to 1972, Martha and the Vandellas charted over twenty-six hits and recorded in the styles of doo-wop, R&B, pop, blues, rock and roll and soul. Ten Vandellas songs reached the top ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart, including two R&B number ones.

Early years (1957–1962)
Teenagers Rosalind Ashford and Annette Beard first became acquainted after a local music manager hired them to be members of a girl group he named "The Del-Phis". Ashford & Beard, along with then-lead vocalist Gloria Williams, performed at local clubs, private events, church benefits, YMCA events and school functions. They were also being coached by Maxine Powell at Detroit's Ferris Center. One of the group's first professional engagements was singing background for singer Mike Hanks. The group originally had up to six members, shortened to four. After another member left the group, she was replaced by Alabama-born vocalist Martha Reeves, who had been a member of a rival group, the Fascinations and had also been a member of another group, the Sabre-Ettes. In 1960, the group signed their first recording contract with Checker Records, releasing the Reeves-led "I'll Let You Know". The record flopped. The group then recorded for Checkmate Records, a subsidiary of Chess Records, recording their first take of "There He Is (At My Door)". That record, featuring Williams on lead vocals, also flopped.

UK Label 1963

Briefly separated, Reeves returned to a solo career performing under the name Martha LaVaille, in hopes of getting a contract with emerging Detroit label Motown. After Motown staffer Mickey Stevenson noticed Reeves singing at a prominent Detroit club, he offered her his business card for an audition. Reeves showed up at Motown on a wrong date (Motown auditions were held at Thursdays, while Reeves showed up to Motown's Hitsville USA studios on a Tuesday). Stevenson, initially upset, told Reeves to look out for clients and other matters. Soon Reeves became Stevenson's secretary and later was responsible for helping acts audition for the label. By 1961, the group, now known as The Vels, were recording background vocals for Motown acts. Prior to her success as lead singer of The Elgins, Sandra Edwards (then going by her surname Maulett) recorded the song "Camel Walk", in 1962, which featured the Vels in background vocals. That year, the quartet began applying background vocals for emerging Motown star Marvin Gaye, singing on Gaye's first hit single, "Stubborn Kind of Fellow"[9] After Mary Wells failed to make a scheduled recording session feigning a short illness, the Vels recorded what was initially a demo recording of "I'll Have to Let Him Go". Motown was so impressed by the group's vocals – and Martha's lead vocals in the song – that the label CEO Berry Gordy offered to give the group a contract. Figuring that being in show business was too rigorous, Williams opted out of the group. With Williams out, the remaining trio of Ashford, Beard and Reeves renamed themselves The Vandellas, Barry Gordy phoning down and telling the girls what their name would be after giving them a chance to name themselves.

Motown success years (1962–1967)
Following their signing to Motown's Gordy imprint in 1962, The Vandellas struck gold with their second release, the first composition and production from the famed writing team, Holland–Dozier–Holland, titled "Come and Get These Memories". It became The Vandellas' first Top 40 recording, reaching number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaking at number six on the R&B chart. Their second hit, "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave", became a phenomenal record for the group, reaching number four on the Hot 100 and hitting number one on the R&B singles chart for five weeks. It became their first million-seller and eventually won the group their only Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

The group's success continued with their second Top Ten single and third Top 40 single, "Quicksand", which was another composition with Holland-Dozier-Holland and reached number eight pop in the late fall of 1963. Around that time, Beard, who was pregnant with her first child and set to get married, chose to leave her singing career behind by 1964. Betty Kelly, formerly of The Velvelettes, was brought in shortly afterward to continue the Vandellas' rise.

The next two singles, "Live Wire" and "In My Lonely Room"(#6 R&B Cashbox) were less successful singles, failing to reach the Top 40. However, their next single, "Dancing in the Street", rose up to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also found global success, peaking at #21 on the UK Singles Chart in 1964. In 1969, "Dancing in the Street" was re-issued and it was plugged heavily on radio stations. It did not take long for the song to peak at #4 in the UK, thus making the song one of the all time favourite Motown single releases ever. The song became a million-seller, and one of the most played singles in history.

Between 1964 and 1967, singles like "Wild One" (US #34), "Nowhere to Run" (US #8; UK #26), "You've Been in Love Too Long" (US #36), "My Baby Loves Me" (US #22; R&B #3), "I'm Ready for Love" (US #9; R&B #2; UK #29) and "Jimmy Mack" (US #10; R&B #1; UK #21) kept The Vandellas on the map as one of the label's top acts. The Vandellas' popularity helped the group get spots on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Mike Douglas Show, American Bandstand and Shindig!. Throughout this period, The Vandellas had also become one of the label's most popular performing acts.

Personnel changes
Motown struggled to find good material for many of their acts after the exit of Motown contributor and Reeves' mentor William "Mickey" Stevenson in 1967 and Holland–Dozier–Holland in early 1968, but after their former collaborators left the label, the Vandellas initially continued to find success with the Richard Morris produced singles "Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone" (US #25; R&B #14) and "Honey Chile" (US #11; UK #30; R&B #5) added to their already extended list of charted singles. In the summer of 1968, the group joined The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops and Marvin Gaye in performing at the Copacabana though much like albums from the Four Tops and Gaye, a live album of their performance there was shelved indefinitely.

That same year, label changes had started to take effect, and Gordy focused much of his attention on building the Supremes' as well as Diana Ross' burgeoning upcoming solo career that would follow in 1970. The Vandellas' sound (and the sound of many Motown acts with the exceptions of Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder) suffered as a result.

However it was the infighting amongst the members of the Vandellas that led to their problems. Kelly was the first to be let go after reportedly missing shows, and as well as getting into altercations with Reeves. There were many instances where these "fights" happened on stage. Kelley was fired in 1967 and was replaced by Martha Reeves' sister Lois. Simultaneously, the group's name was officially changed to Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, to conform with the company's recent changes of The Supremes' and The Miracles' names to reflect their featured lead singers. During this time, Vandellas records including "(We've Got) Honey Love", "Sweet Darlin'" and "Taking My Love and Leaving Me" were issued as singles with diminishing results.

Regarded for their early and mid 1960s work, some of the Vandellas' popular recordings have become part of American culture with their 1964 standard, "Dancing in the Street", being the obvious example. One of the most covered and popular songs in rock and roll history, the song was revamped several times including a 1982 live recording by rock band Van Halen and a 1985 duet by rockers David Bowie and Mick Jagger, it is considered by many as the "Motown Anthem". Their smash 1963 hit, "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave", has been said to have been the first song to signify the Motown sound or "Sound of Young America" with its backbeat and bouncing rhythms. Another song, 1965's "Nowhere to Run" has been featured during sports events, while 1967's "Jimmy Mack" has been said to inspire what Reeves later called a "virtual legend" of the name of the song. [Wikipedia]

Dance Party Album (1965)
01. "Dancing in the Street"   Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter, William "Mickey" Stevenson   
02. "Dancing Slow"   Hunter, Stevenson, William Weatherspoon   
03. "Wild One"   Hunter, Stevenson   
04. "Nowhere to Run"   Holland–Dozier–Holland   
05. "Nobody'll Care"   Hunter, Stevenson, Stevie Wonder   
06. "There He Is (At My Door)"   Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland, Jr., Freddie Gorman     
07. "Mobile Lil the Dancing Witch"   Hunter, Stevenson   
08. "Dance Party"   Hunter, Stevenson   
09. "Motoring"   Hunter, Stevenson, Phil Jones   
10. "Jerk"   Hunter, Stevenson   
11. "Mickey's Monkey"   Holland–Dozier–Holland   
12. "Hitch Hike"   Gaye, Stevenson, Clarence Paul 

Heat Wave Album (1963)
13."(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave" – 2:44 (Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr) 
14."Then He Kissed Me" – 2:32 (Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich) 
15."Hey There Lonely Boy" – 2:33 
16."More" – 2:14 (Riz Ortolani) 
17."Danke Schoen" – 3:04 (Kurt Schwaback, Bert Kaempfert) 
18."If I Had a Hammer" – 2:16 (Pete Seeger, Lee Hays) 
19."Hello Stranger" – 2:40 (Barbara Lewis) 
20."Just One Look" – 2:33 (Gregory Carroll, Doris Payne) 
21."Wait Till My Bobby Gets Home" – 2:17 (Barry, Greenwich,Spector) 
22."My Boyfriend's Back" – 2:08 (Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer) 
23."Mockingbird" – 2:32 (Inez Foxx, Charlie Foxx) 

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