There’s a disturbing regularity this year, reporting on the passings of memorable and influential Artists. Fontella Bass is the latest. One of the truly distinctive voices in Soul, Bass scored a huge hit in the 1960’s with Rescue Me, a song sometimes attributed to Aretha Franklin (who later recorded it). But I’m here to tell you, it was Fontella Bass who made that song unforgettable.
And it’s probably been played constantly the past several days, since hearing of her passing at the too-young age of 72. So instead, I thought I would wander through her catalog and offer a track from her 1972 album for Paula Records, Free. Tonight it’s I Want Everyone To Know.
Another beautiful voice, another amazing talent. Gone now, but living forever through their music.
Since the Studio/Past Daily Nerve Center has been undergoing renovations this past week, I’ve been stumbling over buried shelves of old 78’s – some I haven’t played since they arrived. And since Nights At The Roundtable is an eclectic mish-mash of music most nights anyway, why not end the week/start the new one, with something I usually don’t play; 1920’s Big Band.
This one comes from one of the more popular Dance bands of the 1920’s, a band in heavy competition with Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra. They both recorded for the same label (Victor), and both bands had a massive catalog to their credit and both were huge throughout the 20’s and into the 1930’s.
So rather than try and make something profound out of this entry from a historic standpoint, I thought I would just grab at random, and I chose this one – Sugar Plumb, recorded in 1925 and certainly one of the more danceable numbers the kids in the above photo probably cut a few rugs to.
There has always been Pop Music and Pop Culture – it just sounds and looks different over the years. The sentiment is the exact same.
Further evidence that Rock Without Borders yields interesting results. Megaafonia is a band from Spain I ran across on several sites the past few years. Around since 2005 – with two albums and an ep currently out, Megaafonia have been forging inroads and getting some good notoriety in the process around Spain and throughout Europe.
Tonight it’s a track off their 2010 album Tutto. Pere Pedrègos gives a good idea of where this band is coming from musically. Indie/Alternative with some blasts of Mellotron towards the end of the track. You can’t possibly go wrong with that!
And since it’s in Spanish there’s that language barrier – which by now should be no barrier, right?
Check them out and “like” them on Facebook while you’re at it
Since we’re spending some time today remembering the contributions to music by Jerry Garcia, I thought I would toss in my two cents and offer a track tonight from one of my favorite Grateful Dead albums.
Tonight it’s High Time from Workingman’s Dead, recorded and released in 1970.
One of the mainstays of the early Prog-rock/Art-Rock genre were Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Their popularity was enormous worldwide and their fans ran the gamut from mainstream pop enthusiasts to hardcore stoners.
But that was the 70’s. Tonight it’s an incarnation from 1967 in which the common link is keyboard maestro Keith Emerson. The Nice came on the scene right at the time of Psychedelia and were a sizable hit with audiences. They blended an interesting mixture of Pop, Psych, Jazz and Art-Rock into one relatively seamless presentation and had an enthusiastic following as the result.
For this Roundtable it’s a very rare live session done by The Nice while on tour in Sweden. Recorded by Sveriges Radio with a reasonably sedate audience, this live document of The Nice offers a few disappointments. First off, the vocals were not the strong suit of The Nice, and Keith Jackson’s voice is flat a lot of the time, a well documented weak aspect of the band which probably hampered their universal success.
But that’s a small nit to pick for an otherwise long-thought-lost radio session by a band that, at the time were just getting ready to release their first album and were destined to do great things.
What’s on the player tonight:
The Nice – In Session at Sveriges Radio – 1967
1. Flower King Of Flies
2. Sombrero Sam
3. The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack
What more than makes up for any vocal deficiencies is the fact this recording is so good and is something of an anomaly for a period of time where live recordings were rare and well recorded ones even rarer.
It’s safe to crank this one up and get ready for the weekend.
Later to be termed Post-Punk, Magazine arrived on the scene without so much as a genre attached to their music. Howard Devoto, having left Buzzcocks, formed Magazine and within very little time, achieved major success, with their first single Shot By Both Sides considered a classic, and their debut album Real Life, considered one of the greatest albums of all time. So clearly, they were heading in the right direction and became one of the hugely influential bands of the 1980’s.
Tonight it’s a track from the last album they released prior to Devoto’s departure. Magic, Murder and The Weather, contained the classic single About The Weather.
I originally posted this track a couple years ago on my now-defunct Newstalgia site. I realize there are a bunch of you out there who are new to this site, never having heard of the old one, so all this is new to you.
And even if you’ve been following the old site, this is still a great almost totally unknown track by a band that quick got pigeonholed as a One-Hit Novelty Act. Which was a shame, as The Rainy Daze had a lot more to say than merely Acapulco Gold (their big claim to fame).
Tonight it’s the follow-up single, first issued in May of 1967 under the title Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum and later reissued around August as Blood of Oblivion. Despite the title change, it didn’t fare well for the band and the single went almost nowhere. I remember hearing it once when it first came out via my local Top-40 station, and then it was never heard from again. Sadder, this track never wound up on the debut Rainy Daze album and has subsequently never been reissued by anyone even recently (as far as I know). Making matters worse, the original 4-track masters were destroyed in the great fire at Universal City a couple of years ago. So the likelihood of hearing a Stereo version of this track are remote at best.
But with all that in mind, you can’t keep a great song down and this is one of the many overlooked classics that are hidden away on the b-sides of singles, or the dusty tape shelves or the initially poorly received follow-up singles.
It’s all history, it’s all music and it often makes no sense.
Another look at the wildly iconic genre of “Yè-Yè” from 1960’s France. This time via France Gall, another in a long line of very talented and hugely popular singer/songwriters in the early 1960’s. Gall, like her compatriot Francoise Hardy, has continued her popularity over the years although she has stopped performing and only appears occasionally.
Tonight’s track is from her early period. Le Temps de la Rentrèe was recorded in 1965 and issued in her second album Baby Pop in 1966.
If you haven’t heard her before, or are only recently getting familiar with the “Yè-Yè” genre, here is a good place to start.
Toy have been together since 2010 and in that time have gotten an amazing word of mouth going. In January of this year, the British Music be-all-end-all NME declared Toy to be one of the “100 new bands you need to hear”.
So, in keeping with the spirit, here is the b-side of their 2011 single, Clock Chime. They have been characterized as a combination of Psychedelic, Indie, 70’s Krautrock and 90’s Madchester. Give it a listen and see what you think.