Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Nick Ashford and his wife, Valerie Simpson, were prolific songwriters before becoming recording stars in their own right. Together they wrote the Ray Charles hit "Let's Go Get Stoned" which got the attention of Berry Gordy, who hired them as staff writers. This led to such Motown classics as the Supremes' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing".
Later, as independent songwriters, they came up with one of our favorite songs of all time, "California Soul" for one of our favorite groups, The 5th Dimension.
Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller were responsible for many of the songs that have made American pop music what it is. Lieber, who died last night, was responsible for writing lyrics to such classics as "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock", as well as "Love Potion #9", "Poison Ivy", and this song, "Down Home Girl". The most famous version might be the Rolling Stones', but to us, the definitive version was recorded by the Coasters in 1966.
Monday, August 22, 2011
We really can't say enough about Fanny. Led by the Filipino Millington sisters-- Jean on bass and June on guitar-- Fanny was the first all female band to break into the top 40 with their 1971 hit "Charity Ball"
This performance features the original line up of Nickey Barclay on piano and organ, and Alice de Buhr on drums.
Friday, August 19, 2011
When we started DJing years ago, we had a loose genre we referred to as "Celebrity Funk". The only real criteria was a crooning lead vocal by a singer who may or may not be known outside of the music world, and an incongruently funky backing arrangement, generally provided by studio musicians who were trying to approximate the psychedelic rock sound.
This indepth study of a made-up subgenre begins with "Where's Your Love Been" by Laura Yager, a relative unknown who delivers her vocals with the swagger and panache of Nancy Wilson or Peggy Lee (both of whom we'll hear from later on).
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Some great stills from and nice words about the making of Minnie Riperton's first solo record, which came out while she was still in Rotary Connection. Check out Dick Rudolph's Chase shirt, btw.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
We love these early Sylvers songs, most of which were written by the teenaged Leon Sylvers III. This is the second part of their first Soul Train appearance, which includes an interview by Don Cornelius.