Monday, April 8, 2013

#651: Songs of adoration

As I continue re-creating the musical lineup of my teenage years at work, with further Xcursions in2 '60s/'70s Soul/R&B, here's what I've been listening 2 lately....

Marvin solo -- Ain't That Peculiar?, You, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Too Busy Thinking About My Baby, That's the Way Love Is, What's Going On?, Mercy Mercy Me, Inner City Blues, Trouble Man, Distant Lover (live), Got to Give it Up.
With Kim Weston -- It Takes Two.
With Tammi Terrell -- Ain't No Mountain High Enough, Your Precious Love, If I Could Build My Whole World Around You, Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, You're All I Need to Get By.

Stevie Wonder -- I Was Made to Love Her, For Once in My Life, My Cherie Amour, Signed Sealed Delivered, If You Really Love Me, Superstition, Higher Ground, You Haven't Done Nothin', I Wish, Sir Duke, That Girl.
Supremes -- Reflections, You Keep Me Hangin' On.
Four Tops -- Reach Out I'll Be There, Still Water (Love), Ain't No Woman Like the One I've Got.
Temptations -- Get Ready, Beauty is Only Skin Deep.
Bangles -- Manic Monday, Let it Go, September Gurls, Going Down to Liverpool, Be With You, Everything I Wanted.
Boston -- Used to Bad News, Hitch a Ride.
Ronettes -- Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, The Best Part of Breakin' Up, I Wonder.
Righteous Brothers -- You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling.
Ike and Tina Turner -- River Deep Mountain High.
Moody Blues -- Question, It's Up to You, The Story in Your Eyes, You Can Never Go Home, Tuesday Afternoon, Nights in White Satin, Ride My See-Saw, Lovely to See You.
Van Morrison -- Sweet Thing, Cleaning Windows, Wonderful Remark, Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile).
Aaron Copland/Eduardo Mata/Dallas Symphony Orchestra -- Hoedown, El Salon Mexico.
Joe Bonamassa -- LIVE FROM NOWHERE IN PARTICULAR disc one....

Of all the music I've ever played at work, Marvin Gaye & Stevie Wonder have gone over the best (right up there with the Moody Blues) -- with folks walking in & singing along, 1 Regular dancing her way thru the store while Marvin was singing, & others tossing in tidbits like "Good jams!" "Classic!" & etc.
Been playing Marvin's VERY BEST OF 2-CD set a LOT over the past week. It's all pretty great, from the mid-2-late-'60s solo hits like the classic "Ain't That Peculiar" 2 the string of great duets with Tammi Terrell & Kim Weston, in2 his early-'70s "socially conscious" stuff.
Other than "Ain't That Peculiar," my faves R probly "Inner City Blues" & "Trouble Man," both of which I hadn't heard since about 1972, & both of which still sound freaking GREAT -- & the lyrics 4 "Inner City Blues" still work just fine today. That sense of relaxation in Marvin's voice in "Trouble Man," the ease of his singing -- there's a vocal riff in the middle of the song that's just amazing. This came as a suprise 2 me, cos I thot "Trouble Man" was movie-soundtrack muzak when I 1st heard it back around '72....
Among the duets, "You're All I Need to Get By" is pretty damn irresistible, but "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" & "It Takes Two" are no slouches either. The rest I'm sure will grow on me -- but it's gonna take a lot to top "You're All I Need." The love you can hear in their voices makes that song a pretty emotional Xperience. (More of these R coming up....)
My only real complaint with VERY BEST OF is that it doesn't include Marvin's hit duet with Diana Ross, "My Mistake," which I also thot was pretty great....
Hard 2 find a reasonably-priced Stevie Wonder best-of that covers everything I wanna hear. While Motown/UMG's cheapo best-of has mosta his early stuff, & NUMBER 1'S repackages the biggest hits, none of his best-of's includes the silly, glorious "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing," 1 of my all-time faves.
Anyway. Along with Marvin's duets, songs of adoration like Stevie's "I Was Made to Love Her" & "My Cherie Amour" really put me on the floor -- they just sound so PURE. Even the cheezy "For Once in My Life" sounds pretty great now. & "That Girl" gets better with repeated listenings.
All the rest of the Soul/R&B listed above you can consider recommended.... "Get Ready" still sounds great, & I never thot I'd hear a version I thot was better than Rare Earth's -- they were 1 of my fave bands when I was 11 years old....
But I wanna know why "It's the Same Old Song" & "Keeper of the Castle" Rn't on the Four Tops cheapo best-of. & if they'd tossed in their cover of the Moody Blues' "Simple Game" that woulda saved me some $$$.... & if "Up the Ladder to the Roof" & "Love is Here and Now You're Gone" were on the Supremes' cheapo best-of it'd B a 1-stop shop. But that'd keep us music fans from spending R $$$ & supporting the economy, right...?
...Needta get some Earth, Wind and Fire in here, & bring in the Stylistics best-of CD from home....

I DID listen 2 some other stuff, tho I don't have much left 2 say about most of it -- a lot of it was summa my old mood-elevator stand-by's.
Bangles still sound great, especially on the stuff that hasn't been played to death: "Let it Go," "September Gurls," "Going Down to Liverpool," "Be With You," "Everything I Wanted" -- but I'm still a sucker 4 the backing vocals on "Manic Monday," they just make me swoon....
Still a big fan of Boston's overlooked stuff, "Used to Bad News," "Hitch a Ride" -- also recommend "It's Easy," "Something About You," "My Destination," "Hollyann"....
Speaking of songs of adoration, try the Ronettes -- you can't lose with any of their stuff if you're a sucker 4 mushy romance & yearning. "The Best Part of Breakin' Up" sounds like the Beach Boys snuck into the studio, & "I Wonder" is a forgotten classic.
...& 1nce you get sucked-in by the Ronettes, it's on 2 those old early-'60s Phil Spector classics, almost all of which R songs of adoration. "Lovin' Feeling" is still irresistible, & if it doesn't make the Earth move 4 you, Ike & Tina's amazing "River Deep Mountain High" is an unbelievable emotional Xperience that will put a lump in your throat every time you hear it -- once you adjust 2 the kinda cluttered, overly-busy, heavy-contrast arrangement & production. Tho it's almost over-the-top, it's probly my fave Spector piece ever, at least partly because it BOMBED big-time in America. Somebody's got 2 love it....
Speaking of over-the-top, how 'bout the Moodies? If Decca Records had been smart, they coulda had at least a dozen more hits. I recommend "Simple Game," "Peak Hour," "Evening: Time to Get Away," "Twilight Time," "The Actor," "Voices in the Sky," "Lovely to See You," "Never Comes the Day," "The Dream," "Gypsy," "Eyes of a Child Part 2," "Out and In," "Watching and Waiting," "It's Up to You," "Don't You Feel Small?," "Tortoise and the Hare," "Minstrel's Song," "Dawning is the Day," "Our Guessing Game," "After You Came," "One More Time to Live," "You Can Never Go Home," "For My Lady," "You and Me," "Land of Make-Believe," "Meanwhile," "In My World," "Nervous," "Veteran Cosmic Rocker," "Blue World," "Sorry," "Running Water," "It's Cold Outside of Your Heart," "Meet Me Halfway," "No More Lies" ... How many songs is that? 35? ...See what I mean?
Speaking of adoration, check out Van's "Sweet Thing," which has become a new favorite of mine. To be so transported by love is an amazing thing. "Cleaning Windows" & "Wonderful Remark" R also of intrest. & "Jackie Wilson Said" is a stone classic.
...& then there's Aaron Copland, my fave classical-style composer ever. Tho "Hoedown" got turned in2 a "Beef: It's what's for dinner!" commercial a decade ago, it still hits pretty hard -- at least usually. The cheap CD of it I recently obtained unfortunately isn't as powerful as an old cassette I have of the same performance. Ditto 4 "El Salon Mexico," which should EXPLODE out of the speakers. You should also check out the majestic "Simple Gifts" section of Copland's "Appalachian Spring."
...& thanx 2 a store Regular, I also heard part of Joe Bonamassa's LIVE FROM NOWHERE IN PARTICULAR, & I gotta say I wasn't that impressed at 1st. Seemed like basic blues-rock, kinda predictable. But 3 trax in there was an impressive slow-burn blues number.... & then the 4th track, a 10-minute piece that opened with a long, fiery electric-guitar solo, followed by heartfelt lyrics about how his girlfriend is "free as eagles" (another song of adoration -- wish I had a title 4 this, quick check at indicates this could be the "India"/"Mountain Time" medley) ... well, by then I was hooked, & I was sold by the rest. The man can PLAY. & what a backing band he's got. & that 4th song is really great -- haunting even. Worth tracking down....

Next up -- Tchaikovsky's NUTCRACKER SUITE, Dvorak's NEW WORLD SYMPHONY, & Beethoven's 5TH SYMPHONY -- all of which went straight to #1!
More soon!

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