Take me back to Chicago! And while you’re at it, pick one song from each of their albums. And, if it’s not too much to ask, would you throw a few odd selections in there? You can do all of that? Thank you so much!
New this week in the iTunes Rhino Catalog Room:
Long John Baldry, Boogie Woogie: The Warner Brothers Recordings: It may be a bit hard for British music fans to accept that folks on these shores are likely to be more familiar with Long John Baldry’s voice from giving voice to Dr. Robotnik on the animated Sonic the Hedgehog series than from any of his songs, but it’s almost certainly true: Baldry might’ve had a #1 song in the UK with his 1967 single “Let the Heartaches Begin,” but his highest-charting U.S. single, “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” only earned a paltry #73 placing. That’s hardly any indication of his gifts as a blues singer, though, as evidenced by this collection of both albums Baldry released during his brief stint on Warner Brothers – 1971’s It Ain’t Easy and 1972’s Everything Stops for Tea, each of which has been remastered – along with several alternate takes, previously-unreleased songs, live performances, and even a couple of radio spots.
The Bob Crewe Generation, Motivation: Bob Crewe’s career as a songwriter significantly overshadows his efforts as a performer, which is only to be expected when his list of compositions includes some of the Four Seasons’ biggest hits – including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Dawn (Go Away),” “Rag Doll,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” – as well as tracks by Herman’s Hermits (“Silhouettes”), Mitch Ryder (“Devil with a Blue Dress On”), the Toys (“A Lover’s Concerto”), and Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” among many, many others. This 1977 album, however, features Crewe’s debut as a vocalist, and while he may not be on the same level as the artists he helped into the upper reaches of the charts, the songs are so strong that they make this a highly enjoyable listen. (It also doesn’t hurt that the whole thing was produced by the legendary Jerry Wexler.)
It’s the middle of the week, and we here at Rhino know that it can sometimes be a bit rough to get over the Wednesday hump and see the light of at the end of the tunnel. In order to help make the way to the weekend a little bit less painful, we’ve put together a playlist featuring songs that span the entire week, starting with New Order’s “Blue Monday” and lasting all the way through to the Waterboys’ “A Life of Sundays,” with 65 songs sitting snugly between them.
by Ted Olson
The Folk Box is the kind of album that changes lives—I know this because it changed mine, assuredly for the better. And over the years I have heard that The Folk Box played an important formative role in the lives of many other people.
About the time I was learning to stay upright on a bicycle (1967), I discovered my parents’ record collection, which contained a host of titles—classical and jazz, mostly—that held little appeal to a six-year-old. But one album captured my interest—a thick box set with an appealingly rustic, unpretentious front cover. Somehow that cover spoke to me, in a rough yet reassuring voice, saying “Listen here.” And so I obliged, spinning one and then all of its four LPs on the family turntable. From the speakers wafted voices and songs that were at the same time familiar and mysterious; it was as if I was being summoned to hear news from a world I needed to know about, even if I was too young to fully comprehend that world. The ultimate evidence that that album — The Folk Box — had gotten through to me: I wanted to hear more—more of humanity’s other folk music.
36 years ago today, a certain wild and crazy guy took to the stage of Studio 8H at 30 Rock to perform a rockin’ tribute to an Egyptian pharaoh named Tutankhamen. If you’re familiar with the song in question – we’re talking ‘bout “King Tut,” of course – then you may be interested to know that the elaborate performance that unfolded on Saturday Night Live on April 22, 1978 was one that apparently surprised even the man who performed it.
In the pages of Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad, it’s said that Steve Martin “had come to the show that week with the song and casually asked if they might try it, not expecting the huge production that resulted – Lorne (Michaels, the show’s executive producer) put everything behind it. The high point came when reed man Lou Marini emerged from a full-sized sarcophagus blowing a raucous saxophone solo.”
It’s April 22nd, and everybody knows today is Earth Day…well, except maybe for Dramarama fans, but we’ll cut them some slack because it’s a hell of a lot harder to find a rhyme for “second” than it is for “first.” There’s also the fact that “What Are We Doing Here?” is a really great, Beatle-esque song that’s really well-intentioned and shouldn’t be written off just because they were a day off. Besides, all that matters is this: if you’ve got even a passing interest in environmental protection, then today’s the day to demonstrate your commitment to the cause. (You can find a list of Earth Day events by clicking here.)
For our part, we’d originally thought about doing a “green” playlist, which would certainly be thematically appropriate, but as we just did one of those for St. Patrick’s Day, we decided we’d do an “earth” playlist instead. Given the title, you can probably guess which track we’re kicking things off with, but if not, then look now, look all around, and you’ll figure it out pretty quickly.