This week’s Mono Monday release is the debut album from an R&B belter who effectively made his entire career possible with the first song he recorded for his first full-length album, which – given that the album in question was initially released 48 years ago – is a pretty impressive accomplishment by anyone’s standards.
Percy Sledge’s story is one of those that you’d write off as fiction if you didn’t know it was true: he was working as an orderly in an Alabama hospital during the week, touring the southeast with a group called the Esquires Combo on Saturdays and Sundays, when a former patient introduced Sledge to record producer Quin Ivy, which led to an audition and a recording contract with Atlantic Records. The next thing you know, Sledge is in the studio, recording “When a Man Loves a Woman,” crooning along with Spooner Oldham’s unforgettable organ playing behind him.
Watch the late Robin Gibb re-interpret the classic 1966 Bee Gees song. "I Am The World," in this video composed of footage shot in 2009.
The single is featured on Gibb's new album, 50 ST. CATHERINE'S DRIVE, out now.
According to the supercomputer Deep Thought, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, a revelation which we can only presume must somehow be tied to why Genesis has decided to release R-KIVE, a new box set which covers 42 years of music from not only the band but also the various members of the band, including three selections each from the discographies of Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett, and Mike Rutherford…and in case you’re wondering, yes, in this instance, when we say “Mike Rutherford,” we do mean “Mike + The Mechanics.” (Sorry, fans, there’s no “Maxine” to be found here.)
This is far from the first box set to emerge from the Genesis camp, of course, but it is the first time they’ve put something together which covers the members’ work inside and outside the band, thereby providing a fuller picture of what each individual brought to the table.
It was a dark day in pop music when Robin Gibb, one of the founding members of the Bee Gees, succumbed to cancer on May 20, 2012, but for those still mourning the man who sang and co-wrote “I Started a Joke” (not to mention numerous other classic tracks), we can bring a little bit of bittersweet sunshine to your day with the release of 50 St. Catherine’s Drive, Robin’s final solo album.
Compiled by Robin’s widow, Dwina, and his son R.J., 50 St. Catherine’s Drive – named for the address where Robin was born – features 17 tracks, including the majority of the material he recorded for the album, along with a demo of “Sydney,” the last track he wrote and recorded in his lifetime.
As our effort to reissue classic albums on 180-gram vinyl continues ever onward, we’re bringing you two very different albums this week: one’s a unique blend of folk, rock, and jazz from a singer-songwriter who’s never been afraid to challenge audiences, while the other is a country-inspired side project from the man who once sang of “Sultans of Swing.”
Joni Mitchell, Hejira: Originally released in November 1976, Mitchell wrote the majority of this album while on a car trip from Maine to Los Angeles, hence the inclusions of songs with titles like “Blue Motel Room” and “Refuge of the Roads.” While not a hit-single machine – only one song, “Coyote,” made even the slightest inroads on that front, and the only place it charted was in Canada, and only at #79 at that – Hejira is generally viewed as one of Mitchell’s classic ‘70s efforts, featuring a more jazz-influenced sound than any of its predecessors but still providing listeners with outstanding material, including the aforementioned favorites as well as “Amelia” and “Black Crow.” It’s perhaps not the best entry point to her career, but for those fans whose musical sensibilities had grown and expanded along with Mitchell’s, Hejira is a very fine piece of work.