Thursday, September 20, 2018

Jimmie Rodgers (1897 - 1933)

Jimmie Rodgers was born in 1897 in Meridian, Mississippi. His mother died when he was a very young leaving him the youngest of three sons. He was brought up by a series of relatives in southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama until he eventually returned home to live with his father and step mother. His aunt was a former teacher and introduced him to a number of different styles of music, including vaudeville, pop, and dancehall. He sang in a local talent at Meridian's Elite Theater and won. Thereafter young Jimmie was fascinated with traveling (medicine) shows and twice he ran away to make his fortune all before the age of 13. In both cases his father brought him home but realized Jimmy needed a job and started him working on the railroad, as water boy. He soon progressed and became brakeman on the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. Aged 27 in 1924, Jimmie contracted tuberculosis which ended his railway career. The years he spent on the railroad were not wasted and he constantly picked up sounds, songs and met a series of incredible characters all of which would be incorporated into his performances. Ignoring medical advice he organized another traveling road show and performed across the southeast until a cyclone destroyed his tent. In 1927, Jimmy and his partner Otis Kuykendall sang on radio WWNC (Asheville) and it went down well. Soon after he teamed up with the Tenneva Ramblers and they sang regularly on radio as the Jimmie Rodgers Entertainers.

Jimmie’s style was to fuse hillbilly country, gospel, jazz, blues, pop, cowboy, and folk at a time when other singers were singing mountain/folk music. Rather than going traditional, Jimmie wrote many of his best songs. His recording career started in 1927 but early efforts enjoyed modest success. It was only when he was invited back to the Victor Talking Machine Company record studios in Camden ion New York and recorded "T for Texas," (released as "Blue Yodel") and "Away Out on the Mountain" that sales rocketed and put Jimmie well and truly in the public eye.

His Victor producer, Ralph Peer experimented and occasionally recorded Jimmie with two string instrumentalists. The producer also tried out a number of different backing bands, including a jazz group, orchestras, and a Hawaiian combo. When Jimmie recorded "Blue Yodel #9" (also known as "Standin' on the Corner") it was with Louis Armstrong and Louis’s wife, Lillian, played piano on the track.

Jimmie Rodgers’ lyrics were about rounders and gamblers, bounders and ramblers all of which he had met somewhere along the line. Jimmie made one short movie called The Singing Brakeman (1930).

By the age of 34, Jimmie was feeling the adverse effects of TB and gave up touring although he continued with his weekly radio show in San Antonio. In 1933 he went to New York and recorded his last session which included "Years Ago".

The "Singing Brakeman" died shortly after. Despite his short singing career, The Mississippi Blue Yodeler influenced so many other musicians as they grew to appreciate his music. Among them were Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Van Morrison.

Worth a listen:
The Soldiers Sweetheart (1927)
T for Texas. (released as Blue Yodel) (1927)
In The Jailhouse Now-No.2 (1930)
For The Sake of Days Gone By (1930)
Travellin' Blues (Shelly Lee Alley) (1931)
Jimmie's Mean Mama Blues (Waldo O'Neal and Bob Sawyer) (1931)
The Mystery of Number Five (1931)
Travellin’ blues (1931)
Jimmie the kid (1931)
Looking for a new mama (1931)
Blue Yodel #9 (also known as "Standin' on the Corner") (1931)
Ninety-nine Year Blues (Raymond E. Hall) (1932)
Why There’s a Tear In My Eye (1936)
The One Rose (Lani McIntire) (1937)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Marc Bolan (1947 - 1977) (T.Rex)

Mark Feld was born in 1947 in East London. As he grew up he listened to early rock and roll artists and got his first guitar, aged nine. Soon after he began a skiffle band. Rather mischievous and a bit of a tear-away, Mark was expelled from school at 14 but he did enjoy singing and appeared with Helen Shapiro in a school pop group. He worked as a catalogue model for John Temple tailors and modeled for cardboard cutouts which were displayed in shop windows. He decided to give professional singing a go in 1965 and sporting a denim cap and playing an acoustic guitar Mark imitated Bob Dylan and Donovan. He released “The Wizard”, under the name of Marc Bowland; then “The Third Degree” (1966) under the name Bolan.

Many believe the name Bolan came from the name, Bob Dylan. In 1967 now Marc Bolan, he joined John’s Children who were a dynamic live band. They released “Desdemona” which became a minor hit but failed to follow it up and eventually the band disbanded.

Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took (drums) formed Tyrannosaurs Rex which was an acoustic band that played psychedelic folk-rock. Tyrannosaurs Rex gained an underground following with hippies and featured in the first Hyde Park free concert in 1968. Drug-taking and free spirited Took was fired after their first American tour and replaced by Mickey Finn. “Debora” was released in 1968 and became another minor hit.

Eventually Tyrannosaurus Rex was shorted to T Rex and when the single ‘Ride a White Swan (1970) was released it became a UK hit.

This was thanks in no short measure to John Peel, disc jockey with London Radio and BBC. He championed new talent and did much to bring the London based group to greater public attention. Marc Bolan was keen to embrace the new era of androgynous Glam Rock and became the ‘Electric Warrior,” with glitter on his cheeks and outlandish stage costume including top hats and feather boas. T. Rex became a quartet with Steve Currie (bass) and Bill Legend (drums). In November 1971, the band's record label released "Jeepster" without Marc Bolan's permission.

Outraged, the singer left to join EMI, who gave him his own record label, the T. Rex Wax Co. Its bag and label featured an iconic head-and-shoulders image of Bolan. “Telegram Sam”, “Metal Guru”, "Children of the Revolution" and "Solid Gold Easy Action" were all hits in 1972 .

“Hot Love” and “Bang a gong (Get It On),” scored high in the UK charts, but only ‘Get it on' proved a hit in the US. .

In 1972 he appeared in Ringo Starr's film Born to Boogie, a documentary showing a concert at Wembley Empire Pool on 18 March 1972.

Mixed in were surreal scenes shot at John Lennon's mansion in Ascot and a super-session with T. Rex joined by Ringo Starr on second drum kit and Elton John on piano. With the change in music taste, T Rex split in 1975 by which time Marc was battling addiction to cocaine. Despite the challenges Marc continued on with his own successful television series, called “Marc”, in 1977.

Aware of new trends he heavily promoted emerging new punk bands like The Jam and The Damned on the show. Tragically Marc Bolan died in a car crash in London on September 16, 1977. He was 29 years of age.

Worth a listen:

John's Children
Desdemona (1967)

Tyrannosaurus Rex
Debora (1968)

T. Rex
Ride A White Song/Is It Love/Summertime Blues. (1970)
Hot Love (1971)
Get it on (1971)
Jeepster (1971)
Telegram Sam (1972)
Metal Guru (1972)
Children of the Revolution (1972)
Solid Gold Easy Action (1972)
Born to boogie (1972)
20th Century Boy (1973)
I love to Boogie (1976)

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Jimmy Barnes Confronts Childhood In New Documentary (Studio 10)

(Video Courtesy:
Studio 10 Youtube Channel)

Jimmy Barnes (including Cold Chisel)

James Dixon Swan (Jimmy Barnes) was born in 1956, in Glasgow, Scotland. His family immigrated to Adelaide in South Australia in 1961. Jim’s parents divorced soon after and his mother (Dorothy) remarried Reg Barnes. The Swan children were given the opportunity to change their surname, and they all did except Jim’s oldest brother John. Jim Barnes left school as soon as he could and took a job as an apprentice iron smelter on the Australian Railways. John (Swanee) Swan, enjoyed some success as a singer and drummer and that encouraged his wee brother to follow suit.

John’s band Fraternity had just lost their lead singer Bon Scott, so young Jim took over. The music was not exactly to Jim’s tastes so he left and became the singer with a band called Orange. The lineup was Don Walker (keyboards), Ian Moss (lead guitar and vocals), Steve Prestwich (drums) and Les Kaczmarek (Bass). The group changed names several times until they struck on Cold Chisel in 1974 and 17 year old Jim fronted the rock/soul/blues fusion as lead singer and guitarist. On stage, Jim’s presence was magnificent as a raw-voiced singer who shouted into the microphone with every breath in his lungs. Cold Chisel proved to be a popular live attraction in the local clubs and pubs but took some time to get a record deal. Between 1977 and 1983, despite lineup changes they became the biggest rock’n’roll band in Australia. Along with success came excess, and Jim reveled in celebrity and notoriety, winning himself a reputation as a short-tempered, womanising, wild man and hard-drinking rocker. Despite their success in Australia Cold Chisel failed to impact overseas and internal disagreements meant the band was fragile. A disastrous tour of US in 1981 tore them further apart and two years later Cold Chisel called it a day.

Jim now called Jimmy Barnes went solo and toured with his own band which included Bruce Howe (bass), Mal Eastick (guitar) Ray Arnott (drums) and Chris Stockley. Jimmy Barnes signed for Mushroom Records and released Bodyswerve in 1984 which was an instant best seller in Australia.

The Adelaide singer was determined to break into the US market and signed to Geffen Records. His second album, For the Working Class Man (which was released in the US as, Jimmy Barnes) featured remixed songs from Bodyswerve plus five new tracks including "Working Class Man" written by Jonathan Cain (Journey).

Several US musicians worked as session players including Waddy Watchel, Billy Burnette, Kim Carnes, Charlie Sexton, Mick Fleetwood, members of Little Feat, and Journey's Jonathan Caine. The album sold less well than expected in the US despite ‘Working Class Man’ featuring in the Ron Howard film Gung Ho. Jimmy had better success in Australia and the album gave him a second number one album. Working Class Man became Jimmy’s signature tune and confirmed him as an Australian music icon. Meantime Jonathan Caine and Jimmy Barnes became good friends and Jimmy was offered lead singer of Journey but turned it down determined to return to Australia, but not lose his American connection. All of his subsequent albums took number one positions and the singer divided his time on the road and in the studio. He loved performing but needed to keep up a punishing schedule to support his live-now pay-later lifestyle, which would later catch up with him. Jimmy continued close association with the US and made up several song writing partnerships. In the space of nine years, Jimmy Barnes recorded eight albums which covered a wide range from Rock, Soul to Blues. Jimmie Barnes recorded Soul Deep in 1991.

This was a special project for the singer and involved a nostalgic return to the music which had influenced him as a young rocker. Many of the session musicians were the original players and later Barnes invited them to tour Australia with him to promote the album. Soul Deep went on to become Jimmy Barnes' most successful album ever, and spawned the hit single “When Something is Wrong with My Baby", a duet with John Farnham.

In 1992, Jimmy recorded 'Simply the Best' with Tina Turner for the NSW Rugby League ad campaign and the song enjoyed chart success.

By 1994, Jimmy’s private affairs were in turmoil and bankruptcy threatened. Unpaid taxes of $1.3 million (Au) forced the Barnes’s to sell up in Australia and move his family to live in France where he recorded Psyclone (1995).

Such was the acrimony between Jimmy Barnes and former Cold Chisel members, Ian Moss and Don Walker who vowed never to work with Jimmy Barnes again, the likelihood of Cold Chisel reforming become remote. But in 1993, Don Walker wrote Stone Cold for Jimmy and it appeared in his Heat album.

Cold Chisel decided to reform in 1998 for The Last Wave of Summer album and tour then regrouped again in 2003 and 2005.

Between times all the members of Cold Chisel pursued their individual interests with no serious intention of ever permanently reforming. During 2002, Jimmy gave up alcohol after a life-long addiction and 5 years later successfully underwent open-heart surgery to replace a heart valve that was faulty. Jimmy Barnes continues to perform and record and has become the real Grand Daddy of Australian Rock.

(Video Courtesy: Universal Pictures Australia Youtube Channel)

Worth a listen
Cold Chisel
Khe Sanh (1978)
Breakfast at Sweethearts (1979)
My Baby (1979)
Choir Girl (1979)
Rising Sun (1979)
Flame Trees (1984)

Jimmy Barnes
No second prize (1984)
I’ll die to be with you tonight (1985)
Ride the night away (1985)
Working class man (1985)
Good times (with INXS) (1986)
I’m still on your side (1987)
Driving wheels (1987)
Too much ain’t enough love (1987)
Little darling (1990)
When your love has gone (1990)
When something is wrong with my baby (with John Farnham) (1991)
Simply the best (with Tina Turner) (1992)
Stand up (1993)
Stone cold (1993)
The weight (with the Badloves) (1993)
Change of heart (1995)
Lover lover (1996)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Old Dominion - Shoe Shopping

(Video Courtesy:

Old Dominion

Published on Youtube Channel)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland

Three names most closely associated with Motown music are Brian Holland (b.1941), Lamont Dozier (b. 1941) and Eddie Holland (b. 1939). Together they wrote and produced many of the labels’ classic hit songs. Detroit born, Holland-Dozier-Holland’s had a decade of output as staff producers and songwriters and wrote and co-wrote 145 hits in US and 78 in the UK. Their relationship with Motown founder, Berry Gordy Jr. started in 1958, before Motown was a label.

(Video Courtesy: Various Artists - Topic Published on Youtube Channel)

Brian Holland started as a performer in 1958, and appeared as Briant Holland and Benny Gordy Jnr produced some his early sessions.

Unfortunately, Briant failed to impact on the charts. He briefly joined Freddie Gorman in a group called the Fidalatones, however, commercial success still alluded them.

(Video Courtesy: TheNickNicola Published on Youtube Channel)

Holland carried on briefly with The Satintones singing backous when Motown started in 1958. Later , he became one of the Rayber Voices, sining back-ups on several early Motown recording acts.

(Video Courtesy: Jahbuzzz Published on Youtube Channel)

(Video Courtesy: John Strong Published on Youtube Channel)

In 1961 , he partnered Robert Bateman, and they wrote as "Brianbert". Together with Georgia Dobbins, William Garrett, Freddie Gorman, they wrote "Please Mr. Postman" which became a hit for The Marvelettes and was the first Motown song to reach the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart.

(Video Courtesy: ticktock70 Published on Youtube Channel)

Together with Lamont Dozier and under the name "Holland–Dozier", they released a lone single for Motown in 1963,

Older brother, Edward "Eddie" Holland Jr. was born in 1939 in Detroit, Michigan. He started as singer in 1958 and recorded for several labels before joining Motown. Eddie’s 1958 Mercury single, “You,” was one of Gordy’s earliest productions. Eddie scored a minor hit with "Jamie" (1961). Behind the scenes, the performer suffered from stage fright and found it easier to work behind the scenes. He did however, continue to release singles as a solo performer until 1964, with moderate success.

(Video Courtesy: srercrcr Published on Youtube Channel)

(Video Courtesy: John Strong Published on Youtube Channel)

(Video Courtesy: Egg Fondue Published on Youtube Channel)

In 1961 Lamont Dozier began recording for Anna Records, owned by Gordy’s sister Gwen.

Published on Youtube Channel)

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Harmonica Fats "Tore Up" (1962}

(Video Courtesy: NIGHT BEAT RECORDS Youtube Channel)