December 30, 2016

early group soul / bossa nova ~ New York 1962


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One of the many incarnations of The Clovers, with Roosevelt " Tippie" Hubbard singing lead, this is the original recording of 'Bossa Nova Baby'. The song was a hit for Elvis a year later in '63.
Quite fast for "Bossa Nova." Nice sax solo by King Curtis.

December 28, 2016

early rock & roll ~ New Orleans 1959


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'Cinderella' is really a great example of early rock & roll at its' best. I love obscurity in music. Paul Marvin is a great example. Born Marvin Geatreaux, it's difficult to find much information on his recordings or history. Though I did find that he sang with a young Malcolm John Rebennack (aka Dr. John) and his band, sometime in the 1950s.
Not sure who the backing musicians might be on this recording ... Perhaps Mac Rebennack or guitarist, arranger, Edgar Blanchard? Could also be saxophonist, pianist, Harold Battiste and his A.F.O Studio Combo ... a guess.

Although Joe Ruffino's New Orleans based, 'Ron' label had a now historical stable of artists, somehow Paul Marvin's talent only showed itself for a short time.

Besides this, his only Ron label 45, he recorded three other 45s, one of which I can't find any information on (DeLuxe label - mid-late 1950s?), and two others, one on the Verve label from 1958, and one on the Desire label 1959-60.
The flip side, 'Hurry Up' was co-written by Mac Rebennack (Dr.John) and just as good.

December 27, 2016

yé-yé pop ~ Belgium 1966


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Belgian yé-yé singer/guitarist, Ariane Buyst started playing in Brussels sometime in 1963 with her group, 'Ariane Et Les 10/20'. From '64 to 1965, the group released five EPs on the Brussels based Palette label. They played in Belgium, toured the Netherlands, even opened for Cliff Richard at the end of 1964.

Ariane Et Les 10-20 first EP from 1964

Blue-eyed soul/pop singer, Len Barry's hit, '1-2-3', which he co-wrote, was huge in 1965.
A top ten hit in four countries, by 1969 it was covered and recorded about thirty times by everyone from Ramsey Lewis to Jan & Dean, Jimmy Smith to Herbie Mann, Sarah Vaughn to yé-yé chanson singer, Annie Markan.

One of my favorites, and possibly one of the best cover versions next to Len Barry's first original, this Palette label 45 by Ariane is really magnifique. It has energy and soul. I like it because it has a production sound one hears in a lot of "northern soul" recordings, but is also very much still in the style of the classic yé-yé beat sound that was popular in Europe in the early to mid-60s.

In 1966 Ariane decided to go solo. This Palette 45 is her first recording as a solo artist. She recorded and released four other 45s before disappearing into musical history. The flip side, 'Ice Cream' she co-wrote.

December 24, 2016

prog folk-rock ~ Quebec, Canada 1975


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If you listen to, or grew up listening to 70s progressive rock, you may not have heard of the band, 'Harmonium' from Quebec, Canada. The music Harmonium produced through the 70s was equally as good as other similar sounding "Prog Folk-Rock" bands of the time. The difference is, Harmonium are French-Canadian and chose to sing in French, which may have made it difficult for wider audiences. But surprisingly, one doesn't have to know French to enjoy the feeling Harmonium's records take you on.
Listening to Harmonium's music, I often am reminded of a parallel sound in Nick Drake's music - In fact, his songs might stand up or mix well with Harmonium.

I suppose posting a 45 is really just a taste of Harmonium's sound. A lot of "Rock" from the 1970s didn't always lend itself to the format of the 45 rpm record. Many bands who produced a "Prog Folk-Rock" sound, composed music for the LP format. Listening to an LP was sort of an event. One would listen to all the songs in succession on an LP. Great bands in this genre would often lead their listeners through their compositions into the next song. They were often connected. One song would inform the next.
With exceptions, not always the case with much new music composed today. I mean, pick your favorite 1000 songs and let the iPod roll...

Although, 1970s FM radio would play songs from bands, it was not always about the "3 minute radio hit". Much like many similar sounding bands/artists of the time, i.e., Nick Drake, Yes, Genesis, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Supertramp, Pink Floyd, etc., Harmonium were not hit makers, they were composers and LP makers.

Harmonium was an LP band and should probably be listened to best in this way. Guitarist, singer, composer, Serge Fiori was really at the core of their music, as was Serge Locat, Michel Normandeau, and Louis Valois. But the group had many contributing members during their short history.

Harmonium ~ Quebec 1976

Harmonium's music has a distinct French inspired, lush, symphonic, folk-rock sound that reflects the mid-70s like a bookmarker in time and place. Their music captures the feeling of Quebec, the landscape, and the sensibility of the Québécoise culture.
Having spent some time in Quebec myself, Harmonium's sounds are unique, melancholy, and beautiful.


'En Pleine Face' (In The Face) is the flip to 'Dixie'. Both songs are on their Celebration label LP, 'Les Cinq Saisons' (The Five Seasons) from 1975.

Not the best translation,
but I like the feeling of the song and the lyrics hold true:

"Another tour page
Oh oh oh oh

Too bad for this day
Oh oh oh oh

Melt your ice
Or change place
Melt your ice
It is me that fell in full face
What do I need to do?

We have nothing more to give ourselves
Oh oh oh oh
There's more sounds to ring
Oh oh oh oh
Melt your ice
Where else changes place
Melt your ice
It is me that fell in full face
What do I need to do?

As an old lady
Who has more charms
I'm coming to you, I come to you
As an old lady
Who has more charms
I come to you, come to you, come to you

Give me a sign
At the end of your line
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore
Where are you
I do not know
I cannot hear you anymore"

December 23, 2016

rocksteady instrumental ~ Jamaica 1968


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Roland Alphonso - mid-60s

Roland Alphonso's beautiful sax playing really shines here. Backed by the Beverley's All Stars, 'Dreamland' was written by him. Recorded in Kingston, and pressed on Leslie Kong's Beverley's label, it also was pressed the same year on the UK's Pyramid label.

Many white label "pre-release" 45s out of Jamaica were pressed, given out, or sold with minimal information on the labels. At the same time, some were legitimate, promo, pre-releases that were simply given out before being pressed officially with full colored designs, logos, and musical information to be sold to the general public.
The flip side of this: '54-46 (That's My Number)' by Toots and the Maytals (also first recorded the same year).

Stock Beverley's 45 from 1968 .

December 10, 2016

rocksteady ~ Jamaica 1967


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Treasure Isle comp LP from 1967 featuring The Jamaicans, Tommy McCook (pictured on the cover), The Techniques, and a few others.
The flip on this 45 is: 'Real Cool' by Tommy McCook and the Supersonics.