Since zShare has been
I know many of you are divShare proponents, but there are several reasons why I prefer not to utilize their service. I won't bore you with the details...hopefully you trust that there's some sort of method to my madness.
With that, lets do this thing...
"It's A Man's Man's World"---Big Maybelle (sharebee)
"It's A Man's Man's World"---Big Maybelle (savefile)
*Written by James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome; originally released by James Brown And The Famous Flames as a 7" in 1966 on King Records (K6035).
*The song has actually evolved and fluctuated quite a bit throughout its history. Tammy Montgomery (later known as Tammi Terrell) recorded a similar tune, "I Cried", in 1963 for Brown's Try Me label. The following year, The Godfather Of Soul released his own demo version, which he called "It's A Man's World". After the release of the official single, JB recorded a big band jazz arrangement of the tune with the Louie Bellson Orchestra, which appeared on his Soul on Top LP in 1970.
"I Cried"---Tammy Montgomery (aka Tammi Terrell) (sharebee)
"I Cried"---Tammy Montgomery (aka Tammi Terrell) (savefile)
*The song was recorded in February of 1966 at Talent Masters Studios in New York. Although The Famous Flames received label credit, they don't actually appear on the track. A studio band and string section played during the recording sessions, and a female chorus was brought in to provide backing vocals. The choral parts were ultimately cut out of the final master of the recording.
*Rolling Stone magazine has descibed the lyrics to the song as "almost biblically chauvinistic", although they later ranked the song as #123 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Obviously they couldn't have been too offended. The misogynistic accusation rings true considering that men are hardly responsible for all of the productive work that goes on in the world, and despite the admission that the mechanics of the universe would be "nothing without a woman or a girl", there's no denying that the female role is depicted as auxiliary. It's been reported that Newsome penned the lyrics based on her own observation of relations between the sexes.
*The title of the song was inspired by the 1963 film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
*The song reached #1 on the R&B charts and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
*Big Maybelle's answer to JB's hit, "It's A Man's Man's World" (b/w "Big Maybelle Sings The Blues") was released on Chess Records in 1967. The original 7" is somewhat of a bitch to find at a reasonable price, but the song appears on a few compilations, including the massive Chess Story collection.
For those of you...umm...virgins who've never known the good fortune of listening to a Big Maybelle record, I can't urge you strongly enough to check into her material. Although Joe The Plumber and Joe Six Pack (the apparent new standards for ordinariness, thanks to McPalin) probably aren't hip to her legacy, her monumental contributions to the blues, soul, and jazz arenas can hardly be overstated. So great was her talent and presence, it's been said that Billie Holiday once refused to follow her at a performance. She also bears the distinction of having recorded "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" before Jerry Lee Lewis rendered his immensely popular version.
For more information on Big Maybelle, dig deeper...
*"It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World" has also been covered/performed by artists such as Celine Dion, Cher, The Grateful Dead, The Residents, and Christina Aguilera. Thankfully, I do believe I've slept on every single one of those.
"Soul Man"---Sweet Charles (sharebee)
"Soul Man"---Sweet Charles (savefile)
*In the last edition of On Second Thought, I discussed elements of the history of this track. You can reference it here.
*Sweet Charles (aka Charles Sherrell) is one of the oft-forgotten signees to James Brown's People label. His version of "Soul Man" appeared on his sole full-length outing for the label, the 1974 For Sweet People From Sweet Charles LP.
Besides his worthy attributes as a soul vocalist, Charles plays a variety of instruments, including the trombone, guitar, trumpet, drums, and bass. Hailing from Nashville, Charles used to jam with Jimi Hendrix, Curtis Mayfield, and a host of other musicians who came to the area to record and/or perform. When Aretha Franklin passed through to find a band to go on a tour with her and Jackie Wilson, she hired an outfit known as Johnny Jones & The King Kasuals Band. At the time, Charles was just beginning to teach himself to play bass, but when Johnny Jones asked him to join them on the road playing the instrument, Charles (then known as Young Blood) could hardly refuse.
In August of 1968, Charles was granted the opportunity to play with James Brown. JB's preceding bassist, Tim Drummond, had contracted hepatitis in Vietnam, prompting the Hardest Working Man in Show Business to offer Charles the gig after seeing him perform with Aretha in New York. At times, Brown and Charles' relationship was strained, but Brown graciously admitted that Sherrell was responsible for some groundbreaking and highly innovative work, acknowledging that Bootsy and many other bass players were often mistakenly credited for fathering his style and technique.
Charles broke with JB in 1970 after persisting arguments over finances, but he returned to the fold a few years later. As legend has it, the president of Polydor (who distributed People's records at that point in time) heard Charles singing during a rehearsal and decided he should record his own album. Charles' tone was warm and mellow, providing a distinct contrast to Brown's signature whooping and hollering. For Sweet People From Sweet Charles was recorded with a 32 piece orchestra and arranged by David Matthews (not the same dude who brought you Some Devil) and Fred Wesley.
By 1976, Charles had become Brown's musical director and bandleader. He would later part ways with Brown again, teaming up with Maceo Parker from 1996 until 2004. During that time, he was also affiliated with a Dutch funk band called Gotcha! and a rap group called Nicotine. Since 2004, Sweet Charles has been primarily writing and recording his own material, and has assembled a group of musicians known as The True Funk Foundation.
Although Sherrell has never enjoyed significant name recognition or solo success, his killer rendition of "Soul Man" should serve as an indication of his undeniable talent. If nothing else, you can't help but appreciate the possibilities of that ridiculous break at the beginning of the track!
"Respect"---Ann Peebles (sharebee)
"Respect"---Ann Peebles (savefile)
*Written and originally performed by Otis Redding; it was recorded in July 1965 at Stax Recording Studios and was subsequently released as a 7" and a track on his Otis Blue LP.
*Redding's original rendition was fairly well-received by American listening audiences, climbing to #35 on the pop charts, but the tune's success wasn't fully realized until Aretha Franklin released her definitive take on the track. Recorded on Valentine's Day in 1967 with the sublime backing vocals of her sisters Erma and Caroline, Aretha's revamped version featured a new bridge and chorus that were added to the original composition. Her cover also boasted the supreme sounds of King Curtis' saxophone, in addition to the impeccable production of Jerry Wexler and Arif Mardin. Aretha's "Respect" not only topped the Billboard charts, but was largely responsible for blessing her with international fame and success.
Despite being deified by the legions of soul fans he left behind, Redding still put his pants on one leg at a time and all that good stuff, so I can't help but wonder if he was a little bit put off by this chain of events. When he performed "Respect" at the Monterey Pop Festival, he jokingly made reference to it as the song "that little girl done stole from me". According to most accounts I've read, however, he was quite impressed by Franklin's phenomenal rendition.
*People often mumble or colosally screw up some of the lyrics, especially the line from Franklin's version, "take care ... TCB". Presumably, TCB meant takin' care of business. On the other hand, some sources cite the line as "take out TCP", inspiring warfare amongst music geeks for 40+ years. I suppose the real question is this...who gives a fat damn? We love songs with unintelligible lyrics, right? Have none of these people ever listened to Nirvana?
Redding's original take didn't contain "TC (insert your letter of choice here)" or the spelling out of "R-E-S-P-E-C-T", but he later modified the song during live performances to include those lines.
*Beatheads and soul enthusiasts should both know a little something about Ann Peebles. Her deep Southern soul offerings in the '70s made her the undisputed queen of Hi Records in Memphis, and her canon of works has maintained relevance to hip hop artists such as Missy Elliott and Wu-Tang Clan who've sampled/interpolated her material.
Her take on "Respect" appeared on her first full-length album, This Is Ann Peebles (Hi, 1969). Although the record served as a fine introduction, it consisted sheerly of cover songs. Most would agree that Peebles' stunning talent was most evident when she sang her own material, as she did on subsequent releases, so her version of "Respect" can hardly be described as her finest hour. It does, however, fit well alongside many of her songs that explored the grittier side of love from the feminine perspective. Furthermore, I can't help but admire her panache in attempting to revisit the tune two shorts years after Aretha cemented it in music history as a bonafide classic. That took some seriously big ovaries, son...and despite her diminutive frame, she blessed the song with her larger-than-life "99 pounds of soul".
*Other renditions of the tune have been offered by the likes of Diana Ross & The Supremes with The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Ike & Tina Turner & The Ikettes, Johnny Hallyday, Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, and Kelly Clarkson.
"Hey Jude"---The Bar-Kays (sharebee)
"Hey Jude"---The Bar-Kays (savefile)
*Written by Paul McCartney, but attributed to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team; originally released by The Beatles in August 1968 b/w "Revolution".
*McCartney says he wrote the ballad for John's son Julian Lennon during his parents' divorce. Others have disputed this claim, including John Lennon, who apparently believed the lyrics were written about him. Regardless of where the truth lies, some of the words clearly don't seem to jive with the Julian Lennon Theory, such as "you have found her now go and get her".
In accordance with his version of the tale, McCartney has said that the working title was "Hey Jules". "Jude" evidently didn't reference anyone in particular; it merely turned out to be an easier name to sing.
*This was the first single to be released on The Beatles' own Apple label.
*25 takes of the track were recorded in two nights.
*Clocking in at over seven minutes, "Hey Jude" was the longest song to have reached the peak of the British charts at the time of its release. It held that record until 1993, when Meat Loaf surpassed it with "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)". I.hated.that.song.
The song was shortened in hopes of getting airplay in America, where it remained at #1 for 9 weeks. Incidentally, that's the longest duration that any Beatles tune held the top position in the States.
*In 2002, the original handwritten lyrics were to be auctioned off at Christie's in London, but McCartney stopped the sale with a court order, claiming that the sheet of paper had been stolen from his home.
*The Bar-Kays formed in Memphis in 1966, heavily influenced by instrumental soul outfits such as Booker T & The MG's and The Mar-Keys. Deriving their name from their favorite brand of rum (Bacardi), the sextet was signed by Stax/Volt early in 1967. They started recording their own material (including their hit song, "Soul Finger"), and were soon chosen by Otis Redding to be his backing band.
Tragedy struck in December of 1967 when four of the group's members were killed in the same plane crash that claimed Redding's life. Trumpeter Ben Cauley survived the fatal crash, while bassist James Alexander had not been aboard the flight. Despite the odds being somewhat stacked against them, Alexander and Cauley rebuilt the group and started doing session work again and recording new material. Their energetic instrumental cover of "Hey Jude" was released on Stax in 1969 on their Gotta Groove LP. That same year, they backed Isaac Hayes on his stellar Hot Buttered Soul LP.
Shortly thereafter, the group added vocalist Larry Dodson and began pursuing a sound that was undeniably essential to the evolution of funk. For a more complete lesson on the group's history, dig deeper.
*Other renditions of "Hey Jude" have been offered by Dionne Warwick, Wilson Pickett, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and his Orchestra, Sarah Vaughan, O.C. Smith, The Jazz Crusaders, José Feliciano, The Temptations, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Charlie Byrd, Stanley Turrentine, and countless others.
"Ode To Billy Joe"---Nancy Wilson (sharebee)
"Ode To Billy Joe"---Nancy Wilson (savefile)
*"Ode To Billie Joe" was written and originally recorded by Bobbie Gentry; released in July 1967 b/w "Mississippi Delta".
*The song reached #1 on the U.S. charts and peaked at #13 in the UK
*"Ode To Billie Joe" is a fictitious lyrical tale about a man who commits suicide by jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge, and centers around a conversation that the narrator and her family have the day of the tragedy. The lyrics imply that the narrator and Billie Joe were romantically linked, unbeknownst to her inexcusably obtuse relatives.
While it became somewhat of a popular pastime to speculate on why Billie Joe McAllister may have chosen to end his life, Gentry has stated that she didn't have a specific reason in mind: "The message of the song revolves around the nonchalant way the family talks about the suicide. The song is a study in unconscious cruelty."
*Although the story wasn't based on actual events, there really was a Tallahatchie Bridge in Leflore County in Mississippi. When the song gained in popularity, Rolling Stone magazine reported that it was only a 20 foot drop off the bridge, and that the water was deep enough that a plunge would likely not be fatal. As you can imagine, there were dumbass people who had to put this theory to the test.
*In 1976, a novel and screenplay based on the song were written by Herman Raucher. Entitled Ode To Billy Joe (note the change in spelling), Raucher's adaptation depicted McAllister as having killed himself following a drunken homosexual encounter. The film was directed and produced by Max Baer, Jr., also known as Jethro Bodine on "The Beverly Hillbillies". Gentry re-recorded the song for the soundtrack.
*Nancy Wilson's cover of the tune is quite possibly my favorite. Appearing on her 1968 Welcome To My Love LP, her version is blessed with a warm, bluesy feel that's as sultry as it is soulful. The album was reissued in 1994, so if you dig this...do work, son.
*Lou Donaldson, King Curtis & The Kingpins, The 5th Dimension, Sinéad O'Connor, and many others have also released a version of the tune.
"By The Time I Get To Phoenix"---Doris Duke (sharebee)
"By The Time I Get To Phoenix"---Doris Duke (savefile)
*Written by Jimmy Webb; originally recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965
*Jimmy Webb is an award-winning songwriter, composer, musician and vocalist. The prolific tunesmith has penned a plethora of popular and oft-covered songs, including "Witchita Lineman", "Do What You Gotta Do", "MacArthur Park", "Up Up And Away", "Didn't We", "Worst That Could Happen", and "Highwayman". His material has been recorded/performed by Donna Summer, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Bob Dylan, Thelma Houston, Roberta Flack, The Fifth Dimension, Joe Cocker, Cher, The Supremes, R.E.M., The Four Tops, Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand, David Crosby, and more. He's also released several of his own LPs.
*Frank Sinatra once declared that "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" was "the greatest torch song ever written".
*Doris Duke's cover of the track appeared on the LP A Legend In Her Own Time, originally released in 1975 on Mankind Records. As an unwavering Southern soul enthusiast, it's virtually predestined that I should love Doris Duke as much as I do. Although I'm equally in love with the renditions by Isaac Hayes and Erma Franklin, Duke's take on the song is so intimate and earthy it allowed me to instantly connect with the song's lyrics in a way I never had before.
If you don't have any Doris in the crates, the best collection of her work is available on the Kent reissue pictured above. It combines her two albums produced by Jerry 'Swamp Dogg' Williams Jr. (I'm A Loser + A Legend In Her Own Time), as well as the sides she released on Jay Boy as Doris Willingham. It's nothin' but love from front to back, children...
*In addition to the versions mentioned above, "By The Time I Get To Phoenix" has also been covered by William Bell, Dorothy Ashby, Young-Holt Unlimited, King Curtis, Nancy Wilson, Thelma Houston, The Escorts, and more.
"Down By The River"---Buddy Miles (sharebee)
"Down By The River"---Buddy Miles (savefile)
*Written and originally recorded by Neil Young; first released on Young's 1969 LP with Crazy Horse, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
*Young claims to have penned this song, as well as "Cinnamon Girl" and "Cowgirl In The Sand", while in bed with a 103° fever.
*Much like "Hey Joe" and other "shot my baby" jams, "Down By The River" describes an incident in which a man puts a bullet in his lover due to rage over her infidelity. My brothers...it really is as simple as leaving these women. It's hardly a good look to get all O.J. Simpson and shit...
*Like just about every popular music track ever recorded, some listeners have hypothesized that the lyrics reference drug addiction. Young has refuted this claim, and often tells the tale as he envisioned it before he plays the song live.
*I've played Neil Young's original take so many times that my vinyl copy has a skip 6 minutes and 33 seconds into the track. True story.
*I've written about Buddy Miles in the past, so no need to completely reinvent the wheels of steel. If nothing else, most will remember him as the drummer in Jimi Hendrix's Band Of Gypsys, or the dude who was the voice behind the California Raisins. He also formed The Buddy Miles Express, founded Electric Flag with Michael Bloomfield, and worked with artists/groups such as Santana, David Bowie, Ruby & The Romantics, Stevie Wonder, and Bootsy Collins.
Miles covered "Down By The River" on his 1970 LP, Them Changes. Whether or not you have an appreciation for his music, it's difficult to overlook his competence at marrying soul/jazz/blues sensibilities with a highly charged spirit of rock and roll, a recipe that Hendrix himself perfected.
Sadly, Miles passed away earlier this year. This article/obituary not only highlights many of his career achievements, it also offers some insight into his unique personality and style. Rest in peace, Buddy...
"I Can't Turn You Loose"---Jimmy Wess & The Upsetters (sharebee)
"I Can't Turn You Loose"---Jimmy Wess & The Upsetters (savefile)
*Written and originally recorded by Otis Redding; released as a 7" in 1965 (b/w "Just One More Day", Volt 130).
*Redding's version reached #11 on the R&B charts in the US and peaked at #29 in the UK.
*The Upsetters were a group from Baltimore who released a 1969 tribute LP entitled We Remember Otis. Released on ABC Records, the album has since become somewhat of an obscurity, although you can pick up a copy of the original vinyl in mint condition for under $50 if you know where to dig.
Whether you're down with their take on Redding classics (there are also a few non-Otis joints on the album)depends largely on your perception of what makes for a worthy cover. If you prefer wildly abstract interpretations that rely more on creative impulse than loyalty to the original, you will probably think this rendition is fairly useless. On the other hand, if you're more impressed when a tune is revisited with some proximity to the original, you might want to give this a spin. On the verge of being overly derivative, Jimmy Wess may be mistaken for Redding if your friends are drunk enough (try it some time...I have). I give Wess props for his Redding-like style of impassioned delivery, but it's dangerous territory to be imitative when paying homage to a legend...unless, of course, you're a fat guy in Vegas with big sideburns and sequined jumpsuits who can curl your upper lip and swivel your hips. Under those circumstances, you might just earn some dollars...even if it don't make no sense.
First up, a few more untapped Jigga mixes from my collection. I know, I know...I'm still searching for a support group to help me address this little compulsion of mine, but I swear...these are truly dope:
"Dear Blueprint (SoulSyde Mix)"---Jay-Z (sharebee)
"Dear Blueprint (SoulSyde Mix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)
"Public Service Announcement (Samo Remix)"---Jay-Z (sharebee)
"Public Service Announcement (Samo Remix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)
"Sunshine (Ratatat Remix)"---Jay-Z (sharebee)
"Sunshine (Ratatat Remix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)
"The Allure Tape (Hovahead Mix)"---Jay-Z vs. Radiohead (sharebee)
"The Allure Tape (Hovahead Mix)"---Jay-Z vs. Radiohead (savefile)
"Til It Got Dark (Anion Mix)"---Jay-Z (sharebee)
"Til It Got Dark (Anion Mix)"---Jay-Z (savefile)
Don't like Hov? I thought of you, too...
"Who Shot Ya (Anion Remix)"---Notorious B.I.G. (sharebee)
"Who Shot Ya (Anion Remix)"---Notorious B.I.G. (savefile)
"Carrie On Brother"---Eddie Harris vs. Rob Swift (sharebee)
"Carrie On Brother"---Eddie Harris vs. Rob Swift (savefile)
Word From Your Moms:
"Surely the day will come when color means nothing more than skin tone, when religion is seen uniquely as a way to speak one's soul; when birthplaces have the weight of a throw of the dice and all men are born free, when understanding breeds love and brotherhood."
"A violinist had a violin, a painter his palette. All I had was myself. I was the instrument that I must care for."
Both quotes by Josephine Baker