Archive | January, 2014

Arthur Alexander

25 Jan

Few can lay claim to having their recordings covered by the Beatles, the Stones and Bob Dylan. Although, as I write, I wonder can anyone one else claim that besides Arthur Alexander?

Dylan covered “Sally Sue Brown” on 1988’s “Down in the Groove”, the Stones covered “You Better Move On” which appeared in 1965’s “December’s Children (And Everyone’s)” and of course the Beatles covered today’s jewel “Anna (Go to Him)” which was placed on their 1963 debut “Please Please Me”, and in my opinion one of the more moving and convincing covers.

Many others also were smart enough to cover Arthur’s tunes with varying success including Elvis, Tina Turner, Otis, Mink Deville (I wrote about the amazing Mink on my earlier blog right here) and the Hollies among others. I was not so surprised to discover that a ton of 60’s garage bands put out for Arthur; Kenny and the Kasuals and the Leaves were a quick few that I found.

aalexanderIt’s a shame that Arthur never really made it big. He came close a few times but never actually broke out and ended up driving a school bus for a while. Can you imagine being driven to school by Arthur Alexander? Mind boggling!

Just as there was a renewed interest in him in the early 90’s, the poor guy suffered a heart attack and sadly passed away in 1993. But, his vital catalog and his legacy lives on.

Anna (Go To Him) is a worthy testament to his songwriting ability and you’ll be the better to hear one of the great tracks in soul history.

Anna, girl before you go now,
I want you to know now,
That I still love you so,
But if he loves you more –
Go with him.

All of my life, I’ve been searching for a girl
To love me like I love you!
But every girl I’ve ever had,
Breaks my heart and leaves my sad,
What am I, what am I supposed to do?

Anna (Go to Him)

Just for the sheer surprise of it all, here’s Arthur singing “Burning Love” before Elvis karate chopped his version way to the top of the charts.

End of the Line

Just happened to notice, while browsing, Neck Pickup. Lot’s of writing about music, along with sports and general musings. Kept my interest with many, many posts writing about his time in the Boston area and I, being a Boston boy myself, recognized quite a bit of what he’s referenced. Has a nice thing going with an occasional post about a selected week within a selected year of the Top 40 countdown. I take exception to some of his highlighted favorites, but that’s what makes it interesting.

Amy Mann

10 Jan

Nelson and I used to hang out a lot in different parts in, and around, Boston. Kenmore Square, Union Square, Inman Square, Harvard Square, Central Square and Cleveland Circle just to name a few. Wherever our fancy struck and depending on what we wanted to do.

One particular balmy, dreamy and lazy day we hoofed to Cleveland Circle to toss a Frisbee on the grass right near the theater. This was a great place to gaze at the traffic, to people watch, to sit in the sun, to apologize to drivers for hitting their car with the overthrown Frisbee, and to smile into the mid-afternoon sun while enjoying a whimsical and careless day.

I used to love the people watching in particular and had my capricious eye on the girls who walked by singly or in pairs or in small packs. I would walk up (with a wayward Frisbee toss being the excuse) and smile and make small talk and exchange banter for a few moments. Not with the aim of ‘hooking up’, but simply and truthfully just to converse and admire beautifully animated art.

Nelson and I decided to take a break and walk across the street to get a slice and a Coke. As we walked, one girl in particular stood out, and as clear as day, I can still picture her; thin, white, white perfect skin, a beret on her head that revealed what we used to call a ‘rat tail’ dangling down her back, a white short sleeved blouse, jean shorts and big, black army-type boots that were so popular at that time. I was so taken with that look that a few select women wore back then – what with the big, big boots, the hair style, the bright personality, the perfect teeth and their decision to not look like every other fluffy-haired bimbet, I was again, of course, struck by Cupid’s arrow and timed my walk so that I caught up to her at the crosswalk.

AmyI stood next to her waiting for the walking signal, turned to her, our eyes met, I smiled and said “hello”. She replied “hello” in return and exchanged a smile of her own. Something about her seemed so familiar, but I couldn’t at the moment place her. We made small talk walking across the square and parted when she went up the block while Nelson and I went into the pizza shop and ordered. It wasn’t until my second bite that I realized who she was. I remembered seeing her perform in a band somewhere around Boston. I think it was the Paradise on Comm. Ave.

About a week later I saw her again, this time on MTV. Her band ‘Til Tuesday had a hit with ‘Voices Carry’ and Amy Mann, the girl I bantered with, was spectacular. More about ‘Voice Carry’ at the bottom.

The Boston music scene was crushingly great at that moment and there was no shortage of talent showcased in the bars, the tours, on the airwaves, on the video stations and in terms of sales. ‘Til Tuesday was played at my apartment so often that I’m sure the vinyl turned from black to translucent.

I’ve followed Amy Mann through the years and admire her songwriting not only in terms of craft, but because she never writes a banal or turgid ‘boy meets girl’, but sears the lyrics on a more abstract and personal level. As her solo career progressed, I’ve enjoyed her personal journeys through ‘I’m With Stupid’, ‘Lost in Space’, ‘@#%&! Smilers’ and right up to 2012’s ‘Charmer’ (which is brilliant by the way).

From their 1985 debut album, ‘Til Tuesday with ‘Over My Shoulder’.

When I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve
It wears out after a fashion
And I’m finding it hard to believe
Your whole-hearted lack of compassion

And if I’m looking over my shoulder
It’s just because I hope you’ll be there
And if I’m looking older and older
It’s because I know I haven’t a prayer

Over My Shoulder

Lastly, remember the video for ‘Voices Carry’? Watch the original video and then take a watch at the video for ‘Labrador’, which is a single off of ‘Charmer’. Anyone get the humor and irony?

End of The Line

Every so often an article reminds me of how powerful music can get hold of one’s soul. Doesn’t matter if you know the artist being written about, but what does matter is the feelings one can be gripped with while reading the written words of someone who is passionate about the subject matter. Over at Funky16Corners, this article does it for me.

Legalized It

3 Jan

I’ve been reading about the blocks long waiting line, the price gouging by greedy emporiums in an effort to maximize profit and thewelcome-to-colorado law enforcement legion roaming and mingling, making sure order was kept. No apocalyptic, end of earth incidents were reported, and thus no politician was able to straighten his tie for the camera, prepare a side-smirk and say to an eager, waiting microphone “I told you so”. It appears that order and sanity won the day.

As reported by the Denver Post, a former Marine with PTSD was the very first customer to buy legal marijuana.

Soon, I believe in the spring, Washing will be the next state to commercialize pot. Many other states have already passed laws to decriminalize possession, and many others are contemplating loosening and lessening the penalties. And with Colorado as the first to mellow its stance and realize pecuniary advancement, well, frankly, when there is money to be made let’s be truthful and say out loud that government has been known to follow where money lies. Ganja – coming to a dispensary near you.

Peter Tosh sung about making it lawful way back in ’76 on his album Legalize it. He of The Wailers (along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer) was a pretty competent and gifted writer. I also strongly recommend listening to Bush Doctor.

But, for now, we can believe that Pete is looking down and maybe feeling that he perhaps helped a little bit with the struggle by providing an anthem of sorts that’s been played countless times over the past decades.

Doctors smoke it
Nurses smoke it
Judges smoke it
Even the lawyers too

Legalize it – don’t criticize it
Legalize it and i will advertise it

Legalize It