Yesterday was one of those long days that turned into a long night.
As I pulled into the driveway 14-plus hours after I’d left for work, a cool old song came on the radio. At first I thought it was Wilson Pickett. Then I realized, no, he didn’t cover that Beatles song.
It was Otis Redding doing “Day Tripper,” from 1966. So I sat there under the garage light, tired and wanting to go into the house, but hey, it’s Otis.
Today, we had king cake and paczki at work for Fat Tuesday, so I brought some home for Janet over the noon hour. Another cool old song came on the radio.
So I sat there in the driveway in the middle of the day, listening to Nancy Sinatra doing “Drummer Man” with the great session man Hal Blaine on the drums.
Been looking for that song, but it’s not on the LP shown above, at least not the original 1967 version. They did stick it on a 1996 CD reissue as one of the three extra tracks. Guess I’ll just have to keep digging.
Sometimes, it’s just that simple. You sit in the driveway and listen to one more song.
Today, by the way, is the 13th anniversary of this blog.
I wrote the first post on AM, Then FM on this day in 2007.
More to come, including the rest of a story started here not too long ago and what I hope will be an enjoyable new series of posts.
Our premise, revisited: What a year this has been. Since we last gathered here just two weeks ago, we’ve lost even more music greats. Merle Haggard, Leon Haywood and Gato Barbieri — quite a cross-section there — and still another Van Zant, country singer Jimmie, cousin to Ronnie.
Time, then — well past time, really — to wrap up an appreciation of four music greats who are still with us. These are my four. Yours may be different. We started with three elders, Chuck Berry,Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. We end with …
The legend: Tina Turner.
Still performing? Apparently not. It’s been almost seven years since she last performed live. That was on May 5, 2009, at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England, the end to a 50th anniversary tour that featured 90 shows.
What we must acknowledge but won’t dwell on: Ike Turner.
Where I came in: I’m sure I’d seen Ike and Tina on TV before, but I certainly knew of them by the time “Proud Mary” was released in early 1971. That certainly warmed up a Wisconsin winter.
My evening with Tina: I’ve had two, thankfully. We first saw her in 1983, performing on a small side stage at Summerfest in Milwaukee, a night I will never forget. We then saw her at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, a big outdoor venue west of Milwaukee, on Sept. 14, 1987, on our honeymoon, a time I will never forget.
But about that first show. Tina Turner was just 43, but was considered an oldies act. She had split from Ike, had no record contract and was touring with two backup singers. Yet on that night, on that side stage in the middle of the Summerfest grounds, it was wild. To call her show sizzling or scorching or incendiary doesn’t do it justice. It was insane. You couldn’t believe what you were seeing and hearing. It was that good.
Appreciate the greatness: To get some idea of what we saw that night, kick back for an hour and watch this show. It was taped at the Park West in Chicago on Aug. 4, 1983, about a month after we saw her at Summerfest.
The set list: “Cat People,” “Acid Queen,” “River Deep Mountain High,” “Hot Legs,” “Get Back,” “Where the Heart Is,” “Nutbush City Limits,” “Givin’ It Up For Your Love,” “Nightlife,” “Help,” “Proud Mary,” “Music Keeps Me Dancing” and “Hollywood Nights.” (You may need to reset the video to 0:00.)
Then go back. So many great tunes from her time with Ike. These are some of my favorites from just some of my Ike and Tina records.
Our premise, revisited: Since we last gathered here a month ago, we’ve lost even more music greats. Keith Emerson, Sir George Martin and Gayle McCormick, the lead singer of Smith, even Clare MacIntyre-Ross, the woman who inspired the Harry Chapin’s classic song “Taxi.”
Time, then — well past time, really — to appreciate four music greats who are still with us. These are my four. Yours may be different. We started with the eldest, Chuck Berry. We then paid homage to Little Richard. We continue with …
The legend: Jerry Lee Lewis.
Still performing? Apparently so. There are no dates listed on his website, but his last gig was about six weeks ago in Mississippi. I’ve never seen him play live.
What we must acknowledge but won’t dwell on: The Killer has gone through a whole lot of unsavory business. A scandalous marriage to a cousin who likely was 13 when they were wed in December 1957. Six other wives. Allegations of domestic abuse. Substance abuse. Arrested outside Graceland in November 1976, drunk and waving a gun. Jeebus.
Where I came in: Hm. Not really sure about this, either. Perhaps when he covered “Chantilly Lace” in 1972, or perhaps when “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” crossed over from country radio in 1973. It wasn’t until 1989 that I bought my first Jerry Lee record, the “Milestones” greatest-hits comp released on Rhino Records to coincide with the release of “Great Balls of Fire,” the film in which Dennis Quaid played Jerry Lee.
Appreciate the greatness: I have always loved piano pounders, and Jerry Lee stands with Little Richard as perhaps the greatest of them all. Jerry Lee’s late ’50s hit singles are among the cornerstones of rock ‘n’ roll. That said, here are some other tunes I dig.
“Live from the Birmingham Municipal Auditorium and the WVOK Shower of Stars, the one, the only, Jerry Lee Lewis!”
They recorded this on July 18, 1964, a Saturday night. (The liner notes incorrectly say July 1.) To hear this astonishing side, Jerry Lee clearly brought the greatest live show on Earth to town that night. In a mere 15 minutes, the Killer rips through covers of tunes by Little Richard, Charlie Rich, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Ray Charles.
“Well, I’d like to do one for ya now. Ah, hope you enjoy this one. Um, pretty good tune that, uh, has done quite well for a, a lot of artists. But I’m think I’m gonna give it a little treatment here that, that it deserrrrves. I’m gonna throw the old, real, true, down-to-earth, go-gettin’ rock-and-roll beat into this one now. Boy, if you can’t shake it, you better set down because this is one you can really shake it bahyyyy!”
At which point, Jerry Lee and his Memphis Beats tear into …
“Roll Over Beethoven,” Jerry Lee Lewis, from “Jerry Lee Lewis: By Request,” 1966. It’s out of print. Recorded live at Panther Hall ballroom in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Shotgun Man,” Jerry Lee Lewis, from “Soul My Way,” 1967. It’s out of print, but is available on this double CD with “The Return of Rock” LP from 1965.
After turning to country music with some success, Jerry Lee returned to rock with mixed success on some interesting records on the Mercury label in the early ’70s. Here are a couple more rip-roaring covers.
“Ooh, ooh! Green Hornet marathon on Decades!” my friend Larry in New Jersey announced yesterday. Likewise, my friend Bruce in Philadelphia announced it was “binge time.”
Dang. We don’t get that channel in our corner of Wisconsin.
So I had to make do with the next best thing.
“The Horn Meets The Hornet,” a 1966 album full of TV theme songs by jazz trumpeter Al Hirt, was one of the first cool records I ever found while digging.
So I mentioned that record, found eight years ago, and Larry noted its cover of “Night Rumble.” Hm. Not familiar with that one. Turns out it was sort of a mod instrumental done in the spring of 1963 by a group called The Mark V and released as a 45 on ABC-Paramount. Here you go, my friend.
“Night Rumble,” Al Hirt, from “The Horn Meets The Hornet,” 1966. It’s out of print.
Of course, there also is that great “Green Hornet Theme,” which is Hirt’s take on Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee” as orchestrated by Billy May and conducted by Lionel Newman.
Among what the LP’s back cover bills as “TV Themes of Intrigue” are two other interesting but largely forgotten pieces by composers who wrote other, more familiar TV themes.
Hirt covers the theme from “T.H.E. Cat,” an NBC action drama that starred Robert Loggia. It aired only during the 1966-67 TV season. This muscular bit of mid-’60s jazz noir was written by Lalo Schifrin, who did the still-cool “Mission: Impossible” theme the same year.
He also covers the theme from “Run Buddy Run,” which aired for only the first half of the 1966-67 season. It’s written by Jerry Fielding, who’d done the “Hogan’s Heroes” theme the year before. “Run Buddy Run” was a CBS sitcom about a guy on the run from the mob, and Fielding’s theme plays it straight, reflecting that potential danger rather than going for laughs.
The star of “Run Buddy Run” was jazz trumpeter Jack Sheldon, but it doesn’t appear he played trumpet on the show’s theme.
So I did. I enjoyed the tunes even though “River Deep, Mountain High,” from Ike and Tina Turner wasn’t exactly what I expected.
I knew Phil Spector produced, and that Ike and Tina got the Wall of Sound treatment. I didn’t know those tunes account for only six of the 12 cuts on the record. The rest? Apparently just stuff Ike had laying around.
So this 1966 record careens from that elegant Wall of Sound to Ike and Tina’s typically grittier sound and back again. It both disproves and confirms Tina’s spoken intro to “Proud Mary” four years later: “We nevah, evah, do nothing nice and easy. We always do it nice and rough.”
Nice and easy.
“A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Everyday),” a Holland-Dozier-Holland song first recorded in 1963 by Martha and the Vandellas. It was the flip side to “Heat Wave.” Ike and Tina’s version — the followup single to “River Deep, Mountain High” — reached No. 16 in the UK in 1966 but didn’t chart in the U.S.
Nice and rough.
“Such A Fool For You,” written by Ike Turner.
Both from “River Deep, Mountain High,” Ike and Tina Turner, 1966. Also available digitally. This LP originally was released in the UK that year. Then, after a third single — “I’ll Never Need More Than This” — was released in 1967, that cut was added to the LP for its American release. My copy is that A&M Records release from 1969.
As for the title cut? Well, sorry, but the definitive version for me is the one by the Supremes and the Four Tops from 1970. The one I heard first.
As February rolls to a close, it’s time to quietly celebrate another year of AM, Then FM.
It was during the last week of February 2007 that we made a tiny splash in the blogosphere. Though there are fewer readers and fewer posts than in the heyday of music blogging — when exactly was that, anyway? — we’ll keep on keepin’ on.
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who’s been along on this long, sometimes strange trip.
Speaking of which …
“Beat Me Daddy (Eight to the Bar),” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, 1971, from “Lost In The Ozone.”
“Eight Days A Week,” Billy Preston, 1966. I have this on “Mojo Beatlemania, Volume 1,” a comp CD that came with the September 2004 issue.
Also featured on “Rubber Souled, Part One,” one of the many fine mixes by my friend Larry Grogan over at his tremendous Funky 16 Corners blog. (Just search Larry’s blog for Billy Preston. That mix will turn up, and it’s still available for download or listening.)
Even though there are more than 1,000 records in the crates at AM, Then FM world headquarters, evidence of my lingering cluelessness emerges from time to time. As it has with the news that Paul Revere, the leader of Paul Revere and the Raiders, has died.
Sure, I knew of Paul Revere and the Raiders when I was a kid. I knew all their hits. In the summer of 1971, when I was 14, I bought the 45 to “Indian Reservation.” But I liked the Monkees more.
Today, I have records by the Monkees, but none by Paul Revere and the Raiders. Lingering cluelessness.
So, today, my friends are schooling me when it comes to those underappreciated garage rockers from the Pacific Northwest.
— Larry dropped a solid remembrance of Paul Revere and the Raiders, including a nod to their influence on ’80s kids, over at his Iron Leg blog. It’s a must read.
— Along those lines, Norb says “Just Like Me” was one of the first songs he learned to play on bass from start to finish.
— Steve says Paul Revere and the Raiders might have been “America’s version of The Animals.” He interviewed Revere once, maybe 20 years ago, and remembers being told “Mark Lindsay’s famous ponytail was fake.” He also remembers Revere “probably would have talked all day.”
— Emery reminds me that “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” was done first by Paul Revere and the Raiders in 1966, then by the Monkees later that year.
— Joe dug up a review of a Paul Revere and the Raiders show in Milwaukee from late October 1966. The show — with the Robbs, Keith Allison (who later joined the Raiders), the Standells and the Gilloteens as the opening acts — drew 3,500 to the Milwaukee Auditorium.
“Generally the audience, composed mostly of teen age girls, was very well behaved but the Raiders’ Mark Lindsay’s version of ‘Kicks’ was too much and fans mobbed the stage until ushers escorted them back to their seats.
“After their last number, the Raiders ran to a waiting bus that left the building as soon as they boarded. Even with their quick exit, about a hundred screaming girls mobbed the bus before police could clear a path to W. State St.”
Here’s an interview with Bob Barry, Milwaukee’s most popular DJ, done in 1966 for a Milwaukee TV station. Don’t know whether this was done at the same time as the show.
That show, by the way, was a Dick Clark production. The Robbs, who had moved from Milwaukee to Los Angeles, were the house band on “Where The Action Is,” also a Dick Clark production. Robbs drummer Craig Krampf remembers the tour as “about 80 one-nighters in a row.” Here’s a look at that 1966 tour.