There’s never been a year-end music roundup at AM, Then FM because that’s really not how we roll here.
That said, I read Ken Shane’s late-to-the-party roundup of his favorite albums of 2014 over at Popdose, and thought we’d tap into that spirit.
Ken has 25 records on his list, but ours won’t be that long. I bought plenty of records during 2014. Only three of them were new releases.
The first new record I bought in 2014: “Give The People What They Want,” by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
When Daptone Records provided a sneak peek of the new record from Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, I took one look at the cover and my record nerd kicked in. Hey, I thought, that design is inspired by an old Chi-Lites record.
Whatever. The record came out at the end of the second week of January, and I picked it up as soon as I could. Two months later, we got to hear most of it at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, a scorcher of a soul revue on a late winter night.
Cool song off the record: “Long Time, Wrong Time,” on which the Dap-Kings walk their vintage soul sound over near the swamp for Miss Jones to chomp on.
The second new record I bought in 2014: “Carter Girl,” by Carlene Carter.
I belong to almost no fan clubs, but I have been a member of Carlene Carter’s fan club for several years. When she started her gradual return to recording and performing in the mid-2000s, it was well below the radar, and the fan club was pretty much the only way to keep tabs on it.
Tipped by the fan club to a limited number of autographed copies of her new record, I managed to get one. Full disclosure, though: I’m not a big autograph guy. I just thought it would be a fun thing to have.
Well, it sure was fun opening the package when it arrived in April. Carlene Carter has a lovely signature, doesn’t she?
I’ve loved Carlene Carter since her time with Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds in the early ’80s, through her pop-country stardom in the early ’90s and now that she’s re-emerged after some struggles with addiction. On this record, Carter taps into her Carter Family influences and stands right beside them as one of America’s finest country singers.
Cool song off the record: “Lonesome Valley 2003,” an updated version of an A.P. Carter song. She’s always been one of the great duet singers. “Baby Ride Easy” with Dave Edmunds is sublime. Vince Gill is her partner on this one.
The third new record I bought in 2014: “The Lost Tapes,” by Vic Pitts and the Cheaters.
Just in time for my birthday, I was tipped to this record by DJ Prestige over at Flea Market Funk. It hit me right in my wheelhouse: Vintage soul and R&B, and vintage soul and R&B from Wisconsin.
Full disclosure again: I’m not big into limited editions, either. But I managed to order from Secret Stash Records in Minneapolis when the red vinyl copies were still available. I just thought it would be a fun thing to have.
Well, it sure was fun seeing that red vinyl light up the turntable in July.
Vic Pitts and the Cheaters were among Milwaukee’s hottest soul/R&B bands in the late ’60s and early ’70s. This record gathers a never-released bunch of scorchers, covers, ballads and instrumentals that were recorded in 1969 and 1970 at Ter-Mar Studios in Chicago, by then one of the last remaining pieces of what once was Chess Records.
Cool song off the record: “The Trip,” the one that’s playing in the picture.
Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time. (And, yes, I know I am long overdue in posting there.)