Tag Archives: Dionne Warwick

Red, white and blue revisited

As we did last year, we’re dishing up some music for your Fourth of July party.

We have some red, some white, some blue, the makings for a fine gathering. However, you still won’t find any Greenwood, if you know what I mean.

Red.

You’ll need a little something to eat and a little something to wash it down.

“Red Beans,” Marcia Ball, from “Blue House,” 1994.

“Red Red Wine,” Neil Diamond, 1967, from “Neil Diamond’s Greatest Hits,” 1968. That’s long out of print, but the song is on “Neil Diamond: The Bang Years, 1966-1968,” released earlier this year.

White.

Then you’ll need to chill.

“Ice Cream Man” and “Back Porch Therapy,” Tony Joe White, from “The Heroines,” 2004. It’s out of print but is available digitally.

Blue.

Before enjoying a nightcap or two.

“Martini 5-0,” the Blue Hawaiians, from “Sway,” 1998. It’s out of print and apparently not available digitally.

“A Shot of Rhythm and Blues,” Dave Edmunds, from “Subtle As A Flying Mallet,” 1975. Also out of print and not available digitally.

Speaking of shots …

As you the blow the fireworks, be sure to …

“Pop That Thang,” the Isley Brothers, from “Brother, Brother, Brother,” 1972.

And as you reflect on it all …

“People Got To Be Free,” Dionne Warwick, from “Soulful,” 1969. Available on “Soulful Plus,” a 2004 limited-edition release from Rhino Handmade, and digitally.

Yes, people still got to be free, even today.

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Filed under July 2011, Sounds

Comfortably numbed

My friend Jim was selling some more dollar records this weekend. He had the tent out in its usual place in the back yard of his tiny duplex. Turns out he had nine new boxes of records. “Got a bunch from Illinois,” he said.

The weather is turning in our corner of Wisconsin. Our days for outdoor crate digging are growing increasingly few.

Though it was late Saturday morning by the time I got to Jim’s back yard, the temperature hadn’t made it past 50. Under the tent, out of the sunlight, with a brisk wind, it was a bit nippy. Not a problem, really, except that my fingers are increasingly sensitive to cold as I get older. They were getting sore by the eighth and ninth boxes.

But one of those dollar records warmed me right up.

I’d not been aware that Dionne Warwick had done an album of soul, R&B and Beatles covers. But there it was — “Soulful,” on the Scepter Records label. Warwick recorded it in Memphis in 1969, co-producing it with the great Chips Moman.

Now if I’d been paying attention, I’d have remembered “Soulful.”

My friend Larry included a couple of the Beatles covers from this album on his Funky 16 Corners Radio v.54 podcast back in July, and there they are, sitting in my iTunes. Larry described “Soulful” as being “filled with a grip of excellent soul covers.” You are correct, sir!

Enjoy a couple of those covers, but be aware that they come with a few pops and crackles. I find that part of the charm of old records.

“Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” and “People Got To Be Free,” Dionne Warwick, from “Soulful,” 1969.

The first cut is a passionate cover of the Aretha Franklin tune written by Moman and Dan Penn. The second cut is a cover of the Rascals tune, given a joyous, upbeat, almost gospel-like rendering.

(The album link is to a 2004 CD release with all 12 cuts from “Soulful” plus 11 more.)

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Filed under October 2008, Sounds

Dad, Dionne and me

As Dionne Warwick’s show drew near earlier today, I found myself with an extra ticket. I’d hoped to go with the lovely Janet, but she begged off because of too much work.

So I took my dad instead. I figured he’d enjoy it.

This is a man who watched virtually every TV variety show on the air in the ’60s and ’70s, when Dionne Warwick, by then an established pop star, was seen regularly on those shows. I know, because I remember seeing her. I was certain Dad knew who Dionne Warwick was. Apparently not. That, and it took him half the show to get his hearing aid adjusted to get the sound just right. Ah, well, so it goes.

Dionne Warwick is a lovely 67, and still in fine voice. Neither seems to have aged much, if at all. She is one of America’s pop icons, a national treasure, yet seems to be considerably underappreciated. (Even by me. I have exactly two Dionne Warwick tunes in my collection, yet I know a couple dozen.)

In a show that lasted little more than an hour, she sang almost everything you’d hope to hear. She reinterpreted two familiar tunes — “I Say A Little Prayer” and “Do You Know The Way To San Jose” — with new, Latin-flavored arrangements and new phrasing. They sounded just fine.

I would have liked to hear “Then Came You,” her 1974 hit with the Spinners. However, she reportedly didn’t care much for the tune when they cut it. As far as I’m concerned, though, everything that followed her second song was gravy. That song?

“Walk On By,” Dionne Warwick, 1964 single. Available on “Walk On By: The Definitive Dionne Warwick Collection,” a two-CD, 40-track import released in 2000.

Why I dig it so much is not so much about Warwick as it is about an album that once belonged to Dad and now belongs to me. As I’ve written before, I played the bejeezus out of the following LP when I was a kid. This instrumental was my introduction to “Walk On By.”

“Walk On By,” the Baja Marimba Band, from “Baja Marimba Band Rides Again,” 1965. Out of print. (Happily, I found another copy of the album last month.)

Here’s another take, one I only recently came across. Burt Bacharach and Hal David interpreted by Motown producer Norman Whitfield.

“Walk On By,” Undisputed Truth, from “Law of the Land,” 1973. Out of print.

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Filed under May 2008, Sounds