50 forgotten songs, 50 best voices, 50 reasons to adore the smiths, 50 famous fags

morrissey (steven patrick morrissey), musician. born: manchester, england (1959)

lead singer of the only band in the world to have a perfect record of perfect records. morrissey split with writing partner johnny marr and his fellow smiths and within a mere six months released his first solo album. his solo career has outlasted the short four years with the fabled foursome, and is currently going on year 22. however, that career has been tenuous at best. the early solo years (1988 – 1991) provided some of the same satisfaction for his old fans, but the exquisite carefulness of each smith release was always a problem for morrissey to achieve without the superb marr writing the melodies. it is unfortunate that the last of his truly great songs barely made the charts.

“my love life” by morrissey with “additional harmonies by chrissie hynde” (1991, written by morrissey & mark nevin, and produced by clive langer & alan winstanley. released as a stand alone single in september. released on the compilation album “the world of morrissey” in 1995 on his master voice / hmv records).

morrissey’s wistful “my love life” came at the end of a spotty collection of singles and albums that could at times compete with the high mark the smiths had left behind. the wrangley rickenbacher guitar harkened back to marr’s trademark sound, the mournful lyrics were much sparser than the dense wordplay of lyrics morrissey dished out so easily for the smiths, but even the simple repeated lines echoed the best of his first and only band.

“come on to my house, come on and do something new, i know you love one person so, why can’t you love two?”

that is about it for the lyrics. morrissey left behind, begging and wondering ambiguously if the person of his current infatuation can love more than himself (or perhaps have two boyfriends?). the melody is repetitious too, and who knows what the song would sound like without the “additional harmonies” (as morrissey credits miss hynde) as hynde’s voice vibrates wordlessly on each chorus on a song that sounds like a mixture of the best of the smiths’ and the pretenders’ mashed together. but a hit? it wasn’t. it never charted in the u.s. and barely in the u.k. it did, however, make it to number 6 in ireland. give the enchantingly sad song a view on youTube.


50 best voices, 50 forgotten songs
July 22, 2010, 5:27 am
Filed under: 50 best voices, 50 forgotten songs

bonnie bramlett, born alton, illinois (1944), with ex-husband delaney bramlett

bonnie bramlett, along with her then husband, delaney invaded england and took the country by storm in 1969 with their soulful southern church sound. they opened for blind faith on a british jaunt, but by the end of the year eric clapton had left blind faith, and joined george harrison to become part of delaney & bonnie & friends. their regular band included leon russell on piano, rita coolidge, backup singer, and soon to be stones’ horn man bobby keys (who wails on “brown sugar” and is still a part of the stones touring band).

bonnie was the only white ikette in the ike and tina turner revue, and it would have been her voice screaming “war children, it’s just a shot away. love, sisters, it’s just a kiss away” on the stone’s masterful “gimme shelter” had she not had a cold that fateful day (it is mary clayton’s voice that is indelibly printed in our minds on that song). probably one of the most soulful white singers around, tis a pity that one of her best moments on vinyl was reduced to rubbish when karen carpenter changed the title and  lyrics, and made a once mournful tune a sappy piece of  saccharine (as was the case with all of miss carpenter’s sorry history). however, bonnie’s version of the song she wrote with leon russel and sang on the last album d&b recorded before their split is, hands down, one of the great moments on vinyl:

“groupie (superstar)” by delaney & bonnie & friends, (1969, written by bonnie bramlett & leon russell, produced by delaney bramlett for a&m records, from the album “d&b together”)

the carpenters changed the title to “superstar”, and changed the lyrics from “i can harldy wait and sleep with you again” to “be with you again”. so the most popular version of this much recorded song, is the worst version. miss bramlett’s back up singer, the young rita coolidge, who modeled her early voice on bonnie’s, did a wonderful version as a solo, when touring as part of joe cocker’s mad dogs and englishmen band (whose members were all veterns of d&b’s first band). bette midler also turned “groupie” into a real torch number on her debut album “the divine miss m”, but bonnie bramlett’s original is known by only those in the know. become one!

[all of these lost songs can be found on youTube, most as audio vids with slideshows. try if you can to figure out which is the original recording, sometimes it isn’t quite obvious and pictomat does not post links because they change frequently]

50 forgotten songs, 50 amazing faces, 50 great record covers, 50 grand designs, 50 fashion mavens

grace jones, singer, born spanish town, jamaica (1948)

“pull up to the bumper” by grace jones (1981, written by jones, dana mano, sly dunbar & robbie shakespeare, produced by chris blackwell &  alex sadkin, single released on island records)

not forgotten by anyone who spent any of their nights dancing in discos during almost the entire year of 1981, but not a big hit on the charts in the u.s or the u.k. perhaps because the ever crafty miss jones managed to write an entire song where every sentence was an innuendo:

“… now in the park and lock garage,

you’ll find the proper place,

just follow all the written rules,
you’ll fit into the space.

pull up to my bumper baby,
in your long black limosine,
pull up to my bumper baby,
and drive it in between.

pull up, to it, don’t drive, through it,
back it, up twice, now that, fit’s nice …”

and that is just the beginning. one particular line might have caused the most problems and that was “grease it / spray it / let me lubricate it”. needless to say it remains one of the great dance tracks of all time, but perhaps missed by any non-dancers. housed as always in one of grace jones’ provacative record covers. (record cover, 1981, designer: jean-paul goude, born saint-mandé, france, 1940, graphic artist and jones’ lover at the time.)

50 forgotten songs
July 7, 2010, 12:53 am
Filed under: 50 forgotten songs

“out of time” by chris farlowe, born london, england, (1940), song: 1966, written by jagger/richards, produced by mick jagger on immediate records

farlow, one of the u.k.’s great blue-eyed soul singers, is sadly unknown in this country. his version of  “out of time”  hit number one on the british charts months after it first appeared on the stones’ great brian jones era “aftermath” album. it is, dare it be said, better.

farlow uses jagger’s instrumental track that wasn’t released with mick’s voice until the stones left the decca label and headed to their own “rolling stones” imprint and decca wanted to squeeze out an album of unreleased material. that album, “metamorphosis”, is an interesting pack of unrelated cuts that probably few stones fans own. however, chris farlow remains the man for this song.

50 forgotten songs, 50 best voices
July 6, 2010, 2:34 pm
Filed under: 50 best voices, 50 forgotten songs

eddie kendricks, born union springs, alabama (1939 – 1992)

the late and former lead falsetto of the original “temptations” had a voice so sweet, you know he coulda been some perfume, but failed to hit with:

“darling come back home” (1973, written by frank wilson, kathy wakefield, & king errisson, and produced by frank wilson & leonard caston for tamla records from his eponymous third solo album).

kendrick’s is in a dancey  mood here, his beautiful high voice still intact from all those times he had to sing “the way you do the things you do” with the temps. writing and procuction come from on of motown’s many unsung multitude. frank wilson did the work here, as he did so well for songs like “stoned love” and “nathan jones” for the ross-less supremes.