Bobby Womack--one of the last surviving soul greats from the Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding generation--has died. Nicknamed "The Preacher" for his authoritative, church-trained voice and the way he introduced songs with long discourses on life, Womack never had the success of contemporaries like Marvin Gaye, Al Green or Otis Redding. For a good part of his career, he was better known as a songwriter and session musician. [more inside]
Long Player is a fortnightly show presented by [British music journalist] Pete Paphides. Conducted in a relaxed setting, these interviews see some of Petes favourite artists revisiting the highs and lows of their careers. Interviewees include Allen Toussaint, Linda Thompson, Neil Finn and Jimmy Webb. [more inside]
His is a career that feels both forgotten and deeply embedded in modern pop. He sang standards and rock and jazz and winding conceptual songs and tiny little kids' tunes and commercial jingles. He wrote, voiced, and spearheaded an animated film starring Dustin Hoffman. He played Dracula in a movie. He soundtracked a sitcom and nearly fought Jackie Gleason in a nightclub. He was "the Beatle across the water." He tore up London bars with Ringo Starr and Keith Moon. He invented the remix album. He also invented the mash-up. He dropped acid with Timothy Leary. He sang of moonbeams and fire and coconuts and puppies. He was a prodigious songwriter whose two biggest hits were covers. He performed live in concert in his prime exactly zero times. He wrote a musical about the Wright brothers. He had no. 1 albums and pop smashes and disastrous failures. He won Grammys. He was hilarious, and such a sad man.
The Legacy of Harry Nilsson.
The Legacy of Harry Nilsson.
Leonard Cohen live in London, July 18, 2008. The entire two and a half hour concert. Available for one week only. Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
The Song Is You: and, as if that weren't enough, the melody lingers on! The Songwriters' Hall of Fame is a magnificent resource (look for the almost-complete song lists) and a reminder of how one single country (The U.S.A.) produced a hugely disproportionate quantity of the great popular songwriters. It could arguably be said: almost all of them. How many of the "Rock Era" composers, though, have written standards that will still be as widely sung worldwide, in every conceivable dive or circumstance, in 50 years' time as the songs of Arlen, Porter, Gershwin, Berlin, Kern, Rodgers, Carmichael, Youmans, Warren, Ellington, Loesser, Loewe, Coleman and so many others still are today?
The Song Is You: If ever there was a perfect singer - and I do mean perfect - it was Ella Fitzgerald. Her Songbooks (please scroll down for the listings and samples) are still - and will always be - the best collection there is of the great American standards. That is, if you don't mind crying and having the little hairs on the nape of your neck stand up and revolt. And swing. They'd be the last
records objects I'd be willing to part with: they're the mother's milk of American Western popular culture. So imagine my surprise when I found their perfect counterpart on the Web: the best-ever collection of lyrics to the songs of the greatest American composers: Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Richard Rodgers. Admirably, the compiler has gone way beyond his duty and included wonderful standards (quite a few unknown to me) that even Ella never got around to singing. Thank you, Todd. And God bless you, Sir!