Archive | April, 2012

Rick Nelson & Mark Lindsay – Former Teen Idols Return with New CD Collections from Real Gone Music

8 Apr

Most of us 50 and over types remember Paul Revere and the Raiders. We also remember the 1970 smash “Arizona.” A singer by the name of Mark Lindsay was the voice behind most of those hits. Just Like Me, Good Thing, Steppin’ Out, Hungry, and Kicks were all solid rockers — driven in part by Lindsay’s snarling, cocksure vocals. Mark had plenty of swagger in those days. But he also had a sensitive side. That side of him didn’t fully emerge until he embarked on his solo career in 1969.

Casual music fans may be hard pressed to name any of Lindsay’s solo tracks after Arizona. He never gained much traction after that initial success. However, this new collection reveals that Mark recorded several near misses that are worthy of being heard today. His success with the Raiders put him in touch with some of the industry’s most talented songwriters and session players. Tim Hardin, Jimmy Webb, Jerry Fuller, Sonny Curtis, David Gates, Burt Bacharach, and the storied team of Mann/Weil all contribute songs in this 24 track compilation. Lindsay even wrote a few himself — including the memorable “Man from Houston.”

Mark Lindsay’s versatility is evident on songs like Reason to Believe, Miss America, Been Too Long on the Road, and Small Town Woman. He at turns evokes comparisons to everyone Gary Puckett and the Grass Roots to B.J. Thomas and Blood Sweat and Tears’ David Clayton Thomas. It certainly caused me to re-think my earlier position that Lindsay was a dime a dozen 60s garage shouter. This guy could really sing! But don’t just take my word for it. Have a listen for yourself – we think you’ll be impressed.

After a spectacularly successful stint as the lead singer and saxophonist for Paul Revere and the Raiders, Mark Lindsay commenced a solo career for Columbia that cemented his reputation and legacy as one of the truly great pop-rock singers of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Now, for the first time, all of his singles for the label—plus an unreleased track, a stunning version of Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” that was originally slated to be one side of Mark’s first solo single—have been collected on to CD in one place in chronological order and in their original commercial format (which means mono on the first five tracks, stereo on the rest). Most of these original single mixes have never appeared on CD before.

The accompanying booklet features photos from Mark’s private archive, and liner notes by Ed Osborne that feature interviews not only with the artist himself but also with Jerry Fuller, Artie Butler and Tom Bahler, all of whom worked on these singles.

Spanning his entire solo career with Columbia, carefully mastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios in New York, and representing his finest work for the label, these recordings render all other Mark Lindsay solo collections superfluous.

Reason to Believe (Previously Unreleased); First Hymn from Grand Terrace; The Old Man at the Fair; Arizona; Man from Houston; Miss America; Small Town Woman; Silver Bird; So Hard to Leave You; And the Grass; Won’t Pay No Mind; Funny How Little Men Care; Problem Child; Bookends; Been Too Long on the Road; All I Really See Is You; Are You Old Enough; Don’t You Know; Something Big; Pretty, Pretty; California; Someone’s Been Hiding; Mamacita; Song for a Friend; Photograph

I have long been a fan of Rick(y) Nelson. Some consider him a lightweight. Others write him off as a teen idol who solely benefited from his parent’s show biz clout and endless TV exposure on the hit show, “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” I beg to differ. Nelson had a pleasing voice and delivery, surrounded himself with great musicians, and consistently displayed a great ear for quality material and winning arrangements.

Never one for relying on his past success, Nelson was always looking forward. This caused friction between Rick and some diehard fans and eventually led to the writing and recording of the biting song “Garden Party.”  Just listen to “Change Your Mind” on this collection. It is a far cry from Be Bop Baby — that’s for sure. Or check out Nelson’s unique arrangement of the Arthur Alexander pop standard “Every Day I Have To Cry Some.” This is certainly not an artist resting on his laurels.

I really enjoyed this collection — especially the Al Kooper produced tracks on “Back to Vienna.”

Rick Nelson’s short, late-‘70s tenure at the Epic label was an exceptionally creative and productive period for him, but you wouldn’t know it by what has been released, especially in this country. He recorded three albums’ worth of material, but only one, 1977’s Intakes, was released during his lifetime; the tracks he laid down the next year met a much less kind fate.

The first, the Al Kooper-produced Back to Vienna, was never released as an album at all; the next, originally titled Rockabilly Renaissance, a startling return to his rockabilly roots and a forerunner to the cow-punk and alt-country movements to come, was released in 1986, the year following his death, in watered-down, overdubbed form as The Memphis Sessions. Some of the unreleased material leaked out on the 18-track 1993 CD release Stay Young—the Epic Recordings, but much of his work for Epic remained buried in the vaults—witness the fact that 11 of these 41 tracks see their first American release right here (and another 12 tracks make their American CD debut)! In fact, NONE of these three albums has ever been on CD in this country, and, even better, Memphis Sessions has been remixed under Richard Weize’s supervision to eliminate the posthumous studio dubbing that adulterated Rick’s original vision. Produced and annotated by renowned Rick Nelson expert James Ritz and featuring photos from the period, Rick Nelson: The Complete Epic Recordings offers a long-overdue look at a neglected period of a true rock legend’s career.

DISC ONE: INTAKES LP SESSIONS

1. You Can’t Dance; 2. (Love Is) Something You Can’t Buy; 3. I Wanna Move With You (1st US CD Release); 4. Five Minutes More; 5. Gimme Little Sign; 6. Stay Young; 7. Wings; 8. It’s Another Day (1st US CD Release); 9. One X One; 10. Change Your Mind (1st US CD Release)

BACK TO VIENNA SESSIONS

11. Everyday I Have To Cry Some (1st US Release); 12. Love You So (1st US Release); 13. Chump Change Romeo (1st US Release); 14. What Is Success (1st US Release); 15. Carl Of The Jungle; 16. No Words Of Love (1st US Release); 17. New Delhi Freight Train; 18. Mama You’ve Been On My Mind; 19. Getting it On (1st US Release); 20. Conversation

DISC TWO: ROCKABILLY RENAISSANCE (aka MEMPHIS SESSIONS)

1. That’s All Right Mama; 2. Send Me Somebody To Love; 3. Stuck In The Middle (1ST U.S. Release); 4. It Shall Remain (1st U.S. Release); 5. It’s All Over Now (1st U.S. Release); 6. Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone; 7. That Ain’t The Way Love’s Supposed To Be; 8. In My Heart (1st U.S. Release); 9. Almost Saturday Night; 10. Dream Lover; 11. True Love Ways (1st U.S. CD Release); 12. Sleep Tight Goodnight Man (1st U.S. Release); 13. Rave On; 14. Dream Lover (with conga overdub) (1st U.S. CD Release); 15. Send Me Somebody To Love (alternate mix) (1st U.S. CD Release); 16. Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone You Love (alternate version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 17. Almost Saturday Night (alternate version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 18. Rave On (alternate version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 19. Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone You Love (EP version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 20. Almost Saturday Night (EP version) (1st U.S. CD Release); 21. Rave On (EP version) (1st U.S. CD Release)

Concord Re-Issues “Here’s Little Richard” with Bonus Tracks/Features

7 Apr

Little Richard was an electrifying talent — that we can all agree upon. But where exactly does he stand among contemporaries like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry? Richard, like the other performers mentioned, was an early inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But his legacy has not aged as well as many of his fellow rock giants. Richard did not always have access to the best material. His career quickly stalled out when he announced he would no longer sing “the devil’s music.” Yet, at the top of his game, the man born Richard Penniman could really stir up a room.

Top notch songs like Tutti Frutti, Ready Teddy, Long Tall Sally, Slippin and Slidin, and Rip It Up have surely stood the test of time. Penniman’s producer Art Rupe deserves a great deal of credit — as does the marvelous crew of backing musicians that can be heard on Richard’s New Orleans and Los Angeles recording sessions. These often overlooked studio cats included names like Lee Allen on tenor sax, Huey Smith on piano, Alvin “Red” Tyler on baritone sax, and the legendary Earl Palmer on drums.

Most of the highlights of Little Richard’s early rock n’ roll career can be found on “Here’s Little Richard.” Of special note is the bonus audio interview  with Rupe, Richard’s two original demo recordings, and included videos of Penniman’s 1956 Hollywood screen tests. The videos show Little Richard powering his way thru Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally. These songs heavily influenced acts like The Beatles and still maintain their energy and excitement more than 50 years after first being transferred to vinyl. The packaging also comes with a tastefully done booklet, some very cool B&W photography, and a fold-out poster of the original album cover. How’s that for extras???

Collectors and longtime fans will really dig the extra features and enhanced sound quality. If you don’t have any Little Richard in your collection, this is a wonderful place to start. Pop it into your CD player and you’ll be “ripping it up” in no time flat. Little Richard had that effect on people — and he still does today.

Rock ’n’ roll may date back to Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88” in 1951 and perhaps further to blues/swing hybrids of the 1940s. But many would contend that Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s studio in New Orleans in September 1955, was the first great rock ’n’ roll record. “Tutti Frutti” kicks off Here’s Little Richard, Concord Music Group’s expanded reissue of the original Specialty Records album from 1957. Street date is April 17, 2012.
In addition to the original recordings of Little Richard’s best known hits — “Long Tall Sally,” “Ready Teddy,” “Jenny Jenny,” “Rip It Up,” “Slippin’ and Slidin’” and more — the Concord remastered reissue features two bonus tracks (Specialty demo recordings of “Baby” and “All Night Long”) and two videos (screen tests of “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally”).

The set contains liner notes by R&B musicologist Lee Hildebrand, as well as the notes from the original LP. Although Little Richard recorded for RCA Victor in 1951 and Peacock Records in 1953, his Specialty years — the 25-month period between September 1955 and October 1957 — proved monumental. As annotator Hildebrand writes, “They are quite possibly the most exciting and incendiary recordings in the annals of popular music and constitute a body of work upon which Richard’s reputation as one of the primary architects of rock ’n’ roll is measured.” Richard approached Specialty Records at the suggestion of R&B legend Lloyd Price, best known for the 1952 R&B hit “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.”

Richard and his band, the Upsetters, recorded a demo of two blues songs at Macon radio station WMBL-AM. The first, “Baby,” was a blues shuffle, the second a slow blues titled “All Night Long” that featured B.B. King-style guitar by Thomas Hartwell. In fact Specialty owner Art Rupe happened to be looking for a singer like B.B. King, although staff producer Bumps Blackwell recalls Rupe as seeking the next Ray Charles. The demos didn’t overwhelm Rupe, but he signed Little Richard anyway.

Blackwell was assigned to record Richard in New Orleans, and the resulting session featuring pianist Huey Smith and saxophonist Lee Diamond begat eight standard-issue blues/R&B songs. Then, during a break on the second day while Smith was out, the producer heard Richard sing “Tutti Frutti,” accompanying himself on the piano. With only 15 minutes of studio time remaining, and the original lyrics cleaned up by songwriter and studio habitué Dorothy LaBostrie, there was no time for Smith to learn the piano part, so Richard played it himself.

According to Hildebrand, “Richard attacked the piano with incessant even-eight-note patters which was decidedly different from the shuffle rhythm drummer Earl Palmer was laying down behind him. Swing and shuffle beats had been the primary pulse of rhythm & blues until Richard introduced even eights that would come to drive most R&B and rock music and still do today.”

 
The song shot to #2 on Billboard’s R&B charts and a creditable #17 pop. Rolling Stone rated it at #43 on its list of Greatest 500 Songs of All Time. Subsequent Little Richard Specialty hits dented Top 10 R&B and Top 20 pop. All the songs on Here’s Little Richard were recorded in New Orleans with the exception of “True, Fine Mama” and “She’s Got It,” both made in Los Angeles, Specialty’s home.


Since abruptly giving up show business for God in October 1957, Richard’s life has vacillated between religion and rock ’n’ roll. Today at age 78, he lives in Nashville. Despite being wheelchair-bound, on July 3, 2011, he performed “Tutti Frutti” and other hits on the nationally televised all-star “A Capitol Fourth” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Real Deal Mexican Tacos at Foley (AL) Indoor Flea Market

7 Apr

Real deal Mexican food is often hard to find in Alabama. And you certainly don’t expect to find it at a flea market. But that is exactly what happened during a recent visit to the Foley Indoor Flea Market in Foley, Alabama. Foley is a familiar stopping point for travelers en route to Gulf Coast tourist towns like Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. It is also home to the Tanger Outlet Mall. Some folks get really excited about shopping. I get fired up about food. And I was especially pumped when I saw the skewer (pictured above) jam packed with pork, fresh pineapple and sliced onion.

The condiments at our table were another sign we were in for a treat. The lime, cilantro and onion were garden fresh. The salsas homemade and delicious. The tablecloth and the general surroundings of the place gave it a nice, homey feel. For a moment, I felt transported to some border town in Texas. The help speaks very little English and there was a Mexican soccer match playing out on TV.

Pork Tacos – Carnitas @ top & Pineapple & Onion version at bottom

Mandarin Orange Jarritos soda with chipotle salsa & pico de gallo.

This fiery salsa rojo made for a nice addition to the pork tacos.

The homemade pico de gallo was riddled with chopped jalapeno.

The sheep stew seen above was a special treat. It was not on the menu and we did not order it. The restaurant’s owner offered it up free of charge as an added bonus to our lunch. It was good — and hot — both in a temperature and spice way. The gent smiled broadly as he presented the stew in 2 large styrofoam cups. He at first seemed hesitant to reveal what kind of meat was used … and appeared relieved when we let him know that we liked it. Another couple of gringos converted. Mission accomplished.

The dark & dangerous roasted chipotle salsa was mui authentico.

The pork under the heat lamp (above) was chopped fresh to order. Both pork tacos I devoured were bueno. I especially loved the one sliced fresh off the metal skewer. It was lean and sweet — you could really taste the pineapple.

These colorful Mexican style pastries were fresh out of the oven.

These babies (above) were not nearly as colorful, but equally tasty I’m sure. We were just tickled pink that we had found this place. The owners were very nice, the joint was clean, and the food & atmosphere was authentic. We will return soon and trust you will give them a try sometime this summer. It’s worth the trip.  And who knows — maybe you’ll find a bargain at the flea market. I usually do — and it’s normally of the vinyl variety. Yes, that gets me fired up too!

Taqueria Las Camelinas – 14809 Highway 59, Foley, AL

251 970-1234 or 251 943-6068