The Staple Singers “For What It's Worth” from The Ultimate Staple Singers: A Family Affair 1955-1984 (KENT/ACE 2000) —If you want a great overview of the Staple Singers, look no further than this 2-disc/44-song collection . This Buffalo Springfield cover was written by Stephen Stills and was recorded for the Epic label in 1967.Buy it!
Bill Withers “Harlem” from Just as I Am (Sony/Legacy 1971) —Opening track from this ridiculously good soul debut written by Bill Withers and produced by Booker T. This song just builds and builds.Buy it!
Marion Gaines Singers “Grandma's Hands” from Soul Gospel (Soul Jazz 2005) —Written by Bill Withers and recorded in 1972 for Stax's gospel imprint label, The Gospel Truth. Marion Gaines plays piano and Rance Allen plays guitar on this track.Buy it!
Jimmy McGriff “The Last Minute” from Jimmy McGriff's Greatest Hits (Blue Note url 1997) —Music bed. 1964 instrumental written by Jimmy McGriff.Buy it!
Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five “Deacon Jones” from Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five (JSP Records 2001) —Recorded in 1943 and featuring Louis Jordan on lead vocal, tenor sax, and alto sax. Written by Johnny Lange, Hy Heath, and Richard Loring. "Who gets all the chicken breast and leaves the giblets for the rest? Lordy, Lord Hallelujah Deacon Jones."Buy it!
Boogaloo and His Gallant Crew “Clothes Line (Wrap It Up)” from Clothes Line (Wrap It Up) / Cops and Robbers 45 single (Crest 1956) —Written by Kent Harris aka Boogaloo and later recorded by the Coasters and renamed "Shopping for Clothes."Buy it!
Bo Diddley “Cops & Robbers” from I'm A Man: The Chess Masters 1955-1958 (Hip-O Select 2007) —Recorded in 1956 and released on Checker. This liner notes say this was written by Ellas McDaniel aka Bo Diddley but this song was originally recorded by Boogaloo and his Gallant Crew (see previous entry) and written by Kent Harris.Buy it!
Chuck Berry “O'Rangutang” from St. Louis To Liverpool (Chess 1964) —Music bed. 1964 instrumental written by Chuck Berry.Buy it!
Chuck Berry “Jaguar and Thunderbird” from You Never Can Tell: His Complete Chess Recordings1960-1966 (Hip-O Select/Geffen 2009) —Written by Chuck Berry and recorded in 1960.Buy it!
Spooner's Crowd “Two In the Morning” from The Fame Studios Story 1961-1973 (Kent 2011) —1966 Cadet instrumental recorded at FAME Sudios and written by Spooner Oldham, Albert Lowe, and Roger Hawkins.Buy it!
Mitty Collier “Everybody Makes A Mistake Sometimes” from Shades of Mittly Collier: The Chess Singles 1961-1968 (Kent 2008) —Written by Eddie Floyd and Al Bell and recorded for Chess in 1968. Mitty Collier still performs and is a preacher at a church in Chicago.Buy it!
Young-Holt Unlimited “Who's Making Love” from The Best of Young-Holt Unlimited (EMI 2002) —Music bed. Instrumental version of the Johnnie Taylor hit.Buy it!
Little Milton “If Walls Could Talk” (Checker 1969) —Reissue of his 1969 Checker LP along with six bonus tracks. 12-bar blues rave-up written by Bobby Miller.Buy it!
Soul Brothers Six “She's Some Kind of Wonderful” from Sweet Soul Music: Voices From The Shadows (sire 1992) —1967 original version of this song found on this compilation CD which is meant to be a companion piece to Peter Guralnick's 'Sweet Soul Music' book. Both the book and the CD are highly recommended.Buy it!
James Carr “To Love Sombody” from The Complete Goldwax Singles (Kent Soul - UK 2001) —Terrific 1969 soul version of the Bee Gees song written by Barry and Robin Gibb. Recorded for the Memphis-based Goldwax label.Buy it!
The Cobras “Restless” from Memphis '60 (BGP url 2009) —Music bed. 1964 Stax instrumental written by Steve Cropper and Jimmy Johnson. Steve Cropper is playing guitar on this track.Buy it!
The J. Geils Band “(Ain't Nothin' but A) House Party” from Bloodshot (Atlantic Label 1973) —1973 version of the Showstoppers soul classic. On red vinyl, nonetheless.Buy it!
The Contours “First I Look At The Purse” from The Very Best of the Contours CD ALBUM (Classic Music International 2011) —1965 Motown hit written by Smokey Robinson and Robert Rogers. Smokey Robinson produced this, as well.Buy it!
Shorty Long “Here Comes The Judge” from Here Comes Shorty Long: The Complete Motown Stereo Masters (Kent 2012) —One of my favorite reissues of 2012. This is from his 1968 Motown release and was written by Shorty Long, Suzanne De Passe, and Billie Jean Brown.Buy it!
Candi Staton “I'm Just a Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin')” from Candi Staton (Honest Jon's/Astralwerks unk 2004) —1969 song recorded at Muscle Shoals and written by George Jackson and Edward Harris.Buy it!
Shorty Long “Night Fo' Last (Instrumental)” from Here Comes Shorty Long: The Complete Motown Stereo Masters (Kent 2012) —Music bed. Instrumental written by Shorty Long and Clarence Paul.Buy it!
Dom La Nena “Batuque” from Ela (Six Degrees Records 2013) N —From the new debut release by the Brazilian born cellist, songwriter, and vocalist.Buy it!
Calexico “Epic” from Algiers (Anti- 2012) —Yo La Tengo and Calexico will be appearing at the Pageant next Thursday (1/31). Highly recommended double bill.Buy it!
David Hildago and Louie Pérez “Till the Hands Fall Off the Clock” from The Long Goodbye (Big Stink Research 2010) —Written by two of Los Lobos' principal songwriters, David Hildago and Louie PérezBuy it!
The Trashmen “Malaguena” from The Birth of Surf - Vol. 2 (Ace 2010) —Music bed. 1964 instrumnental recorded for the Garrett label.Buy it!
Kirsty Maccoll “Free World” from Kite (Virgin 1989) —Written by Kirsty MacColl. One gets the feeling she wasn't enamored with Margaret Thatcher when she wrote this.Buy it!
The Smiths “Girlfriend In A Coma” from Strangeways Here We Come CD ALBUM (Sire/WB) —Lovely melody paired with some of the most downbeat lyrics, imaginable.Buy it!
Johnny Marr “The Right Thing Right” from The Messenger (Sire Records 2013) N —From his forthcoming album coming out in February.Buy it!
Death In Vegas “Girls” from Lost in Translation ST (Emperor Norton 2003) —Music bed.Buy it!
Yo La Tengo “Is That Enough?” from Fade (Matador 2013) N —Yo La Tengo and Calexico will be appearing at the Pageant next Thursday (1/31). This song is off their new release which just came out a couple of weeks ago.Buy it!
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan “Come On Over (Turn Me On)” from Sunday at Devil Dirt (V2 2008) —Produced, arranged, and written by Isobel Campbell. Their two voices work really well together.Buy it!
Mark Lanegan “Same Old Man” from Mark Lanegan "Same Old Man" / Karen Dalton "Same Old Man" split 45 (Light In The Attic 2012) N —New single featuring Mark Lanegan covering a traditional song made (relatively) famous by Karen Dalton in 1971. Her version is on the flip-side.Buy it!
The City Champs “Takin' State” from The Safecracker (ELECTRAPHONIC Recording 2009) —Music bed. Instrumental from this band based out of Memphis.Buy it!
Ike & Tina Turner “Your Love Is Mine” from The Archive Series, Vol. 6 - Rollin' (Yellow Label 2009) —Written by Ike Turner. A smoldering masterpiece.Buy it!
The Animals “Hit The Road, Jack” from Animalism (Hip-O Select 2006) —1966 version of a Percy Mayfield song made famous by Ray Charles.Buy it!
The Who “Daddy Rolling Stone” from My Generation (Expanded Version) (MCA 2002) —1965 recording of a song written by Otis BlackwellBuy it!
Billy Preston “Billy's Bag” from Soul Derby (Vampisoul 2003) —F 3 Music bed.Buy it!
Jonathan Richman “Fender Stratocaster” from Jonathan Richman (Rounder www.rounder.com 1989) —Jonathan Richman will be at Off Broadway in February (Wed 2/6).Buy it!
Bettie Serveert “Stephanie Says” from Bettie Serveert Plays Venus in Furs (Brinkman 1998) —1997 live version of a Velvet Underground song written by Lou Reed.Buy it!
Rumer “P. F. Sloan” from Boys Don't Cry (Atlantic Records UK 2012) —Gorgeous version of a song written by Jimmy Webb. This is on my list of top 10 releases of 2012.Buy it!
Junebug “Truly Blue” from Dead Horse (self-released 2013) N L —From the St. Louis band's new release. Lead vocals by Jaime Dollar and Donny Besancenez. Written by Donny Besancenez.Buy it!
Leon Russell “Delta Lady” from Leon Russell (DCC 1970) —Written by Leon Russell with Ringo Starr on drums, Eric Clapton on guitar, and Bonnie Bramlett on backing vocals.Buy it!
Ransom Note “Russian Blue” from V12LP (Tower Groove Records 2-LP Compilation) (Tower Groove 2012) L —Ransom Note and The Jungle Fire will be at the Schlafly Tap Room this Saturday (1/26).Buy it!
Peter Case “Lakes Of Ponchartrain” from Peter Case Sings Like Hell (Vanguard Records vanguardrecords.com 1993) —I've never heard a better reading of this traditional song. And a whole lot of people have done versions of this song. Produced by Marvin Etzioni.Buy it!
Chuck Prophet “After The Rain” from No Other Love (New West www.newwestrecords.com 2002) —Lovely duet by Chuck Prophet and Stephanie Finch and with a memorable hook.Buy it!
The Blasters “Little Honey” from Testament: The Complete Slash Recordings (Warner Brothers 2002) —Composed by Dave Alvin and John Doe with lead vocals by Phil Alvin.Buy it!
Emmylou Harris “Mansion On The Hill” from Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers At the Ryman (Reprise Records 1992) —1991 live version of a Bruce Springsteeen song. Sun 3/17 Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, and Richard Thompson – Peabody Opera HouseBuy it!
Al Wilson “Lodi” from Searching for the Dolphins (Expanded Version) (Ace/Kent 2008) —CCR cover originally released as a single in 1969 on Johnny River's Soul City label.Buy it!
Creedence Clearwater Revival “Long As I Can See The Light” from Cosmo's Factory (Fantasy 1970) —One of John Fogerty's finest songs.Buy it!
Camera Obscura “Tougher Than The Rest” from The Sweetest Thing/Tougher Than the Rest (4AD 2009) —Written by Bruce Springsteen and sung by Tracyanne Campbell.Buy it!
The Walkabouts “Buffalo Ballet” from Satisfied Mind (Cargo 1993) —Carla Torgerson does a really nice take on this John Cale song.Buy it!
Eleni Mandell “Miss Me” from Miracle of Five (Zedtone 2007) —Written by Eleni Mandell with a backing band including platers such as Nels Cline, Rick Holmstrom, and DJ Bonebrake.Buy it!
Like everything else, times are approximate.
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