One Year mark for my blog is May 6, 2019
Thank you to my subscribers and everyone else who reads my blog, and an extra thanks to those who share the blog with others whether via posting on your timeline in FB, twitter, email or word of mouth. One year ago I made my first blog post (thanks Darren) not knowing how it might work out but I’m really enjoying sharing my thoughts on cover songs and artists and find the time it takes (average 14 hrs.) to produce and edit a post well worth it. Optimistically, as time goes on I’ll get a bit better at it as well. Many of you are familiar with some of the material I talk about but hopefully there’s a bit of new stuff in there to keep you reading every week. I also know the diversity of topics might have you skipping the odd post as well.
To the new readers and to those who don’t know me, I have no musical talent myself and I’m just now remembering a phrase I’ve heard “those who can’t do, teach”. Well I’m not qualified on that front either but I do love music and I know how to do a bit of research, so there you have it, I’m a blogger. Once again I owe much credit to Secondhandsongs.com.
Before I continue with another story I’m going to share some statistics on my blog.
To date: # of Blog posts = 75, Blog page views = 6,500+, Subscribers = 20, Total number of Countries reached = 72, List of top viewing countries; Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Israel, France, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Continents reached = 6. Average number of different countries viewing per week = 12, Average page views per blog = 74. Most popular post-Bruce Springsteen at 300+ page views.
|Photo by Danny Clinch
I’ve settled into a routine of about one post per week and will continue to add special editions from time to time. Given it’s the one year mark I’ll be a bit more self indulgent than usual and share some of my favorite songs (not that I haven’t slipped in quite a few already). I hope you find them of interest too! I can’t tell you why these are among my favorite songs, some I might classify as ‘guilty pleasures’, perhaps you have those too if you made your own list.
In no particular order these are some of my favorite songs and or artists that have not yet been shared in my posts to date.
“Since I Met You Baby” written and performed by Ivory Joe Hunter (1956). Hunter, born and raised in Texas was recorded playing piano at the age of 13 by the ethnomusicologist (seems a retroactive term but it’s fairly accurate) Alan Lomax whom I’ve referenced before. Hunter went from being a radio show host to program manager of station KFDM in Beaumont. He left for LA and gifted with a mellow and golden voice he started singing and soon after formed Pacific Records, releasing solo performances in 1945. ‘Since I Met You’ was recorded with Atlantic Records and produced by Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler, it would be his fourth song to reach #1 on the R&B Charts and #12 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1956. He wrote, sang, produced and played an amazing Boogie Woogie Piano. Honoured as a Jazz, R&B and Blues musician and vocalist he finished his career as a Country Singer performing at the Grand Ole Opry. This song has been covered over 60 times; first by Mindy Carson (1956), The Spencer Davis Group (1966), a great cover by Sam Cooke (1961), Freddie Fender recorded a Spanish version in 1975. The song would reach number one in 1969 when covered by the Country Music superstar Sonny James.
“Oh Atlanta” (1995) is a cover by Alison Krauss (whom I have referenced) of a Bad Company song written by Mick Ralphs from the 1979 ‘Desolation Angels’ album. That was enough to get me hooked on the amazing Alison Krauss, who started as a classical violinist at age 5 and became a Bluegrass fiddling superstar. Turns out she sings like an angel and has amassed more Grammy Awards than any other female artist.
Once again I got introduced to an artist through a cover song. “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse was released in 2007 and there are two versions, the first is by Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse. The second is her solo acoustic version and I think the much better of the two. The original is by The Zutons (2006) written by Boyan Chowdhury, Abi Harding, Dave McCabe, Sean Payne and Russell Pritchard. Since Winehouse it’s been covered about 30 times. The Mighty Diamonds (2008).
That last cover reference will serve as a nice segue to “Jammin” written by Bob Marley and performed by Bob Marley & The Wailers from the amazing ‘Exodus’ Album in 1977. This song (eventually) led me to buy the album in the early eighties and discover my favorite Bob Marley song “Waiting in Vain“. Most famously covered by Annie Lennox in 1995.
As much as I’ve talked about Johnny Cash and revealed my favorite as “Big River“, Cash always deserves another mention. “Get Rhythm” (1956) written by Johnny Cash and performed by ‘Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Two’. I think this song is overlooked, which is easy enough as the Cash repertoire runs deep. It’s just an upbeat ditty that I find can cheer you up on a gloomy day. This song reached #23 on the Billboard Country Chart in the US, but here in Canada we really did ‘get rhythm’ as it went to #1. Covered about 50 times including the great NRBQ (1978), Dr. Feelgood (1986), an awesome video with Ry Cooder (1987) and Martin Delray w/Johnny Cash (1991).
“These Eyes” written by Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings and performed by The Guess Who in 1968. This was a top ten hit in Canada and the US and solidified Cummings as the lead vocalist for the band, a wise choice as I think he has one of the finest voices in rock music. Covers by Jr. Walker & The All Stars (1969), Michael Bolotin (1976) before he changed it to Bolton, Natalie Cole (1981) and Angie Stone (2016).
The Vogues out of Pittsburg (Go Steelers!) had a #4 hit in 1965 with a cover of “You’re The One“. It was a top 30 hit in the UK for Petula Clark who wrote the tune with her long time lyricist collaborator/manager Tony Hatch.
Leo Kottke grew up in a peripatetic family living in 12 different states before settling in Minnesota. He suffered from severe hearing loss after a childhood incident with a firecracker and later exacerbated (and discharged as a result) by gun fire while in the Military Reserve. Overcoming this obstacle he traveled and busked after leaving College early, ending up back in Minneapolis–Saint Paul. This is the guy that got me hooked on fingerstyle acoustic guitar. A medley from a live performance.
“(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” written by Nick Lowe was first recorded by his then band named after the lead guitarist Brinsley Schwarz (1974). Nick (Nick Lowe and His Sound) would do this in 1978. Covered another 55 times including Nick’s protege Elvis Costello (1979) and I have to say my favorite version. This song was recorded by Curtis Stigers for ‘The Bodyguard’ movie soundtrack. I’ve read in a few articles that state Nick Lowe received well over 1 million dollars from his share of the royalties (because he owned the song rights) as the album sold over 45 million copies to become the best selling movie soundtrack of all time. The Dolly Parton song sung by Whitney Houston (I Will Always Love You) was the leading track, produced by a Canadian music industry icon David Foster.
|Dave Edmunds & Nick Lowe
The truth is I could list many dozens of songs I would classify as more treasured than others but for now I leave you with one more…”Have you got any Dave Edmunds?” the phrase was (as it’s worn thin) kind of a running joke with me when visiting friends (Hey Sue ;). I’ve mentioned a few of his songs but here is one of my favorites of Dave’s original songs, “Queen of Hearts” (1979) written by Hank DeVito who later introduced the song to Juice Newton (1981).
References: https://secondhandsongs.com/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page images:bbc.com, https://www.manitobamusicmuseum.com/theguesswho.htm
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