Posts Tagged ‘Moments’

‘Two’

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

A couple weeks back, I offered a post titled “One,” looking at songs/recordings that have the word “one” in their titles. As readers might reasonably infer from the title of this post, today’s we’ll take a look at “Two.”

(We’re never unwilling here at Echoes In The Wind to test a good idea’s elasticity. Over the next couple of months, I can see us stretching this particular brainblip as far as “Ten,” and depending on source material, we may then go back to “Zero” before calling it quits.)

It’s not impossible to figure out how many tunes in the mp3 library have the word “two” in their titles. But it would be time consuming. A search for the word brings up 756 tracks, but I’d have to account for – among others – the twenty-eight tracks of the 1997 album One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs of Bruce Springsteen and the forty tracks in the soundtrack to Season Two of the cable series The Tudors. I’d also have to ignore the soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the 2010 film The Social Network, the entire catalogs of Fleetwood Mac and of a 1970s countryish band called Heartwood and a lot of single tracks, including “Driftwood” by the Moody Blues and “Ki Demon Sa-a” by Haïti Twoubadou (from the Putomayo collection of music from the French Caribbean). That combination of “two” sneaks into many places.

So I don’t know how many tracks lie in the library with “two” in their titles, but it’s plenty for our purposes this morning.

I may have said this before, but I’ve never quite known how I feel about Joe Jackson. From the time he showed up with Look Sharp! in 1979 through today, Jackson has seemed to shift from genre to genre, style to style, sometimes sounding accomplished and sometimes sounding tentative. I’ve listened to some of his stuff, and I can never quite figure him out. One thing I did like was 1983’s “Breaking Us In Two,” which went to No. 18:

The opening seconds of the Moments’ “Love on a Two-Way Street” provide one of the best introductions in 1970s pop soul. The guitar chords alternating with the piano followed by the thrumming strings (cellos, I would guess) set up the song perfectly. The 1970 record, the Moments’ first Top 10 hit, peaked at No. 3 on the pop chart, while over on the R&B chart, “Love on a Two-Way Street” was No. 1 for five weeks. The record was the peak of a pretty decent chart career, one that lasted  from 1968 into 1975 as the Moments and continued as Ray, Goodman & Brown to 1980 on the pop chart and to 1987 on the R&B chart.

A native of Windsor, Ontario, Jack Scott put nineteen records into the Billboard Hot 100 between 1958 and 1961. In Top Pop Singles, Joel Whitburn describes Scott as a “rock and roll ballad-singer/songwriter/guitarist,” which doesn’t sound very distinctive. Scott’s “Two Timin’ Woman” came out in 1957 and showed up in That’ll Flat Git It, the multi-CD collection of obscure country and rockabilly records, and “Two Timin’ Woman” probably falls best in the latter category. The record did not make the charts; Whitburn lists it as a “Classic Non-Hot 100” record in Scott’s entry.

Staying with plaints about women from 1957 for a moment, I came upon “Two Headed Woman” from Junior Wells. Wells, writes Bill Dahl of All Music Guide, “was one bad dude, strutting across the stage like a harp-toting gangster, mesmerizing the crowd with his tough-guy antics and rib-sticking Chicago blues attack.” Though it was not one of Wells’ better-known outings, “Two Headed Woman” is a pretty good romp. I’m struck by the record’s odd rhythmic structure.

A few months back, the Texas Gal and I were lucky enough to see the Jayhawks when they came through town. I’d read plenty about the Minneapolis-based group over the years, but I hadn’t heard nearly enough of their recorded output, so I’ve been catching up lately. “Two Hearts” comes from 1995’s Tomorrow the Green Grass and provides a good example of the softer side of the band’s alt. country/Americana persona.

For this morning’s closer, I found a neat clip on YouTube. By the time March 1970 rolled around, the Beatles had broken up, but they hadn’t yet told the rest of the world. To promote (one assumes) the upcoming release of both the film and the album titled Let It Be, the group provided a clip to The Ed Sullivan Show of the group performing “Two Of Us,” which turned out to be the album’s opening track (and one of the best things on the album).

We’re Back In 1970 Again

Friday, May 28th, 2010

This morning, I thought I’d sneak a look at the Billboard Hot 100 from this week in 1970 and see what might be found there. I was finishing my junior year of high school and was heading into my last year of summer freedom. The only remunerative work I would do that summer would be the four days I spent in the trap pits at the state trapshoot; in 1970, I would get sixty dollars for four days of dirty, somewhat dangerous work at the gun club.

Other than that, and the normal run of backyard chores, the summer was mine. I don’t recall that I had any special plans for it, just a lot of hanging around on the front porch and in the basement rec room. And looking back, I don’t recall that all that much happened.

But whatever did happen, music was no doubt a large part it. Here’s the Top Ten from May 30, 1970:

“Everything Is Beautiful” by Ray Stevens
“American Woman/No Sugar Tonight” by the Guess Who
“Love On A Two-Way Street” by the Moments
“Cecelia” by Simon & Garfunkel
“Up Around The Bend/Run Through The Jungle” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Which Way You Goin’ Billy” by the Poppy Family Featuring Susan Jacks
“The Letter” by Joe Cocker
“Turn Back The Hands Of Time” by Tyrone Davis
“Vehicle” by the Ides of March
“Let It Be” by the Beatles

Well, nothing there is truly awful except maybe “Which Way You Goin’ Billy,” although even after forty years, I am still weary of “Everything Is Beautiful.” The one record from that list that could likely use some more airplay is the Moments’ gorgeous “Love On A Two-Way Street.”

Oddly, I do not have that recording on either vinyl, CD or mp3, so I will have to assume that the video below includes the LP version. The record was the first of three hits for the Moments, and it was by far the most successful, peaking at No. 3 in the Top 40 and spending five weeks at the top of the R&B chart.

A little further down the list, at No. 37, we find a sad tale of a new marriage quickly gone bad. This was the first of fifteen weeks that Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold” would be in the Top 40, and it would peak at No. 3. (Through one of those bits of luck that sometimes happen, my copy of LP, Band of Gold, is autographed. I bought it at a garage sale from one of a quartet of sisters who had seen Payne perform in later years and had brought along the LP. The LP also includes “Deeper and Deeper,” which went to No. 24 in the autumn of 1970.)

The next title that caught my eye was “So Much Love” by a group called Faith, Hope & Charity, a Tampa trio whose tale is told here. “So Much Love” was at No. 70 in the last week of May. It went to No. 14 on the R&B chart and – to my ears – should have done much better than No. 51 on the Hot 100, which is where it spent the second and third weeks of July before falling back down the Hot 100.

And finally this morning, here’s a record I once quoted but I don’t think I ever posted it: “Freedom Blues” by Little Richard. It was part of the work he did for Reprise in the early 1970s: three released albums and one put on the shelves. The record peaked at No. 47 during the week of July 11, 1970, and two weeks later it was gone from the Hot 100. “Freedom Blues” did a little better on the R&B chart, peaking at No. 28.

See you tomorrow!