Archive for the ‘Monday Morning’ Category

‘Monday Morning Rolls Around . . .’

Monday, June 29th, 2015

I have no idea how Bill Wilson’s 1973 album, Ever Changing Minstrel, found its way onto the digital shelves here. Somewhere in my wanderings through blogworld, I came across it and thought it sounded interesting. Certainly, the tale of its origins, as told a few years ago by Rob Nichols at Indianapolis-based NUVO, is intriguing:

One night in February of 1973, Indiana folk rock legend Bill Wilson was a 25 year-old musician looking for a break. So he drove to Nashville and knocked on the kitchen door of producer Bob Johnston, the guy who had produced Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde albums, and Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison and “I Walk the Line” records.

What happened after that is murky, beautiful and puzzling.

According to the liner notes of Wilson’s debut album, Johnston answered the door to find Wilson standing there, saying “I’m Bill Wilson and I want to make a record.”

“Well, you came to the wrong house,” Johnson answered. “You can’t just show up and make a fucking record.”

“Will you listen to one song?” asked Wilson.

“One song,” said Johnston.

A Vietnam vet who hung around in the Austin scene, Wilson’s spark must have been evident to Johnston, because the producer let the singer in, allowed him to play 12 songs, and as legend has it – there are no official notes that confirm it – rounded up many of the guys who played on Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde to record Ever Changing Minstrel in one night.

The album was re-released on CD by Tompkins Square a couple of years ago, and that’s likely what I came across as I clicked my way through blogs one day. The album’s closing track, “Monday Morning Strangers,” popped up this morning as I looked for a Monday song, and I’m glad it did. The track, Nichols wrote, “pulls out a ‘sleepy sidewalk pushes on’ line . . . with the loneliness of Sunday replaced by a ‘whenever Monday morning rolls around.’ Added bonus: the track contains one of the juiciest Allman Brothers-like guitar solos unearthed in a long time.”

Wilson never knew his debut album – he recorded a few more after Ever Changing Minstrel – was re-released; he passed on, Nichols notes, in 1993.

So, here, as part of our occasional Monday Morning series, is Bill Wilson’s “Monday Morning Strangers.

Just Another Mystic Monday

Monday, March 16th, 2015

With the Texas Gal off to work and the first of several loads of laundry in the washing machine – Monday was laundry day when I was a kid, and so it remains – I thought we’d put another Monday song up for grabs. And we’ll dig into some easy listening as we do.

The Mystic Moods Orchestra, as I wrote a little more than four years ago, quoting All-Music Guide, was “[o]ne of the choice audio aphrodisiacs of the ’60s and ’70s,” mixing “orchestral pop, environmental sounds, and pioneering recording techniques into a unique musical phenomenon.”

The group was created by Brad Miller and released it first album, One Stormy Night, in 1965. The album went to No. 63 on the Billboard Top LP’s chart and was followed by many more. I’m not sure what the final count is, but Discogs shows a total of forty-three albums. I don’t know that I heard any of the orchestra’s output in the 1960s or 1970s, though I have a vague memory of one of my sister’s boyfriends having an eight-track tape or two by the group during the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Over the past decade, I’ve scavenged a couple of the MMO’s albums, and I like what I hear (and given my affection for easy listening, that’s not a surprise at all). As with a lot of the stuff that pops out of the RealPlayer as it chugs along on random, I don’t know that I’d like to hear a full album’s worth at one time, but one track at a time, the MMO fits into my day or my evening just fine.

So this morning, as I was looking for a Monday tune, I clicked “Monday, Monday” by the Mystic Moods Orchestra. For a few seconds, I was confused and began to think something had gone wrong. It hadn’t. The track is from the MMO’s 1970 album Stormy Weekend, which spent fifteen weeks in the Billboard Top LP’s chart and peaked at No. 165.

‘Sweet Tomorrows Tuggin’ At My Sleeve . . .’

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Having touched folk and blues in our previous two Monday Morning packages here, this morning we land on Seventies singer-songwriter pop. In the wake of the chart and critical successes of Carole King and James Taylor, Barry Mann – better known as a songwriter – laid down some tracks in 1971 for an album titled Lay It All Out on CBS’ New Design Records imprint.

Mann – working almost always with Cynthia Weil – had developed a  mind-blowing catalog of Brill Building pop and rock songs since the early 1960s, including “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration,” “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” “Uptown,” “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” and many more.

But Lay It All Out evidently tanked. I don’t know if it made the Billboard Hot 200, but I don’t think so. “When You Get Right Down To It” was the first single from the album, and it bubbled under the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 105. At the same time, CBS put another track from Lay It All Out on The Music People, a three-LP sampler intended to drum up interest by offering tracks from a wide variety of the label’s groups and artists: Heavyweights Bob Dylan, Blood Sweat & Tears and the Byrds were included on the package with lesser-known acts like Grootna, Jimmie Spheeris . . . and Barry Mann.

The track that CBS put on The Music People was the album’s lead-off track, “Too Many Mondays,” which also ended up as the flip side to the album’s second single, “Lay It All Out.” I’ve never heard “Lay It All Out,” so I can’t say how it compares, but to my mind, “Too Many Mondays” is a much better record than “When You Get Right Down To It” (although it’s miles more sad, which might have made a difference, I suppose). And it’s perfect for a Monday Morning here.

Too Many Mondays

Nothing much worth takin’
Only years of things to leave behind
Mama, quit your cryin’
Don’t keep tellin’ me I’ve lost my mind
Now I’m tired of making good and feeling bad
When I came to this morning
It came to me I had. . .

Too many Mondays in my life
Too many mornings when I hate to see the light
Too many Mondays that keep comin’ ’round too soon
And too few free and easy Sunday afternoons.

Living can be dying
When the days are only marking time
Mama, now we’ve made it,
Can’t you see it wasn’t worth the climb?
Now there’s something missin’ and I don’t know what
But the more I think about it
The more I know I’ve got . . .

Too many Mondays in my life
Too many mornings when I hate to see the light
Too many Mondays that keep comin’ ’round too soon
And too few free and easy Sunday afternoons.

There are songs and sweet tomorrows
Tuggin’ at my sleeve. Mama, don’t you see?
They’re calling me, calling me.
Got to be leaving.

Too many Mondays in my life
Too many mornings when I hate to see the light
Too many Mondays that keep comin’ ’round too soon
And too few free and easy Sunday afternoons.

‘’Cause Monday Is A Mess . . .’

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The second of our occasional Monday Morning posts takes us back to New Orleans in 1954 and a single that has been overshadowed for more than fifty years by a (very good) cover version. Fats Domino had a No. 5 hit in 1957 with “Blue Monday,” a tune that was used in the 1956 Jayne Mansfield film, The Girl Can’t Help It. The tune – written by New Orleans genius Dave Bartholomew – was originally recorded, however, by Smiley Lewis in 1954.

Lewis’ version was released as a single on Imperial 5268, but it made neither the pop nor R&B chart, from what I can tell. (Joel Whitburn’s cataloging of the Billboard pop charts in Top Pop Singles begins in 1955, and Whitburn lists Lewis’ “Blue Monday” as a classic side pre-dating the chart. Whitburn’s R&B Top 40 book goes back further, but Lewis’ “Blue Monday” is not listed.)

Hit or not, Smiley’s version is worth a listen.

(I’ve posted Lewis’ version of “Blue Monday” before, but I have more information available to me now, and anyway, that was almost four years ago, which is a long time in blogyears.)

‘I Met A Fair Maiden . . .’

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Peter, Paul & Mary’s mournful “Monday Morning” seems like the perfect way to start an occasional series called, well, “Monday Morning.” I’m not sure how often the series will show up, but it seemed like a fun idea this morning. The Peter, Paul & Mary track is evidently traditional, as no writer’s credit is shown at All-Music Guide or any other place I’ve checked. The trio recorded it for their 1965 album, A Song Shall Rise.