Archive for the ‘Saturday Single’ Category

Saturday Single No. 770

Saturday, January 22nd, 2022

It’s time for some Games With Numbers. We’ll take the first two digits from the numeral in the title – 77 – and see what was sitting at No. 77 in the Billboard Hot 100 during this week in 1977, which is a convenient forty-five years ago. We’ll also note the top five records in that chart.

The chart in question actually came out on January 22, so that’s a nice bit of serendipity. I’m reminded as I type that January 1977 came along while I was living in the drafty old house on St. Cloud’s North Side, about ten blocks south of there. Last summer, as I was preparing for my Denmark reunion, I happened to see on a real estate site that the old house – built in 1890 – was for sale for something like $5,000. Given that I’ve seen few signs of upkeep whenever I’ve driven by it since we moved to St. Cloud almost twenty years ago, that didn’t surprise me.

This morning, I took another look. The exterior of the house is the same, except for new windows and a new roof, but the interior has been pretty well gutted and redone, and the listed prices is now $155,000. I can tell which room was mine during my last months there, and I can tell where the living room was. I should wander by there someday soon and see if I can go through it.

Anyway, in the January in question forty-five years ago, here were the five top singles on the Hot 100:

“I Wish” by Stevie Wonder
“Car Wash” by Rose Royce
“You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer
“Dazz” by Brick
“You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)” by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.

I never much cared for the Sayer or Brick singles. I liked the singles by Wonder and by McCoo and Davis. “Car Wash” wasn’t a big deal to me back then, but I noticed the other day when it came on the Seventies channel on cable that I knew all the words and the instrumental turns. And it’s the only one of the five that’s in the iPod.

But what of our main business here? What was at No. 77 in January 1977? Well, it’s a record I don’t recall ever hearing: “Yesterday’s Heroes” by the Bay City Rollers. From here, it seems like a decent record, tougher than I remember the Rollers’ work being. It didn’t do too well on the chart, peaking at No. 54.

Saturday Single No. 769

Saturday, January 15th, 2022

I’m not doing so well this morning – still fighting a (non-Covid) infection – but I’ve got an easy out. Having discovered the Ronnie Spector/E Street Band single from 1977 earlier this week and having offered here the A-side – a cover of Billy Joel’s “Say Goodbye To Hollywood” – there’s only one reasonable thing to do.

Here’s the B-side from that 1977 single, “Baby Please Don’t Go,” written and – like the A-side – produced by Steve Van Zandt, and it’s today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 768

Saturday, January 8th, 2022

I went back to Tucson this morning, checking out some more info on the playlist survey from KWFM that brought us Brewer & Shipley yesterday. One portion of the survey I’d not mentioned yesterday was the list of new albums and featured cuts, which included work by artists such as Lighthouse, Repairs, Steve Kuhn, Ron Cornelius, Taj Mahal, Colonel Bagshot, Pendulum & Co., and a few others, not all of whom I know.

I checked out “Sleep My Lady,” one of the featured cuts on the self-titled Pendulum & Co. album. It was folky and pretty and, yeah, it would put the targeted lady asleep pretty damned quickly. If you’re gonna do lutes and flutes, you gotta make it interesting, not somnolent.

I sampled a few more of the featured cuts and then went back to a band I know, though I did not know the track: Here’s “Rockin’ Chair.” It’s from Lighthouse’s 1971 album Thoughts Of Movin’ On, and it was a featured track at KWFM fifty years ago. It’s also today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 767

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

It’s early, just a little before 7 a.m. as I write this. I heard cats slinking about the house and instead of mushing up my pillow and trying to go back to sleep, I decided to go ahead and give them their breakfast.

As they ate and I made a cup of coffee, I recalled that on Christmas mornings long ago, it was about this time that I’d awake at my grandfather’s house and quietly make my way downstairs to see what Santa – I never really believed in Santa, but it was a nice story – had left in my Christmas stocking.

And I thought about the passage of time, as I often do anyway, remembering the eight-year-old me who found a Danish troll in his stocking sixty years ago and the slightly older me who found a copy of Ian Fleming’s Dr. No in that same stocking about five years later. That decorated stocking – along with the one my sister made for the Texas Gal about twenty years ago – is in one of the boxes in the garage; for about fifteen years now, the Texas Gal and I have found gift bags at my sister’s fireplace instead of stockings.

There were none last year, when we sheltered in place. This year, our gift bags are waiting for us on our living room table; leery of the larger gathering my sister has planned for today, we made a masked midweek trip to drop off gifts and brought back this year’s gift bags from Santa.

So, for the second year in a row, the Texas Gal and I will be spending Christmas by ourselves, That’s okay. Yeah, I’ll miss seeing my niece and her family, but I’ve been battling an (non-Covid) infection for about a month, and there’s no point in risking my health or the health of the others. So when the Texas Gal gets up in a little while, we’ll go through our “stockings,” scratch off the lottery tickets that are sure to be part of our booty, then have a late breakfast and prepare for a quiet day.

We have only two things planned. We’ll have a dinner of King Ranch casserole, a favorite dish of mine since the Texas Gal brought it along with her when she came into my life almost twenty-two years ago. And we’ll find a streaming service that’s showing the 1969 film Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. I mentioned to her yesterday that I’ve never seen the whole thing, having fallen asleep in a theater in Winnipeg, Manitoba, during a long-ago high school choir trip and having never bothered to find the movie to see what I missed. She said she wouldn’t mind seeing the movie again.

It’s not the holiday we had planned, but – like many around the world – it’s the holiday we’ve got. I imagine it’s the same for whoever stops by here: For the second holiday season in a row, things are out of whack.

All I can say is that, whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you can celebrate it with people you love in a place you call home.

And here’s Darlene Love with the original version of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” from Phil Spector’s 1963 album A Christmas Gift For You. It’s today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 766

Saturday, December 18th, 2021

Employing one of my favorite musical crutches this morning, I asked the RealPlayer to sort out tracks recorded over the years on December 18. I got back four, which is a little fewer than usual.

Least pleasing among them was Julia Gerrity’s plaint, “Sittin’ On A Rubbish Can,” a 1931 recording in the stilted style of mainstream pop of those days. I’m not sure where I got it. But it probably showed up here around 2005, when I was beginning my vintage music digging but wasn’t yet too picky about my sorting and tagging.

Two of the December 18 tracks came from a 1951 session in St. Louis, a raw, bluesy and unreleased pair recorded by Clifford Gibson. “Sneaky Groundhog” and “Let Me Be Your Handyman” came my way via the 2010 four-CD box set Juke Joint Blues, one of several sets I have from JSP, a firm operating out of the United Kingdom.

I have two copies of the fourth December 18 track, a 1947 boogie by Wild Bill Moore titled “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll.” Recorded in Detroit for the Savoy label, the track showed up on a 1977 double-LP set titled The Roots of Rock ’N Roll (a set I also have on CD, thanks to reader and friend Yah Shure) and it also showed up on a four-CD set titled The Big Horn: The History of the Honkin’ & Screamin’ Saxophone released by Proper, a London-based firm.

Both sets are fine; I have some difficulty sorting out the notes on The Big Horn. They’re detailed enough, but each entry begins with personnel notes, leaving the title of the piece and the recording date and place at the bottom of each entry. It feels backwards to me, and it caused quite a bit of double-checking when I entered the data.

Anyway, “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll” features tenor sax work from Moore and alto and baritone sax work from Paul Williams. The record hit No. 14 on the Best Seller chart and No. 15 on the Juke Box chart during the summer of 1948, and – exactly seventy-four years after it was recorded – it’s today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 765

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

With some errands to run and a North Dakota State football game set for late morning, we’re going to take the quick and random way out this morning by playing some Games With Numbers with today’s date. We’re going to look for a Billboard Hot 100 from December 11 during the years of my sweet spot – 1969-75 – and then we’re going to see what was at No. 23 that week.

And that puts us back – as I thought it might – in 1971, fifty years ago. And the No. 23 record fifty years ago this week was one that has – as far as I can tell – never been mentioned during the nearly fifteen years this blog has trudged along. (Oddly, though, the Texas Gal and I listened to it in the car the other day.)

Fifty years ago this week, “Everybody’s Everything” by Santana was at No. 23, coming back down the chart after peaking at No. 12. A note in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles says that the tune was originally recorded as “Karate” by the Emperor’s (yep, with an unnecessary apostrophe). That record peaked at No. 55 in late January 1967.

Here’s Santana’s “Everybody’s Everything,” today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 763

Saturday, November 27th, 2021

Anything beyond basic mental functions still escape me as I wait for antibiotics to do their work. It’s supposed to be a run-of-the-mill infection, but if so, it’s a badly operated mill. And I’m still waiting for my new glasses.

Still, not wanting to punt entirely, I did a quick search to see which of the nearly 84,000 files in the RealPlayer were ever recorded on November 27 – a reminder: I have that information for maybe ten percent of the files – and I came up with a bunch.

That’s because eighty-five years ago today, Robert Johnson had the last of three recording sessions in San Antonio’s Gunter Hotel. Unless something new has come to light in the past few years, nine tracks from that session survive: “They’re Red Hot,” “Dead Shrimp Blues,” “Walkin’ Blues,” “Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped The Devil),” “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day,” and two versions each of “Last Fair Deal Gone Down” and “Cross Roads Blues.”

Of those, my favorite is likely “Last Fair Deal Gone Down.” Now, there’s nothing wrong with Johnson’s two versions, but I thought I’d see how many covers I have of the tune in the stacks. Turns out to be eight, with one version each from Eric Clapton, the Peter Green Splinter Group, Dave “Snaker” Ray, Dave Van Ronk, the Rising Sons, and Crooked Still (described as a neo-bluegrass band from Boston) and two versions from Rory Block.

Of all those, the approach by Crooked Still may be the most interesting, with Aoife O’Donovan’s vocals backed by a combination of banjo, cello and double bass. So here’s Crooked Still, from the 2004 album Hop High, with “Last Fair Deal Gone Down.” It’s today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 762

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

Parts of this post have likely shown up in bits and pieces over the years, but those bits all came together in a response the other week to, yes, another question at Facebook. Actually, it was three questions:

Do you remember the first five albums you bought (or at least chose for yourself)?

Do you remember the next five?

Do you listen to any of those albums today?

I’m going to add the words “pop, rock or country” into those questions because otherwise we’d spend time this morning talking about Al Hirt, the Tijuana Brass and John Barry’s James Bond soundtracks (all of which I still like but which likely have a less broad appeal to whatever audience I have here).

We start in the summer of 1969, probably right around the third week of August, when Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Named Sue” peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 2 and hit the Top Ten on KDWB. So Dad and I picked up a copy of Johnny Cash at San Quentin.

Here’s the next four of my first five. (The first two I selected but did not pay for; for the next two, I laid out my own cash, as I believe I’ve noted here before.)

The Age of Aquarius by the 5th Dimension
Abbey Road by the Beatles
Chicago (now called Chicago II)
Let It Be by the Beatles

That brings us into May 1970 and the end of my junior year of high school. Of those five, I listened most – back then and in the years since – to Abbey Road and the first two sides of the Chicago album.

Except for “25 or 6 to 4,” the third side of Chicago’s double album is inconsequential and the agit-prop of “It Better End Soon” on Side Four hasn’t aged well. (The thought occurs that it may become pertinent again, but it’s still ponderous.) Three of the four tracks on Side One, all of Side Two (including the monumental “Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon”) and “25 or 6 to 4” are in the iPod and thus are part of my day-to-day listening.

Almost all of Abbey Road is as enjoyable today as it was back in the autumn of 1969; I have less tolerance now for “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” than I did then, but when it pops up on random, I can click past it, and when I’m listening to the full album, it’s gone in 3:28. All of Abbey Road except “Maxwell . . .” is in the iPod.

As to the other three, well, I recently ripped the 5th Dimension album as a full album, but I haven’t listened to it yet. Memory tells me there are some things that work very well and others that don’t; I’m particularly interested in hearing the group’s take on “Sunshine Of Your Love” after at least a thirty-year gap. Two of its tracks – the “Aquarius” medley and “Wedding Bell Blues” are in the iPod.

There are some tracks from Let It Be that I like very much: “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “Two Of Us,” Across the Universe,” “One After 909,” “For You Blue,” and the title track (though I like the single version produced by George Martin more than I do the album version finished with the heavy hand of Phil Spector). But there’s too much dross and silliness, and I prefer the single version of “Get Back,” so the album isn’t essential although some of the tracks are. The five tracks mentioned at the top of this paragraph are all in the iPod, as is the single version of “Let It Be.”

As to the Johnny Cash album, I’ve got it on CD (as I do all four of the others mentioned here), but I can’t recall the last time I purposefully listened to any of it. I don’t click out of the tracks if they pop up on the RealPlayer on random, but I don’t seek them out, and none of them are in the iPod.

I was going to look at the second five albums, too, but this has turned out longer than I anticipated, so we’ll look at those next Saturday. As for something to feature, we may as well make the 5th Dimension’s cover of “Sunshine Of Your Love” today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 761

Saturday, November 13th, 2021

I’ve been feeling run-down and feverish for the past ten days, and I finally went to see Dr. Julie yesterday. She diagnosed an infection and prescribed a four-week course of some very large pills. She said I should feel better within a week, but to take all four weeks’ worth of the pills to discourage a repeat performance.

So, without much creativity present this morning, I spent a few minutes poking through old posts looking for ideas. When I do that, I sometimes find things I’ve missed. The blogging program supposedly sends me an email every time someone leaves a comment. That doesn’t always seem to work, though.

As I glanced this morning at a post from 2015 about versions of the Laura Nyro song “Stoney End,” I noticed that there were six comments there, far more than usual. I kind of blinked, and then checked the dates: Two of them came in within days of the post going up. But the others were eight months later, a year-and-a-half later, three years later and finally four years later.

Maybe I just missed the email notifications, but I don’t think so. That’s why I find it rewarding to sometimes just click from old post to old post, looking for comments I’ve missed. And one of the four later comments I found at the “Stoney End” post was pretty interesting (at least to me).

Christopher Bentley said that he noticed that as well as dealing with “Stoney End,” I had also uploaded a video to YouTube of Barbra Streisand’s version of Nyro’s “Hands Off The Man (Flim Flam Man).” Bentley writes a blog titled Girls Of The Golden East, focusing on – as he says – “mostly Seventies songstresses of the Soviet satellites,” and he suggested I might be interested in a Czech version of “Hands Off The Man (Flim Flam Man)” as recorded in 1972 by Alena Tichá.

Well, yeah. So, I followed the link he provided to his blog and found the video below. The Czech title actually translates to “I Give You The Cure,” which seems pretty apt for me this week. So “Dám Vám Lék” by Alena Tichá is today’s Saturday Single.

Saturday Single No. 760

Saturday, November 6th, 2021

With a minimum of time available – I slept very late – I’m just going to jump into the Billboard Hot 100 from fifty years ago today and see what’s sitting at No. 76, in honor of today’s Saturday Single integer.

And the No. 76 single from that long-ago chart is a record that would climb to No. 9 on the Hot 100, No. 10 on the R&B chart and to No. 24 on the chart then called Easy Listening. “You Are Everything” by the Stylistics is today’s Saturday Single.