Friday, October 30, 2009

Neil Young Vs. The Vampires (1976)

Halloween is almost here! I guess it's time for another fun and rare Halloween themed tune; I think I've found a fun one for today.

Today's track comes from singer-songwriter Neil Young. Neil Young is one of those unique voices is pop-music, one that like Bob Dylan or Tom Waits would have never survived in today's post American Idol world. His singing voice isn't necessarily beautiful, but his songwriting is always top-notch.

Neil Young has a wide-spanning and varied career. He got his start in the 1960's pop group Buffalo Springfield, and quickly emerged as one of the unique voices of the counter-culture movement. His songwriting had strong and meaningful lyrics, quite different from much of the 60's pop songs of the time.
Into the 1970's Neil Young created the rock group Crazy Horse; and also went on to rotate in and out of the folk group Crosby, Stills, and Nash (later known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, then transforming into Crosby & Nash, then Nash & Stills, and then Stills & Manassas (Really) and then going back to Crosby, Stills, Nash & "Sometimes" Young--it's all very complicated).

But even with all the participation in various groups, I have always been a fan of Neil Young's individual solo efforts. Today's track comes from the 1974 album 'On The Beach'. This album has always been a favorite with vinyl collectors as it was never available on CD until recently.

The track is "Vampire Blues", and I found it quite appropriate for Halloween, although I believe the song itself is actually an attack on the oil industry. Enjoy the blood-suckers people!

Anyway, click the link below to feel those Vampire Blues.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

R. Dean Taylor Has A Ghost Problem (1967)

Can you believe we are already heading into the last weeks of October? I guess that means it is time to feature some fun Halloween themed songs here at Collecting Vinyl.

Today's song is from little-known Motown recording artist R. Dean Taylor. Prior to his own recording career, he was a songwriter at Motown who penned a few unmemorable tracks for The Four Tops and The Temptations. He is pretty much considered a one-hit-wonder, from his 1970 hit single "Indiana Wants Me" which can be found on many a 70's compilation.
Perhaps one of the biggest fun-facts about R. Dean Taylor was that he was one of the few white artists to ever record for the Motown label; I can only think of him and the group Rare Earth who can be found at that footnote of Motown's history.

The track comes from a 1987 Motown complilation album called 'Motown Trackin', and today's Halloween song is "There's A Ghost In My House" from 1967. I think the song has a great intro and fun chorus provided by The Funk Brothers, the backing-rhythm group primarily responsible for the Motown Sound.

So click the link below to hear that creepy, scary ghost that's in my house.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

David Porter Needs Some Help (1971)

First off I should admit that this blog is slowly devolving into nothing more that a list of Beatles covers. But as I am a big fan of The Bealtes and the many interpretations of their songs, I can't really say that I mind.

Anyway, due to my brother's recent excursions in Memphis, I find myself in a mood for some wonderful Southern Soul. When I think of Memphis, one of the first things that comes to mind is the legendary Stax-Volt label.

Stax is the record company responsible for some of the greatest R&B songs and acts of the 1960's. They housed Otis Redding, Carla Thomas, and Booker T. & The MG's just to name a few.

Today's track comes from the slightly more obscure Stax recording artist David Porter.

Porter stared out at Stax as a songwriter. He was partnered with future R&B star Issac Hayes and together they wrote some of the greatest soul hits of the 1960's. That team was responsible for almost all of the hits by the group Sam & Dave, including "Hold On, I'm Coming", "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby" and of course "Soul Man".

When Isaac Hayes own solo career started top take off in the late 60's, his writing partner decided to also try and make some music of his own. David Porter went on to release several albums for the Stax label starting in the early 70's. Today's track comes off his 1971 album 'Victim Of The Joke" and as you may have guessed, it is another Beatles tune.

The song is "Help"; originally done by The Beatles in 1965. So here it is. Click the link below to hear Stax-Star David Porter doing his version of The Beatles classic.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hard Days With Ramsey Lewis (1965)

I figure it is about time I update this blog. My goal was to post at least on tune per week, but sometimes life starts to feel a bit overwhelming and things fall by the wayside. In any case, I'm back and still in a Beatles mood.

There is nothing like the Fab-Four to remind you why you fell in love with pop music on the first place. And because of the recently released remasters, one can recall that The Beatles were not over-rated; they really were THAT good. It great to hear the old favorites and re-discover the songs you had forgotten (George Harrison's "Savoy Truffle" off of 'The White Album' is one such treasure I hadn't seemed to notice in my younger years).

Today's Beatles cover come from the thrift-store find of the week collection. I recently came across a fun album from jazz great Ramsey Lewis, one of the icons of popular jazz in the 1960's. He was an excellent jazz pianist out of Chicago, who scored several hits in the mid-60's which crossed over from the jazz to the pop charts. Some of his hits were "The In Crowd", "Wade In The Water" and his jazz version of The McCoys' "Hang On Sloopy".

Many of Ramsey Lewis' albums contained jazz versions of current hits, yet there was always a fun and playful nature to his versions. Many of his albums were recorded live, and listening to them makes you feel like you're a part of a small club audience; an intimate jazz party. You can always hear it in the background; the clapping, the yelling, the laughing, the good times being had by all.

The song of the day is Ramsey Lewis doing the classic Beatles tune "A Hard Day's Night" off of the 1965 album 'Hang On Ramsey'. The album was recorded live in Hermosa Beach California.

I wish the quality of the track was a little better, but it is a live recording from the sixties and the record was found in a well-worn pile at a thrift-store. In any case, I hope you like it. Click the link below to hear how much fun The Ramsey Lewis Trio was having during their "Hard Day".