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".

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