Category Archives: Music et al

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

#1 Billboard album June 23, 1962 – September 28, 1962
Hey Good Lookin’ from the album
           Rolling Stone magazine ranks Ray Charles's Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music at 105 of its top 500 greatest albums of all time. [Rolling Stone magazine article] That is, of course, simply an opinion, but only how album's greatness compares is up for debate. Not whether it is great.

           Ray Charles was already a star by 1962.  He had released his first single, "Confession Blues" in 1949 with the Maxin Trio. In 1953, Charles signed with Atlantic Records and had his first R&B hit single with "Mess Around."

           In 1954 "I Got a Woman," reached No. 1 on the R&B charts.


           His earliest style was akin to Nat King Cole's, but Charles could also play jazz and his combination of gospel and R & B created a genre we now call soul.

           In 1959, Atlantic released a sanitized version of "What'd I Say" after criticism of the original's sexual innuendo and some radio stations refused to play it. It hit #1 on Billboard's R&B singles chart, number six on the Billboard Hot 100, and it became Charles' first gold record. It also became Atlantic Records' best-selling song at the time. 
           In November 1959, Charles left Atlantic for a much better deal with ABC-Paramount Records. He immediately produced two classic hits, "Georgia on My Mind" and  "Hit the Road Jack." He won Grammys for both.

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

        Peers and ABC executives questioned the idea of Charles doing  a country and western genre album, but Charles liked that style and felt he could do as good or better a job.

           Obviously he won the discussion. Obviously he was correct about how well a job he could do.

           Channeled through Charles's love of blues, jazz, and R & B, Sounds in Country and Western Music was like and unlike any C & W music of its time.


           Nashville music writers were suddenly on the national radar for material. Writer Daniel Cooper stated, "There is no telling how many people, who perhaps never paid much attention to country music or even had professed to dislike it, listened anew based on the impact of having heard what Ray Charles was capable of doing with that music." [Wikipedia entry]
           At a time when singles ruled, Ray Charles's Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music produced four and all in 1962:
  1. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (#1 from June 2 – July 6)
  2. “Born to Lose”
  3. “You Don’t Know Me”
  4. “Careless Love”
           Ray Charles went on to have an astounding career. In 2003, Charles had to cancel his tour for the first time in 53 years. Hip surgery and liver disease.

           He died on June 10, 2004. Charles had recorded more than 60 albums and performed more than 10,000 concerts.
Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,

Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,

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Beatles Lie Over The Ocean

Beatles Lie Over The Ocean

Beatles Lie Over the Ocean
Photo by Gerd Mingram.
        It was June 22, 1961 and The Beatles [John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best] continued their stay in Hamburg, Germany. The trip had been more successful than their first and they would leave in July with no arrests or deportations [Beatles deported] .

        Tony Sheridan was a British musician who also found work in Hamburg. It was there that he and the Beatles met, sometimes shared a bill, and sometimes played together.

        Bert Kaempfert, an orchestra leader and Polydor agent, asked The Beatles to back Sheridan on some recordings.
        The recording took place over three days, the first two at Friedrich-Ebert-Halle in Hamburg. It was not a regular recording studio, but because of the venue's acoustics, a place Polydor had occasionally used for recording. The final day's recording (June 24) was done in Studio Rahlstedt, a professional studio. On that day they recorded "Ain't She Sweet," "Nobody's Child," and "Take Out Some Insurance On Me, Baby."

Beatles Lie Over The Ocean

        The Beatles [the The Beat Boys for these sessions] and Sheridan recorded four songs over two consecutive days: "My Bonnie," "The Saints," "Why," and "Cry For A Shadow." "Shadow" was an instrumental; Sheridan did lead vocals on the others. 

        Sheridan sometimes played lead guitar, John Lennon rhythm, George Harrison the other lead, Paul McCartney bass, and Pete Best drums. 

        The first song they recorded was "My Bonnie." It started slowly, but soon went into an upbeat version. According to the Beatles Bible site, "The Beatles were given 300 marks for the sessions."  [Beatles Bible site]

Beatles Lie Over the Ocean

        "My Bonnie" was released in October 1961 and reached #5 on the German charts.

        20 years later, on June 22, 1981, Mark David Chapman pleaded guilty to the murder of John Lennon on what he said were instructions from God. 

Beatles Lie Over The Ocean, Beatles Lie Over The OceanBeatles Lie Over The OceanBeatles Lie Over The OceanBeatles Lie Over The OceanBeatles Lie Over The Ocean

 

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Toronto Pop Festival 69

Toronto Pop Festival 69

June 21 & 22, 1969

Varsity Stadium

 1969 Festival #7
Velvet Underground "Heroin"

Toronto Pop Festival 69

          To say another "lost" festival of the summer of 1969 gets old, but, yes, the Toronto Pop Festival (as opposed to the Toronto Rock and Roll Festival later the same year) is another of the 1969 festivals few have heard of.

          The line-up was a good one. How Johnny Winter had the energy to play in Toronto on Friday and then in California on Sunday, I don't know. I have underlined those who would appear at Woodstock:
Saturday 21 June

  1. Eric Anderson
  2. Carla Thomas & the Barkays
  3. Man
  4. Al Kooper
  5. The Band
  6. Bonzo Dog Band
  7. Rotary Connection
  8. Johnny Winter
  9. Velvet Underground
  10. Sly & the Family Stone
Sunday 22 June

  1. Mother Lode
  2. Procol Harum
  3. Edwin Starr
  4. Chuck Berry
  5. Slim Harpo
  6. Tiny Tim
  7. Dr John the Night Tripper
  8. Blood, Sweat, & Tears
  9. Nucleus
  10. Robert Charlebois
  11. Steppenwolf

Toronto Pop Festival 69

         A legitimate criticism of Woodstock's lineup was a lack of black performers. Yes, there was Richie Havens, Sly and the Family Stone, and Jimi Hendrix, but those three were already an accepted part of many white listeners collection. For Toronto, Carla Thomas, Edwin Starr, Slim Harpo, and Chuck Berry added styles that Woodstock lacked.

          Tickets were $6 a day or $10 for both days. 

          Woodstock had Abbie Hoffman infamously inserting himself in the middle of The Who's performance. In Toronto a young girl joined Ronnie Hawkins during his performance of "Bo Diddly." While Pete Townshend threatened Hoffman, the more genial Hawkins welcomed the yellow-bikinied Jeanne Beker. Her presence was caught on camera by a photographer for The Telegram. Hawkins is in the purple suit.
Toronto Pop Festival 69
Beker on stage with Hawkins
          Jeanne Beker is now a well-known Canadian television personality, fashion designer, author and newspaper columnist.

          The audience recording of the Velvet Underground is the only recording of the festival I could find.
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