From the Vaults

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Little Eva: The Trouble With Boys (1963)

13 May 2019  |  1 min read

When Little Eva died in 2003, most obituaries got in the story that she had been Gerry Goffin and Carole King's babysitter and, inspired by her odd dancing style, they penned The Locomotion for her, which was a massive hit in 1962. Little Eva -- born Eva Narcissus Boyd -- was 16 at the time.  That story seems unlikely or exaggerated, but it is true that Goffin-King also wrote... > Read more

The Fortunes: Laughing Fit to Cry (1965)

6 May 2019  |  1 min read

Britain's Fortunes cracked two exceptional singles in the Beat-pop era, You've Got Your Troubles and Here It Comes Again, both in 1965 and both featuring a natty spoken-word or double-lead vocal part. They had terrific harmony vocals and their lead singer Rod Allen could conjure up some fine white soul, as you can hear on their self-titled debut album which was rushed out to capitalise... > Read more

Delroy Wilson: Mash Up Illiteracy (1974)

29 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

In Third World countries music is often the vehicle for social messages and political comment because it gets directly to people who may be unable to read a newspaper or otherwise have access to information. Reggae singer Delroy Wilson (who died in '95) was one of those who used songs to actually say something . . . although not always so positive. He did also deliver withering Lee Scratch... > Read more

Daniel Lentz: On the Leopard Altar (1984)

22 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

To be fair to Paul McCartney, he's always said he can't pick a hit single and never knows if he's written one until people line up to buy it. Even so, when Mojo magazine asked him in '97 -- as part of their 100 Greatest Singles of All Time issue -- to name his favourite songs, and then one that should have been a contender he went for this odd item by the American contemporary classical... > Read more

Rufus Thomas: Itch and Scratch Part I (1972)

15 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

One of the most natural funk artists this side of James Brown, Rufus Thomas struck gold with Walking the Dog and Do the Funky Chicken in the Sixties, but this song from just a little later captured him as a dance-floor filler with a Stax song which failed to chart. But it went on to be much sampled and he epitomised a specific Memphis sound at the time. He was also an unashamed... > Read more

Lowell Fulson: Tramp (1967)

8 Apr 2019  |  <1 min read

Written by singer/guitarist Fulson and pianist Jimmy McCracklin who were soul brothers in California, this short slice of soul-funk blues appeared on the Kent label, although the boss there Jules Bihari apparently hated . . . until it went top five on the r'n'b charts. It provided the title track for Fulson's album and even crossed over into the lower reaches of the pop charts, then Otis... > Read more

Duane and Gregg Allman: God Rest His Soul (1968)

25 Mar 2019  |  <1 min read

If anyone could sing Southern blues it was Gregg Allman and, with his brother Duane, – one of the greatest of rock guitarists – he understood the cross-cultural nature of music out of the South. In fact it would have been more of a surprise if the Allman Brothers Band hadn't had black members: drummer Jaimo Johanson a founder, bassist Lamar Williams who joined after the death of... > Read more

The Veils: Us Godless Teenagers (2011)

18 Mar 2019  |  <1 min read

For Elsewhere's money, with this singular song Finn Andrews – now a solo artist – captured something rare and insightful about the loneliness of being a teenager and the small comfort of friends when the outside world seems indifferent or critical. We see these kids everywhere, in parks and public transport, on street corners and sitting alone. Being a teenager is bad enough... > Read more

The Standells: Dirty Water (1966)

11 Mar 2019  |  1 min read

Before there was proto-punk there was raw and reductive r'n'b-based garageband rock and great bands like the Seeds, Count Five, early Them, the Downliners Sect, the Pretty Things and many more, some of whom enjoyed a long overdue acknowledgement when Lenny Kaye pulled together his first Nuggets collection, thereby setting of a revivalists search. Among the more recent collections was the... > Read more

Buffalo Daughter: Cyclic (2003)

4 Mar 2019  |  <1 min read

Sometimes the less you know about the musicians the more you can just accept the music for what it is. Like this 11 minute meltdown of minimalism, German prog-rock and Hawkwind-like space-rock. If those are acceptable sonic reference points it might then come as a surprise to learn that Buffalo Daughter are three Japanese women with half a dozen albums to their name and that they... > Read more

Lesley Gore: You Don't Own Me (1963)

25 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

For someone who was only semi-professional, tiny Lesley Gore (5' 2") was astonishingly busy in the Sixties: Between '63 and '69 she released 29 singles (19 of them went Top 100) and eight albums - outside of greatest hits packages. And she had some great hits: her first was It's My Party ("and I'll cry if I want to") when she was only 17. It was produced by Quincy Jones and... > Read more

Nils Lofgren: Valentine (1991)

14 Feb 2019  |  1 min read  |  2

Some would say Nils Lofgren never fulfilled his early promise. Certainly his band Grin were pretty good but then he scored with a couple of excellent solo albums. His self-titled album in '75 was terrific and contained his plea to an increasingly drug-abusing Keith Richards in Keith Don't Go, a fine version of the Goffin-King classic Goin' Back and flash originals such as If I Say It It's So,... > Read more

Hank Williams: The Funeral (1952)

11 Feb 2019  |  1 min read

The great country singer Hank Williams died a rock'n'roll death, in the back of a car from a heart attack brought on by too much booze and too many pills somewhere between gigs. They don't write endings much better than that. Unfortunately as with most such deaths, it came far to early. He was only 29. Williams' music provided a cornerstone for country music in his barndance songs (Hey... > Read more

The Wedge: So Long Marianne (1969)

4 Feb 2019  |  <1 min read

Two decades before Straitjacket Fits did their version of this Leonard Cohen classic – which ended up as the b-side to their single Hail and on their Hail album – Wellington's The Wedge had a big horny crack at it. Produced by the very reputable Alan Galbraith (formerly of Sounds Unlimited and who became an in-house producer at EMI), the Wedge had some of the cream of the... > Read more

Candi Staton: I'm Just a Prisoner of Your Good Lovin' (1969)

28 Jan 2019  |  <1 min read

Now in her late 70s, the great soul and gospel singer Candi Staton was until recently still out there touring and speaking about the healing power of the gospel spirit. Back in the day, her voice was on dance and disco hits also (see below for a classic disco-era hit), but in the Sixties she was a young and often raunchy soul sister whose first r'n'b hit out of the Fame Studios in... > Read more

Millie Jackson: Never Change Lovers in the Middle of the Night (1978)

21 Jan 2019  |  1 min read

Here is a guess, most people only know of soul-funk singer Millie Jackson for one album cover. Maybe a few know of her for album titles like Feelin' Bitchy, Live and Uncensored, For Men Only, Live and Outrageous Rated XXX and so on. Her last album was in 2001 as far as I can tell and it was Not For Church Folk! and the lead-off track was Butt-A-Cize. Yes, Millie Jackson was pretty... > Read more

Buddy Holly: Blue Days Black Nights (1956)

14 Jan 2019  |  1 min read

In the year before he became famous with the hit That'll Be the Day in mid '57, Buddy Holly – who was killed in that plane crash 60 years ago in February – unsuccessfully recorded a number of songs in Nashville. Signed to record deal he and his ring-in band went to that hub of conservative country to try to record music which was part-country but influenced by the rise of Elvis... > Read more

Jimi Hendrix: Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/Auld Lang Syne (1969)

24 Dec 2018  |  <1 min read  |  1

"And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?" Time for reflection amidst (hopefully) enjoying family and friends . . . and we will all do that in our own way. Jimi did it this way. This was part of some long studio jamming, the first two songs here were recorded in December '69 with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox in the Record Plant in New York and... > Read more

Nina Simone: Backlash Blues (1967)

17 Dec 2018  |  <1 min read

Nina Simone was a rare one: she was classically trained, a political activist, furiously intolerant and increasingly strange and self-serving as her life rolled on. And that's just the broad strokes. She was also something of a genius when it came to marrying blues, politics, soul, gospel and jazz. It is hard to think of anyone who has followed in her footsteps. This song from the late... > Read more

Jack Scott: The Way I Walk (1959)

3 Dec 2018  |  1 min read

With his sullen and sneering good looks -- he might have been a truck driver in Memphis like the pre-fame Elvis or a member of the Clash -- Jack Scott was briefly a big star, and at the time in the late Fifties one of the biggest to come out of Detroit where he grew up (after being born in Canada). Scott clocked up hit after hit in the late Fifties (half of the 12 songs on his debut album... > Read more