Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams along with a revolving group of friends worked the club and talent shows in and around Detroit area as the Primes and were well aquanted with Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin and their circle of friends who travelled the same circuit as Otis Williams and the Siberians, the El Domingos and finally the Distants which to my way of thinking are the three of the most ridiculous names in the history of Rock and Roll.
Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin, having scored an audition with Motown Records owner Barry Gordy and also having lost half of their group, partnered up with Kendricks, Paul Williams and Elbridge "Al" Bryant to sign with Motown subsidiary Miracle Records only to discover ... mercifully ... that their new name, The Elgins had already been taken by another group.
After much debate, they finally became the Temptations.
David Ruffin started hanging around their shows, jumped on stage one night at Detroit's famed The Twenty Grand during Shout and pretty quick Elbridge Bryant was out and the classic Temptations lineup was established.
This is Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams and the great David Ruffin lip syncing the Norman Whitfield classic Ain't Too Proud To Beg.
Years later after more lineup changes than I can keep track of Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin came back to The Temptations and The Temptations returned to Motown for the Reunion record and tours.
Here is David Ruffin, I'm thinking in 1982 or 83 despite the video claiming it to be 1987 as Ruffin was in a minimum security prison in Terra Haute, Indiana for much of 1987 for tas evasion ... just sayin' ... fronting Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, Richard Street, Glen Edwards and Dennis Edwards ... I think ... as the Temptations.
My Whole World Ended.
Dead at 50 from a Cocaine overdose, David Ruffin was/is to my way of thinking the greatest voice in the history of Soul and arguably all of popular music.
If you're a Detroiter of a certain age, the MC5 is a part of you that just ain't gonna wash out.
Arguably the first punk band 10 years before punk was even identified as a thing, the MC5 invented riffs, moves and attitude which are nowadays de riguor for rock and roll bands the world over.
In light of recent events and building tensions in Detroit and Cyprus, not to mention still fresh memories in Egypt, Greece and Spain, here is Rob Tyner on vocals, Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith on guitars, Michael Davis on the bass guitar and Dennis Thompson on the drums in what was for them a very reserved performance in 1972 for the televison show Beat Club.
Motor City's Burning.
On the morning of July 19, 1970, with the memory of the Joe Cocker fiasco still fresh in my mind, I told my mother that I was going to The Beach to play some basketball and then meet up with some friends for a boat ride.
Instead, I picked up Donny W. and drove downtown to Tartar Field on the campus of Wayne State University to see The Früt, Savage Grace (soon to be better known as Rare Earth), Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen and the MC5 at the WABX free concert.
If you look real close that's me all the way over to the right, the scrawny little guy with the straight hair and goofy glasses ..... rockin' hard.
Just kidding, you can't see me ..... I know because I've been looking.
Anyway, this is Wayne Kramer, who on that day I thought to be the single coolest guy on earth, taking his star turn on Ramblin Rose.
And now ..... and now ..... and now it's time to .....
KICK OUT THE JAAAMMMS .......
You know the rest.
Ever wonder what's the big deal about Rosetta Tharpe?
Ever even heard of Rosetta Tharpe?
Don't let it get you down, few have.
Born Arkansas in 1914, Tharpe was the daughter of Katie Bell Nubin, a popular touring gospel singer of the time. Alleged to have “mastered’ the guitar by the age of six, she was certainly performing with her mother by that age, mastery or not, and continued to earn her living performing for the next 50-ish years.
She signed with Decca records in her early twenties and immediately began making hit Gospel records. She would later cross over from Billboard’s Gospel charts to the “Race” charts on several occasions, a feat that to my knowledge had never been accomplished before and rarely since.
If you like Gospel Music and the Blues, two things we clearly love around here, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is well worth looking into.
This performance was recorded in Manchester, England in 1964 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival recordings of the early 60s, which we keep encouraging people to go out and buy mostly because we just love it.
This is Sister Rosetta Tharpe on her 1963 Gibson SG Custom guitar, which I don't think anybody even bothered to plug in. I can't figure out anyone else in the band ... yet.
Didn't It Rain.
I was able to come up nothing regarding this performance of my all time favorite Supreme tune except the stuff you likely already know.
This is Diana Ross up front where she belongs, Mary Wilson (center) and Florence Ballard (left)
The Supremes, also mostly unknown as the Primettes.
Itchin' In My Heart.
That's about as lame an ending to a Motown tune as I can imagine, but ...........
Which is an infinitely better pastime than reading the chronically depressing crap I tend to gravitate towards.
And since the dog show was threatened some by the blizzard that swept through the Northeast over the past couple days, I figured dogs in the snow offered an appropriate respite from the news of the day.
Kai just went upside some guys head three times with a hatchet.
He pretty much had to, as he explains with extraordinarily profane eloquence.
Warning, the kid can barely go three words without tossing an F-bomb into the sentence.
So if you have an aversion to profanity, DO NOT VIEW THIS VID.
But in his defense, he just went upside some guys head three times with a hatchet, he's a little pumped.
I just love this kid to pieces, but I'm guessing he's more than a handfull.
Many years ago Rich D. and I passed on a chance to see Leonard Cohen mostly because his music isn't all that danceable.
I came to regret that decision if only for this one song, which as I think about it, might not have been written yet.
So in retrospect, nothing is lost.
Anyway, this is Leonard Cohen on vocals, Bob Metzger on the peddle steel, Javier Mas playing the 12 string guitar, Charlie Webb on guitar, Mattie Webb on the harp, Sharon Robinson singing back up along with the Webb Sisters, Dino Soldo playing the keyboards among other things, Rosco Beck is playing the bass guitar, that's Rafael Gayol on the drums.
Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows that the war is over. Everybody knows the good guys lost.
Everybody knows the fight was fixed. The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
Thats how it goes.
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking. Everybody knows that the captain lied.
Everybody got this broken feeling. Like their father or their dog just died.
Everybody talking to their pockets. Everybody wants a box of chocolates.
And a long stem rose,
While remaining completely different.
We have the eldest Roanboy coming home for Christmas and will be spending the week doing family stuff.
Merry Christmas, we'll see you next year.
Ever wonder what's the big deal about Hollywood Fats?
Ever even heard of Hollywood Fats?
That's ok, few have.
Thought by some to be the greatest blues guitarist of them all, Michael Mann suffered the distinct misfortune of coming of age during a time of declining popularity for the Blues and then lost his life at the age of 32 long before getting his shot at another Blues revival.
Legend has it he was playing with Buddy Guy and Junior Wells before he turned 14. He worked with John Lee Hooker, J. B. Hutto and Albert King who fired him because he was too good. He was on the road touring with Muddy Waters before he turned 20, maybe 18.
He recorded some sides both with/as the Hollywood Fats Band and Hollywood Fats and the Paladins all of which were very good but not earth shaking ... at least to my ears.
Finally when Dave Alvin left The Blaster's to become the "Godfather of Americana" or the "King of California" take your pick, Fats took over the lead guitar position and .....
The second time you listen to this, check out the tone, so perfectly crunchy and snarly at the same time.
Feel the power in his rhythm as he locks up the bass and drums and then walks them up into a whole new gear.
Listen for the little two bar fills into and out of both the verse and the chorus that perfectly frame Phil Alvin's vocals.
Finally, check out the look on Phil Alvin's face and know that he knows that what's going on here is very, very hard to come by.
This is Phil Alvin singing like only Phil Alvin can, Lee Allen on the saxaphone, John Bazz playing the bass guitar, Bill Bateman on the drums, and the legendary Michael Mann aka Hollywood Fats on lead guitar.
Rock and Roll Will Stand.
59 years old and it still grabs me by the heart.
Ann Arbor's own (mostly) Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen had recorded Live, Deep in the Heart of Texas there, so we viewed it as special although we really didn't know why.
So, one night in between sets of the Silvertones in the basement of The Blind Pig (that's a pure, wild ass guess ... but likely) Terry informed me that he had heard that the Armadillo World Headquarters was in some kind of trouble and might not be around much longer. Futhermore it was his strongly held opinion that we should go down to Austin, Texas and see a show there while we still could. Finally and as an aside, he had heard that the girls in Austin were awesome.
So we did.
The place was big, rundown, and about half or more empty. The bill featured a bunch of local bands that were all pretty good.
We walked out back to the "Beer Garden" outside and met some people who told us that we needed to make sure to come back tomorrow night for Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.
So we did.
I was stunned.
He played about every kind of American roots music you can think to name, Blues, Western Swing, Cajun, Swamp, that New Orleans Rhumba thing, Gospel, Funk.
The band was way hot with some outstanding backup vocals that seemed to just walk on up out of the crowd.
He was a helluva guitar player and just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any better, he picked up a fiddle and then later, the harmonica.
Ahhhhh, the memories ............
So anyway, this is Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown appearing on Austin City Limits many years later with another real nice band none of whom I know except that I'm sure I do know the guy up front playing the sax, I just can't pull his name out of RAM.
Born in Louisiana.
As for the girls in Austin, Texas ....... as advertized.
We've been looking for a very long time for some video that does justice to the jaw dropping magnificence that was/is Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
I still haven't found it but these two do offer up a taste.
The Kid and his band never sold well in States despite making a half dozen way sollid records that included a no kidding dozen tunes that should have been ... IMHO ... radio staples for the next 50 years, but they owned Europe in the 80's and continue to fill big rooms there to this day.
This is Band Leader, Record Producer, Songwriter and Frontman extraordinaire Thomas August Darnell Browder aka August Darnell aka Kid Creole on vocals and rhythm guitar, along with the bands Musical Director the lovely and talented Sugar Coated Andy Hernandez aka Coati Mundi on the vibraphone, timbales, boxing gloves, real ugly faces and all around hijinx.
The Coconuts, who don't happen to be appearing in this first vid are Choreographer Adreiana Kaegi aka Mama Coconut, probably Janique Svedberg but maybe Taryn Haegy and Cheryl Pointer, along with Peter Schott on keyboards, Carol Colman on the Bass, Mark Mazur playing guitar, Al Mackon on the drums, Bongo Eddie Folk on percussion, Charles Lagond on saxophone, Ken Fradley on trumpet, and Lee Robertson getting his star turn on trombone.
Easily among the very greatest showbands of all time, this is kid Creole and the Cocounts in Essen Germany, 1982.
Don't Take My Coconuts
Here's your Coconuts
I don't think we've ever posted music two days in a row, but the Little Wiffer of My Dreams took me out to the Chris Isaak show last night and I'm filled with the spirit of Rock and Roll, as for me at least there are few things in life like a professional Rock and Roll band having a good night.
Besides, Saturn is beating the snot out of both my Moon and Mercury simultaneously together as my partner likes to say and I'm bumping along on the border of the dark side.
I'm thinking I should probably be keeping my thoughts to myself for a bit.
So ..... this is Chris Isaak on lead vocals and guitar along with Hershel Yatovitz on lead guitar, Scott Plunckett at the organ, Rowland Salley on the bass, and drummer Kenney Dale Johnson.
Chris Isaak and Sivertone.
Lie To Me.
How does he hit that note?
I have neither the energy nor the will to do much in the way of either thinking or posting this morning.
So ..... here's the great Jerry Douglas unaccompanied in what I think is his practice studio, playing for his own self.