2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life

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Kelvingrove Museum and Solomon Burke

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Paid a visit to the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow today and as I walked in the entrance I was met with a display of heads hanging from the ceiling which are lit up with different colours. The expressions on the faces vary but I love the one I have posted below.

IMGP0012.jpg Dontcha feel like crying…………..

I looked at it and immediately though of a song recorded by the late great Solomon Burke, the man acknowledged by Otis Redding as the greatest soul singer of them all.

So here is a performance of the song from a Jools Holland programme when Burke was not in the best of health……….but still, what a voice.

(c) Kindadukish 2016

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Nathaniel Rateliff…………echoes of the Stax soul sound

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Every Christmas my daughter usually buys me a CD (along with other presents I may add) and in recent years has bought me albums by Charlie Haden and Keith Jarrett much to my utter delight and subsequent hours of musical enjoyment.

Sort of expecting something similar this year I was a little taken aback when one of her choices was by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats. Now I must confess that I had never heard of this band but my daughter assured me I would like them, and who am I to question my daughter’s musical taste.

Well I put the CD into the player in the car and sat back to listen, and what came out brought a huge smile to my face. The obvious influences on the band are the Stax stable of soul artists along with a “soupçon” of Motown thrown in for good measure.


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Ben E King – another soul legend dies

R&B and soul singer Ben E King, best known for the classic song Stand By Me, has died at the age of 76.

Born Benjamin Earl Nelson, he initially joined a doo-wop group called The Five Crowns, who became The Drifters. In the late 1950s their hits including There Goes My Baby, which he co-wrote and which reached No. 2 in the US charts in 1959, and Save The Last Dance For Me. That song became a staple of groups throughout the sixties and has been recorded by so many artists including Michael Bublé.

But the group members were paid just $100 per week by their manager and, after a request for a pay rise was turned down, the singer decided to go it alone. In the process, he adopted the surname King.

His first solo hit, in 1961, was Spanish Harlem, still one of my favourite songs, which was followed by Stand By Me which reached the US top five in 1961. Stand by Me was yet another staple of sixties groups with it’s simple 4 chord structure the sound of the guiro (scraper) and its repetitive bass line.

Interestingly he originally intended “Stand By Me” for The Drifters, but their manager said they didn’t need it (many people think it was a hit for the them so closely is Ben E King associated withe them).

In my vocal I think you can hear something of my earlier times when I’d sing in subway halls for the echo, and perform doo-wop on street corners,” he told The Guardian in 2013. “But I had a lot of influences, too – singers like Sam Cooke and Brook Benton. The song’s success lay in the way Leiber and Stoller took chances, though, borrowing from symphonic scores, and we had a brilliant string arranger.”

The song went on to chart nine times on the US Billboard 100 – King’s version twice and seven times with covers by artists like John Lennon. It was also the fourth most-played track of the 20th Century on US radio and TV.

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Immortal Jukebox: Arthur Alexander

I make no excuses for featuring Arthur Alexander again. This is a beautifully written blog by Thom Hickey and the song says it all

The Immortal Jukebox

A3:  Arthur Alexander: In The Middle Of It All 

‘The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation’.

(Henry David Thoreau)

‘Now I ache, with heartbreak and pain and the hurt that I just can’t explain’

(Arthur Alexander)

Imagine you are the manager of a blue collar bar in a tough small town.  You work long hours making sure everybody has a good time and that nobody’s good time winds up leaving someone else on their way to hospital.  You know who not to serve, who to share a joke with, who to warn off and who to throw out for their own good. You keep a weighted pool cue just out of sight from the floor within your reach – just in case.

You stock the jukebox and make sure that there’s old and new favourites: something that counts as a home town anthem; several that are fast and…

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Arthur Alexander – a big influence but little known

SCAN0103 Arthur Alexander, a country and soul singer/songwriter,  was born in Sheffield, Alabama and recorded his first single, “Sally Sue Brown“, under the name of June Alexander (short for Junior), which was released in 1960 on Jud Phillips’ Judd Records. (Phillips is the brother of music pioneer Sam Phillips). It wasn’t a hit.

Alexander then recorded “You Better Move On in 1961 at a former tobacco warehouse-turned-recording studio in Muscle Shoals and it became a soul/R&B chart hit.

It’s perhaps Alexander’s best-known song, covered by the Rolling Stones and the Hollies among others. It also kick-started the studio as the hit factory for soul music combining black singers ad white country musicians.

On the UK release the flip side was “A shot of rhythm and blues” which was covered in the UK by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates who reached no 48 in the charts with it (More on him here). It was also covered by Gerry and the Pacemakers ( a pretty good version) and played live by the Beatles on the BBC.

His next song “Where Have you been (all my life)” wasn’t a hit for him but was covered in the UK by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders on their album. The song and its flip-side “Soldier of Love” were sung by the Beatles in their stage act and also on the BBC.

Anna (Go to Him), a U.S. R&B Top Ten Hit, was covered by the Beatles on their first album  “Please Please Me” with John Lennon taking the lead vocal part.

SCAN0101SCAN0104Although he made more records he never quite achieved the fame he probably deserved and gave up performing for a while driving a bus for a living.

Alexander died of a heart attack on 9 June 1993 aged just 53 just a few days after  and appearing in Nashville to promote his comeback album “Lonely just like me”.

He will be remembered as a singer/songwriter whose material was covered by such noteworthy artists as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Esther Phillips, Joe Tex, Marshall Crenshaw, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Ry Cooder, Ike and Tina Turner, Dusty Springfield, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Beatles.

His songs were also part of the staple diets of aspiring R ‘n’ B and rock groups in the 1960s.  “Where have you been” for example is a song we’ve both performed with different groups and together and its still popular today

I’ve put lots of links to Youtube on here so you can listen to and compare the different versions.

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Another great soul single from my attic

SCAN0072This classic soul song from Percy Sledge – “When a man loves a woman” – recorded by him in 1966,  made number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts.

It was later covered by Michael Bolton in 1991, whose version also reached number one on the U.S. pop and adult contemporary singles charts .

The song has also been recorded by Jerry Butler, Art Garfunkel, Luba, and the Spencer Davis Group.

Sledge’s version was also a top ten hit in the UK peaking at number four on its initial release and peaking at number two in 1987 after it was featured in a Levi’s Jeans advert.

I have two copies both of which are clearly re-issues judging by the 501 Levi logo on the sleeve. On the original release the B side was “Love me like you mean it” but on my two copies the B side or side 2 is “Warm and Tender Love” which was the follow-up single. So two A sides for the price of one.

The two copies I have have identical data on the them but have different coloured labels as you can see below.SCAN0074 SCAN0073

If you need a reminder of how good it was here it is on Youtube.