Another tip of the hat to Bob Brainen over at WFMU-FM in Jersey City for introducing me to this amazing recording.

I picked up this two-disc, 34-track compilation of Aretha Franklin’s rare and unreleased recordings at my local public library on the basis of hearing a few tracks on Brainen’s show. Released in 2007, it’s absolutely stunning.  And these are the demos and outtakes!

Correctly titled as Rare & Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul, the compilation reflects songs recorded by Aretha for Atlantic Records between 1966 and 1973.  The man behind Aretha’s sound, the late Jerry Wexler, penned the liner notes (along with AF biographer David Ritz) for the compilation and they picked up a Grammy nomination for their efforts.  Unfortunately, my library copy didn’t include the notes but the search continues!


I’ve included a few of my favorite tracks below.  This isn’t just great singing – this is the kind of singing that gives you a little chill up your spine and a few goosebumps too.  Don’t take my word for it. Give “Talk to Me, Talk to Me” or “So Soon” a listen and tell me you don’t agree. For an even bigger treat, check out “Sweet Bitter Love” – a demo recorded in Detroit in late 1966, that’s Aretha on piano and vocal – including the false start.

Track Listing
Disc One, tracks 10, 14 and 18, and Disc Two, track 1, previously released.
Disc One
1. “I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)” (Demo)
2. “Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)” (Demo)
3. “Sweet Bitter Love” (Aretha Arrives Outtake)
4. “It Was You” (Aretha Arrives Outtake)
5. “The Letter” (Aretha Arrives Outtake)
6. “So Soon” (Aretha Arrives Outtake)
7. “Mr. Big” (Aretha Now Outtake)
8. “Talk To Me, Talk To Me” (Soul ’69 Outtake)
9. “The Fool on the Hill” (This Girl’s In Love With You Outtake)
10. “Pledging My Love/ The Clock” (Single B-Side)
11. “You’re Taking Up Another Man’s Place” (Spirit In The Dark Outtake)
12. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (This Girl’s In Love With You/ Spirit in the Dark Outtake)
13. “I’m Trying To Overcome” (This Girl’s In Love With You/ Spirit in the Dark Outtake)
14. “My Way” (Spirit In The Dark Outtake)
15. “My Cup Runneth Over” (Young, Gifted and Black Outtake)
16. “You’re All I Need To Get By” (Take 1)
17. “You’re All I Need To Get By” (Take 2)
18. “Lean On Me” (Single B-Side)
Disc Two
1. “Rock Steady” (Alternate Mix – Young, Gifted and Black Outtake)
2. “I Need A Strong Man (The To-To Song)” (Young, Gifted and Black Outtake)
3. “Heavenly Father” (Young, Gifted and Black Outtake)
4. “Sweetest Smile and the Funkiest Style” (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) Outtake)
5. “This Is” (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) Outtake)
6. “Tree of Life” (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) Outtake)
7. “Do You Know” (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) Outtake)
8. “Can You Love Again” (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) Outtake)
9. “I Want to Be With You” (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) Outtake)
10. “Suzanne” (Hey Now Hey (The Other Side of the Sky) Outtake)
11. “Ain’t But The One” (with Ray Charles)
12. “The Happy Blues” (Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
13. “At Last” (Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
14. “Love Letters” (Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
15. “I’m In Love” (Alternate Vocal – Let Me In Your Life Outtake)
16. “Are You Leaving Me” (Demo)




Tony Promo 2

It’s no secret to the readers of The Eclectic Ear that my love of jazz seems to sometimes be stuck between about 1946 and 1966.  My own personal “golden age”.  More or less post-big band, the birth of be-bop, the rise of the great soul and R&B greats, and, of course, the time when giants walked the stage. Trane, Sonny, Miles, Monk, Coleman, Red, Bird. Just to name a few.

But modern music excites me too.  Modern fusion from Weather Report, Zawinul, Di Meola, McLaughlin, Krantz transfixes me in its complexity and sheer improvisation.  There are seemingly no bounds.

I had the pleasure of hearing Tony Adamo’s latest work this month and know that his artistry will continue to have a place in my CD player and through my ear buds as I ride the train into the depths of New York and back to Jersey in the evening.

Adamo has a unique blend of soulful singing with rap/ hip-hop and spoken work added in just the right mix.  Although there are clear strains of Lou Rawls meets Lou Reed, I also hear the syncopated rhythms of Springsteen’s “It’s Hard To Be A Saint in the City” loud and clear.  “The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street, showing me a hand I know even the cops couldn’t beat….”


Personnel: Tony Adamo: vocals, hipspokenword; Mike Clark: drums; Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Tim Ouimette: trumpet;Michael Wolff: piano; Richie Goods: bass; Lenny White: drums (1); Bill Summers: percussion (1,4,5);Jean C. Santalis: guitar (4).

Although Adamo didn’t invent the “hipspokenword” genre he has clearly mastered it with his soulful baritone, a kick-ass band that lays down infectious grooves and a street-smart lyricism that hits home.  They only problem I had with this album isn’t a problem at all – it left me wanting more. Whether it’s an old gem (check out the cover of The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” and Tower of Power’s “What Is Hip” below or a new original, it’s all good and it’s on Urban Zone Records.


Check out his site at : tonyadamo.com  or http://urbanzonerecords.com/










Check out this interesting piece on AD about a bootleg Velvet Underground tape that is surfacing   Max’s in the summer of 1970!


Aquarium Drunkard » The Velvet Underground :: The Freeman Tape Sampler, Max’s Kansas City, NYC, August, 1970.


I take a great deal of pleasure in discovering and, more or less devouring, music that is new to my ears. One place where I satisfy that need (some may term it addiction) is Bob Brainen’s weekly radio show on WFMU. Broadcast on Saturday mornings from 9 to 11, Bob plays a wide assortment of rock, jazz, blues and soul records most of which are sourced from his own personal collection. His musical knowledge seemingly knows no end and is more often than not in line with what I like to hear. If I’m not able to near a radio on a Saturday I can listen at my convenience on the web along with the playlist of what has been played. Not a single week goes by when I don’t hear something I’ve never focused on, enjoy, and/or want to add to my collection.

A few times over the past year, Bob has spun platters highlighting the amazing early-jazz drummer Warren “Baby” Dodds (1898 – 1959).

Born in New Orleans, he is widely renowned as one the greats from the era before big band arrived. I had heard his name but didn’t know his music until learning that it’s his talents behind the early work that Louis Armstrong did with his Hot 5 and Hot 7 groups. Dodds had his own style that included a lot of fanciful flourishes while keeping the beat with the bass drum. He was an early proponent of improvisation on the drums.


King Creole Jazz Band – circa 

Dodds – 2nd from left, Louis 3rd from left

“Baby” Dodds was the younger brother of famed early-jazz clarinetist Johnny Dodds (another cohort of Satchmo). His family was poor but very musical and Baby once described first making his own drum as “I took a lard can and put holes in the bottom and turned it over and took nails and put holes around the top of it. Then I took some rounds out of my mother’s chairs and made drumsticks out of them”. He eventually saved up enough for real drums and started playing in various New Orleans street bands including that of Bunk Johnson. Dodds’ presence as a teen on the New Orleans jazz scene exposed him to a lot of the greats of that time like Jelly Roll Morton and the mysterious Buddy Bolden. He also honed his chops by playing in funeral marches. He later stated “The jazz played after New Orleans funerals didn’t show any lack of respect for the person being buried. It rather showed their people that we wanted them to be happy”.


By the time he was 20, Dodds was playing in Fate Marable’s riverboat band and it was there he met a 17-year-old cornetist by the name of Louis Armstrong. The two became friends and played the boats for three years. Talk about your 10,000 hours of practice! These guys lived and breathed music every day on those boats and honed their craft to a razor-sharp edge. They parted ways and Dodds went off to King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, still considered one of the best of its kind. By the time mid-1927 rolled around, Dodds was back with Armstrong as part of the Hot Seven and later that year the Hot Five.




Although originally written and released in 1953 by Sugar Boy and His Cane Cutters (under the title of “Jock-a-Mo”) on Checker Records (#787), this heavily covered tune didn’t hit the charts until 1965 when girl group The Dixie Cups had a huge hit with it.

The song tells the tale of a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade collision between two of the “tribes” and the ensuing disagreements.  Sugar Boy (Crawford) did a great job but the girls really ran with it in an almost accidental situation.  As legend has it, The Dixie Cups were passing the time in a NYC recording studio when someone started to jam on the “Iko Iko” tune.  Drumming on an ash tray stand, a Coke bottle, and a metal chair, the tape was rolling and the producers liked it, added background vocals and a hit was born.

The tune was the third single taken from their debut studio album Chapel of Love issued on Red Bird Records in August 1964.  The girls had learned the song from their grandmother and didn’t know the roots.  The song writing credit went to The Dixie Cup members (sisters Barbara Ann and Rosa Lee Hawkins and their cousin Joan Marie Johnson).  A lawsuit a few years later from Sugar Boy claimed plagiarism and it was settled with joint songwriting credits and 25% of performance going to Crawford.  The two songs are essentially identical (listen for yourself below) but years or lawsuits wore Sugar Boy down until he settled.





I was recently digging through the used vinyl bin at a record store I frequent (Exile on Main St, Branford, CT) and came across the 45 RPM of “Born in the U.S.A”.  The hidden gem here is that the B-side is a powerful Springsteen ballad titled “Shut Out the Light” recorded in 1983. The song didn’t make  it onto the Born in the U.S.A. album and for years it was the stuff of legend among Bruce fans who may have purchased the album but knew the 45 RPM was out there.  The song was later included on the Tracks box set and between that and the birth of YouTube, it’s no longer the rarity it once was.


As Bruce says in the introduction to the live version (below) “it’s about leaving home and not being able to find your way back“. Like the A-side, it tells the story of a Vietnam vet returning home.  It’s a much more quieter and reflective song than BITUSA, and although it never specifically mentions Vietnam, it addresses the middle of the night panic attacks and all-enveloping loneliness.  The heart of the message is how the singer returned home a different man than the one who left.

Give this a close listen.  This is Bruce at his most direct commentary on the lives we live.





One of the readers of The Eclectic Ear turned me on to a radio show titled “The Sound of the City” by the late Charlie Gillett.  Charlie was the ultimate musicologist and rock ‘n’ roll historian.  I had heard of his rock history book of the same name but hadn’t heard his show.  But the internet is a wonderful time capsule and listening in to one of Charlie’s shows led me to “Teasin’ You” by Willie Tee”.



Willie Tee (1944 – 2007) was an early pioneer of New Orleans funk and soul.  A keyboardist, songwriter, sand singer, Willie was on the Nawlins’ scene for more than 40 years.

Born as Wilson Turbinton, he led the band on the Wild Magnolias’ 1974 debut album and the success of that record propelled him to stardom in the New Orleans music scene.  He was the younger brother of modern jazz saxophonist Earl Turbinton and grew up on the same tough streets as The Neville Brothers.  Willie took his influences from a wide range of artists from NO dixieland jazz to John Coltrane.

Willie started recording as a teenager in 1962 and by 1965 had his first hit with “Teasin’ You” on Atlantic Records.  He had a few more hits and was a regular fixture on the New Orleans music scene.

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Willie took a job as a visiting lecturer at Princeton University.  He eventually headed back down south and settled in Baton Rouge, LA until his death in 2007 (a month after the death of his brother Earl).




Written by the late Curtis Mayfield and recorded by Curtis and his band The Impressions in 1963, “It’s Alright” was the group’s most famous single . It’s among my favorite tunes and has been covered by numerous artists including Tommy James and The Shondells just three years later in 1966 and then by Etta James the following year. I never took to the Huey Lewis version.  Even though it was a big hit for Huey, I was never a fan of his brand of blue-eyed soul.


Although I’ve been listening to Curtis and The Impressions for decades, I loved the cover versions of their songs as showcased on the A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield recorded between November 1992 and September 1993 and subsequently released in February 1994.   Steve Winwood does a great cover of this week’s offering but there are a lot of gems on the album.  Well worth the purchase. I’ve included the original recording and Winwood’s version below.


The album has a truly all-star cast.  Check out this track listing:

“Choice of Colors” – Gladys Knight
“It’s All Right!” – Steve Winwood
“Let’s Do It Again” – Repercussions and Curtis Mayfield
“Billy Jack” – Lenny Kravitz
“Look Into Your Heart” – Whitney Houston
“Gypsy Woman” – Bruce Springsteen
“You Must Believe Me” – Eric Clapton
“I’m So Proud” – The Isley Brothers
“Fool for You” – Branford Marsalis and The Impressions
“Keep On Pushin'” – Tevin Campbell
“The Makings of You” – Aretha Franklin
“Woman’s Got Soul” – B.B. King
“People Get Ready” – Rod Stewart
“(Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go” – Narada Michael Walden
“I’ve Been Trying” – Phil Collins
“I’m the One Who Loves You” – Stevie Wonder
“Amen” – Elton John and Sounds of Blackness

All songs written by Curtis Mayfield except “Amen”, by Mayfield and John W. Pate, Sr.





Zombie Garden Club


I’ve been digging through an inbox full of new music and came across a note from Bongo Boy records that introduced me to Zombie Garden Club.

ZGC is Johnny Douglas, a Canadian native who headed down to Nashville and is tearing up the roadhouse circuit.  He’s been quoted as saying that ZGC  “is all about fuzz tones, garage rock, Fender guitars and Vox Continental organs with a retro-modern vibe”. Works for me.

Personally, I’d change the name of the band but if you’re up from Stevie Ray Vaughan meets The Yardbirds vibe, Johnny’s your guy.

His latest release has some gems including “Burn”, and my favorite from the album “Ache of Love”.

Check it out below.







Another in an impromptu homage to the late Ornette Coleman.  This one from The Paris Review.

The Sound of Sound: Two Remembrances of Ornette Coleman.tk

Reposted from Wax Poetics – a music magazine from Brooklyn, NY.

Jazz experimenter Ornette Coleman finds the eternal. An interview from 2007.

via Jazz experimenter Ornette Coleman finds the eternal.


Ornette Coleman (1930 -2015)

Ornette Coleman died yesterday of a heart attack in New York City.  A major figure in the jazz world for decades, Ornette was the ultimate innovator in a genre hallmarked by innovation.

I blogged about Coleman last year in a review of his classic work “The Shape of Jazz to Come“. Please click the link below for that…


R.I.P. Ornette


ormp   volt

When I came across the background story on Otis Redding’s 1965 recording of Mr. Pitiful, I knew I had to include here.  Not just because Otis was one of the greats who left us too soon but because it was co-written by one of the coolest guitar players on the planet, Steve Cropper.

It was included on the 1965 album The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads.


Mr. Steve Cropper

“Mr. Pitiful” was recorded in December 1964 at the Stax studios. Redding and Cropper hadn’t collaborated before this but when local Memphis DJ “Moohah” Williams nicknamed Redding “Mr. Pitiful”, because of how he sang ballads Cropper thought it would make a great song and suggested it to Otis.  As the legend goes, they recorded it in about 10 minutes.


The song has been covered a lot including a gender-corrected version by Etta James titled “Miss Pitiful.” Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin pays tribute to Redding in the song “The Crunge” (from the album Houses of the Holy).  In addition to Otis’ version, I’ve also included a live version by The Stones.




Here’s a another pop archaeology artifact that, like “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, I first heard on a WNEW-FM compilation record.  Written by Teddy Randazzo and Bobby Weinstein, initially recorded by Little Anthony & the Imperials in 1964.

Randazzo, penned the song especially for the group.   A long-time friend of the band, he had written their previous Top 20 Hit “I’m on the Outside (Looking In)”.


The Imperials consisted of “Little Anthony” Gourdine (Vocals), Sammy Strain (1st Tenor), Ernest Wright (2nd Tenor), and Clarence “Wah-Hoo” Collins (Baritone/Bass).


The song was covered by artists from Frank Sinatra to The Zombies but The Imperials version is the gold standard.  The Sinatra version is done in a standard Frank style – just add a smoky lounge and some scotch.  The Zombies stuck fairly close to the original arrangement but sound more like The Four Seasons.   I’ve included a few versions below…



Jazz_Impressions_of_Black_Orpheus   guaraldi_castf

 Fantasy Records – Cat # 3337 with original and 2nd cover.

Most people are well aware of jazz pianist, Vince Guaraldi’s (1928 – 1976) connection to the music of Peanuts, the Charles Schulz comic featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang.  Guaraldi actually recorded compositions for seventeen Peanuts specials but topping this wonderful body of work is his soundtrack for the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas Special.  My favorite Christmas film, I sometimes drag it out in mid-August just to be reminded of how great I feel when I watch it.  Go Linus!

What many people don’t realize is that Guaraldi, despite his death at only 47 years old, left a legacy of recorded jazz over a career that spanned 23 years and included 31 albums as a leader or co-leader and more than a dozen collaborations with jazz royalty like Cal Tjader and Stan Getz.


Guaraldi was born and raised in the North Beach section of San Francisco. He made his first recording with the Cal Tjader Trio in late 1953 and it was released as an early 10-inch LP early in 1954.  He formed his own trio in 1955, with Eddie Duran and Dean Reilly, but continued playing with Tjader.  A fixture on the North California jazz scene, Guaraldi also got his chance to shine on a bigger stage when he played with Cal Tjader at the 1958 Monterey Jazz Festival.



Early photo of Vince’s first trio

He left Tjader in 1959 to follow his own projects and hit it big when he was asked to compose a tune for the French/Brazilian movie Black Orpheus on which he had been hired to play cover songs.  He composed “Samba de Orpheus” for the film, which picked up an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, but surprised everyone with the B-side composition “Cast Your Fate to the Wind“.  He picked up a Grammy for that B-side recording and had a hit on his hands.  Throughout his career he never turned down a request to play it publicly and was happy to include it in all his live shows.


The album, however, was not a soundtrack, it contained a mixture or original Guaraldi tunes and covers and jazz-based interpretations of songs from the movie.  In addition to Guaraldi on piano, Colin Bailey is on drums and Monty Budwig handled double bass,  I have a CD of the original release. There is also a 2010 Original Jazz Classic (OJC) version that has a number of otherwise unavailable alternate takes. And, yes, it’s on my “needs” list.


$1.25 Dinner and Vince on piano.  Sounds like a good night!

“Cast Your Fate to the Wind” had more in store, however, for Guaraldi.  The legend is that Lee Mendelsohn, the producer of the Peanuts series, was riding in a taxi across the Golden Gate Bridge when CYFttW was played on the radio. He had been looking for the right accompaniment to the Peanuts work and phoned Ralph Gleason the famed jazz critic at the SF Chronicle.  Gleason connected the two and the rest, as they say, is music history.