The It Don’t Matter To Me Variations

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Bread (L-R Royer, Griffin, Gates)

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Listen/Download – Bread – It Don’t Matter To Me (LP Version)

Listen/Download – Bread – It Don’t Matter To Me (45 Version)

Listen/Download – Josie and the Pussycats – It Don’t Matter To Me

Listen/Download – Petula Clark – It Don’t Matter To Me

Greetings All…

Whether or not those of you that fall by Iron Leg on the reg ever expected to see the music of Bread here (if you were paying attention I suspect that you did, but whatevs…) I think you will dig the tracks I bring you today.

I have certainly made reference to Bread as a group (via covers of their songs) and component parts (by posting the early sounds made by members David Gates, Robb Royer and James Griffin), and have mentioned before that ‘It Don’t Matter To Me’, a significant hit for the band in 1970 (their second big single after ‘Make It With You’) is one of my favorite songs.

I have long since passed the point where I give a shit whether someone thinks me an apostate for professing my admiration for a band like Bread.

This is for two basic reasons, the main one being that despite their lingering (and sometimes deserved) rep for cranking out maudlin mush, they made some great music (the other being that having turned 50 I am now officially too old to give a shit).

As a youngster with my ear attached securely to the AM radio, Bread were a frequent fixture on the airwaves for just about all of the 1970s.

They formed in 1968 after Gates, who had worked as a producer, composer, arranger and performer for everyone from Pat Boone to Captain Beefheart decided to form a group with James Griffin and Robb Royer, both of whom he had produced in previous groups (the Pleasure Fair and the Morning Glories).

The group was initially drummerless, with the drums on their debut album provided by Ron Edgar of the Music Machine and Jim Gordon (of everything else).

It’s important to note what a departure Bread was for Elektra records.

From the label’s earliest days when it concentrated on folk and world music, through the mid 60s when they were signing and recording some of the most progressive pop and rock bands in the world, Elektra had a reputation for treading the margins. The late 60s saw Jac Holzman working that angle even moreso, adding bands like the Stooges and the MC5 to the line-up.

Bread were not only light years more ‘conventional’ than most of their labelmates, but also more successful.

The were all over the Hot 100 between 1970 and 1973, when they broke up for the first time (the friction between Gates and Griffin – over who’s songs got to be singles – getting to be too much).

Though I cannot say for sure, my suspicion is that what made the group interesting was that very friction.

Gates was a consummate craftsman, but also seemed to lean in a “softer” direction.

The tracks I bring you today explore the various interpretations – inside and outside of Bread – of one of their best (and my favorite songs), ‘It Don’t Matter To Me’.

Released in mid-1969, ‘Bread’ is – like many 1960s anchored debuts by bands that went on to success in the 1970s – still marked by the sounds of the earlier decade. That first album displays the influence of groups like the Beatles, but also most of the musical strains floating in the southern California zeitgeist.

‘It Don’t Matter To Me’ (written by Gates) has an interesting history.

The weak spot for me – as far as Bread are concerned – were their lyrics, which like many of the artists of the day seemed to emit the patchouli-soaked aroma of the softer, self-actualization end of the hippie experience.

It’s not that they didn’t make sense when Gates wrote ‘It Don’t Matter To Me’, but that they contain an odd, time-specific philosophy/sentimentality that did not age well.

The very idea of a character that is so deeply enamored of a woman that he will fight a lengthy war of romantic attrition until, after long last she realizes the error of her ways and finds her way back to him, might have had much to offer for the ladies in the audience, yet I’m still left wondering who – outside of someone afflicted by the deepest unrequited love – on the male side of the equation this was supposed to appeal to (maybe no one??).

All of which I can (and will) overlook, if there are melodies to be had, and when you’re talking about Bread, they are many and of an exceptional quality.

Though it is one of the group’s best known songs, it wasn’t issued as a single when their debut LP was released (‘Dismal Day’ and the excellent Griffin/Royer composition ‘Could I’ being the A-sides from ‘Bread’).

This could have a lot to do with the fact that the version of ‘It Don’t Matter To Me’ is markedly different than the one that made it into the Top 20 almost a full year later.

The version that appears on the first album is a more rustic, folk-rock effort. The vocals, guitars and tempo are all different, the pace a touch faster.

The song, which Gates wrote prior to the formation of Bread was rerecorded/rearranged for the single release (a full year after its appearance on ‘Bread’) with a slower tempo, string section, more complex guitar and brighter, fuller harmonies. The beauty of the song’s chord changes and melody seem much better framed by the later arrangement.

The Bread catalog has never wanted for outside interpretation, even on the soulful side of things.

The Friends of Distinction covered ‘It Don’t Matter To Me’, and there are excellent versions of ‘Make It With You’ by Ralfi Pagan (epic) and Ronnie Dyson, as well as a very nice take on ‘Everything I Own’ by Oscar Toney Jr.

Though Josie and the Pussycats are best known as an animated (cartoon) commodity, there was an album (and several single-only tracks) recorded to accompany their Saturday morning show in 1970.

The vocalists included Cheryl Ladd (later of Charlie’s Angels), Patrice Holloway (sister of Motown legend Brenda) and Cathy Douglas.

The album included a number of original songs (many written by Danny Janssen and Bobby Hart) as well as a number of contemporary covers, including ‘It Don’t Matter To Me’.

The Josie and the Pussycats version of the song features a fairly faithful arrangement (featuring a band of familiar West coast session musicians) and aside from some awkward harmonizing in the first verse, nice vocals.

Later the same year, Petula Clark ( a few years past her last big hit) traveled to Memphis (a la Dusty Springfield) to record an album with the American Studios crew.

I had this album for years before I realized that the track listed as ‘It Doesn’t Matter To Me’ on the label was in fact ‘It Don’t Matter To Me’.

Clark’s version is really well done. Though she was known for a brassier, showbizzy style, she was also capable of subtlety, which she displays here.

The arrangement is laid back and the production – by no less a light than Chips Moman – is spot on.

More recently, there were covers of the song by Matthew Sweet (on the soundtrack to the film ‘Ash Wednesday’) and Josh Rouse.

I hope you dig the tracks, and if you shied away from Bread before, maybe take a minute to dig into their early stuff.
See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Bougalieu – Let’s Do Wrong

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The Bougalieu

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Listen/Download – The Bougalieu – Let’s Do Wrong

Greetings all.

I hope you all had a chance to open up your head and let your mind marinate in episode #17 of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

With all of the sophistpo-sunshiney pop stuff that I’ve been posting of late, I figured that we were all ready to dip into some garage fuzz.

I first heard the Bougalieu (one of my fave 6Ts punk names) way back when in the olden days of yore, with the poorly-fitting Beatle boots, long hair and bodega beer, on one of the old Boulders comps.

Though almost all of that first wave of comps were “bootleg”, the Boulders series, with the low-rent B&W covers (not to mention the 7” eps) was a tad bootleggier than all the rest.

I also found the Boulders records to come correct with the really interesting sounds, so much so that much of the OG 6Ts punk 45s that I have first entered my ears via those very comps.

‘Let’s Do Wrong’ by the Bougalieu is an especially cool example of the genre, ultra snotty, with the ragged guitars and the Jagger/May-esque vocals.

It also a testament to the spirit of musical economy, clocking in at way under the two minute mark.

What I find particularly interesting about this biscuit is the fact that despite all sonic evidence to the contrary, ‘Let’s Do Wrong’ falls pretty far along the timeline, bringing the heat well into 1967, when most of the world was knee deep in flowers and love.

The Bougalieu hailed from upstate NY (Albany), and included members Mike Rothman, Lester Figarsky, Bill Gallagher, Larry Scarano, Parker Wheeler and Parker Kennedy (yes, TWO Parkers…).

They recorded their sole 45, ‘Let’s Do Wrong’ b/w ‘When I Was a Children’ in July of 1967, with the record being released a few months later. There was also a white-label DJ promo of the 45 that featured different takes of both songs.

Oddly – or maybe not so oddly when you take the date into consideration – ‘Let’s Do Wrong’ was neglected, with the much lighter ‘When I Was a Children’ garnering airplay, charting regionally in NY and Florida.

A year later – after an extended period in Florida – the band had run it’s course and broke up.

Gallagher, Figarsky and Scarano went on to join the band Friends of Whitney Sunday which recorded some singles for Capitol Records and then changed to Whitney Sunday for an LP on Decca.

I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #17

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Intro – Action Scene – Hawkshaw/Mansfield (KPM)
Don and the Goodtimes – Little Sally Tease (Dunhill)
Los Gatos Negros – Land of 1000 Dances (Vergara)
The Equals – My Life Ain’t Easy (President)
Terry Knight and the Pack – Got Love (Lucky 11)
Chancellors – I’m a Man (Soma)
The Mods – Satisfaction (Revelation VII)
The Mods – Go (Steinbachs Mustang) (Revelation VII)
Mars Bonfire – Ride With Me (UNI)
Mars Bonfire – Born To Be Wild (UNI)
Hollywood Bowl Concert Radio Spot

Fun and Games – Elephant Candy (UNI)
Fun and Games – Grooviest Girl In the World (UNI)
Fun and Games – Something I Wrote (UNI)
The Hardy Boys – Here Come the Hardys (RCA/Dunwich)
Three Ring Circus – Groovin’ On the Sunshine (RCA)
The Pleasure Fair – Fade In Fade Out (UNI)
Morning Glories – Love-In (RCA)
Bread – Could I (Elektra)
Bread – It Don’t Matter To Me 1969 LP Version (Elektra)
Stone Poneys Pepsi Commercial

Gene Clark and the Gosdin Bros – So You Say You Lost Your Baby (Columbia)
Brewer and Shipley – She Got the Time She Got the Changes (A&M)
Brewer and Shipley – Pig’s Head (Kama Sutra)
Gordon Lightfoot – The Pride of Man (UA)
John Denver – Molly (RCA)
Glen Campbell – Guess I’m Dumb (Capitol)
Primrose Circus – PS Call Me Lulu (Mira)
Jimmie Haskell feat. Denny Doherty – To Claudia On Thursday (ABC)
Kaleidoscope – Egyptian Garden (Epic)
Clear Light – Think Again (Elektra)
Jacques Dutronc – Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi (Vogue)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 17 – 172MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well.

It’s time once again for the Iron Leg Radio Show, episode the seventeenth!

This month’s Iron Leg Radio Show is packed with recent acquisitions.

The last month has been very fruitful digging-wise with lots of sunshine pop, psychedelia and even a long sought after local garage 45 that finally came my way.

You get to check out some prime, late-60s California pop, including some very interesting early stuff from Bread (and pre-Bread 45s too)!

As always, I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back next week with something groovy.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

The Morning Glories – Love-In

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Not the band, but an actual Love In…

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Listen/Download – The Morning Glories – Love-In

Greetings all.

I hope everyone had themselves a very groovy week, weekend and (how it pains me to say this) summer (yes, it is at an end…).

Despite the ongoing chaos here at Funky16Corners/Iron Leg-quarters, I have managed, through a drive that some might call devotion, and others obsession (dementia?) to keep the flow of new vinyl somewhat constant, even if it is sometimes reduced to but a trickle.

Though the soul/funk/jazz vibe of Funky16Corners often takes precedence in the vinyl acquisition sweepstakes, I often find myself gathering my rosebuds (in pop/psych/garage form) while I may and piling them up over by the turntables where they await digimatization and transfer to the ipod, where they are the inserted into my ears/head at high volume until suitably absorbed.

The last few months have been expecially rewarding in the stockpiling of Iron Leggy stuff, especially in regard to pure, sunshiney pop.

Today’s selection is one of those beauties.

I had never heard of the Morning Glories when I encountered this 45, but once I gave the accompanying sound clip a listen, I put in my bid and in the end managed to take it home for a pittance.

As it turns out the Morning Glories – a one-45 outfit – were a part of the seeming vast web of pre-Bread sounds created in the mid-60s.

The vastness of the web in question has a lot to do with the prolific output of David Gates, who had his hands in a LOT of stuff as writer, producer and performer from the surf/hot rod days right on up to when things got garagey and psychedelic (I have a particularly hot example of those days coming up).

The Morning Glories – featuiring future Bread-slices James Griffin and Rob Royer (who had already worked with Gates when he was in the Pleasure Fair) – recorded ‘Love-In’ b/w ‘You’re So Young’ in 1967 for Warner Brothers.

‘Love-In’ is a wonderful slice of popsike with baroque touches and superb harmonies and arrangement that manages to stay just this side of twee. It’s the kind of song that had all of the components of what one might expect in a radio hit, and sadly, none of the results.

I would love to know who ‘TS Farthingsworth XIV’ was. The name (which I suspect is a pseudonym, maybe for Royer?) appears on other songs co-written by Griffin (one of their tracks appears on the Beethoven Soul LP) and with other writers on songs by the Hondells.

That said, this is a very groovy song indeed.

I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

RIP Joe South

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Joe South

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Listen/Download – Joe South – Mirror of Your Mind

Greetings all

I just heard on Wednesday of the passing of the great Joe South.

I originally posted this song back in 2010, and I’ve had it running through my head on a loop for the last few days.

South was a master, and his catalog as a performer and songwriter is deep, but this is an especially good one so I thought I’d repost it.

I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

Originally posted 4/15/10

Greetings all.
Is it Friday already?
As has been discussed here previously. I generally digimatize vinyl as it falls through the mail slot, building up as big a backlog as possible so that when the time comes to dip into the reserves and select something for blog-i-fication, I can let inspirado take me by the hand.
Sometimes – assuming there’s enough stuff held in reserve – my fevered brain manages to wrap itself around something interesting and we all win. Other times, how do they say, not so much.
However, sometimes when the end of the week comes, I can look back on what I posted on Monday, and something ricochets around the old cerebellum and a shiny little light bulb snaps on over my head and the gears start to turn.
It just so happens that this is one of those weeks.
I mad mention in Monday’s post (about the Candymen)  about the way certain Southern rockers were privy to a special, sub-Mason/Dixon blend of rock, country and soul. This is not to say that such a combination was never attempted up thisaway, but rather that it tended to come more organically to our friends in Dixie.
As a standard issue 1970s longhair, I knew the name Joe South, but only by virtue of the fact that he was the cat that penned ‘Hush’ (made famous by the early incarnation of Deep Purple), ‘Down In the Boondocks’ (Billy Joe Royal), ‘(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden’ (HUGE hit for Lynn Anderson) and even ‘Yo Yo’ for the Osmond Brothers. He also had a sizable hit with another original composition, the oft-covered ‘Games People Play’, a Top 40 hit in early 1969.
It was probably 15 years between when I grabbed my first copy of ‘Shades of Deep Purple’ and my first, actual Joe South record, that being the 45 of ‘Games People Play’ and today’s selection ‘Mirror of Your Mind’.
Now, as an astute observer of my fellow record heads I was aware that South’s own recordings, composed of a kind of era-specific (i.e. adorned with a psychedelic fringe or two) country soul, were held in very high esteem by some folks who I in turn respect. Unfortunately, despite no small amount of searching on my part I have never encountered any of South’s albums in the field.
This, in addition to the fact that I stupidly assumed (cue Felix Unger) that the ‘Mirror of Your Mind’ by South was the same song known to garage punk fans as having been recorded by We the People. Naturally, as soon as I played the 45 I discovered that this was not in fact the case, but was also pleasantly surprised by how groovy the South’s tune was.
If I had to draw a parallel to another familiar artist, I might connect Joe South to someone like Tony Joe White, at least in a stylistic way. South was a much more prolific (and successful) songwriter, but he and White shared a certain buckskinned, blue-eyed soul vibe, all wrapped in a certain amount of crossover appeal.
‘Mirror of Your Mind’ starts off with a twangy electric sitar line (similar to that on the more famous a-side), followed by South’s gruff baritone and some vaguely countrypolitan strings and backing vocals. Unlike much of what was coming out of Nashville at the time, South whips the whole mix together with some hard hitting drums, wah-wah guitar and a truly far out psychedelic interlude that must have caused countless country fans to drive into roadside ditches with alarmed cries of ‘What in tarnation?!?!?’
It’s a fairly long, involved affair as well, clocking in at just over four and a half minutes.
A very groovy cut, by a very interesting cat.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Monday with something cool.


Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some funky soundtrack action from Quincy Jones.

Hal David RIP – Jackie DeShannon – Come and Get Me

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Jackie DeShannon

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Listen/Download – Jackie DeShannon – Come and Get Me

Greetings all.

I initially had something else prepared for today, but the weekend brought the news of the passing of lyricist Hal David.

David, i.e. the second half of the legendary Burt Bacharach/David* collaboration, next to Lennon and McCartney the defining songwriting partnership of the 60s passed away at the age of 91.

I’ve posted other Bacharach/David songs in this spot before (especially Tony Orlando’s ‘To Wait For Love’, I reposted the link to the song) and have gone on record saying that he team was responsible for creating some of the most sublime music of the era.

Certainly Bacharach’s brilliant melodic sensibility is what often made the first impression, but it was Hal David’s ability to construct lyrics that turned his baroque flights of fancy into memorable pop songs that made their’s such a powerful creative union.

The tune I bring you today is one of several songs the pair wrote for Jackie DeShannon in the 60s.

‘Come and Get Me’, recorded in 1966 was an emotionally powerful tour de force and a testament to Bacharach and David not only as songwriters but as record makers/auteurs as well.

Written and produced by the pair, and arranged by Bacharach, ‘Come and Get Me’ shows the kind of artistic heights the pair could reach when they matched a singer to a song, and then built up a sound around them.

I always found DeShannon particularly interesting in this respect because she got her start as a songwriter herself, yet found her greatest measure of fame as a performer, particularly as an interpreter of other people’s material (especially Bacharach and David).

She had a great voice, but even that is tempered by the fact that Bacharach and David wrote songs and made records from them that seemed to force the performers into a mold (at least part of the way), i.e. the structure of their songs and recordings were so distinct that what you ended up with was often less a Jackie DeShannon performance than a B&D record featuring Jackie DeShannon (or whoever the singer involved was).

Listen to the competing versions of ‘Alfie’ by Cilla Black (arranged/produced by Bacharach in a grueling, marathon session) and Cher (produced by Sonny Bono) for a look at how strong the composer’s hand was in shaping the interpretation of his song in the studio.

Oddly, despite its obvious quality, ‘Come and Get Me’ barely scraped the outer edges of the Hot 100 and DeShannon wouldn’t have another big hit until her own ‘Put a Little Love In Your Heart’ in 1969.

That all said, it’s a wonderful record, great Bacharach/David, great DeShannon.

I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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*Interestingly, also the second ‘David’ in that equation, preceded by his older brother Mack, who worked with Bacharach first


PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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