Iron Leg Digital Trip #33 – Hey Ladies!!
Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll – Save Me (Polydor)
Jeannie Piersol – Your Sweet Inner Self (Cadet Concept)
Sweetwater – Look Out (Reprise)
Lulu – Love Love to Love Love (Epic)
Roberta Flack – Compared to What (Atlantic)
Lynne Randell – It’s a Hoedown (Epic)
Peggy Lipton – Wasn’t It You (Ode)
Evie Sands – I Can’t Let Go (Blue Cat)
Cher – Hey Joe (Imperial)
Shirley Bassey – Light My Fire (UA)
Janis Ian – Younger Generation Blues (Verve)
Jonna Gault – Good Vibrations (RCA)
Peggy Lee – Spinning Wheel (Capitol)
Herbie Mann and Tamiko Jones – The Sidewinder (Atlantic)
Roberta Lee – Come to the Sunshine (Montclare)
Rotary Connection – Burning of the Midnight Lamp (Cadet Concept)
Labelle – Won’t Get Fooled Again (WB)
This – as promised – is the mix I’ve been working on for the Iron Leg end of the 2010 Pledge Drive.
Though things in this regard have always been focused over at Funky16Corners, both blogs are produced by the same hardworking staff (that would be me…) and are centered in the same web/server space, so, all boats picked up by a rising tide and all, what benefit’s the big blog, also keeps Iron Leg afloat.
That I didn’t get this mix up and running until today has everything to do with a batshit crazy schedule, the heart of which was occupied by the purchase and assemble of a screened gazebo to protect the family from the cossack horde of mosquitos that descends on us as soon as the temperature rises above 60 degrees. We have a river a block away on one side and a creek a block away on the other. This would be great as a defensive measure in time of invasion, but during peacetime it’s pretty much just a giant mosquito incubator, and there’s something in our Grogan blood that the beasts find delectable.
Anyhoo, this is another one of those mixes that came together organically, in that I seemed to be picking up a lot of interesting stuff by female singers, and when I started to consider what the next Iron Leg Digital Trip would be, the idea kind of presented itself, and I ran (limped) with it.
There are a couple of tracks here that should be familiar (through previous appearances either here or at Funky16Corners), and a bunch of newer stuff, criss-crossing genres.
Things get started with Brian and Jools with their storming version of Aretha Franklin’s oft-covered ‘Save Me’. I’ll admit that I don’t always dig Driscoll’s voice, but it’s cooking on this track.
I picked up my first Jeannie Piersol 45 last year, solely on the strength of it being bew to me and on the storied Cadet Concept label. I liked the 45 so much I tracked down a copy of her other CC 45, both created with the assistance of none other than Darby Slick! Piersol did have something of a Grace Slick feel to her vocals, but both 45s have an unusual, soulful edge to them. ‘Your Sweet Inner Self’ manages to take that vibe and mix it with a bit of hippie-speak.
I knew nothing of Sweetwater (including the fact that they performed at Woodstock) until someone made a TV movie about the band a few years back.. I picked up one of their albums and liked what I heard. The band had one of those sonic mixtures that was very common in the late 60s, that being a collision of rock, soul, jazz and pop that worked well with an audience that had a much broader palate than what we see today. ‘Look Out’ is testament to the fact that prior to her tragic accident, Nansi Nevins had a powerful voice.
Lulu’s ‘Love Loves to Love Love’ is a mod classic, with a fat drum sound that prowls on the outskirts of funk.
Roberta Flack’s solid version of Gene McDaniel’s ‘Compared to What’ (one of my faves) has a slow, earthy funk to it, and Flack’s amazing voice wraps around the lyrics like a fur coat. It hails from her amazing first album.
Australian Lynne Randell’s ‘It’s a Hoedown’ is another vintage Iron Leg track with enough soul power packed alongside its pop kick to move a dancefloor, and enough ‘Last Train To Clarksville’ to remind you that she dated Davy Jones.
Yes, you read correctly. The next track is indeed by the same Peggy Lipton who starred on ‘The Mod Squad’. She made two albums in the late 60s, both of which are worth picking up. I grabbed the first one to get my hands on a dynamite pop-psyche track (which will be featured in this space sometime soon) and while I was listening to the album, one of the tracks sounded very familiar. After I wracked my brain a little I remembered that ‘Wasn’t It You’ had also been recorded by the Action. Lipton’s version is groovy, even if it lacks a little of the immediacy of the Action’s take.
‘I Can’t Let Go’ was – oddly enough – a song that I first heard performed by Linda Ronstadt! It was a few years later that I heard the Hollies’ version, and several more before I was exposed to the original by Evie Sands. Sands was a great, if terribly unlucky, singer who recorded a couple of great 45s, including what IU would consider to be the definitive version of ‘Take Me For a Little While’. Her take on ‘I Can’t Let Go’ moves at a slower pace than the Hollies, but builds slowly to a kind of grandeur.
Cher, despite her chameleonlike dodging from genre to genre, had a few solid folk-rock/pop years as a solo which she served concurrently with her time with Sonny. Her take on ‘Hey Joe’ is actually pretty good.
Pretty much everyone with access to a recording studio made their own version of the Doors ‘Light My Fire’. I featured Shirley Bassey’s version over at Funky16Corners a while back, and it is a stunner!
I’ve said it in this space before, but I will reiterate, if you aren’t already hip to Janis Ian’s early Verve albums, pick some up because they are filled with excellent, often fuzzed out folk rock like ‘Younger Generation Blues’.
If memory serves I found my first Jonna Gault 45 in a huge mountain of records that my father-in-law sent my way. I eventually grabbed a copy of her unusual RCA album. Gault was a kind of a self-contained artist, writing, arranging and producing her own odd mixture of pop and show tunes. She also recorded a couple of cool cover versions, one of which was the take on the Beach Boys’ ‘Good Vibrations’ featured here.
Peggy Lee was another multi-talented artist, starting out as a big band singer, moving on to writing a lot of her own material and developing a serious, jazz oriented interpreter of popular song. By the late 60s, Lee – like just about everyone else – was taking a stab at a broader market, covering contemporary pop material like Blood Sweat and Tears ‘Spinning Wheel’. Unlike so many of her ilk, she was good at it.
Herbie Mann is best known as the premiere proponent of the flute in soul jazz, Tamiko Jones recorded for a variety of labels, doing soul, jazz and even disco. The album she did with Mann features a couple of very cool tracks, their cover of Lee Morgan’s ‘The Sidewinder’ being one of them.
I have never been able to find out much about Roberta Lee, and even less about how she came to record Van Dyke Park’s ‘Come to the Sunshine’ (a hit for Harpers Bizarre). I dig her version, but she makes it sound like a commercial for the Florida Tourist Board.
Rotary Connection, featuring the voice of Minnie Riperton, are something of an acquired taste, bridging soul and psychedelic rock the way they did. Their version of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Burning of the Midnight Lamp’ is fairly faithful to the spirit of the original.
This mix closes out with one of my favorite digging discoveries from last years trips down to Washington, DC. Thanks entirely to the largesse of my man DJ Birdman – who pulled the record out of a pile and handed it to me – I was introduced to LaBelle’s groovy cover of the Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’.
I hope you dig the mix, and of you do, think about heading over to Funky16Corners to make a donation in the 2010 Pledge Drive.
See you next week.