Five For Friday: Ramsey Lewis Tribute

We’re taking a week off from the Songwriting Teams topic for the following special presentation.

I mentioned in yesterday’s Song of the Day post that Ramsey Lewis passed away the other day at the age of 87. I said yesterday that, for some reason, I forget him when I talk about my early jazz influences, the people who showed me through their music that there was more to music than The Beatles and Allan Sherman. One day I’ll gather all of those influences into a post and talk about them.

Ramsey Lewis played the keyboards, primarily the piano, but as we moved into the ’70’s he started working synthesizers and electric piano into his portfolio. In his later years he added musicians to his bands that could play those instruments so that he could focus on playing the piano. I found a video of his last interview where he said that he spent two hours at a time at the piano, playing not just jazz but classical music and whatever else he heard. In it, he says that the piano was his best friend (almost immediately changing that to put his wife ahead of it).

He was Chicago born and raised, and lived there most of his life. In addition to being an instrumentalist, he was an educator: Wikipedia tells us

Lewis was also active in musical education in Chicago. He founded the Ramsey Lewis Foundation, established the Ravinia’s Jazz Mentor Program, and served on the board of trustees for the Merit School of Music and The Chicago High School for the Arts.

And, if that wasn’t enough, he worked in radio. His Legends in Jazz series of radio broadcasts was heard over NPR, and a 13-part series by the same name was televised over PBS stations. He also worked as a disc jockey on WNUA, the “smooth jazz” station in Chicago, hosting The Morning Show With Ramsey Lewis which was broadcast around the country until 2009, when a format change ended the station’s days as a smooth jazz outlet.

He recorded over 50 albums starting in 1956. Choosing five songs that represent all of that was impossible, so I fugured to just pick songs I like. Maggie gave her input as far as a couple of the songs, which were songs I would have chosen as well. When all was said and done, I ended up with six songs, so you get a 20% bonus today.

  1. “Sun Goddess” with Earth Wind & Fire: Maurice White had been a member of one of the later incarnations of The Ramsey Lewis Trio, eventually leaving to form Earth Wind & Fire. This was a joint effort between them. It’s the title track from Ramsey’s 1974 album. it peaked at #44 on the Hot 100, #20 on the R&B chart, and #5 on the Dance chart.
  2. “Brazilica”: One of Maggie’s choices, it was released as a single in 1976 and later on his album Salongo from the same year. It made it to #88 on the Hot 100.
  3. “Wade In The Water”: Maggie’s other pick, it was the title track from his 1966 album. Actually a gospel song, it was released as a single in 1966 and reached #19 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B chart. It also reached #31 in the UK.
  4. “Dear Prudence”: From Ramsey’s 1969 album Mother Nature’s Son, where he covered songs from The Beatles’ white album.
  5. “Skippin'”: From his 1977 album Tequila Mockingbird.
  6. “Hang On Sloopy”: From his 1965 album Hang On, Ramsey! It reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the R&B chart.

Ramsey Lewis, your Five For Friday, September 16, 2022.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Who’s Been Talkin'”

I don’t think I’ve ever done blues in one of these battles, so lets rectify that with this round.

The song I’ve chosen for this round is “Who’s Been Talkin’,” written by Chester Burnett, aka Howlin’ Wolf. i used it a couple of weeks ago for Song Lyric Sunday, saw the number oartists who have covered it, and decided it would be my battle for today. It’s what might be considered a blues standard. It was the title song for Robert Cray’s debut album on Tomato records, which hardly anyone knows about because Tomato went bankrupt shortly after releasing it. It’s been re-released with a different name, Too Many Cooks.

Today’s battle pits a young woman who’s making waves in the blues scene against a young man who you might remember from the appearances he made on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the ’70’s.

Samantha Fish

Samantha hails from Kansas City and has been touring since 2009. In 2013, she got called up on stage at a nightclub where Buddy Guy was playing. He was more than a little skeptical about this, but after playing with her he said “When this kind of shit happens, I’ll play all night!”

Lucky Peterson

The late Judge Kenneth “Lucky” Peterson started out playing at The Governor’s Inn, his father’s club in Buffalo, New York. One night, Willie Dixon saw five-year-old Lucky playing and “took him under his wing.” Later that year, he played on The Tonight Show, where he played the organ and sang a song his father wrote called “1, 2, 3, 4,” which was based on James Brown’s “Please, Please, Please.” He issued his first album that year.

Those are our contestants. Here’s what you do:

  1. Listen to the two songs.
  2. Decide which song you like the best.
  3. Vote for your favorite by leaving me a comment with your choice. If you feel like telling us why, feel free.
  4. Then, visit the other participants and vote in their Battles:

Voting will end next Thursday, September 22, at noon, so be sure and vote by then. I’ll announce the winner sometime that afternoon.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Samantha and Lucky!

Truthful Tuesday 9/6/22: Celebs

Di stands in for Melanie once again, and asks

How do you feel about ‘celebrities’ getting their fizogs in the press all the time, despite having said they want privacy then still crave for attention, can’t seem to make the headlines without getting their kit off, or basically aren’t happy unless they are slagging someone off.

I considered asking Di to translate this into English, then I figured out what (I think) she was saying. It all has to do with celebrities saying how much they hate all the attention they get while at the same time wanting it to continue, even at the expense of making a fool of themselves in public or having a public spat with someone. That’s what I’m going to answer, anyway…

It’s like Oscar Wilde said: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” All celebrities are, at their core, narcissists, and they worry that, if people stop talking about them, they’ll be forgotten. They believe that any publicity is better than no publicity, so they’ll do pretty much anything to give them a fix.

MMMM: Radio Part II (Soul)

Image by Karlskrona from Pixabay

I got to thinking about it, and there’s something that that was underrepresented in last week’s playlist: Soul Music. So, here are eighteen soul classics by nine soul artists that were big in the 1960’s, for your listening pleasure. I’ve tested this playlist as thoroughly as possible, so there should be no problems with it playing here, but you know YouTube….

  1. The Four Tops, “Standing In The Shadows Of Love”
  2. The Four Tops, “Bernadette”
  3. The Temptations, “Just My Imagination”
  4. The Temptations, “I Can’t Get Next To You”
  5. Martha & The Vandellas, “Heat Wave”
  6. Martha & The Vandellas, “Nowhere To Run”
  7. Edwin Starr, “Twenty Five Miles”
  8. Edwin Starr, “War”
  9. Otis Redding, “Cigarettes and Coffee”
  10. Otis Redding, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
  11. The Supremes, “Baby Love”
  12. The Supremes, “Stop! In The Name Of Love”
  13. James Brown, “I Feel Good”
  14. James Brown, “It’s A Man’s World”
  15. Wilson Pickett, “Land Of 1000 Dances”
  16. Wilson Pickett, “In The Midnight Hour”
  17. Aretha Franklin, “Chain Of Fools”
  18. Aretha Franklin, “I Say A Little Prayer”

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me For August 29, 2022.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

Annual Tribute to Sophie Lancaster

I’m reposting this from David’s blog because no kid deserves to die this way.

The Writer in Black

As someone who is goth I run into people who have all sorts of strange ideas about goths.  I’m a bigish guy so most of that doesn’t get directed at me.  Others, however, are accused of being “dangerous” and “juvenile delinquents” or otherwise criminal because of a lifestyle we have adopted as fitting our “inner selves.” The truth is we’re more often abused than abusers (in my case “bigish guy” shields me from much of that) and even when it doesn’t rise to the level of physical abuse we see the fear, the hatred, and the locked doors.  There’s this delightful “Hornbach” advertisement that illustrates it to a somewhat exaggerated effect but which makes the point (while showing the young lady has an absolutely great dad):

The case of Sophie Lancaster is not just a cute advertisement.  It is a real-life tragedy.  Today is the “anniversary” of the death of…

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