Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Feelin' Good Factor or Boogie Chillen's Twisting Chillen

Following on from the previous post about Junior Parker's Stand By Me, I happened to be listening to an old edition of Steve Propes' 45s Show  which included Henry Strogin's Old Folks Boogie While the Young Ones Twist.

This record, new to me, reminded me of an earlier Junior Parker recording, made for Sun Records. (The above is the album on which I first heard Parker's Feelin' Good back in the days when Charly put out records which sounded, as well as felt, good, but that's a topic for another time.)

Anyway, I investigated a little online and found there was a missing link between Parker and Strogin. More to the point, I also discovered that Parker had previous. As with his recording of Stand By Me, Feelin' Good wasn't exactly the fountainhead.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Don't Stand So Close By Me

 This is by way of a coda to an earlier post, here, about the origins of Ben E King's recording of Stand By Me. If you have read that - or even if you haven't - you may know that the famous song which is credited to King and Leiber and Stoller derives in part from a 1960 Soul Stirrers number called Stand By Me Father, cowritten by Sam Cooke - though that came in its turn from an early gospel song by Charles Tindley simply entitled Stand By Me. (With me so far?)

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Deborah Chessler

From October 23rd onwards, the highly recommended documentary series Street Corner Soul is to be repeated on BBC 6 Music - details of upcoming episodes here; details of episodes currently available to hear on BBC iplayer can be accessed here. Earlier posts about the series, an account of the rise and fall of doo wop as a force in popular music, can be found here.

I'm sorry to pass on the news that Deborah Chessler, composer of It's Too Soon to Know, has died. This 1948 Orioles hit is the number commonly credited with ushering in the doo wop era, so whether or not her name is known to you - and I wasn't aware of her until recently - she played a major part in musical history.

Two radio plays available on BBC iplayer

Love Me Do by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
Everything Between Us by David Ireland

There aren't many drama reviews on this blog, unless the piece in question is in some way music-related. I've succumbed to the odd post about comedy when the urge has proven irresistible (annoyingly, these get more hits than my pronouncements about doo wop), but in the main I've tried to keep this blog as a logical extension of the online dialogue with Clarke Davis which sparked it off: music is the main focus. But I thought I'd break my rule today because I've just listened to a couple of plays still briefly available on BBC iplayer which seem an interesting pair of bookmarks. I greatly prefer one to the other but both are good fits for their respective slots.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Love Me Do: the Beatles '62 (BBC documentary)

I watched Love Me Do: the Beatles '62 last night, a documentary commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles' first single. It is available on BBC iplayer, here, until next Sunday. If you're like me, you will know most of the main points in this programme already: Brian Epstein buying up records; Pete Best replaced by Ringo who was temporarily replaced, in turn, by Andy White; the record which was a creditable start but far from a smash ... it's all in the numerous biographies which you've already read. If you're like me.

So why bother with this?

Monday, 1 October 2012

No, HE is Klang ... and he's mad as hell

I mentioned the film Sven Klang's Combo some time earlier, in a post about doo wop biopics. Three scenes have recently surfaced on a youtube clip, including the key moment when the group's new saxophonist plays a Charlie Parker-type solo during a torpid dancehall gig and finds that, instead of setting the woods on fire, it's politely tolerated by a puzzled audience, no more than that.

Unfortunately there are no subtitles for the clip but what I remember about seeing the film is that there was a lot of screen time devoted to the process of making music. This was not one of those films where music is really a backdrop: we see actually see them working things out. Benny Green, the broadcaster, jazz writer and a saxophonist himself, praised it in the highest possible terms in Punch.