Saturday, May 7, 2016

Music Break

This time, I've got a few odd little numbers, for what I might call an eclectic mixture.  Leading off is Paul Kantner with The Baby Tree, from Blows Against the Empire, the science fiction concept album released in 1970, and credited to himself and Jefferson Starship.  The band having that name would not be founded until 1974.  The song was written by American folk singer Rosalie Sorrels, and performed by Kantner on vocals and banjo.

Pop singer Teresa Brewer had a #1 hit in 1950 with Music! Music! Music!, and recorded several other versions later in her career.  I remember this rock version, produced by her husband Bob Thiele in 1973.  The song was written by Stephen Weiss and Bernie Baum, but if you listen closer, you'll hear a bit of Franz Liszt.

The Mamas & Papas recorded a version of Dancing In The Street, with Cass Elliot on lead vocals.  The backing vocals, by John Phillips, Michelle Phillips and Denny Doherty, are arranged differently than in more famous versions such as the original by Martha & the Vandellas.  Toward the end, Cass and Denny engage in a spoken dialogue.

French-born Israeli singer Yael Naim had a #7 hit in the United States with New Soul, boosted by its use by Apple in an ad for their Macbook Air laptop.  She thus became the first Israeli solo artist to hit the top ten in the U.S.  The song has some quirky instrumentation, starting with piano, then adding horns, later going to an acoustic guitar and adding flutes, and finally fading out with an angelic choir.  Even though the song was a big hit, I learned of it from Findalis, founder of the blog Monkey In The Middle, when she co-hosted a show on BlogTalkRadio.  Sadly, she passed away last year, but other contributors have kept her blog going.  (After reading this far, you now know why this post has a "Blogger Friends" label.)

Let's finish with some rock & roll.  In 1977, Bachman-Turner Overdrive released their sixth studio album Freeways, which included Down Down.  This was also their last studio album with the classic lineup of Randy Bachman (guitar & vocals), Robbie Bachman (drums), Blair Thornton (guitar) and Fred Turner (bass & vocals).

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