SONG OF THE DAY (last one until Friday 14th) Los Pekenikes – Tren transoceánico a Bucaramanga


PrimaryThe Pekenikes were a Spanish psych-pop outfit that emerged in the late 1950’s. Signed to Spanish label Hispavox, the group released many albums and single over their lengthy career.

Founded in 1959 by by brothers Alfonso Sáinz and Lucas Sáinz, the band also consisted of Spanish, Colombian and Filipino singers and musicians. This blend proved to be a winning mix and after setting out covering various other songs, they eventually settled as an instrumental outfit. Five years later they were opening for The Beatles in Madrid and released their debut album a few months later.

Throughout the years multiple musicians passed through the band, but the essence of what they were about remained, making Los Pekenikes one of the most influential Spanish groups of all time!

Tren Transoceánico a Bucaramanga was released as a single in 1970, but I have just come across an article which explains that this song is actually a copy of one of their earlier compositions from 1962! Entitled Viento Inca (Inca Wind), this track appeared on their Madison & Locomotion EP and would have been recorded with a different line up of musicians (though some remained constant throughout).  Hearing this earlier version now, I’d have to say I’m liking this a bit better, but its good to see how it was adapted nearly eight years later!

Check out both versions above and below (the one at the bottom of this page is the 1962 one!!)

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SONG OF THE DAY  Peter Reno – The Lost World


R-1937517-1480635095-2340I’ve always been bit partial to a bit of Easy Listening/Library music, but have never delved too deeply into it as there are just not enough hours in the day for all of music I discover…and am waiting to discover! The musical tangents I find myself embarking on are one of my favourite things in the world! I never know where I’m going to end up!! The possibilities drawn out from my searches are seemingly limitless and that gives me thrills beyond words!!

Today’s piece of music is a glorious track from 1967. Created by Peter Reno, who I initially assumed was just one man, this song was composed by music partners Peter Taylor (composer) and his business associate, Cliff Twemlow. Active throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, their repertoire is extensive and includes music used on TV shows such as Queenie’s Castle and Crown Court (TV series) and several films including Dawn of the Dead!

The Lost World appears on Peter Reno’s Polaris LP, which was issued on the Music De Wolfe label in 1967. If you are into these sounds, this label is worth checking out as it has been recognised as the originator of Library music!! Dramatic and striking, today’s song opens with an epic introduction, which soon gives way to a smooth and luxurious string-led melody, the contrast is a treat to the senses and the drumming is pretty cool too – I could imagine sampling this!! It’s a gorgeous discovery that I am so happy to be sharing……as is always the case!!! I hope you like!

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SONG OF THE DAY Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger – The Space Girl’s Song


PrimaryWhen I first heard Shirley Collins perform this song (listen to her version below) I didn’t realise that it was a cover, nor did I think I’d like any version better than hers, but I do.

Originally written and arranged by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in 1952, Space Girl was created as part of a short-ballad opera, You’re Only Young Once (written for Theatre Workshop to take to the Warsaw Youth Festival, 1953). It is a parody on The Ghost Soldier Song which was popular with American soldiers during the First World War and mocks most of the major themes of 1940s science fiction. They duo later included the song on their The New Briton Gazette LP, which was released in 1960,

Shirley Collins issued her version of Space Girl on her 1960 LP  Rocket Along: New Ballads on Old Lines, for which se was accompanied by Robin Hall (guitar), Jimmie Macgregor (mandolin) and Vic Pitt (double bass). I love her rendition and I love her soft voice against that soft rhythmic background, but after hearing Seeger sing this, I have to say, this is the version for me!

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SONG OF THE DAY Eric Burdon and the New Animals – Yes I Am Experienced (live version)


PrimaryThis superb Animals track you are listening to today was originally taken from the band’s 1967 Wind’s Of Change LP. Issued as a tribute to the great Jimi Hendrix (if you hadn’t already guessed) the version I am featuring today is a live recording from a 1968 concert in Stockholm. The album version I have included below, just so you can hear it as it was recorded on the album!

Whilst discovering this track, I also heard an interesting fact about Eric Burdon that I never knew before, so I thought I’d share it with you! Did you know that Eric Burdon and John Lennon were good friends and that The Eggman was actually Lennon’s reference to Burdon?? The story goes a little deeper than that, and I’ve just found an article outlining the curious story between Burdon’s namesake…but you can check the rest of that story out here, it’s an interesting read!

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy Yes, I Am Experienced as much as me!

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SONG OF THE DAY Tito Puente – Tito on Timbales


R-3964491-1499545357-8413Celebrating a career that spanned over fifty years Ernest Anthony Puente Jr., better known as Tito Puente, was a musician, songwriter, bandleader and record producer of Puerto Rican descent. His music has helped popularise Latin sounds over the decades and he is probably best known for his dance-orientated mambo and Latin-jazz compositions – Oye Como Va is probably the song you will recognise, this is his most famous one!!

During the 1950s, Puente was at the height of his popularity and helped to bring Afro-Cuban and Caribbean sounds like mambo, son, and cha-cha-chá, to mainstream audiences. Puente was so successful playing popular Afro-Cuban rhythms that many people mistakenly identify him as Cuban. His repertoire is immense and both Puente and his music has made many an appearance on screen, featuring in films such as The Mambo Kings and Fernando Trueba’s Calle 54. He has even guest-starred on several television shows, including Sesame Street and The Simpsons two-part episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”.

Known as “El Rey Del Timbal” (“The King Of The Timbales”), Tito Puente also played vibraphone, drum kit, conga drums, claves, piano, and occasionally saxophone and clarinet. His rhythmic skills are what I particularly revere him for and today’s song demonstrates that perfectly!!! Delivering just what it says on the tin, Tito on Timbales treats you to just over five minutes of ravishing percussion!! It’s hypnotic and completely orientated around the beat, with rhythms pulsating eagerly over a repeated melody. It’s a crazy treat to the ears if drumming is your thing and I’d happily lose myself amidst this glorious feast of drumming any day! Tito on Timbales appears on Tito Puente’s 1956 Puente In Percussion LP!

Check it out above and if you fancy seeing him live, I’ve added a little video of him playing for your pleasure!

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SONG OF THE DAY Jim Bartow and the Harlem Blues Consort – Away


PrimaryI have another rather obscure offering here for you today and as of yet have found very little about the artist/band behind this song. What I can tell you is that Jim Bartow and the Harlem Blues Consort released just one album together in 1975 – but Jim Bartow did release other albums on his own (with the earliest release dating back to 1965 I believe?).

An American Poets Song Book was issued on a label called Blues Blood who, aside from this record, only put out a couple of other Jim Bartow albums in the mid-to-late 1970’s. As you may have guessed from the title, An American Poets Song Book contains 12 songs, all of which were arranged by Bartow and all of which were inspired/derived from poems by various authors, such as today’s offering by Robert Frost.

I’d like to hear the other tracks on this record, but I don’t think many (if any others) are that available! I may just have to buy the record to hear more! I like the concept though and I like what Jim Bartow has done with this poetry, bringing it to life though song!! Accompanying musicians involved in the creation of this record are included below, as well as the original poem! Enjoy!

Bass – Bill Ellington
Drums – Panama Francis
Engineer – Fred Miller
Guitar – Lawrence Lucie (tracks: A2,A6)
Producer – Bud Smith
Trombone – Benny Morton (tracks: A6)
Trombone, Soloist – Vic Dickenson (tracks: A2,B2)
Trumpet – Doc Cheatham (tracks: A5)
Vocals, Guitar, Composed By, Arranged By – Jim Bartow

Away!
by Robert Frost

Now I out walking
The world desert,
And my shoe and my stocking
Do me no hurt.

I leave behind
Good friends in town.
Let them get well-wined
And go lie down.

Don’t think I leave
For the outer dark
Like Adam and Eve
Put out of the Park.

Forget the myth.
There is no one I
Am put out with
Or put out by.

Unless I’m wrong
I but obey
The urge of a song:
I’m—bound—away!

And I may return
If dissatisfied
With what I learn
From having died.

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SONG OF THE DAY Snapped Ankles – The Fish Needs a Bike


If anyone can pull off a cover a Blurt song with style, its Snapped Ankles! Equipped with all the craziness needed to do this song justice, their version of The Fish Needs A Bike draws out the quirky essence of the original whilst injecting it with some fine quality Snapped Ankles giddy, electrified power!!

Blurt originally released this wonderfully random number in 1979 (hear this below), with Snapped Ankles had re-vamping it and unleashing their take of this post-punk beauty only two days ago!! On their Bandcamp, Snapped Ankles have written, “Blurt are a big deal back in the forest. We focused our logs on a band that we’ve always admired for their dedication to the simplicity of groove, and their outsider stance. They’ve been Blurting out primal rhythms and absurd poetry for over forty years. They’re an example to us all!” …Couldn’t have put that better myself Snapped Ankles!!!

If, like me, you are wondering what this song is about, check out this probable explanation, suggesting that the song is a reference to the famous feminist quote “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” ….I like it!

Check it out above and if you fancy getting hold of a copy of this, you can find it here on Snapped Ankles Bandcamp page! Enjoy, I know I am!!

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SONG OF THE DAY The Fendermen – Mule Skinner Blues


PrimaryIt may not come as much of a surprise to discover that The Fendermen were named as such because both of the band members used Fender guitars – a Telecaster and a Stratocaster in fact! Jim Sundquist and Phil Humphrey got together in the late 1950’s in Wisconsin and celebrated a wealth of releases over the four years of their musical union!

This rockabilly duo eventually disbanded in 1964, but the years spent together were magic! They toured with Johnny Cash and may other bands on the road all over the U.S, and though they only issued one album, there were plenty of singles! Mule Skinner Blues is possibly one of their most well-known songs and was released in 1960 on Minneapolis label, Soma Records. The song itself is the happiest, go-to dream of a song and is actually constructed using only the two fenders played by Sundquist and Humphrey! Nothing else but guitars and vocals!!

William Herbert Dreger was the original producer for the Fendermen and though he was eventually replaced due to a dispute amongst the group, it was him that was responsible for helping The Fendermen get off the ground and into the charts!! William Dreger was also responsible for the ending of Mule Skinner Blues, as the group could not come up with a viable way to end the song. The ending came about one day when William said  ‘Cha Cha Cha‘ and this phrase just stuck!! Happy accidents and all that!! In fact, ‘happy’ is the main word that springs to mind when I hear this tune!!! Enjoy!

Primary

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SONG OF THE DAY Ted Lucas – Plain And Sane And Simple Melody


A-246231-1553549574-4640It’s bugging me because I know I’ve heard this song before, yet I can find no evidence of it saved anywhere. It’s one of those familiar-friend-in-your-ear kind of songs and it makes me feel calm, I like that and often need that too! I love how music can reach parts that most other things in life can’t!

Theodore Peter Lucas, better known as Ted Lucas, was an understated artist that spent most of his musical days painting the streets of Detroit golden. Though never making a huge name for himself, those who know his music greatly revere his sound, for his heart poured out amidst his all-too-few acid-folk creations.

Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, he spent his time in Detroit, playing in the bands he had created. Groups such as the Spike-Drivers, the Misty Wizards, the Horny Toads, and the Boogie Disease were founded by him and he also played guitar, sitar and harmonica on a number of Motown sessions (most notably Norman Whitfield and R. Dean Taylor productions). He even spent time studying the art of raga with Ravi Shankar!  Yet despite all of this, his name is still largely unknown…!

In 1975, he self-released his solo album, Ted Lucas, on his OM Records imprint, but this received little attention in his lifetime. Recorded largely in his attic apartment, the album is divided into a first side of six spare tunes of soft psychedelic folk and a second side with two instrumentals and a wandering blues jam. This gentle and organic offering creeps under the skin and circulates warmth through the body. I love the way he multi-tracks layers of his own harmonies and love the way these songs whisper freedom with their loose and travelling structures. The guitar melodies on here are just as electric as his vocals and connecting with these songs required no effort for me. In fact, they feel like they’ve always been knocking about in my head. This is special!!

Ted Lucas continued playing music up until his death in 1992, leaving behind only scattered documentation of his various output, the most lasting and visible article being this self-titled album. His music is natural, unassuming, but incredibly deep and profound. For me this reaches into the soul and what it finds and connect too is down to you…but connect it does! I love this record!

Today’s song is the first track that led me to this beautiful sound and for this, I am so grateful. The whole album (reissued on Yoga Records over ten years ago) has to be heard in its entiredy, so I’ve pasted it below…press play and don’t stop til you reach the end! Enjoy!

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SONG OF THE DAY Dexter Johnson & Le Super Star de Dakar – Something You Got


It’s not often I find myself liking a cover of a song more than the original, but with today’s song, I find this is the case. Originally recorded by Chris Kenner in 1961, Something You Got was also covered by Wilson Pickett in 1966. Then, about three years later (probably around 1969), Dexter Johnson and his band Le Super Star De Daker issued their wonderful rendition!…this is the one for me!

Originally a member of The Star Band, Nigerian saxophonist Dexter Johnson made a name for himself in the 1960’s Dakar music scene after playing in the original Star Band and then later forming his own band, Le Super Star de Dakar in 1964 (forming this band with Star band member, Laba Sosseh). He went on to record a handful of singles throughout the late 1960’s before moving to Abidjan, Ivory Coast where he worked for a record label called Disco Stock. He later travelled to the U.S where he recorded with Juan Carlos Torres and Monte Adentro.

Today’s song is taken from an album that was released in 2014 by (Dakar) Senegal label, Teranga Beat. Presenting Dexter Johnson & Le Super Star de Dakar in their last performance before their departure to Abidjan in 1969, Live à l’Étoile features songs that have been mastered from the original tape! The record showcases Johnson’s natural flare and unquestionable ability as a bandleader and frontman, demonstrating in all his shining glory the reason he became so admired and influential! He totally rocks Something You Got and I love how he unleashes all his crazy, raw and unique energy to this song!! Check it out above and listen/purchase the rest of the album from here.

Posted in Afro beat, Afro-Cuban, World | Tagged , , | 2 Comments