Archive for March, 2009

Don’t You Worry, Little Hank Is Back

Posted in music post with tags , , on March 11, 2009 by Wes

100_16801 Hank Ballard is probably known by most as a pop music foot note — he’s the guy who wrote and orginally recorded The Twist.  But he is much more than that if you take the time to search out the rest of his catalogue. Hank Ballard & The Midnighters recorded some great, hard-driving, instantly danceable r&b songs in the 50s and early 60s.  Their sound is comparable with the equally hard driving stuff that The ‘5’ Royales have from the same period.  Another point of note is their lyrics which were often quite full of sexual innuendos or even just literal sexual references.  Songs like one of their first releases, Sexy Ways and the hit Work With Me Annie both exemplify that.  Many radio stations didn’t play these songs at the time of release do to their explicitness or perceived obscenity. Other great songs by them are Finger Poppin’ Time and Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go.

But right now we have a couple of obscure, but great, non-hits. That Low Down Move.  Best parts:  the super heavy drum intro, the fact that the drums are WAY up in the mix and the wild Hammond organ licks that come out of nowhere during the outro.  The b-side is (I’m Goin’ Back To) That House On The Hill.  Best parts of this track are again, the great organ work, the crazy loud snare/clap/guitar hit on the beat, Hank’s strained and slightly distorted/overdriven vocals. Another great and funny bit is when Hank is listing the dances that they’ll do in ‘the house on the hill’ instead of the mashed potato he says the mashed shpotata
Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – That Low Down Move
Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – (I’m Goin’ Back To) That House On The Hill

The Best Part

Posted in music post with tags , , , on March 5, 2009 by Wes

100_16781Here is both sides of Philles Records single 120. (The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up by the Ronettes is the a-side. While it was no Be My Baby or Baby, I Love You in terms of chart toppingness its still a fine example of Ronnie Bennet’s soaring vocals and Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound. Also of note is the theme of the lyrics. Basically its about make up sex. What we’re hearing is that when you have a fight getting back together is the best part of the fight. A first I would think for 1964. The start of the second verse is the line: “everytime you leave a get those teardrops in my eyes.” But when I listen to it I always here “everytime you eat I get those teardrops in my eyes.” Listen for yourself and see. It really does sound like she’s singing ‘eat’. The arrangement is highlighted by the fantastic false ending: a brief pause and then the outro is introduced with 4 beats of the kick drum followed by some great drums fills as the song fades.
This specific rip is a home job done by me, direct from the 7 inch single. There is a fair amount of surface noise but I decided to upload this version as opposed to a digital version. Why? just cause.
On the flip side is the song Big Red. After a little bit of internet digging it looks like the only issue of this song is on the b-side of this single. No albums, compilations or anthologies. Its an instrumental credited to The Ronettes which is curious due to the fact that, of course, they were a vocal group. A group who didn’t write any of their songs, produce the music or play any instruments on their recordings. They just sang. So who’s song is this really? The writing credits are given to A. L. Spector which I would assume is an alias for Phil Spector. The players on the session are none other than Spector’s crack team of legendary session musicians, The Wrecking Crew. So here we have a great slice of some studio legends doing what sounds no more than just fooling around in the studio. We can assume that Hal Blaine (the most recorded drummer in history), Glen Campbell, Leon Russel and Carol Kaye are all playing on this track. Its likely Russel on the piano but I’m not sure who’s playing the trumpet solos.

The Ronettes – (The Best Part Of) Breakin’ Up
The Ronettes – Big Red