Monthly Archives: April 2013

Barbara Lynn

By Mick Patrick At the age of 20, she knocked Ray Charles from the top of the R’n’B charts with the self-penned “You’ll Lose A Good Thing.” She also wrote and originated the much-covered feminist funk anthem “I’m A Good Woman,” not to mention “Oh, Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin’),” as plundered by the Stones. Self-accompanied on electric guitar, she possesses a style that is unique—raw, yet polished; emotional, yet calm; organic, yet sophisticated. As a live performer she is tireless, but her lifelong fear of flying has prevented her from accepting all but one offer to gig in Britain. At her sole live show in the UK, I was there to see Barbara Lynn. Southpaw She was born Barbara Lynn Ozen in Beaumont, Texas on January 16, 1942. At school she took piano lessons and also mastered the ukulele, before persuading her parents to buy her an electric guitar—a right-handed Gibson. In true Hendrix style, the dextrous young southpaw learned to play the instrument upside-down. A keen schoolgirl poet, Barbara soon began setting her words to music. Her initial foray into the record business began in the mid-’50s when she was … Read more

More like Mae West, please!

“When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.”-Mae West It’s hard to watch a Mae West film and not feel short-changed by the lack of ballsy, wise-crackin’, confidence-oozing, sexually fearless females in today’s popular culture. I’m wholly thankful for a very long list of women in the spotlight who dismiss the status quo in their performances, songs, and words, but the likes of Mae West—playwright, director, actor, comedian, singer, skilled seductress, and unabashed pleasure seeker–come around far too seldomly. Lena Dunham has come close–as the writer, director, and star of her own TV show, she dares to show a side of female sexuality that rarely gets exposed in public. But most still operate within the male narrative, where the young, skinny, and not-so-brainy rule. That Mae West managed to make her Hollywood debut at age 38, stand up to the all-powerful studios, battle it out with censors, maintain her curves, and write plays about sexually-aggressive women in the 1920s is testament to her balls, talent, late nights at the typewriter, and sheer force of will to get things done exactly as she … Read more

Heads up New Yorkers!

Ronnie Spector’s back in town……!!! She’ll be performing her latest show “Behind the Beehive” on Monday May 6th + Tuesday May 7th at City Winery in NYC. Click on the photo below for tickets.  

Alan Parsons Project + Mix

When Alan Parsons first heard “Eye in The Sky,” he hated it. “I was ready to drop it,” Parsons recalled. “Eye In the Sky,” written and sung by Parsons’ partner Eric Woolfson, turned out to be the Alan Parsons Project’s most successful single to date, and their only US top ten hit. Parsons was no more supportive of Woolfson’s voice. He thought it worked fine as a guide vocal for the demos, but insisted on an ever-changing array of vocalists and brought in Allan Clarke of the Hollies, Colin Blunstone of the Zombies, Procol Harum’s Gary Booker, and a string of lesser-known singers. Parsons later admitted that his dismissals of Woolfson were some of his biggest mistakes. Woolfson’s talents had been recognized years before he met Parsons. After a failed attempt at an accounting career, Woolfson left his Scottish home for London, and paid a visit to Rolling Stones manager and Immediate Records label-boss, Andrew Loog Oldham. Oldham called him a “fucking genius,” gave him a publishing deal, and paired him with Immediate act Chris Farlowe (Woolfson wrote the B-side to his #1 single “Out of Time”), Two of Each, the Poets, Frank … Read more

Nellie McKay + the Old Hats

If an invitation to a clown show came my way, I’d have flatly refused. The combination of theatre, 42nd street, and clowns arouses my “crap entertainment” radar, and I can think of a hundred other ways I’d rather spend my evenings. Thankfully, I wasn’t given any information other than to please keep Thursday April 18th free for a surprise. It turned out to be Old Hats, two long-time stage clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner and their cheeky musical accomplice, Nellie McKay. And so with exceedingly low expectations, I took my seat in the sold-out Signature Theatre, and watched the two grey-haired clowns pair old-fashioned vaudeville with modern-day comedy. Thank god I hadn’t manage to wangle out of this invitation.  To inspire audience-wide, non-stop, uncontrollable laughter without saying a word requires an extraordinary amount of talent, which Irwin and Shiner displayed in copious amounts. They dressed in the floppy shoes and over-sized pants of yesteryear whilst using facial expressions and body-language to poke fun at the absurdity of today’s gadget-obsessed business man and politicians’ flag-waving and desperate attempts to score votes. My stomach ached hardest during the skit featuring Shiner as a sleazy, … Read more

How To Be Free

A few years ago, my career suffered two brutal blows. A job that I once called a dream turned ugly and abusive, and the one that followed blew up in my face. After my parents’ divorce, it was the most severe trauma I had endured, and it left me mentally bruised and battered, a fragment of the person I once was. I grew up amongst the ambitious and the driven, where the importance of a career was rammed down my throat from teachers, parents, and friends. Post-college, it was rare to go to any social engagement without being asked “what do you do?” The moment I could no longer answer that question, age 32 without a “career” to boast of, I retreated from all occasions where I’d be reminded of my job-less insignificance. I was lost and afraid. Three years have passed and I can hardly connect with the experiences I detail above. Not because I’ve latched onto another career (I haven’t), but because when shit hits the fan, twice, you can either continue the vicious cycle, or buckle down and challenge the hell out of why and how you got there in the first … Read more

My Favorite Record #8

Tina Britt: Who Was That (Veep, 1968) Just as I was about to dash home after DJing Soul-A-Go-Go on Saturday night/ Sunday morning, DJ Jumpy gets out Tina Britt’s “Who Was That,” a finger-wagging, tongue-lashing tirade by a girl who’s had enough. “Who was that going out the back door when I came in?” She demands to know, half singing, half talking, and veering between furious and laid-back. Questions turn into threats (“Don’t tell me no lie if you don’t wanna wake up dead”) and likening her man to a frog (“ribbit ribbit ribbit, ” she taunts). You get the feeling she’s quite enjoying this. Sue Records co-founder and producer Juggy Murray gets a crystal-clear sound out of every instrument; it was probably the best-sounding 45 of the night.   I ended up finding a video interview with Tina Britt from around 2010, where she calls Juggy Murray “a player,” who never paid her royalties for her two Billboard hits–“The Real Thing” on Eastern Records in 1965 (#20), and “Who Was That” in 1968 (#39). She was discovered whilst working in a restaurant, and being told by a patron that … Read more

Soul-A-Go-Go Tonight!

Soul-a-Go-Go! Good evening friends! Just a reminder that I’ll be DJing girl-soul 45s all night long at tonight‘s Soul A Go Go with DJ Jumpy. Here are the deets……. When: Tonight! / Time:  11 pm – 4 am / Place: Grand Victory, 245 Grand St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn / Cover: FREE!

Feline Groovy

In 2008, Vicki Fox took time out from her re-touching duties at Ace Records to compile Feline Groovy, her sole contribution to the Ace catalogue, and certainly its most fun. Compilations rarely venture beyond the obvious themes. Soul, girl groups, R&B, and chart hits have been covered extensively by the best (Ace, Rhino) and the worst (too many to mention) re-issue labels, but the oft-precious clientele of reissues don’t take too kindly to compilations that place a beloved soul obscurity next to Tom Jones’ “What’s New, Pussycat.” But considering cute cat videos are possibly the 21st century’s greatest success story, a compilation based on kitties is sure to find a keen audience. That it consists of half a dozen top-quality not-overly-novelty tracks attests to Ms. Fox’s fine taste and Ace’s always high standards. Hits and A-sides are mixed with rarities and B-sides. Instrumentals, R&B, soul, pop, country, and folk are peppered with meows and purrs and tales of unruly kittens and cunning cats.  I picked Peggy Lee’s “Sneakin’ Up On You” as one of my records of the week, and it’s still my favorite of the 24 tracks on Feline Groovy. Peggy’s own co-write “The … Read more

Allentown Record Fair

For a 45 collector, the bi-annual record fair in Allentown, PA is a very important date, and the only reason to visit this very unremarkable town (sorry Allentown-ies). When I started collecting 45s as a late teen in London, I spent my weekends train-travelling ’round the UK, flipping through British girl 45 boxes, giving out my want-list to dealers, and explaining just what a girl from NYC is doing at a small town record fair outside of Birmingham. Record dealers are a curious kind. They’re always male, somewhere between 45 and 65 in age. They favor Stax and Motown t-shirts and are often unappreciated by their wives for taking up so much space in the house. There are some who may as well be trading coins and baseball cards, but most are serious music fans, and it’s thanks to their wealth of knowledge that I’ve discovered some of my most treasured records. It’s raining men… Allentown. I’ve travelled far and wide to record fairs, but nowhere compares to Allentown. It may be small and in the middle of nowhere, but it attracts a ton of collectors from the UK and Japan, who … Read more