Cool John Ferguson
This week we are going back three years to one of the original columns from our first six months! We had a small but mighty gang in those early months, and this is intended for those of you who didn't join us until comparatively recently. My editor Lisa McKay is going on her first extended vacation for a couple of weeks so rather than going dark, we decided to pounce on the past instead.
This column featured a very rare Marvin Gaye track, great African-soul music from Mali, a great duet from award-winning musicians Danny Gatton and Joey DeFrancesco, a great ballad from singer-songwriter Dan Penn and, as usual, more tasty treats you might have missed.
There will be a themed column from 2011 next week and we'll be back to normal on October 3 with more new music. Thanks to all of you for making us grow and get better every week!
We apologize to our readers/listeners who are trying to enjoy the playlists via mobile devices like iPhones/iPads and are finding that they can't; these are, unfortunately, circumstances beyond our control. At present, Grooveshark is not compatible with those operating systems, and in order to stream the playlist, you will need to use a PC or Mac.
1. "Gearheads" — Danny Gatton & Joey De Francesco (4:48)
If you love Jeff Beck, this is for you. The late Danny Gatton was like a shooting star in the galaxy. Here he interfaces with the greatest living organist in the world, Joey DeFrancesco, and his band. Joey defers to Danny and just gets out of the way ASAP. Here’s why...
2. "Piece of Clay (1995 Master Version)" — Marvin Gaye (5:11)
This is some chilling stuff and I don’t mean relaxing either. Shortly before his father murdered him, he sang these words to his family about how he was NOT their piece of clay, a great artifact that is rarely heard. I also love the way the guitar in the intro morphs into the organ. What a tragic loss this was.
3. "Make U Move" — Danielia Cotton (3:52)
It’s on my list to go see this woman live. I’ve seen pix, and I’ve enjoyed trax, but I KNOW I’m missin’ the real deal. Hope to see you at her next show.
4. "Batoman" — Amadou & Mariam (4:13)
I won’t push world music very often here but this track got me into African music from the Mali region. The artists are a married couple who are BOTH blind — and dress in wild outfits with matching sunglasses! She sings, he plays GREAT guitar. Give this a try; if you like it, there are myriad recordings to choose from if you get hooked like I did. They live in Oakland, California now and play a lot in that area, by the way.
5. "Zero Will Power" — Dan Penn (4:52)
The trivial thing I love about this track is that they kept the organ part in, even though the whirling organ speaker was broken and sounded WRONG. They just ignored that and made it part of the record. Dan is a way underrated singer and a famous songwriter (“Do-Right Woman,” “Cry Like A Baby," “Dark End Of The Street,” etc.).
6. "Picture" — Bottle of Justus (4:06)
From the Chicago area and reminiscent of the band Pinback (I actually don’t know who was first), two brothers who get along, plus their playing pals get a great sound AND mix their vocals louder than Pinback!
7. "Lord of the Manor" — The Everly Brothers (4:42)
Two obscure old songs this week. Here’s the first one. This is early '70s towards the end of their first career. It has become my favorite Everlys track and that’s sayin’ something. Hope you enjoy this rarely unearthed gem.
8. "Happiness Is" — New York City (3:17)
Here’s the second old obscure track. Thom Bell is a writer/arranger who is commonly called the Black Bachrach. He wrote for/produced and arranged The Spinners, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, etc. Here is a track from an obscure but magnificent album he did for this vocal group from ‘guess where’. One of my all time favorite old soul arrangements and vocals. This is '70s vintage.
9. "I Know You Don’t Love Me No More" — Roachford (5:41)
African-American residing in the UK steeped in American old style R&B. This is some of the best feel-sorry-for-yourself listening one can find nowadays. This is bad mood music at its best — it goes from utter simplicity to swaggering blues and back again. Waaaay underrated.
10. "Strollin’ on the Waterfront" — Cool John Ferguson (4:40)
We started with an instrumental and we’ll now end with one. I found this on iTunes eight years ago. A paean to George Benson or Wes Montgomery, this jazzy guitar instrumental is great hot summer driving with the top down music (if you’re a boomer). I have no clue about Cool John Ferguson other than he is.
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