Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas in Motown

Here are a few classics from the heyday at Motown that are a must at your next holiday party.

The Temptations: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Jackson 5: Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: Christmas Everyday

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Have a Blue Christmas

Here are a few more tracks for those who can't make it home for the holidays

John Lee Hooker: Blues for Christmas

A very raw recording by the boogie king from 1960.

Roy Milton: Christmas Time Blues

A 1950 single on the Specialty label

Charles Brown: Please Come Home For Christmas

Everybody knows this track, but it's always been one of my favorites. No Eagles comments please!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ike Turner Dead at 76

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rock 'n' roll pioneer Ike Turner, whose achievements as one of the founding fathers of the genre were overshadowed by ex-wife Tina Turner's claims that he regularly beat her for almost two decades, died on Wednesday at his home near San Diego. He was 76.
His cause of death was not immediately known, said his manager, Scott Hanover.
After years of obscurity, Turner was on a comeback trail of sorts. He won his first Grammy in 35 years this past February for an acclaimed blues album and had been collaborating on musical ideas with producer Danger Mouse, one-half of the pop-soul duo Gnarls Barkley.
The one-time disc jockey arguably invented rock 'n' roll with his 1951 song "Rocket 88," and he enjoyed huge fame in the 1960s and 1970s as the Svengali behind Ike and Tina Turner, a R&B revue that dazzled audiences with high-energy performances of such tunes as "Proud Mary" and "River Deep Mountain High."
But Ike Turner was also a violent man, according to his ex-wife and others including Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, who said he saw him pistol-whip a fellow musician.
"Ike acted like a goddamned pimp," Richards told Vanity Fair in 1993.
Tina Turner's memoir, "I, Tina," and a 1993 biopic "What's Love Got to Do With It" turned Ike Turner into one of the most notorious villains in the music industry.
The singer said her ex-husband regularly abused and humiliated her for 16 years, and drove her to attempt suicide in 1968. He cracked her ribs, threw hot coffee in her face, burnt her with a cigarette and punched her in the nose so often she had to have surgery, she said.
Ike told a New York news conference in 1993, "I only punched her with my fist once. I have slapped her, and the times where I slapped her were when she was looking sad."
A spokeswoman for Tina Turner, who lives in semi-retirement in Europe, said, "Tina is aware that Ike passed away earlier today. She has not had any contact with him in over 30 years."

Ike & Tina Turner: Nutbush City Limits and Sweet Rhode Island Red both from 1973's Nutbush City Limits and countless Best of compilations.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tis The Season

It's that time of year to post some of my favorite Christmas tracks so here are a few to hang on your tree! Fa La La La La!

Clarence Carter: Backdoor Santa

This is one of my favorites from Muscle Shoals great Clarence Carter. This funky twist on the idea of the backdoor man was popularly sampled on the Run-DMC track Christmas In Hollis.

The Staples Singers: Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas?

The Staples aren't too happy with the state of Christmas on this track from 1970's We'll Get Over.

James Brown: It's Christmas Time

They say that the suicide rate goes up during the holidays. James Brown tells us why on this 1969 single.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

New Classic Video

I've been fairly busy with (paying) work so here's a great new video from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings to curb your appetite.