Monday, August 11, 2014

Rest In Peace, Robin Williams!

Count me among the millions of fans who are devastated at the loss of Robin Williams, a comic genius who was unfortunately also a tortured soul....most geniuses are. People wonder how someone who could make millions of people so happy could be so miserable themselves, but there really is no answer for that. Depression can hit anyone at any time, in any way, shape or form. The loss is tragic amongst those who grew up watching a character on TV or in movies, but it's even more tragic for the family of the person who decided they needed to end it all. No one knows what could be going through their head when they decide to end it all... maybe they tried to get help and no one listened.... or maybe they didn't bother letting anyone know. Unfortunately, the end result is still the same. Tragic loss. Robin Williams left behind a fantastic body of work that generations of fans will love, cherish and remember him for.

As a music and radio guy, one of my favorite movies of Robin's is Good Morning, Vietnam. While I felt Robin was a fantastic actor in the movie, it was the music they picked for the movie that truly grabbed me. Let me post a few of my favorites from the movie for you today:

Baby Please Don't Go by Them. Featuring Van Morrison on lead vocals, this was the B side to their version of the song Gloria, which is a song I prefer more by the Shadows Of Knight. This B side is the only side of my 45 that gets played.

California Sun by the Rivieras. How could anyone not like this record? This fantastic cover of a great Joe Jones record took off for the band and became their only hit, in spite of releasing so many other great records.

Five O'Clock World by the Vogues. Another fantastic record that gained a new audience when used as the theme for the Drew Carey Show.

My absolute favorite record from the movie is It's Alright by Adam Faith And The Roulettes. This record sounds so much like a Dave Clark Five record, it's surprising they didn't release it themselves. I could listen to this one over and over and over.

However, the most well known song from the movie is the one that became a major hit 20 years after it's initial release, and more than 15 years after the singer of the song passed away. You ALL know the song, as it's been a wedding staple ever since then (but upon original release did not even hit the Hot 100 on Billboard). Yes, Louis Armstrong and his hit, What A Wonderful World:

Enjoy. May Robin Williams truly rest in peace. May his memory live on forever. May God be with his family and friends, and all others who have been suffering from the same disease that ultimately took Robin's life. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Soul Survivors - Expressway To Your Heart

I just love this record. How could you not? When this was recorded, the Soul Survivors consisted of brothers Richie and Charlie Ingui along with Kenny Jeremiah. The trio started out recording under the group name The Dedications several years earlier. Here they are recording as the Dedications on the Bell record label from early 1965 with the song I Ain't A Bit Sorry:

After Expressway became a monster hit for them and the Crimson record label (which was owned by Jerry Greene, who also owned the Lost-Nite record label which eventually turned into Collectables Records), the group issued an LP and two follow up singles on the label (which were both non-album singles). The second single made the top 40 while the third didn't crack the top 60, though they were excellent records, as well. By 1968 the group switched to Atco records, where in 1969 the group bubbled under the Billboard charts with the #115 charting Mama Soul (another great record that should've done better).

Today, Kenny Jeremiah is a radio DJ and also a solo performer, while the Ingui brothers keep the sound of the Soul Survivors alive, and are often seen as part of Joey Dee's current band.

Here are some alternate versions of Expressway To Your Heart for you to enjoy:

Eric Records put this version out on their cd, Hard To Find 45's On Cd: Sweet Soul Sounds 1963-1971. They took the longer studio recording of the song, edited it down so that it included everything found on the single and then they included a bit extra where the song runs to the breakdown of the session. Pretty neat. They also included the tambourine on the intro to the song, which they must've added as a new, recently recorded overdub, as it apparently was not on the multitrack. Collectables records had issued a version on CD in stereo that was a less than stellar mix and was missing the overdub on the intro. I won't post that version here, but how would you like to hear how the complete take for the recording went? I did find this one online, surprisingly!:

The Record Vault Is Opening Again??

Holy cow! It's been nearly six years since I've posted on this blog! Sorry about that. 

Soon after I abandoned ship here, I switched over to a YouTube account. Then two, then three, now I have five of them, each of them I post different things to, with different purposes. I think what I might start doing with this blog is to continue posting again, but this time with youtube videos instead. Now, every video I'll post from here will be something I own. I might post multiple videos in a post, one being a record I own and another being perhaps an alternate take or stereo version, but I think I will do something new with this blog and not worry about posting mp3s to divshare (though I might still do that, too!). 

That said, the reason I came back to this blog is because I had created another one to talk about what's been going on in my life and my comments on other things that happen in the world.... and I saw that I still had this blog, and it was still getting hits every single day. That amazed me most of all, that people would still find interest in just a couple of posts on a blog from nearly 6 years earlier. I'm busier now than I was back then, but I'll probably be posting as often as I can on here, so check back for new videos often!

Since this is somewhat of a "welcome back" for me, I thought I'd return with the song Welcome Back (the theme from the TV show Welcome Back Kotter) by John Sebastian on Reprise Records. I own this on a promotional 45 that calls the song Welcome Back Kotter, as well as a stock 45 that shows the title simply as Welcome Back. This isn't my youtube video, as some that i post won't be, but it sure gets the point across.