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Kathleen Loves Music

Archive for March, 2006

The Harptones.

March 30th, 2006


I guess I’m in a 50s frame of mind. Life is But A Dream by The Harptones is one of those that I was too young to hear when it came out in 1956 (thank goodness I’m finally too young for something). But in 1969, as I was trying to listen to absolutely everything in my college radio library, I stumbled upon in an Old Town Records compilation, and it’s melody and harmonies (led by an incomparable Willie Winfield) have reverberated in my skull ever since. Unfairly, I never paid attention to too much else by them, but if I never heard another song ever I’d still be satisfied.

A bit of record biz trivia: Old Town Records was founded by an MF-ing New York distributor named Hy Weiss who, legend had it, was quite a ball-breaker; he even claimed to be the inventor of payola’s $50 handshake. Though my friend Richard Foos, Rhino Records founder and producer of [Read more…]

Dion & the Belmonts.

March 28th, 2006


Dion is truly one of the greatest singers of the last 50 years. (Anyone care to disagree?) The great songs prove it, but a wonderful trifle like might give some better manifest evidence.

(I posted the cooler album cover, but to be fair my pristinely mastered version comes from my friend Richard Foos’ incredible Doo-Wop Box.)

John Coltrane & Don Cherry.

March 10th, 2006


Geez, I hated this record.

We were 18 and living in a broken down residence hotel in New York, having played in rock bands since we were freshmen in high school, trying very hard to be hip, when Rodney brought it in from his father’s record collection. We’d heard of Coltrane, had no idea who Cherry was, and every time we put on this track we waited about two minutes and *shuddered* before we scratched it off the turntable. It took me years to figure out that it was an anomoly in Coltrane’s discography.

And it was a few years before I got the session was Coltrane’s way of examining the new music being ushered into being in the early 60s by Ornette Coleman (who’s band was playing with Trane and who composed most of the tracks).

I came to love . A lot. The composition, the playing, the players. Yeah, out there. But, yeah, cool.

James Hunter.

March 9th, 2006


The radio was on an NPR story and I wasn’t really listening that closely. It seemed strange to me that I’d never heard the song, and why was Sam Cooke signing with James Brown’s Famous Flames? But when James Hunter started speaking with a thick English accent it snapped into focus.

From what I can tell James toured with Van Morrison in the 90s and he has that same reverance and soul for 50s and 60s R&B. Which is just fine with me. The band lopes and rocks, his voice and guitar groove along, the songs do a nice job. The figures are a little sloppy, the singing a bit ragged, but it all fits together really nicely. And it’s fun for someone to commit so completely to this kind of music in today’s harder, edgier world.

Leave it to the English. They love our American music, more than we do sometimes.