Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Part Two: Happy New Year & The Weekend Mixes

BBJ: I wouldn't be caught dead in Times Square on New Year's Eve as that looks like living hell. It's strictly for tourists, much like New Year's parties in general, which for me have an air of desperation created by the obligation to have a good time, even if looking back, the year was a decidedly mixed bag.  I can't tell you how many times I've looked at my watch at 10:30 and wondered to myself,  "How the fuck am I going to endure this until midnight?"

ME: I couldn't agree more. I enjoy eating and having a few drinks and listening to music and talking to people and dancing and laughing. I know I try to do it everyday. (Maybe not the dancing.) Yet, New Year's Eve is the one night we've come to believe, if we don't or can't do those things, we've failed. Maybe it really isn't New Year's Eve's fault.

BBJ: Over here at Burning Wood, we are offering a double shot of Weekend Mixes to get the party started.

I emailed Sal and said I had an idea for one more mix this year, and he replied that he had a mix of Doo Wop and Old Rock n Roll, and I responded that it would "jive" perfectly with the Classic Reggae I was planning.

ME: Thanks, BBJ. One of the main reasons I grew tired of creating the Weekend Mix was the increasingly difficult time I was having finding a "theme." When inspiration hits, there is no turning back. But trying to find inspiration usually results in something very uninspired. Even when I create Christmas playlists, about half of the tunes aren't Christmas songs, traditionally. But I hear nothing about...say..."Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles that wouldn't sit comfortably between "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Let It Snow," assuming those versions were as cool as Ray Charles.

I grew up around doo-wop music. Every jukebox in my neighborhood, whether in a bar or neighborhood club, was exactly like the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets." But if you think about it, "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingoes was only ten years old back in 1969. That would be like walking into a bar today and seeing Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" in the jukebox. (How's that for perspective?) 

So this music, doo-wop, old rock and roll and R&B, evokes a very personal time, and for me, that is the perfect soundtrack for a holiday. It doesn't need sleigh bells to make it work for Christmas, just like a good pop song doesn't become a holiday tune just because it has sleigh bells. 

BBJ: A lot of you probably just thought "Ugh! I HATE this Shit!"

These mixes were made for you.

When I use the word "reggae," I'm thinking of the songs I love, most of which was recorded in the 1970's. What has passed for music coming out of Jamaica ever since is something else. Even contemporary Reggae trying to sound "vintage" has little of that original charm. 

This is soul music of the highest order. And great Party music too, as it rocks, but is also "chill", can be sweet yet angry, is fun, but also lyrcally "conscious".

The '70's were an exciting time in Jamaica, the island having attained full independence in 1962. There was a lot of optimism and hope mixed with some harsh reality. 

About two dozen musicians played on 90% of the records. There were three rhythm sections and a handful of independent studios full of aspiring singers. Bob Marley among them. Not to mention some truly unique individuals, such as Lee "Scratch" Perry running the boards and making waves still felt today. Origins of DJ culture start here with artists like U-Roy, a local sound system DJ who began "toasting" over instrumental "B" sides.

Reggae began as Ska, which owed a great deal to American R&B, especially that of New Orleans as practiced by Fats Domino and Allen Toussaint. Many Reggae stars, including Bob Marley, began in vocal trios.

Since all of these songs were originally released as vinyl records, and not a few of them ripped from vinyl by yours truly, this too begins with the "Needle Drop".

The Clash have covered two of these songs, and Billy Idol another, while John Holt covers Neil Diamond.

Note: After going to the printer's two errors were found:
On Side 3 L. Perry should be credited as producer of "To Be A Lover".
On side 4 Sugar Minott's name is misspelled.

Art included. 

Crank up the bass, crack open a cold beverage,  and Have A Happy New Year, wherever you are.
The doctor (Dr Alimantado) also recommends a nice big spliff to seal the deal. 
His "I Shot The Barber" is an answer to Bob's Marley's "I Shot The Sheriff, and is an unhinged masterpiece.

-Buzz Baby Jesus
(click on image for a closer look)

ME: I created a mix I call "Out With The Old" as a companion to the upbeat soundtrack of your New Year's Eve party. If you're awake after midnight, this collection of songs, which I have posted here before, seems like a perfect way to ease yourself into the night and new year.

I Only Have Eyes For You- The Flamingoes
Crying In The Chapel- The Orioles
Sally Go Round The Roses- The Jaynettes
Look In My Eyes- The Chantels
What Time Is It- The Jive Five
My Heart Cries- Etta James
The Gypsy- The Ink Spots
Tears On My Pillow- Little Anthony & The Imperials
Bad Boy- The Jive Bombers
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes- The Platters
It's Too Soon To Know- The Orioles
Come Go With Me- The Del-Vikings
Don't Ask Me To Be Lonely- the Dubs
Trickle, Trickle- The Videos
I Sold My Heart To The Junkman- Patti Labelle & the Bluebelles
You- The Aquatones
A Casual Look- The Six Teens
A Sunday Kind Of Love- The Harptones
You'll Lose A Good Thing- Barbara Lynn
Angel Baby- Rosie & The Originals
Since I Fell For You- Lenny Welch
Moody's Mood For Love- King Pleasure
Feel So Good- Shirley & Lee
Ruler Of My Heart- Irma Thomas
Since I Don't Have You- The Skyliners

BBJ: Nice! "I Only Have Eyes For You" is one of my very favorite songs.

ME: Al Kooper, on one of his many visits to my shop, walked in just as "I Only Have Eyes For You" began to play. He stopped in his tracks and said, "This is the greatest arrangement of anything. Period."

BBJ: No argument here.

Happy Holidays.

Jamaican Holiday

SN Mix


Anonymous said...

excellent. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Al Kooper used to come in the store all the time???!!! Ah shit, wished I'd crossed his path there.

Thanks for the mixes, guys. Can't wait to listen. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

Bruce H

Unknown said...

Thank you so much, guys. These look great.
Happy Whatever to you and your loved ones.

Ken D said...

From the look of the last photo, we are similarly skilled at gift wrapping.
Thanks for another year of your wise musical musings.

Health and harmony for 2016 all.

Jim said...

Many thanks and Merry Christmas



Thank you and Happy Christmas to all!

Ho Ho Ho

Charlie Carr said...

Thanks to both! Love the photo Sal! Soon to be loving the mixes as well . . .
Ditto your thoughts on NYE. What a wonderful tradition - one night a year designed to make you feel less than if you don't party hearty until two and wake up with a Class A hangover . . . I always feel lost in translation from about eight thirty onwards. Tried the CNN deal for the first time last year. Oh well . . .
A guy at work just burned SW I > VI for me - hmmmm . . . .

Charlie Carr said...

(and so, just what if I WAS a robot?!?!) Happy New Year's friends in music!

dogbreath said...

Jamaican vintage reggae and doo-wop mixes? It's a yin and yang thing. An oranges and lemons thing. It's what makes the world go round (although that's probably more to do with the conservation of angular momentum). A nice pairing for Xmas and the upcoming end of year. Many thanks and - hic! - cheers!

buzzbabyjesus said...



A walk in the woods said...

Excellent! Thanks for these two mixes. I'm pretty familiar with doo wop (I agree with the comment about "Only Have Eyes") but am always looking for more great reggae.

Happy holidays and new year ~