Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town – Kenny Rogers and the First Edition – 1969

April 26, 2015

Kenny_Rogers_&_the_First_Edition_-_Ruby,_Don't_Take_Your_Love_to_TownOkay, so technically this isn’t a 70s song.  However, it was released in 1969 and sat on the charts into 1970 – that’s near enough for me.  Plus the fact that I have fond memories of Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and their television show.  Oh, and also because I love this song, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town (along with Something’s Burning, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In, But You Know I Love You and the numerous other songs they produced).

Kenny Rogers and the First Edition1kenny rogers and the first edition fax

  • The First Edition were a rock ‘n’ roll band formed in 1967 from the remnants of The New Christy Minstrels.*
  • Amazingly, they only had two US hits; Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) peaking at #5, and But You Know I Love You, peaking at #19.
  • In 1969, the band added the name of their lead singer and bassist to their name and became Kenny Rogers and the First Edition.  In their new form they only hit the top ten only once with Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town which made it to #6 in the US and #2 in the UK.
  • The band’s highest peaking US hit, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), features no other than Glen Campbell playing the backward guitar intro.  The song’s guitar solo was played by Terry Williams.  Jimi Hendrix liked it so much that he told Kenny it was his favourite song.
  • B. B. King. Smiling with Kenny Rogers and BandKenny’s post-First Edition exploits are well-known.  Drummer Mickey Jones also had an interesting musical career.  Prior to The First Edition he was drumming for Trini Lopez’s band before being asked to join Bob Dylan.  These were the days when The Band were backing Bob.  Mickey took Levon Helm’s place.  Mickey toured with Bob and was on stage on May 17, 1966, when Bob was jeered (one audience member calling him Judas) for playing an electric guitar.  After The First Edition, Mickey became an actor and appeared in a number of American sit-coms including Home Improvement.
  • In the early 70s, The First Edition hosted their own TV variety show, Rollin’ on the River (later shortened to “Rollin'”).

* The New Christy Minstrels performed from 1961 – 1971 before reforming in 1976.  They still perform today and are run by The New Christy Minstrels Foundation, a charitable organisation dedicated to preserving the group’s music.  Past members include Barry McGuire, Gene Clark (of The Byrds), and Kim Carnes.

ruby, don’t take your love to town fax

  • Kenny Rogers and the First Edition 3Surprisingly, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town was not a Kenny Rogers and the First Edition original.  Written by Mel Tillis, it was released in 1967 by Johnny Darrell who took it to #9 on the US singles chart.
  • Kenny Rogers and the First Edition recorded their version in one take in August 1969.
  • It reached #2 on the UK single charts, stayed in the UK Top 20 for 15 weeks and sold over 1 million copies.  It peaked at #6 in the US where it was also a million-seller.
  • Several other artists have covered the song including, The Statler Brothers, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, and The Killers.  Nana Mouskouri recorded a French version, Ruby, garde ton cœur ici.
  • A response song was released in 1969.  Billy, I’ve Got to Go to Town was released by Geraldine Stevens. With an arrangement quite similar to the First Edition’s version, the song peaked at #117 in the US charts.  In the song, the singer affirms her love for her disabled husband and pleads for him to have faith in her fidelity and her commitment to him, even in his crippled condition.
  • In 1972, Bobby Womack’s album Understanding, included a song titled, Ruby Dean, telling the story from the perspective of Ruby’s son. In this song, Ruby’s son urges Ruby to respect his father and stop seeing other men.
  • Mel Tillis is recorded to have said of the song:

The song is based on a couple who lived near our family in Florida. In real life, the man was wounded in Germany in World War II and sent to recuperate in England. There he married a nurse who took care of him at the hospital. The two of them moved to Florida shortly afterward but he had periodic return trips to the hospital as problems with his wounds kept flaring up. His wife saw another man as the veteran lay in the hospital.

  • Mel changed the war in the song to the Korean War and left out the real life ending in which the man killed Ruby in a murder-suicide. In the song, the man says he would kill her if he could move to get his gun.
  • Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town lyrics.

ruby, don’t take your love to town – kenny rogers and the first edition – 1969 – video

billy, i’ve got to go to town – geraldine stevens (aka dodie stevens)

ruby dean – bobby Womack – 1972 – video

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Patches – Clarence Carter – 1970

April 20, 2015

Clarence Carter Patches single cover 1970Blind southern US soul singer Clarence Carter scored his biggest hit with the 1970 release of a Chairmen of the Board cover, Patches.

cClarence Carter 2larence carter fax

  • Hailing from where it all went down, Montgomery, Alabama, Clarence Carter graduated from the Alabama School for the Blind with a Bachelor of Science degree in music.
  • His first grab at fame came as half a duo, Clarence and Calvin (later called the C&C Boys) – with his friend Calvin Scott.  Although they released a number of singles and performed regularly, fame proved elusive.
  • In 1966, Calvin was seriously injured in an vehicle accident, forcing Clarence was to go solo.  Within a year he released Tell Daddy which peaked at #25 on the US charts – Clarence was on his way.
  • In December 1967, Clarence signed with Atlantic Records leading to a number of hits, including Slip Away, Too Weak To Fight, and Back Door Santa.
  • Clarence’s biggest hit came in 1970, however, when he released a cover of Patches, first recorded by Chairmen of the Board.
  • The advent of disco put a speed-bump in the road of Clarence’s career until 1985 when he once again hit the charts.  One of his songs, Strokin’ was considered too risqué to be released on record or radio so his record company, Ichiban Records, placed the disc in jukeboxes.  Bar patrons discovered it and loved it (it was later used in Eddie Murphy’s, The Nutty Professor) – check out the video below.
  • Now 79 years old, Clarence continues to record and play shows across the USA.

Clarenece Carterpatches fax

  • Patches (sometimes known as Patches (I’m Depending On You)) was written by General Johnson (lead singer of Chairmen of the Board) and Ron Dunbar (who also wrote Band of Gold and other 70s hits).
  • The story of a boy born and raised in poverty in the southern states of the USA, who is forced to take over the responsibility of his family from his dying father, Patches was first recorded in 1970 by, Chairmen of the Board.  Later that year, blind southern soul singer Clarence Carter recorded and released the song.
  • On releasing Patches, Clarence said,

I heard [Patches] on the Chairmen of the Board LP and liked it, but I had my own ideas about how it should be sung. It was my idea to make the song sound real natural…”

  • Clarence’s version peaked at #4 on the US singles chart and #2 on the UK singles chart.
  • In 1971, Patches won the Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song.
  • Patches lyrics.

patches – clarence carter – 1970 – video

strokin’ – clarence carter – 1985 – video

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Percy Sledge – The King of Slow Soul

April 15, 2015

Percy

Percy Sledge 1Percy Sledge, the R&B singer whose soulful ballad of eternal love and rejection, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” topped the charts in 1966, died on Tuesday in Baton Rouge, La. He was 74.

His death was confirmed by Artists International Management, which represented him. Mr. Sledge had liver cancer, for which he underwent surgery in 2014, Mark Lyman, his agent and manager, said.

Read the full NY Times article here.


Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) – Robert Palmer – 1979

April 9, 2015

Rober Palmer Bad case of loving youKnown for a couple of monster hits in the 80s, Robert Palmer began his career in the late 60s before scoring a couple of minor solo hits in the 70s, including 1979s Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor).

Robert palmer 1robert palmer fax

  • English singer-songwriter Robert Palmer enjoyed both a solo career and, for a short while around 1985, a stint with band Power Station.  He scored top ten hits in both the UK and the US.
  • Robert began his music career in the very late 60s with Elkie Brookes in their jazz band Dada.  Together they later formed the R&B band Vinegar Joe.
  • By 1974, Robert had chosen to go solo and signed to Island Records.  It was on his fifth album, Secrets that he scored his first #1 hit – albeit in Canada.
  • In 1983, Robert became friends with members of Duran Duran.  When Duran Duran took a break, he joined their guitarist, Andy Taylor, and bassist, John Taylor, along with former Chic drummer, Tony Thompson, to form Power Station.
  • Robert Palmer 2Robert’s involvement in Power Station was short lived.  After a hit with T-Rex’s Get it On (Bang a Gong), and only one live performance, he left to re-establish his solo career – a move that provoked a fair bit of criticism in the musical press.
  • In 1985, he released his album Riptide.  It featured his mates from Power Station and contained his best-known hit, Addicted to Love which rode all the way to #1 on the US charts.
  • He went on to make two iconic music videos; one for Addicted to Love and the other for his hit, Simply Irresistible.
  • Along the way Robert picked up two Grammy Awards for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance and an MTV Video Music Award.
  • Robert died in Paris from a heart attack on 26 September 2003.  He was just 54.

bad case of loving you (doctor, doctor) fax

  • Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) was oringinally released in 1978 by its writer, Moon Martin.
  • A year later, Robert Palmer included it on his album Secrets.  It peaked at #14 on the US charts.
  • It was also nominated for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the 1979 Grammy Awards.
  • Robert’s version varies from the original in that it is in a major key.  Moor Martin’s was in a minor giving the song a quite different feel.
  • Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) lyrics.

bad case of loving you (doctor, doctor) – robert palmer – 1979 – video

bad case of loving you (doctor, doctor) – moom martin – 1978 – video

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Will It Go Round in Circles – Billy Preston – 1973

April 6, 2015

billy-preston-will-it-go-round-in-circles-1972A virtuoso keyboardist and child prodigy, Billy Preston was one of the top session musicians of the 60s and 70s.  In the early 70s he had two #1 US singles of his own – Nothing From Nothing and, this week’s 70s hit, Will It Go Round in Circles.

Billy Preston Abilly preston fax

  • William Preston, was a child prodigy.  At just ten years old he was backing gospel singers such as Mahalia Jackson and Andraé Crouch. By 11 years old he’d made his first television appearance singing Blueberry Hill.  By 12  he’d appeared in his first movie; a W.C. Handy biopic.  Nat King Cole was the star and Billy played W.C. Handy as a youngster.
  • By the time he was 16 Billy was part of Little Richard’s backing band.
  • Billy played with many well-known artists including, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Steve Winwood, and Norah Jones.
  • Billy Preston 1In 1962, as a 16 year old, Billy met the Beatles.  They were the support act for Little Richard.  It was seven years later that Billy met the Beatles again.  During a tense recording session, George Harrison had walked out and gone to a Ray Charles concert.  He saw Billy and invited him to the band’s Let It Be recording sessions.  Billy features on a number of later Beatles albums.
  • In 1969, Billy signed as a solo artist to Apple Records releasing That’s The Way God Planned It before signing with A&M Records.
  • In his later life Billy ran into a more than just a few legal troubles.  He was sentenced to nine months at a drug rehabilitation center and three months of house arrest for drug and sexual assault charges.
  • In 1991, Billy was invited to join The Band.  He toured with them for a while but his legal issues made the continuing association impossible.
  • Billy wrote a number of songs for other artists including being cowriter of Joe Cocker’s, You Are so Beautiful.  He also gave Stephen Stills the phrase, “…if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with…” which went on to become a hit for Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
  • Billy died on June 6, 2006 after suffering from kidney disease for a number of years.

Billy Preston 2will it go round in circles fax

  • Written by Bruce Fisher and Billy Preston, Will It Go Round In Circles appeared on Billy 1972 album Music Is My Life.
  • Released as a single in 1973, Will It Go Round In Circles went to #1 on the US singles chart.  It stayed there for two weeks and the song was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for two weeks, and sold over a million copies.
  • Will It Go Round In Circles lyrics.

will it go round in circles – billy preston – 1973


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