Otis Redding is my favourite singer of all. I became addicted to his records in the late ‘60s – my brother and sister had already brought a number of these into the house including ‘Mr Pitiful’, ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’, ‘I Can’t Turn You Loose’, ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’, ‘Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)’, ‘Day Tripper’, ‘Shake’, ‘Tramp’ (with Carla Thomas), ‘Respect’, ‘Try A Little Tenderness’, ‘Hard To Handle’, ‘Amen’ and, of course, ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay’.
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I wanted to do something to mark the 50th anniversary of 1967 – a truly magical, myth-laden, musical year when so much changed, separating old from new and leading to a seismic cultural shift, especially via the recording industry – artists becoming increasingly ambitious, with pop music no longer regarded as throwaway fodder for the kids, but the great artistic statement of the age.
Rufus Thomas ‘The Breakdown’ & ‘Do The Funky Chicken’
From ‘Wattstax’ 1972
Ravi Shankar ‘Dhun (Dadra And Fast Teental)’
From ‘Monterey Pop’ 1967
Like so many of my generation I was transfixed to my TV screen exactly 40 years ago today, when David Bowie performed ‘Starman’ on Top Of The Pops, and Ziggy Stardust, the singer’s alter ego, burst ever so brashly into public consciousness, ushering in a new era for Pop music.
One of the greatest bass guitarists in the history of black music, Memphis born Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, died in his sleep yesterday, following a gig the previous night with Steve Cropper and Eddie Floyd at Tokyo’s Blue Note nightclub.
Last Saturday evening I was in my hotel room in Ghent, Belgium, trying to catch up on some sleep before a gig there that night. I was awoken by the ringing of the phone, it was someone from the event letting me know what time they’d pick me up to take me for my soundcheck. No sooner had I closed my eyes to grab a couple more hours than my wife, Tracey, called me to break the news that Amy Winehouse had been found dead. Like many others that day I was shocked but not surprised, her death, at just 27 years of age, being something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, many journalists having written her obituary long ago in readiness for this tragic eventuality.
Rewind 12 months:
“Launched on his 50th birthday, Greg Wilson compiles a celebratory selection of 7” singles from his formative years. Covering the ’60s through to the mid-’70s, when he started out as a fresh-faced 15 year old club DJ, these records embody the soundtrack of his youth.
With running times of approximately 2 hours, the 12 individual monthly parts will conclude in a full day’s worth of music. Having only pre-determined the opening and closing tracks, Greg will select the rest as he goes along, moving in whatever direction his mood takes him at that given moment. The title, ‘Random Influences’, reflects this arbitrary approach”.
I was asked earlier this year by the Australian based blog Spank! to write about five tracks that had inspired me and, with the proviso that “it could have been many others, but I decided to go with these five”, I spread my selections over a sequence of black music styles spanning a two decade period, from Soul through to House: