Monday, March 29, 2010

Renato Carosone !

Buongiorno !
Ok folks, I promised a friend ! No actually, a lotta friends !

Carosone was born in Naples and he studied piano at his hometown's Conservatory and obtained his diploma in 1937, when he was just 17. He soon signed a contract as a band leader for a tour of Africa.
In 1949 he was asked to put together a group for a club's opening night. After some auditions, he signed the Dutch guitarist Peter Van Wood and the Neapolitan drummer Gegè Di Giacomo: so the Trio Carosone was born. The trio became quartet with the Hungarian Gypsy musician Elek Bacsik on bass, guitar and violin.
During 1950s Carosone became more and more popular, his orchestra was on high demand both in Italy and abroad, and records sales were soaring high.
A hint of his worldwide success: some of his songs were translated into 12 languages and no fewer than thirty cover versions were recorded in the United States alone ! On 5 January 1957 Carosone and his band started off a successful American tour with a concert in Cuba. The last tour concert was a triumph at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York !
Fr the records, several of his hits were the result of this long and fruitful cooperation with the lyricist Nicola Salerno, who used the pseudonym Nisa. They could understand each other perfectly: just one hint by Carosone, and Nisa wrote a funny, witty little story about it.
Anyway, Carosone surprisingly announced his retirement in 1960, when he was still at the top of his success. His decision caused an uproar. Some even suspected obscure criminal threats. Away from the spotlight, Carosone turned to other interests, mainly painting.
He died in Rome in 2001.

Renato Carosone :
* Mambo Italiano *
* Tu Vuò Fà L'Americano *
* Ehi, Cumpari! *

Monday, March 22, 2010

Marv Johnson !

Spring !!!
Hooray !!!

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Johnson began his career singing with a doo-wop group called the Serenaders in the mid 1950s. With budding talents not only as a singer but as a songwriter and pianist, he formed in 1958 a partnership with the young Berry Gordy, who was then working as a songwriter and producer for Jackie Wilson. Gordy produced Johnson's earliest releases on Kudo, and launched his Tamla label with Johnson's single "Come To Me", Between 1959 and 1961, Johnson would issue nine Billboard Hot 100 singles !
Johnson's early Motown issued singles would be the precedent to the future sound and success of the label, which by the time Johnson began issuing his Motown records nationally in 1965, had become the biggest independent label in the world.
Meanwhile, with Johnson retiring in 1970 to become a sales ececutive at Motown, after almost two decades working behind the scenes in the music business (& he also wrote songs for Tyrone Davis and Johnnie Taylor), he returned to performing in 1987, touring with the "Sounds Of Motown" package. He continued singing into the 1990s, releasing a solo album on the London based Motor City Records label.
Johnson collapsed and died of a heart attack at a concert in South Carolina in 1993 at the age of 54.

Marv Johnson :
* Come To Me *
* I'm Coming Home *
* I've Got A Notion *

Monday, March 15, 2010

Phil Phillips !

Philip Baptiste performed with his brothers in a gospel group called the Gateway Quartet and worked as a bellhop before he recorded "Sea of Love" in 1959. Baptiste changed his name to Phil Phillips, and dubbed his backing vocalists The Twilights. After a Baton Rouge disc jockey played the song repeatedly, the recording sold heavily and was leased to Mercury Records. "Sea of Love" went to #2 and spent 14 weeks in the top 40, as well as reaching #1 on the R&B chart. Yes folks, it sold over two million copies in 1959 ! (Nonetheless, Phillips and received no further royalties for the song or its recording…)
Phillips did not release an album to capitalize on his success, due to the unfavorable terms of his deal. "Because I decided to fight for what was rightfully and legally mine, a full album that I recorded was never released. I’m not being paid, nor have I ever been paid, as an artist for 'Sea of Love'. I never received justice and to this day have not received justice."
So hell yes, it’s hard to believe, but Bear Family's 2008 "Sea of Love" is the first CD compilation of Phil Phillips recordings — a bloody disservice to a singer responsible for one of the great slow dance singles of the rock &roll era !!!
Anyway, Phillips' voice is always winning !
And in October 2007, Phillips was honored for his contributions to Louisiana music with induction into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
We Love you Phil !

Phil Phillips :
* Sea Of Love *
* Verdie Mae *
* Juella *
* Weeping Willow *

Monday, March 08, 2010

Buddy Knox !

Tadaaaa, here's our humble introduction to (tadaaaa):
Ok, Buddy Wayne Knox was born in 1933 in the tiny farming community of Happy, Texas .
One fine day, after performing on the same 1956 radio show as fellow Texan Roy Orbison and his "Teen Kings" band, Orbison suggested Knox go see record producer Norman Petty at his studio in Clovis, New Mexico. Knox recorded three songs at Petty's studio, most notably "Party Doll" that later was released on the Roulette label and went to No.1 in 1957 !
In the early 1960s Buddy signed with Liberty Records and released a number of more mainstream pop records, featuring string arrangements and vocal backup singers.
Buddy Knox died of lung cancer in 1999. He is buried in Dreamland Cemetery, in Canyon, Texas.

Buddy Knox :
* Storm Clouds *
* I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself *
* Devil Woman *
+ (of course)
* Party Doll *

Monday, March 01, 2010

Lee Moses !

Who’s ready for the great Lee Moses !
I can’t hear you in the back !
Louder !
Ok, Lee Moses (as we like them here, a bit sadly I must say) is a true lost figure in the history of R&B !
He was born in 1941, in Atlanta, GA, and he formed his first band, the Showstoppers, in the 1950s, and the group was an extremely big draw in the Atlanta area. He met New York producer and scene hustler Johnny Brauntly around 1965 and began working as a session guitarist for him (along with another session player, some left-handed guitarist named Jimi Hendrix, don't know if you've heard about him) in the Big Apple.
Moses cut three singles for Musicor Records in 1967, followed by a couple more for Dynamo Records and a nine-track solo LP in 1971 for Maple Records entitled Time and Place, which saw him backed by his own band, now called the Disciples, and various members of the Ohio Players.
He returned to Atlanta in the 70’s and the city remained his home base for the rest of his life. He gigged locally there but apparently did not record again.
He died in Atlanta in 1997.
Frankly, Lee Moses is pretty hard to top for intensity and soulfulness !

Lee Moses :
* Diana (From N.Y.C) *
* I'm Sad About It *
* How Much Longer (Must I Wait?) *

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