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Reelin’ In the Years 127: Lucky Man

Now add Greg Lake to the growing list.

Founder member of King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Lake of course found individual fame with his 1975 hit I Believe in Father Christmas.

Lake apparently wrote Lucky Man when he was twelve having received a guitar from his mother as a present. It was one of the first times a Moog synthesiser had featured on a record.

Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Lucky Man

Gregory Stuart “Greg” Lake: 10/11/1947 – 7/12/2016. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 141: RIP John D Loudermilk

I only discovered this week that John D Loudermilk has also gone from us this year.

He didn’t have a hit in his own right in the UK but was the composer of several for others.

Tobacco Road was covered by the Nashville Teens,

The Nashville Teens: Tobacco Road

This Little Bird by Marianne Faithfull,

Marianne Faithfull: This Little Bird

and Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian – which I remember as titled (The Lament of the Cherokee) Indian Reservation; a change which makes the lament a more general rather than individual one – by Don Fardon.

Don Fardon: Indian Reservation

John D. Loudermilk: 31/3/1934 – September 21/9/2016. So it goes.

Fidel Castro

Whatever your opinion of him, Fidel Castro, who died yesterday, was undoubtedly one of the most significant figures of the Twentieth Century.

Not only did he somehow contrive from a very small personnel base to overthrow the government of Fulgencio Batista he managed to sustain his regime against the efforts to undermine it of a great power whose territory began only 103 miles away even when his backer, the Soviet Union, which that confrontation drew him to had fallen into the jaws of history.

The nationalisation of all US-owned businesses on the island naturally poisoned relations with it, as, no doubt, did the treatment of Batista suporters and the suppression of opposition voices. Castro did, though, institute free medical care for all and a well regarded education system.

The Cuba-US stand-off provided the biggest world crisis since the Second World War when USSR missiles were stationed on Cuban soil. Thankfully cool heads prevailed on the part of both the great powers to procure their removal.

Despite many increasingly lunatic plans to remove Castro or his influence (see first link above) he survived them all and was able to pass on his leadership peacefully.

Even if that was only to his brother he did not continue to cling to power beyond his capacity to wield it, unlike many.

Here are two opposing musical views.

Focus: Sugar Island

The Skatalites: Fidel Castro

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz: 13/8/1926 – 25/11/2016. So it goes.

Live It Up 33: (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang

I wasn’t one for dance music (and we’ll forget the outrageous but intentional misspelling in the song’s title for the moment) but the title of this has become very to the point this month.

As has the lyric. Just replace “Reagan’s” with “Trump is” and “Generals tell him what to do” with “white supremacists tell him what to do”.

This is Heaven 17 in a live performance from a few years ago of their 1981 hit.

Heaven 17: (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang

Friday on my Mind 140: Journey to the Centre of the Mind

I’ve not posted a piece of psychedelia for a while so here are The Amboy Dukes performing on Spanish TV.

The Amboy Dukes: Journey to the Centre of the Mind

It Just Keeps Coming….

Now it’s Leon Russell……

Never as commercially successful in his own right as he perhaps deserved his songs are better known in their cover versions.

For Joe Cocker’s take on Delta Lady see here.

This is a much less rocky track perhaps most famous in its performance by The Carpenters.

Leon Russell: A Song For You

Leon Russell: 2/4/1942 – 13/11/2016. So it goes.

Closing Time: Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Jimmy Young

I had intended to publish remembrance posts today in the one day this year between Armistice Day and Remembrance Day but 2016 just keeps piling it on.

Now it’s Leonard Cohen who has left us.

Not to mention actor Robert Vaughn – aka Napoleon Solo in the Man From U.N.C.L.E. but whose best performance was as a conscientious German officer, Major Paul Kreuger, undone by circumstances in the film The Bridge at Remagen – and, earlier in the week, a voice from my youth (though he was too soft-edged to be a anything like a favourite,) Jimmy Young, once a stalwart of BBC Radio 2.

I suppose everybody will be using Hallelujah to sign Leonard Cohen off. Here instead is one of his songs from 1992, Closing Time.

Leonard Norman Cohen: 21/9/1934 – 7/11/2016. So it goes.
Robert Vaughn: 22/11/1932 – 11/11/2016. So it goes.
Leslie Ronald “Jimmy” Young: 21/9/1921 – 7/11/2016. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 139: Big Time Operator

This breezy single from 1966 became a minor hit. I have a soft spot for it mainly because of the large number of rhymes it employs for operator – only the first of which, paper, doesn’t really work.

A newsboy on a paper, I worked an elevator, I knew that later, a higher rater, big time operator.
I drove an excavator, wine and (brandy?) waiter, decorator, estimator, big time operator.
As an air-line navigator, crime investigator, commentator, illustrator, big time operator.

I suppose they had rhyming dictionaries back then but it’s still quite a feat to work all of these into the song’s rhythm.

Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band: Big Time Operator

Live It Up 32: You Spin Me Round (Like A Record): RIP Pete Burns

The obituary of flamboyant front man of Dead or Alive, Pete Burns, appeared on the same page of the Guardian as that of Bobby Vee.

1980s music wasn’t generally to my taste, especially the output overseen by Stock, Aitken and Waterman under whom Burns’s band Dead or Alive had their biggest hit but Burns himself was certainly distinctive. He apparently claimed that Boy George modelled himself on him.

Burns’s career as a pop star was relatively brief and he later became more famous for being Pete Burns and less than an ideal advert for plastic surgery.

Dead or Alive: You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)

Peter Jozzeppi Burns, 5/8/1959-23/10/2016. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 138: Take Good Care of My Baby: RIP Bobby Vee

In the early 1960s it seemed that all you needed to be a successful North American male singer was to be called Bobby. Bobby Darin, Bobby Vee, Bobby Rydell all had hits then. The middle one of those, Bobby Vee, died this week.

Singer of the outrageously catchy Rubber Ball, and teen ballads like More Than I Can Say and Run to Him, the admonitory The Night has a Thousand Eyes and the yearning Take Good Care of My Baby, Vee’s star fell along with that style of recording once the Beatles came along.

Take Good Care of my Baby was a typically breezy sounding song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King with an attendant less than breezy lyric. Note those plucked strings fixing its vintage.

Bobby Vee: Take Good Care of My Baby

Robert Thomas Velline (Bobby Vee): 30/4/1943–24/10/2016. So it goes.

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