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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.

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

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

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.

Friday on my Mind 137: Al Capone; Madness; One Step Beyond

Prince Buster, who has died recently, was one of the instigators of ska and rock-steady and hence of course influential on the eventual development of reggae.

He only had the one hit in the UK in the 1960s though.

Prince Buster: Al Capone

His music was of course an inspiration for the group Madness who not only took their name from one of Buster’s songs (which they performed as the B-side to their first hit) –

Prince Buster: Madness

– but also covered his One Step Beyond for their second UK chart entry.

Prince Buster: One Step Beyond

Cecil Bustamente Campbell (Prince Buster): 24/5/1938-8/9/2016. So it goes.

Not Friday on my Mind 43: Darling Be Home Soon

The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Summer in the City was the second song I featured in my Friday on my Mind spot. This song could hardly be more different, wistful rather than joyful, restrained as opposed to exuberant.

Whether the story is apocryphal or not I recall reading that guitarist Zal Yanovsky didn’t like the direction the group was taking hence his hamming up on TV appearances such as this one.

The Lovin’ Spoonful: Darling Be Home Soon

Friday on my Mind 136: White Bird

From last week’s slightly ridiculous to the more sublime, a 1969 effort from the idiosyncratically named band It’s a Beautiful Day one of whose members, David LaFlamme, favoured a five stringed violin.

It’s a Beautiful Day: White Bird

Not Friday on my Mind 42:- Sam

Keith West’s follow-up to Excerpt From “A Teenage Opera” was also inspired by that song’s creator Mark Wirtz but perhaps explains why the full project didn’t appear for nearly thirty years as it barely scratched the lower reaches of the charts. The similarities to the earlier hit are there but the song doesn’t cohere in quite the same way. The children’s chorus isn’t as catchy and the sequencing has more than a touch of the galloping hiccups (a complaint I have seen levelled against Bohemian Rhapsody.)

Keith West: Sam

Friday on my Mind 135: Excerpt From “A Teenage Opera”

I mentioned this song once before. Its singer Keith West also had an incarnation with the band Tomorrow.

The Teenage Opera from which this was an excerpt did not make its full appearance until thirty years or so later.

As you can imagine being named Jack and at school at a time when a song with the refrain “Grocer Jack” became a hit wasn’t an unalloyed joy.

Keith West: Excerpt From “A Teenage Opera”

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