A true stylist in his own right, Michael Chapman holds a middle line between John Martyn and Bert Jansch with the provocative electric rock of Martyn juxtaposed against the traditional folk so wonderfully espoused by Jansch. Along for the ride on other songs are acoustic bassist Danny Thompson (Pentangle, John Martyn, Nick Drake) and electric bass player Rick Kemp (later to join Steeleye Span). All of the proceedings were produced by Gus Dudgeon who also did Chapman’s “FQS” album as well as David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” single – and a ton of the early work of Elton John. [Source]
In 1970, a year before he died, Louis Armstrong participated in this odd but ultimately winning crossover project, singing (but not playing) pop tunes, including “Everybody’s Talkin'” and “Give Peace a Chance,” spiritual uplifters such as “We Shall Overcome” (featuring an unlikely “We Are the World”-type vocal chorus that includes Ornette Coleman, Tony Bennett, and Miles Davis), and three different edits of “The Creator Has a Master Plan (Peace)” (featuring Afro yodeler Leon Thomas). This was not one of the esteemed arranger Oliver Nelson’s better days: dig, or don’t, those hammy orchestrations. But even at less than full strength, Satchmo transcends the setting and the weaker material with his surpassing warmth, authority, and genial spoken asides. “Love, baby, love, that’s the secret,” he says in defending the sentiments of “What a Wonderful World,” here offered in a relaxed, less saccharine version than his 1968 original. More than 30 years on, no one spreads that gospel better. [Source]
Hot Chocolate started their recording career making a reggae version of John Lennon’s “Give Peace A Chance”, but band leader Errol Brown was told he needed permission. Much to Brown’s surprise, he was contacted by Apple Records, discovered that John Lennon liked his version, and the group was subsequently signed to Apple Records. The link was short-lived as The Beatles were starting to break up, and the Apple connection soon ended.
The song was popularized by Roberta Flack in 1972 in a version that became a breakout hit for the singer. The song first appeared on Flack’s 1969 album First Take. Flack’s rendition was much slower than the original as an early solo recording by Peggy Seeger ran two and a half minutes long whereas Flack’s is more than twice that length. This slower, more sensual version was used by Clint Eastwood in his 1971 directorial debut Play Misty for Me during a lovemaking scene. With the new exposure, Atlantic Records cut the song down to four minutes and released it to radio. It became an extremely successful single in the United States where it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Easy Listening charts in April 1972 for six week runs on each. It reached #14 on the UK Singles Chart.
In 1969, Johnny Bristol was preparing a cover version of “Someday We’ll Be Together,” to be recorded by Motown act Jr. Walker & the All-Stars. Bristol had already recorded the instrumental track and the background vocals by Maxine Waters and Julia Waters when Berry Gordy happened upon the tracks and heard them. Gordy thought that “Someday” would be a perfect first solo single for Diana Ross, who was making her long-expected exit from the Supremes at the time, and had Bristol sequester Ross into the studio to record the song. Unable at first to get the vocal performance he desired from Diana Ross, Johnny Bristol decided to try something different: he would harmonize with Ross, helping her to get into the mood needed for the record. On the first take, the engineer accidentally recorded both Ross’s vocal and Bristol’s ad-libs. Bristol and arranger Wade Marcus liked the results, and Bristol had his vocal recorded alongside Ross’ for the final version of the song. Bristol’s ad-libs and words of encouragement to Ross can be heard in the background throughout the song. When Berry Gordy heard the completed song, he decided to release it as the final Diana Ross & the Supremes song. Ross’ first solo single instead, released early 1970, became “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand).” While the explicit subject of the song was that of Ross comforting a long-distance lover, “Someday We’ll Be Together” allowed for a number of other implications such that Ross and bandmates Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong would one day “be together.” Further, in concert, Ross would suggest that “someday, we’ll be together” in regard to contemporary troubles like civil rights and the ongoing demonstrations and protests against the Vietnam War.
[Dedicated to Bob Thorhauge and Stine Lyndgaard who are getting married today]
“Down by the River” is a song composed by Neil Young. It was first released on his 1969 album with Crazy Horse, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Young explained the context of story when introducing it in New Orleans on September 27, 1984. It depicts a man who catches his woman cheating on him, then meets her down by the river and shoots her. A few hours later the sheriff comes to his house and arrests him. In the liner notes of his 1977 anthology album Decade, Young states that he wrote “Down by the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” while delirious in bed in Topanga Canyon with a 103 °F (39 °C) fever.
Read Guy Garvey’s notes about the song here.
“She Brings the Rain”, originally appearing in the 1969 film Bottom – Ein großer, graublauer Vogel by Thomas Schamoni (brother to directors Ulrich Schamoni and Peter Schamoni), was later featured in Wim Wenders’ 1994 film Lisbon Story, the 2000 Oskar Roehler film Die Unberührbare and Tran Anh Hung’s film Norwegian Wood, released in 2010.
Also check this post on one of our sister sites BERLINORDIC.COM (currently in development).