Thursday, July 31, 2014


Artist: Clout
LP: Clout
Song: "Without Love"
[ listen ]

Formed in South Africa in 1977 as an all-girl quintet, Clout took on a couple of fellas before their self-titled LP was released on the Epic label in 1979. (Have you ever seen a group where every single member looks so entirely and completely "1979"?) Clout seems to have been heavily influenced by ABBA (and why not?), though their lyrics don't seem to be quite as catchy. The group's 1977 "Substitute" single went to the top of the charts in ten countries and reached #2 in the UK, but it only climbed to #67 on the Billboard Hot 100 here in the USA. We're a tough nut to crack. Sadly, Clout called it quits just a few years later, in 1981. You can read all about Clout on Wikipedia here and go here to read still more and to watch a performance of "Substitute" that includes original Clout-er Glenda Hyam on keyboards.

  [ Ingi Herbst — drums/vocals ]
[ Sandie Robbie — guitar/vocals ]

[ Lee Tomlinson — bass/vocals ]

[ Bones Brettell — keyboards/vocals ]

[ Jenni Garson — guitar/vocals ]

[ Cindi Alter — lead vocals/guitar ]

[ Clout ]

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Hobbits

Artist: The Hobbits
LP: Men and Doors—The Hobbits Communicate
Song: "Men and Doors"
[ listen ]
Song: "The Journey"
[ listen ]
Song: "Feeling"
[ listen ]

My friend Chris and I went on a little road trip getaway to the Olympic Peninsula last weekend. We visited the beautiful and fog-shrouded Olympic Mountains, stopped in quaint little towns like Port Gamble, Port Angeles, Sequim, and Port Townsend, and in the Port of Townsend I even found a nice little record store! Mixed in with a few other shops in a subterranean stone passageway, Quimper Sound has been supplying the peninsula with music since 1974. One of the best things I found there is this highly dramatic psychedelic pop record made by The Hobbits in 1968. It's not easy to find online photos of the band since annoying stuff like this keeps popping up. Fortunately, there's a photo of the group on the back of the LP, along with lots of other stuff that I've included below. You can read more about Jimmy Curtiss and The Hobbits on the allmusic website here.

 [ The Hobbits ]

[ Quimper Sound — Port Townsend, Washington ]

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jackie Mittoo

Artist: Jackie Mittoo
LP: Let's Put It All Together
Song: "Feel Like Makin' Love"
[ listen ]
Song: "Frangipani"
[ listen ]

The last and final record store I went to on my road trip through Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana was Domino Sound Record Shack in New Orleans—off the beaten path and away from the touristy parts of town. Like most other record shops I visited in the South, this was one of the very best. I picked up so many records at Domino Sound, they had to put them in a cardboard box for me to carry them away. Though it was hard for me to choose which one record to post, I chose this 1975 Jackie Mittoo LP for two reasons: #1.) I've been working on a large jigsaw puzzle at work with my friend Beatrice, who sits at the adjoining desk. I made some exciting progress on Friday since work was slow, and this morning I awoke from a dream in which I was finding and correctly placing tiny pieces into the big jigsaw picture. So with its puzzle-themed cover, Mittoo's LP seemed a perfect fit. #2.) I really like it. Reggae isn't my favorite genre, but when it features solo electric organ it's definitely my cup of tea.

Born in Brown's Town, Jamaica in 1948, Jackie Mittoo's grandmother began teaching him to play the piano when he was just four years old. He was a member of The Skatalites in the 1960s and then emigrated to Toronto, Canada at the end of that decade. He continued to make music and played in lounges in Toronto and, though perhaps not as well known as the only Jamaican reggae musician anyone outside of Jamaica has ever heard of, Jackie Mittoo worked with some of the best in the business until his death from cancer at age 42. By then Mittoo had become known as a master of his craft. You can read about Jackie Mittoo on Wikipedia here and go here to see his complete discography—with photos!

[ Jackie Mittoo: March 3, 1948 — December 16, 1990 ]

[ Domino Sound Record Shack — New Orleans, Louisiana ]

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Connie Francis & Hank Williams, Jr.

Artist: Connie Francis & Hank Williams, Jr.
LP: Connie Francis & Hank Williams, Jr. Sing Great Country Favorites
Song: "Wabash Cannonball"
[ listen ]

Before stumbling upon this wonderful 1964 duet LP filled with country standards at a cute little walk-in closet of a store called Skully'z Recordz in the French Quarter of New Orleans, I had no idea that Connie and Hank, Jr. had made a record together—and they've been out driving together too! Like peanut-butter and chocolate, Hank and Connie make a surprisingly delicious combination that truly reflects today's spirit of musical pioneering. Go here to read all about Connie Francis, here to read about Hank Williams, Jr., and there's a bit of information about this record they made together here. Liner notes from the back of the LP are included below. 

 [ Connie Francis & Hank Williams, Jr. ]

[ Skully'z Recordz — New Orleans, Louisiana ]

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

John Littleton

Artist: John Littleton w/ Chœurs du Noviciat de Concy-Yerres
LP: Amen — John Littleton Chante Odette Vercruysse 
Song: "Gethsemani"
[ listen ]
Song: "Petit David"
[ listen ]

After spending the night tent-camping in beautiful Shepard State Park just outside Gautier, Mississippi, I decided to stop for breakfast at the very first Waffle House I came to—which was about the 7 millionth one I'd seen on my trip.

It was better (yummier and more diner-like) than I thought it would be! Continuing along the Mississippi Gulf Coast on super-scenic Highway 90, I finally arrived back in New Orleans on the afternoon of April 13th, a Sunday. I'd booked a room at the charming Burgundy Bed & Breakfast, just a few blocks east of the historic French Quarter. If you're headed to New Orleans and looking for a nice quiet place to stay, I highly recommend the Burgundy. 

The French Quarter Festival was wrapping up its final day as I set out on foot to explore the city. There were throngs of tourists milling through the narrow boulevards, some stopping to listen and dance to street musicians, as well as to those scheduled to perform on stages throughout the neighborhood. On the eastern border of the French Quarter I came upon the Louisiana Music Factory, a bustling record and CD store where I found this terrific French-language gospel LP that features John Littleton performing songs and hymns by Odette Vercruysse. Born sometime in 1930 in Tallulah, Louisiana, John Littleton began singing in church at an early age. The U.S. Army later took him to Reims, France, where he reportedly fell in love, both with the land and with a lady. Littleton remained in Europe and continued singing, eventually becoming known as the "ambassador of the negro spiritual in France." The traditional Southern spiritual and the French chanson make a fascinating combination, as you can hear in the songs included above. John Littleton is backed on the record by the Chœurs de Noviciat de Concy-Yerres, as well as an orchestra directed by Francis Le Maguer. You can read more about John Littleton in French here and go here for his English-language obituary in The Independent.

[ John Littleton: 1930 — August 24, 1998 ]

[ Louisiana Music Factory — New Orleans, Louisiana ]