The fantastic ‘Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)’ appeared as the B-side to Irma Thomas’s rendition of ‘Time Is on My Side’. Released in 1964, the song was co-written by a young Randy Newman and country singer Jeannie Seely.
Osbourne Ruddock (aka King Tubby) was one of the original purveyors of the remix. The fact that that his domain was reggae and dub music is neither here nor there, the man was a mixologist. By 1972, his influence was being acknowledged by others in their growing experimentation. One example appeared as a B-side to Pat Satchmo’s ‘What’s Going On’; the Prince Tony-produced ‘Tubbys In Full Swing’ was credited to singer Lloyd Young and Carey ‘Wildman’ Johnson. A radio announcement, a few false bars of the Staples Singers’ ‘I’ll Take You There’, followed by Kerry, a drum roll, an organ and a trombone instrumental. Reggae was a-changing. Have a great weekend.
Evan Dando returned to music in 2003 after a long, long lost weekend. The former Lemonheads frontman released the lo-fi Baby I’m Bored, which featured the track ‘It Looks Like You’. Released as a single, its B-side was the jaunty ‘Whoops’. “We all fall short, but it’s a long way down.” The man had seen the dark side; perhaps that’s why the song was incomprehensibly consigned to a flip-side.
This might be my soul find of the year. I had not heard this track until last month. William Daron Pulliam’s recording history is thin, but in 1972 he penned and released ‘Didn’t I’. “Darondo” released the song as a B-Side to ‘Listen To My Song’ on the Berkeley-based Music City label. It’s a great way to start the week. Have a goodun.
Released in the autumn of 1979, the B-side of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ also drew its inspiration from the world of film. It was the Misfits’ fourth single release and the band had already shown their disdain for the political and social messages abundant elsewhere in punk. Instead, ‘Where Eagles Dare’ was all about kicking out the jams and having fun.
Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr wrote ‘How Soon Is Now?’. But he famously says that even he would now have difficulty to recreate the sound of the oscillating guitar that is the hallmark of the track.Instantly recognisable; genius at work in 1984. Remarkably, it slipped out as a B-side to ‘William, It Was Really Nothing’ single. Have great weekend.
On the subject of song association, undoubtedly one the best songs of 2014, Future Islands’ ‘Seasons’ does actually sound a little like Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’. It was mentioned to me and I don’t know why I have not spotted it before. The famous Nuxx mix of ‘Born Slippy’ was originally released as a B-side in 1995, but would reach wider acclaim a year later as a standalone release on Junior Boys Own and as the music to the final scene of the beloved movie Trainspotting.
Last night, I went to see the new movie Northern Soul. It was a nostalgic evening of label, track and cameo spotting. (Lisa Stansfield, where have you been?) One label, Cameo-Parkway Records gets a special mention. I know the label because it pressed Yvonne Baker’s 1967 single ‘To Prove My Love Is True’. While Baker had had limited success as a soul singer with The Sensations, her voice would live on, because that single’s B-side ‘You Didn’t Say a Word’ would become a stomper on the floors up north. Keep the faith.
Before it was reincarnated as a sample in Kid ‘N Play, Jamiroquai and 2Pac tracks, ‘Last Night Changed It All’ was the only real hit for Esther Williams. Written by Joe Wheeler, the song featured on her debut album Let Me Show You. It was a sleeper in disco circles and would be rereleased (without the alarm bell) as a B-side to her 1980 single ‘Your’s And Your’s Alone’. Have a great weekend.
I don’t think I’d like Roger Waters if I met him. That fact that he’s a fan of Arsenal, doesn’t help. But in 1972 he set aside his allegiances and allowed David Gilmour and team to feature the Kop’s rendition of Gerry and the Pacemakers’ ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as a fade-out for the sensational ‘Fearless’. One of the enduring sounds of football, Liverpool fans bring to an end Waters’ lyrical interpretation of madness. ‘Fearless’ first featured as a B-side to single ‘One Of These Days’ and then took its place on Pink Floyd’s seminal long player Meddle.
A change of musical direction, but an equally important B-side to finish off the week. ‘Velocity Girl’ by Bobby Gillespie’s Primal Scream was the influential flip-slide of their 12″ single ‘Crystal Crescent’. Three years later, The Stone Roses would re-use the melody for their equally pivotal ‘Made Of Stone’. 80+ seconds of indie history in the making. Have a great weekend.
Before ‘drum and bossa’ DJ Marky got hold of ‘Carolina Carol Bela’, it lived as a slice of tropicalista cool. Like ‘Right’, ‘Carolina Carol Bela’ was released as a B-side to a more popular track – in this case Jorge Ben Jor & Toquinho’s single ‘Que Maravilha’ (What a Wonder). While Jorge Ben had already established himself as Tropicália star, ‘Que Maravilha’ was Toquinho’s first big hit. For me, ‘Carolina Carol Bela’ had a slower-but-brighter burn.
There was a lot of music memorabilia on TV this Christmas. One broadcast that didn’t have me immediately switching over was ‘Five Years’. An intimate portrait of five key years in David Bowie’s 1970s period, the documentary is hijacked by a handful of Robert Fripp interviews and a fascinating insight into his Thin White Duke phase. While hanging out with Lennon in New York in 1975, he met guitarist Carlos Alomar. Alomar would take him regularly to the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem where he would meet the unknown Luther Vandross and a number of other session artists that inspired a new form of ‘plastic soul’. It got no better than ‘Right’ that would feature on the B-side of the bigger-but-inferior ‘Fame’ – the song also features on 1975’s Young Americans.
‘The Masterplan’ was a song released by a band at the height of its powers. As good as ‘Wonderwall’ is, to release this song as its B-side seems beyond belief now. Noel Gallagher has since acknowledged it as one of the best he’s written. I think Noel may have smiled when he said as much; not only is it sung by Noel, but also it doesn’t feature frontman Liam. Noel can be heard singing The Beatles’ ‘Octopus’s Garden’ towards the end of the song. A sense of brotherly love, indeed.
From Bill Fay’s first single in 1967, ‘Some Good Advice’, B-side ‘Scream in the Ears’ is, frankly, a sublimely crafted song. He would follow the single with two long players, Bill Fay (1970) and Time of the Last Persecution (1971). The albums didn’t sell well and he went off-radar for for 40 years. He has resurfaced in the last couple of years and this time with a seal of approval from Wilco and Jim O’Rourke.