Thursday, February 22, 2018
Matthew Tilders was born in the Netherlands in 1941. His parents emigrated to Australia in 1955 and settled in Melbourne. Matthew sang in school and church choirs but developed an interest in blues music. He learned to play harp (mouth organ) and joined a local band. He later took up the guitar and by 1960 was busking in the cafe bars around Melbourne. With no particular mentor he developed his own blues style using his wide vocal range. He cut his first album in 1961 at a friend's home studio but it sold very few copies. A year later he was teamed up with Shane Duckham and they played on the Sydney folk circuit for many years. In 1970 after Dutch appeared on New Faces, he was signed by Ron Tudor to the Bootleg label. In 1972 he recorded the first album for the label and worked with Phil Manning, Barry Sullivan and Barry Harvey (Chain), Laurie Prior (The Twilights) and Broderick Smith (The Dingoes). Paul Cadd played and produced the album with features Delta blues on side one and Chicago blues on side two.
Throughout the 70s, Dutch became a stalwart of Australian blues music and popular performer at clubs and festivals and toured as support for John Mayall.
Although Dutch did not enjoy commercial success he did become a firm favourite with other musicians and blues fans. Among his many admirers was B B King, who along with Sonny Terry regarded him as a genuine bluesman.
Throughout the 70s, Dutch recorded and performed with Kevin Borich, Taj Mahal, John Mayall and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. In 1975 he recorded with Jimmy Conway and Kevin Borich and his third album, Working Man was released in 1977 and an all-star backing group of blues harp maestro Jim Conway (Captain Matchbox), Kerryn Tolhurst and John Bois (Country Radio, Dingoes), Ray Arnott (Spectrum), and Jeff King (Foreday Riders).
During the late seventies, Dutch fronted several blues and boogie bands including The Elks, the Cyril B. Bunter Band and Mickey Finn. In 1979 he made an album with Jim Conway, Bob Bertles (The Meteors), and Peter Howell (bass).
By the 80s Dutch formed the 'R&B Six', a band that included Charley Elul (drums), Peter Frazer (sax), Suzanne Petersen (flute and vocals), Mick Eliot (guitar) and Dave Murray (bass and vocals). This band toured Australia extensively.
Unfortunately, Dutch did not release any new recordings, but formed The Blues Club with Geoff Achison (guitar), Martin Corcoran and Terry Noone (sax), Barry Hills (bass), and Winston Galea (drums).
Later he joined The Holey Soles with Anthony Harkin (harmonica), Barry Hills (bass) and Ian Clarke (drums); the second line-up featured Clarke, Luke Keogh (harp), and Peter Howell (bass).
This was followed by The Dutch Tilders Band with Greg Dodd (guitar), Barry Hills and Winston Galea. Over the last decade Dutch continued to perform but more recently as a solo artist.
Ill health forced him into retirement and he passed away, aged 69 in 2011.
Worth a listen
I'm a mean mistreater (1976)
21st Birthday Rag (1976)
Dutchman’s Boogie (1979)
Glory of Love (1979)
Stoned again (1979)
Stoned again (1979)
Kb Blues (1980)
Bad books (1980)
Kb Blues (1980)
The blues had a baby (1980).
They call me midnight (1980)
Nobody knows when you are down and out (1989)
Baby please don’t go (1993)
Goodmorning blues (1993)
I’m a bluesman (1998)
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
What is it that makes some songs stick in your head and other not. Scientists call songs that get stuck in our head “earworms,” after the German, Ohrwurm (ear-worm). According to neuroscientists no-one is quite sure how and why this happens. It is often not to be a whole song that gets stuck in the head, just 15-20 seconds of one, and it tends to be a simple song that even non-singers can hum without effort. Earworms can also be jingles, and tunes. Songs with lyrics are reported as most frequently stuck (74%), followed by commercial jingles (15%) and instrumental tunes without words (11%). Almost everyone seems susceptible to them, but with some more than others. On average, the episodes last over a few hours and occur 'frequently' or 'very frequently' among 61.5% of the sample. Some people can get earworms so bad that it interferes with their ability to sleep or work. Others use their earworms as an impetuous to write music. Neil Young, for example, started writing songs because he could not get rid of the tunes in his head. Earworms are more likely to last longer for women and to irritate them significantly more than men. The length of earworm attack is reported longer for musicians and music lovers. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are more prone to report being troubled by ear worms.
The technical name for ‘earthworms’ is Musical Imagery Repetition (MIR) or involuntary musical imagery (IMI) but should not be confused with endomusia (or musical hallucinations), a serious condition where people hear music that is not playing externally.
There is no known cure but many try to use another tune to dislodge the one that is stuck. People with songs stuck in their heads often try talking with someone about it. And about half the survey deliberately try to distract themselves from hearing the stuck song. And 14% of the time, people try to complete the song in their heads in an effort to get it to end. Almost 25% of people polled complained earworm episodes stopped them from doing other tasks and 14%felt it wasted their time.
Researchers at Goldsmiths College, (University of London), believe while earthworms remain a mystery to psychologists, getting to understand them may help to unravel how the human brain works. They discovered spontaneous musical imagery comes without any conscious effort and the catchiness of something is the result of a particular balance of certain pitch intervals and particular rhythmic structures. They have developed a formula which can currently predict whether a tune is likely to be an earworm with approximately 75 percent success.
Researchers from the University of Reading found that when respondents attempted to distract themselves from the earworms, they lasted an average of 40 minutes. But, when respondents did nothing about the earworm, the experience lasted for an average of 22 minutes. Previous research has suggested that earworm experiences are limited by the capacity of auditory memory but current research would contest this and believe when earworms involve more than auditory memory, such as ] reactivation of long-term memory, then this allows for memories of a longer duration.
WARNING THIS WILL STICK IN YOUR HEAD
How to write an earworm
James J. Kellaris J.J 2003 "Dissecting Earworms: Further Evidence on the 'Song-Stuck-in-Your Head' Phenomenon, presentation to Society for Consumer Psychology, Feb. 22, 2003.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Wilson Picket was born in 1941, in Prattville, Alabama and the fourth of 11 children. The family moved to Detroit in his mid-teens and he sang in several Baptist church choirs. His forceful, passionate style of singing was developed between the sacred and the secular whist singing on the streets with the other kids. Wilson was a wild child with a fascination for guns but his love of singing kept him grounded. In 1955 he joined the Violinaires and sang gospel-harmony for four years. In 1959 he became lead singer of the Falcons, singing soul. The line-up of the group included Eddie Floyd (Knock on wood), Joe Stubbs (brother of Levi Stubbs) and songwriter, Mack Rice (Mustang Sally and Respect yourself). The group had previously found success with "You're So Fine," which sold over one million copies.
Wilson co-wrote and sang lead on "I Found a Love" which made number six on Billboard's soul charts in 1962.
Record producer, Robert Bateman recognized his potential and encouraged him to try a solo career. Wilson released several singles including “I'm Gonna Cry," collaboration with Don Covay) before moving to "Double L" records.
There he released two earthy R&B singles, "If You Need Me" and "It's Too Late".
When Jerry Wexler (Atlantic Records) heard them he took the singer to Memphis (1964) but not before he took “If you need me” (co-written by Wilson Picket) and recorded Solomon Burke singing it. The single became a soul classic.
Wilson was less than amused although his own version was a minor hit. In the Stax studio, Wexler eventually matched Wilson with Booker T. and the MG's and his third single was ‘In the Midnight Hour.’ The single reached the top of the R&B chart and hit #21 on the pop chart in 1965.
The album ‘The exciting Wilson Picket’ was recorded at Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and established the artist as a major soul star.
Steve Cropper and Wilson Picket continued their song writing collaboration at Atlantic Records and produced a long series of hits, including: "Don't Fight It" (1965), "634-5789”, (1966) "Land Of 1,000 Dances”, (1966) "Mustang Sally" (1966) and "Funky Broadway" (1967).
By the end of the year the singer was working with producers Tom Dowd and Tommy Cogbill, and also began recording numerous songs by Bobby Womack. In 1968, he produced the album, (I am a) Midnight Mover with the hit single of the same name.
Other hits followed including "Hey Jude," (1969) with guitarist, Duane Allman, and a year later, "Sugar, Sugar" was recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami.
In 1970, he worked with producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia which yielded two crossover hits, "Engine No.9," and "Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You."
In 1972 Picket left Atlantic but by now his run of soul hits had dried up. As an artist he failed to develop other musical genres and as the popularity of soul music dwindled his record sales dropped. By the early 70s Wilson was no longer making hit records. Despite this he continued to be a popular live performer and tirelessly toured with ‘The Soul Clan,’ i.e. Joe Tex, Don Covay, Ben E. King and Solomon Burke. Wilson continued to work on and off through the 90s despite spending some time in prison for a drunken driving. Plagued by health problems, he suffered a fatal heart attack in 2006, and died aged of 64.
Worth a listen
If you need me (1962)
It’s too late (1962)
In the Midnight Hour (1965)
Don't Fight It (1965)
634-5789 (Soulville, USA) (1966)
Land of 1,000 Dances (1966)
Mustang Sally (1966)
Everybody needs somebody to love (1966)
I found a love Part 1 (1966)
Funky Broadway (1967)
I’m in love (1967)
Hey Jude (1968)
Terrence Harris was born in 1939, in Kingsbury, North London. As child he was a fast runner and got called “Jet” by his school friends and the name stuck. From an early age he had an ear for music and enjoyed the bass sound on Winifred Atwell's " Cross Hand Boogie" (1952).
He started playing in a school group when he was fourteen. He left school at fifteen and became an apprentice welder making milk churns. He had learned to play the clarinet but eventually settled on the double bass. Jet started gigging in jazz clubs and his first professional engagement was with Terry Dene.
In 1957, he worked in the 2 Is Club, Soho selling coffees and cokes whilst playing bass in bands, including Tony Crombie's Rockets.
Post War austerity meant electric guitars were a rarity in UK but because Crombie wanted his band to be modern he got Jet a Framus electric bass guitar from the US. Later when it was damaged he imported a Fender Precision Bass, for Jet to play.
This made Harris one of the first professional British musicians to play electric bass in England. As a sideman he toured with Wee Willie Harris, and then briefly joined the skiffle band The Vipers with Wally Whyton.
There he occasionally jammed and recorded with fellow musicians, Hank Marvin (aka Brian Rankin) and Tony Meehan. In 1958 he went on tour with The Most Brothers (Mickie Most) and sometimes sat in with Cliff Richard and
The Drifters. Ian "Sammy" Samwell (wrote Move it, High Class Baby, and Dynamite) decided to leave the group and Jet became the resident Drifters, bass player. The new line-up was Hank Marvin (lead), Bruce Welch (rhythm), Jet Harris (bass) and Tony Meehan (drums). Jet played bass on "High Class Baby" and "Livin' Lovin' Doll."
The latter was a massive hit in 1958 but later in the same year The Drifters first single, Feelin' Fine/Don't Be A Fool (With Love), failed to chart.
The group then recorded the instrumental “Chinchilla” for the soundtrack of "Serious Charge" starring Cliff Richard which pricked up a few ears.
At first Atlantic Records objected to the name, Drifters and issued an injunction to prevent the use of the name. At the suggestion of Jet, Cliff’s backing group was renamed The Shadows but chart success continued to be elusive in the early years. Cliff and The Shadows toured the US in 1960 but returned to the UK after making little impression. When the group met singer/songwriter Jerry Lordan, they recorded his composition called Apache. Cliff played bongos. The instrumental was a major UK hit and the first of many with Jet on electric guitar.
After Tony Meehan left the group and by 1962 artistic differences between Jet and Bruce Welch came to a head and the bass player walked out to pursue a solo career. Jet was initially replaced by Brian "Liquorice" Lockin (Krew Kats). Jet’s first solo recording was a six-string Fender Bass VI guitar version of "Besame Mucho" produced by Jack Good and sold over 50,000 copies.
Tony Meehan played the drums. The follow up was called "Main Title Theme" and was taken from "The Man With The Golden Arm". It broke into the Top Twenty and spent 11 weeks in the charts.
In 1963, now credited as Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, Diamonds (written by Jerry Lordan) got to the Number One position in the UK Charts (ironically replacing Dance On by the Shadows).
The follow-ups "Scarlett O'Hara" and "Applejack" also charted in the same year.
As the duo was courting success an almost fatal car accident left Jet with serious head injuries. Sadly, the artist never quite recovered despite several attempts to recapture his pop career.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, Jet continued to play and record, working with many artists and enjoying some success on the retro circuit. He rerecorded many of his earlier hits and guested with several bands including The Local Hero's in the 90s. All his adult life he battled alcoholism and despite attempts to stop his health began to deteriorate. Jet Harris died on 18 March 2011, two years after being diagnosed with throat cancer. Jet Harris' singles were relatively unusual in that they made prominent use of the bass as a lead instrument. Big Jim Sullivan was the famous session man who first made use of the technique and Paul McCartney would later take this as his own with Wings.
Worth a listen
Feelin’ Fine (1959)
Man Of Mystery (1960)
Frightened City (1961)
The Savage (1961)
Wonderful Land (1962)
Besame Mucho (1966)
Main Title Theme (from "The Man With The Golden Arm) (1962)
Jet Harris and Tony Meehan
Scarlett O’Hara (1963)
More line-up changes followed and Frank Beard replaced Dan Mitchell, then Dusty Hill came in for Lanier Ethridge. The trio was best known for southern boogie music and popular on the local touring scene. Their first local hit was "Francene" which introduced the band to a much wider audience.
As their popularity grew the band drew influence from delta music and high-energy rock. Their first national Top 50 hit in the US was "La Grange.”
Despite this initial success their album sales failed to meet expectation. The band continued to tour before taking an extended break. In 1979 they got back together and both Gibbons and Hill had grown lengthy beards. Now signed with Warner Brothers the trio released a couple of well received albums "Deguello" and "El Loco."
Both "Cheap Sunglasses" and "Tube Snake Boogie" sold well as singles.
The next album, "Eliminator," featured controversial synthesizers and drum machines.
Eliminator became an international best seller and clever use of the medium of video and MTV ensured singles like "Gimme All Your Lovin," "Sharp Dressed Man" and "Legs" were enormous world-wide hits. The videos took the band's famous mystique and popularity to an all-time high.
ZZ Tops continued to use synthesizers on their eighth album, "Afterburner," which sold well and the band were now synonymous with barrelhouse R&B.
Their stage craft was second to none which established them as one of the world's leading live attractions. The band found it impossible to match their earlier success with studio albums but have continued to work as a live band to the delight of their fans, worldwide.
Worth a listen
Salt Lick (1970)
La Grange (1973)
Gimme all your lovin (1982)
Got me under pressure (1983)
Sharp dressed man (1983)
TV Dinners (1983)
Legs (1984 )
Sleeping Bag (1985)
Velcro Fly (1985)
Rough Boy (1986)