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Spectropop - Digest Number 10

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______________        S  P  E  C  T  R  O  P  O  P        ______________
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             A spectacularly complete kind of music-making

There are 7 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

      1. Tommy James
           From: Matthew Kaplan 
      2. Re:  Tommy James and the Shondells
           From: "Jamie LePage" 
      3. Carpenters remixes and a real lost oldie
           From: paulurbahn
      4. Re: Carpenters box set
           From: Marc Wielage 
      5. When You Get Right Down To It
           From: "David Feldman" 
      6. Re: Digest Number 7/ Jill Gibson
           From: Jason tecmofiend
      7. retro ba ba da
           From: Jack Madani 

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Message: 1
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 08:39:07 EDT
   From: Matthew Kaplan 
Subject: Tommy James

Michael G, Marvin wrote about Tommy Jame's track "Crystal 
Blue Persuasion", for the record there is another version 
of that song from 1969 and it is by the wonderful Kelly 
Brothers on Excello Records (2308EXC) where it is turned 
into a beautiful soul vocal harmony number. The Kelly 
Brothers of course had previously had R&B chart success 
with "Falling In Love Again" (Sims 265, 1966) and under 
the name The King Pins with "It Won't Be This Way 
(Always)" (Federal 12484, 1963).

Matthew Kaplan

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Message: 2
   Date: Sun, 30 Jul 00 23:08:19 +0900
   From: "Jamie LePage" 
Subject: Re:  Tommy James and the Shondells

Michael G, Marvin of WASE radio wrote:

>"Hanky Panky" their first hit was recorded 
>in a Michigan radio station in 1963. The song was 
>initially a regional hit in Lower Michigan and Northern 
>Indiana. What made the song a national hit was a 
>Pittsburgh Pa dj found a stray copy of the record and 
>played it either on the radio or at a teen dance (Reports 
>vary as to where the song got its initial play). After 
>that success Tommy James recruited a new group of 
>Shondells (the Hanky Panky version of the Shondells gave 
>up after their regional success)...

It's a great record, no doubt. A primitive recording with 
minimal arrangement, in fact the record has very little to
stand on outside of it being an incredible pop song with a 
highly contagious hook. One observation I've made is that 
TJ/Shondells' version seems to have "anglo'd" the record 
>from the NY/R&B based original, and I often wondered 
whether it was a conscious effort to mimic the technique 
the Brits had been successfully employing for the previous
three or four years. I often wonder what caused them to 
cover this particular song. After all, Jeff & Ellie's 
original was a rather obscure B-side, wasn't it?

Tommy James recorded for Roulette, which brings the 
conversation around to Morris Levy. There must be some 
great stories here, for the time frame of TJ/Shondells' 
hits places Morris and Tommy James together at the end of 
the Roulette story when artists generally were just 
beginning to get slightly better remuneration for their 

Has Tommy James ever been interviewed candidly about the 
relationship with Levy? I would be interested to know.

All the best,


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Message: 3
   Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 15:23:10 EDT
   From: paulurbahn
Subject: Carpenters remixes and a real lost oldie

I have noticed the Carpenters record Top Of The World in
its original version has a lot stronger "steel guitar" in
the opening. Some fans have called it the "country version"
Later versions have it dubbed out. This is not to confuse
the Carpenters version with Lynn Anderson's excellent
recording which you never hear on oldies radio where they
rewrite history. 

A friend of mine and I recently discussed the new term
"Lost Oldies" actually there are very few true lost oldies.
When oldies radio came into vogue, the programmers were
too young or stupid (or both) to do anything but look at
Joel Whitburn's books. So they only played say Top 5,
therefore everything else became "lost" to the ignorant.
Folks on this list can really make up a list of lost
oldies. One I point to is Yogi by the Ivy Three made #10
on Cashbox in 1960. I can recall hearing the song on the
radio when it was popular because I was 10 years old then,
and I liked "Yogi Bear" on TV. His voice was used in the
song. I have a sound-alike of the song but can't recall
ever seeing the record for sale since. Truly a lost oldie.

This is what the all music guide says about the Ivy Three


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Message: 4
   Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 14:00:42 -0700
   From: Marc Wielage 
Subject: Re: Carpenters box set

Michael G. Marvin commented on on 7/30/00 1:28 AM:

> I do not have the box set. But I was told there were
> songs on there that had new keyboards overdubbed. I have
> the two disc set and these songs had new keyboards
> overdubbed. There are "Yesterday Once More", "Superstar"
> (sounds like a Prophet synthesizer was used her), "Bless
> The Beasts and Children", "We've Only Just Begun" and
> probably others. I was somewhat diappointed at this
> tampering.

Gee, I thought everybody knew the story on this.  What
happened was, Richard Carpenter was never happy with the
drumming, bass guitar work, the noise level, and his own
piano work on a lot of their early hits.  After Karen's
death in early 1983, Richard, spent several years
re-recording over a hundred tracks, many of which were
used for the original CD versions of all their albums. 
Many fans noticed and complained, but Richard was adamant
that "this was the way I would have released these songs
if we had only had the ability to do so back in the '70s."

I could go over the minute differences on each song, but
it'd take too long and bore everybody to tears.  But 90%
of it boils down to Carpenter and engineer Roger Nichols
using automation to mute unused channels and reduce hiss,
replacing the piano, replacing the drums, and/or
replacing the bass sections.  I don't believe any
synthesizers were used in this process, but I think they
did used triggered samples of real instruments in some
cases. Carpenter himself explains some of his philosophy
behind the remixes on their 1991 FROM THE TOP boxed set.

The Carpenters CDs continued to sell by impressive
numbers throughout the 1980s and 1990s (and indeed, are
among A&M's all-time biggest catalog sellers).  A couple
of years ago, A&M's Japanese division asked permission to
assemble together all the original Carpenters albums as
an expensive ($500), limited-edition boxed set -- and
this time, they wanted to use the original mixes, plus
exact cardboard replicas of the LP sleeves and artwork.
Permission was granted, and incredibly, all 5000 copies
of the boxed set sold out in a week!  (I consider myself
lucky to have snagged a copy myself, but I got it only
because I did some work for the people who've produced
several Carpenters home video specials over the last ten

A&M's U.S. reissue execs sat up and took notice of the
sales in Japan, and made the decision shortly afterwards
to reissue all the Carpenters albums in their original
mixes worldwide as well.  You can easily tell the
difference between the old mixes and new ones by means of
an identifying label inset in the jewel box spine, which
proclaims "Remastered Classics."  The new albums are
fairly noisy, but they do present the original songs as
they were heard on vinyl in the 1970s.  If it's ORIGINAL
Carpenters you want to hear, then only buy the CDs
labeled that way.  (And be sure that's what you play on
your radio station, too.)


-= Marc Wielage      |   "The computerized authority   =-
-= MusicTrax, LLC    |       on rock, pop, & soul."    =-
-= Chatsworth, CA    | =-

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Message: 5
   Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 12:55:57 -0400
   From: "David Feldman" 
Subject: When You Get Right Down To It

Michael said:

> "When you get right down to it" is one of my 
> favorite Mann songs. His version is soft and beautiful 
> (and better than the Delfonics). I think Carole King's 
> "Tapestry" was the catalyst for getting this out. 

I haven't heard Barry Mann's version, but it's hard for me
to believe that anyone can top Ronnie Dyson's version,
originally found on what I consider to be Thom Bell's
masterpiece, "One Man Band."  Unfortunately, the album is
out of print, but the songs, "One Man Band," "I Just Don't
Want To Be Lonely" (which I also consider to be the
definitive version), and "When You Get Right Down To It"
are all on the Dyson Collectables "His All Time Golden
Classics" collection.  Unfortunately, the set is uneven.

Ronnie Dyson was a true prodigy, a rare teenager who sang
lyrics with depth and maturity.  In this sense, he reminds
me a little of the young Dionne Warwick.  It's a shame
that his talent was obscured by personal problems and a
premature death. 

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Message: 6
   Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 15:43:59 EDT
   From: Jason 
Subject: Re: Digest Number 7/ Jill Gibson

In a message dated 7/27/00 3:45:01 AM Central Daylight Time, 
spectropop writes:

> There was also quite a bit of interesting coverage on
>  Jill in Michelle Phillips' autobiography.
> I wonder, Jason, if your friend may also have any info on
> another Jan Berry session - not by Jill, but another girl
> singer, apparently named Pixie, on a girl-group number
> called "I'm Dying To Give My Love To You".  A few very
> bad taped copies of this were in circulation many years
> ago.  Sound quality was poor, taken from a bad acetate,
> but there was enough to hear what an great track it was.
>  Ian

Sorry, Ian, that track is not on the disc.  Thanks for
the info.  I had read the Priore article before, and
that's what led me to search down the record in the first
place.  "Easy as 123" is a lost classic!  

For those interested, the Jill / Shelly duets are "Come
On" (two versions), "Just For Tonight" and "Baby What's
It Gonna Be".


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Message: 7
   Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 22:13:26 -0400
   From: Jack Madani 
Subject: retro ba ba da

I have recently come across a really intriguing cd called
"Songs For The Jetset 2000."  Read a really mouthwatering
review of it (the reviewer namechecks "mid-60's Swinging
London" and uses the phrase "psychedelic, dreamy, and
lounge-y") at, and then hyperlink
>from there over to jetset records' web site to listen to
an mp3 sample.  The volume 2 mp3 doesn't seem to work,
but the ones for volumes 1 and 3 do function, and boy oh
boy are the sounds authentic.  I'm mulling over plunking
down the requisite sawbuck for volume 3 (sure do wish
there were more than one sound bite to sample).

Anyone else know anything about this retro series?  It
sure sounds spectropoppy.


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