Cover to Cover – Witchi Tia To

jim-pepper-malinyea-europa

Many years ago I was introduced to a song called Witcha Tai To by a mate of mine Simon Dine. The version he played me was by  soft rock harmony group Harpers Bizarre. I feel under the spell of this incredible record instantly, & it soon became a big favorite on my late night radio show, often inspiring listeners to contact the show asking more details.  I didn’t have that many (this was pre Google), Simon had burnt the track onto c.d. but I didn’t even know who wrote it. Then I found a 7 inch version by a band called Everything Is Everything from 1969, composer listed as J. Pepper.  Jim Pepper was of Native American descent. He came from a family of “road men”, the peyote priests of the Native American Church. Peyote being the small cactus plant  known for its psychoactive properties when ingested (i think you know where this is going).  He was also a jazz saxophonist, playing primarily tenor sax. In the mid ’60s Pepper began experimenting with mixing Native American music and jazz. “Witchi Tai To” is a prime example of that blending, taking a peyote song he’d learned from his grandfather and putting it in a jazz setting.   The  song is very simple in all it’s elements. It’s that simplicity and the spiritual intent behind the words that gives the song it’s power. The  words are untranslatable now – Pepper said his grandfather never did tell him what they meant in English – but he sings them anyway, and adds English lyrics which emphasize the roots in the peyote ritual, especially speaking of the Water Spirit, who carries the visions brought by the peyote.

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way

Water Spirit feelin’ springin’ round my head
Makes me feel glad that I’m not dead

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way

I soon discovered many other versions that had been recorded over the years. Straddling musical genres from jazz to prog to folk, even the Supremes where rumored to have had a crack at it (if you have this please …..).  Tim Gane from Sterolab, was another Withci Tai To fan & kindly burnt me a c.d. of his band doing it live (which i then lost !!!!!).
One of the listeners who rung me whilst I was on air after playing it was  dj Andrew Weatherhall, who tracked down a copy & shared it the other dj legend, Ashley Beadle…who was then in the chart topping dance trio X-Press 2, who then went & housed it up & brought in Tim DeLaughter from the Polyphonic Spree to provide the vocal.

So here’s a small selection of the tune which makes me want dive into it’s spiritual waters & float downstream.

Witchi Tai To (Original) – Everything Is Everything

2-15 Witchi Tai To (Original)

Witchi Tai To (Invocation) – Paul Winter Consort

06 Witchi Tai To (Invocation)

Witchi Tai To (Sunshine Pop) – Harpers Bizarre

14 Witchi-Tai-To (Sunshine Pop)

Witchi Tai To (Raga) – Brewer & Shipley

07 Witchi-Tai-To (Raga)

Witchi Tai To (Jazz) – Maurizio Camardi

11 Witchi Tai To (Jazz)

Witchi Tai To (Easy) – The John Schroeder Orchestra

43 Witchi Tai To (Easy)

Witchi Tai To (Piano Ballad) – A.J. Webber

05 Witchi-Tai-To (Folk)

Witchi Tai To (Indie) – BMX Bandits

2-02 Witchi Tai To (Indie)

Witchi Tai To (Chant) – Jim Pepper

Witchi Tai To (Chant)

Witchi Tai To (Pipes) – Pete Wyoming Bender

01 Witchi Tai To (Pipes)

Witchi Tai To (Alt.) – Future Pilot A.K.A

03 Witchi Tai To (Alt.)

Witchi Tai To (Sitar) – Oregon

09 Witchi-Tai-To (Sitar)

Witchi Tai To (House) – X-Press 2

01 Witchi Tai to (House)

 

The Everly Brothers – God’s Own Blend

everly-brothers

The Everly Brothers entered my life through my Mum & Dad’s very limited contemporary record collection in 1970. One of 3 rock long players that lived in my house was Simon & Garfunkel’s  Bridge Over Trouble Waters.  As a nine year old I was lost with the majority of the albums bleak lyrical content, but was drawn to the songs with an upbeat rock n roll close harmony feel (Keep The Customer Satisfied, Cecilia) especially the live recording of Bye Bye Love. In a nutshell every track which sounded like The Everly Brothers.  It was like a beacon of light pointing me in the direction of treasures I still am discovering more of, that is …EVERYTHING THE EVERLY BROTHERS EVER RECORDED.

Then there was the mid 70s Walk Right Back with The Everly Brothers TV advertised comp.  All the big hits were  present -  from Bye Bye Love (1957) to The Price Of Love (1965).  Songs about love, all about love and nothing but love. Innocent & quite often lost. All delivered with a harmony that even now floors me. Family voices locked inside each other. Lost in perfect pitch & synchronicity. I was in love.

This last year just gone, saw me reacquaint my love affair.  Due to the magnificent tribute album released in January by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Dawn McCarthey – ‘What The Brothers Sang’. Listening to their versions of some of the lesser known Everly Brothers songs did what all good tribute albums should do, they got me digging out the originals. Every time I discovered a slab of Everly Brothers vinyl on my second hand record shopping sprees i bought it, including cheap comps (& there’s a lot of them, even 100 Golden Greats (£9.99) on CD works for long car journeys with the family).  And, what a world of delights i discovered.

‘Songs Our Daddy Taught Us’ from 1958 is amazing, an album which could even lay claim to being the first Americana record. A collection of folk tunes passed down by their Pa, Ike Everly. I always thought of it as a brave career move for two teen idols at the peak of their career to release an album of olde time music. But, in his last ever interview Phil points out another plot,  conceding that Songs Our Daddy Taught Us was “such a strange album,” Everly admitted that there may have been other reasons than just artistic ones for a collection of somber folk tunes having been the brothers’ second LP release. Like, maybe, it being a contractual obligation album. “I think it was at the transitional period where we had another album to do for [first label] Cadence, and then we were going to go to Warner Brothers. So all of that comes into play,” Everly said. But “it was so much a part of our life, our heritage.” Foreverly, a newly released tribute album by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones is a song by song recreation of Songs Our Daddy Taught Us (it’s actually quite good)

Few rock n roll acts kept up some sort of profile through out the post British Invasion period. The Everlys did – scoring hit singles The Price Of Love (1965 – UK number 2). But more importantly they made albums that mattered. Although commercial failures at the time, albums like “Sing Country Hits” “Rock n Soul”  “Beat & Soul” & “Two Yanks In England” are all worth checking. But, their most essential album was released in 1968 called “Roots” . It was a self conscious attempt to retrieve their past. Using clips from the early 50′s radio show hosted by their Mum & Dad. The album’s centre piece is a reworking of their second hit 1957′s “I Wonder If I Care As Much”.  The original is a lovely jaunty version, losing it’s painful lyric in their harmony. On “Roots” their voices display a new maturity, an added weight & edge. They slow the song down – changing tempo – breaking it down into pieces, as if they were looking at it from above. The song questions their whole career

Tears that I have shed today
Give relief & wash away
The memory of the night before
I wonder if I’ll suffer more.
I wonder if I care as much as I did before.

It’s not without irony that Don & Phil performed all these songs of passion, in a such a harmonious style defining what love and affection meant in rock n roll, but were often at war with each other.  The story goes that the death of the Everly’s happened in July 1973 at the John Wayne Theatre in Buena Park, California.  Before the gig was over, Phil smashed his guitar on the floor and walked off the stage. Don finished the gig by himself. “The Everly Brothers” he said, “died ten years ago”.  In it for the money reunion tours followed over the years, but their work was done. With Phil’s sad passing recently it’s now official, that unique sound has gone. When those two voices came together in song you could imagine God sitting up there listening to their blend, smiling to himself & saying ” I did good there”

The Everly Brothers – I Wonder If I Care As Much (1957)

The Everly Brothers – I Wonder If I Care As Much (1957)

The Everly Brothers – I Wonder If I Care As Much (1968)

The Everly Brothers -  I Wonder If I Care As Much (1968)

All Back to Mine mix – The Superimposers

the superimposers photo

 

The Superimposers have been going since 2005, when former car mechanic and fishmonger Dan Solo met Miles Copeland in a south-coast joke shop. After a period studying music and production at college in London, they focused their skills and created electronic tinged budget beat soulful pop influenced by the sun-dappled songsmiths of California old but rocketed into the 21st Century of samples and computers….  a gaggle of 7’ singles which was then comped into a CD was released to critical acclaim. Two more ‘proper’ long players have been released over the last few years. They also run the wonderful Wonderfulsound label, dedicating themselves to releasing tunes & artists which make you fill with a warm glow. The mix the chaps have provided below shows their passion & obsession for melody, sounds & atmosphere. It is with with great pleasure we can present you with this very special All Back To Mine mix from The Superimposers – pass the kippers & enjoy.

Download

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Eden Ahbez – “Full Moon”
The Beach Boys – “Til I Die (Extended Mix)
John Stammers – “Idle I’m” (Colorama Coloured in Remix)
Vinny Roma – “Ah Music”
The Kramford Look – “Endless Sunset”
Iron & Wine – “Joy”
Topanga Canyon – “Love You”
The Monks Kitchen – “Shake”
Family – “My Friend The Sun”
Francis Bebey – “Fleur Tropicale”
Colorama – “Hapus” (Begin Remix)
The Kramford Look – “Afternoon On Rat Island” (Wonderfulsound Remix)
Eunice Collins “At The Hotel”
Patti Page “Cape Cod”

Still Parade – Actors

Still Parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow, really lovely  7″ has just come into my life via Akira Records and Serve & Volley Records. Beautiful stuff from mysterious group Still Parade. ‘Actors’ performs the admirable feat of combining sublime a vocal performance – on the level of transcendence as ‘If Only I Could Remember My Name’ era David Crosby & a hint of Bon Iver – with subtle electronic manipulation that roots Still Parade firmly in the 21st century. Hints of echo, backwards guitar and synth pads create a wonderful bed of sound which snag the heart and allow the arrangement to head for the heavens. Here’s both sides for you to dig.

Still Parade – Actors

Still Parade – Actors

Still Parade – Health

Still Parade – Health

Doo Wop Ballads

flamingosLike everything, it came to me from the radio. Whilst my mates were digging Floyd & Genesis my heart was stolen by a bunch of 45′s, the majority of which never even got released in this country originally.  Sure the uptempo hits of doo wop were in the mainstream, whether being used to soundtrack TV shows like ‘Happy Days’, or being decimated by the worlds most uncool Ted’s Showaddywaddy (please note – Teds are COOL). But the real deal, the ballads of doo wop came to me through a radio show which i would listen to religiously  with a pen in my hand & my finger on the pause button (I’ve still got the tapes). Roger Scott presents Crusin’ every friday night 6 – 7 pm on Capital radio 194. Connection was forged, vocal harmony became my favorite sound in the world. I really understand Brian Eno’s take on why he loves doo wop “I was always impressed by music I couldn’t penetrate the mystery of ” , there is an otherworldly quality to it. Terry Johnson, The Flamingos tenor/guitarist said that the vocal arrangement  for ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ came to him in a dream, he had been working on a version of the 1934 standard all day and nothing fit, “I went to bed, and I was playing the guitar, and i was thinking of something. And I had the guitar on my chest, and I fell asleep. And I heard the song in my dream. I heard it just as you hear it now, with the ‘doo-wop-she-bops’ and the beautiful harmonies and the chord structure.” It is one of the most beautiful haunting productions I have ever heard. Doo wop is about keeping it simple, simple lyric, simple melody,  simple beat, sometimes little or no instrumentation and of course nonsense syllables and a dash of echo. So here’s my top 10 below. Enjoy.

The Charts – Deserie

01 Deserie – The Charts

The Paragons – Florence

02 Florence – The Paragons

The Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes For You

03 I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos

The Five Satins – In The Still Of The Night

04 In The Still Of The Night – The Five Satins

The Jesters – The Plea

05 The Plea – The Jesters

The Moonglows – Sincerely

06 Sincerely – The Moonglows

The Harptones – A Sunday Kind Of Love

07 A Sunday Kind Of Love – The Harptones

Lee Andrews & The Hearts – Try The Impossible

08 Try The Impossible – Lee Andrews & The Hearts

The Channels – The Closer You Are

09 The Closer You Are – The Channels

The Dubs – Don’t Ask Me (To Be Lonely)

10 Don’t Ask Me (To Be Lonely) – The Dubs

 

SEAHAWKS – Phantom Sunset : Invisible Sunrise Remixes

Seahawks

Seahawks have been on the waves since 2009, sailing on solar winds, cooking up their catches and beachcombing for discarded, unwanted and buried treasures. Sometimes too covered in thick tar for most to notice. Who can forget their genius re- rub of Don Henly’s “Boys of Summer”?  Psychedelic yacht rock, deck shoegaze, hazy beach pop vibrations and marina drone are all ports of call.

The new release from Seahawks is their ‘Invisible Sunrise’ album remixed by a stellar cast of cosmic champions. None of the tracks have been available before except on vinyl, the album includes unreleased mixes by Quiet Village, The Advisory Circle and Laurel Halo, who turns in one of her finestperformances yet….deep, haunting and spectral….like Enya tripping on Solaris…stunning. Also, check the very smooth sounds of Gatto Fritto’s twist on Invisible Sunrise.

Invisible Sunrise (Gatto Fritto New Gold Dawn Mix)

Invisible Sunrise (Gatto Fritto New Gold Dawn Mix)

New Future Blue (Laurel Halo Deserts of Mars Mix)

New Future Blue (Laurel Halo Deserts of Mars Mix)