Homeward Bound

Monday morning, an old classic covered impeccably. The Belfast band, Dea Matrona, consisting of Mollie McGinn and Orlaith Forsythe, makes me realize just how good this song sounds with female voices.

More at Dea Matrona

Waiting Eight Years To Get Her Due

Here’s a terrific performance of Dionne Warwick singing “Make It Easy On Yourself”–happening eight years later than it should have.

Here’s the story, with thanks to Wikipedia: Back in 1962, when Warwick was still a back-up singer, the songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David asked her to make a demo version of the song. The demo was so good that the record label picked up the song–but they gave it to veteran soul singer Jerry Butler to record–and it was a hit. Three years later, The Walker Brothers, a white pop trio, had a hit with the song as well. It wasn’t until 1970 that a live performance by Dionne Warwick was released and the song became a hit once again.

Click on the video and see if you don’t agree that eight years was too long to wait, and that she owns the song.

The postscript to the story is that Warwick was so angry at Bacharach and David for letting the song go to Jerry Butler, that she told them in anger, “Don’t make me over!” And Bacharach and David wrote a song for her with that title–which she recorded!–and that too became a hit.

Thanks to YouTuber Dionne Warwick Archive

X: The Life And Times of Malcolm X

About 58 years ago, Malcolm X was murdered, but his legacy has only grown in the ensuing years. In 1986, Anthony Davis, composer, and Thulani Davis, the playwright and poet, wrote an opera about Malcolm X called X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. Although it did have a premiere at New York City Opera, it was never recorded commercially in full. Since then, the opera has been revised with a tighter libretto. The Boston Modern Orchestra Project has just released the world premiere of a new recording of the opera, starring Davone Tines as Malcolm X. With permission, here are excerpts from that opera.

Click on the triangle or MP3 link above to hear the opera selections as broadcast on the Arts Express program this morning on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Killing Me Softly

Roberta Flack’s publicist gave the sad news yesterday that she will not be able to sing again due to ALS. One of the great expressive singers of the 70s and afterwards, this song was named one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. Supposedly, co-writer Lori Lieberman wrote the song about singer Don McLean (“American Pie,” “Vincent”).

Thanks to YouTuber RHINO

Compared To What

(Click on video to play)

Monday morning, this Gene McDaniels/Eddie Harris song seems more and more relevant every day. Here’s the great Nellie McKay from a performance just last month giving it her all.

Thanks to YouTuber Monks Jazz Club

Go Now: The Moody Blues

(Click to play video)

This was the first big hit for the Moody Blues. The lead singer here is Denny Laine, who later played with Paul McCartney in the band Wings. Looking on from the sidelines is a familiar face–Brian Epstein, who at the time was the manager for both the Beatles and the Moody Blues.

Thanks to YouTuber Zacky Dog

Start of Something Big

Monday Morning, Walden Robert Cassotto (that’s Bobby Darin to most of us) with the Steve Allen standard; and “Just in Time” from Bells are Ringing

Thanks to YouTuber The Ed Sullivan Show

Turn The Beat Around

Monday morning one of the earliest and best disco songs of the 70s. It was a one-hit wonder for Vicki Sue Robinson, a talented Broadway performer who had appeared in the original production of Hair when she was 16.

Thanks to YouTuber Warmer Music Videos