So these three records (Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show, Dusty In Memphis, From Elvis in Memphis) all came out in the same year and were made in the same studio (American Sound) within a span of about a year… Really remarkable. They also happen to be 3 records that have had profound impact on me on several levels. Dusty, Neil, The King — some of the greatest artists of all time at the peak (or second peak in some cases) of their career. Powerful records that have effected my musical exploration. Click the Stream:
1. “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”
This track has an epic feel combined with an almost theatrical element. I love the intensity Diamond brings to the vocal. This song sort of launched him from songwriter to full on performer. The entire Neil Diamond experience is captured in this cut. A great album opener.
2. “And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind”
This romantic tune has great poetic imagery with really breezy production. It has a slight haze covering the entire recording that has always been intriguing to my ears. I love the lyrics in this song. This track had an impact on some of the breezier tunes on our album “Grand Hotel.” This is one of Diamond’s most poetic numbers.
3. “Sweet Caroline”
I mean what more can be said here — a smash hit. a perfect example of a smash hit. Loved the world over. It moved Neil Diamond to superstar status. Superb bubble gum fluffy positive pop. Perfect.
ALBUM: Dusty in Memphis by Dusty Springfield
4. “Just A Little Lovin’”
Minor, downbeat and moody opener to the great Dusty in Memphis record. The opening suggests something darker than the subject matter but once that voice hits — it’s all over. You are hooked. One of my favorite Mann/Weil compositions.
5. “Son of a Preacher Man”
Another smash hit. The electric piano hits and immediately you are in for a groove. The subtle and simple delivery by the rhythm section really helps Dusty’s killer, soulful vocals rise above. Pop Soul music at its finest.
6. “Don’t Forget About Me”
I LOVE the electric piano and fuzz tone guitar intro on this one… I believe Reggie Young is on guitar here and he is an underrated guitar hero for sure. This song combines southern soul with some New York smooth (I am sure that is all thanks to genius producer Jerry Wexler) . A super cool Goffin and King composition to boot. A fantastic track.
ALBUM: From Elvis in Memphis by Elvis Presley
7. “Wearing that Loved on Look”
“FUNKY ELVIS! Elvis did several funky songs during this period and this one might be my favorite. It kicks off with Mr. Reggie Young on a baritone tuned guitar with some tremolo for nice measure. The slinky spank of that guitar got me hooked along with Elvis’ strained yet passionate vocal. Elvis was back and he was announcing it with the hollering performance on this track. The gospel piano breakdown on the bridge is a favorite of mine as well.
8. “Any Day Now”
Elvis doing Bacharach. I think this may be the only Bacharach song the King sang. One of my favorite readings of this track. The moody, stripped down bridge arranged by Chips Moman is one of my favorite moments on the whole record. The Explorers Club has covered this arrangement several times recently. love it.
9.”In the Ghetto”
Elvis’ 1st hugely successful “Message Song” as he called it. I love the sincere and passionate performance on this track. This song, along with all of From Elvis in Memphis has this incredible echo chamber effect on it that adds some mystique and mood to the whole production. Hats off to Chips Moman.
10. “And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind”
Elvis singing a Neil Diamond song recorded earlier that year in the same studio with roughly the same players. Not sure whose version I dig more… both are stellar.
Jason Brewer plays guitar and sings in The Explorers Club, a band hailing from Charleston, SC. They are releasing their sophomore set, Grand Hotel, on February 14, 2012. Mark Linett, who mixed The Beach Boys’ SMiLE for Capitol Records (which was recently called “the most famous unfinished album in rock & roll history” by Rolling Stone magazine), was responsible for the mix on “Grand Hotel.” The album is the long-anticipated follow-up to the band’s close-your-eyes-and-you’d-swear-it-was-the-Beach Boys debut, “Freedom Wind,” and was produced in Atlanta by Jason Brewer, along with co-producer Matt Goldman. It features fifteen tracks that once again take listeners back in time to a period when radio was laden with songs by Burt Bacharach, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and pop mainstays like The Grass Roots.
The Explorers Club’s debut, Freedom Wind, was released to accolades in 2008 via Secretly Canadian’s Dead Oceans label, and tracks from the album appeared on such hit television shows as Bored To Death (HBO),The O.C. (FOX) and How I Met Your Mother (CBS).