Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hump Day 5


kinda busy at work, but I thought it might be cool to sneak a lil Hump Day 5.

Last night I splurged and bought myself a USB enabled turntable which makes converting from vinyl to mp3 a snap. I was eyeing the beastie at Urban Outfitters of all places since last December, and well I had a couple bucks in my lil pocket, or make that a couple hundred, and went for it.

I coulda maybe saved a few dozen dollars by ordering from some discounter's website, but I wanted instant gratification, and something to do until the wee hours.

Here's the first couple conversions I did last night...

I proudly present my first mp3 encodes off some cool crusty ol' vinyl stored in a hall closet.

As you may have read in my previous post this week , Elvis died 29 years ago today. One of Elvis early publishers was a woman named Mae Boren Axton , (who co-wrote Heartbreak Hotel for Elvis). Her son Hoyt is featured below.

This track is off a rare LP that Hoyt released first as The Balladeer in 1962, and was was reissued in 1963. The LP is supposedly live at The Troubadour, although the on the reissued version the audience is pretty durn quiet if there is one, I understand they were erased. On the LP he is accompanied on some songs by young Roger aka JIm McGuinn, then of the Chad Mitchell Trio, and later of the Byrds.

Hoyt was great singer/songwriter, and is far too underated in my opinion considering the volume and chart impact of his work. The song here was a big hit for The Kingston Trio, and Hoyt actually reaped little from the song's success due to a bad contract. The tune eventually appeared on 3 Billboard charting albums but Hoyt made a mere $800.00 from the song

..."I was just a kid with a guitar living in a car... How could I sue when the whole point of the song was how I didn't give a damn about a greenback dollar?

Hoyt Axton - greenback dollar ( don't give a damn about...)

Hoyt who lived a very interesting life, died at age 61 in Bitteroot Valley Montana October 27 of 1999 of heart failure, but left us a legacy of music, movies and stories.

This friendly popular folk singer born in Duncan Oklahoma in 1938 eventually turned movie actor penned Three Dog Night’s biggest song Joy to the World and many other hits during his heyday in the 60's and 70's. The young Hoyt was an All-American athlete replete with football scholarship to Oklahoma State University, which he soon left to join the U.S Navy. During his military stint he was the heavyweight champion boxer in his task force division of 35 ships.

After serving in the armed forces, he arrived in Nashville with a guitar on a tip from his mother Mae Boren Axton

Hoyt soon split Tennesee for California's burgeoning folk scene during the early 60's. He played the clubs in San Francisco's North Beach and made the scene in L.A as well.

Roger McGuinn (aka Jim McGuinn) remembered Hoyt Axton as a struggling
singer who taught him a tune backstage in 1962 at the Troubadour in
L.A. "We recorded it live at the Troubadour later that week, and when it
came out, I was surprised to see the credit "Here as well is the
delightful Australian folk ballad, Brisbane Ladies, on which
Jimmy McQuinn of the Chad Mitchell Trio harmonizes with Hoyt." In
spite of the misspelled name, I was glad to have been able to sing with Hoyt.
I really loved the song too!" The song appeared on Hoyt's debut LP for
the Horizon label, McGuinn later formed the Byrds with David Crosby.

Paying Dues, Paying Bills

In the late 60's Steppenwolf eventually recorded Axton's
The Pusher
and Snowblind Friend, two dramatic denouncements of the dark side
of drug use. John Kay, a young aspiring singer and dishwasher also used
to see Axton perform in the early 60's around L.A. He later told Axton, 'When you sang '
,' I'd come out of the kitchen with a towel in my hand, saying that if I ever get a band, I'm gonna record that song'."
The Pusher, in particular, paid off at a good
time for Hoyt: "I had two houses, three kids, two cars, $400 in the bank
and bills to pay. The bank repossessed the Mercedes-Benz, and said I'd never
get credit again," he remembers. "One Saturday morning, I went to
the mailbox and there was a check for $14,000 for the use of the song in the
film Easy Rider".

Hits like Never Been To Spain ("but i kinda
like the music") and The No Song ("No, no, no, I don't
smoke it no more") which went to number three on the U.S. charts for the
newly solo ex-Beatle
helped keep the money rolling in.

His songs
seemed to showcase his optimism and singular sense of humor. A
version of Joy to The World by Three Dog Night became the
biggest selling record of 1971 ("Jeremiah was a bullfrog...").
Axton’s own singing hits included Boney Fingers ("Work
your fingers to the bone, what do you get? Boney fingers").
the Morning Comes
, a duet he recorded with Linda Ronstadt from
1974's Life Machine album, which went to number one on the Canadian

As the singer songwriter trend dried up in the latter 70's Axton continued to
record for his own label Jeremiah, began in '78. 1979's Rusty Old Halo album
produced his last two major hits, "
Della and the Dealer" and the title track. Other artists to record his music over time included Elvis, Cher, Joan Baez, Waylon Jennings, John
Denver, Glen Campbell,
Tanya Tucker,Arlo Guthrie, Martha Reeves and
even 90's punk band Ten Foot Pole.

Axton had numerous negative music business dealings with many labels and by the early nineties his work on Horizon, A&M, Vee-Jay and MCA was mostly left out of print by short sighted label execs. Maintaining a steady concert schedule was a priority throughout the seventies and eighties that found Axton away from his Lake Tahoe home & on the road playing as many as 300 dates a year.

Music wasn't his only bag though, and thankfully He also got in front of the camera, first guesting on "Bonanza" circa 1965 and then eventually many TV programs including "Hootenanny", "Hee-Haw",
"Diff'rent Strokes","The Dukes of Hazzard", "Trapper John MD","WKRP in Cincinatti"
as well as popular feature films like "The Black Stallion" and "Gremlins". His voice was used in many TV commercials for Busch beer, Pizza Hut, and even McDonald's where he was the singing lumberjack who introduced the then-new Big Mac. Hoyt reportedly liked doing commercials so much he didn't even consider it work. He also did voiceover narration for educational films. He bought his ranch in
Montana, after playing a sheriff in the movie ''Disorganized Crime,'' filmed there in 1988.

He suffered a debilitating stroke in 1996, and a then suffered a demoralizing medical marijuana bust in 1997 for which he received a three year deferred sentence and was fined $15,000. His health was not good these last few months, including advanced complications from diabetes, spending most of his time in a wheelchair. Axton finally passed away a few days after suffering a heart attack during surgery in a Montana hospital .

A spokesperson for the Academy of Country Music told Associated Press after his death "There was nobody that didn’t like Hoyt,".

If y'all are good, or at least show some interest ... I'll due a more comprehensive look back at the prolific career of Mr. Axton soon


this next Hump Day 5 tune was produced by Chinn & Chapman , the British tag team who brought us Sweet & later on even worked with Blondie. Their 70's female idol at the time was Suzie Quatro, who was also known as Leather Tuscadero an the Happy Days TV Show. This particular song is taken from the 1975 LP, Your Momma Won't Like Me. Known as a raunchy rocker who was a big influence on Joan Jett, here she takes a softer style song that Peggy Lee had a good run with back in the 1950's. I couldn't resist playing with the bass boost on the EQ & added some short unnecessary echo & phaser effects here and there into it as well. Forgive me, but it was pretty dull without em & I just couldn't resist ...

Suzi Quatro - Fever 1975 ( re eq'd & fkd w/ by moi)

Here's a cut from a new compilation covering the late 60's and early 70's work of Hugh Masakela... If you are not familiar with this African musical maestro, y'all might wanna look into his career, and the impact of his musical innovations which are on par with Miles Davis and Fela Kuti. Married for a time to the great singer Miriam Makeba, they were like the first couple of African Pop Music. This track is from 1975, on Hugh's own label CHISA which he had hoped would become the African equivalent of Motown.

Hugh Masekela -
Afro Beat Blues

here's another song from the same collection
From The Vaults Of Chisa 1965-1976

Hugh Masekela - Mahlalela

Here's another earlier Masekela track, a big hit for him in 1967 entitled Grazing In The Grass

Hugh Masekela - Grazing In The Grass

anyhow... I really gotta go... so see ya latahz ...

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