Brightwell's Top 10: 1968

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 15, 2015 10:54am | Post a Comment
In 1857, Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented his invention for recording sound, the phonautograph. Twenty years later, in 1877, someone first realized that his phonautograms could also play back recorded music. It was the same year, coincidentally, that Thomas Edison patented the phonograph and thus the age of recorded music began. In 2015, former Amoebite Matthew Messbarger posted an NME "Best of 1990" on my Facebook timeline and I decided to began reviewing the best songs of each year, from 1877 to the present, in random order.

May 1968 riots
May 1968 riots (source unknown)

The closest I came to experiencing 1968 was watching The Wonder Years, the first season of which was set in that year. From what I can tell it was a tumultuous year not just in the fictional Arnold household but throughout much of the world. There was the War in Vietnam, Black Power, Richard Nixon became president, the Prague Spring, Mai 1968, 68er-Bewegung, the Rote Armee Fraktion, the 日本赤軍, the Zodiac Killer, the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, and the attempted assassination of Andy Warhol. In music both Red Foley and Frankie Lymon died prematurely; Hair debuted on BroadwayThe Beatles created Apple Records; and a whole lot of good music was released. 

The Women I've Loved

Posted by Job O Brother, March 23, 2012 03:07pm | Post a Comment
man ray

In honor of March being Women's History Month, I've created the following list of female musicians (with a smattering of bands consisting of, or fronted by, women) who have rocked me, rolled me, and everything in-between. Presented from A to Z, I hope you'll waste your employer's time and/or ignore your children's needs long enough to peruse this list and find some swell new chanteuse to make your knees sway...

Laurie Anderson

Ruth Brown

Wendy Carlos

Karen Dalton

Missy Elliott


Bobbie Gentry

Nina Hagen

(In which we bid a tearful goodbye.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 7, 2010 01:06pm | Post a Comment
Today marks the final shift of one of my most favorite Amoebites of all time, the glamorous and enigmatic “Smithy.”

veiled woman
Dearly departed Smithy (artist's depiction)

Smithy is not her real name, though it is one of her nicknames, and that’s about as close to “the facts” as most of us are likely to get. Smithy shrouds herself in mystery, and even if all her acquaintances pooled their knowledge of her past, it would scarcely be enough information to provide a decent Wikipedia entry, to say nothing of a biography. I keep the snippets of personal detail that I’ve acquired in the past four years of working with her like a jealous secret; a precious baseball card that I never remove from its protective plastic.

I don’t even know what she’s going to be doing after she leaves Amoeba Music Hollywood. For all I know she’s gotten a job lion taming, apprenticing to a witch doctor, or going deep undercover for the CIA in Beijing. All seem possible; all would hold some amount of appeal for her.

lion tamingafricaspy
See: Craigslist > job opportunties

One thing we, her co-workers, have been privy to is what she’s keen on in music and film. Even someone as secretive as Smithy has dorked out with the best of us music store geeks when the conversation’s turned to our product. This blog entry will be a brief exposé of some of Smithy’s pop culture paramours. In considering them, we may perhaps glean a little insight into this unknown soldier, but even if not, we’ll still get to hear some perfectly ginchy tunes.

Dee Dee Warwick 1945 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, October 21, 2008 02:46pm | Post a Comment

Dee Dee Warwick,
whose classic northern soul single "Worth Every Tear I Cry" / "Lover’s Chant" can fetch upwards of 500 dollars or more, has died; she was 63. Dee Dee, who was the sister of singer Dionne Warwick, cousin of Whitney Houston, and niece to gospel singer Cissy Houston, passed away last Saturday in a nursing home in Essex County, New Jersey. She had been in failing health for several months.

Born on September 25, 1945 in Newark, New Jersey as Delia Mae Warrick, she got her start as a gospel singer. As a teenager in the 1950’s she sang with her older sister as The Gospelaires and later with the Drinkard Singers, a long-running gospel group managed by their mother. Before embarking on a solo career in the mid 1960's, Dee Dee sang back up for the likes of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. Eventually she signed a deal with the Mercury label where she enjoyed considerable R&B success with such hits as “I Want to be With You” and “Foolish Fool.” "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me," initially released by Warwick in 1966, was co-written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and was later covered by Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations.

Dee Dee Warwick was also twice nominated for a Grammy in the early 1970’s for "Foolish Fool" and "She Didn't Know" for the ATCO label. Earlier this year she was featured in the title track from her sister’s gospel album Why We Sing and toured with Dionne on her My Music and Me show throughout Europe. Below are a couple of Dee Dee's best cuts, "We're Doing Fine" and "Worth Every Tear I Cry."

(In which pop eats itself.)

Posted by Job O Brother, February 20, 2008 09:11pm | Post a Comment

This is a video to a single from an album by Rough Trade called “For Those Who Think Young.” I’m pretty keen on the lead singer, Carole Pope; I dig her husky vocals and her facial expression when she sings. Her face often twists, ugly, and looks close to screaming in horror, then suddenly breaks into a plaintive sadness – a combination which reminds me of Joan Crawford before she was doped out on [insert any liquor here].

Interesting to note is that Carole Pope was lovers with another singer, Dusty Springfield.

That’s Dusty Springfield singing. I hope you already knew that, because it would mean you’re acquainted with her. If not, my sympathy lasts only long enough for you to rush out to the nearest Amoeba Music and find her out. Accompanying her on piano is Burt Bacharach. He’s the dude who wrote the music for the song.

Burt Bacharach, along with lyricist Hal David, also wrote “Walk On By” for Dionne Warwick. It was one of many collaborations between the songwriters and singer. She was their muse. Between them they released a dizzying amount of Billboard Hot 100 hits.

A lot of people from my generation (unfortunately) associate Warwick with two moments in her career: the schmaltzy #1 hit “That’s What Friends Are For” (which – laugh at it though you may – did raise a few million dollars for AmFAR) and her stint as co-host of infomercials for the Psychic Friends Network, along with celebrity psychic, Linda Georgian.

In the mid-1980’s, my sister Jacquie was Linda Georgian’s personal assistant and housemate. My Mom and I visited her at Linda’s house in Fort Lauderdale. When Linda wasn’t reading tarot cards for Liza Minnelli or casting out evil spirits from the summer home of David Hasselhoff, she liked to make her own jewelry, and she taught me how to string necklaces. She also read my aura and saw a lot of “lavender.”