Tuesday Tunes 51: Cheating

A message to youth

I kinda set this week’s theme up in the previous episode of this series, both by including one song which cheated against my own ‘rules,’ and also in the comment I made about the news story relating to the serial shagger who has somehow become this country’s Prime Minister. Anyone with an ounce of decency would have resigned by now when caught dipping his wick at the public’s expense – although decency isn’t a word I’d associate with him or his government chums. But it has given me the perfect lead for today’s theme: cheating.

I have seven songs for you this week. Four are the classic ‘you done me wrong’ sort of cheating, one is someone on the brink of temptation, one is trying to hold things together, and the last one isn’t sure if cheating is going on or if he has just missed the clues that things are over. Happy days all round, then!

For me, the definitive song of this type has always been this one:

The word ‘classic’ gets thrown around a lot, but there’s no denying this one deserves it. The first version of the song to be released was by Gladys Knight And The Pips in 1967, when it went to #2 in the US. Marvin Gaye’s recording was a 1968 release – both versions were on the Motown label – and it was a huge hit, making #1 in both the US and the UK, for seven and three weeks respectively, as well as in several other countries. The song was also recorded by The Miracles, but Berry Gordy blocked their version – and initially the Marvin Gaye version too – as he didn’t like them. What did that guy know about music, anyway?! There have been many covers of this song, notably the one by Creedence Clearwater Revival, who turned it into an eleven minute epic for their Cosmo’s Factory album in 1970. Much though I like CCR, I still think Marvin’s is the best version.

This week’s second tune is another classic of the genre:

That was from Ace’s album Five-A-Side, which was released in 1974. The song was taken from it as a single, and peaked at #3 in the US (the album made #11 there). It’s funny how your memory can play tricks on you, though: I always remembered this as a huge hit here too, but it actually only reached #20. The lead singer is Paul Carrack, who has been in several bands since then, including Mike And The Mechanics: remember The Living Years? He sang it. He has also had a long solo career, and is still producing some fine albums. And by complete coincidence, today is his 70th birthday – Happy Birthday Paul! Funnily enough, this song was actually written by him about rumours that the band’s bass player, Terry Comer, had been talking to other bands about playing with them. But for most people it has always been interpreted as a song to an about to be ex-lover!

This next one is the one about someone trying not to give into temptation. Does he yield? You’ll have to watch the video to find out:

That was from Del Amitri’s third album, Change Everything, released in June 1992. They weren’t the most prolific of recording artists, making just six albums in the period from 1985 to 2002, but they are all excellent. Four of those albums reached the UK top ten, this being the most successful at #2. It was also a #178 smash in the US. The song was a modest single hit here, getting to #30, but it didn’t chart in the US. The band were from Scotland and had the ‘distinction’ of recording the official song for the Scottish football team for the 1998 World Cup finals. Rather optimistically titled Don’t Come Home Too Soon, it fared better than the team, making #1 in Scotland, #15 in the UK as a whole, while the team did their usual trick of failing to get beyond the initial group stage. But at least they made the finals that time – a rarity of a sort, which England supporters always enjoy!

I’ve been advised that this video doesn’t work in the US. My apologies, as it is the record company’s official one! Hopefully this version on YouTube works for you, as it’s a great song! https://youtu.be/R6aSKDiqPKs

The next two songs are about someone suffering in the knowledge that his love is cheating on him, and is getting ready to go out to do just that. The first of these is probably the first country song that Kenny Rogers recorded:

Kenny Rogers And The First Edition’s first hit single was the psychedelic Just Dropped In – this was a long way from that! It was the song that made them an international success, reaching #6 in the US and #2 here in the UK. Around the time this was recorded the original female singer, Thelma Camacho, parted company with the band and was replaced by Mary Arnold – who was given the job in preference to a certain Karen Carpenter. The rejection didn’t seem to affect Karen’s recording career too much. The song was written by Mel Tillis, who rather unhelpfully didn’t clear up the doubt about whether the ‘crazy Asian war’ reference meant Korea or Vietnam by saying ‘it might have been WW2.” That reference does however show that this is a serious song, and not just a poppy little tune.

The other ‘she’s going out’ song is, I think, a fairly obvious choice for me:

That live version is just sooo good! The harmonies are perfect, and it is such a great song from one of my all time favourite bands: they even gave me the name for my blog! This was a track on The Eagles’ fourth album, One Of These Nights, released in 1975. It was co-written by Don Henley and the late, great Glenn Frey, who sings lead vocal. The album was a US #1, and got to #8 here. As a single, the song reached #2 in the US but only #23 here. For some reason the band has never had the chart success here that I would have expected. This was only their second hit single here, following the title track of that album, which also got to #23: all of their earlier great songs didn’t make our charts. And if I were to ask you which was their only #1 album here what would you say? No, it isn’t the obvious one: both Hotel California and their first Greatest Hits album only reached #2. It was actually their comeback album Long Road Out Of Eden in 2007, showing that a 28 year wait between albums can have its reward! They have sold over 100m records in the US and 200m worldwide, though, so we’ve done our bit to help them along their way.

Apparently this one doesn’t work in the US either. There is another posting of the same video, though, which hopefully will work for you – fingers crossed: https://youtu.be/ZFnH8DtrIRc

My penultimate choice for this week is a Fleetwood Mac song but, as I included them last week, I thought I’d give you a fabulous cover version instead. I know I’m doing myself out of a future Under The Covers selection by sharing this, but it’s worth it:

As cover versions go, that one is hard to beat. The Highwomen are a country ‘supergroup,’ comprising Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires. Amanda’s husband, Jason Isbell, turned up for this recording to keep an eye on her: they are on the left of the screen, front and back rows. They recorded the song in 2019 for the movie The Kitchen, and this live studio recording followed shortly after. I think it’s incredibly good. In case you need reminding, the Fleetwood Mac original version was on side 2, track 1 of the 1977 album Rumours, which of course was #1 in the US and the UK, and in loads of other places too. This song wasn’t released as a single, though it was the B-side to the single release of You Make Loving Fun in Germany and France. Don’t ask why just those two countries: I have no idea!

Today’s final song is the ‘is she cheating or leaving’ one:

My apologies for the static video: I did find some live recordings but the sound quality wasn’t great, so I’m giving you the studio version. With a song this good, who needs pictures anyway? This was the opening and title track from Jackson Browne’s twelfth album, released in 2002. The album peaked at #36 in the US and #53 here in the UK. Jackson has long been a favourite of mine: his connection with the Eagles, and co-writing of Take It Easy, has assured him of that, and I still rank the concert of his that I attended in 2010 as one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which has great acoustics and is ideally suited to him – that probably explains why he is a regular performer there during his tours. Tours? Live concerts? Remember them? Hopefully soon, my friends…

That’s all for this week. It has been fun compiling this, and there is some great music here, which I hope you’ve enjoyed. I’ll see you again next Tuesday, with a selection prompted by whatever comes into my head as a theme. Until then, stay safe and well.

Tuesday Tunes 38: Some More Seventies Albums

After resuming this series last week with the one off collection of winter songs, I thought I’d take you back to where we were at the end of November, before Advent took over here. If your memory is good, you might just recall that I had been working my way through singles and albums from the Sixties and Seventies – the formative years of my musical tastes. This was also the time when I really began buying albums in earnest, and although I have already given you a couple of collections from the Seventies it seemed right to add a third on the series’ return: there are so many I could choose from!

There is a fairly strong theme of singer-songwriters running through this week’s choices which, when I look back over my years of listening to music, doesn’t really come as a surprise to me – I’ve listened to a lot! The first four selections all date from the early Seventies, from my late schooldays leading up to uni, and all have wonderful memories attached to them for me (which definitely won’t be revealed!).

First up is a song from someone I have probably listened to more than anyone over the years:

Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam is, I think, my ‘go to’ when I need to hear something comforting. There is a warmth to his voice which the years haven’t dimmed, and this live performance from 2015 is lovely. The song was originally released on his Teaser And The Firecat album in October 1971. My copy was already well-worn by the time I went to uni a year after that! The album reached #2 in both the US and the UK, and spent fifteen weeks at the top of the Australian chart. The album sleeve featured a picture of a small boy (Teaser) wearing a top hat, alongside his cat (Firecat) – these were the subject of a book written by Cat for children the following year, which told the story of the moon falling out of the sky and the efforts of these two to put it back. Sadly, it has long been out of print, though I hope there may be a copy in the library of the school he set up in NW London – if only I’d thought to look while I was there! The original recording includes two bouzouki players covering the part played here on mandolin, and is very much in keeping with his Greek family roots.

My next three selections are also from albums I bought and played a lot whilst still at school – money from weekend and holiday jobs was well spent! This is from an album which is felt by many critics to be one of the best ever made – I wouldn’t disagree:

As the video shows, that was on Joni Mitchell’s album Blue, released in June 1971. It was a toss up as to whether I gave you this one or the opening track, All I Want, and you may recall I included River, another track from the album, on Day 9 of my Advent Calendar. It really is a spectacularly good album! It was her second album in a row to reach our top ten, peaking at #3, and it also reached #15 in the US and #9 in her native Canada. James Taylor played on three tracks, though not this one: bass and guitar were played by Stephen Stills. They were a close-knit group of friends, who often helped each other out.

Speaking of James Taylor, this is originally from his album Mud Slide Slim And The Blue Horizon:

This is a version of the song recorded by JT and Carly Simon in 1977, during the period when they were married, and you get a little guest appearance from Whispering Bob at the end! The album was released in March 1971, providing my third piece of evidence as to what a good year that was for music. It reached #2 in the US and #4 here, and was notable for guest appearances by Carole King and Joni Mitchell, though neither sang on this track. The album was produced by Peter Asher, brother of Jane and one half of Peter And Gordon (of A World Without Love fame).

My next tune is from someone who didn’t release an album in 1971 (how remiss of him) but he did give us a new record in February 1972, from which this comes:

I went for the obvious one there but this is yet another great album from that era, with loads of good tracks. Again, it has a guest list to die for, featuring all of Crosby, Stills and Nash on backing vocals, and both James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt appear on this track. This was Neil Young’s fourth solo album, and it built hugely on the success of its predecessor, After The Goldrush. Harvest was #1 in both the US and the UK, and also in Canada, Australia, France, Norway and the Netherlands, selling somewhere over 7m copies along the way. This song was released as a single, reaching #1 in the US and Canada, and #10 here in the UK.

My next one today moves us slightly further forward into the Seventies. It comes from Jackson Browne’s third album, Late For The Sky, which was released in September 1974:

Amongst a catalogue of some truly wonderful songs, that has always been my favourite of his. This is a live performance from 2010, which is when I saw him play live at the Royal Albert Hall in London, three days after this video was recorded. It was fabulous to see him after all the years of loving his music but I did come away feeling a tinge of disappointment: he didn’t play this one. But it was still a great evening. The album peaked at #14 in the US but didn’t reach our charts – he has a loyal following here and has regularly played at the RAH during his tours, but his albums generally only make the lower reaches of our charts. Some of us know good music when we hear it, though! The song’s meaning is still as valid today as it was back then, perhaps even more so. Fingers crossed that the incoming US president reverses some of the damage caused by 45.

For today’s final tune I’m returning to these shores. A long-time favourite band of mine has been Jethro Tull, who I finally got to see playing live at the Union Chapel in London, in March 2010. Towards the end of the Seventies they released what is often known as a trilogy of folk-based albums, though I’ve always thought that a bit of a misnomer: many of their songs prior to then had folk elements, as they have done since. This is from the second of those albums, Heavy Horses, released in April 1978 (the others in this ‘trilogy’ were Songs From The Wood (Feb 1977) and Stormwatch (Sept 1979):

This was far from being the band’s best-performing album in chart terms, only reaching #19 in the US and #20 here, but it has always been a favourite of mine, along with their previous release. My apologies for not giving you a live performance, as they are a great live band, but I couldn’t find one with decent sound quality. Whichever way you hear it, it’s a lovely song.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back next Tuesday with some more tunes, and will see you again in the interim for my review of my blog’s 2020 – a treat not to be missed! See you again soon – let’s face it, if you’re in the UK you aren’t allowed to go out to play, so you may as well stay in and read this rubbish instead. 🙂

Take care.