Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Julianne Petersen and the Petersens.

Julianne, Matt, Ellen, Katie, Emmett, and Karen

The Petersens are a popular bluegrass band located in Branson, Missouri. The group was founded by Jon Petersen (a retired air force colonel and doctor) and his wife, Karen with the idea of having the family doing something together.  The band's current working lineup features Karen Petersen, four of her children, and Emmett Franz, a non-family member who joined the band in 2017 to play dobro. When the band started Karen played the mandolin, and Jon Petersen played stand-up bass or piano.  However, Jon Petersen rarely plays with band, anymore. He continues to work his day job as a doctor.

All the group play instruments and sing though Karen rarely sings.  Ellen Petersen Haygood plays banjo and is the most prominent lead vocalist (she made it the top 48 on American Idol.) Ellen got married recent to Michael Haygood of the Haygood's (another Branson family band). Katie Petersen sings lead vocals, help arranges the music, writes original material and plays the violin. Matt Petersen plays acoustic guitar, manages live performances and occasionally sing leads.  Emmet Franz plays the dobro, helps arrange the music, and sings occasional leads. More than one article refers to him as a " ringer" because he is so good at dobro. The youngest member of the band, Julianne Petersen, plays mandolin and sings lead vocals. In the early days of the band Julianne would do buck dancing, and sometimes play violin or sing.  The siblings were all taught how to sing first, then they learned piano before specializing in a particular instrument. Karen Petersen has a master in music education, and not only taught her children music but home schooled them. The group is up front about their Baptist faith, but never offends or is pushy with it.

The group has become popular through their residencies at Branson, MO and through exposure on YouTube, and other social media platforms. The group's videos are often filmed live outdoors or in rural buildings by director Aaron Carter who does an excellent job producing the videos.   The group almost invariably takes a bluegrass approach to their music, but their material is primarily pop songs, gospel songs, or original compositions. None of the albums or singles have charted on the Billboard pop charts, so they rely on patrons, live shows and streaming revenue for income.   The group's most popular songs on YouTube are their covers of "Jolene", "When You Say Nothing at All" and "Take Me Home, Country Roads." 

The group's superpower is their ability to do gospel music. Here is their version of "Down to The River to Pray.   The most notable prior version of this song was by Allison Krauss.

The early Petersens performing "Traveling Shoes" back before Emmett Franz joined. 

The group is really solid instrumentally, but the emphasis typically is on the vocals.  

"Prodigal Son" featuring the four Petersens siblings

The group is often at its best when the four Petersen children gather in various combinations in the center microphone and harmonize or trade off vocals.  Instrumentally, Emmett and Katie are the most impressive, while vocally Ellen and Julianne are most likely to awe the audience.  

Julianne Petersen

And now we turn to Julianne Petersen best known for her famous dimple. She was born in 2001 and is the youngest of the  Petersens.  She impressed me from the very first, with her relatively unique vocal style, and youthful good looks.   Like Nanci Griffith or Iris Dement she has a very high, breathy, childlike singing voice, but what makes her unique is the unpredictable vibrato that sometimes comes out when she is singing.  Like her sisters, she occasionally breaks into a country twang while singing, but Julianne also channels Dolores O' Reardon.  When you hear her speaking voice, you begin to wonder where her marvelous singing voice comes from.  Her speaking voice is neither overly high nor twangy.   Julianne also has some charming facial quirks, smiling deeply, or rolling her eyes upwards or to the side.  All of the Petersen siblings smile frequently-and these smiles, along with the rural settings, and modest dresses give off an amazingly peaceful aura in their videos.

Julianne has often had to step back from the band and spent time away from the band as she got her education (apparently, she was home schooled for at least part of this time). She studied English literature at John Brown University where she graduated with honors. At college, she spent a semester at Oxford studying C.S. Lewis.    Julianne hobbies include making YouTube videos of the group's travels and writing.   Both she and her brother, Matt have a very active sense of humor, and that levity often shows up in the travel videos and on stage. Here are four of Julianne's more notable singing performances.

Julianne's most successful video with the group so far, has been this excellent bluegrass rendition of Sting's "Fields of Gold." The group was inspired by Eva Cassidy's famous cover to do this song.

The performance that best shows off many of Julianne's vocal quirks is the Christmas song-"God Rest Ye Mary Gentlemen".

"Today" is Julianne's perhaps most perfect vocal. It was sung at the wedding of her sister. She is joined by Matt and Katie. 

Julianne has made a few solo video's notably this cover of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road".

Visit here for a  complete playlist of  songs Julianne sings lead vocals on.  Julianne Petersen of the Petersens - YouTube
An article written by Julianne ...

Originally published June 2023 by J.C.Bernhardt.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Songs That the Beatles Switched instruments on.

Lennon played Bass?  Songs the Beatles switched instruments on. 

The Beatles were a four-man rock combo.  George Harrison played Lead Guitar, John Lennon played Rhythm Guitar, Paul McCartney played Electric Bass Guitar and Ringo Starr played Drums. In 1962-1964 this lineup was seldom deviated from. Keyboards (if needed) on early Beatles records were usually played by producer George Martin. However, by 1965 other instruments were more often required.  From 1965-keyboards were   most often handled by Paul McCartney but John Lennon and George Martin often played keyboards and non-members   such as Mal Evans, Billy Preston or Nicky Hopkins also occasionally played keyboards.  

Additional percussion instruments were usually played by Ringo Starr but were also played by Harrison, Lennon and McCartney on a few tracks-especially if they had nothing else to do.  On many occasions from 1965 and  onward The Beatles brought in classical musicians to play various orchestral parts or horn solos. Almost all the orchestral arrangements were scored and conducted by George Martin.  

All lead vocals were handled by the group and most backing vocals were by Lennon, McCartney and Harrison. On a few occasions between 1966 and 1968 outsiders were brought in to provide party style backing vocals or female vocals.  On only one occasion was an outside guitarist brought in to play on a Beatles record. That would be Eric Clapton who played lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.   George Harrison brought in Clapton partly to encourage the other Beatles to be on their best behavior. 

Here are the times that Beatles members played instruments outside their specialty.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney was perhaps the greatest melodist of his generation and has a unparalleled gift for adding musical colors to songs-so George Martin and the group often let him get away from just playing bass and allowed him to play guitar, keyboards and other instruments.  However, this soured McCartney's relationship with George Harrison to a degree since it sent the message that Macca often wouldn't trust Harrison to play the guitar on songs. 

In the early (pre-record making) days of the Beatles -Macca was the third guitarist-but switched to bass when Stu Sutcliffe left the band. But Macca often returned to play guitar.  It is most noticeable on acoustic songs where he is the only guitarist. 
Songs that McCartney played acoustic guitar on include:
'"I'll Follow the Sun", "I've Just Seen a Face", "You've Got to Hide Your ", "Yesterday"   "Michelle", "I'm Looking Through You", "All Together Now", " Two of Us", "Maggie Mae", "I Will" "Your Majesty", "Rocky Racoon ". 
McCartney also played lead electric guitar or rhythm electric guitar on "The Night Before", " Ticket to Ride" "Another Girl", "Drive My Car", "Taxman"," Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "Fixing a Hole", "Helter Skelter", "Oh Darling, and "You Never Give Me Your Money".  Notice that with exception of three songs-all these songs that Macca played guitar on were songs that predominately written by Paul McCartney. 

Songs that McCartney played Drums on:  McCartney filled in on drums for two songs - “Back in the USSR” and “Dear Prudence” when Ringo left the group temporarily in 1968.  McCartney also played drums on “Ballad of John and Yoko” in 1969 because Harrison and Starr were not available when the song was recorded.   McCartney was nearly a one-man band on “Why Don’t We Do It on the Road, and "Wild Honey Pie" on the White album. (Although Ringo did play drums on "Why Don't We Do it on the Road"). 

John Lennon
Lennon usually played rhythm electric guitar but occasionally played lead guitar or acoustic guitar but that of course was normal for his job.  On at least one occasion he is only instrumentalist on a song that would be “Julia”.  He plays the acoustic guitar on that ballad.

As stated before, Lennon played keyboards on numerous songs-one of the most notable was introduction to "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da". 

What was unusual was for Lennon to play bass. He played bass on  "Rocky Racoon”, “Helter Skelter”, "Dig It', “Let It Be” (on the Anthology 3 version) and on “The Long and Winding Road”.  Lennon did this because McCartney was occupied on another instrument.  Sometimes ,Lennon or Harrison played bass on a early take of a song, only to have McCartney do a later overdub.  One of the many reasons that there is sometimes disputes on who played what.

Neither John Lennon or George Harrison ever completely filled in for Ringo on drums on a finished recording. But Lennon did play a snare drum while Ringo tapped on a guitar and played cowbell, on ¨I Need You¨.  It is also said that Lennon and Harrison may have played some of the drum parts on "Back in the USSR". 

George Harrison usually stuck to lead electric guitar -and he wasn’t any more prominent on lead acoustic guitar then Lennon or McCartney were. However-the famous classical guitar work on “And I Love Her” is by him.   And songs like "Here Come the Sun" features his acoustic guitar.

Harrison famously played Sitar on “Norwegian Wood”, "Tomorrow Never Knows”, Within You, Without You ", and "Across the Universe".
George Harrison played Tambura on "Getting Better" and on "Within You Without You".
George Harrison played organ on his 1967 songs-"Only a Northern Song", "Its All Too Much",
and "Blue Jay Way" 
George Harrison played bass on "Birthday", on "Golden Slumbers" , "Oh Darling", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". "Carry That Weight" and a "bassy" guitar on "You Never Give Me Your Money".
Harrison also played synthesizer on some songs on the Abbey Road album.

Harrison left the group temporarily during the Let It Be sessions, but no final recordings were made during that time.

Ringo Starr played piano on “Don’t Pass Me By” and Organ on “I’m Looking Through You”.
Ringo, despite being a competent lead vocalist-was rarely used as a backing vocalist-however is known to have sung as a backing vocalist on: “Yellow Submarine” “Bungalow Bill”, Carry That Weight” and “Flying.”

There are a few other instances of members of the group playing Harmonica or other novelty instruments.  For example, Paul McCartney is said to play recorder on “Fool on the Hill”, John Lennon is said to have played sax on “Helter Skelter". George Harrison played a Ukelele on "Free As A Bird".  Mal Evans played the alarm clock on "A Day in the Life". And Ringo played the anvil on the final version of "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". 

Written June 2019 by J.C.Bernhardt.

Also, on Felpin's Pond: Classic Rock Acts That You Can Name All the Members of

More about Beatles instrument switching....
Rolling Stone article about Beatles instrument switching...

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Early Meghan Trainor Videos

Some  Early Meghan Trainor videos.  Revised 2020

Meghan Trainor is the  singer/songwriter from Nantucket who hit it big with "All About that Bass". Before "All About the Bass" she recorded two independent solo albums and worked as a songwriter.

In 2013 Meghan   performed on a song called "Fall Back"  with her  friend Emmy Palmer.
The original video of this was removed from Youtube and the universe in general, but here is  a link to the audio version..

"Fall Back" is also featured briefly in this compilation video above that shows bits numerous songs from Meghan Trainor's career.

Here is the first live version of "All About The Bass' from 2014. The guy on the guitar is the song's  producer/co-writer,Kevin Kadish. 

A solo performance  of "Waterfall" showing off her ballad side from 2012, and interview with her inside a vehicle. 

"Can't Blame the Girl For Trying" , 2012 from the Durango Songwriters's conference.

"Nervous"  2011 from the Durango songwriter's conference.

Originallt published January 16, 2020. Updated March 2023.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

How many rock stars have been knighted? (Updated December 2022)

The first rock stars to be honored by the Queen

In 1965 Beatles became the first rock stars to receive royal honors. They received MBEs in 1965. The first rock star to receive the highest honor of being knighted was Cliff Richard.   So how many British rock stars have actually been knighted.?  Eleven rock stars can rightfully be called Sir. Included among the 'Sir's' are Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Tom Jones   Sir Elton John, Sir Rod Stewart, Sir George Ivan Morrison (Van Morrison), Sir Ray Davies, Sir Richard Starkey, Sir Barry Gibb and now Sir Brian May. Being knighted is the highest honor, but many people (most years as many as a 1000 people) receive lesser honors each year, so a good number of famous rock and pop stars now have been honored by the realm.

Prince Charles knights Barry Gibb (AP)

As we stated above, the Beatles were given the lesser honor of MBEs in 1965, but   John Lennon and George Harrison had the misfortune of dying before anybody could get round to knighting them. Lennon famously gave back his MBE in 1969 with a note saying, “Your majesty, I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against, "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts. With love, John Lennon.”
 George Harrison was offered a promotion from MBE to CBE, but declined because, he would have preferred a knighthood (perhaps so he could be on par with Paul McCartney). Ringo Starr was only knighted in 2018.   Oddly enough, the late Sir George Martin, the Beatles producer was actually knighted before Ringo.
Jimmy Page was given an OBE for helping Brazilian children

Back to our story....
There is a Sir Mick Jagger, but no Sir Keith Richards.  Oddly, Bill Wyman has received honors but not Charlie Watt, Ronnie Wood or Mick Taylor.  Keith made fun of Jagger for accepting the knighthood.

What about Bono and Bob Geldof who are sometimes called "Sir"?  These men are   Irishman have received honorary knighthoods for their charity work. Bono was given his honor in 2007. 

Bob Geldof received his honor back in 1986. Geldof is entitled to use the post-nominal letters "KBE" but, as he is not a citizen of a Commonwealth realm, he is precluded from using the title "Sir". Regardless, the nickname "Sir Bob" has stuck, and media reports continue to refer to him as "Sir Bob Geldof".

Many   of the other notable figures of the British rock scene have been given lesser honors then the highest honor of knighthood.  The lesser honors are CBE's, LVO's, MBE's etc, but these folks were not given the honorific of "Sir". These lesser honors allow the recipients to put the type of honors they were given as initials  after their name, but no Sir or Dame before it.  

Among those who have received lesser honors are:

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Dave Gilmour, (but not Roger Walters), Roger Taylor (but not John Deacon or Freddie Mercury), Roger Daltrey (but not Pete Townshend), Eric Clapton (CBE), the late Robin and Maurice Gibb, Albert Hammond, Peter Asher, the late Gerry Marsden, Joan Armatrading, Annie Lennox, Mark Knopfler, Graham Nash (OBE), Marty Wilde (MBE). Rod Stewart, Phil Collins (who is an LVO), Adele, Kate Bush (CBE), and Gordon "Sting" Sumner, Damon Albarn of Blur (OBE), Tim and Neil Finn, Justin Hayward (OBE) Jools Holland of Squeeze (OBE) -though Jools is more famous for his TV work. Folk rock legends Ashley MBE) and Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention, Maddy Prior MBE, Martin Carthy MBE, and Shirley Collins MBE.  Recently, Ed Sheeran received an MBE. Bernie Taupin was given honors on the 2022 list.

David Bowie actually declined honors, as have Paul Weller, and Hank Marvin of the Shadows. 

Who else hasn't been given honours?  Ozzy Osbourne, Jeff Beck, Elvis Costello, Robbie Williams, Keith Richard, Peter Gabriel, Pete Townshend, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Charlie Watts, Steve Winwood, Roger Waters, Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits) and John Paul Jones are among the most noted rich stars who haven't been honored for services to the realm. As far as I know, no British punk star or new waver has been honored. Also, no American rock performers have received honors since they are not eligible for British honours.

Among the dead rock British rock stars who were never given honors are George Michael, Freddie Mercury Brian Jones, Keith Moon, Nick Drake, John Entwistle, John Bonham, and Sandy Denny.

What about Popular Music and Musical theater types?
Lionel Bart, Cameron McIntosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber (he's a Lord!)  and Tim Rice have been knighted. You can call them "Sir". Elaine Paige has been honored as well.

There have been female stars from the rock era who been honored.  In 2019, Olivia Newton-John was made a dame and given an OBE. The late Dusty Springfield was given an OBE, and as we noted above Joan Armatrading, Kate Bush, Pauline Black, Annie Lennox and   Adele have been given lesser honors than a Dame-ship. Two Spice Girls-Victoria Beckham and  Mel Brown have also been given honors.

Pop singers Shirley Bassey! and Julie Andrews were made Dames many years ago.

What about other countries honors?
Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Anka, and Joni Mitchell have received the Order of Canada.
Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder are among the many people who awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Reggae stars Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff have received the Jamaican order of merit.

Why are rock stars given honors?    Many reasons are given, certainly it's true that groups like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles all have done wonders for the British economy. Many of the people knighted have been artistically important.  Doing charity work helps too, but clearly being a wonderful person is not a requirement, or many rock stars would not have been honored. Also surprisingly, being a tax exile seems to have not kept stars from being honored.

Published December 2017, updated every year by J.C.Bernhardt.
Also at Felpin's Pond
Can you write hit song after age 50?

Monday, December 12, 2022

Meghan Trainor- Notable Songs that were not hits.

Meghan Trainor broke out on the pop scene in 2014 with her catchy and original mega hit, "All About the Bass".   The problem with hitting it so big with your first hit-is everything else is going to be anti-climactic, and some artists become one (or two hit wonders). Nevertheless, she managed to have genuine US top 40 hits with six other songs after "Bass". (Lips Are Moving, Dear Future Husband", "Like I'm Going to Lose You", "Marvin Gaye", "No"' and "Me Too"). But the hits dried up between 2016, and 2022.  In 2022, Meghan finally had something of a hit with "Made You Look" but the song still has underperformed in the USA.  Her lyrical and musical style can be a little too clever, and her soulful sassy voice can be little overwrought. "No" and "Me Too" are examples of how some of her songs can be a bit annoying lyrically. Unlike, other stars she does not seem to have given into the urge to let others basically write songs for her, so as to get more hits.  (She does work with other songwriters-but with the exception of her Christmas album she has written or co-written every solo song she has recorded. So here all the twelve "failed" singles that one hears from time to time on the radio and in supermarkets, they were not hits, but good enough to get some limited airplay.

Fifth Harmony (featuring Meghan Trainor)-"Brave Honest Beautiful".  IT was released in early 2015. Meghan co wrote the song and co-produced.

"Better When I'm Dancing"

This song was written with Thaddeus Dixon for The Peanuts Movie Soundtrack and released in October 2015. 

"Better"-Meghan Trainor featuring Yo Gotti

This third single from Meghan's second album (Thank You) was a modest hit on radio airplay charts in Fall 2016 but did not make the US top 100 are chart in other countries. 

"No Excuses" -Meghan Trainor

No Excuses, a very listenable song with some great hooks.  It was the lead single of her third album (Treat Myself) but only reached #46. It was released in March 2018.
"Let You Be Right"-Meghan Trainor

Intended for her third album, this another partly failed single released in May 2018, right after "No Excuses".  It did not show up on the album when it came out.  The two failed singles may have played a part in the decision to hold back the album. 

"Can't Dance"-Meghan Trainor
Released at the same Time "Let You Right". Though a video was filmed for it-it was no released.  This song sounds a little more producer driven, and is more dance oriented then some of other material.  It was not a hit-and was not featured on an album or EP.

"More Than Friends" -Jason Mraz with Meghan Trainor

Another ballad, duet similar to "Love You Like I am Going to Lose You".  Trainor was one of the four co-writers on the song.  It was on Jason's album, "Know". It was released as a single in October 2018 and charted only on the adult top 40.

"All The Ways"-Meghan Trainor

Another Meghan solo single from the sessions for third album. It as bonus track on the Target version of that album, and as one of the songs on the "Love Train" EP.   It was released in February 2019. and once again failed to make the regular Billboard Hot 100 or other nation's charts. 

"Just Got Paid"  by Sigala, Ella Eyre, and Meghan Trainor that features French Montana.

An 2018 song by Sigala, Ella Eyre, and Meghan Trainor that features French Montana. It was a hit in the UK and a few other territories. It did not make the Top 100 in the USA. The song is featured on Sigala's debut album.

Kaskade  and Meghan Trainor-"With You"

A single released in June 2019 by Kaskade  and Meghan Trainor. It was not a Billboard top 100 hit but was modest hit on the dance and adult top 40 charts. It has not shown up on an album.

Meghan Trainor-"I'm a Lady"

Her song from the Smurf's movie--Lost Village. It came out in Early 2017. Meghan cowrote the song with Martin Renea.

"Wave" -Meghan Trainor
"Wave" was an uncharacteristically ambitious song with a massive chorus.   This song was released in late 2019 three months before the Treat Myself album finally came out and was the first track on that album. It did not chart on any of the  Billboard's single's charts.

"Run Like the River" was another soundtrack song, but a very solid one.  It was released in August 2019. Another song written during the endless third album sessions.  

Meghan Trainor (featuring Nicki Minaj) -"Nice To Meet You".

Released as third single for "Treat Myself album. It came out concurrently with the album. In January 2020. It only reached #89 in the USA.

Originally posted February 2022.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Falling in love with the music of Kate Bush

There are just a few musical artists where I remember where I was when I first heard them.   I was in College Park, Maryland in late 1981 in a record store called Xon, when I first heard the voice of Kate Bush.   In the background, was playing a very high-pitched female voice, it turned out to be Kate Bush performing live in 1979.   I think the record store owner said that the live recording that    was playing not was not easily available, so instead   that day, I bought her first studio album, the Kick Inside (pictured on left). I listened to that first album constantly on a pathetic record player in my dorm room at the University of Maryland. I am amazed my roommates didn't kill me. 

The most famous song from the album is Kate's take on the novel, "Wuthering Heights". The most high-pitched female voice imaginable somehow managed to enthrall the UK and other territories. But, Kate Bush, was already in the process of being ignored in America. Until the mid 1980's, Kate remained totally commercially unsuccessful in the USA. Capitol/EMI did not even release her second and third albums.  But she continued to have considerable success in other markets and was a genuine superstar in her home country.   Eventually though, the quality of her music finally was too much for US critics and the US public to ignore and she finally began to chart in the USA.   Below is "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" from her Kick Inside album.

I spent most of 1982 enthralled with Kate.  I bought imported versions of her second
album, Lionheart and her third album, Never for Ever.  I collected imported versions of the UK singles. Most of the singles had intriguing non-album B-sides.  Pretty much everything she recorded at this point was fairly good, and breathtakingly original.  She was also maturing, her 1980's work-her lead vocals were a little more normal than what is found on the Kick Inside.  But the backing vocals often used the Kate's signature higher registers to great effect.  

A Kate Bush B-side-"Lord of the Reedy River" 
What amazed me about Kate Bush was her musical vocabulary.   The array of musical color found in the songs, was achieved by unusual instrumentation, choirs of Kate's voice, and stunning piano work. The lyrics were all fascinating in their subject matter.  
What also impressed was Kate ran the entire show. The songs were written, sung, and produced by her. She played all the keyboards.   (Kate did have some regular sideman -notably Del Palmer, who was her husband for a while).  Even now, I can't think of too many musical artists who    have the amazing musical pallet she has, and can do it all. Only Paul McCartney comes to mind.  

My love for her work probably peaked with the daring 1982 album, The Dreaming which was the first album of hers released after I had discovered her.  The title cut attempts to capture the sounds of aboriginal music, the first single, from the album, "Sat in your Lap" was written by Kate using percussion not a piano.  There is the first of her Irish music epics, "Night of the Swallow", probably my favorite Kate song.  One of the songs reminded me aurally of the muted other worldly sound of dreams, another song seemed to capture the sound of glass.    This is my favorite Kate Bush album.

Her next album did not come till three years later in 1985. This was the first of a series of a long waits between Kate Bush albums.   The next album turned out to be Hounds of Love an album that many regard as her masterpiece.  Like The Dreaming. Kate mastered creating sound textures for these songs. But this album was more accessible, less eccentric.   The first side of the album was a series of pop singles.  The second side,  a long suite about a woman who drowned.  This time Kate applied just enough commercial gloss to create a true break through single with "Running Up That Hill" which features perhaps her most memorable use of the Fairlight Synthesizer.   It became her first and only hit in the United States. My favorite song  from the Hounds of Love album was the uplifting "Cloudbusting" which was accompanied by a story video starring Donald Sutherland (see below)    Around this time Kate also duetted on Peter Gabriel's song, "Don't Give up", which also got worldwide airplay. Peter Gabriel was like Kate-a truly original English musical artist.

Kate did not return with a new album till 1989, when the  The Sensual World  album came out.  This album was Kate at her most mature-and perhaps most  personal.   The women described in some of the songs actually could be Kate.  (Normally in most of her work she assumed a persona). The best-known song from the album, is the brilliant "This Women's Work", a song that still can bring tears to the eyes. It was well known, because it appeared in the Kevin Bacon movie, "She's Having My Baby".  (See below)

Kate's later work of the 1990's and the 2000's  meant less to me. I grew impatient with the long waits between albums, the lack of  concerts (I have never seen her in concert), and the limited   number of  compilations of her work on CD and DVD.   But for a time she was very important to me.   I am very happy that she gotten new exposure from the Netflix show, Stranger Things. Few musical artists are more deserving. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

The Hazelnuts -an Israeli vocal group.

The Hazelnuts in their most recent lineup.

 Tonight, I heard just one line of a sung as a lead-in a Wayfair furniture commercial. Quickly, tried to figure what the song was .  It turned out the song was called "Tempted" and was performed by  a Israeli vocal trio called the Hazelnuts". Although it sounded like vintage music it was in fact a totally new song.  I love it when ad people dig up musical gems for commercials.

 This vocal trio  has been around since 2013. though often as a part time concern. Apparently,  their studio recordings have not released on a major label.  But there did turn out to be  wide variety of material by the group, including lots of jazz vocals, some songs in Hebrew and even covers of David Bowie, Tom Waits  and Beyonce, but most of the material was vocal trios performances in the 1930' and 1940's style of the Andrew Sisters and the Boswell sisters. 

The group seemed to be quite talented, and honestly, I was surprised I had trouble finding information on their recordings at least initially. The reality is that there are really quite a lot of musically talented people out there -and often their  musically talent is not rewarded with stardom.  It's not clear if the group is still a going concern, because the members have been doing other musical stuff concurrently  with the group. 

 The group's two steadfast members have been Shira Carmel (wears glasses) and  Yifeat Ziv (has short hair).  The third member has changed a number of times.  So in the videos of the group at various times you will see first Talya Amzaleg, then  Sapir Rosenblatt,  and now  Anat Moshkovski as the  third vocalist.   Usually the group had some pretty effective mostly male musicians backing them.  All the members of the group had some impressive resumes of other activity in their lives.  So here is a sampler  of  performances 

Here is the aforementioned  song "Tempted". It was written by Shira Carmel (she also sing lead) It was  released on a EP in  2020.

Below: "It's the Girl"  with Talya Amazag (on the right). The performance is from 2014

A  great 2015  performance with Marshdondurma instrumental band .This song features  Sapir Rosenblatt (the singer on the left) as the third singer.

A nicely shot 2015 video of "It Don't Mean a Thing" with Sapir is below. 

Below: This  2017 performance  features Anat Moshkovski as the third member. It is a cover of Edith Piaf song, called "Padam Padam".