Boneyard Media

Song IDs: Willie Mays – “My Sad Heart”/ “If You Love Me” (1962)

August 27th, 2015

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In the realm of musical recordings made by athletes, which includes such sobering entries as Terry Bradshaw’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Ron Cey’s “Third Base Bag,” and Shaquille O’Neal’s “I Know I Got Skillz,” this one’s as good as it gets. Willie Mays’s “My Sad Heart”/”If You Love Me” came out the same year his San Francisco Giants lost a hard-fought seven-game World Series to the New York Yankees, and it reveals a musical version of the Say Hey Kid as appealing as the famous baseball version.

We can tell from both sides of the record that Mays had good taste, demonstrating familiarity with Sonny Till and Orioles (side A), Bobby Blue Bland (side B), and Little Willie John (side B). Writer credits for both went to Deadric Malone, the pseudonym for Don Robey, who owned the Duke-Peacock label empire. Before this, Mays had appeared on a 1954 cut credited to “Willie Mays of the New York Giants with the Treniers” called “Say Hey (the Willie Mays Song),” one of the other great baseball singles. As prone to superstition as baseball players can be, did anyone notice in ’62 that the previous time the Giants had won a pennant Mays also recorded a single? (1954 was the year the New York Giants swept the Cleveland Indians and Willie made his celebrated catch.) He should have been pumping out a record every year since then.

(I’m hoping someone will step forward with footage of Willie Mays’ 1962 appearance on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s TV show to promote “My Sad Heart.”)

Willie Mays – “My Sad Heart” (1962)

Willie Mays – “If You Love Me” (1962)

Willie Mays of the New York Giants with the Treniers – “Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song” (1954)

Song ID: Lepa Lukić – “Nema ga, nema” (1986)

August 26th, 2015


For me, this song captures much of what I found alluring in the Serbian “narodna” music I first heard in Belgrade street kiosks in the late ’80s. (Potential translations for “narodna”: national, folk, folklore, traditional, people’s, regional, and country.) With its ornamental accordion lines twinkling while the empress declares – in an almost-resigned way – that her man is “no more, no more,” the track seems to capture her raising a glass of brandy among friends (and subjects) who all share her sorrow but know she’ll be more than fine.

The video clip I’m linking to is as mesmerizing to me as the song. Lepa Lukić is dignity itself at the cusp of an era when narodna would give birth to the badly-behaved “turbo folk” genre during the turbulent ’90s. Her band, too, personifies dignity the way a band of assassins might. That’s Zoran Tirnanić playing the accordion and looking like a movie star. (Strangely enough, the narodna music legend Dragan Aleksandrić, whose ensemble it was and who co-wrote the song, doesn’t appear).

It took me some doing to first identify Tirnanić and then figure out how this camera-ready surefire accordion star vanished from the narodna orchestra world that other Aleksandrić alumni continued to flourish in. The story is that he hung up his accordion, feeling that the traditional music he preferred was on the wane, and went into business like his father. He’s now the owner/CEO of the successful Serbian DIS grocery store chain and was voted businessman of the year for 2014 by the national Club of Economic Journalists. (Lepa Lukić, a Serbian music royal, still performs and is a reality TV fixture of late.)

Lepa Lukić – “Nema ga, nema” (1986)

Song ID: The Beach Boys – “Breakaway” (1969)

August 25th, 2015

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This 1969 single written by the unlikely team of Brian Wilson and father Murry (as “Reggie Dunbar”) should have been a higher charting follow up to “Do It Again” for the Beach Boys. Why didn’t it do better than its numerologically eye-catching #69 peak position? My theory: the “Breakaway” catchphrase had already been getting tons of airplay with Steve Karmen’s jingle for the 1969 Pontiac.

Beach Boys – “Breakaway” (1969)

And here’s this:

The Steve Karmen Big Band featuring Jimmy Radcliffe (1968) – “Breakaway Parts I and II”: Side A is Jimmy Radcliffe talking and singing over a troubled, minor key arrangement of Karmen’s theme, while Side B is the major-key instrumental version more familiar from TV and radio ads.

Song ID: Los Sonor’s – “Cozumel” (1969)

August 24th, 2015


This Michoacan organ + sax attack came out in 1969, sold big, and became a party staple south of the border by 1970.  You’ll feel even more like dancing if you watch Los Sonor’s (The Sounds) – all eight of them – perform it. The songwriting is credited to Flores and Mari – I hope someone can tell me more about them.

Los Sonor’s – “Cozumel” (1969)

Song IDs: The Motors – “Dancing the Night Away”/ “Whiskey and Wine” (1977)

August 22nd, 2015


Two-sided UK guitar group perfection courtesy of “Shall We Dance” Bram Tchaikovsky’s former band The Motors, who also endorsed the dance-floor-as-nirvana notion. Side A clocks in at 3:13, but the album version, which is twice as long, is also a keeper, featuring an extended intro based on the yearning middle section.  Those lower register guitar octaves in the verses sound like vintage Cheap Trick, who would later cover this song badly. Side B (“Whiskey and Wine”) is another killer, featuring a zigzag hook that should have blared from late 70s car stereos on Saturday nights but never did.

The Motors – “Dancing the Night Away” (single version) (1977)

The Motors – “Whiskey and Wine” (1977)

The Motors – “Dancing the Night Away” (album version) (1977)

Song ID: Bram Tchaikovsky – “Shall We Dance” (1980)

August 21st, 2015


Bram Tchaikovsky (aka Peter Bramall – formerly of the Motors), got in my head during the summer of my first transistor radio – 1979. His “Girl of My Dreams” crept into the US Top 40 around then, but I remember it airing on Salt Lake City’s KCPX-AM like a Top 5. Three years after that, he re-infiltrated my skull when his “Shall We Dance” aired with some regularity on Super 107-FM (although he’d reportedly called it quits with the biz by then). To me, the song has everything appealing about early ’80s music: the stuttering guitar, the minimalist bursts of fluorescent keyboard, and the promise of bliss via the dance floor (where pre-driver’s license teens like me could maybe find girlfriends).

Bram Tchaikovsky – “Shall We Dance” (1980)

Nick Drake Pink Moon 1999 VW Cabriolet

August 13th, 2015


Celebrate Nick Drake’s eternal relationship with the Volkswagen brand with this collector’s model. Hold it up against the starry sky and admire its stark beauty.

Song ID: Brook Benton with the Dixie Flyers – “Shoes” (1970)

August 10th, 2015

R-2096692-1296471714.jpeg Read it at Early 70s Radio.

Song ID: The Marina Swingers – “Casual” (1982)

August 6th, 2015


Maybe you’ve been doing web searches for “going all the way to Casualfornia in my Volkswagen bus” the way I did off and on for many years, and now you’ve found yourself here. Maybe you, too, had an old VHS tape with fuzzy dubs from Night Flight or New Wave Theater circa 1982, including a clip from this mystery band featuring a front man in flippers, running shorts, a Mike Nesmith cap, and sunscreen on his lips and you had no clue who it was, and no sleuthing had seen you through. I finally had to follow a hunch and ordered this Sunken Treasures CD by the Marina Swingers, and lo, therein lay knowledge and peace.

Excerpts from the liner notes’ “cranky band history text” by keyboardist Esteban Elka:

“We weren’t sure if we wanted to be an artsy-intellectual new-wave act, a bloodthirsty dance-band, a multi-media comedy round-up, a surf/swing/big-band/punk ensemble or just an experiment in soul-splitting personality exploration (therapy that doesn’t work). So we did all of the above, often at the same time….

“We got to open for some zesty acts… Not one of them put in a good word for us with their management.

“…We don’t expect you to just listen to this CD. We think you’ll wish you had been there. We want you to be sorry that you weren’t. Where were you when we needed you?

“Come to think of it, where are we now?… One of us had a stroke, one of has leukemia, one of us had a brain tumor, two of us used drugs way too hard, one of us is wearing a crooked toupee, but two us are bald. One of us still gigs, most of us still record and we all walk, talk, pass wind and lie, except maybe the dead guy.

“Someday, you will be dead too.

“Special thanks to: A lot of you tried but it’s results that count. We didn’t make it, so the bulk of you shouldn’t expect a major pat on the fanny…”

For more information about the Marina Swingers, order Sunken Treasures on CD Baby, like I did.

The Marina Swingers – Casual (live at the Sweetwater in Redondo Beach, CA) (1982)

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Lynn Anderson’s early ’70s pop chart streak

August 5th, 2015

rosegarden Read it at Early 70s Radio.