Monday, September 26, 2011

Tropical Jon's EVOLUTION OF ROCK 'N ROLL: JOHNNY FRAGA, BASSIST EXTRAORDINAIRE!

 

 
THE ROCKETS' l-r; Dennis Robbins, JOHN FRAGA, Dave Gilbert, John 'Bee' Badanjek and Jim McCarty





September 27, 2010: Brother John Fraga, bassist with Nolan Strong and the Diablos (on Mind over Matter) passed away 




John was also the original bass player with THE ROCKETS, he passed away at 69 (born July 1, 1941).






     It’s been a year since one of the coolest, most righteous bass players in DETROIT ROCK ‘N ROLL passed away, and we still think about him all the time.

          I met John when he was one-fourth of the four piece power house band called THE ROCKETS (John “Bee” Badanjek, Jim McCarty, Marc Marcano and JOHNNY FRAGA). They played regularly at The (Infamous) ODYSSEY, the bar I managed in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

http://tropicaljon.blogspot.com/2011/06/infamous-odyssey-bar.html

The Rockets--Big Bass Notes by JOHNNY FRAGA…


          Not gonna write a bunch on this, because my friend RetroKimmer did a decent story when John passed last year—Check out the link below.




John wasn’t just a ROCKET (AS IF THAT WASN’T PLENTY!)—He  also worked with The Bee on a few projects:


          And, John wasn’t JUST another cat out of THE Motor City, he had roots all over the place… Check out what John was doing in (of all places!) Iowa…
http://www.midwestmusicmasters.com/bands3.aspx?name=Enoch%20Smoky

WE MISS YA JOHNNY FRAGA—ROCK IN PEACE, BROTHER!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tropical Jon's EVOLUTION OF ROCK 'N ROLL: EMILE BERLINER INVENTS THE PHONOGRAPH AND MICROPHONE




Emile Berliner (May 20, 1851 – August 3, 1929) 

Emile Berliner not only invented the disc record gramophone—THE PHONOGRAPH!! 



But also one of the earliest MICROPHONES!!!    

Phew!!!--Does this cat figure into The Evolution of Rock ‘n Roll or what!?!


          Berliner was born in Hanover, Germany in 1851. While his real hobby was invention, he worked as an accountant to make ends meet. To avoid being drafted for the Franco-Prussian War, Berliner migrated to the United States of America in 1870.

Berliner inherited a great fondness for music from his mother and was an avid concertgoer. That he could play the piano is attested by one of his assistants in the gramophone laboratory who said that Berliner was the pianist on some of the very early recordings. In 1897 he wrote a song entitled "Columbian Anthem" in honor of the nation's capital, the District of Columbia. It was arranged for male quartet and was recorded in 1897 on Berliner record 4288 and seems to have been rerecorded several times before June 1900
  
Here’s a short video about Emile Berliner that has recordings of his voice and a video clip  




Emile Berliner died of a heart attack at the age of 78 and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. 

THANKS FOR STARTING UP THIS RECORDING THING AND GETTING IT ROLLING,

EMILE—R.I.P.!!!

TROPICAL JON'S EVOLUTION OF ROCK 'N ROLL: DEE DEE WARWICK JUST COULDN'T CATCH A BREAK





Dee Dee Warwick. (September 25, 1945 -- October 18, 2008) She was born in Newark, New Jersey as Delia Mae Warrick, she was the sister of Dionne Warwick, niece of Cissy Houston and cousin of Whitney Houston (R.I.P)












Dee Dee had gotten her start after she, along with her sister Dionne and Aunt Cissy (Houston) were “discovered” in a gospel show at The Apollo Theater in Harlem. That was in 1960. The girls started singing back-up for just about everybody in NYC! Of the three, Dee Dee was the most soulful, gritty and truly R&B, but she could never really get a break…


One Drifters' session in 1961 brought her sister Dionne together with then-up-and-coming songwriter Burt Bacharach who quickly whisked her away to do demos for him and his new writing partner Hal David: Dionne would sign a contract with Scepter Records and within a year or so, she was on the charts with "Don't Make Me Over," the first of many hit records and a career as an international musical icon.


In 1963, Dee Dee Warwick did a session with chart-hot producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (known for their hits with The Coasters, The Drifters and others) on the song "You're No Good." Released by Jubilee Records


  


 Dee Dee's record was ’snatched' away by Betty Everett who recorded the same song and gained a massive hit with it.   



Chicago-based Blue Rock Records signed Dee Dee in late 1964. Teaming her with producer Ed Townsend, an artist in his own right,  who had his own hit in 1958 with "For Your Love"


Dee Dee's first session yielded the upbeat "Do It With All Your Heart," "You Don't Know (What You Do To Me)," a song Dee Dee co-wrote ("I wrote it on the spot with Ed...") and "Another Lonely Saturday (Baby I'm Yours)"  



It was her second Blue Rock recording date in May of 1965 that would give Dee Dee her first taste of real chart success: "We're Doing Fine," was recorded at Dee Dee’s second Blue Rock session. The tune was written by famed arranger Horace Ott and reached the Top 30 on the R&B charts...

 


In May of '65, Dee Dee recorded the song "I Want To Be With You," from the Broadway musical "Golden Boy" (starring Sammy Davis Jr.),  then Mercury re-released the powerhouse ballad as Dee Dee's debut for the label in August 1966.  It reached No. 9 on the U.S. R&B charts and made it to No. 41 on the U.S. pop Hot 100. Her biggest hit ever! 



Dee Dee followed up her “I Want To Be With You” success with a December 1966 release of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” which made it to the Top 20 on the U.S. Charts. OBVIOUSLY, this isn't Dee Dee, but it's all that will come up on YouTube. I need an MP3 of this cut!!!  


Only to be over-shadowed by The Supremes/Temptations release of the same tune the following year: So, we'll hear it again...   


It took a reunion with original Blue Rock producer Ed Townsend to give Dee Dee another shot at the charts: a November 1968 session resulted in "Foolish Fool"...



The record earned Dee Dee a Grammy nomination and re-ignited a short-lived interest in her career. 
Since that time, she'd been essentially inactive as a recording artist.

Here's a great one from 1969, though...



In 1999, Dee Dee Warwick finally got long overdue recognition for her many years as a soulful recording artist and performer as a the recipient of the prestigious Pioneer Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation.





Sadly, Dee Dee Warwick died after a long illness on October 19, 2008


R.I.P. Dee Dee

 


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Saturday, September 24, 2011

TROPICAL JON: RICK DERRINGER, THE REAL McCOY!!!


Rick Derringer (born Richard Zehringer, August 5, 1947)

   

A few days ago, during a phone call with my good friend RetroKimmer, I brought up the name Rick Derringer.  

Kimmer, by the way, is a  well known blogger in the Detroit area (and, it appears, in The World these days!)—You Go Girl!!! 

Although she agreed with me that Rick is a great musician, she wondered what he had done besides “Rock ‘n  Roll Hoochie Coo.”



 I brought up his (other) work with the Winter brothers, like his part in “Johnny Winter And…”

   
and the fact that it’s his solo on Alice Cooper’s “Under My Wheels” 



His work with Edgar Winter:



and the fact that he, along with Edgar Winter

had been a major part of the 2010  version of Ringo Star’s All Star Band.





NOT TO MENTION HIS SOLO WORK:




Kim was only minimally impressed; until I mentioned The McCoys and “Hang on Sloopy”



“That was him!?!” Kim asked.










When I assured her that Rick Derringer was, indeed, the founder and writer and lead guitar and vocalist for the McCoys, she insisted that I write about him. Well, if this was news to Detroit’s RetroKimmer, it might just be news to a lot of folks, But, a short story about Rick Derringer is kinda tough. You can Google Rick and find tons of info about this remarkable musician!  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Derringer , for example)  

BTW: This was a cover of the Vibrations tune 
"My Girl Sloopy"






Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tropical Jon's EVOLUTION OF ROCK 'N ROLL: AIN'T NOBODY'S BUSINESS IF I DO


On September 22, 1919--Yeah, 1919!-- Bert Williams had the #1 tune in the nation and it had to do with folks minding their own buisness, Here's that tune:

Who would have ever thought that the covers and versions of this tune, about a preacher man who was getting harassed by the general public, would have had such an impact on the EVOLUTION OF ROCK 'N Roll!?!

A few years later, in 1923 as a matter of fact, Bessie Smith did her version:



Wasn't long before Billie Holliday made the tune her own:




Everybody did this tune! The least of which not being Jimmie Witherspoon:



Along came Taj Mahal in the 1960s and made it a monster again!





Otis Spann put that all important Chicago spin on it





Eric Clapton puts the British slant on the tune:



Freddie King electrified the tune:




Gladys Knight, Etta James and Chaka Khan did a bit of an update in concert (with B.B. King, no less!):




Diana Ross did her GREAT covers in the movie, "Lady Sings The Blues" and then took it on the road:


Amy Winehouse (R.I.P.) even took a shot at the tune in 2010!  




Who would have thought that a cat in 1919 would have penned and recorded a tune that would be a theme in THE EVOLUTION OF ROCK ‘N ROLL!?!