Sunday Brunch with Berlin And Top Gun

Top GunBy Bob Berry

November 8, 1986. Can it really be 29 years ago?

Berlin’s mega-hit from the great Top Gun soundtrack, “Take My Breath Away” went to Number One for the first of four weeks.

Sure, the song was helped by a terrific script, co-written by Michigan State professor and good friend, the late Jim Cash and his writing partner Jack Epps Jr. And yeah, there was great casting. Kelly McGillis buttoned-up smart blonde, until she kicked in the afterburners. Tom Cruise showing off his now all-too-familiar (see picture at left) sullen intensity.

But, man. When this song kicked in, and the sparks flew, you knew from note one that “Take My Breath Away” was a smash.

And, all credit to the filmmakers. They didn’t use the song for the volleyball scene!

Enjoy Sunday Brunch on Keener. Careful for the afterburners!

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Nov 8th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Friday Song with Sam And Dave

samanddaveBy Bob Berry

“A man walks in a bar, hears a really cool tune, thinks that has to go on the Keener blog”.

Recurring theme, sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. Hey, it’s just part of my life!

And so it was last Monday, when I stopped at one of my favorite haunts, The Brown Boxer in Mad Beach, Florida, for the Monday Burger Special. (No fries, broccoli, please.)  And while I’m waiting for lunch, Stax/Volt Records Dynamic Duo comes blazing over the speaker.

It’s Sam and Dave with 1965’s “You Don’t Know Like I Know”. One of those “forgotten 45’s“, written by the other Stax Dynamic Duo, Issac Hayes and David Porter, this was the song released before the breakthrough single “Hold On, I’m Comin“.

How “You Don’t Know..” peaked at #90 on the Hot 100 is beyond me. Enjoy a dynamite performance, and a great example of that Memphis Sound. It’s the Friday Song on Keener!

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Nov 6th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

#TBT The Locomotion Times Three

locomotionBy Bob Berry

I was gonna say this is a big anniversary day for Carole King and Gerry Goffin‘s Greatest Hit. But that’s ridiculous.

There is no such thing as Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s Greatest Hit.

I mean on any given day it could be “I’m Into Something Good“, or “Chains”, “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman, or “Pleasant Valley Sunday“. Or, like when I checked the list today and the Freddie Scott classic “Hey Girl” caught my eye, and “mind’s ear”.

Suffice to say “The Locomotion“, takes second chair to none of those songs, and the fact it did go hit the Top Five in three different decades perhaps defines it as their most successful song. So for Throw Back Thursday on Keener, a celebration of “The Locomotion”, beginning with the original, #1 in the summer of 1962, it’s Little Eva on Shindig!

12 years later, Flint’s Grand Funk hit #1 in the summer of 1974. Here’s live version, with help from Wet Willie.

And finally, 14 years later in the summer (again!) of ’88, Australia’s Kylie Minogue‘s “Locomotion” went to Number Three, while hitting #1 on the international charts.

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Nov 5th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Hey Baby And The Beatles

heybabyBy Bob Berry

A Keener 13 happy birthday (11/4) to Delbert McClinton, who played one of the great harmonica “licks” of all-time on on Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby”. And it was those notes that led to a meeting with John Lennon that ultimately influenced the sound of two of rock and roll’s most important songs, “Love Me Do” and  “Please, Please Me“”.

Quick background. Bruce Channel wrote and recorded “Hey Baby“, with McClinton on harmonica, in late 1961. Released on LeCam Records, the song went all the way to Number One for three weeks in March 1962.  “Hey Baby” was a flat-out smash, taking the boys to Europe for a tour of Great Britain with Merseybeat groups managed by Brian Epstein like The Big Three, The Statesmen, and The Four Jays.

And then June 21, 1963 happened, at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton, England. Added to the show that night was another, if barely-noticed Brian Epstein group, The Beatles. And while popular mythology has Bruce teaching John harmonica while hanging out backstage, that’s not quite accurate. Here’s Delbert and Bruce (in a poorly-titled video), for the record.

And now, for the song we know, love and have sung at parties, bars and football games. Delbert has come up with one of the great gigs. His annual Sandy Beaches Cruise, with a bunch of his musical friends, playing and partying on a cruise ship. Now in it’s 22nd year, Bruce and Delbert got together in 2003 for a 41st anniversary edition of “Hey! Baby”. Love it.

 

 

 

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Nov 4th, 2015 | Filed under Beatles, Bob Berry, Keener

A John Barry 007 Celebration

007LogoBy Bob Berry

The 24th James Bond movie, Spectre, starring Daniel Craig as 007, opens this week here in the States. And if the reception and early box office results from Europe are an indicator, this could be one of the biggest Bonds yet.

So here’s an interesting proposition to consider. Would the Bond films been the cultural phenomenon they became without composer John Barry?

Answer to my own question: Yes. of course. But without Barry, who composed the score to Dr. Noarranged Monte Norman’s 007 theme for that film and variations of it for 10 more films through 1987…well, let’s agree James Bond may not have been quite as special.

John Barry (November 3, 1933-January 30, 2011), had a truly distinguished career in film, winning 5 Oscars (including Best Original Score for A Lion in Winter and Out of Africa) and 4 Grammys, including Best Instrumental Theme for Midnight Cowboy. He was made an Officer in the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth in 1999.

But he never won an Oscar, A Grammy, did not even win a nomination, for his most recognizable work. Sounds like a assignment for Bond, James Bond.

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Nov 3rd, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Seat Dancin’ on Monday Moani’

bob talbertBy Bob Berry

This blog is dedicated to the late Bob Talbert, who for 31 years entertained us with his column in the Detroit Free Press. His energy and devotion to the city he adopted was an example to all. And his “Outta My Mind On Monday Moanin’” was required reading for many Detroiters.

Monday. Back to school, back to work, back to the grind. Back to complaining about how bad the Lions are!

The Solution? Let’s have a birthday party!

And here’s our guest of honor, England’s Maxine Nightingale!  Enjoy some Monday Moanin’ seat dancin’ on Keener!

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Nov 2nd, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

Sunday Brunch On Standard Time

clocksBy Bob Berry

Welcome to “fall back” Sunday!

Daylight Savings Time ended at 2am, and Keener is here with your Sunday Brunch music, though we have no idea how to reset the clock on your oven.

Nor ours, for that matter!

So here is a perfect “Time” jam.

San Francisco’s soul/funk/rock group The Chambers Brothers, with “Time Has Come Today”, live at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Fillmore West in 1986.

Enjoy your Sunday Brunch on Keener!

 

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Nov 1st, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

The Friday Song From Holland-Dozier-Holland

(L to R) Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland, Brian Holland

(L to R) Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland, Brian Holland

By Bob Berry

The three names, Holland-Dozier-Holland, need no further introduction.

The songs are their signature. “Baby Love”,  “Stop! In The Name Of Love”, “Baby, I Need Your Loving”, “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”, “Heatwave”, “Come And Get These Memories”, “Can I Get A Witness”, “This Old Heart Of Mine”, “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While)”, “(I’m A) Road Runner”.

There,  I just did a Keener Top Ten without breaking a sweat! Or going past 1966!

Brian, Lamont and Eddie were Motown’s greatest songwriting team. Except, of course, for Smokey Robinson, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, The Corporation, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and others. Hard to say who’s the greatest. It’s like all these years later, Berry Gordy’s “who’s hot?” competitions still play out.

Today is Eddie Holland’s birthday, which was gonna make an obvious, but difficult choice for the Friday Song. Until I discovered that one of H-D-H’s first hits was written for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles! Top Ten in 1963, it’s “Mickey’s Monkey” LIVE, on a Motown Revue special for Britain’s Ready, Steady Go. See how many Motown stars (is that Stevie on harmonica?) you spot.

And you can do the monkey, too-it’s The Friday Song on Keener!

 

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Oct 30th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener

A Day In The Life Remastered

AbbeyRoadBy Bob Berry

This is just genius. No other word.

The Beatles are preparing to re-release a remastered and expanded version of the “1” album, which was the first compilation of all the group’s #1 songs when it was originally released 15 years ago.

And as a teaser, the group have released a video, with stunning restored audio, of the closing song of Sgt. Pepper, “A Day In The Life“. And it’s not just the audio that will blow you away, it’s the video. Clips of “the boys” messing with pals Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, cross-cut with shots of an orchestra preparing to lay for an early session on the album.

The intro, the first few notes of the acoustic guitar, plus the piano, brought tears to my eyes.

A note on digital remastering. At the time of the “1” album’s original release, digital technology allowed certain improvements, the most prominent of which was tape noise reduction. But much like you and I moving from a desktop to a hand-held device, digital audio tools have allowed…not so much a complete re-do, but rather an enhancement of the original recording, bringing us as close as we have been to being with the band, in Studio B at Abbey Road.

Thank goodness for the standards in the audio recording process by the “men in white coats” at Abbey Road.

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Oct 29th, 2015 | Filed under Beatles, Bob Berry, Keener

#TBT With Baseball’s Greatest Hits

GibbyBy Bob Berry

I would like to dedicate this blog to my old friend #23, Waterford’s Kirk Gibson.

He caught home runs at MSU, stirred the drink for our Detroit Tigers, and has hit one of the greatest home runs in World Series history, TWICE! The one you always hear about from for the Dodgers in 1988. And the upper deck shot off Goose Gossage at old Tiger Stadium in the ’84 Fall Classic.

These days, as you may know, Kirk is battling Parkinson’s Disease. For my money, someone should have told Mr. P to pick a different fight.

Go Get ‘Em, Gibby, we are all behind you!

So its World Series time. Kansas CityRoyals and New York MetsPassionate fans hoping their team has a Gibson moment, Mets down 2 games to none, heading to New York for the weekend. Here’s our short take on three of baseball’s greatest hits, beginning with this Sound of Philadelphia from 1968.

Next up, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s John Fogerty with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, doing John’s baseball classic from spring of 1985.

 

And finally, could it have been anything else, our Number One Baseball Classic. Just wait til next year!

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Oct 29th, 2015 | Filed under Bob Berry, Keener