Would you like to see more "Artist Spotlights" like the Nitzer Ebb Spotlight

Friday, September 14, 2007

Expose - Tell Me Why

Formed in 1984, Miami-based Exposé (originally X-Posed) was the brainchild of dance music producer Lewis A. Martinee. The all-girl trio consisted of Sandra “Sandee” Casanas, Aléjandra “Alé” Lorenzo and Laurie Miller.

After just two singles, “Exposed To Love” and “Point Of No Return,” both of which became major club hits, Exposé split up. Alé and Sandee embarked on solo careers, and Sandee had great club success with her solo album “Only Time Will Tell”, which included the dance smash “Notice Me”.

When it came time to record a third single, “Come Go With Me” , an entirely new lineup, Ann Curless, Jeanette Jurado and Gioia Bruno, was brought together by Martineé.

The album “Exposure” was released in 1986 and sold over two-million copies and reached the top 20. The album was released with the original versions of Point Of No Return and Exposed To Love, with the vocals of Alé Lorenzo et al intact. Martineé chose to re-record and re-release Point Of No Return with the new vocalists, and the song was a hit.

Exposé released a second successful album in 1989, What You Don't Know, and had many more hits. But in 1992 Gioia left the trio due to health reasons. She was replaced by Kelly Moneymaker for a self-titled release later that same year, but the album didn't make much of an impact and the group broke up.

Gioia has since released several solo singles and a solo album, called Expose This.

Taken from the original 12" single on Arista 9918
Tell Me Why (Extended Version) - 6:37
Song charted on January 13, 1990. Spent 12 weeks on the chart and reached #3

Thursday, September 13, 2007

B-52's - Party Mix (all cuts)


It has been said that the B-52's are as quintessentially American as the Beach Boys. And thirty years and over twenty million albums into their career, they remain the among the most beloved rock stars ever. Known as “the world’s greatest party band,” the B-52’s have attracted legions of faithful, fun-seeking fans with their unique sound and electrifying stage show.

Formed on an October night in 1976 following drinks at an Athens, GA, Chinese restaurant, the band played their first gig at a friend's house on Valentine's Day 1977. Naming themselves after Southern slang for exaggerated 'bouffant" hairdos, the newly-christened B-52's (Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson and Ricky Wilson) began weekend road trips to New York City for gigs at CBGB's and a handful of other venues. Before long, their thrift store aesthetic and genre-defying songs were the talk of the post-punk underground. A record deal soon followed and their self-titled debut disc, produced by Chris Blackwell, sold more than 500,000 copies on the strength of their first singles, the garage rock party classic "Rock Lobster," and "52 Girls." The B-52's had tapped into a growing audience for new music that was much larger than anyone could have anticipated. “We’ve always appealed to people outside the mainstream,” says Kate Pierson, “and I think more people feel they’re outside the mainstream these days.”

With the release of their second studio effort, Wild Planet (1980), the B-52's and co-producer Rhett Davies proved their success was no fluke with hits with "Private Idaho," "Give Me Back My Man" and "Strobe Light." In just two albums, the B-52's created a lexicon of songs, styles, phrases and images which would set the standard for the development of the 'alternative music scene.' The success of Mesopotamia, produced by David Byrne (1982), and Whammy! (1983) positioned the B-52's as MTV regulars as well as alternative radio staples.

At the time of their greatest achievements, however, they suffered their greatest tragedy — the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson from AIDS. "He really had a vision…," said sister Cindy Wilson. "He was one of the strongest elements of the B-52's from the beginning." Ricky Wilson's passing in 1985 came just after the sessions for Bouncing Off The Satellites (1986). The album, dedicated to Wilson, had taken nearly three years to complete but was worth the wait, serving up the fan favorites "Summer of Love" and "Wig." After a period of mourning, Keith, switching from drums to guitar, gradually resumed writing music for a new album. Working together on vocal melodies, lyrics and arrangements for the new tracks, Keith, Kate, Fred and Cindy re-emerged with the Don Was/Nile Rodgers co-produced Cosmic Thing (1989). The album yielded their first-ever Hot 10 hits — "Love Shack" and "Roam" and a Top 40 hit with "Deadbeat Club." Its success propelled the band to international superstardom.

After an exhaustive 18-month tour in support of Cosmic Thing, Cindy amicably left the band. "I'd been a B-52 for a long time, and it just felt like time for a change," said Cindy. Before long, Wilson had successfully completed her first solo project — a baby girl. Meanwhile, Kate collaborated with other artists, including Athens compatriots R.E.M., for whom she guest-starred on their 1991 album Out of Time. She also scored a hit with fellow CBGB's alum Iggy Pop on his lovelorn duet "Candy." Fred, meanwhile started work on a solo project, Just Fred (1996), with producer Steve Albini, his second solo project following the release of 1984’s Fred Schneider and the Shake Society.

As a trio, Fred, Keith and Kate re-enlisted the tag team of Was and Rodgers to produce the energetic Good Stuff (1992). With its popular title cut and concert favorite "Is That You Mo-Dean?," the album stands as the group's most overtly political album. "We're out there to entertain people," said Fred, "but it's great to get people thinking and dancing at the same time."

In 1998, reuniting permanently with Cindy, the B-52's wrote and recorded two new tracks that fit perfectly into Time Capsule, a stellar collection of greatest hits. The first single from the collection, "Debbie" was a metaphorical tribute to band friend and supporter Debbie Harry and the whole CBGB's scene of the late '70s. With the release of the two-disc collection Nude on the Moon: the B-52's Anthology (2002), the B-52's took much-deserved credit for a body of work that is unique, beloved and timeless in its own way. The B-52's have always cut a wide path through much of so-called 'modern rock' — from the low-fi efforts of nouveau garage bands to the retro-hip of ultra-lounge, to the very core of dance music itself. "We've always just done our own thing, which is a combination of rock 'n 'roll, funk, and Fellini, and game show host, and corn, and mysticism," says Fred. “Maybe people are beginning to pick up on what we’ve been doing all along,” muses Keith. “The underlying message of the B-52’s is that it’s ok to be different.”

The B-52’s have just completed recording a brand new album, their first in 15 years, with producer Steve Osborne (KT Tunstall, New Order, Manic Street Preachers) and programmers Damian Taylor (Bjork) and Pete Davis (New Order). Set for an early 2008 release, it maintains the band’s classic party vibe, but with a more modern direction. "There's more electronica on it," he said. "It's up-tempo and a bit sexed-up. It's sexier than ever,” says Fred.

There’s no doubt that fans are looking forward to this new release. Thirty years into their career, the B-52’s continue to keep the party going, serving up their own unique blend of music and showmanship to millions of people worldwide, and with no signs of slowing down.

This mini-album is one of the first REMIX albums to chart on Billboards Top 200 Album chart. This album, reaching #55 on the Top 200 chart, contains 6 remixes of previous songs. Side 1 contains 3 songs from "Wild Planet", while side 2 contains 3 songs from their debut album "The B-52's" Enjoy

Songs taken from the original LP PARTY MIX on Warner 3595
Download PARTY MIX in one zip file
A1. Party Out Of Bounds - 5:12
A2. Private Idaho - 4:04
A3. Give Me Back My Man - 7:02
B1. Lava - 6:08
B2. Dance This Mess Around - 2:59
B3. 52 Girls - 2:58
Entire LP charted on August 29, 1981. Spent 4 weeks on the chart and reached #55

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Al Downing - I'll Be Holding On

Al Downing was born on January 9, 1940 in Cetralia, Oklahoma. Exposed to both R&B and country music as a boy, he taught himself piano on an instrument he found on a rubbish dump. in 1940. In 1958 he took the unusual step, for the time, by joining a whit group called "The Rhythm Rockers", led by Bobby Brant. After changing their name to "The Poe Kats", which also featured country great Buck Owens, they recorded a regionally successful hit called "Down on the Farm"

Just after they recoded that song, the group was signed to sing backup for Wanda Jackson, for whom they played during most of 1958. Some of the songs they appeared on were "Let's Have A Party", "Right Or Wrong" and "In The Middle Of A Heartache".

While Downing enjoyed moderate success with his recording of the Marty Robbins song, "Story Of My Life", his early recording contracts did little for his career. Finally, in 1974, he had his first big hit with the club classic "I'll Be Holding On" which made it to the R&B Chart and disco chart.

Billboard listed the source for this song as the 45 single which also happens to be the "DISCO VERSION" Unique for it's time, since it ran over 5 minutes, today's post has an insistent guitar hook that had clubbers cutting the rug and made this a northern soul favorite. One thing to note is that the single lists the time of this song at 5:35 but actually runs for :13 longer at 5:48. It is also the first and last time he appeared on the Dance Chart.

Taken from the original 7" single on Chess 2158
I'll Be Holding On (Disco Version) - 5:48
Song charted on November 16, 1974. Spent 21 weeks on the chart and reaching #1

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cate Bros. - Union Man

The Cate Brothers are the singer-songwriter-musician duo of twins Earl and Ernie Cate, brothers born in Fayetteville, AK on December 26, 1942. In the mid 1960's, they became performers of southern soul music at clubs and dances throughout the regional South of the United States. Both brothers are singers, with Earl on guitar and Ernie on piano. They became prolific recording artists during the mid to late 1970s, and again since the mid 1990s.

In their 1950's Fayetteville hometown, where rock pioneer Ronnie Hawkins had also grown up during the 1940's, Hawkins owned and operated the Rockwood Club. There, some of Rock music's earliest pioneers came to play, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Conway Twitty.

During the late 1950's the Cates associated with Hawkins and his original band members in Arkansas, known as the Hawks, including Hawks drummer Levon Helm. After 1958, Helm and Hawkins left, and settled in Canada, where they went on to form the core of the group The Band.

In 1975 Levon Helm introduced the Cates to a record company representative in Los Angeles. The Cates, soon after, received a recording contract with Asylum Recods, and so began their recording career.

Their 1975 debut self-titled album was produced by guitarist Steve Crooper, who also appeared on the record along with Levon Helm, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Poco bass guitarist Timothy B Schmit, who later joined the Eagles. Today's post was from this LP.

Two more albums followed in 1976 and 1977.

In 1979 they reached a wide audience when they appeared on the PBS music television program Austin City Limis, taped in December of the prior year.

In 1979 the brothers released their fourth and final album of the period, Fire on the Tracks, which reached number 24 on the album charts that year from the success of the single "Union Man." That single was one of the songs the brothers had performed during the Austin City Limits television show, leading up to the album's release.

During the 1980s the band's recording career went on hiatus, though they remained a popular touring act around the southern country rock and blues circuit of the Tennessee and Arkansas region.

In the early 1980s, the brothers joined Levon Helm on tour for a reconstructed version of The Band, without guitarist Robbie Robertson, and also worked with blues singer Maria Muldaur.

The Cate Brothers resumed recording in the mid 1990s, on a series of independent label albums.

Billboard listed this song as from the 7" single and not the LP so that is the version included here today. This is also the only time they appeared on the dance chart.

Taken from the oringinal 7" single on Asylum 45294
Union Man - 4:48
Song charted on January 31, 1976. Spent 2 weeks on the chart and reached #19

Monday, September 10, 2007

Visage - Moon Over Moscow / Tar

The new romantic dance-rock group from England known as Visage. The memebers consisted of Steve Harrington (vocals), Midge Ure, John McGeoch (guitar), Billy Currie (violin), Dave Formula (keyboards), And Rusy Egan (drums). Ure and Currie were later members of Ultravox.

Visage signed to Radar Records and released their first single, "Tar" (which was originally composed whilst Steve was in 'The Photons') in September 1979.

The following year saw the release of their self-titled debut album, which sold extremely well and raised the band's popularity mainly because of the single "Fade to Grey". The single quickly became a huge hit, went to number one in 21 countries and marked an imminent commercial breakthrough for electronic music and the whole New Romantic movement, for which the first Visage album became a kind of soundtrack.

Billboard, for some reason, listed both songs as one entry on the Dance Chart. There were no 12" singles for either of these tracks, so Billboard listed the LP as the source. These versions are included in today's post.

Even though club's would play other Visage songs, including "Night Train" and "Pleasure Boys", this was the only time that Visage made this chart.

Songs taken from the original LP VISAGE on Polydor 6304
Moon Over Moscow - 4:00
Tar - 3:31
Both songs charted on January 10, 1981. Spent 11 weeks on the chart and reached #40