Thoughts On The Passing Of Cuba Gooding, Sr. of The Main Ingredient

One of the beautiful things about Soul Music during the early to mid-70s period (up to and including 1974) was that artists and groups could take their material in different directions freely. At least, it was the impression which one got as a result of different sounds becoming so progressively expansive as you flipped through the AM Top 40 dial. Lyrically, you could be as tough or as vulnerable as you wanted. However which way you chose, it was a period of time when one did not have to play to any musical stereotype. The Main Ingredient were one of those Soul outfits who stayed true to themselves. In looking back with hindsight, I could never figure out why their work was sometimes maligned by critics. If it wasn’t working, then why did “Everybody Plays The Fool” and “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” do so well in the charts?

Cuba Gooding Sr. put it over for all of us in a way I could relate to. And with “Everybody Plays The Fool”, he did it like he was a friend to all of us. He was saying he’s been through the same thing as you in your longing for that lady you had your eye on. “How can you help it when the music starts to play?/ And your ability to reason is wept away”? In another passage of the song, it has never gone out of my head of the image of how much love can take over your life and how it can stay with you so vividly that you could practically reach out and touch it. “Love runs deeper than any ocean/It can cloud your mind with emotion”. These were plain and simple words sung with confessional honesty to a friend.

“Everybody Plays The Fool” was released in the late Summer of 1972. It became a greeting song for all of us getting back to school in September. It didn’t matter what age you were. You knew you were going to fall down that path. There was going to be that one who was going to sweep you off of your feet that year in school. Cuba was just letting you know that you had a soundtrack to follow along to as you made that same trip into your own personal chaos that you could never break the habit of getting into in the first place. I thank him for being there to help me through because I did some serious falling myself back then. I still carry it with me because I still do the same thing 45 years later. It’s a continuous circle like everything in life.

And then came that last great year before,1974, just before the advent of Van McCoy’s “The Hustle” changed the dynamic of Soul Music and things began to morph into what we would come to call Disco. “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” continued with a great groove. He had the lady in that one and he had all of the cool to show for it. If that wasn’t enough, the guitar in that song just took the song where it needed to go. I wish more people could bring back the subject of all of the cool guitar players in Soul Music back then into the subjects of their conversations in music forums. The one in “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” had that great sting to it. Combined with Gooding’s vocal delivery, the Spring and early Summer of ’74 became that much better for its being there for you to shuffle along to in your mind or if you were riding on your back and had a transitor radio to get you through neighborhoods and traffic. I don’t know if it was the same for you, but ’74 was such a mellow and smooth-cool attitude time of the ’70s. I’ve said it before in tributes in the past that I’ve done here, but I’ve always thought that ’74 was the last year of the ’60s. Once the year was out and things worked their way towards the middle of ’75, the ’70s as a lot of us came to know had begun to set in. It had a different feeling and it was sneaking up on all of us-no exceptions.

For those of you who don’t know about it, there is an SACD hybrid (multi-channel) release of the Euphrates River album from the Vocalion label out of the U.K. which was released recently which any self-respecting Soul Music fan should own. It is the definitive sonic version of the album and a must have. Seek it out before it goes out of print (if it hasn’t done so already). It is fervently hoped that Vocalion can score the rights to release the Bitter Sweet album in the same format. “Everybody Plays The Fool” deserves to have a multi-channel release. We are so fortunate to have have had “Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” make it.

There’s also another great release out there on CD which people should pick up from the U.S. label called Real Gone Music. It’s a two-fer CD (two albums on 1 CD) of the L.T.D. and Black Seeds albums from before 1972’s Bitter Sweet album from before and just after Gooding joined the group (after the passing of one of their original vocalists). The material stands up quite well up against the Bitter Sweet and Euphrates River albums. As with anything having to do with Real Gone Music, if you have any inclination for picking it up because you are serious about listening to this phase of the group, then you’ll want to get it as titles from Real Gone Music go out of print pretty fast.

The articles that are slowly trickling out are giving all indications that this may have been a particularly tragic passing. I don’t know all of the circumstances involved, but the passing of the Soul artists always hit me a little harder than some of the other music passings for the simple reason that their advancement in success was all of our success. My life is better for having had Soul artists and groups in it. They created a an important part of the tapestry of our musical lives which all too often gets forgotten.

–Steve Talia

Massive Kraftwerk Box of Recorded ‘Full Album’ Concerts, 3-D The Catalogue (and More)

Kraftwerk emerged back in the ’70s with their groundbreaking Pop/Synth Top40 song, “Autobahn”. The song captured the evolving times of Rock with an uncanny ability to be able to do so before many others had in the ’80s. Before that great album, the band had already released three LPs beginning with Kraftwerk in 1970 and followed by Kraftwerk 2 (1972), and Ralf and Florian (which arrived in the US AFTER the success of Autobahn).

Over time, Kraftwerk developed a strong and devoted fanbase. From Autobahn on through Computer World (1981), the band was to be envied for their successes.

(I love all things Kraftwerk. But I have an immense preference for The Man Machine (with “The Model”). The divide between that album and all other Kraftwerk albums is huge!)

On May 26, the UK marketplace will release a whopping 8CD Box set (via Parlophone) of all the Kraftwerk successes played in concert settings as full albums. They will represent fairly recent recordings between the period of 2012 through 2016 of albums that include complete concert sets of Autobahn, Radio-Activity, Trans Europe Express, The Man-Machine, Computer World, The Mix (a 1991 compilation), Techno Pop, and Tour de France. The Box is being called 3-D The Catalogue.

There will also be digital formats available, as well as a 9LP box, and a cool 4BD (Blu-ray) with video AND 5.1 mixes (Dolby Atmos) of the individual tracks! This Box will be presented in a 12″x 12″ container and will include a 228-page book. The discs will be held within an 8-panel digipak.

The CD box offers a “headphone Surround 3D” disc of The Mix.

 

Live Simple Minds Set, Acoustic In Concert, Planned For June

With the release of the Acoustic Simple Minds album issued in 2016, I’m on high alert to anything else by them. That album delivered a new shine to what were already great songs. It’s almost never pretty to have an artist revisit their classic material in new recordings. But that is not always true as some have not only produced beautiful and memorable revisits, but also some have revitalized the import of songs. A prime example of that is Joni Mitchell’s introspective turning of “Both Sides Now”, re-recorded in 2000 as a new viewpoint.  Simple Minds’ Acoustic album is likewise a goldmine of newness.

On June 16, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Acoustic In Concert. This new live set will feature sixteen performance tracks that include songs like “See The Lights”, “New Gold Dream (81.82.83.84)”, “Someone, Somewhere, In Summertime”, “Sanctify Yourself”, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”.  The set was recorded from their November 10, 2016 Hackney Empire (London) show for the ongoing BBC Radio 2 In Concert series. Simple Minds continues their Acoustic concert tour with a large string of Europe dates.

Acoustic In Concert is expected to be released on CD/DVD and DD.

Acoustic In ConcertSimple Minds

01 New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
02 See The Lights
03 Glittering Prize
04 Stand By Love
05 Waterfront
06 Andy Warhol
07 Chelsea Girl
08 Someone Somewhere In Summertime
09 Dancing Barefoot
10 Speed Your Love To Me
11 Promised You A Miracle
12 Don’t You (Forget About Me)
13 Sanctify Yourself
14 Long Black Train
15 Alive And Kicking
16 Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)