The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

It’s Sunday, which means the time has come again for going on another excursion to celebrate the beauty of music in different shapes from different decades, six tunes at a time. This latest installment of The Sunday Six touches the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and the present, and includes jazz fusion, British invasion, Motown soul, alt. country and rock. Ready? Let’s do it!

Wayne Shorter/Beauty and the Beast

Kicking us off today is some beautiful saxophone-driven jazz fusion by Wayne Shorter, a co-founding member of Weather Report, which I featured in a recent Sunday Six installment. By the time he cofounded the jazz fusion band, Shorter already had enjoyed a 10-year-plus career that included playing with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet. In addition to being a sideman, Shorter started his recording career as a bandleader in 1959 with Introducing Wayne Shorter – the first of more than 20 additional albums he has made in that role. One of these albums, his 15th, appeared in January 1975: Native Dancer, a collaboration with Brazilian jazz musician Milton Nascimento. Here’s a track from that record titled Beauty and the Beast. Composed by Shorter, the instrumental combines saxophone with some funky elements – very cool!

The Dave Clack Five/Glad All Over

Let’s jump back to November 1963 and a song by The Dave Clark Five I’ve loved from the very first time I heard it on the radio back in Germany during my early teenage years: Glad All Over. Co-written by DC5 drummer Dave Clark who also was the band’s producer, and lead vocalist and keyboarder Mike Smith, the tune first appeared as a single in the UK, followed by the U.S. in December of the same year. It also was the title track of the DC5’s U.S. debut album that appeared in March 1964. In January 1964, Glad All Over became the band’s first massive hit in the UK, knocking The Beatles’ I Want to Hold Your Hand off the no. 1 spot on the singles chart. In the U.S., the tune climbed to no. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. This is a hell of a catchy song with a driving drum beat and great vocals – frankly worthy of displacing a Beatles song, and I say this as a huge fan of the Fab Four.

Martha and the Vandellas/Dancing in the Street

I guess Glad All Over has put me in some sort of a party mood, so let’s throw in another great party song: Dancing in the Street by Motown vocal group Martha and the Vandellas, which were formed in Detroit in 1957. Co-written by Marvin Gaye, William “Mickey” Stevenson and Ivy Joe Hunter, the tune first appeared in July 1964 and became the group’s highest charting single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, peaking at no. 2. Dancing in the Street, one of Motown’s signature songs, also did well in the UK where it reached no. 4 on the singles chart. Subsequently, the song was included on the group’s third studio album Dance Party from April 1965. Martha and the Vandellas disbanded in December 1972. After leaving Motown, Martha Reeves started a solo career but wasn’t able to replicate the success she had enjoyed with the group during the ’60s. Reeves who in July turned 80 apparently is still active.

The J. Geils Band/Looking for a Love

Well, now that I mentioned the word ‘party,’ let’s keep it going by turning to a group that has been called rock & roll’s ultimate party band: The J. Geils Band. The group, which was formed in 1967 in Worcester, Mass., originally included J. Geils (lead guitar), Peter Wolf (lead vocals, percussion), Danny Klein (bass), Stephen Jo Bladd (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Magic Dick (harmonica, saxophone, trumpet) and Seth Justman (keyboards, backing vocals). That line-up lasted for a remarkable 15 years until Wolf’s departure in 1983. After the rest of the group called it quits in 1985, The J. Geils Band had various reunion appearances and tours with different formations until 2015. Following his departure from the band, Wolf launched a solo career, released various albums and remains pretty active as a touring artist to this day. Here’s a great track off the band’s sophomore album The Morning After from October 1972: Looking for a Love, a cover of a song co-written by J.W. Alexander and Zelda Samuels, and first released by The Valentinos in March 1962. The J. Geils Band also put this tune out as a single in November 1971. It climbed to no. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving them their first charting song in the U.S. It would take 10 more years before they scored a no. 1 with the more commercial Centerfold.

The Jayhawks/Five Cups of Coffee

I first covered The Jayhawks in August 2020 when I included a tune from their then-new album XOXO in a Best of What’s New post. I quickly came to dig this American alt. country and country rock band, and have since featured two of their other songs in previous Sunday Six installments this February and July. Initially formed in Minneapolis in 1985, The Jayhawks originally featured Mark Olson (acoustic guitar, vocals), Gary Louris (electric guitar, vocals), Marc Perlman (bass) and Norm Rogers  (drums). By the time their sophomore album Blue Earth appeared in 1989, Thad Spencer had replaced Rogers on drums. After five additional albums and further line-up changes, The Jayhawks went on hiatus in 2004, before reemerging with a new formation in 2019. Louris and Pearlman are the only remaining original members. Five Cups of Coffee is a great tune from the above mentioned Blue Earth album. It was co-written by Olson and Louris. The band’s great guitar sound and beautiful harmony singing are right up my alley!

Dirty Honey/Gypsy

For the sixth and final tune this week, let’s step on the gas with a great rocker by Dirty Honey. I first became aware of this rock band from Los Angeles in April this year when they released their self-titled first full-length album. At the time, I included one of the tracks in a Best of What’s New installment. Apple Music has compared Dirty Honey’s sound to the likes of Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and The Black Crowes. The band’s members include Marc Labelle (vocals), John Notto (guitar), Justin Smolian (bass) and Corey Coverstone (drums). I was drawn to Dirty Honey right away and covered them again in a Sunday Six post in May. Here’s yet another track from the above mentioned album: Gypsy. Labelle’s vocals very much remind me of Steven Tyler. Great to hear a young band other than Greta Van Fleet embrace a classic rock-oriented sound!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

13 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

    1. Good point about the song title Gypsy. It had not occurred to me.

      Also, did I correctly read your comment on Jagger/Bowie as sarcasm?

      While I dig both of these artists (though I’m generally only mildly impressed by Jagger’s solo work), I find that cover pretty horrendous. At least they did it for a cause, so I give them credit for that!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a great playlist, Christian. Every one very pleasant to the ears. I started listening earlier today but one of my sons came over and helped me set up my new phone and new wireless internet service. So many steps to do all of that so everything synchs with everything else. Thankfully my days of severely limited internet data are over (or should be if this new device works.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad All Over…Glad All Over and did I mention Glad All Over? I grew up with a friend who has a dad with the original single…we wore it out.
    The J. Geils was also a nice one to throw in.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad All Over is one of the greatest sounding records ever. Too bad he didn’t produce the first one or two Beatles albums cuz Dave Clark Five’s first few hits sound better than the Beatles early hits. It’s such a huge gigantic exciting sound. Their songs weren’t quite as great as Beatles songs, but still. The sound made up for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for another Sunday Six which I enjoyed on a Monday morning during work at home.

    Err… maybe a stupid question: Do you have a list or something for your “Sunday Six”? I think, after lots of such these postings you want to avoid double features?

    Greetings from Vienna, AT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and listening, glad you liked it. 🙂

      And, yes, after setting out to write these posts on the spot and pretty much including whatever came to my mind, I’ve developed a bit of a system behind the madness. It was all triggered by accidentally featuring Sting’s “Fields of Gold” in the inaugural post and another installment one month later.

      Ever since, I keep track of previously featured songs in a list. However, for the most part, these posts are still coming together spontaneously without much planning.

      Apart from tracks that come to my mind and that I like, the posts are often informed by coincidental exposure to songs I decide to pick.

      One source are music suggestions from my streaming music provider. Their predictive algorithm, which is based on my listening history, has become pretty good.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Loving all this jazz you’re getting into. Shorter is a must. Eclectic batch. Jayhawks, Dirty Honey (You turned me onto them). Geils is a top band of mine. So much good stuff. Nice to see people are still digging them. Wolf has some great solo work.

    Like

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