The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random tracks at a time

Welcome to the 40th installment of The Sunday Six. By now, more frequent visitors of the blog are well aware of what’s about to unfold. In case you’re here for the first time, this weekly recurring feature explores music in different flavors and from different decades, six tracks at a time. The post roughly span the past 70 years and tend to jump back and forth between decades in a seemingly random fashion. Of course, there’s a secret formula behind the madness I shall not reveal! 🙂 It’s a lot fun, so hope you’ll come along and fasten your seatbelt for the zigzag ride!

Charlie Parker/Blues for Alice

Starting us off today is Charlie Parker, a highly influential jazz saxophonist, band leader and composer. According to Wikipedia, Parker was instrumental for the development of bebop jazz and was known for his blazing speed and introducing new harmonic ideas. Parker started playing the saxophone at age 11. His professional career began in 1938 when he joined pianist Jay McShann’s big band and made his recording debut. Blues for Alice is a jazz standard Parker composed in 1951 and recorded in August that year. In addition to him on alto sax, it featured Red Rodney (trumpet), John Lewis (piano), Ray Brown (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums). Blues for Alice was released as a single at the time, and also appeared on the posthumous compilation album Swedish Schnapps from 1958, aka as The Genius of Charlie Parker, volume 8. Unfortunately, Parker had serious mental health problems and was addicted to heroin. He passed away from a heart attack in March 1955 at the young age of 34.

Johnny Winter/Let It Bleed

Let’s keep it bluesy and turn to a smoking hot cover of Let It Bleed by blues rock guitar virtuoso Johnny Winter. Co-written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, the tune became the title track of The Rolling Stones’ record from December 1969, their eighth British and 10th American studio album, respectively. Winter included his rendition of Let It Bleed on his fifth studio record Still Alive and Well that appeared in March 1973. He released 14 more albums until his death in Switzerland in July 2014 at the age of 70. According to his producer Paul Nelson, the cause was emphysema combined with pneumonia. Man, check this out, Winter was one hell of a guitarist! In fact, I got a chance to see him once in Essen, Germany in my late teens. I had just joined a blues band as a bassist and went with a bunch of the guys to the gig – a little educational group excursion. He was rockin’ the house or the hall (Grugahalle) I should say!

The Moody Blues/Tuesday Afternoon

Next let’s go back to November 1967 to one of my favorite songs by The Moody Blues: Tuesday Afternoon, aka Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?) or simply Forever Afternoon. Written by the band’s guitarist and lead vocalist Justin Hayward, this gem appeared on Days of Future Passed, their second record. According to Wikipedia, the idea for the concept album was triggered when Decca offered The Moody Blues, who at the time were in financial distress due to lack of commercial success, a last-ditch opportunity to record a stereo album that combined their music with orchestral interludes. When Days of Future Passed came out, critics received it with mixed reviews. It reached a moderate no. 27 on the UK charts, though it did much better in the U.S. and Canada where it climbed all the way to no. 3. While their last album, a Christmas record, dates back to 2003, The Moody Blues remain active to this day. The core line-up includes Graeme Edge (drums), one of the original members who co-founded the band in 1964, as well as Hayward (guitar, vocals) and John Lodge (bass, guitar, vocals) who each joined in 1966. That’s just remarkable!

The Bangles/September Gurls

A few days ago, I published a post about all-female rock pioneers Fanny. One of the all-female groups that followed them are The Bangles. The pop rock group first entered my radar screen with Manic Monday, the lead single and a huge hit from their sophomore album Different Light released in 1986. The great record also yielded four other charting singles, including Walk Like an Egyptian, the album’s biggest hit. Interestingly, a track that has become one of my favorites from that record didn’t appear as a single: September Gurls. Written by Alex Chilton, the tune was originally released by American power pop band Big Star on their second studio album Radio City from February 1974. I really dig this cover by The Bangles, as well as the original. BTW, The Bangles also still exist. After the group had disbanded in 1989, they reformed 10 years later.

Indigenous/Number Nine Train

Let’s do some more blues rock, coz why not? On the recent Indigenous Peoples’ Day, fellow blogger Music Enthusiast brought to my attention Indigenous, a great native American blues rock band. Originally, the group was founded in the late ’90s by Mato Nanji (Maiari) (‘mah-TOE non-GEE’) (vocals, guitar), his brother Pte (‘peh-TAY’) (bass), as well as their sister Wanbdi (‘wan-ba-DEE’) (drums, vocals) and their cousin Horse (percussion), all members of the Nakota Nation. Their influences include Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana. Indigenous released their debut album Things We Do in 1998. Number Nine Train is a track from the band’s seventh studio album Chasing the Sun that came out in June 2006 and reached no. 2 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart. The tune was written by record producer Bobby Robinson and first released by Tarheel Slim in 1959. Indigenous are still around, with Mato Nanji remaining as the only original member. These guys are totally up my alley, and I definitely need to do more exploration – thanks again, Jim, for flagging!

Sister Hazel/All For You

Once again this brings me to the sixth and final tune of our little music excursion: All For You by Sister Hazel. I’ve always liked this song, which I believe the only one I can name from the American alternative rock band. Sister Hazel were formed in Gainesville, Fla. in 1993 by Ken Block (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Ryan Newell (lead guitar, harmony vocals), Andrew Copeland (rhythm guitar, vocals), Jett Beres (bass, harmony vocals) and Mark Trojanowski (drums), the same line-up that remains in place to this day, if I see this correctly! All For You, which was the band’s debut single, appeared on their sophomore album …Somewhere More Familiar that came out in February 1997. Credited to Block and Sister Hazel, the tune became the band’s biggest hit and their signature song. It climbed to no. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Adult Top 40 Airplay chart. Just a catchy tune!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

21 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. The Bangles ‘September Gurls’ was my first introduction to Big Star– then when The Replacements did ‘Alex Chilton’- I had to see what the fuss was all about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Really like the first cut, what an ensemble! I really think jazz musicians have to have a lot of sensitivity and creativity to play it. Thinking of Charlie Parker growing up during times when black people were 2nd class citizens had to grind on him. It wouldn’t surprise me if he couldn’t reconcile his talent with his treatment and it drove him crazy. Add the numbing drugs to make it not hurt so much, and it’s no wonder he left this world too soon 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Admittedly, I didn’t do much of background reading on Parker. It looks his drug addiction was triggered by morphine he was given to treat pain stemming from injuries he suffered in a car accident when he was 16.

      Whatever the cause was, I always find it sad when people get addicted to drugs and alcohol and end being trapped. Addiction is a very serious disease, not lack of willpower, as it’s oftentimes unfortunately perceived.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh so sorry to hear he got started young on the pain meds 😦 I’ve seen that trajectory MANY times, both in my work and in my personal circle. There’s a new series on Hulu with Michael Keaton in it I want to see about prescription medication addiction. It really is a monkey on a person’s back. What’s so dangerous is if a person gets clean and then relapses, they try to take a dose the same as what they were using when they stopped, not realizing their bodies had built up a tolerance. It’s what kills so many 😦

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      1. A couple of years ago, I got a comment from an African American blues artist I had featured, who kindly noted my post had put a big smile on his face. Shamefully, I’m blanking on his name now.

        I guess some music artists are out there, who read what’s being written about them beyond the popular music industry trades. Some may comment, most probably prefer to stay quiet, especially if they’re better known.

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  3. Good list. I keep wanting to do a piece on Parker. Have you seen the movie ‘Bird’ by Clint Eastwood? Forrest Whitaker plays him. Eastwood is a serious jazz fan.

    I had slipped Indigenous into a song roundup a while back. I keep my eyes out for them to tour as you and I were discussing. Mato played at a Hendrix tribute show my son and I went to a couple years ago.

    https://www.experiencehendrixtour.com/dates.php?show=2019-04-04

    It’s funny about that Sister Hazel tune. Always liked it, hadn’t heard it in years, just heard on radio last week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Jim. I’ve not seen the Eastwood film. Indengineous are definitely a band I’d consider seeing when an opportunity presents. As for Sister Hazel, I also had not heard that tune in ages and kind of remembered it out of the blue while putting together the post. Perhaps this jumping back and forth between different decades somehow brought it back on my radar screen!

      Like

  4. You know the one I love…The Bangles September Gurls..they did a good job of it. I still love the original but this got a lot of people into the song.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. You probably know Charlie Parker much better than I do. That being said, I love “Blues for Alice.”

      As for Johnny Winter, he was quite a beast and a heel of a guitarist. I definitely want to do more on him!

      Like

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