New Music For Old People: The Hawk in Paris, Ketty Lester, Goldfrapp

Al Kooper

Al Kooper

This column is like the title says — its intention is to fill the gap for those of us who were satiated musically in the ’60s and then searched desperately as we aged for music we could relate to and get the same buzz from nowadaze. iTunes was the answer for me in 2003 and I have been following the new releases every Tuesday ever since I realized there was an endless stream of music I could enjoy there.

I also include older items that I felt were obscure originally and might not have been heard back then. The reason I am writing this column is to make sure others don’t miss this wonderful music. These are not top ten items; but they SHOULD’VE been!

1. “Put Your Arms Around Me” — The Hawk in Paris

An off-shoot from the band Jars of Clay, this is fer sure NOT the same sound as JOC. This track has roots in Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound at its peak and that’s what grabbed me initially. This is a very well produced track although I cannot find any credits for that online. This is from their initial album Freaks. I think big things are in store for them if they can somehow get this sound out to waiting ears. Your help is required if you enjoy this.

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2. “Love Letters” — Ketty Lester

Born in 1934, she’s over 80 now, but has triumphed over time by diversifying. Old people will surely recall her amazing top ten single of 1961 dusted off here today. She had one small follow-up but could not connect with any other top ten placement. Didn’t matter. Years later, David Lynch used this track to great effect in his landmark film Blue Velvet. By that time, Ketty had changed her profession to actress and appeared in a handful of blaxploitation films such as Up Tight (1968), Blacula (1972), Uptown Saturday Night (1974) and the more legitimate Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975). She spent two years in the TV soap opera Days of Our Lives as Helen Grant and FIVE years on the classic TV series Little House on the Prairie. She is still with us and has left a memorable musical trail with this still great-sounding track featuring Lincoln Mayorga on piano.

3. “Drew” — Goldfrapp

This is a potentially good song and very subtle arrangement that could have been magnificent but is amazingly marred by the over-compressed vocal and equalization that causes most of the lyric to be highly unintelligible. I have liked various tracks by her in the past, but the mix/recording engineer did her in on this promising goodie. If they did that on purpose, then we’re too old to follow her anymore.

This column originally appeared on The Morton Report. Click for more great selections from Al Kooper! As always, show some love to the Morton Report!

Photo Credit: Joe Mabel [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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