New Music For Old People: Betty Wright, Modern Folk Quartet, The Boys Next Door

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. “Let Me Go Down” — Betty Wright

The folks at TK Studios in Florida liked the unassisted songs I wrote in the early ’70s and they recorded four or five of them. I played piano and organ on this and it was quite a thrill to work with Betty, who I worshipped because of her single “Clean-Up Woman.” This was an album track at the time. Too bad Ms. Winehouse has left the building so soon. She might have taken a shine to this.

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2. “Night Time Girl” — Modern Folk Quartet

We wrote this for The Byrds but of course they turned it down and The Modern Folk Quartet cut it. This song came about based on a new guitar tuning someone showed me. I wrote about eight songs with that tuning, including “Sad Sad Sunshine,” which also got covered by a west coast group The Hard Times, which ironically contained Lee Keifer, who later engineered The Tubes’ debut album and Cry Tough by Nils Lofgren, both of which I produced. Small musical world, eh?

3. “There Is No Greater Sin” — The Boys Next Door

I was very good friends with The Tokens and they discovered and produced this band. This is serious first generation folk-rock, maybe a little Dylan-influenced. This was pre-“Like a Rolling Stone,” maybe late 1964. Irwin and I co-wrote this. It laid around about a year until Dylan sprang on the charts and The Tokens took the boys to the studio next door.

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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