musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Posts tagged ‘John Hiatt’

Lost in the 1970s: Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose

While they had a handful of very popular Top 40 Hits (“Treat Her Like A Lady”, “Too Late To Turn Back Now”, “Don’t Ever Be Lonely”), Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose don’t rank among the better known, or critically acclaimed, soul acts of the 1970s. And that’s a shame, because their songs were consistently very good, ranking as some of the most memorable soul gems of the decade.


I recently bought Classic Masters, a 12-song CD compilation by Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose. The CD includes all of their singles plus a few choice album tracks. Except for one song on the compilation, a cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” all the songs are originals written by the group’s lead singer Edward Cornelius. I love the description of “Treat Her Lady” in the liner notes, calling it a “bulls-eye blend of rock and soul elements … a driving biker beat that Steppenwolf would have crawled across steaming desert asphalt for, with raunchy rhythm guitar chords WAY up front in the mix.”


Indeed, there were few other songs as distinctive as “Treat Her Lady” blasting from the AM radio in 1971. In addition to that song and the other hits there are songs that should have been big hits, such as the gorgeous “Big Time Lover”, “Good Loving Don’t Come Easy”, and “Got To Testify (Love).” But after only three albums, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose disappeared from both the charts and record stores. This 12-track compilation offers a good overview of this underrated soul group. The booklet that comes with the CD includes some cool old photos (love those matching suits!) and liner notes about the group written by A. Scott Galloway. A worthwhile purchase for fans of 1970s soul music.

Meanwhile, here are the other CDs, new stuff and older treats, that are keeping me company during this rainy season in Bangkok.


Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott – What Have We Become

John Dunbar – Adventures in Trevorland

James Govan – Wanted

Manic Street Preachers – Futurology

Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music


Mind & Matter – 1514 Oliver Avenue

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Daryl Hall & John Oates

Neil Finn – One Nil

Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly Trio – Smokin’ At the Half Note

Various Artists – Best of Perception & Today Records


Gladys Knight & the Pips – Claudine/Pipe Dreams

Queens of the Stone Age – Like Clockwork

Guided By Voices – Motivational Jumpsuit

Various Artists – Getting’ It Off: Westbound Funk

NRBQ – Brass Tacks


Chrissie Hynde – Stockholm

Patty Griffin – American Kid

Broken Bells – After the Disco

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Days of Abandon

Sam Dees – The Show Must Go On



Various Artists – New Orleans Funk Experience

Lee Fields – Emma Jean

The BB&Q Band – Greatest Hits & Essential Tracks

The Millennium – Begin

William Onyeabor – World Psychedelic Classics: Who is William Onyeabor?


John Hiatt – Terms of My Surrender

Elbow – The Take Off and Landing of Everything

Commodores – Machine Gun

Kenny Dorham – Una Mas

Ronnie Laws – Pressure Sensitive


Lucinda Williams – Lucinda Williams

The Turtles – Save the Turtles: Greatest Hits

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – Give the People What They Want

Aloe Blacc – Lift Your Spirit

Albert Lee – Speechless/Bound But Not Gagged


Chumbawamba – A Singsong and a Scrap

Ned Doheny – Hard Candy/Prone

The Dirtbombs – If You Don’t Already Have a Look

Bombay Bicycle Club – So Long, See You Tomorrow

Temples – Sun Structures


Best of the Year or too much Hype?

Earlier this month, I picked up the latest issue of Mojo Magazine with their annual “Best Albums” list. Once again there are a few predictable picks and more than a few head scratchers. Last year’s “Best” album, according to Mojo’s experts, was the Jack White solo album, Blunderbuss. Even though I’m not a big White Stripes fan, I succumbed to all the glowing reviews and decided to take a chance on the Jack White CD, but after listening to it over a dozen times the “genius” of it totally escaped me. And their choice for best album this year, Bill Callahan’s Dream River, is another one that I can’t quite figure out. I picked up a copy when I was in KL last month, but I just don’t hear any greatness on this one either. The new album by Elvis Costello and the Roots, one that’s also received rave reviews and one that I thought I’d love, is another one that I’m really struggling with. Other Mojo “best of the year” picks such as Nick Cave, John Grant, James Blake, Black Sabbath, Kanye West, and Arctic Monkeys are either perplexing choices or ones that don’t remotely appeal to me. But hey, you can’t like everything.


So what was my favorite album of the year? I enjoyed new albums by David Bowie, John Hiatt, Daft Punk, Eleanor Friedberger, Steve Earle, Deerhunter, Kings of Leon, Grant Hart, O.M.D., Jason Isbell, Slaid Cleaves, The Strokes, Empire of the Sun, Johnny Marr, Kurt Vile, Kim Richey, Local Natives, Phoenix, Dawes, Garland Jeffreys, Tift Merritt, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Phosphorescent, Yo La Tengo, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and many others. But to pick a “best” one out of the bunch would be an almost impossible task. Plus, there are plenty of new releases that I want to hear but still haven’t heard yet. I buy a lot of CDs every year, and even though I try to keep up with the latest releases, I’m not able to listen to everything that comes out. The selection of new releases is very much “hit and miss” here in Bangkok, and much better in Kuala Lumpur, but there are still a lot of things that I can’t find, so eventually I’ll end up having to order them online. But I’m in no hurry to hear all the latest. Good music doesn’t age or spoil. I still enjoy the hunt of browsing for real CDs in shops, so I’ll eventually get around to hearing new albums on my “want list” by Arcade Fire, Mavis Staples, Charles Bradley, Mikal Cronin, and Queens of the Stone Age.

Meanwhile, here are the latest CDs that I’ve been playing a lot lately; a few new releases, plenty of old ones, but all things that I enjoy listening to very much. Happy New Year!


Jackson 5 – Come and Get It: The Rare Pearls

Daft Punk – Random Access Memory

Surfer Blood – Pythons

Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale – Buddy and Jim

Josh Rouse – Josh Rouse and The Long Vacations


Patty Griffin – Silver Bell

Empire of the Sun – Ice on the Dune

ZZ Top – La Futura

Joe Simon – The Power of Joe Simon

Joe Henderson – Canyon Lady


Various Artists – Something New To Do: The Philip Mitchell Songbook

Allen Toussaint – Songbook

Joan Armatrading – Starlight

Willy Deville – In New Orleans

Aimee Mann – The Forgotten Arm


Charlie Whitehead – Songs to Sing: Anthology 1970-78

John Jarvis – So Fa So Good

The Rumour – Not so much a Rumour, more a way of life

Mel and Tim – Only Good Guys Win in the Movies

Rick Nelson – Playing to Win


Final Solution – Brotherman (Original Soundtrack)

Bambino – Nomad

Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos – Live

NRBQ – We Travel the Spaceways

Beach House – Bloom


Garland Jeffreys – Truth Serum

Stanley Turrentine – The Spoiler

Tired Pony – The Ghost of the Mountain

Art Blakey – Witch Doctor

Ron Sexsmith – Forever Endeavor


Various Artists – Play the Game: The XL and Sounds of Memphis Story

Jose Feliciano – No Jive: The Very Best of 1964-75

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

Various Artists – Eccentric Soul: The Tragar and Note Labels

Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic


Rail Band – Belle Epoque 2: Mansa

North Mississippi All Stars – World Boogie is Coming

Belle and Sebastian – Third Eye Centre

John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts

Darrell Banks – I’m the One Who Really Loves You: The Volt Recordings


Disc Battles

Are vinyl records really making a comeback? More and more, even here in Bangkok, I hear people talking about collecting records, and raving about the superior audio quality of vinyl versus that of compact discs. I used to have a sizeable record collection when I lived in Florida, but once CDs became the format of choice in the mid 1980s, that’s pretty much all I bought and listened to the rest of that decade and beyond. When I moved to Thailand in 1996, any records I still had were given to friends.


Despite the larger artwork on record covers and the general consensus that vinyl sounds better, I really don’t miss my old records. It was always annoying when records would accumulate scratches so easily, were prone to warping, took up lots of space, and were damn heavy when you boxed them up. I’m no audiophile, so the “superior sound” of vinyl records goes right over my head … or in and out my ears. Some people might wish for a return to the glory days of vinyl, but I’ll stick with CDs, thank you. I don’t doubt that there’s a difference in sound quality, but I don’t notice it enough for it to factor in my own listening habits. For me, the bottom line is the music. It doesn’t matter if I listen to the songs in mono, stereo, or on a cheap unit with a single speaker. I’m more moved by the rhythm, the lyrics, or the emotional impact of the recording rather than sonic resolution or high fidelity dynamics. And don’t even get me started on the subject of downloads. I realize that many people enjoy the convenience of mobile devices nowadays — or are just addicted to those devices — but how could anyone be passionate about collecting sound files? If you can’t touch it or sniff it, why bother?


Keeping the music theme in today’s post, here are the CDs getting the most play at my place lately. As usual, it’s a hearty diet of tunes covering various genres; some new releases, many old gems, and a few compilations and live recordings.


Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe

Lou Ragland – I Travel Alone

Robert Forster – I Had a New York Girlfriend

Ian Gomm and Jeb Loy Nichols – Only Time Will Tell

Gene Ammons – Live in Chicago


Kelly Hogan – I Like to Keep Myself in Pain

Stanley Turrentine – Don’t Mess with Mr. T.

The Waterboys – In a Special Place

Redd Kross – Show World

Chuck Prophet – Temple Beautiful


Little Feat – Rooster Rag

John Hiatt – Mystic Pinball

Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros – Rock Art and the X-Ray Style

The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

Mark Knopfler – Privateering


Father John Misty – Fear Fun

The Diggers – Mount Everest

The Black Keys – El Camino

Cannonball Adderley Sextet – Dizzy’s Business

The Magnetic Fields – The Charm of the Highway Strip


Shoes – Ignition

Paul Kelly – Deeper Water

Eddie Henderson – Heritage

Joe Walsh – Analog Man

The Neville Brothers – Live on Planet Earth


Jacobites – Robespierre’s Velvet Basement

Baby Face Willette – Face to Face

Duke Ellington – Money Jungle

Steve Goodman – Artistic Haircut

Ike & Tina Turner – Funkier than a Mosquito’s Tweeter


Lee Morgan – Search for the New Land

Ben Folds & Nick Hornby – Lonely Avenue

Mitty Collier – Shades of Mitty Collier: The Chess Singles

The Sound – From the Lion’s Mouth

The Pale Fountains – Pacific Street


Various Artists – Eccentric Soul: A Red, Black & Green Production

The Cramps – Off the Bone

Les McCann & Eddie Harris – Swiss Movement

Belle and Sebastian – Push Barman to Open Old Wounds

Small Faces – Ultimate Collection


Willie Wright – Telling the Truth

Primatons – Don’t Go Away: Collected Works

Eric Dolphy – Out to Lunch

The xx – Coexist

Black Heat – Keep on Runnin’


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