Friday, July 24, 2020

McQ's Best Of 1969 Vol 8 - Grade A Schmaltz

Guilty pleasure time, once again, as we look at 1969's most endearing second tier cheeseball singles.

As with 1969's Vol 4 - International mix we're mostly jumping between three specific niches, basking in the combined reflective glow of the 1969's most-dated country, soul, and pop hits.

Given the huge number of singles versus albums represented here, gonna circle back and hit the artist portion write up for this mix last.

But for now, set your phasers to "peak nostalgia," and prepare to beam back into some of 1969's warmest vibes.

Here's the Spotify link. Enjoy.

Set 1 (Ronco Worthy)

1. Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In - The Fifth Dimension (4:49)
2. Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head - B. J. Thomas (2:48)
3. Backfield In Motion - Mel & Tim (2:35)
4. Hawaii Five-O - The Ventures (1:54)
5. Harlan Country - Jim Ford (3:27)
6. To Be Young, Gifted and Black - Nina Simone (2:51)
7. Little Green Bag - George Baker Selection (3:15)
8. My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me) - David Ruffin (3:33)
9. Holly Holy - Neil Diamond (4:40)
10. Okie Form Muskogee - Merle Haggard (2:40)
11. I Don't Care Anymore - Doris Duke (3:08)
12. Love (Can Make You Happy) - Mercy (3:16)
13. Snowbird - Anne Murray (2:14)
14. What's The Use Of Breaking Up - Jerry Butler (2:36)
15. Jean - Oliver (3:11)
16. Choice Of Colors - The Impressions (3:20)
17. Don't It Make You Want To Go Home - Joe South (3:16)
18. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - Roberta Flack (4:21)
19. I'm Gonna Make You Mine - Lou Christie (2:42)
20. Have You Ever Been Lonely? (Have You Ever Been Blue) - Charlie Rich (2:28)
21. Maxwell's Silver Hammer - The Beatles (3:28)
22. My Cherie Amour - Stevie Wonder (2:53)

Set 2 (K. Carpenter's Heavy Lift Day Mix)

23. Making Love (At The Dark End Of The Street) - Clarence Carter (5:09)
24. Homecoming - Tom T. Hall (3:21)
25. California Soul - Marlena Shaw (2:57)
26. In The Year 2525 - Zager & Evans (3:11)
27. California Bloodlines - John Stewart (3:08)
28. What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) - Jr. Walker & The All Stars (2:29)
29. Don'tcha Hear Me Calling' To Ya - The 5th Dimension (3:56)
30. I Scare Myself - Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks (5:18)
31. Who's Loving You - The Jackson 5 (4:00)
32. Witchi Tai To - Harpers Bizarre (2:43)
33. Goodbye - Mary Hopkin (2:27)
34. Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time) - The Delfonics (3:21)
35. Is That All There Is? - Peggy Lee (4:19)
36. Dizzy - Tommy Roe (2:57)
37. Black Pearl - Sonny Charles And The Checkmates Ltd. (3:27)
38. Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town - Kenny Rogers (2:53)
39. Smile A Little Smile For Me - The Flying Machine (2:56)
40. Too Busy Thinking About My Baby - Marvin Gaye (2:56)


41. Walk A Mile In My Shoes - Joe South (3:43)
42. Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond (3:24)
43. Rainy Night In Georgia - Brook Benton (3:54)
44. Melting Pot - Blue Mink (3:52)
45. My Way - Frank Sinatra (4:37)
46. Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye - Steam (4:07)

About Grade A Schmaltz's 1969 Chart Toppers:

The 5th Dimension: The hugely popular African-American heirs to the breezy, harmonic folk-rock stylings of the Mamas and Papas (or as they themselves coined it "Champagne Soul") landed two huge cover hits off their 1969 release The Age Of Aquarius.  That first hit, their rendition of Hair's Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In, opens this mix, but instead of going with the album's second hit, a nifty version of Laura Nyro's Wedding Bell Blues, we went with the lively Don'tcha Hear Me Callin' To Ya
 instead, but if your a fan of such early adult-contemporary fare, be sure to check out the album in full... nut just for Wedding Bell Blues, but for the act's so cheesy but entertaining cover of Cream's Sunshine Of Your Love as well. 

B.J. Thomas: Following the success of his country pop single Hooked On A Feeling in 1968, up-and-coming crooner B.J. Thomas was approached about lending his voice to a new Burt Bacharach composition for the soundtrack to Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid entitled Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Thomas agreed,  and though the subsequent recording process was difficult (Thomas was suffering from mild laryngitis during the studio sessions and Bacharach demanded take after take after take), the end result was one of the biggest hits of 1969, and the Oscar winner that year in the Best Song category. It would however, be Thomas's last significant pop hit, as he fell hard into drugs over the next half decade, then after getting clean, re-emerged as the nation's top Christian singer throughout the back half of the 70s. 

Mel & Tim: We'll be tapping numerous mainstream 1969 R&B hits for this mix, all of them gems, and to get things started on the soul front, we're going with Mississippi duo Mel & Tim's, who scored the biggest (but far from only) hit of their careers with their self-penned debut single Backfield In Motion.

The Ventures: Absolutely inescapable in 1969 was Portland instrumental legends The Ventures' theme song to Hawaii 5-0, which however dated it feels today, was up to that point in time, one of the coolest theme songs in the history of American television. 

Jim Ford: One of the late 60s underground legends, oft-troubled singer-songwriter, ex-Bobbie Gentry boyfriend and future Sly Stone roommate and Nick Lowe inspiration Ford released his first and arguably best full length album in 1969, from which we are featuring the title track, Harlan County

Nina Simone: More to come!

George Baker Selection: More to come!

David Ruffin: More to come!

Neil Diamond: More to come!

Merle Haggard: More to come!

Doris Duke: More to come!

Anne Murray: More to come!

Jerry Butler: More to come!

Oliver: More to come!

The Impressions: More to come!

Joe South: More to come!

Roberta Flack: More to come!

Lou Christie: More to come!

Charlie Rich: More to come!

The Beatles: Imho, both as a musician and songwriter, Paul was always the most talented Beatle, but I also feel he always benefitted more filtering his work through Lennon's and Harrison's edgier sensibilities and sense of cool far more than they did screening their work through Paul. Simply put, left to his own devices, McCartney could be, and often proved to be, the epitome of uncool.  And rarely did his uncool reach the epic proportions that it did on Abbey Road's hyper-ambitious but ultimately beyond cheesy Maxwell's Silver Hammer. Hence it's inclusion on this mix here. 

Stevie Wonder: More to come!

Clarence Carter: More to come!

Tom T. Hall: More to come!

Marlene Shaw: More to come!

Zager & Evans: More to come!

John Stewart: More to come!

Jr. Walker & The All Stars: More to come!

Dan Hicks & HIs Hot Licks: More to come!

The Jackson 5: More to come!

Harpers Bizarre: More to come!

Mary Hopkin: More to come!

The Delfonics: More to come!

Peggy Lee: More to come!

Tommy Roe: More to come!

Sonny Charles And The Checkmates, Ltd: More to come!

Kenny Rodgers U The First Edition: More to come!

The Flying Machine: More to come!

Marvin Gaye: More to come!

Brook Benton: More to come!

Blue Mink: More to come!

Frank Sinatra: More to come!

Steam: And finally, was there any other way to conclude our look at 1969's schmaltziest singles than with the enduring ball-game classic Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Good By, a song attributed to a pop act, Steam, a band that didn't even exist when the song was recorded. It was actually the product of New York studio players Gary DeCarlo, Dale Fraschuer and producer/songwriter Paul Leka, recorded as a rush B-side for DeCarlo's single Sweet Laura Lee, but when a Georgia DJ opted one day to give the b-side a spin instead of the a-side, requests to hear it again immediately began pouring in, and the rest, as they say, is history, with the single now having sold well over 6.5 million copies in it's fifty year run.

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