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Music: February 2015 Archives

Errol's Pick

Twelve years back, the film "Standing In The Shadows of Motown" introduced us to the Funk Brothers, the musicians behind many of that label's biggest hits. A new documentary opening Friday at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema tells the story of a group of musicians responsible for classics by groups like The Beach Boys, The Mamas and The Papas, and The Byrds. "The Wrecking Crew!" puts names and faces to a collective of musicians who called themselves The Wrecking Crew, a group of about 20-40 studio musicians in LA who played on a ton of instantly recognizable hits by The Ronettes, Sam Cooke, and Frank Sinatra. Not only did the songs they played on dominate the charts in the 60s and 70s, the Crew single-handedly made the American West Coast sound a dominant force around the world.
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Errol's Pick

"Don't Lose This" is the title of an album of previously unreleased music by gospel legend Pops Staples that comes out on Tuesday. And there's a sweet story behind it. Just before passing away 15 years back from a concussion he'd suffered, Pops Staples gave his daughter Mavis Staples an unfinished record and said, "Mavis, don't lose this here". And I'm so glad she didn't. The record is a sumptuous mix of soul, blues and country. Despite being ill, Pops' voice sounds gorgeous and his tremolo-laden guitar induces chills every time I hear it. According to the label that's releasing "Don't Lose This", Mavis held the album a secret for more than 10 years, listening to it only with her brother and sisters. She says she finally decided that she didn't want to leave this world without releasing it so she asked Jeff Tweedy, who produced her last 2 albums, if he could work his magic on "Don't Lose This".

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Errol's Pick

"It'll All Be Over" is the title of the only album that The Supreme Jubilees, a group from California, released 35 years back. This heartfelt music is a wicked mix of smooth and gritty soul, gospel and disco and there is a fascinating story of how this record ended up getting released. The Supreme Jubilees was made up of brothers and cousins from two families. They played the church circuit for a few years before deciding to cut "It'll All Be Over", and they only pressed 500 copies of it. During their tour of Texas, the Supreme Jubilees sold a copy of the album to one of their fans. And it eventually found its way to a used record store in San Antonio. That's where it was discovered nearly 30 years later by David Haffner, a record collector who runs a store in Austin called Friends of Sound. He tracked down the group and introduced them to Light In The Attic, the label that released the record. In an interview, Haffner told me, "I fell in love with the music so I wanted to find out who made it and help a reissue happen so the rest of the world could have an opportunity to fall in love with it too".

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