Joel Goldenberg: Doris Troy, Ike and Tina, The Turtles, etc.

Ike and Tina Turner in the mid-1960s

We are now closing in on the end of the T list, beginning with a one-hit wonder:

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Doris Troy: This Atlantic Records (and later the Beatles' Apple label) artist had one hit, the jaunty Just One Look, a very memorable pop song. Its only deficiency is that it was recorded rather roughly, and doesn't exist in stereo despite being released in 1963 on a label that pioneered stereo. The song was really popular, so much so it was covered by the Hollies in the 1960s and Linda Ronstadt later.

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Ike and Tina Turner: This is one instance where you have to clench your teeth, hold your nose and separate the music from the man, in this case a serial abuser of women (especially Tina) and drug-addled fiend. Because on the music side, Ike Turner was a rock and roll pioneer (his band played on the early rock n' roll hit Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston) and he produced many classic hits for himself and Tina. Best of all is the first slow and then rousing version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary. The problem with Ike and Tina's music, not counting the bad taste one gets in one's mouth because of Ike's pure evil, is that their recordings were on so many labels in the 1960s that it's hard to keep track. There are many CD releases of obscure material, and I have no idea when any of it was recorded and for who.

I want to like Tina Turner's solo career, but it was too '80s slick.

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Joe Turner: This other rock 'n roll pioneer seems to have been a much nicer person, as far as I know, and his big, boisterous voice powered many great songs. The songs he put out had such an impact that they were quickly covered by other artists, many white — Shake, Rattle and Roll (Bill Haley and Elvis Presley), Flip, Flop and Fly (also Haley and Presley, the latter only on TV) and Corinne, Corinna (Ray Peterson in a very big hit)

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The Turtles: I can't say enough good things about this 1960s group, and not just because I've communicated on Twitter with lead singer Howard Kaylan and bought his whirlwind-of-a-life book. The group started off as folk-rockers with hits like the cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, progressed to glistening pop like the never-gets-stale Happy Together, and then proceeded to Beatle-like ambitions with concept albums, classic rock and psychedelia, all with tinges of humour but without as much commercial success. When we proceed to the group's albums in our upcoming albums series, I'll go into more detail, but here are my favourite Turtles songs.

She Always Leaves Me Laughing-From 1969's Turtle Soup, the best song the Byrds never did. Produced by the Kinks' Ray Davies during his own peak years.

Cant You Hear the Cows?-A bizarre and hypnotic non-album B-side.

To See the Sun- The most compelling psychedelic song they ever did, and not released until after the group broke up? Inexplicable!

Sound Asleep: Their Good Vibrations, in terms of musical ambition and changes in the song's progression.

Is It Any Wonder?- An absolutely glorious sunshine pop track, recorded circa 1967 but not released until 1970. Inexplicable!

Earth Anthem: A truly touching early environmental anthem, from 1968's The Turtles Present The Battle of the Bands.

• Who Would Ever Think That I Would Marry Margaret?- Kaylan will hate me for this one, as he hates this song and was forced to record it by White Whale Records. But I think it's utterly charming, and Kaylan does a great job singing this pseudo-country song.

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The Tymes: When ABKCO finally released the Cameo-Parkway catalogue on CD nearly 20 years ago, one of the hits I was happiest to have was the summer-atmospheric doo-wopish So Much In Love. Another very touching song that can never get tiring.

Next time: The U list begins.

 

 

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