Spooner Oldham & Opinions on Janet Jackson
As a keyboardist in the legendary recording studios of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Spooner Oldham wrote and played on dozens of classic hits from Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, and more. He joins Jim and Greg for a conversation. Then they review the new album from Janet Jackson.Subscribe via iTunesDownload This Episode
Fetty Wap tops the Billboard 200 chart with the release of his self-titled debut. The album release follows the drops of his three top-ten singles, "Trap Queen," "679," and "My Way." The rapper makes a splash as the first hip-hop artist in two years to land a premiere album in the #1 spot since A$AP Rocky's Long.Live.A$AP.
The third time's the charm for The Beatles' 1 album, which you might remember from its original release in 2000 or its second remastered release in 2011. The new three-disc edition, out November 6, features promotional films and restored videos of the group. Greg wonders how many times the same album can be resold to the same audience. Despite the lack of any real change in content, Jim predicts,“It'll debut at #1.”
Thanks to a new interactive tool distributed by The Wall Street Journal, it is now possible to discover what's playing on jukeboxes across America, just by entering a zip code online. Data gathered from the jukebox vendor TouchTunes provide a look at more than 60,000 jukeboxes across the country and what music was played from September 2014 to August 2015. The map is broken up by zip code, displaying popular artists and genres in each area. Check out what tunes are gathering the most quarters here.
Despite its location in a relatively obscure part of the South, Muscle Shoals, Alabama was home to some of the greatest studio musicians of the 1960's and 1970's. One of those pros was our guest Spooner Oldham, keyboardist and songwriter at FAME Studios. Spooner played piano and organ on hits like "Steal Away" by Jimmy Hughes and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." Pretty soon, record executives from the North were sending artists down to record with the excellent house band at FAME. Spooner provided the drive behind Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally," and even rescued a stagnating Aretha Franklin session by coming up with the iconic keyboard line for "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)."
Along with his collaborator Dan Penn, Spooner Oldham wrote huge hits like "Cry Like a Baby" by The Box Tops and "I'm Your Puppet" by James & Bobby Purify. After leaving Muscle Shoals, he played with Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Bobby Womack, and more, and continues to perform with acts like Cat Power and Drive-By Truckers. In 1972, Spooner recorded his own album Pot Luck. It was largely forgotten except by cult record collectors, but now is being honored with an overdue reissue from Light in the Attic.
Janet Jackson Unbreakable
For the first time in seven years, Janet Jackson has released a new album called Unbreakable. At the beginning of her career, she faced the challenge of stepping out of the shadow of her older brothers, which she did with the help of Minnesota songwriters and producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. They worked together creating her signature rhythmic pop sound on many of Janet's most famous albums, including Control and Rhythm Nation 1814, and teamed up again for Unbreakable. Greg thinks Jackson's last record, 2008's Discipline, was probably her worst ever but she rebounded with a solid mid-career album. He appreciated that Janet stopped wasting her time with weak and overtly sexual material, and instead made music that is more true to her authentic self. Greg especially enjoyed the track "BURNITUP!," featuring one of his all-time favorite artists, Missy Elliott. He gives the record a Buy It. Jim agrees and highlights the strengths of Jam and Lewis' electronic, modernized sound. He thinks Janet is as confident and talented as ever. It's a double Buy It for Unbreakable.
- Fetty Wap, Trap Queen, Fetty Wap, Atlantic, 2015
- Queen, Fat Bottomed Girls, Jazz, EMI, 1978
- R. Kelly, Ignition (Remix), Chocolate Factory, Jive, 2003
- Etta James, Tell Mama, Tell Mama, Cadet, 1968
- Jimmy Hughes, Steal Away, Steal Away, Vee-Jay, 1964
- Jerry Lee Lewis, Whole Lotta Shakin‘ Goin’ On, Live at the Star Club, Hamburg, Philips, 1964
- Aretha Franklin, I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You), I Never Loved a Man The Way I Love You, Atlantic, 1967
- Tommy Roe, Everybody, Sweet Pea, ABC, 1966
- Joe Simon, Let's Do It Over, Mr Shout, ACE, 1965
- The Sweet Inspirations, Sweet Inspiration, The Sweet Inspirations, Atlantic, 1967
- Percy Sledge, It Tears Me Up, Warm & Tender Soul, Atlantic, 1966
- Wilson Pickett, Mustang Sally, The Wicked Pickett, Atlantic, 1967
- Percy Sledge, When A Man Loves A Woman, Moonlighting, MCA Soundtracks, 1987
- James & Bobby Purify, I'm Your Puppet, James & Bobby Purify, Bell, 1967
- The Box Tops, Cry Like a Baby, Cry Like a Baby, Bell, 1968
- Aretha Franklin, Without The One You Love, The Tender, the Moving, the Swinging Aretha Franklin, Columbia, 1962
- Aretha Franklin, People Get Ready, Lady Soul, Atlantic, 1968
- Spooner Oldham, Julie Brown's Forest, Pot Luck, Light In The Attic, 2015
- Spooner Oldham, The Lord Loves a Rolling Stone, Pot Luck, Light In The Attic, 2015
- Linda Ronstadt, Desperado, Don't Cry Now, AsyluM, 1973
- Cat Power, Woman Left Lonely, Jukebox, Matador, 2008
- Janet Jackson, feat. J. Cole, No Sleeep, Unbreakable, Rhythm Nation, 2015
- Janet Jackson, Gon' B Alright, Unbreakable, Rhythm Nation, 2015
- Janet Jackson, feat. Missy Elliott, BURNITUP!, Unbreakable, Rhythm Nation, 2015
- Chvrches, Never Ending Circles, Every Open Eye, Universal, 2015
- Squeeze, 853-5937, Babylon and On, A&M, 1987
- Ryan Adams, Wildest Dreams, 1989, PAX AM, 2015
- The Clash, Lost in the Supermarket, London Calling, Epic, 1979
billboard.com Fetty Wap at No. 1 thebeatles.com Beatles re-release forbes.com Beatles re-release wsj.com America's jukeboxes spooneroldhammusic.com Spooner Oldham lightintheattic.net Spooner Oldham's“Pot Luck” soundopinions.org SO on Unsung Heroes of Rock soundopinions.org Hal Blaine on SO soundopinions.org Aretha Franklin album dissection janetjackson.com Janet Jackson chicagotribune.com Greg's review of Unbreakable