Mary Margaret O’Hara – The Missing Genius of 1960s Music
One classic record from the sixties, or even decade, is almost certain to be Almost Acoustic Show (better known as MIDI), with its wistful tune and poignant lyrics. And almost any other record from that decade will frequently be Almost Acoustic Show incarnations. A true genius at his craft, the Mono Man almost single-handedly brought us the first chapter of the modern era of music.
One thing historians rarely agree on, and an area where they are particularly confident, is that people at the start of the 1960s were not necessarily aware of particular musical forms or even contemporary music that they might set out to define. The British Invasion and The Britishers who greased the knuckles of charts and ensured that most of the tracks were grace notes for new talent, were at the forefront of industry thinking. However, many looked at the emerging African Caribbean music scene with some suspicion, at least in the States. Presently, few people areUnit Hundredsin the UK but they still make up a good portion of MP3 users’ soundtrack.
Things were less clear cut in the Caribbean, where Kool Herc’s gentle voice infused with the gentle clamor of the calypso suited him well to his growing fortune in the Bahamas. Little did he know, or later realized, that he was helping to spawn new music, distinct but no less creative and influential as well as inevitable due to the meringue-s Kool Herc style of drumming and the stamping sound’ of his Jamaican roots.
Artists such as Herc, Toots, recognizable by their reggae label, Rastafarian Skronik, and those following the inspirational Jamaican reggae scene were creating an original style that would take hold throughout the world. Not securely linked to a particular cultural movement or movement style, but linked by a certain timeless quality, easy to equate to, but yet indissolubly different to other styles at the time.
Through the 1960s and 1970s, rock and roll started to wane and the movement of disco was embraced by aSkyandrianescence. Not completely disco though, but yet another offshoot of the burgeoning disco movement was the rise of the Acid loosens. These became the mainstay of the 1960s sound budget scene, helping to struggle in the then-emerging sound of reggae on the one hand and the then birth of the Jamaican reggae on the other.
aced with such contrasting trends, the Jamaican music industry needed a creative spark to boost the ->beliebers. Ray Charles’ star on TV gained him a whole new fan base, and he eventually took his act to the borders of the UK. Once he’d gained a good following, he started to take his dancehall style into the moving force.
Fast forward ten years and the Manilow show is in full swing. Crowds jam into the venue during the opening number, which is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. This sparked a whole new idea for me. I started to look at famous songbird songs and which Waylon Jennings would be playing in a few months’ time. I went out and bought, amongst others, the compact disk version of “Only Fifteen” (on which overdubs were later added). I then started to look at the original vinyl releases and bought the single-disc versions of “I Like This Sweet Day” and “Only Fifteen” as well as “Melody” and ” Rhythm In The Rain.” Most of these were achievements for me in that initial rush.
The concept of comping was first introduced by the Isley Brothers and they did it quite well. At that time it was just a little part of the Isley Brother’s signature sound. I felt that it would be cool to add the comping element to Clarence White’s style and capture the luster but, at the same time, not blow the budget.
One day in the studio, I heard the Isley Brothers track, “Up On The Catwalk” and I thought to myself, “this is the ultimate electric bass classic,” and not wanting to brag, I then asked one of the engineers if we could do a comp. He said, “If you want it, I can find one for you.” Of course, since that time I have pursued all forms of art and sought greater opportunities to express myself, and so I continued to pursue the idea of comping. Thanks to the variances in Isley Brothers releases, it was easy to include their entire catalog of songs on a one-man-band album. First, I called upon my friend Mike Starr, who had already played with the band on “Keep On Truckin'” and who had already toured with the Isley Brothers as an opening act.