I said most everything I needed to say with the first volume. Note that Berns died at the end of 1967. As a result, more of the songs in this album were written by Ragovoy. But there still are some Berns songs, especially in the 1967 to 1968 time frame. For instance, "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" was a hit for Solomon Burke in 1963. But I chose a 1967 by Wilson Pickett, because it's a faster version that most later artists imitated, such as the version by the Blues Brothers in 1980.
Generally speaking, I have a rule not to include more than one version of the same song. For instance, the Strangeloves had a hit with Berns' song "I Want Candy" in 1965, and then Bow Wow Wow had a hit with that song in 1982, but I forced myself to pick one. However, I included one song here that I also included in the first volume: "As Long as I Have You." The original version was a minor hit by Garnet Mimms in 1964. Then Led Zeppelin played the song in concert in 1969. Their version was vastly different, and part of a much longer medley. I included that still-unreleased medley version on a Led Zeppelin stray tracks album I've posted here already:
For the version I included here, I edited it to remove the other songs in the medley, so it's purely a version of "As Long as I Have You." I think it's an excellent version that's totally Led Zeppelin and very different from the Mimms version. I have no idea why it remains officially unreleased.
"Twenty-Five Miles" seems like the odd one out on this album, because that was a big hit for Motown artist Edwin Starr, and Motown almost always had hits with their own songwriters. It turns out neither Berns nor Ragovoy ever wrote for Motown. However, Berns and Ragovoy wrote a relatively obscure tune called "32 Miles Out of Waycross," and "Twenty-Five Miles" was so similar to that song that Berns and Ragovoy were added to the composer credits.
Ragovoy lived until 2011. However, musical trends changed, and the pop-soul style that both Berns and Ragovoy excelled in lost favor in the early 1970s. Like Berns, Ragovoy was also a successful producer. He continued to produce a fair amount after 1971, but he rarely had a prominently placed new song after that year.
01 Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (Wilson Pickett)
02 Am I Grooving You (Freddie Scott)
03 What's It Gonna Be (Dusty Springfield)
04 Pata Pata (Miriam Makeba)
05 Goodbye Baby [Baby Goodbye] (Van Morrison)
06 Baby Come On Home (Led Zeppelin)
07 Piece of My Heart (Janis Joplin)
08 Twenty-Five Miles (Edwin Starr)
09 Try [Just a Little Bit Harder] (Janis Joplin)
10 As Long as I Have You (Led Zeppelin)
11 Stop (Jimi Hendrix)
12 Down in the Alley (Ronnie Hawkins)
13 Cry Baby (Janis Joplin)
Dang it, I did it again. I must confess that I had such trouble finding any photos of Berns and Ragovoy together that for the first volume in this series, I found a photo of Berns and added Ragovoy's head into it. I did the exact same thing this time. Berns is the one playing the guitar. I believe the other guy in the original photo was producer Jerry Wexler. However, I replaced Wexler's head with Ragovoy's head from another photo. I hope it doesn't look like an abomination. I also hope I won't have to resort to this again. Unfortunately, it's a sign of how underappreciated both Berns and Ragovoy are, that so few photos of them can be found on-line.