Did you know Aretha Franklin had a sister who was also a recording artist? Did you know that Janis Joplin’s iconic recording (with Big Brother and the Holding Company) of ‘Piece Of My Heart’ was not the original version? If you’re like me, the answer to both questions would be ‘no.’ But Tom Clifford knows.
One of the positive things about our pretty lousy current state of affairs is the wellspring of material newly appearing on the internet; the world has never needed more content as during our necessary lockdown (how else to explain the astonishing popularity of “Tiger King”). One of those who’ve rushed in to fill the void is my friend, Tom Clifford (“Clump,” “Tommy Rock,” or just “TC” to many old-timers), previously known to regular SoMuchGreatMusic readers for his legendary takedown of arrogant slimeball, Eddie Money. Starting about two weeks ago, Clifford created “Tom’s Record Of The Day!” and began posting nightly home-made videos – low-tech tapings from his own basement, produced by his trusty, heard-but-not-seen-on-camera daughter, Evangeline – tapping into his unrivaled (at least to me) knowledge of old-time soul and R&B music. A couple nights back he broke out this absolute gem: Erma Franklin (Aretha’s older sister) and her original 1967 recording of ‘Piece Of My Heart’ (Janis’s release would come just one year later). And…what a tune! A very different feel from what we’ve all become used to – more funky, more swinging, a real southern groove – and a great joy to hear for the first time, a mere 53 years after its release.
For a highly soulful education, and occasionally even some charmingly awkward dance moves, I highly recommend you all checking out “Tom’s Record Of The Day!” – which you can find by that name on his YouTube channel or via the Facebook page for Tom Clifford. Get to it as soon as you can – what else are you doing? – and until then, as Tom says pointing into the camera when signing off all his clips: Keep the quarantine scene clean!