Strongheaded Woman

by Billie Ray Martin

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As a prelude to the album The Soul Tapes (to be released on 13 May 2016), Billie Ray Martin releases Strongheaded Woman as the lead single - an epic tale of a Las Vegas slot machine addict seemingly meeting her Rhinestone Cowboy, only to discover that he’s just another cheap hit and run sleazebag.

The single includes the Mooli remix of the album track The Glittering Gutter – a song about the downfall of Billie's place of upbringing, the red light district of Hamburg. The Mooli remix adds the kind of darkness that typifies some of Billie's output over recent years. Mooli have taken an already epic track and given it the Portishead treatment, complete with soundtrack style strings.

Billie has never been easy to categorise. Clearly a soul singer, her career however has seen her mostly as a pioneer of house and electronic music, most notably her groundbreaking work with Electribe 101 and her seminal hit Your Loving Arms. Her explorations have led her further into the worlds of ambient music and drum & bass among other areas of electronica.

Her new album The Soul Tapes is a ‘first’ for Billie: no electronic music this time. Billie realised her long-held dream of recording an album that is equally influenced by Hi-Records (Al Green, Ann Peebles, Willie Mitchell) as it is by ’60s garage records. It is also not devoid of a certain country twang, and even Bo Diddley peeks through the door on one song.

Billie Ray Martin and producer/writer Jon Tiven were introduced in New York in the mid ’90s and had started drafting the odd song, together with Sally Tiven. Further writing sessions followed, until it was decided that there was an album of songs worth recording.

Booked into New York’s 900 Broadway Studio, Jon and Billie were thrilled to find themselves working where Keith Richards had recorded his first solo album. Under this omen Jon Tiven brought the musicians in, not least world famous drummer Simon Kirke. Jon’s credits include albums produced for Wilson Pickett, Bobby Womack and Willie Nelson as well as numerous awards and Grammy nominations.

It was not until 2014 that the opportunity arose to mix the album, re-record many of the vocals, add production and instruments and determine exactly the final sound of the album. The results are convincing and powerful and show once again Billie’s refusal to conform to trends, preferring as she does, to create them.

credits

released April 16, 2016

all songs written by billie ray martin and jon and sally tiven
The Soul Tapes’ was produced by Jon Tiven and Billie Ray Martin. Recorded at Studio 900 Broadway, NYC. Engineered by Joe Johnson.

Additional vocals and instruments recorded at Hackney Road Studios, London. Engineered by Steve Honest. Mixed by Billie Ray Martin and Steve Honest at Hackney Road Studios, London.

Guitar by Jon Tiven. Bass by Sally Tiven. Drums by Simon Kirke except ‘One Way Street’ by Francesco Lucidi. Piano by Mark Berman except ‘One Way Street’ by Jon Tiven. Organ by Felix Huber except ‘Strongheaded Woman’ by Mark Berman. Harmonica on ‘Skin On The Wheel Of Time’ by Mason Casey.

All songs written by Billie Ray Martin, Jon Tiven and Sally Tiven except ‘Your Ghost Is Right Behind Me’ written by Billie Ray Martin and Melvin Duffy, ‘That’s How Strong My Love Is’ written by Roosevelt Jamison, ‘One Way Street’ written by Ann Peebles and Don Bryant.

Billie Ray Martin published by Billie Ray Martin (PRS, GEMA, BMI). Jon Tiven published by Uncontrolled Compositions (BMI). Sally Tiven published by Full Rate Music (ASCAP). Melvin Duffy published by Copyright Control. Roosevelt Jamison published by Three Wise Boys Music/Rise Music. Ann Peebles published by Irving Music/Warner Chappell. Don Bryant published by Irving Music/Warner Chappell.

Special thanks to Paul Brewer at Sweet Feet Music, Sophie Nicole Ellision, Caesar Gergess, Steve Honest, Antonio Lerario, Philip Marshall, Mark Moore, Mark Robertson, Bradford Shellhammer and everyone else who’s been so kind, helping and supporting me each day. I’m humbled and grateful.

Photography by Joern Hartmann. Designed in January 2016 by Philip Marshall.

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Billie Ray Martin Berlin, Germany

"Billie Ray Martin is one of the living legends in modern music history and one of the best voices on planet earth."
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"Billie Ray Martin is an absolute revelation."
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Billie Ray Martin: "I'm a kid from Hamburg’s red-light district, who wanted to be a soul singer, but ended up playing repetitive machine music, while still trying to be a soul singer"
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Track Name: Strongheaded woman (Radio edit)
Strongheaded Woman

We met in Las Vegas at the slot machines
You pulled me like the aces and the queens
With your sequinned blazer and your rhinestone smile
You came ablaze out of the flaming red lights

You said I was the seetest thing you’ve ever seem
You said that we could be a winning team
But when you spoke of honeymoon and Chemps Elisee
It looked like lady luck had smiled down on me

But the only threshhold that you carried me over
Was the borderline of trash
Before the night wa over

And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway
And back to the tables

And while I dreamed of Paris through a veil of beer
You said let’s go and tie the knot right here
Oh but is the way to treat your fiancee
A drive-through chapel and an all-in buffet
And a fake priest dressed as Elvis sang ‘Love me tender’
While a hired dwarf witness played an imitation fender

And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway
And back to the tables

Now, You can say I’m dumb and blind
Or blame it on my trusting mind
But with dime and dance romances
Well, you gotta take your chances
Now I’m at the hot dog stand
With a motel key in hand
And I’m runnin’
And I’m runnin’


And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway


And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And make sure that before dawn
I’ll be back at the tables
Track Name: Strongheaded Woman
Strongheaded Woman

We met in Las Vegas at the slot machines
You pulled me like the aces and the queens
With your sequinned blazer and your rhinestone smile
You came ablaze out of the flaming red lights

You said I was the seetest thing you’ve ever seem
You said that we could be a winning team
But when you spoke of honeymoon and Chemps Elisee
It looked like lady luck had smiled down on me

But the only threshhold that you carried me over
Was the borderline of trash
Before the night wa over

And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway
And back to the tables

And while I dreamed of Paris through a veil of beer
You said let’s go and tie the knot right here
Oh but is the way to treat your fiancee
A drive-through chapel and an all-in buffet
And a fake priest dressed as Elvis sang ‘Love me tender’
While a hired dwarf witness played an imitation fender

And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway
And back to the tables

Now, You can say I’m dumb and blind
Or blame it on my trusting mind
But with dime and dance romances
Well, you gotta take your chances
Now I’m at the hot dog stand
With a motel key in hand
And I’m runnin’
And I’m runnin’


And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And get off of his highway


And it’s gonna take a strongheaded woman
Picking up the whole of this mess
And getting out of this hired dress
And it’s gonna take a strgongheaded woman
Picking up my chips if I’m able
And make sure that before dawn
I’ll be back at the tables
Track Name: The Glittering Gutter (Mooli Remix)
The Glittering Gutter

Ever they come by the hundreds
Out of their safety they crawl
To stumble the streets of a hungy
Beast that it is never full
And no one can ever claim
That it ain’t no fun stepping into this dame
And smelling the lights of the glittering gutter

They don’t know that these neon signs
Have guided many through better times
Always a fortune for the ones without hope
They used to fly high but now they lie on the floor
Still they call it the sinful mile
She’s a whore, and a lady, with a big heart inside
But for the small town voyeur she’s just the glittering gutter


Luck is a lady with a mean green smile
But the lady’s a bitch when you’ve known her a while
And so through her veins they’re stumbling
The guts have died
The skin is crumbling
Still she’s smiling her cancerous smile
Her teath falling out
A carcass alive
Yet someone might recognise
It’s reflecting the faces of the people inside
Through the empty eyes of the glittering gutter


Come on
Come on
Come on
Come on