Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off to Paramus, New Jersey (a mere stones throw from my digs in the Paris of the Tri-State Metropolitan Area). Something about brown bears on a rampage. I'm not sure what the deal is; perhaps they're eating old Jews. Doesn't seem right.
Hey. It's late and I was stuck for a joke. So sue me.
In any case, as a result, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days.
But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:
BEST ORGAN LICKS ON A POST-ELVIS POP/ROCK RECORD !!!!!!
As we stipulated for last week's piano list, once agin by "best" we mean the most melodic, the most effective, or the most inventive. It can be a solo, an entire part as played through the length of a song, or simply a riff -- whatever gets you off.
And just to belabor the obvious, we said "organ." No pianos, clavinets or synths need apply. You heard me. But in the interests of common sense, we're waiving the four minute time constraint this time -- there are too many good songs that run well over that arbitrary limit -- although I do hope you'll have the good breeding not to nominate anything by Yes.
Okay, that said, here's my totally top of my head Top Twelve, with credits for the fine folks who actually play the notes appended:
12. Arcade Fire -- My Body is a Cage (William Butler)
Just so we have something recorded in this century. This sounds a lot like some other, older band from Canada, though...can't quite think of their name.
11. Booker T. and the MGs -- Time is Tight (Booker T. Jones)
Get me drunk and I'll actually claim that this is one of the best short pieces of instrumental music, in any genre, written in the second half of the 20th century.
10. The Beatles -- We Can Work It Out (John Lennon)
That's John on harmonium, of course, which is a primitive form of pump organ so don't give me any crap. In any case, this may be the most perfect early Beatle record, largely due to those organ swells adding color and texture during the verses. And the out of nowhere liturgical riff at the end, of course.
9. A tie:
The Animals -- Boom Boom (Alan Price)
The Alan Price Set -- I Put a Spell On You (Alan Price, natch)
Price is kind of a household name in England; in this country, alas, less so. But if there was a more soulful keyboard guy and singer tossed up on the shores of the British Invasion, I can't think of him.
8. Spencer Davis Group -- I'm a Man (Stevie Winwood)
Well, maybe Stevie.
7. Brinsley Schwarz -- Surrender to the Rhythm (Bob Andrews)
This clip simply slays me. Astoundingly lyrical organ work; the young Nick Lowe wrote the damn thing and is trying hard to be the focus of attention here, but Andrews absolutely steals it.
6. Another tie --
? and the Mysterians -- 96 Tears (Frank Rodriguez)
Sir Douglas Quintet -- She's About a Mover (Augie Meyers)
Genuis simplicity or moronic mindlessness? YOU make the call!! Seriously -- the cheesy 60s organ sound that pretty much defines pop retro begins here.
5. Another tie --
Bob Dylan -- Like a Rolling Stone (Al Kooper)
Elvis Costello and the Attractions -- Pump It Up (Steve Nieve)
Kooper invents the quicksilver 60s folk rock keyboard sound in the former, Nieve updates it for the immediate post-punk era in the latter.
4. The Zombies -- Time of the Season (Rod Argent)
Argent's playing here is dazzling, of course, but the decision to overdub a second solo on top of the first one on the fadeout was sheer genius.
3. Procol Harum -- Pilgrim's Progress (Matthew Fischer)
Like "Layla," this is a song with a lengthy, seemingly unrelated instrumental coda appended from out of the blue. Unlike "Layla," this one has no guitar histrionics whatsoever, and yet it's just as gorgeous. Remarkable.
2. Alabama 3 -- Woke Up This Morning (Orlando Harrison)
This is possibly the simplest organ lick ever recorded -- really, I could teach my cat to play it in five minutes -- and yet damned if it doesn't work in the context of the everything but the kitchen sink stuff these guys surround it with. Of course, this is now essentially the state song of New Jersey, so I may be overrating it....
And the number one coolest, it's not even a contest for crissakes, organ grinding on a pop/rock record of all time is indisputably ---
1. Oh crap, it's another tie!!!
The Band -- Chest Fever (Garth Hudson)
The Call -- The Walls Came Down (Garth Hudson)
The Mad Professor at his maddest and grandest. And it is perhaps no accident that both these songs, as lyrically different as they are, have magnificently primal hard rock riffs at their core.
Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?