Friday, June 11, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special No Contractions, Please, We're British Audio/Video Edition

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means, Yes, my Oriental home lube-job specialist Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading off the annual Traci Lords/Marguerite Duras Film Festival in Kalispell, Montana. Not sure which of the honorees will be attending, but it sure sounds like a hot one!

In any case, since things will be a little quiet around here for the forseeable future, here's a fun little project for us all:

Best or Worst Rock Era Record or Song With the Word "Ain't" in the Title or Lyrics!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, and no arbitrary rules whatsoever, you're welcome very much.

And my totally top of my head Top Seven are:

7. Elvis Presley -- Ain't That Loving You Baby




The Ivory Joe Hunter song. EP's version here was recorded in 1958 but not released until 1985 (on the brilliant but now out of print Elvis blues comp pictured above). A different, mid-tempo version (with the Jordanaires) was a minor hit (in the early 60s, if memory serves) but this vastly superior bare bones revved up assault on the tune is one of the most genuinely exciting records in the Presley canon.

6. Marvin Gaye -- Ain't That Peculiar




On balance, not only my favorite Marvin record, but probably my all-time fave Motown record as well.

5. Queens of the Stone Age -- You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar (But I Feel Like a Millionaire)



Because, as you know, we like to have something recorded in the current century.

4. The Skeletons -- I Ain't Lying




From the 1997 album by America's greatest roots-rock/bar band. The opening verse about the Arab girls and Israeli boys holding hands is perhaps even more startling today than it was then, but my favorite is still the following:
I'll tell you about this guy we knew
Who thought he'd figured it out
He said time was just a concept
And he was gonna sit it out
He sat down by the sewer on Wednesday
And on Thursday he died
And at the coroner's inquest
They called it sewercide

3. Marvelous 3 -- I Could Change




One of the great kickass rockers of the last ten years, with a chorus to kill for. And this inspirational verse:
New Year's Day, lyin' next to my bed
With a hand in my pants and a song in my head
About being depressed 'til I figured out
It ain't the 90's anymore

2. Bobby Marchand -- Ain't No Reason for Girls




And speaking of Queens of the Stone Age, Marchand sang lead on the original version of "Rockin' Pneumonia," and made a whole slew of really great New Orleans R&B records in the 50s and 60s. Including this one, which seems to come from a very personal place.

And the Numero Uno grammar-deficient song of them all has simply got to be...

1. Television -- Ain't That Nothin'




Not necessarily the greatest Television track, but if pressed probably my fave, although I'm not entirely sure why; it might be the way that tiniest hint of Hammond organ sneaks in on the verses.

Alrighty, then -- what would YOUR choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: best or worst performances by non-actors in a drama or comedy -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, I would take it as a personal favor if you could kill a minute or two leaving a comment over there. Thanks!]

21 comments:

Dave said...

Plenty of great Motown songs. Just a few:

Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Ain't Nothing the Real Thing
Ain't Too Proud To Beg

From Chicago, Little Milton's immortal "Grits Ain't Groceries": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DaaJ4EPYwI

and Bill Withers is king of the Ain't with "Ain't No Sunshine": overplayed, over-covered, and still great: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xzDhLvhgQw

John Fowler said...

nice picks Steve, thanks!

An obvious nomination: I'm quite partial to Cheap Trick's cover of "Ain't That a Shame". As good a reason as any to check 'em out on Youtube.

I'll also go with the Beatles -"Revolution 1", off the White Album, which I prefer to the single version. "you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow"

Big Star - "The Ballad of El Goodo" from #1 Record. Also an obvious choice on this blog - "ain't no one going to turn me 'round"

Graham Parker - "Don't Ask Me Questions" from Howlin' Wind. "Ain't no answer in me"

The Replacements - "Waitress in the Sky" from Tim. I find it impossible to take a plane anywhere without this one going through my head - "you ain't nothin' but a waitress in the sky"

Big Audio Dynamite - "Medicine Show" from their first. "if you ain't ill, it'll fix your car"

and, for fun, close with Cyndi Lauper - "She Bop" from She's So Unusual. "Ain't no law against it yet!"

Faze said...

This is the first time I ever heard that Elvis "Ain't Lovin' You, Baby". Super! Wonder why it was never released in this version? Not that the Jordanaires version is bad at all, with its clever descending bass vocal line hook. But this rocks.

Faze said...

Oh yeah, and Clarence "Frogman" Henry's "Ain't Got No Home" with it's boldly idiosyncratic assertion of self, "I got a voice. I love to sing. I sing like a frog. I sing like a girl." And just in case you doubted him, he goes ahead and, dammit, sings like a frog and then like a girl -- as if you'd asked him to.

Sal Nunziato said...

YeeeeeAAAAAAAAHHHH!!

Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore--the Rascals.

steve simels said...

Faze:

I couldn't agree with you more about that Elvis track. Frankly, this whole post was mostly an excuse to get that track out there.

Gummo said...

Wow, a bounty of great songs in this week's list that I hadn't heard before:

- That Elvis track rocks like nobody's business and demonstrates, sadly, how early the Colonel's blanding-down of Elvis's releases actually began.

- The Skeletons' track is all sorts of delightful, not only catchy but with great lyrics.

- Ditto the Marvelous 3, though I find the music much more mainstream.

- That Bobby Marchand cut is crayzeee. In a good way.

- And that's one of my fave Television tracks too -- the opening guitar riff hook is so damn catchy and effortlessly, langourously cool that it doesn't matter what comes after.

Nothing to add to the list, just wanted to comment on your choices....

J. Loslo said...

My favorite song for grammar-butchering is Santana's "No One to Depend On." The lyrics consist almost entirely of the oft-repeated line "I ain't got nobody that I can depend on," which, it could be argued, squeezes five usage errors into only nine words. Very efficient.

David said...

Ain't no lack of great ain't songs, that's for sure: (Grits Ain't Groceries is one of the best!)
(Ain't That) Good News: Sam Cooke
Ain't That Her: The Remains
Ain't That Enough: Teenage Fanclub
Ain't Nothin' Goin' On but the Rent: Gwen Guthrie
This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us: Sparks
Time Ain't Nothin': Green on Red
This Ain't No Picnic: The Minutemen

Anonymous said...

Ain't That Nothin' is one of the four Television perfect pop classics that never had a chance in heck to get on the charts (others being Venus, Glory, and Days). So modal and harmonically rich, licks to die for, great solos. They turned palm-muting and boogie on their ears. Television were pop geniuses. At this period in their musical journey, they had impossible to ignore songs, great chimey guitars. - AP

David said...

Oh, and on the grammar-butchering tip: while it's hard to top Santana's usage error-to-words ratio, Paul McCartney's infamous "ever-changing world in which we live in" is some kind of defining moment in this much-maligned (and deservedly so) subcategory of pop music arcana.

Brooklyn Girl said...

Oh yeah, and Clarence "Frogman" Henry's "Ain't Got No Home" with it's boldly idiosyncratic assertion of self, "I got a voice. I love to sing. I sing like a frog. I sing like a girl." And just in case you doubted him, he goes ahead and, dammit, sings like a frog and then like a girl -- as if you'd asked him to.

The Band did a great version of that one, too.

"I Ain't Got You" - Yardbirds

Nigel Tufnel said...

Maybe too obvious: Life During Wartime: "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around . . ."

I read that during the early eighties, when Talking Heads had morphed into their world-music phase, they were doing one of their cerebral-funk anthems and someone in the audience shouted, "Hey, this ain't no disco!"

David said...

"I read that during the early eighties, when Talking Heads had morphed into their world-music phase, they were doing one of their cerebral-funk anthems and someone in the audience shouted, "Hey, this ain't no disco!"

I saw Neil Young play at Tanglewood of all places, during his Shocking Pinks phase, and halfway through was prompted to yell out, "Play some Neil Young!!" He closed with "After the Goldrush" at least...

Gummo said...

I saw Neil Young play at Tanglewood of all places, during his Shocking Pinks phase, and halfway through was prompted to yell out, "Play some Neil Young!!"

During that same period, IIRC, Neil was unsuccessfully sued by Geffen Records for making records that weren't "Neil Young enough."

Edward said...

I've been at work all day (savoring my prize) so most of my suggestions have been taken. However:

You Ain't Going Nowhere - (Dylan/Byrds/Band take your pick)

I Ain't Marching Anymore - Phil Ochs (Folk and Rock versions available)

Ain't Going Down To The Well - Tom Waits

Bad Grammar - Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks ("I ain't been lovin you good")

Future Legend - David Bowie ("This Ain't Rock n Roll, This is Genocide")

Just A Gigolo - David Lee Roth (has the I Ain't Got Nobody coda at the end)

geor3ge said...

During that same period, IIRC, Neil was unsuccessfully sued by Geffen Records for making records that weren't "Neil Young enough."

That's almost as absurd as John Fogerty being sued for sounding like himself.

Well, going strictly by the rules, I vote Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright." ("I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind/You coulda done better, but I don't mind.")

If the category, hypothetically, were general bad grammar, I'd vote the same. ("Ain't no use a-turnin' on your light, babe/The light I never knowed.")

MBowen said...

Warren Zevon - "Ain't That Pretty At All" (one of his most gonzo songs, and one of my favorites)

The Walker Brothers - "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" (I'm actually partial to Jules Shear's cover version)

5 Chinese Brothers - If I Ain't Flying (sadly, this is an acoustic house party version - they were better electric)

dave™© said...

Can't believe no one mentioned "Ain't No Sunshine" by Bill Withers.

I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know...

Dave said...

Ahem. Have some respect for your fellow Daves, even those who haven't received trademarks.

Noam Sane said...

10:27 on Sunday night here on Powerpop, and we're only now getting to the Blues Magoos?
Zupwiddat?

In regular rotation on WTRY/Albany, NY late in early 1966, and a fave of a certain 7-year-old hooked on boss radio. Still dig it.