Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekend Listomania (Special Better Late Than Never! Audio/Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my beautiful Oriental pneumaticist Fah Lo Suee and I are off to...

Sorry. Given the weather here in the Paris of the Tri-State Metropolitan Area, once again I just don't have the energy to make the obligatory joke about the Rightwing Shithead du Jour.

Although the guy who wrote that piece in in the current issue of TIME, which says Rush Limbaugh may have a point about the Gulf oil spill not being such a big deal, should really rot in hell. IMHO.

In any case, supposedly the weather's going to be nicer over the weekend. And while we wait, here's a (hopefully) fun little project for us all, and for a change I'm almost positive I've never done anything exactly like it before.

Post-Elvis Album/Album Track/Song/Single You Discovered Long After the Fact and Immediately Wondered How You had Lived Without It!!!

And my totally top of my head Top Six is...

6. Sonic's Rendezvous Band -- City Slang

SRB, of course, being a sort of Detroit supergroup featuring ex MC5 guitarist Fred Smith and several other worthies. I'd heard of the single, which came out in 1978, for years, but didn't get around to listening to it until fairly recently. Needless to say, the damn thing is pretty much hard rock at its most intense, and god only knows what I was waiting for.

5. Candy Butchers -- You Belong to Me Now

The most seraphically beautiful love song of the last decade; it came out in 2002, but I didn't hear it until Kid Charlemagne clued me in here. Have I mentioned that the production on this is stellar as well? That I would kill to have come up with the bass part? That the guitar solo is to die for? And that Mike Viola's singing just breaks my heart?

This is a perfect record, is what I think I'm hinting at.

4. Los Shakers -- Always You

The Beatles of Uruguay, and every bit as good as anything by their role models, IMHO. I got hipped to this one courtesy, once again, of Kid Charlemagne, and I have to say -- of all the great songs I've discovered since NYMary gave me the spare set of keys to this place, this is the one that means the most to me.

3. You Am I --Mr. Milk

First heard this one (which dates from 1996) sometime around 2003, over the sound system at NYCD, the late lamented (and still the coolest in history) indie record store on Manhattan's upper West Side run by our pal Sal Nunziato (currently the proprietor of the indispensable Burning Wood). How the best Australian band since the Easybeats had previously gotten by me remains a mystery I may never solve, but I am in forever in Sal's debt for having played this one loud.

2. Sam Cooke -- Night Beat

It sounds, deliberately, like a late night blues/soul/gospel jam session at a small smoke-filled club, and it's probably the greatest pop music album of the last fifty years that most people still don't know about. Cooke cut it for his own label in 1963 and it went out of print pretty much immediately; the American CD reissue from 2001 (which is when I first heard it) got pulled due to legal wrangling (love that Allen Klein) almost as quickly.

And the Numero Uno Where Have You Been All My Life? classic actually has to be...

1. The Cat's Meow -- La La Lu.

Just found this 1966 garage rock gem (which definitely should have been a radio hit) the other day; apparently, it's fairly well known in Nuggets circles, but I'd never run across it before. In any case, a simply wonderful piece of Revolver-ish bubblegum punk; the band was from Staten Island, if that's at all germane, and you can read a fun interview with their lead guitar player and catch some cool period photos over here.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: best dramatic film with a plot line ripped from the headlines -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, I would take it as a personal favor if you could shlep over there and leave something snarky in the comments section. Thanks.]


Unknown said...

First, much like Steve has acknowledged Kid Charlemagne, I must give credit to this wonderful blog, which has been instrumental in many WHYBAML? moments (see below). Second, I’m not counting everything from the 60’s/early 70’s that I ‘discovered’ as a teen in the late 70’s/early 80’s -

Number 1, Top of the Charts, has to be the Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” – which, amazingly enough, I only heard (or recall hearing) for the first time in =2006= ! (I had checked ‘Kink Kronikles’ out of the library.) How this happened I can’t explain, except to say that, this has to be the most searing indictment of commercial radio I can think of – I’ve listened fairly regularly since the late 70’s, and, somehow, never heard this song. And it is quite possibly the most wonderful pop song ever recorded.

“Ballad of El Goodo” – Big Star. Got the double CD in the mid 90’s. No further explanation necessary here.

Rough Mix – Pete Townshend & Ronnie Lane. What an album! To me, it comes off as almost intimate, like you just happened to stumble in through the back door on these guys, having fun playing around with some great tunes. Got this used, on vinyl, probably in the late 80’s, and I still go back to it all the time.

“Free Nelson Mandela” – the Special AKA. Heard for the first time as a cover in a Berkeley, CA club in the early 90’s. Amazingly melds a serious subject together with one of the great dance tunes of all time.

And, the Powerpop-inspired candidates are:
“Psychotic Reaction” by the Count Five
“Win or Lose” by Lew Lewis Reformer
“We Won’t Sleep Tonight” by the Blade
and especially
“Creatures of Habit” by Knots and Crosses

Faze said...

Love 'em all! Thanks for sharing. I'd heard the Los Shakers song before, but it never jumped out at me until now. The Beatles used Latin rhythms so often. "Always You" reflects those rhythms back from their roots.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Box Of Rain" - The Grateful Dead. I spent 35 years fighting to stay as far away from this band as possible. This was because I couldn't stop focusing on the terrible drumming and vocals of Bob Weir.

Once I learned to just focus on Jerry Garcia, I found a new band to appreciate. And "Box Of Rain" became that song you are asking about.

Sal Nunziato said...

Oh...and thanks for the plug, though it may have been an employee who was cranking You Am I, though I didn't protest. ;)

Michael said...

Van Morrison's recording of Dylan's It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.
First heard on a German import in the late 70's.
I paid way more than I could afford for the vinyl only to have it stolen by a girl that turned my head.
The keyboard riff is so good I don't mind that Beck stole it for Jack Ass.

TMink said...

Ivy. I am buying up everything I can find of theirs now, but where was I when they first put that great stuff out?

I already did that with Fountains of Wayne, thanks to you guys!

OK, this is stretching it a bit, but The Beatles Mono box set has changed my life a little. I don't have the cash to buy minty vinyl of the mono releases, so the box set opened my eyes afresh to the lads.


J. Loslo said...

I just discovered Arthur Alexander a couple of years ago, and I think he's criminally under-appreciated. For favorite tracks, I'd go with "In the Middle of All" and "Every Day I Have to Cry."

Brooklyn Girl said...

"Box Of Rain" - The Grateful Dead. I spent 35 years fighting to stay as far away from this band as possible. This was because I couldn't stop focusing on the terrible drumming and vocals of Bob Weir.

I actively resisted the Dead until 1972, when a friend of mine got me stoned and insisted I listen to "Not Fade Away/Going Down the Road Feeling Bad", after which I said, "Well, when you're high, they're pretty good."

I didn't really discover U2's "Achtung Baby" as an entire album until a couple of years ago, although I was obviously familiar with several of the songs. But, as an album, it's absolutely seamless.

Anonymous said...

cds sitting by the pc right now:

I didn't catch up with the Drive By Truckers until their 7th album, Blessing and a Curse, despite their heavy touring thru the south. Pretty much play them non-stop now, and even watch the ACL dvd on repeat. They maintain a great website with commentaries on and selected tracks from each of their releases.

I dismissed Bettie Serveert for a long time as just another indie act w/ a chick singer (seemed like there was a wave of them at that time - Veruca Salt, Cranberries, Darling Buds...), then a friend gave me a cassette of Private Suit and i became a convert.

David said...

I recently discovered X's "Fourth of July" while gathering songs about the 4th and I wonder how I missed it. And like you, Steve, I only heard "City Slang" pretty recentl and I also consider it indispensable. Kind of in a similar vein I'd add "Dancing Madly Backward" by Captain Beyond, and while we're on the subject of Captains, "T-Shirt 69" by Captain Soul from a 2001 LP is as gorgeous and swooning as anything a Big Star/Teenage Fanclub-sounding outfit could hope to achieve. Plus, there's about a dozen songs you've either posted here or sent to me on Simels mixes that have enriched my musical soul, so thanks, and please keep up the fine work.

Noam Sane said...

Lee Dorsey. For the longest time I assumed he was another of those old-timey novelty singers, based on "Coal Mine". How very wrong I was.

steve simels said...

Noam --

Allen Toussaint famously said:

"If a smile had a sound, it would be Lee Dorsey."

Couldn't agree more with both of you.

Noam Sane said... the way, absolute killer batch o' tunes this week, Steve. Might have to pick up a Candy Butchers CD...are they consistently that wonderful?

Maude Lange said...

City Slang - most definitely.
(How was that band/song not huge?)

Apropos Spanish-speaking Beatles acolytes, what about Spain' Los Brincos? They deserve a post of their own, at the very least.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Candy Butchers CD...are they consistently that wonderful?"

My two cents--

For every 5 amazing and wonderful Candy Butchers tunes, there are 5 that could be any one of the nameless/faceless MTV hard pop acts of the 90s.

jackd said...

The last song that just reached out and grabbed my ears was Miracle Legion's "With a Wish". Something about the guitar sound - the production rather than any outstanding musicianship - just pressed a little button in my head that left me going "oh, yeah".

Noam Sane said...

For every 5 amazing and wonderful Candy Butchers tunes, there are 5 that could be any one of the nameless/faceless MTV hard pop acts of the 90s.

Well, Ted Williams could only manage .406, I'll give 'em a try.

David Rasmussen said...

Jilted John (^2)
Jan and Dean (Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book / Review, and Timing Association)

Both infected me long after everyone else knew them.

MBowen said...

I came late to the Drive-By Truckers party as well. Something about the reviews for Southern Rock Opera made me think it was a smirky spoof, like The Coolies. I finally caught up with them via a song on one of those Britmag cover CDs a couple of years ago and discovered I was missing the best straight-up rock-and-roll band of the last twenty years or so.

Sal Nunziato said...

Well, Ted Williams could only manage .406, I'll give 'em a try.

Put me in my place!


Michael said...

Used Emusic to cherry pick my faves from "Play With Your Headby" after hearing You Belong To Me Now. Sal has it right, 4 of 11.

Anonymous said...

Hope I'm not the last one to the party, as usual, but may have the oldest song here. Right now, go listen to Bo Diddley's "Down Home Special" from 1956. You will, as I did, realize that everything you know about early rock and roll is wrong, and that maybe, just maybe, old Bo wasn't bitter just about royalties and ripoffs-- maybe he really did invent rock and roll---

--or you'll just get to rediscover one of the hardest rocking, tightest played, amazingly sung (how does a song start out as a novelty and become so damn moving?), just plain alive songs ever made, Bo and the group are just on fire here-- the music is so off-handedly intricate.

Nosmo King

dave™© said...

There's a whole bunch I missed the first time around, mainly because I was too young. But I remember specifically getting "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" stuck in my head around 1975 - can't really remember if I'd heard it before that or just noticed it then - and forcing a friend who could drive down to the Tower Records in the next town 30 miles over to search their vast bins of 45s for it. I had a similar epiphany a few years earlier when the local "boss radio" outlet kept playing cuts from Spector's "Christmas Gift to You" - I know I hadn't heard those before and I was in awe. To round out our Phil Spector trilogy, I didn't hear the original Tina Turner "River Deep" until around 75-76 either - finally got it on a Spector greatest hits import.

Anonymous said...

with all the crooks on display at the Clinton wedding, Charlie "AC Powell" Rangel, "drain the swamp Pelosi" and on and on you're still looking for a right-wing shithead du jour?

Let's just say they're all crooks. There, that wasn't hard was it?

And maybe come to the conclusion that no, the late KKK Robert Byrd just giving his constituents what they wanted (and to hang onto his power for 40 plus years) wasn't a good idea or forgivable.

If you're truly honest with yourself you'll see them for what they are and not be dazzled by what's on their ipod.

And the Cat's Meow tune you picked put me to sleep; you should have picked "House of Kicks."

Alex said...

The Young Fresh Fellows. Pretty much anything by the Young Fresh Fellows.

Noam Sane said...

you're still looking for a right-wing shithead du jour?

it appears we've found him.

steve simels said...

Indeed we may have.

with all the crooks on display at the Clinton wedding, Charlie "AC Powell" Rangel, "drain the swamp Pelosi" and on and on you're still looking for a right-wing shithead du jour?

Anonymous should get back to me when anybody in that list has, say, advocated secession. Or has tried to smear a hero of the Civil Rights movement as a racist. Or claimed global warming is a hoax. Or suggested that Obama should be stripped of his citzenship over some crackpot theory involving his acceptance of the Nobel Prize. Or claimed that unemployment benefits make unemployed people lazy. Or...

Well, I could go on, obviously.

Anonymous said...

Props for the You Am I mention. "Hourly, Daily" (on which Mr Milk features) is brilliant from start to finish.

Also a fan of "#4 Record" (the title is a nod to Big Star), it is definitely worth your attention if you don't already have a copy. Check out this live version of "What I Don't Know About You", the first single off the record - - it's awesome.