Friday, May 27, 2011

Weekend Listomania (Special Safety in Numbers? Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental erotic storm chaser Fah Lo Suee and I are off to beautiful downtown Richmond, Virginia, home of House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor [R-Soulless Automaton].
Eric Cantor responded to the almost unimaginable destruction visited on Joplin, Missouri by recent extreme weather by saying on Monday that if Congress passes an emergency spending bill to help Missouri’s tornado victims, the extra money will have to be cut from somewhere else.

“If there is support for a supplemental, it would be accompanied by support for having pay-fors to that supplemental,” Mr. Cantor, Virginia Republican, told reporters at the Capitol. The term “pay-fors” is used by lawmakers to signal cuts or tax increases used to pay for new spending.
Damn, that's inspirational, don't you think? In any case, Fah Lo Suee and I plan to show our appreciation and solidarity with the empathy-challenged little putz by ringing his doorbell and running.

That being the case, here's a theoretically amusing little project to help you wile away the desperate hours in our absence:

Supergroup Collaborations Between Musicians That Either Should Be, Should Have Been, or Were But Shouldn't Have!!!

And my totally top of my head Top Five is:

5. KGB

As in singer Ray Kennedy (co-author of "Sail On, Sailor"), blues keyboardist Barry Goldberg, and original American guitar hero Mike Bloomfield on guitar. With Ric Grech and Carmine Appice as the rhythm section, circa 1975. And mostly as mediocre as you might have feared.

4. American Flyer

Craig Fuller from Pure Prairie League, Eric Kaz (morose songwriter of "Love Has No Pride") Steve Katz of Blues Project fame, and Doug Yule from the Velvet Underground. Debut album produced by George Martin, for heaven's sake. And it still didn't work, a minor hit or two notwithstanding.

3. The Unraveling Wilburys

A high-concept supergroup -- specifically, everybody in the band had to be certifiably nuts -- I dreamed up in the early 90s. My candidates were the late Syd Barrett, the late Skip Spence, Brian Wilson, Roky Erickson, Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green and Derek and the Dominoes' Jim Gordon (voices told him to kill his mom with an axe). I don't know if the music would have been any good, but I guarantee the rehearsals would have been a trip.

2. Golden Smog

A shifting line-up of 80s and 90s alt and indie stalwarts on a sort of roots-rock busman's holiday, with Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Big Star drummer Jody Stephens among the most frequent participants. None of their albums has ever really knocked me out, but I'll concede that this Tweedy-sung cover of the Kinks' tune has the real gone spirit.

And the Numero Uno match that should be made in heaven and what the hell are they waiting for, simply has to be....

1. Jeff Beck...



Seriously, this is so fricking obvious I can only assume it's actually been attempted on the sly and didn't pan out for some reason, alas.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

[h/t Gwen DeMarco]


Brooklyn Girl said...

Jeff Beck and Prince ... doing a cover of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag".

pete said...

Souther/Hillman/Furay Band, big yawn.

And Eric Clapton has the distinction of being in both the first real supergroup (and the greatest of them all, it says here) and the first overhyped, underwhelming, in-quotes "supergroup."

I've got a soft spot for Levon Helm's RCO All-Stars, with the three surviving members of Booker T and the MGs, Dr. John, and Paul Butterfield, produced by Ray Charles' producer Henry Glover. RCO stood for "our company."

Butter's other supergroup, Better Days, with Geoff Muldaur, is a stoned-out snooze if you ask me.

A dream team? On drums: Mitch Mitchell; On bass: Ken Forssi from Love; On keys: Garth Hudson; On guitar: John Cippolina; And lead singer...

Wait for it...

...Don Van Vliet.

Faze said...

Swag was a 1990s side project of Doug Powell, Ken Coomer of Wilco, Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick, and Robert Reynolds of the Mavericks. Louise is one of three or four songs from their CD I still enjoy whenever it pops up on the iPod.

As for supergroups that should never have happened, I'd start with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, whose small output of good songs did not justify the breakups of the Byrds, Buffaloes, and Hollies.

J. Loslo said...

I read about American Flyer somewhere & looked & looked & looked for the album & when I finally found it I was really excited. I think I played it once.

I suppose somebody ought to bring up Little Village. I guess my only question is "why wasn't it better?".

Shriner said...

I had a long debate with a friend about the Monkees and how rock music might have changed if the producers had chosen Stephen Stills, Danny Hutton, Bill Chadwick and/or Paul Williams instead of who they chose (or even any of them replacing any of the 4.)

Brooklyn Girl said...

I'm not a huge Led Zep fan, but what if Terry Reid had actually decided to join them instead of trying for a solo career? Or if Jimmy Page hadn't turned down the Yardbirds when they first asked him to join?

Anonymous said...

Ringo's periodic caravans probably come closest to ideal, even if they are greatest hits packages. My personal favorite one-off is Giant Sand/Lisa Germano's "OP8"

Most underachieving combos - Continental Drifters, Tin Machine, Them Crooked Vultures, the Firm, Coverdale Page (one could list all of Page's and Rodger's post- work)

Should have been - all of Hendrix's rumored jazz collaborations (Gil Evans, Miles...)

Gummo said...

There's a recording of a private Prince charity show from 12/31/87 that features guest soloist Miles Davis -- unfortunately Davis only plays for a couple of minutes!

And let's pay tribute to one of the original ad hoc supergroups, the revue George Harrison put together for The Concert for Bangladesh.

And then there's the underwhelming supergroup Pete Townsend put together to try to draw Clapton out of his addicted stupor for The Rainbow Concerts in 1973 (though they sound much better on the bootlegs floating around of those shows than on the original album).

And the original alternative supergroup put together by Kevin Ayers for his infamous June 1, 1974 concert/album: Eno, John Cale, Nico, Robert Wyatt and Mike Oldfield....

The Phantom Creep said...

I say we get the Jonas Brothers together with Death.

I don't mean Death the band (if there is one) -- I mean the actual hooded guy with the scythe.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps not a "Supergroup" but what came to mind, and a rather ambiguous "were but (maybe) shouldn't have" at that: Rockpile. While I enjoyed the album and subsequent concert, they were like a couple who, after years of living together, finally marry and then suddenly break up. Lowe and Edmunds were never quite as fun after that.

TMink said...

I actually like the Monkees. Not to say that they were important, or amazing, but I smile when most of their songs come up on the playlist.

The Harry Nilson, John Lennon album was a kind of a supergrouping but they were so wasted that it hurts to listen to it. Aside from those two the sessions included Ringo, Bobby Keys,Danny Kotchmar, Keith Moon, and Klaus Voorman. Wow! But Harry had a ruptured vocal chord and it sounds that way.


Anonymous said...

Steve, Steve, Steve:

Two words: Continental Drifters. A db, a Bangle, a Cowsill, and one of the mightiest bands on earth if you caught them on the right night.

I remain a huge fan of Chicago's Waco Brothers - who are basically Mekons frontman Jon Langford and a shifting cast of characters who have played with Graham Parker, Ministry, Jesus Jones, and others. (Boozy, brawny country/punk and similarly just the living daylights live if the stars are aligned correctly.)

I couldn't agree more with Faze: Swag's record is a total delight. And CSNY ALL LEFT BETTER BANDS!

(BTW - I agree that Golden Smog's records weren't anything earth-shattering, but they were a total blast the two times I saw them here. You could tell who the Old Guys in the audience were - we were the ones who lost our shit when they played "Subway Train," and encored w. "Revolution Blues." - bill buckner

cthulhu said...

In the "never should have been" camp: the Firm, Asia. These bands infested local radio like bedbugs in the 83-84 timeframe; DDT would have been kinder.

In the "worked like a charm but not well known" camp: Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane's "Rough Mix" disc; mostly gems. And the title track features a pretty kicking lead guitar from Clapton.

In the "who the hell was that" camp: 16 Tons of Monkeys, the short-lived Austin band fronted by Tonio K. and featuring a bunch of Austin legends. There's a live disc available on Gadfly Records; pretty good but not K's best work. It's a helluva band, though.

TMink said...

Spot on about Rough Mix, one of my favorite records. Ronnie's voice could be so gentle, and Peter was really trying some different stuff for him. Between "Street in the City" and "Annie," that record is so important to me.


Anonymous said...

hold on, we're forgetting the forerunner - the Kooper/Bloomfield/Stills "Super Session".

love it? hate it?

goomba said...

McGuinn, Clark and Hillman. Cheesy disco beats, violins and NO 12 STRING!! A travesty.

Anonymous said...

I nominate the Geffen-funded reunion of the Byrds. Not a supergroup in the sense of being spurred by wads of cash by a recording mogul, or maybe it was. It's certainly as disappointing and mediocre as any of the other manufactured supergroups mentioned here (though, sure, it had its moments). Just as members of CSNY all left better groups, so did the members of reunion Byrds. CSN/Y, Dillard & Clark, and the Burritos (all mutations thereof) at least were listenable.


dave™© said...

Another "thumbs up" for Townshend/Lane...

dave™© said...

I think Steverino might have mentioned this "group" before, but in the early 90s, Dave Edmunds (there's that name again!) did a "Rock n Roll Revue" tour featuring the MGs (sans Booker T.) and three - count 'em THREE - vocalists: Graham Parker, Kim Wilson, and Dion! You can hear the show I saw here:

Faze said...

I nominate the Geffen-funded reunion of the Byrds.

Whooooaaa yeaaah ... About the only thing worse, was the Hollies reunion of the 1980s.

Gwen DeMarco said...

What ... no love for "We Are The World", with each person trying to out-sincere the next?

Billy B said...

KGB was a waste. I had that on 8 track. I don't think I made it all the way thru the tape more than a couple of times.


Billy B said...

The Small Faces reunion circa 1977 was pretty weak.

steve simels said...

Weak wasn't the word, alas.

Anonymous said...

what about the Mill Valley Bunch?

Bloomfield either spent his time scoring junk or playing in "super groups." Or playing junk with super groups.

btw Rick Jaeger and Russ Dashiell were on Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky."

Thomas Paine said...

Steve, Steve, Steve:

Alright. I can accept a "Steve, Steve, Steve." But let's not venture into


territory, okay?

swboy said...

A few singers were considered to front the following groups: Tracy Nelson and Jefferson Airplane, Stephen Stills and Blood Sweat and Tears, Terry Reid and Led Zeppelin, Bos Scaggs and the Who and (according to Keith Emerson)
Hendrix joins Emerson Lake & Palmer
and the group becomes "HELP". This last one seems more like a joke, on many levels actually. Seems Ginger Baker is available to join the Who or Led Zep now... :^)