Friday, April 03, 2015

Weekend Listomania's Greatest Hits: Special The Right Tool for the Job! Edition

[This one dates originally from 2009, a period which, ironically enough, predates my return to actively playing a musical instrument, let alone making alleged music in the company of other people. As is my wont, I've done some editing and re-writing, plus I've added a new entry just for shits and giggles. Please try to enjoy.-- S.S.]

Most Memorable Post-Elvis Song or Record Referencing a Musical Instrument in the Title or Lyrics!!!

No arbitrary rules this time, you're welcome very much. Seriously -- no arbitrary rules. Anything goes as far as I'm concerned.

Oh, actually there IS one arbitrary rule. No "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" or "Squeezebox."

Just because.

And my totally top of my head Top Eight is:

8. The Mothers of Invention -- My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama

Still not much of a Zappa fan, but I've always loved that title, and in any case the song I actually wanted to use in this slot -- "Guitar" by Prince -- isn't on YouTube for obvious reasons.

7. Jimmy Silva and the Goats -- A Tin Whistle and a Wooden Drum

I know very little about Silva except that he was involved with the whole Young Fresh Fellows axis of Northwest coolness and that apparently he died not too long after making the album this particular ecstatically Byrdsian song appears on. The rest of the record's really great, BTW.

6. Tom Waits -- The Piano Has Been Drinking

Waits in '77, toward the end of his initial Beatnik period, and pretty damned funny.

5. The Tokens -- I Hear Trumpets Blow

I must confess to having a soft spot for these guys that goes way beyond "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (get me drunk sometime and I'll bore you with my theory that their gorgeous Carole King-penned "He's in Town" is a major influence on the sound of Springsteen's E-Street Band). This one, one of the very best Brill Building blue collar romantic ballads of the 60s, is another of my real faves.

4. Mike Oldfield -- Tubular Bells

Is it cool to admit liking this again? I've lost track. In any case, Philip Glass and all his subsequent minimalist stuff can frankly bite me.

4. Joni Mitchell -- For Free

A great song about a clarinet player, as unlikely as that sounds. Truly gorgeous, but it has much to answer for, perhaps, when you consider Joni later hired the appalling Tom Scott and the fricking L.A. Express to back her up.

3. The Aliens -- Theremin

A pretty cool tune, even if it doesn't feature the titular instrument. I actually discovered these guys on a MOJO sampler back in the day, and they had a couple of really good songs, although a quick Google search suggests they may currently be toiling at the 21st century equivalent of the car wash.

2. Cheap Trick -- Mandocello

Rick Nielsen's ode to the theoretically obsolete title instrument, and one of the very best songs on their epochal debut album.

And the numero uno "A Tinkling Piano in the Next Room" tune obviously is --

1. Roy Montrell and His Band-- That Mellow Saxophone

This is one of those records that I can't conceive of anybody being able to listen to without smiling. And I do not know this for a fact, but if I were a betting man I'd put serious money down to say that the drummer kicking serious ass on this is the great Earl Palmer.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?


Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Cello Song by Nick Drake. To my ears, this song is Nick's most gorgeous. Which, in a catalog like his is really saying something. Fun facts via this great site called wiki-something. Danny Thompson played bass (we probably all knew that), but the conga player was Rocky Dzidzornu. The same Rocky who played congas on Sympathy for the Devil. How frickin' cool is that factoid?


edward said...

Yakity Sax - Boots Randolph
Chimes of Freedom - Byrds
Mr Tamborine Man - Byrds
Green Tamborine - Lemon Pipers
Dueling Banjos - Eric Weisberg
Dueling Tubas - Martin Mull
Piano Man - Billy (ackk) Joel
Drums-a-go-go - the Hollywood Persuaders
Bang A Gong - T-Rex
Sax and Violins - Talking Heads

gotta go now

ninotchka said...

the happy organ- dave baby cortez

cthulhu said...

John Hiatt - Perfectly Good Guitar
Chris Whitley - Ball Peen Hammer (well, it's a certain kind of instrument...)
The Who - I'm One ("I got a Gibson / without a case")
Pete Townshend - Sheraton Gibson (did the Who record this one? I'm too lazy to look)
The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again ("pick up my guitar and play")

and Steve, I'll never understand your antipathy to Squeeze Box; I think it's a perfectly charming song, especially Townshend's original demo (which can be found on his first "Scoop" demo collection).

steve simels said...

Just being difficult -- I actually like Squeezebox just fine.

Blue Ash Fan said...

One Guitar -- Willie Nile
House of a Thousand Guitars -- Willie Nile
All the Way from Memphis -- Mott The Hoople (Forgot my six-string razor)
Another Guitar -- The Rainmakers
Talent Show -- The Replacements (We got our guitars and we got our thumb picks)

That's all I can think of right now.

Anonymous said...

Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan
Bang a Gong (Get It On) - T. Rex
Mr. Tambourine Man - Dylan, The Byrds
Different Drum - Stone Poneys
Piano Man - Billy Joel
The Happy Organ - Dave "Baby" Cortez
That Old Beat Up Guitar - Jerry Jeff Walker (Didn't look like too much. Just a Roy Smeck Stage Deluxe.
Mandolin Wind - Rod Stewart
Green Tambourine - The Lemon Pipers
Mission Bell - Donnie Brooks, FLeetwood Mac
Bang the Drum All Day - Todd Rundgren
Play Guitar - John Mellenhead
Bongo Rock - Preston Epps
Guitar Man - Jerry Reed

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie
Rock and Roll Never Forgets - Bob Seger
The Fiddle and the Drum - Joni Mitchell
Red House - Jimi Hendrix

Vickie Rock

Billy B said...

Guitar Man - Bread


Anonymous said...

Let It Bleed - Rolling Stones

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Starfucker - Rolling Stones
Me & My Guitar - Freddie King
All the Way From Memphis - Mott the Hoople

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Oh, and finally,

Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry

Vickie Rock - gotta rustle up some breakfast

Shriner said...

Little Guitars -- Van Halen

pete said...

Paul Simon's "Lincoln Duncan" with the line "I was playing my guitar/Underneath the stars/Just thanking the Lord for my fingers."

Steely Dan - Deacon Blues "Learn to work the saxophone"

Anonymous said...

Anything That's Rock 'N' Roll - Tom Petty
Guitar Town - Steve Earle
Are You Experienced - Jimi Hendrix Experience (and the resulting Patti Smith Elegie)
Loving Cup - Rolling Stones
Shooting Star - Bad Company
Guitar - Cake
Jaded Strumpet - Steppenwolf
Just What the Doctor Ordered - Ted Nugent
California Man - The Move (Cheap Trick)
N.S.U. - Cream
Me & Bobby McGee - Kris Kristofferson (Janis Joplin; Grateful Dead)
Hey Harmonica Man - Stevie Wonder

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Those Were the Days - Cream
Margaritaville - Jimmy Buffett
Bad Company - Bad Company
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
Run Rudolph Run - Chuck Berry (Keith Richards)
Guitars, Cadillacs - Dwight Yoakam
Shut Up 'N Play Yer Guitar - Frank Zappa
Parker's Band - Steely Dan
Takin' Care of Business - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
2112 - Rush
Cities On Flame With Rock & Roll - Blue Oyster Cult

Vickie Rock - off to Solana Beach to get my Karl Denson groove on

Anonymous said...

And no list would be complete without the mighty Zep

Going To California - Led Zeppelin
Four Sticks - Led Zeppelin
In My Time of Dying - Led Zeppelin

Vickie Rock - cleaning the peyote for tonight, guess I'll do my eyes in the car

Anonymous said...

This Old Guitar - Neil Young

Vickie Rock - forgot my shoes

Anonymous said...

Ballad of Curtis Lowe - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Thunder Road, Rosalita - The Butt

Vickie Rock - thought of these on the drive down

Anonymous said...

Ronnie & Neil - Drive-by Truckers
Be My Lover - Alice Cooper
Hey Hey What Can I Do - Led Zeppelin
Hell's Bells - AC/DC
The Living Bubba - Drive-by Truckers
Doing That Scrapyard Thing - Cream
Blinded By the Light - The Butt
They Call It Rock & Roll - Delaney & Bonnie
Superstar (Groupie) - Delaney & Bonnie; Carpenters; Rita Coolidge
Down On the Corner - Creedence
Ashgrove - Dave Alvin
Champagne Jam; Georgia Rhythm - Atlanta Rhythm Section
Wind Chimes - Beach Boys
Guitar Blues - Eddie Cochran

And my enduring love/hate relationship with the Dead continues

Ripple - Grateful Dead
Mountains of the Moon - Grateful Dead
The Music Never Stopped - Grateful Dead
Stella Blue - Grateful Dead
China Cat Sunflower - Grateful Dead
China Doll - Grateful Dead

Great songs warts and all

Vickie Rock - ever changing Woman and spiritual ally enjoying the high octane ride with sweet Mescalito in an abalone dream

Mark said...

Here are more numbers with musical instruments in the song titles.

Leave My Guitar Alone (2015) Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds on CHASING YESTERDAY
Guitar Interple (2015) R. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner on MAKE IT BE (a great album)
Red Guitars And Silver Tambourines (2014) The Cleaners From Venus on EXTRA WAGES (a great album)
Lonely Eighty Eight (Piano Charm) (2014) Jill Sobule on DOTTIE’S CHARMSS
Teardrop Guitar (2013) Crocodiles on CRIMES OF PASSION

True Shred Guitar (2013) Sleigh Bells on REIGN OF TERROR
So Many Electric Guitars (2012) Young Fresh Fellows on TIEMPO DE LUJO
Guitar Hero (2011) Johnny Hallyday on JAMAIS SEUL
Red’s Piano (2011) NRBQ on KEEP THIS LOVE GOIN’
Piano Lessons (2010) A Sunny Day in Glasgow on NITETIME RAINBOWS

Playing Her Guitar (2008) Parthenon Huxley on DELUXE
Pink Piano (2007) The Hong Kong on SLOW MOTION GETS AROUND
Luther Played Guitar (2001) Stan Ridgway on BLACK DIAMOND (a great album)
Play For The Piano (2001) The Dismemberment Plan on CHANGE
Senseless Violins (1994) Sparks as above

Love Saxophone (1994) The Zimmermans on CUT (Jonathan Spottiswoode vocal)
Guitar Man (1990) The Jesus And Mary Chain on Various Artists: THE LAST TEMPTATION OF ELVIS
Blow Your Tuneless Trumpet (1989) Mekons on ROCK ‘N’ ROLL (a great album)
Girl With A Guitar (1986) Game Theory on BIG SHOT CHRONICLES
Grande Piano (1971) Stackridge on STACKRIDGE (the band’s first)

Anonymous said...

addenda never-end-a

The Guitar - Guy Clark
Strawberry Flats - Little Feat
Crying Steel Guitar Waltz - Marty Robbins
Free Form Guitar - Chicago Transit Authority
Jemima Surrender - The Band
Tripe Face Boogie - Little Feat
Dixie Chicken - Little Feat
Tennessee Flat Top Box - Johnny Cash/Rosanne Cash
Midnight Lightning - Jimi Hendrix
Penthouse Pauper - Creedence
Lookin' Out My Back Door - Creedence
Roll Um Easy - Little Feat (play the concertina, be a temptress, and baby I'm defenseless)

Vickie Rock - gotta hoist your flag and I'll beat your drum

Anonymous said...

Keep Playin' That Rock 'N' Roll - Edgar Winter's White Trash

Headin' for Pioneertown, Vickie Rock - After Midnight it's all gonna be peaches and cream, baby, we're gonna shake your tambourine

Danny said...

Tom Waits lives on the corner of Bedlam and Squalor. Who knew we were neighbors?

Anonymous said...

Tilt Billings and the Student Prince - Leo Kottke

Anonymous said...

Glaring Omission:

Jail Guitar Doors - The Clash


Eddy Vortex - Steve Gibbons Band
Tupelo, Mississippi Flash - Jerry Reed (Steve Gibbons too)
Distant Drums - Roy Orbison; Jim Reeves

Most disappointing:

Guitar and Pen - The Who (Entwistle's disco bass bits suck and that's not all)

Most annoying:

Rock Brigade - Def Leppard
The Marshall Plan - Blue Oyster Cult
Juke Box Hero - Foreigner
Money For Nothing - Dire Straits

Vickie Rock - Lord it's tough when you're living with the dream of a Drummer Man

John F said...

glad to see that "Jail Guitar Doors" made it to the list; "Sax & Violins" is an overlooked gem; and love "All the Way from Memphis"

my suggestions
Hoodoo Gurus - "Mars Needs Guitars!", off of Mars Needs Guitars!. Not the best tune, but a great album.
The Stone Roses - "She Bangs the Drums", off of The Stone Roses. A reminder of the pre-Nirvana 90's; probably my favorite on this album.
Fountains of Wayne - "Hat and Feet", off of Utopia Parkway. ("like a falling piano, from out of the window")
Liz Phair - "Jealousy", off of Whip-Smart. ("he's got a 37 year-old guitar")
Neko Case - "Ragtime", off of The Worse Things Get…. ("the piano's playin' 'Summertime'")
Prince - "Housequake", off of Sign O' The Times. ("the kick drum is the fault")
They Might Be Giants - "Violin" - a truly silly song from No!.
Sleater-Kinney - "Words and Guitar" - from Dig Me Out.

Mark said...

@John F

She Bangs The Drum by The Stone Roses is a great, great song AND a buzzy masterpiece in line with the best of the early Byrds, Blue Ash, Big Star, The Records and others.

steve simels said...

Don't know that one, but I'll check it out on your tip...

Anonymous said...

Heavy Duty - Spinal Tap

Vickie Rock

Alzo said...

Jonathan Richman: Fender Stratocaster
Arrows: Bongo Party
Roy Wood: When Gran'ma Plays the Banjo
New Order: Bizarre Love Triangle

Anonymous said...

Bongo Rock - Preston Epps

Anonymous said...

The Golden Age of Rock 'N' Roll - Mott the Hoople
So You Want To Be a Rock 'N' Roll Star - The Byrds
Honky Tonk Heroes - Billy Joe Shaver/Waylon Jennings
Dance To the Music - Sly & the Family Stone
London Homesick Blues - Gary P. Nunn & the Lost Gonzo Band
One of the Boys - Mott the Hoople
Torn and Frayed - The Rolling Stones
My Old Man - Jerry Jeff Walker
The Southern Thing - Drive-by Truckers
Walking In Memphis - Marc Cohn
Nantucket Sleighride - Mountain
They Call Me Guitar Hurricane - Stevie Ray Vaughan
The Load Out/Stay - Jackson Browne
Stoney - Jerry Jeff Walker
Mandolin Rain - Bruce Hornsby
Six Strings Away - Waylon Jennings
Rock Me Roll Me - Gary P. Nunn & the Lost Gonzo Band
Ride Me Down Easy - Billy Joe Shaver
Honaloochie Boogie - Mott the Hoople
To Live Is To Fly - Blaze Foley/Townes Van Zandt/Merle Haggard

Vickie Rock - Shake the dust off of your wings - the tears out of your eyes. When it's breakfast in bed, never eat and run. Sing those love songs in the shower. Drown in warm narcotic pleasure. Ravish in the glorious rain. Please me. Pretty please me. It's so easy. Pretty please me. Pretty please me right. Pretty please me with sugar on top. Cuz I know what I want. And I want it right now, while electric guitars are playin' way up loud.

Anonymous said...

Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods - Bill Kirchen
Crazy Country Hop - Johnny Otis
Gypsy - Van Morrison
Guitars and Women - Rick Derringer
Gold Top - Supersuckers
Getting In Tune - The Who
Guitar Shop - Jeff Beck
Desire - U2
Steel Guitar Rag - John Fahey
Pawnshop Guitars - Gilby Clarke
God's Good Sunshine - Mother Truckers
Emma Jean's Guitar - Chely Wright
Guitarzan - Ray Stevens
Deadwood and Wire - Buddy Whittington
Call Me Up In Dreamland - Van Morrison
Sister Luck - Black Crowes
Killing Me Softly With His Song - Roberta Flack/Lori Lieberman
Rosebud - Ryan Adams
Lucille - B.B. King
Girls With Guitars - Wynonna Judd
Cracklin' Rose - Neil Diamond
Anyone Can Play Guitar - Radiohead
There's Only One Way to Rock - Sammy Hagar
Master of Disaster - John Hiatt
Cherry - Amy Winehouse
Rainy Night In Georgia - Tony Joe White/Brook Benton
Mygeetah - My Morning Jacket
Cool Guitar - Jimmy Thackery
King Creole - Elvis Presley
Beat Up Old Guitar - Shemekia Copeland
I've Got a Rock 'N' Roll Heart - Eric Clapton
Ghost In This Guitar - The Ranch featuring Keith Urban
When a Guitar Plays the Blues - Roy Buchanan/Albert Collins
All American Boy - Bobby Bare
Fender Champ - Buddy Whittington

Wurst: with an umlaut

Love and Death and an American Guitar - Jim Steinman

Vickie Rock - I got blisters on my fingers!

Once there was a time I'd rob my mama for a good meal and a smoke. Once there was a time I'd sell my brother for a dollar when I was broke. But I'd never sell my guitar and my strings were always sharp. 'Cause if I don't have a guitar I'll be strumming on some angels harp. And if I don't get to heaven and I go down there below, better be a guitar when I get there or I'll refuse to go. Once there was a time I was hungry and I'd find my food in some bin. But I'd never sell my guitar 'cause that would, darling, that would be a sin.