Thursday, June 30, 2016

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Metamucil

Going to see Paul Simon tonight (at the newly open for business Forest Hills Stadium) who, it occurs to me somewhat surprisingly, I have never seen in concert in all my years in showbiz.

It also occurs to me that the very first record I ever bought with my own lunch money, back in 1957, was this Everly Brothers-derived piece of teen dreck... Paul and the other guy doing business as Tom and Jerry.

Man, I feel old today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special And Speaking of Gorgeous Edition

From 2016, and The Art of McCartney tribute album, please enjoy Jeff Lynne and his absolutely exquisite version of Paul's unfortunately monikered classic "Junk."

The album itself is as uneven (and frankly unnecessary) as those sorts of things usually are, but there are a couple of high points, and this is one of them. "Junk" is actually my favorite lesser known McCartney song of all time, and listening to Lynne's take on it recently reminded me, as I need to be reminded every now and then, of just what a fantastic songwriter Paul was at his peak.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Programming Notes From All Over

Well, once again, 'll be guesting on my pal Capt. Al's intertube radio show LOST AT SEA today at fabulous AREA 24 RADIO. And there's nothing any of you bastards can do to stop me!!!

Beginning at 5pm east coast time and continuing for two glorious hours, I'll be playing some genuinely wacky shit -- yes, there's going to be a theme of sorts -- and I am also informed that Capt. Al has discovered the Rosetta Stone of The Kinks' great version of "Milkcow Blues." So there'll be some surprises even for me.

And speaking of surprises, our extra special guest The Long Distance Comedian© will be calling up from who knows where toward the end of the first hour -- hilarity, no doubt, will ensue.

You can listen to it stream at the link HERE.

And we'll be giving out my e-mail addy throughout the show; feel free to make requests, threats, or just say hi -- we get lonely in the studio.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Tales That Witness Madness

From 1963, and his second(!) solo album, please enjoy the great Morey Amsterdam...

...and a song (much beloved of my youth) whose title perhaps best encapsulates my current worldview -- the immortal "Yuk-a-Puk."

I've actually been trying to track down that one, whose provenance I had completely forgotten, for ages; finding it the other day, of course, only reinforced my long-held belief that YouTube is the greatest contribution to human scholarship since the Library at Alexandria.

In any case, don't give me any grief about it posting it, or else I may decide to devote the remainder of this week solely to borscht-belt humor and novelty songs from the '60s.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Weekend Listomania (Special The Name of the [Axl] Rose Edition)

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manual catharsis engineer campaign strategist Fah Lo Suee and I will be off to Trump Tower in Manhattan, where we plan to ring Donald Tiny Hands' doorbell and run, as often as we can get away with it.

That being the case, posting will obviously be out of the question for a couple of days. So to wile away the hours until we return (or raise bail, which ever comes first) here's a fun little project for us all:

Best (Never Actually Used By Anybody Before in Real Life) Band Name That You Would Use Now If You Were Actually to Start a Band!!!

Given the inherent ridiculousness of the premise, there will be no arbitrary rules enforced this week. So just go for it!

And my totally Top of My Head Top Three are:

3. Ziggy Simels and the Gay Guys From Outer Space

As you can see from the above photo, I was actually considering using that one back in the 70s. It still has a ring to it, I think.

2. Les Poseurs

For the obvious reason that the above photo would make a great album cover.

And the number one best band name of all time that's never been used (to our knowledge), it's no contest so don't even try to top it, indisputably is...

1. Lynyrd Byrnstyn

(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd...oh well, you know.)

Alrighty then -- what would your candidates be?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

An Early Clue to the New Direction: Special Caught With the Meat in Your Mouth Edition

From sometime in the early '80s, please enjoy -- if at all possible -- irrepressible downtown No Wave avant-garde faves Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and their totally wiggy ode to whatever the hell it is "I Woke Up Dreaming."

A coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who gleans the song's relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania. Although I'm not holding my breath.

And also to anybody who gets the reference in today's sub-title, which seems more likely.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Okay, Perhaps Not One of My Most Popular Theories

From 1968: Here's singer/songwriter Joey Levine -- with uncredited studio musicians, their identities lost in the mists of time and history, doing business as The Ohio Express -- and the breakthrough bubblegum hit "Yummy Yummy Yummy."

And now perhaps you're wondering -- why did I post that?

Well, as you may have noticed, the above is a sort-of mono version, re-jiggered (at great personal expense) by my friend Steve Schwartz from the commercially available stereo album cut. With as much of the information on the right stereo channel removed as is technologically feasible.

Which is to say that most of the vocals are gone. So you that can hear, pretty much anyway, just the band. Whoever they were.

And as I've been telling people for decades now, to my ears, without the goofy singing, what's left is as tough a rock instrumental track as anybody has ever made. I'm talking Rolling Stones or Velvet Underground tough here.

I should add that I originally posted about this back in 2009, but obviously the DivShare link has vanished, so I thought it might be nice to annoy people over this issue again.

In any case -- you're welcome. And turn it up!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Closed for Monkey Business

You don't want to know.

But seriously, folks, normal posting -- and yes, there's gonna be a brand new Weekend Listomania on Friday, and you'll just plotz -- resumes on the morrow.

Monday, June 20, 2016

White Boys Getting Down to the Heart of Hep (An Occasional Series)

From 1966, please enjoy eclectic singer/songwriter Tom Rush and his sprightly cover of Buddy Holly's wonderful "Love's Made a Fool of You."

Rush has always been my favorite of the first generation of 60s folkies, in part because, as you can hear, he was the least doctrinaire. In any case, after seeing Al Kooper live last week, I remembered that he had produced the above album for Rush, and that it was one of the first examples of one of the aforementioned folkies treating the Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs of their youth as, essentially, folk music. I'd had the album on LP back in the day, but hadn't thought about it (or listened to it) in years. So I snagged a CD reissue and was pleasantly surprised to find that it holds up pretty well. The thing isn't exactly what you'd call a classic, but as period pieces go it's highly listenable (and the version of Bo's "Who Do You Love" kicks a surprising amount of ass).

Incidentally, on the Holly song, that's producer Kooper on celesta, an instrument that, of course, figures prominently on the actual Buddy's classic hit "Everyday."

Friday, June 17, 2016

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Pretty Fly for a White Chick Edition

From 1987, please enjoy the incomparable Clive Gregson and Christine Collister and an absolutely astounding unplugged version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine."

Apart from just being gorgeously sung, I gotta say -- I hadn't realized that Gregson had picked up so many great guitar licks while he was working with Richard Thompson.

In any case, have a great weekend everybody!!!

[h/t Matt Mitchell]

Thursday, June 16, 2016

And Speaking of the Unreleased Beatles Solo Albums...

...I'd forgotten how hilarious these are.

From EMI's press release:

"Mainly inspired by John, who happened to be on acid while watching the Paris students riots in the summer of '68, this collection was recorded on one night between dusk and dawn, in a "very collective" session (John speaking). Its release was blocked by Yoko Ono, who, being a Jap, doesn't like Chinks."

Love Mao Do
(Won't You) Please Police Me
The Long and Winding Capitalist Roaders
Happiness Proceeds Out of the Barrel of a Warm Gun
Rice Paddies Forever
I Don't Want to Spoil the Party, So I'll Criticize Myself
Paperback Tiger

EMI again:

"Not to be outdone by his colleagues, Paul sought to make a statement about his musical roots. The result was Paul McCartney and Friend, a lavish, saccharine overorchestrated Nelson Riddle production. McCartney blocked release of the LP when Sinatra dedicated "That's Why the Lady is a Tramp" to his wife Linda."

I Did It My Way
Theme from The Man With the Golden Arm
A Foggy Day
My Funny Valentine

John Lennon's primal screamer Fuck Me? Fuck You! (1970) [cover not shown]

EMI, once more (and this one is my favorite):

"The big break-up brought a number of albums by John in its wake, of which this was the only not released. It consists entirely of John screaming at people."


Fuck You
Fuck Your Mother
Fuck Your Wife
Get Fucked
Fuck You Where You Breathe
Ah, Fuck
Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuckfuck Fuckfuck

Okay, yeah, none of those are real; they're from the classic Beatles issue of the old National Lampoon. But they were believable, no?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Great Composers Steal -- Mediocre Composers Borrow

Somebody asked me yesterday what I felt about the whole Did Led Zep Rip Off Spirit for "Stairway to Heaven"? legal controversy.

Well, this (frequently hilarious) clip sort of speaks for me.

So in other words, my answer is -- it depends. How's that for weaseling?

BTW, that compilation is great, obviously, but I find it particularly droll that they didn't even bother with "My Sweet Lord" and "He's So Fine."

And speaking of which, here's one of the greatest of all unreleased albums by a member of The Beatles.

From the official EMI press release:

"This album brings out a rather curious side of George Harrison's personality, which is perhaps related to his obsession with money. George recorded this album in disguise, didn't tell any of the rest of the group about it, tried nonetheless to get it released through Apple, and then lied about everything it involved when the whole sordid business came out."


My Sweet He's So Fine
My Sweet White Christmas
My Sweet Fair Lady
My Sweet Michelle
My Sweet Bobby McGee
My Sweet Lullaby of Birdland
My Sweet Beethoven's Ninth Symphony
My Sweet Greensleeves
My Sweet Ave Maria

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Closed for Monkey Business

Real world mishegass today. Regular impeccably groomed posting resumes on the morrow.

Monday, June 13, 2016

My New Favorite Band (An Occasional Series) : Special Baby, That is Rock 'n' Roll! Edition

From late 2015, please enjoy the pride of Denton, TX -- The Speedlights -- and the lead-off track from their quite fabulous eponymous EP "I'm Still Waiting."

As you can hear, these guys are mining the vein that includes Raspberries-style power pop, early New Wave and punk, and -- most specifically, I think -- the Mod Revival bands of the late '70s. However you describe it, however, their music is just infectious as hell, and what I really like about the band is that -- to paraphrase Waylon Jennings -- these guys couldn't be slick if you poured a can of motor oil down their throat.

Great stuff, in other words.

You can -- and should -- stream/download/buy a physical copy of the CD over at the link HERE.

You're welcome.

Friday, June 10, 2016

We're Back (And There Was Much Rejoicing!!!)

Yeah, the computer stuff has been resolved.

Meanwhile, saw the genuinely legendary Al Kooper last night, and I am pleased to report that he has still got it.

Coincidentally, I just got an above ground copy of the often bootlegged Blues Project Live at the Matrix album, and I am also pleased to report that it's as terrific as I remembered. And from it,here's my favorite Blues Project song in perpetuity.

Kooper did a terrific Staples Singers'-inspired version of that at the show last night, but alas I lacked the wit to tape it.

In any case, with our technical issues dealt with, we will resume our usual vivacious postings on Monday, starting with that long promised plugola for a certain young band from Texas. Trust me, it'll have been worth the wait.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Annals of Techno Illiteracy

The new computer is up and running...

...but I'm still shaking out some bugs and stuff.

Regular snazzily dressed and peppy posting resumes on Friday, or Monday at the latest.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Mr. Computer, He Dead! laptop gave up the ghost over the weekend. Apparently, it was the will of Landru.

So no technically complicated posting today (and possibly tomorrow).

Buying a new machine this afternoon, and hopefully I'll have it up and running and synched with all my stuff before too long.

And my apologies to a certain band from Texas -- plugola for you guys is the first thing on my agenda when we're back in business.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Weekend Listomania: Special Son of Four Legs Good! Edition

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manual catharsis specialist girl Friday FAH LOH SUEE and I are off to...Oh, the hell with it. I had some major computer problems today and frankly I'm too tired to do my normal political jokes.

As a result, posting by moi will be sporadic for a couple of days at least.

But in the meantime, here's a fun little project for us all:

Most Memorable Post-Elvis Song Referencing Members of the Animal Kingdom in the Title or Lyrics!!!

No arbitrary rules, you're welcome very much, and yes, I did more or less the same Listomania back in 2009. But since then I've lost countless brain cells and I'm reasonably sure my choices this time are totally different.

[Okay, if truth be told, I've only actually changed two entries. Are you happy now? Also, if you try to sneak a band named after an animal into the list I will come to your house and kill you. I'm serious about this. I mean obviously, this was inspired by Monkees Week. But just don't even try it.]

And with that out of the way -- my totally top of my head Top Seven is/are:

7. The Youngbloods -- Grizzly Bear

The most underrated American band of the 60s. And what I wouldn't give for a high quality live tape of these guys with the original personnel.

6. Al Wilson -- The Snake

"You knew I was a snake before you brought me in." You gals know the feeling, I'm sure.

5. The Fools -- Psycho Chicken

When this came out in 1980, I remember thinking it was a long-overdue skewering of David Byrne's pretentious anxiety attacks. In retrospect, it's basically just a sort of sophomoric Weird Al record, which is to say only moderately amusing or smart, and I'm somewhat more forgiving of Byrne's neuroses.

4. Bruce Springsteen -- Pretty Flamingo

A great song, obviously, but I've been looking for an excuse to post this particularly gorgeous 1975 live version (from the Roxy bootleg) again for ages. You're welcome.

3. Soupy Sales -- The Mouse

Rodent Mania. 'Nuff said.

2. The Hollies and Peter Sellers-- After the Fox

Even Burt Bacharach's joke songs are gorgeous. Seriously, that piano-riff-with-the-vocal-hisses is just a killer hook, isn't it?

And the numero uno musical ode to those below us on the food chain obviously is --

1. Gilda Radner -- Let's Talk Dirty to the Animals

Written by the late great comic genius Michael O'Donoghue. Since last I posted this, the concert film it derives from -- Gilda Live -- finally became available on home video. Act now

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, June 02, 2016

An Early Clue to the New Direction

Okay, kids -- had massive Google and computer problems today, so the fourth installment of Monkees Week had to be scrapped.

However, here's a clue to tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

From 1999, please enjoy the astounding Wondermints covering the Monkees masterpiece "Porpoise Song." Absolutely live.

And as always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded the first reader to glean any connection to blah blah blah.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Fuck Jann Wenner -- It's Monkees Week Part III!!!

Ahem. As attentive readers obviously already know, The Monkees have a delightful new album out, produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne (and have I mentioned that Adam Schlesinger is a goddamn genius?).

That being the case, we continue our week-long celebration of all-things Monkees with one of my fave tracks from the CD, a Peter Tork-sung cover of Goffin and King's perennially gorgeous "Wasn't Born to Follow."

The track for the above was recorded in 1968 with a lot of Wrecking Crew stalwarts, including Earl Palmer on drums; Peter's lead vocal was added earlier this year, and I think he really sings it quite beautifully. BTW, Carole King herself (doing business with her band The City) also recorded the song in 1968; as you'll hear, the arrangement on her version... more or the less the template for the one the Monkees' backing musicians cut.

The song itself, of course, is, deservedly best known in the more psychedelically pop-country version by The Byrds; getting incredibly meta, here's a less familiar, but fabulous, 1996 cover of the Byrds' cover by the wonderful Canadian band The Sadies.

Bottom line: Another great song, and yes, two of my old bands used to do great versions of it, but no, I won't make you listen to them until a more appropriate time.

Oh, by the way -- have I mentioned fuck Jann Wenner?

Tomorrow: Listen to the band live (yes, another Mike Nesmith song, but not the one you might think).