Friday, July 20, 2018

(A Tale of) Four Cities Confidential: A Photo Essay

Herewith, selected highlights of our whirlwind sojourn in the British Isles and France. To paraphrase Paul Simon, it's all a blur to me now, so it's a good thing I had the foresight to take a bunch of pictures.

Incidentally, the following photos are best viewed by clicking on them to increase their size. Thank you.

Anyway, after a long flight, we arrived, somewhat exhausted, in the ancestral home of the Fab Four and had this as our introduction to Liverpool -- as seen in the lobby of our hotel. He seemed like a nice young man, but the high heels struck us as a tad odd.


Turns out there was a good reason for the shoes, and kudos to receptionist Chris!


On the Liverpool docks, and yes -- that cat sculpture is made from discarded styrofoam coffee cups.


Incidentally, as you can see from these two street signs....



...although Liverpudlians nominally speak English, it's obviously not the same version that we Yanks do.

In any case, we found Liverpool utterly charming, but after two days of soaking up the atmosphere it was off to Oxford and the Pitt-Rivers Museum (of art and archaeology), where we encountered a stuffed stork that seems to have been art-directed by Chuck Jones and Friz Freling.


This sign, which made me laugh out loud, was glimpsed outside a seafood store at Oxford's famed Covered Market.


Later, we went in search of the Inspector Morse tv series, and found a charming pub that had been used as a location in the show. Imagine our surprise, then...


...when the bartender turned out to be Manuel, from Fawlty Towers.


Meanwhile, over at another museum -- the charmingly monikered Ashmolean -- we discovered this outfit. Which is NOT a costume from a movie...



...but is, in fact, something once worn by the actual Lawrence of Arabia.

AND THEN LONDON!!!

While walking down the street nearby our hotel, we chanced across this darling little hat store...


...where BG tried on this remarkable hat.


Which, although tempted, we did not buy.

Then we took in a James Bond exhibit at the London Film Museum.

Jet packs! We were promised jet packs!


Hmm...this car looks strangely familiar.


And we found this in the museum gift shop.


Obviously, we had to buy one, and it now graces the entrance to BG's apartment in the Q-Boro.

Q-Boro. Seems appropriate, now that I think of it.

Later, after a splendid meal in the West End, we attended a performance of the hilarious farce The Play That Goes Wrong.


It was screamingly funny, but this really pissed us off.


I mean -- do you know how much those tickets cost???!!!!

The next day, still annoyed but at least well-rested, we spent several hours at the National Portrait Gallery, which has many treasures well worth the trip. For example, The Dream of Saint Helena, by Paolo Veronese (1570).


Or as it's better known -- Stop Sufferin, Take Bufferin.

Another stop you in your tracks moment was provided by this masterpiece from 1620. Say what you will about the unknown Flemish artist who painted it, but he was really showing off.


I was also much taken with Philosophy, by Salvator Rosa, circa 1645.


The Latin inscription held by the figure in the painting (widely assumed to be the artist himself) translates as "If you don't have anything interesting to say, then keep your freaking mouth shut." Seriously.

And what can I say about this amazing self-portrait by Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, from 1742...


...except -- wotta dish.

But my favorite, hands down, is this fabulous family portrait by William Hogarth.


I must admit, I did not know that Hogarth had done anything but black-and-white caricatures. But I was even more surprised when I looked carefully at the top right portion of the painting...


...and discovered that somehow it featured The Incomparable Eddie©!

The next day, it was off to Paris -- where we've been so many times now that it seems like a second home -- by the Chunnel Train...


...where we decamped at our beloved Duquesne Eiffel hotel.

With this view out of our room window. (It's less impressive than it looks -- as they say in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, it's only a model.)



BTW, for some reason, the Frenchies seem to like this sparkling lemon beverage...


...but I thought it tasted like Pschitt.

Okay, posting all these photos has been exhausting.

Have a great weekend, everybody! See you on Monday with more traditional power pop related stuff!!!



















Thursday, July 19, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business


The weather is kicking my ass.

Regular, hopefully cooler, posting resumes on the morrow.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What Year is This Anyway?

Went to see the Foo Fighters at Madison Square Garden last night. I found it...a confusing experience.

For starters, opening act The Struts...



...seemed to be channeling the first Queen tour from 1974. (Later in the evening, BTW, the Struts' singer joined the Foos onstage for a spirited rendition of "Under Pressure.")

All well and good, but I drew the line at the usually estimable Taylor Hawkins' lengthy drum solo, which reminded of nothing so much as this.



Dave Grohl's truncated version of Billy Joel's "You May Be Right" also left me scratching my head.

I dunno -- I've been referring to Grohl and company as the Keepers of the Flame for a while now, but last night's show was a little too retro even for me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Whatever: An Occasional Series (Special Ladies Day Edition)

And from that same week (on the Jimmy Fallon show) in 2012 that those Keith Urban and Green Day clips were from, please enjoy the lovely and talented Sheryl Crow and an interestingly sung version of The Rolling Stones' classic "All Down the Line."



Further research has uncovered the fact that Phish also performed on the show that week, but don't worry -- I'm not gonna inflict THAT on you,

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Whatever: An Occasional Series

When I posted that Keith Urban clip -- him covering "Tumblin' Dice" -- the other day, I didn't know that it was part of a week-long Jimmy Fallon tribute to The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street.

So from 2012, please behold in breathless wonder Green Day as they blowtorch their way through one of the greatest rock 'n' roll songs ever written.



Okay, it doesn't swing like the Stones' version -- absent Charlie Watts on drums, how could it? -- but it's fricking amazing anyway.

[h/t Jonathan F. King]

Friday, July 13, 2018

It's Slacker Friday

Courtesy of the great Albert Brooks, please enjoy the usually censored version of Ravel's Bolero.



That's from the greatest comedy album of all time, BTW.


And one of these weeks, I'm gonna post five other things from it, just to prove my point.

Meanwhile, regular postings, beginning with a hilarious photo essay on my recent sojourn across the pond, resume on Monday.

Have a terrific weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Work is the Curse of the Drinking Class

A very nice piece on the making of The Replacements Don't Tell a Soul -- and, more specifically, the recording of "I'll Be You," which may be one of my top five favorite rock songs ever -- in the current issue of Mix.

We talk a lot about “paying your dues” in the music business. Producer/engineer Matt Wallace paid his back in 1988 when he produced The Replacements’ raw, charming and clever album Don’t Tell a Soul. “I was basically hazed for most of that record,” he says.

Wallace had relocated to Los Angeles from San Francisco in January of that year. “I was hitting a wall in the Bay Area,” he says. “I kept making demos for bands that would get signed, but ultimately I couldn’t get hired because I wasn’t a big enough fish in the pond.”

Wallace signed on as a staff A&R rep/producer for the Slash indie label, where one of his early claims to fame was producing a song by the so-called New Monkees.

“Warner Brothers was working on a Monkees reboot,” Wallace explains. “They had four guys who were ready for TV and a bunch of writers. Obviously, it never really broke through, but I got to know the people at Warners. Then I heard The Replacements were making a record, and I started calling and saying, ‘Hey, I’m a fan and am interested in working with this band.’ But they were like, ‘Well, Tony Berg’s doing the record, sorry.’”

You can read the rest of it HERE.

Consumer alert: I'm a huge fan of the Replacements, and if you're reading this here blog presumably you are too, but be warned: after reading that piece, I sort of concluded that they're not particularly nice guys. Let's just say that if I had been Matt Wallace, I would have come away from his experience with the band thinking they were very large, unpleasant assholes.



On the other hand, they made the above record, which is such a magnificent work of art that I guess pretty much anything can be forgiven. Hell, given "Be My Baby," I've forgiven Phil Spector, and he actually killed somebody.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Whatever

From 2013 -- and speaking of cover versions of songs by Mick and Keith, as we were talking about last Friday -- please enjoy Nicole Kidman's beard fabulous Australian country-rocker Keith Urban and a live take on the Stones' "Tumblin' Dice" that essentially, totally, kicks ass.



Jeebus, the motherfucker actually takes the guitar solo and nails it.

I mean, wow.

[h/t mainuh]

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business: Special Don't Fear the Reaper Edition

Courtesy of my new Facebook pal, Tim Page (former music critic extraordinaire of the New York Times, and the author of TIM PAGE ON MUSIC, which I plan to devour over the weekend), here's a parody from the old National Lampoon that I have been looking for since forever.


The subtext, of course, is that I had a rough day yesterday.

Fear not, however -- regular, well groomed and peppy, postings resume on the morrow.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Going Down to Liverpool...

So as you may have heard, a certain Shady Dame and I were in Liverpool recently. And we were fortunate enough to take this particular Beatles tour...


...hosted by our guide, the incomparable Ian Doyle.


Incidentally, we took the three hour Rickenbacker tour, which I lurved, for obvious reasons.

In any case, Ian really knows his stuff, and if you take the tour -- which I highly, HIGHLY recommend -- there's at least one mind-boggling moment which I will not give away, but which I guarantee that not even the most fanatical and well-informed Beatlemaniac will be prepared for.

I should also add that Ian's psychedelically decorated cab can be glimpsed...


...in the James Corden "Carpool Karaoke" segment of The Late Late Show, which is the most fabulous 23 minutes of television IN HISTORY.

I should also add that Sir Paul autographed the Penny Lane sign that can be glimpsed here...


...approximately a week before the aforementioned Shady Dame and I, taking Ian's Beatles tour, got to see it in person.


In the meantime, if you're planning on vacationing in the British Isles any time soon, I will once again recommend Ian's Beatles tour, which can, and should, be booked over at www.mad-dayouttaxitours.co.uk. And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special You Can't Always Get What You...Whatever Edition

[I originally posted this back in 2010, back when the world and this blog were young. I've decided to revive it for no particular reason except I chanced across it the other day and thought -- hey, if I was doing this now, I'd probably include some other songs. So I've re-written parts of it and changed a bunch of the song selections, just to prove I'm not the slacker everybody mostly assumes I am. Enjoy, if at all possible. -- S.S.]

Okay, kids -- here a fun project for us all!

All-Time Best or Worst Covers of Songs by the Rolling Stones!!!

No arbitrary rules here, but just so we're clear -- we're talking about covers of songs by the Stones, not songs that the Stones covered. Jagger/Richards tunes, in other words, as interpreted by other artistes or miscreants.

And my totally top of my head Top Fourteen is --

14. Alvin Youngblood Hart -- Moonlight Mile



On balance, if I had to pick my favorite Stones song of all time, this would be it, and this great blues guy just nails it to the wall. Genius at work.

13. The Loud Family -- Rocks Off



In a million years, it never would have occurred to me that this bunch would do such a great version of this masterpiece from Exile on Main Street. But then again, the late Scott Miller was a freaking genius, so I shouldn't have been surprised.

12. The Floor Models -- 19th Nervous Breakdown



Recorded with a boom box in front of the band at one of our legendary gigs at the Other End, with the late great Andy Pasternack doing the famous opening Brian Jones riff on an electric 12-string, and our singer's then girlfriend discussing the tab.

As you can see (and hear, especially at the end) I got to do my best Bill Wyman imitation on bass, which was a hell of a lot of fun.


11. The Mona Lisa Twins -- The Last Time



Love these young gals from Liverpool. Their version of this one doesn't have the air of menace of the original, but it more than makes up for that by sheer sprightliness.

10. The Flying Burrito Brothers -- Wild Horses



This actually came out before the Stones version on Sticky Fingers, and after all these years I still kinda prefer it. Gram Parsons never sang more affectingly.

9. Linda Ronstadt -- Tumbling Dice



Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of challah toast -- despite the presence of the great Waddy Wachtel on guitar, this sounds like Ronstadt recorded it with a metronome rammed up her ass.

8. Melanie -- Ruby Tuesday



You know, I get a little annoyed sometimes by uninformed anti-Baby Boomer snark from younger friends, but then sometimes I remember -- shit, my generation actually bought this dingbat's records.

7. Rage Against the Machine -- Street Fighting Man



This one totally misses the point, I think, but of course nothing says "Total victory is ours, comrades!" like an album marketed by the Sony Corporation.

6. Bette Midler -- Beast of Burden



Miss M's finest recorded moment, no question. Certainly it beats "Wind Beneath My Wings" all to hell.

5. Social Distortion -- Back Street Girl



I had mixed feelings about this one for the longest time -- the original is, IMHO, one of the Stones' genuine (if mostly overlooked) masterpieces, and SD's punkish take lacks a certain depth and ambiguity. On balance, though, I think it's effective on its own terms.

4. The Dirtbombs -- No Expectations



I'm a huge fan of these guys, but I have to admit, in theory I didn't figure this one was going to work. Frontman Mick Collins' trademark punk-with-soul turns out to suit the song to a T, however (as does the mashup with another Stones classic).

3. The Supersuckers with Steve Earle -- Before They Make Me Run



The band is a little clunky, but if anybody has a right to sing Keith's outlaw blues classic it's Earle.

2. Grand Funk Railroad -- Gimme Shelter



Seriously, this is worse than that kid on American Idol doing "Under My Thumb."

And the number one simultaneously best AND worst Rolling Stones cover of all time, it's not even a contest my friends, is....

1. Charo -- Let's Spend the Night Together



Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Oh, and have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 05, 2018

An Early Clue to the New Direction: Special Nanker Phelge Edition

From 2018, please enjoy the fabulous Doughboys (featuring genuine power pop legend Richard X. Heyman on drums) and their just-released and unexpectedly blues-wailing cover of The Rolling Stones 1965 "Play With Fire." (Or about 52 seconds of it -- I clipped the track so that you bastard kids don't download the song for free. See the final paragraph below for more information about that).




That's a really wonderfully clever re-imagining of the song. The original Stones track, on the American version of Out of Our Heads (the album with "Satisfaction"), is a sort of folkie/classical hybrid (the great Jack Nitzche plays harpsichord on it). But the Doughboys turn it into a sort of primal rave-up -- it's now closer to The Yardbirds than the Stones, and in this case that's a really good thing.

I should add that I've written about Heyman and the Doughboys...


...who had this quite miraculous sort of local (New Jersey) hit record back in the late 60s...



-- before on numerous occasions (here's one of them). They're great, is the bottom line.

BTW, the relevance of their new single to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania is so blindingly obvious I can't bring myself to award a coveted PowerPop No-Prize to the first reader who guesses it. Sorry.

In the meantime, you can -- and should -- buy the complete version of "Play With Fire," and the rest of the Doughboys catalog, over at their website HERE.


Wednesday, July 04, 2018

It's Independence Day (In What's Left of the USA)

And in its honor please enjoy Bill Pullman, the greatest president of the United States who was never president of the United States...



...no, wait, in the era of President Biff Tannen that's not even a particularly good joke.

Sorry.

What I meant to say was please enjoy the late great Ben E. King and his gorgeous cover of Bruce Springsteen's "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)."



I should add that I had no idea King's version of that song existed until early yesterday. Mind boggling, I think.

I mean -- can you imagine how cool for Bruce it must have been to learn that one of the singers you idolized back in your youth had actually beautifully interpreted a song you had written?

I think the word is wow.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Alan Longmuir 1948 -- 2018

Say what you will about The Bay City Rollers, but a) they were a genuine band who had paid their dues big time before they became superstars and b) they did an absolutely brilliant, and courageously self-referential, cover of Vanda and Young's classic "Yesterday's Hero."



Plus Nick Lowe wrote a great song about them.

Cooler than that it does not get.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Closed to Catch Up on My Reading

Got back from Paris yesterday and I'm all tuckered out. So I'm going to bed with a couple of good books to decompress till Tuesday.


BTW: Click to enlarge the photo -- otherwise you'll miss two of the best titles.

Regular peppy postings resume tomorrow morning. Scout's honor.

Friday, June 29, 2018

The French They Are a Funny Race. They Fight With Their Feet and...You Know the Rest, and You Ought to Be Ashamed of Yourself!

Okay, we've arrived in Paris, baby! And the unsuspecting Frenchies have no idea what's about to hit them!


Meanwhile, from 1966, and for obvious reasons, please enjoy the incomparable Cousin Itt Édouard and his prehensile hit recording of "Les Hallucinations d'Édouard."



There's a hilarious story behind this which I recounted in another blog post back in 2009; you may revisit it HERE if you're of a mind to and/or highly perverse of ears.

BTW, we'll be in Paris till Sunday morning, so I may or may not post on Saturday or Sunday, depending on what interesting or alarming stuff happens to us till we get on the plane back to what's left of the United States of America.

In any case, have a great weekend, tout le monde!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Je Ne Regrette Rien. Well, At Least Not Yet.

So -- a certain Shady Dame and I are about to leave London and head off for our seventh sojourn in the land of the Ignoble Frog.

As a result, posting will be oddly Gallic for the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, while we enjoy the oddly James Bondian ambience of the trans-Atlantic chunnel train and the picturesque traffic on the way to our bohemian hotel in Paris, please enjoy our traditional presentation of the Denny Laine (non-cosmic) edition of The Moody Blues and their oh so sad and beautiful ode to my favorite street in the world -- the "Boulevard de La Madeline."




It's a sad day in Paris
With no girl by my side
Got to feeling so badly
Like a part of me died
It would have been
So good to see her
I never thought
She wouldn't be there
There's no girl standing there
And there's no one who cares
And the trees are so bare
On the Boulevard de la Madeleine

Ah. What can I say after that except -- 'allo, sailor!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Well, At Least We're Not Worrying About the World Cup or Any of THAT Bullshit

From 1981, please enjoy The Anti-Nowhere League's sensational (and not at all ironic or disrespectful) cover of Ralph McTell's 1969 folkie classic "Streets of London."



I'm not kidding, BTW. When this was originally released, I suspect lots of people thought it was a punk piss-take, but it's not; it's just a loud/fast version of McTell's lovely ballad that sends the same message the composer intended.

And speaking of the streets of London -- this is what BG and I are seeing tonight in the West End. Starring the Poldark guy, so girls -- eat your heart out.


BG and I are having the best time ever, in case you were wondering.

Tomorrow -- off to Paris!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

London Calling!!!

Seen today at the British Museum -- a really cool Egyptian artifact.


The weird thing is -- over the museum sound system, THIS is what we were hearing.



Hey, we're on vacation. Cut me some slack.

Starting tomorrow -- somewhat more serious postings.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Letter From Liverpool: The Coda

Off to London on the morning train, but in the meantime, here's Sir Paul McCartney's new single.



He sang a little bit of it with James Corden the other night, but this is what it sounds like for real. A classic dumb/brilliant funny/sexy rock-and-roll song, with glorious Beatles arrangement/production touches, including Paul's signature bass flourishes, the horns from Pepper or maybe "Lady Madonna,” and even a sitar, as a nod to George. Just fucking great.

Between this and the video from the Corden show, I've gonna totally all Beatlemania for a couple of days. It's a terrific feeling.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Letter From Liverpool

Words still kinda fail me.



BTW. you can't really see it in the photo, but Sir Paul himself signed the Penny Lane sign just last week.

I should add that the Beatle tour we took was amazing; I'll have more details on it, including a contact number and other info on the amazing guy who runs the show, next Monday.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

National Lampoon's Steve and BG's European Vacation (Day I)

In the immortal words of The Rutles' song -- we've arrived (in Liverpool) and to prove it we're here!



Photographic evidence -- and with any luck, an incredible anecdote which I won't give away -- will be available in this space on the morrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special Words REALLY Fail Me Edition

So I'm about to depart for a European vacation -- part of which will involve a Beatles tour in Liverpool (yay)! -- but while I'm getting ready for it, I thought I needed to pass this news along to you.

The Short Version: As I'm sure everybody who has ever read my poor scribblings at this here blog is aware, the legendary Yardbirds -- then featuring Jimmy Page on guitar -- did a concert at the Anderson Theater in NYC on March 23, 1968. Although the venue only sat two or three thousand people, since then approximately 50,000 liars -- most of them guitarists -- have claimed to have been in attendance at said show.

Harumph.

Unlike most of those 50,000, however, I was actually there. As was a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance, although we did not know each other at the time. We have since bonded over our mutual attendance at said concert, but let's move on.

Anyway, a horrific live LP of said show -- with miserably mixed sound plus horrible fake echo and overdubbed bullshit applause -- was released in 1971 on Epic Records.


To his credit, Jimmy Page instantly threatened CBS/Sony with legal action over the release of said horrible album, and it was immediately pulled from circulation. At which point, it became a highly regarded, but always disappointing collectors item.

In the years between then and now, countless unofficial and/or semi-official/vaguely legal re-issues, on both vinyl and CD, of the album have been offered to the gullible public, including me. I myself have probably bought every single one of them on the off chance that the sound even remotely resembled my memory of the show, and every single one of them has sucked. Big time.

Cutting to the chase: Last week, I was web-surfing and discovered that Jimmy Page himself had re-mixed the original tapes and released them (along with a second disc of Yardbirds studio rarities) on his own label as Yardbirds 68.


And I figured -- okay, I'll give it one more shot.

And guess what -- THIS is the fucking shit.

Ladies and germs, from said reissue, I give you the opening track "Train Kept A Rollin'."

Behold it in breathless wonder.



Let's just say that rest of the record is perhaps even more mind-boggling, including a version of "White Summer" that will make the hair on the back of your neck jump up and do the Macarena.

You can (and should) buy the whole thing OVER HERE.

Meanwhile, wish us Bon Voyage and we'll talk to you, albeit perhaps briefly, on Thursday and Friday when we're a little more organized.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2004, it's Say Anything and their harrowing yet strangely uplifting "Alive With the Glory of Love."



This song, which I think is kind of a masterpiece, is also newly relevant, given the horrific scenes of children in cages we've been seeing for the last couple of days. That's all I'm gonna say about that at the moment. In any case, this is to my knowledge the only pop punk song whose subject is the love between a Jewish man and woman beset by the Nazis during WW II.

On a less somber note, I can only add that any song that steals the beat from The Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" is probably eternally relevant.

[h/t Dan Fridman]



Monday, June 18, 2018

Okay It's Official -- I Have Totally Mellowed on David Bowie in My Old Age

Not sure when this is from, but it's absolutely hilarious.



I swear to god, I had no idea until relatively recently that Bowie was so charming and funny.

Friday, June 15, 2018

It's Moby Grape Week Part V: Special The Abyss Stares Back Edition

From 1969, please enjoy Moby Grape and their astonishing version of "Seeing." Or as we call it around Casa Simels, Skip Spence's masterpiece.



If you seen the naked dream I had of you
Would you care and, and come through?

Take me far away, my wiser mind gave me the dream of death today
How to get by when what greets my eye takes my breath away

In my dream you were all in your stalls I watched your walls all fade away
You were bare of thoughts, we were to part and we stayed that way

Some tried to hide because they lied, they were not true and they were afraid
They refuse to see or be free, be one with me and to gods, they prayed

Cryin', "Save me, save me, save me, save me, save me
I'll save you, can I spend you?

And now this naked dream I had of you
Will you care and come through?

Take me far away, my wiser mind gave me the dream of death today
Hard to get by when what greets my eye takes my breath away

Cryin', "Save me, save me, save me"

Apart from the fact that said track is brilliant on every level (from Spence's hauntingly mumbled opening vocal to the haunted church organ that closes it) I saved it for the end of the week because the Grape bio that I've been telling you about -- What's Big and Purple and Lives in the Ocean: The Moby Grape Story by Cam Cobb....


...while otherwise estimable advances the thesis that the Grape's 2nd and 3rd albums, including '69, from whence said track derives, are inferior to the failed Grape comeback album from the early '70s.

A thesis that I believe to be completely -- and demonstrably, if you listen to "Seeing" -- wrong.

Absurdly wrong, actually.

In any case, I should add that Robert Plant recorded a pretty good cover of "Seeing," which you can find on YouTube. Plant's probably the highest profile Grape fan around, now that I think of it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

UPDATE: Through a mutual friend, Grape drummer Don Stevenson has graciously forwarded me a corrected version of the "Seeing" lyrics. I have made the appropriate changes, and I'm even more impressed with Skippy as a wordsmith. Thanks, Don, from the bottom of my rapidly ageing rock-and-roll heart.


[h/t The Swede]

Thursday, June 14, 2018

It's Moby Grape Week Part IV: Special If We're All One, Who Needs You? Edition

From 1999, please enjoy Brit neo-folk rockers Diesel Park West and their quite remarkable cover of Skip Spence's "All Come to Meet Her Now."



For those who haven't been keeping score, the song itself derives from Oar, the shall we say somewhat quirky solo album Spence did, as a one man band, just after leaving the Grape. The DPW version derives from a fabulous Oar tribute album, which I heartily recommend, if only for Robyn Hitchcock's contribution.

In any case, if you've never heard Oar, I should add the DPW track is far more focused than Skippy's original...



...but it's essentially the same song and arrangement. In fact, what's really cool about it is that it sounds (to my ears, at least) exactly like it would have sounded had his old band mates in the Grape ever gotten a chance to bash it out along with him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It's Moby Grape Week Part III: Special It Came From Wolverhampton Edition

From sometime circa the early 70s, please enjoy those wild and crazee guys Slade and their surprisingly authentic cover of the Grape's classic "Omaha."



I did not know this existed until yesterday, and to be honest it would never in a million years have occurred to me that Slade would have been Grape fans. Just shows to go you, I guess.

Incidentally, the song I'm putting up tomorrow is an even bigger mind boggler. In my humble opinion

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

It's Moby Grape Week Part II: Special Garageland Revisited Edition

From early 1966, please enjoy Seattle's The Frantics and their haunting ode to an interspecies dance craze the "Human Monkey."



Inspirational verse:

When I say jump, you've got to jump so high
When I say do, you've got to do or die
Yours is not to reason why, you fool

In case you're wondering about the song's relevance to this week's theme, I should mention that said Frantics feature Don Stevenson on drums, Jerry Miller on guitar, and Bob Mosley on bass and vocals. In other words, three fifths of the band that would achieve notoriety a year later as Moby Grape.

I must confess that I hadn't heard (or heard of) "Human Monkey" until a few days ago, when I read about it in the terrific new band bio What's Big and Purple and Lives in the Ocean: The Moby Grape Story by Cam Cobb....


...which can (and should be) acquired over at Amazon HERE.

You can sort of understand why "Human Monkey" wasn't a hit; it's not terribly well produced and it's a little weird, which is to say by early 1966 standards it's a little too smart for the room.

But damn -- it's pretty obvious those guys already sort of had the Grape template down.

Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Moby Grape Week Part I: Special Dirty F**king Hippies Edition

From 2009, and their album Warpaint Live, please enjoy The Black Crowes and their pretty darn terrific version of Moby Grape's 1967 ode to the young girls in Haight-Ashbury "Hey Grandma."



Honesty compels me to admit that I had no idea the Crowes' cover existed until the other day. It's not as transplendent as the original, but it's awfully close both musically and attitudinally.

I should add that said song is the opening track on the Grape's first LP, which is the most exciting debut album by an American rock band ever. But we'll have more to say on that subject as the week progresses.

I should also add that the reason I'm on a Grape kick of late is because I just got turned on to What's Big and Purple and Lives in the Ocean: The Moby Grape Story by Cam Cobb...


...the just released biography the band has always deserved, and which can -- and should -- be ordered over at Amazon HERE.

More on that as the week progresses as well.

[h/t Chris E]