Friday, March 23, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special It's Nice Out -- Might as Well Leave It Out! Edition

[I originally posted this one back in -- gasp! -- 2009, when both the world and this blog were young. But for obvious reasons, or perhaps reasons that shall become obvious, I thought it was newly relevant to our national discourse. I have, of course, rewritten some of it, and swapped out some of the songs, just to prove that I'm not the total slacker that so many of you, with justification, suspect I am. In any case, enjoy. -- S.S.]

Okay, gang -- here's a fun project for us all to contemplate in the wake of this week's nor'easter on the Right Coast:

Most Memorable Post Elvis Song or Record Referencing Atmospheric Phenomena, i.e. Weather, In the Title or Lyrics!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, so no arbitrary rules this time.

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Seven:

7. Terry Anderson -- Weather or Not

If truth be told, the entire original version of this Listomania proceeded from the fact that I had wanted to post this song -- to my mind, the absolute best Rolling Stones/Keith Richards-style guitar rocker that the Stones or Keith never did -- for what seemed like ages. (Catchiest goddamn chorus in the world, n'est-ce pas?). In case you're wondering, Anderson comes out of the Georgia Satellites axis (he co-wrote that group's semi-hit "Battleship Chains") and this derives from the early 90s solo album seen above. I should add that said album is still available over at Amazon, and you should hie there toot sweet and snag a copy.

6. The Beatles -- Rain

Depending on my mood, either this or "And Your Bird Can Sing" is my favorite of the bunch of guitar-driven, vaguely metallic pop gems that the Beatles recorded around this time in late 65-early 66. This one has Ringo's most inventive drum performance, of course.

5. The Weasels -- Beautiful Day

A recent track by my old high school garage band. I'm doing most of the guitar stuff, including the solo, but it's written and sung by our multi-instrumentalist secret weapon Glenn Leeds. In any case, I love it. "It may be freezin' but I don't feel's a beautiful day."

4. Lou Christie -- Rhapsody in the Rain

"In this car, our love went much too far..."

The followup to the equally apt "Lightning Strikes," this one got banned by most 1966 radio stations; I wonder why.

3. Yoko Ono -- Listen the Snow is Falling

"The only reason no one likes her music is because she's a woman and an Oriental" -- John Lennon to Jann Wenner, 1971

2. Steeleye Span -- One Misty Moisty Morning

Probably the oldest song ever featured on a Weekend Listomania, i.e., this probably dates back to Shakespeare's day. BTW; the word goddess is overused in some circles, but I think Maddy Prior's vocal on this qualifies her for consideration as one.

And the number one ill wind that blows nobody good song, it's so ridiculously apt given what's going to be broadcast on 60 Minutes this Sunday that I can't believe we're even having a discussion, obviously is ---

1. Classics IV -- Stormy

Who knew somebody had written a hit tune about her decades ago? Amazing.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Your Thursday Moment of a Winter Wonderland

The view outside a certain Shady Dame's apartment this morning.

And a non-seasonal musical tribute to it.

Oh, and by the way -- tomorrow brings us the triumphant return of Weekend Listomania. Now with more relevance to current events!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Your Wednesday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

From 2004, please enjoy the great Roger McGuinn and his lovely cover of The Beatles/George Harrison classic "If I Needed Someone."

I honestly had never heard this until yesterday, when friend of PowerPop Capt. Al played it on his intertube radio show.

I should add that George was obviously a huge Byrds fan (the riff on this is pretty much a lift from "Bells of Rhymney") and there's a wonderful, if perhaps apocryphal, story about George and Roger that seems relevant.

The short version is that after The Byrds' "Turn Turn Turn" came out, and was not as big a hit in the UK as it was elsewhere, George apparently sent Roger a note that said "I feel sorry for anybody who didn't buy it."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1965, please enjoy The Lovin' Spoonful, featuring extremely stylish drummer Joe Butler, doing a cover of The Beatles' "Help" backed by somebody's orchestra.

For you younger readers, this was originally aired on a weekly network TV rock-themed show called Hullabaloo.

And this is how, in the immortal words of David Letterman, your parents and grandparents enjoyed the rock-and-roll music back in the day.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 2002, and the Conan O'Brien show, please enjoy the astoundingly brilliant Mike Viola -- doing business with his band The Candy Butchers -- and a live version of his transplendently gorgeous "You Belong to Me Now."

I've been a fan of this guy since forever, by which I mean when he sang the title song for Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do, but this song is a total work of genius. And the fact that the sound of this thing is a live power trio blows my tiny mind.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Frank Burrows]

Thursday, March 15, 2018

That's Mighty Fine Sitar Playing, Mahatma!

From 2000, please enjoy Belle and Sebastian and their amusingly retro "Legal Man."

I gotta tell you, B&S are a band that I have generally found to be insufferably twee. But I heard this one on Pandora or whatever at my watering hole in the Q-Boro yesterday, and I was shocked to discover that I really liked it.

And BTW -- a coveted PowerPop NoPrize© will be afforded to the first reader who identifies from whence the title of today's post derives.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What -- Nobody Wants Me to Tell That Sarah Silverman Joke?

From 1966, please enjoy The Robbs (of Where the Action Is Fame)...

...and their sprightly regional (mid-west) hit "Bittersweet."

That was written by the same P.F. Sloan-Steve Barri songwriting team that came up with the early great Grassroots hits, and while I'll concede it's not as good as the Hoodoo Gurus song of the same name we discussed yesterday, it's still pretty darn cute.

And a tip of the Hatlo Hat to reader anonymous, without whom I would have been unaware of its existence and my life thus poorer for it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Somebody Stop Me Before I Tell That Sarah Silverman Joke Again!

And speaking as we were on Friday about great songs with one word titles, I'd forgotten how much I liked this 1985 classic by The Hoodoo Gurus.

I bring this up partly because, thanks to one of our regular commenters, I just heard this 1986 (outtake) cover of the song by The Flamin' Groovies.

I should add that I find it characteristically weak-kneed, like most of the Groovies' well-intentioned studio covers. And I say that as somebody who saw them live on the 1979 Jumpin' in the Night tour when they were doing a relatively convincing version of The Byrds' "Lady Friend."

[h/t/ Mark (from Brooklyn)]

Monday, March 12, 2018

Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye Bay, Putz

Dunno if you watched Saturday Night Live last weekend, but if you did you couldn't help but notice that the show is working on an uninterrupted two year streak of musical guests (with the noticeable exception of Foo Fighters) who have no redeeming virtues whatsoever.

The most recent miscreant: James Bay.

In the immortal words of Leonard Pinth-Garnell -- "thoroughly bad."

Seriously, it's like watching Laurence Harvey fronting the world's lamest rock band.

I should add that I had never heard (or heard of) Bay before Saturday, so I looked him up and learned that he had recently done a cover of Tom Petty's great "Kings Highway" on the soundtrack to Cars 3. And I figured, well, you couldn't possibly do a bad version of that song, so maybe I should listen to it and cut him some slack.

Well, it turns out that yeah -- you CAN do a bad version of that song.

Jeebus, but that kid sucks. And he isn't even the worst one SNL's had on in memory.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special Brevity is the Soul of Wit Edition

This one originally ran in 2009 (and then got updated in 2015) which for some reason now lost in the mists of time were the high points of my I Hate Smashing Pumpkins period.

But it turns out that this week is the NEW high point of my Smashing Pumpkins hate jones.

So I've rewritten it -- added some songs and changed the blurbs for some others, to avoid seeming like the slacker I obviously am.

And why, you ask?

From The Guardian (click on the graphic to be able to read it):

Alex Jones? Really, Bill?

Yeah, well, fuck you, you fat baldheaded crypto-fascist libertarian piece of shit for brains.

But in the meantime, please enjoy, if at all possible, and without further ado, the Listomania topic for this weekend:

Best or Worst Post-Beatles Song or Record With a One Word or One Number Title!!!

Self-explanatory, I think, but I should add that any one word title comprised of the names of men and women or those of geographical places is disqualified. So, fuck you, CSNY and "Ohio." Blow me, Sue Thompson and "Norman."

Okay, with that out of the way here's my totally top of my head Top Thirteen:

13. Steppenwolf -- 28

From their second album, which by the way is one of the great overlooked masterpieces of its era.

12. Collective Soul -- Gel

A great kick-ass rock song featuring a lead singer who I always found charmingly unhinged. Plus, let's face it, "Let's gel" is possibly the most imaginative sexual euphemism since the young John and Paul wrote "Thinking of Linking."

11. Madonna -- Cherish

Not the crappiest or most reprehensible Madonna single -- that would be most of the others -- but I for one have never forgiven it for sullying the good reputation of the 60s hit of the same name by The Association.

10. Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs -- Stay

I actually prefer the completely over the top cover by the Four Seasons, but everybody is probably sick to death of my carrying on about those guys. In any case, the original is one of the sublime glories of early rock, and at a terse 1:39 an obvious candidate for All Time Best Single Under Two Minutes Long.

9. The Beatles -- Help!

C'mon -- according to George Martin, they learned the title of the movie was going to be Help! on Monday, they wrote the song on Tuesday, and they had figured out the entire arrangement and recorded it by the end of Wednesday. It doesn't get any more brilliant.

8. The Rolling Stones -- Think

The Aftermath song The Stones had previously given to Chris Farlowe, who had the hit. One of the best of the early Jagger-Richards collaborations, I think, and the riffage between the acoustic guitar and the fuzz electric is inspired and haunting.

7. Smashing Pumpkins -- Disarm

A very good song, but for obvious reasons limned above -- fuck them and lead singer Billy Corgan where they breathe.

6. Fleetwood Mac -- Tusk

The original of this is Lindsay Buckingham at his most wacky and wonderful, but I still think this MST3K sort-of version... the best one evah.

5. The Loud Family -- Aerodeliria

My favorite song from perhaps my favorite album of the 90s, and only one of the reasons PABARAT was the only genuinely psychedelic experience legally available in that decade. And if you've ever heard the EP they did right after, you know these bastards could nail the damn thing live.

4. The Moody Blues -- Stop

The follow-up to "Go Now," and in some ways even more sad and beautiful; Denny Laine really is one of the most underrated figures of the British Invasion.

3. Jefferson Airplane -- Today

Great song, great album. Too bad the stereo version sounds like it was recorded in an echoey airplane hangar.

2. Foo Fighters -- Everlong

From an article in MOJO:

November 2007: The Foo Fighters are in Canada, supporting Bob Dylan on the latter's Modern Times tour. [Head Foo and former Nirvana drummer] Dave Grohl is in his dressing room when he gets a message that Mr. Dylan wants to see him.

"So I walk out," says Grohl, "and he's standing like a silhouette in a dark corner -- black leather boots, black leather pants, black leather jacket. He said 'What's that song you got, the one that says "The only thing I ever ask of you is you gotta promise not to stop when I say when"?' I said, oh yeah, 'Everlong.' He said, 'Man, that's a great song, I should learn that song."

Grohl laughs loudly. "So I don't give a fuck what anybody else thinks. Bob Dylan likes one of my songs. That right there is enough for me."

And the all-time coolest one word song, it's so obvious why are we even discussing this, is --

1. Soupy Sales -- Pachalafaka

Pachalafaka, pachalafaka
They whisper it all over Turkey
Pachalafaka, pachalafaka
It sounds so romantic and perky
Oh, I know that phrase
Will make me thrill always
For it reminds me of you, my sweet
Just the mention of
That tender word of love
Gives my heart a jerkish, Turkish beat

I won't say c'est si bon
Or l'amour toujours
For they can't express what I'm feeling
Even mairzydoats or
Other foreign quotes
Don't seem to be quite so appealing
But pachalafaka! pachalafaka!
Takes me back with you to passionate desert scenes
And it's there we'll stay
Till the very day
We find out what pachalafaka means!

That, my friends, is true poetry.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Thursday Essay Question

If you don't like these two songs by John Mellencamp you don't like rock-and-roll as a form.


Wednesday, March 07, 2018

My Girlfriend the Surrealist

Sorry kids, but this just blows me away.

Regular power pop stuff resumes tomorrow after I've stopped laughing.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Closed for Surrealism

I got so excited yesterday that a certain Shady Dame had made a knock-off of Man Ray's celebrated metronome that I completely forgot to write something for PowerPop aujourd'hui.

Regular (and that's a word and a half in this context) posting resumes on the morrow.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Log Rolling in Our Time (An Occasional Series): Special Professional Jealousy Edition

So Friday last, when I posted that Marc Jonson song he wrote and performed in tribute to the late Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens, I had one of my increasingly rare moments of self-aware insight.

To wit: That every time I start to get a little big-headed about music by one of my various bands over the years that...well, that frankly I really need to listen (or re-listen) to stuff made by many far more talented friends and acquaintances of mine and -- frankly -- get over myself.

Which leads me, for reasons that will soon become clear, to my chum Marc Platt.

Marc fronted a punkish mid-80s Los Angeles power pop band called The Real Impossibles, and a compilation of their stuff came out on Zero Hour Records a few months after the Zero Hour release of Floor Your Love. Which made us label mates, of course. I had never heard of the band until the CD, but it knocked me out, and we struck up an intertube friendship, with me mostly telling him "I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!"

Here's a representative track...

...that absolutely kills me. I think comparisons to The Plimsouls are not implausible, and for my money the whole CD is great; you can order it at our mutual label's website HERE.

I should also add that Marc is an extremely accomplished music scribe and the author of the fab (obviously) E-book How the Beatles Did It, which you can and should order at the link right here. (Have I mentioned I hate him?).

But enough of the history lesson.

The bottom line is that Marc has a new album about to come out. The concept of which is self-described by its auteur as "One man lo-fi garage band."

Hey -- works for me. As you can hear from this representative track -- a swell re-imagining of The Stones' classic "The Last Time."

And here's a fun video for another of the songs. (Obviously, any excuse to ogle Louise Brooks is alright with me, folks.)

In any case, the album drops, as the kids say, on April 9th on iTunes and everywhere. When it does I'll be back with a proper review of the whole shebang, but in the meantime, I thought you oughta know.

BTW, have I mentioned that there's a Facebook page devoted to the album?. And that the album also features a very cool cover of a Flamin' Groovies classic on it? Well there is, and it does. So there.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

My longtime hero and genuine power pop legend MARC JONSON pays tribute to the late Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens.

Seriously -- this is simply glorious. "They turned their amps up loud and smashed those songs to smithereens."

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Your Thursday Moment of WTF?

From 1973, and the b-side of "Think," please enjoy the Godfather of Soul and his, shall we say, highly personal cover of the Beatles' "Something."

Yes, this was actually released to a largely unbelieving world.

It's never been on an album or CD, however, so I think we can be excused for having overlooked this for all these years. In any case, it's a lot more idiosyncratic than, oh, Al Green's relatively faithful cover of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

That's Avant. Not Ava.

From 2013, please enjoy irrepressible Australian pop tart Courtney Barnett and her hilarious ode to respiratory trouble "Avant Gardener."

Seriously, I think this song is a freaking riot, and I'm really sorry I'm late to the party. By which I mean that friends of mine had told me this gal was cool several years ago but until I heard this song yesterday in a bar I hadn't really bothered to investigate her.

In any event, what I really want to know now is whether the scorekeeper in the video -- who looks like Cate Blanchett doing the 1966 Bob Dylan -- is actually Ms. Barnett herself.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business

Plumbing problems here at the home of a certain Shady Dame, so no posting today.

Okay, that's the lamest excuse I've ever offered, but in any case regular stuff resumes on the morrow when I'm back at Casa Simels.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Waiting for iTunes

From (originally) 1976, and the just-released 2018 best-of compilation -- Crimes Against Humanity -- by my long-time garage band chums The Weasels, please enjoy our little Firesign Theater-esque promo for one of our earlier low-fi efforts -- the aptly named "This Album Sells Itself."

"Hermie -- he died for The Weasels new album. You will too."

BTW, you can get the album at Amazon, Pandora, Spotify and CD Baby, but those rat bastards at Apple Music haven't posted it yet. I'll get back to you when they do.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

Forget "Last Train to Clarksville" -- THIS is the greatest song Boyce and Hart ever wrote.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

[h/t Frank Burrows]

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Extended Metaphors For Our Time

From 2018, please enjoy Friend of PowerPop and all around very droll fellow Steve Notis as weighs in on a subject that has plagued us all at some point.

Obviously, this has taken on increased relevance in the dawning era of the driverless car.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Saw the incomparable Willie Nile last Saturday night...

...playing at a club in my hometown of Teaneck N.J....

...that is literally a block away from the apartment where I spent the first 23 years of my life.

Willie and his great band were characteristically transplendent on Saturday (they did an absolutely killer version of Tom Petty's "Runnin' Down a Dream") but the high point for me was a kick-ass version of "Vagabond Moon," the opening track of his very first album. I didn't have the presence of mind to record it, but here's what it sounded like back in 1980 with his original ensemble.

And in case you're wondering what I wore to the gig....

Incidentally, the club has been renamed The Debonair Music Hall since that photo was taken a year or two ago, but it's still a terrific place to hear music and if you're in the neighborhood some evening I highly recommend it.

Monday, February 19, 2018

This is Your Democracy, America. Cherish it.

Jay Semko -- "Mouse in a Hole" (1995).

There's a mouse in a hole
And he's digging his own grave
There's a child with her mother
Teaching her how to behave
There's her brother in the classroom
And he really doesn't give a damn

There's his buddy his name is Alfonse
Who's been worshipping the Son of Sam
There's the teacher with a ruler
And he's bored with all the people in his life
There's the principal in a daydream
He's in love with his best friends wife
There's the best friend - he's on a bender
And his business is going downhill
There's the waitress who thinks he's wealthy
She's moving in for the kill

Then a policeman looks in the window
And he's jealous becoming quite upset
There's the radio in the police car
Predicting crimes that haven't happened yet
There's his partner who's looking forward
To the rock he's gonna smoke tonight
There's his girlfriend who he lives with
And she knows that something ain't right

Something ain't right

There's a tourist with a camera
Eating French fries and a big shake
There's the mother with her children
Teaching them their newest mistake
Then there's Alfonse works at the counter
For this leading hamburger chain
There's the teacher with the principal
And his best friend running in out of the rain
In comes the waitress with the policeman
He's off duty feelin' pretty good
And there's his partner who tried to get straight
With his girlfriend who did all that she could

Then there's this other guy
With a machine gun
In a parking lot
Dreaming about hell
'Cause he knows that
He's gonna go there
When he uses his last shell
He slams the car door - then he walks up
To the front door of the restaurant with a smile

Then he drops dead
On the pavement
Never dreaming
All the while
That there's a mouse in a hole
And he's digging his own grave

And there's a father - with a son
Teaching him how to behave

Something ain't right

There's a mouse in a hole
And he's digging his own grave...

You know, I could be wrong, but this just might be a metaphor for some of the current events of the last week.

I should add that I was originally gonna post The Guess Who's "Guns Guns Guns" or Kinky Friedman's "The Ballad of Charles Whitman." But then I thought -- nah, too obvious.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Just Like Pagliacci Did

And speaking as we were yesterday of Live From Daryl's Place, from 2011 please enjoy the charming host and special guest Smokey Robinson and an utterly astounding performance of Smokey's classic "Tears of a Clown."

And now I have a confession.

If you had told me in the 80s that 30 years later I'd be a total Daryl Hall fan, I would have said you were high.

Seriously -- I didn't dislike Hall and Oates, but they just weren't my cup of tea (I used to joke that Michael Bolton was the kind of singer that made you really appreciate Daryl Hall, which was not meant as a compliment).

But for whatever reason, I now think they're the bees fucking knees. Their hits hold up vastly better than most artifacts of their era, for starters. And the video -- sadly out of print -- of them live at the Apollo with David Ruffin and Eddie Kendricks of the Temptations is one of the greatest in concert things ever filmed by anybody. (I had a VHS tape of it digitized -- if you want one, be nice to me and I'll dupe you a DVD).

In any event, a certain Shady Dame and I have tickets to see H&O later this year, and I plan to enjoy every minute of the show. Have I mentioned that if you had told me that 30 years ago I would have said that you were high?

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mister, You're a Better Man Than I

From 2012, and an episode of Live From Daryl's House, please enjoy the charming host and the great Nick Lowe in a quite gorgeous performance of Nick's greatest hit.

Pretty remarkable (and apparently the rest of the show isn't archived for some reason, which is too bad.)

In any event, has anybody else noticed that as Nick has aged he's started to look more and more like one of those expat 30s actors who showed up in Hollywood epics about the British in India? Seriously -- I can easily imagine him hanging out with the likes of C. Aubrey Smith.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

If You Would Be My Beyotch!!!

From 2016, please enjoy "Alpha Dog" -- the b-side of the single from the Greatest Hits album I just compiled for my long-time (I've known these guys since high school) garage band The Weasels.

And I have to say -- bad taste notwithstanding, this one just cracks me up.

I mean seriously. There's not a joke in this lyric that doesn't kill me. And the piano solo (by our fabulous multi-instrumentalist Glenn Leeds) at the end is glorious.

I should add that the incomparable vocal is by bassist Allan Weissman, who co-wrote it along with the aforementioned Mr. Leeds and David Hawxwell. All of whom are going to Hell for having penned it.

I should also add that you can (and should) download or stream the entire album over at Amazon, CD Baby and Spotify. And (hopefully by tomorrow) iTunes.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Slacker Tuesday

I just HAD to share this, which is without doubt the greatest typo of all time.

Come to think of it, that might have been the inspiration for this.

In any case, regular posting resumes on the morrow.

Monday, February 12, 2018

For Andy -- With Love and Squalor

So as long time readers are aware, back in the early 80s I toiled in a 12-string pop band called The Floor Models. And also that Andy Pasternack, one of our principal songwriters (and our Rickenbacker ace), passed away unexpectedly in 2013. (That's Andy, second from left in the photo).

As you may also recall, last summer the surviving members of the Flo Mos went into the studio to recreate a song of Andy's that we all loved, and which we used to perform live for ages, but for some reason had never demoed. You can read the whole saga, and listen to the finished song, over HERE, but the shorter version is that it turned out so well that we planned to include it on a forthcoming EP of previously unreleased studio material in Andy's honor.

A few weeks after we finished the track, however, Gerry Devine -- our singer and the Flo Mos other principal songwriter -- let it drop casually that there was an Andy song that I had never suspected existed. One that was the last thing he wrote as a member of the band (and probably one of the last things he wrote ever) and that the band had never worked it up back in the day (I was no longer a member then, in case you're wondering).

Naturally, I found this (shall we say) intriguing, and Gerry graciously agreed to record an acoustic guitar and vocals version of it for my perusal.

When I listened to it a few weeks later I was totally gobsmacked. In fact, I thought it was one of the most heartbreakingly sad and beautiful songs I had ever heard; fortunately, Glen "Bob" Allen, our ace drummer, concurred, and so back into the studio we went.

And now, please enjoy the world public premiere of Andy's utterly gorgeous "Sarah McLeod."

That's essentially 95 percent finished, if truth be told; we'll probably have Gerry re-record his lead vocal for clarity, but damn, if that doesn't sound wonderful even at this point.

I should add that the background vocals and rhythm guitar are by special guest Flo Mo Joe Benoit, who showed up at the studio and nailed all his parts in about a half hour. The fabulous Telecaster licks and the Andy-esque 12-string, of course, are by our long-time regular guitar hero J.D. Goldberg (who came in for Andy in the late 80s).

If truth be told, I'm finding it difficult to believe we did anything quite this lovely, actually. But I think Andy would have approved. And it now looks like the planned EP is going to turn into a genuine album, one that with luck will be ready for public consumption some time before the end of the year.

Friday, February 09, 2018

It's Carole King Week Part V: Special Saving the Best For Last Edition

From 1963, please enjoy The Chiffons -- with the song's composer, Carole King, playing the fabulous piano part -- and "One Fine Day."

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- there are days when I think that's the greatest pop song of all time.

Of course, I've always regretted that no version of it exists in legit stereo. But the other day, what to my wondering eyes should appear on YouTube but the next best thing -- an extremely well done stereo version overdubbed quite cleverly after the fact by a musician/fan.

Okay, granted it's a bit like colorizing and old black-and-white movie, but darned if this one doesn't work. In any event, if you're a purist, the original still exists, obviously.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 08, 2018

It's Carole King Week Part IV: Special The Apple Don't Fall Too Far From the Tree Edition

From 1979, please enjoy the irrepressible Louise Goffin -- daughter of you know who -- and a sprightly cover of the Fabs' "All I've Got To Do."

Goffin's debut album is, to put it charitably, hardly the greatest artifact of its era, but at the time it came out, I remember thinking that it was kind of neat that Carole King had a daughter who was a bit of a punkette.

Listening to her take on the Beatles song for the first time in ages, however, has been a bit of a revelation. For starters, I had forgotten just how eerily Louise sounds like her mom. And I suddenly remembered that Lennon and McCartney famously said that when they were starting out, they were striving to be the next Goffin and King.

On the basis of "All I've Got to Do," you'd have to say they succeeded.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

It's Carole King Week Part III: Special All Men Are Liars Edition

From 1964, please enjoy Carole King's spine-tingling original solo demo of "Oh No Not My Baby."

This is a ragingly beautiful song, obviously, and it's been covered a lot, including a fabulous 70s hit version (In the UK) by Rod Stewart (before he became an asshole) and Faces. The American hit, of course, was by the great Maxine Brown.

In any event, the composer's version -- which I had not heard until yesterday -- brings tears to my eyes.

Have I mentioned that she's a fricking fantastic piano player?

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

It's Carole King Week Part II: Special Hello, Ladies! Edition

From the Letterman show in 1992, please enjoy Carole King on piano (in one of the most amazing all-star bands of all time) and a mind-boggling performance of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."

I should add that King is one of my all-time favorite rock keyboard people ever, apart from being an astounding songwriter. She's having a hell of a good time in that clip too, isn't she?

BTW -- that's Chrissie Hynde on rhythm guitar in the back. And the vocal section is Mavis Staples, Michelle Shocked, Roseanne Cash, Nanci Griffiths and Emmylou Harris.

Words fail me.

Monday, February 05, 2018

It's Carole King Week Part I: Special You Know, I Really Should Go See This Show Already Edition

From 2017, please enjoy a very nice mash-up of performances of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend" by the auteur herself and various cast members of Beautiful from around the world.

The Japanese gal just slays me, BTW.

Tomorrow: King as piano player in one of the most amazing all star bands ever.

Friday, February 02, 2018

There Were Giants in the Earth in Those Days

So last week, I was discussing Rockpile with a musician friend (who had just bought their Seconds of Pleasure album on vinyl, ironically enough)...

...and a few days later, coincidentally, a long-time reader sent me this clip of Nick, Dave and the other guys on Swedish TV in 1978. Which I had not previously seen.

"So It Goes," of course, is from Pure Pop for Now People (aka Jesus of Cool), Nick's debut solo album from two years earlier. The version above is slightly, as they say, pitchy, but Rockpile was pretty much the best traditional rock band in the world at that point, and it's a snazzy performance anyway. Also, I want Nick's jacket.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

[h/t Matt Mitchell]

Thursday, February 01, 2018

An Old Piano and a Knockout Bass

From 1954, and the short lived tv series Show Time at the Apollo, please enjoy the incomparable Amos Milburn and his epochal boogie woogie masterpiece "Down the Road Apiece."

And that my friends, the Rolling Stones notwithstanding, is how it's done.

Incidentally, Milburn made a lot of records as good as that one, including an astounding remake of his first hit, "Chicken Shack Boogie," backed at an alarmingly fast pace by Little Richard's band. I'll see if I can find that and post it at some point.

I should add that before Milburn's untimely death at the age of 52, he suffered circulatory problems that necessitated having one leg amputated, something written about quite movingly in Nick Tosches' invaluable Unsung Heroes of Rock ''n Roll, one of the best books about the music ever.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business

Had an extremely productive -- but relatively late -- night in the studio yesterday.

Working on the rediscovered Floor Models song by our late great bandmate Andy Pasternack (which should be finished next week, at which point I'll share. It's turning out gorgeous, BTW).

Regular posting resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of NRBQ

I swear to god I did NOT know this was coming when I posted about the album two weeks ago.

From the Omnivore press release:

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The New Rhythm and Blues Quintet, better known as NRBQ, formed more than 50 years ago. After playing together for a few years, the band began recording with Eddie Kramer and inked a two-record deal with Columbia Records. Their eponymous 1969 debut featured wide-ranging originals peppered with versions of songs from diverse sources, from Eddie Cochran to Sun Ra, including a co-write between the band’s Terry Adams and jazz experimentalist Carla Bley. It was, and is, a wildly original and influential release.

Crawdaddy once noted, “It was filled with first class rock & roll, but there were a number of strange and wonderful songs that indicated something was happening on a higher aesthetic plane …" John Sebastian says: “The Lovin’ Spoonful closed down about 1969 … To me, it's always as if NRBQ kind of took the ball at that point for the original American Music Band.” And AllMusic sums it up: “A tremendously important record by a furiously eclectic and always wonderful band.”

For all of its stature, it’s hard to believe that in the recording’s 49-year existence, NRBQ has never been reissued, in any format. That changes on March 16, 2018 when Omnivore Recordings will make NRBQ available once again, on CD (for the first time), Digital, and as a gatefold LP.

Combining elements of the original, with additional photos and new liner notes from Jay Berman, the package has never looked, nor sounded better.

As Berman writes in his notes: “This historic and monumental recording has been remastered, and finally authorized for re-release. This album is a great reminder that NRBQ is on a mission, one that holds steady to its original inspiration to this day. For those fans who missed it the first time around, it Hasn’t Aged A Bit.”

According to Adams: “We did this album on a 12-track recorder at the Record Plant with Eddie Kramer engineering. We didn’t believe in doing a song more than once. This was how the band sounded on the night it was recorded. A couple of days later it would’ve been a whole different record. I like what they did with this new EQ remix. It sounds like how we felt.”

Indeedy. Hey -- I've got my copy reserved. What are YOU waiting for?

Monday, January 29, 2018

I Don't Think This Was What President Malevolent Chauncey Gardiner Was Thinking About When He Dissed the Leader of North Korea

And speaking, as we were on Friday, of sci-fi themed rock -- from 1962, please enjoy The Spotnicks (aka The Shadows or The Ventures of Sweden) and "The Rocket Man," a fairly bizarre adaptation of the old Russian folk-song "Meadowland."

I forget when I discovered these guys -- sometime in the late 60s, I think, because a friend had one of their import LPs -- but I am occasionally of the opinion that they were the all-time snazziest dressers in rock.

I was also amused to learn that English drummer Jimmy Nicol -- the footnote to history who filled in for an ailing Ringo Starr for a few shows at the height of Beatlemania -- had been briefly a member of The Spotnicks at some point.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special Do Not Attempt to Adjust the Picture Edition

[I originally posted this listomania back in 2008, when this blog and the world were young. Just so I don't come across as a total slacker, I've rewritten some of it, added a different song in one slot, and swapped out a couple of the videos. Hopefully you'll enjoy. -- S.S.]


Sorry about the arbitrary post-Beatles thing, but otherwise we'd have to include Billy Lee Riley's "Flyin' Saucers Rock and Roll," "Purple People Eater," "Telstar," et al, and this blog already skews way too old. And speaking of arbitrary, I was going to explicitly ban the nomination of either David Bowie's "Space Oddity" or Elton John's "Rocket Man," but I figure one of you SOBs will nominate them no matter what I say, so go ahead. I will, however, taunt you mercilessly for your bad taste when you do.

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Eight:

8. Flight of the Conchords -- Robots

As you can see, the world is very different since the robotic uprising of the '90s.

7. Bjork -- Pluto

Let's be honest -- this broad has been in space since day one.

6. Marilyn Manson -- Mechanical Animals

Apparently, this song is about mechanical animals. Kind of Philip K. Dick-ish, I guess.

5. The Byrds -- Mr. Spaceman

A way too obvious choice, I know, but I wanted an excuse to post this video, which I had never seen before today. And yes, that's Gram Parsons pretending to be David Crosby.

4. Roky Erikson -- Creature With the Atom Brain

Why is he acting so strange? A question that may never be answered, Roky.

3. They Might Be Giants -- Particle Man

Well, it's sorta sci-fi. He's a particle -- get it?

2. King Crimson -- 21st Century Schizoid Man

This is one of those prog songs that just strike me as hilariously funny, albeit unintentionally. Fripp really was a pretentious bastard even back in the day, wasn't he?

And the number one sci-fi song, gimme a break it's not even a fricking contest so don't bug me, is

1. The Rolling Stones -- 2000 Man

A song so good even Kiss covered it.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

And Speaking of Gorgeous...

...from 2013, and their Songs From the Basement CD...

...please enjoy The Regulars, featuring friend of PowerPop (and moi) Joseph Benoit....

...and their quite spectacularly beautiful ballad "Oceans and Waves."

I was lucky enough to do a studio session with Joe last night (for a rediscovered Floor Models song, about which more later) and I gotta tell you -- this kid is a great guitar player and sings like a bird. I should also tell you that his lovely and charming wife does a foodie blog over at Facebook, and that she won my heart forever for coining the term The Frills for our mutual neighborhood of Forest Hills.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of What's the Point of It All?

It's a miserable rainy day in the neighborhood.

Regular -- and less depressed -- posting resumes on the morrow.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Dr. Shithole, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

From 1950, please enjoy folksinger/marine biologist Sam Hinton and his hit recording of Vern Partlow's anti-war classic "Old Man Atom.”

This was the first non-classical record I can remember my parents owning when I was just a tadpole...

...although I have since learned that it was originally released on the much smaller ABC label and that Columbia picked it up for distribution once it started to get a little airplay. It was also rather controversial in its day; both the Hinton version and a slightly bowdlerized cover by The Sons of the Pioneers on RCA Victor were briefly banned from radio.

My favorite lyrics come at the end:

"So the moral is this, just as plain as day
That Old Man Atom is here to stay
He's gonna stick around, that's clear to see
But, ah, my dearly beloved, are we?

So listen, folks, here is my thesis:
"Peace in the world, or the world in pieces!"

At which point, some genius producer -- and this is before digital recording, mind you -- dubs in the sound of an A-bomb detonating.

That said, I bring it up because over at the leading journal of the Right a major asshole conservative pundit is saying that there's nothing to worry about, potential ICBM attack on Hawaii-wise.

As noted by the great Roy Edroso over at ALICUBLOG:

“If a Missile Alert Sounds,” headlined David French of National Review, “Prepare to Live.”

Hmm, I thought when I first saw that, some people are so jaded they need apocalypse porn to get excited; but it turns out French wants to convince readers that, despite what the nervous nellies say, they could happily survive a hail of H-bombs.

Prepare to live. As tempting as it may be, don’t spend the precious minutes between missile alert and missile impact texting family, sending tearful goodbyes on Snapchat, or attempting to reconcile old grudges. Don’t do it.

Your family will respect you more, knowing that in the final hours you didn't go all wobbly and tell them you loved them.

First, you have to understand that the odds are overwhelming that you’ll survive an initial blast. Nuclear weapons are devastating, but it’s a Hollywood myth that any individual strike will vaporize an entire American city, much less the suburbs and countryside…

Hollywood always exaggerates these things. For instance, they never show you the parts of Hiroshima that were open for business the next day.

You can read the rest of Edroso's epic stupidity smackdown over here.

In the meantime, re: French -- to paraphrase Gene Hackman in Superman, it's amazing his brain generates enough energy to peck out that drivel on his computer keyboard.

Friday, January 19, 2018

It's Music By People I Actually Know Week: Part IV -- Special The Joker is Wild Edition

From 2017 and their eponymous CD.......

...please enjoy David Achelis & 8 ACE (that's Dave in the middle, BTW)...

...and "August," one of the coolest hard-rock instrumentals I've heard in ages.

Who is this guy? In his own words:

As an independent recording engineer / producer, Dave worked with artists as diverse as Dave Brubeck, The New York Dolls, Sonny Rollins, The Misfits, Elvin Jones and Rod Stewart just to name a few out of hundreds.

Not too shabby, I would say.

I should add that although I have known David since forever, and jammed with him on numerous occasions over the years, I had no idea he had such a cool guitar sound in the studio. I should also add that he can sing all the lyrics to Marty Robbins' hit recording of "El Paso," the behearing of which once caused me to literally roll on the floor in helpless gales of laughter.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Closed for Monkey Military Maneuvers

Fortunately, the missile alert was a false alarm.

In any case, regular posting -- in this case, of music by people I actually know personally -- will resume on the morrow.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

It's Music By People I Actually Know Week: Part III -- Special Going for Baroque Edition

From 1983, please enjoy the fabulous Floor Models -- featuring a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels == and their quite amazing Roger McGuinn/J.S. Bach pastiche "Enough's Enough."

That's written and sung by an old bandmate, the late great Andy Pasternack, and the video was put together by a fan in Spain, who I didn't know, out of the great goodness of his heart; he sent it to me unbidden approximately 6 years ago, which still boggles my mind.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It's Music By People I Actually Know Week!: Part II -- Special It Came From Jersey! Edition

From last Saturday night, at the fabulous Count Basie Theater in glorious Red Bank, New Jersey -- please enjoy Robin Wilson (lead singer of the Gin Blossoms) fronting the surviving members of The Smithereens in a fabulous performance of the 'Reens breakthrough hit "Blood and Roses."

This, of course, is from the official streamed version of a concert in memory of the 'Reens great frontman/songwriter/hero of mine Pat DiNizio. Hopefully the rest of the show -- which featured performances by Marshall Crenshaw, Steve Van Zandt, and Freedy Johnston, among other worthies -- will be up on YouTube shortly. Or somewhere else officially.

I watched the whole thing at home in real time, and trust me -- it was fricking fabulous.

I should add that the guys have established a music scholarship program in memory of Pat (which I think he would have loved). And you can find out more info about it (including a link where you can contribute) over HERE.

Monday, January 15, 2018

It's Music By People I Actually Know Week!: Part I -- Special Frankenstein Meets Larry Williams Edition

From 2016, please enjoy my chum and depressingly accomplished multi-instrumentalist Frank Burrows...

...and his droll one-man band version of the venerable rock-and-roll classic "Dizzy Miss Lizzie."

Who is this guy?

In his own words:

Frank Burrows is a guitarist/singer/songwriter who has performed with Carlos Santana/ Narada Michael Walden/ Premik Russell Tubbs/ Larry Coryell/ Mellisa Manchester/ Debbie Gibson/ Dee Snider in addition to leading his own bands. Born in NYC and raised in the Bronx, his earliest musical influences were an interesting combination of pop music and 1930s and ‘40s film scores. He has composed in diverse styles, from pop/rock to jazz and classical. He has also written for television, creating songs for the animated character Moose A. Moose on the Nickelodeon/Noggin channel (renamed NickJr.). These songs have enjoyed a post broadcast popularity on YouTube, some of them generating over 3,500,000 Youtube hits.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- I am lucky enough to have encountered some preposterously talented people over the years. But Moose A. Moose? I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!!!

Tomorrow -- a clip from last Saturday's Pat DiZio tribute concert.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Your Friday Moment of NRBQ

And speaking as we were the other day of NRBQ's 1996 live album Tokyo...'s that astounding version of "I Want You Bad" I couldn't find on Wednesday.

First time I heard that my jaw dropped, and I still find it amazing; initially, it sounds like a sloppy shambolic mess, but if you listen carefully you realize it's actually tight as a drum. Which suggests a question -- how the hell do four human beings with instruments manage to sound so loose without actually being loose? Incredible.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Your Thursday Moment of NRBQ

And speaking as we were yesterday of those guys -- from 1969, and their eponymous/stupdendous debut album....

...please enjoy the astoundingly great NRBQ...

...and their utterly amazing cover of Eddie Cochran's ground zero rock-and-roll classic "C'mon Everybody."

I got this album when it originally came out (courtesy of Columbia Records, who were, inexplicably, servicing the college newspaper where I was a baby rock critic) and have loved, nay lurved it ever since.

And this track, which devastated me back then, still astounds me.

Seriously, where the hell did they get that intro from? Didn't Terry Adams understand that this is just a simple three chord rock song?

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

So the other day, I was over at friend of PowerPop's Sal Nunziato's invaluable BURNING WOOD blog, perusing a post Sal had put up a week earlier on the subject of NRBQ, who had just torn it up in characteristic form at B.B. King's, much to Sal's delight.

I'm a fan as well (although I've never seen them live -- I would say they are now my pre-eminent bucket list band). And so I went over to YouTube to see if I could find one of my fave NRBQ tracks, the live version of "I Want You Bad," from their early '90s Tokyo CD.

To my shocked surprise, however, it wasn't there, although there were numerous other live versions (mostly shot by fans) as well as the '70s LP version that started it all. And tons of covers of it by other artists, including the Gin Blossoms and the Flamin' Groovies. None of those really measured up, IMHO, although I admit to a fondness for this kick-ass reading by country star Charlie Robison.

And then I stumbled across this clip. Play it loud and have your life changed.

Seriously, that is so amazingly great it almost hurts. And it sounds exactly like what I've wanted every band I ever played in to sound like but never did, I'll tell you that for free.

Sweet jeebus, that's gorgeous.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Gilbert and Sullivan Meet You Know Who

Oh god, words fail me.

I am the very model of a Very Stable Genius.
I have a mighty button and no problems with my penius.
I have no time for television, golf, or social media
Since my brain is way way better than the best encyclopedia.

I like to tweet the lies of racist grievances historical
When Russian ties are mentioned I deny them categorical
I do not feel the sting of words because I am avenious
I am the very model of a Very Stable Genius!

I throw the finest tantrums; I'm repetitive and furious
When CNN airs anything too screwy to be spurious
My crooked doctor tells me I'm a paragon of sanity
And if you don't believe him, you can always ask Sean Hannity...

My speeches are the best: I am the best at slurred meandering
Between extremes of bullying and sychophantic pandering:
If you're not counting Nero and forget who Mussolini is,
I never had an equal as a bigly #stable genius!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Closed for Snowbound Too Damn Cold Monkey Business

Regular, defrosted posting -- including my thoughts on How to Be a Rock Critic, the one-man show based on the life of Lester Bangs I attended last Friday -- resumes on the morrow.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Apocalypse Then

From 1981, please enjoy singer/songwriter Dan Daley...

...and his original version of one of the best written anti-war songs of the last several decades -- "Still in Saigon."

Back in my Village days, Dan and his crack roots-rock/country band were regulars at Kenny's Castaways, where yours truly and the rest of the nascent Floor Models saw him on numerous occasions. If truth be told, we were all a little intimidated by said band, given that they were all stone professionals, rather than snot-nosed dilettante New Wave poseurs like us. Dan is a very nice guy, however, and obviously extremely talented; he was doing "Saigon" for quite a while, as I recall, and it was obviously a great song. So it was not exactly a surprise to me when Charlie Daniels took it into the Top 10 in 1982.

Of course, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that Daniels voted for Trump, so fuck him. Oh well, at least "Saigon" presumably made Dan some serious coin.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Theatrical Notes From All Over

So a certain Shady Dame and I are going to see a one man show on the life and work of the late great Lester Bangs tomorrow.

Could be a hot one. I mean, I loved the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who played Lester in Cameron Crowe's wonderful Almost Famous, but he totally didn't resemble the Lester that I knew professionally. The guy in the clip above, however, does.

That said, I think Matt Groening more or less nailed him in 1986.

I mean, that illustration is so on the money it's hilarious.

UPDATE: And in case you think Groening didnt get it right...

Jeez, I can't believe I walked around in public looking like that.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Hey -- How Did This Happen? (Part Deux)

The Hounds are on YouTube!!!

As I'm fond of saying -- a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, well played, is the most beautiful sound occurring in nature. Kudos to our old chum Tony Forte, who wrote the song and plays said Rick on it.

The album is available at Amazon and CD Baby, by the way.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Closed for Post-Holidays Rehab Monkey Business

Regular postings -- including a very powerful anti-war song by a guy I knew back in the Village days -- resume on the morrow.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year (It Could Be Worse -- We Could Have Locusts*)

[I originally posted this little confessional back in 2013; I'm posting it again now not because I'm trying to make it a tradition or anything, but because Sam Anderson -- a very fine staff writer for the New York Times Sunday Magazine -- recounted an almost identical account two New Years ago; you should read HIS VERSION after mine, because his is much funnier. -- S.S.]

This is, as I have been wont to say here on many previous occasions, a very sad story, so please try not to laugh.

It also has a certain relevance to today, which will be revealed later in the narrative. Please be patient.

Anyway, so a few weeks ago I was in a cab heading down the West Side Highway in a snowstorm, and the driver had the radio tuned to whatever soft-rock Lite FM station they inevitably have on when they don't have WINS News Radio blasting or some guy from Queens yelling about sports.

I wasn't particularly paying attention, but suddenly some soft-rock Lite FM staple song came on, and immediately I knew three things.

1. I had definitely heard it before.

2. It was probably from the 70s or the 80s, although I couldn't rule out the possibility that it might have been more recent, and it had that whole California soft-rock vibe, which I usually detest, in spades.

3. I had no idea who the guy or the group singing it was, although I was painfully aware that when and if I found out I was gonna kick myself. Because pretty much everybody in the world, at least of a certain age, would have been able to recognize it instantly.

The truly insidious part was that there was something about the damn thing that grabbed me. Yes, the vocals had that laid-back L.A. Mr. Sensitive shtick that usually makes my gorge rise. But the tune was charming, the voicings of the harmony parts in the chorus were really quite lovely, and -- try as I might to deny it -- it was getting under my skin.

Fortunately, because of the roar of traffic, I couldn't really hear the lyrics, although one word -- "architect" -- jumped out. "Hmm," I thought. "There's a word you don't hear in a pop song everyday."

Anyway, I then went about the rest of my weekend, but I knew with an absolutely dread certainty that I was gonna break down sooner or later and look the song up on the Intertubes.

So, late on Monday, I googled "Soft Rock song with the word architect in it" and up it popped.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...and my fingers are shaking as I type these words....Dan Fogelberg (the horror, the horror!) and his 1980 (which I had apparently put out of my mind, probably deliberately, ever since its original vogue) "Same Old Lang Syne."

Well. In case you're wondering, no -- I have no interest in revisiting the rest of Fogelberg's body of work, and yes, I still basically can't stand the whole genre he represents, but goddamn it -- this damn song works and it gets to me. Like I said, it's melodically quite charming, and now that I've actually deciphered the lyrics, it turns out that -- despite a certain smugness that kind of rankles -- they actually make a pretty good little short story.

And the record's not even a new guilty pleasure, to be honest, because I don't feel particularly guilty about liking it.

Sticks in my craw a bit, though.

As I said, this is a very sad story, so please try not to laugh.

* old Jewish expression