Monday, August 20, 2018

There Were Giants in the Earth in Those Days (An Occasional Series)

Love Junk, by The Pursuit of Happiness, and one of the greatest rock albums of the 80s, is getting the deluxe treatment it deserves. And about freaking time.

This was the big hit from the album, but the rest of it was equally classic, trust me.

You'll have to order it as an import, of course, but it's worth it.

BTW, I have a TPOH story (involving the wonderful Moe Berg, who fronts the band) which I have told here before, but being the slacker schmuck that I am, I'll put it up again tomorrow and pretend it's brand new.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Aretha Franklin 1942 -- 2018

My all-time favorite of hers.

A work of genius for her piano playing alone.

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- this death shit is really starting to piss me off.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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

From 2007, and the soundtrack to the Adam Sandler movie of almost the same name, please enjoy The Who classic "Love Reign O'er Me," as performed by Pearl Jam.

Oh, I know why I hadn't heard this before -- it's because it's from a goddamned Adam Sandler movie. Pretty great despite that,

[h/t Dan Fridman]

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Your Tuesday Moment of Sleaze-o-Rama

From 1958, please enjoy Kip Tyler (doing business with his usual band The Flips, uncredited) and the self-explanatory rocker "She's My Witch."

I have to admit that I had never heard this record until yesterday. But had my 11 year old self encountered it back in the day, I would have enjoyed it immensely, I'll tell you that for free.

[h/t Roy Edroso/Alicublog]

Monday, August 13, 2018

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special These Geezers Still Got It Edition

The incomparable Cheap Trick and their brand new single "The Summer Looks Good On You."

Inspirational verse:
"Thought I'd seen it all/From mankind to tan lines/I ain't seen nothing like you"

Seriously -- that just blows me away. As my colleague Brett Milano, who turned me on to it, observed -- it may be the power pop song of the year.

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Family That Sings Together...

Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, in the studio, circa 1964.

I have a theory -- and, to quote Monty Python, it is mine and I have it -- that if Dennis had been born 30 years later, he would have been the drummer of Foo Fighters. And if you think that's far-fetched, let me remind you that the actual Foo drummer, Taylor Hawkins, sings on a bonus track on the reissue of Wilson's 1977 solo album masterpiece Pacific Ocean Blue.

Here's Hawkins with the story, which is actually rather moving in its own right, via a piece in MOJO from 2015:

My ex-girlfriend's dad is [original Pacific Ocean Blue co-producer] Gregg Jakobson. About seven or eight years ago, Gregg was saying "You know, you should check out this album I worked on with Dennis Wilson." And I fell in love with it; I loved the honesty in it, the aching beauty of his songs and his voice...

Gregg mentioned that there was a bunch of unfinished tracks. With "Holy Man," Dennis had done a vocal and hated it, and made the the engineer erase it. What they had was a scat guide vocal that Carl [Wilson] had done with a rough melody. Gregg gave me a CD of the song and said "Do what you think you can with it."

I didn't listen to it for a while. I just felt really weird about it -- like, I can't fuck with this...But I tried to channel how Dennis would have done it.

Some people may say "What the fuck is the guy from the Foo Fighters doing on this record?" People hold Dennis very dear to their hearts. But there's a lineage; I'm a beach kid, a drummer, and I've been living with Dennis's music for a long time. I meant what I did genuinely."

He did a hell of a job with it, too.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Girls! Girls! Girls!

From 2012, please enjoy Elvis Costello and a blistering performance of Nick Lowe's ironic hippie anthem...

...but pay special attention to the world's coolest go-go dancers.

Yes, it's who you think they are. Amazingly enough.

[h/t Matt Mitchell]

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

And Speaking of Richard Nixon... we were yesterday, from their surprisingly terrific 1972 album The Night is Still Young, please enjoy Sha Na Na and their doo-wop ode to participatory democracy, "The Vote Song."

As I mentioned the other week, TNISY is basically the only really worthwhile album Sha Na Na ever made; lots of really sharp originals, like the above, and a cover of "In the Still of the Night" that shreds the original, the whole thing produced to a faretheewell by the great Jeff Barry.

I should add that I got a mordant chuckle out of the Nixon reference when the album originally came out, but two years later I was playing it again and laughing my fucking ass off, for obvious reasons.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Obviously, the Great Trump Song has Yet to Be Written (Or Unearthed)!

From 1974, please enjoy the Vic Caesar Orchestra and Chorus and their self-explanatory ode to an earlier era of evil -- "Nixon's the One."

That was originally recorded and privately released in the run up to the Nixon/McGovern election in 1972; one presumes that bandleader and arranger Caesar was a Nixon enthusiast. Two years later, however, as Watergate heated up, Capitol Records -- to their eternal credit -- licensed it and released it as a novelty 45. I well remember the day it arrived at Stereo Review and I got to listen to it for the first time. I also used to play it for various of my commie/hippie friends, who to a person responded with slack-jawed disbelief.

I should add that it later resurfaced on the soundtrack CD to the 2006 Richard Gere film (about Clifford Irving) The Hoax . Where it remains commercially available to this day.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special We Can Dream, Can't We? Edition

[I originally posted this back in 2007, when this blog and the world were young. But after hearing that Smithereens cover album I talked about yesterday, I thought it was newly relevant. I've done a little re-writing and changed one song. Enjoy. -- S.S.]
So -- here's a fun project for us all to contemplate.


You know -- some really fabulous song you'd really like to hear some favorite artiste -- solo or group -- perform or record, but so far they haven't gotten around to it (the bastards!!!).

Okay, my totally off the top of my head Top Nine is:

9. The Hold Steady -- The Boys Are Back in Town [Thin Lizzy]

They've probably jammed on it a million times -- go public, guys!

8. The Posies -- Carrie-Ann [The Hollies]

They already proved they were genetically bred to do Hollies songs with their version of "King Midas in Reverse" -- just think what they would bring to the sunniest of the Clarke-Hicks-Nash classics.

7. The Pretenders -- Every Little Bit Hurts (Brenda Holloway)

My fave 60s soul ballad/torch song would be a natural for Chrissie Hynde, I suspect.

6. Foo Fighters -- Peter Gunn [Henry Mancini/Johnny Kidd and the Pirates]

Oh come on -- you have to ask?

5. Steve Earle -- Street Fighting Man [The Rolling Stones]

Please-- this is the job he was born for.

4. Bob Mould -- Calvary Cross [Richard Thompson]

On the 1994 Thompson tribute album Beat the Retreat, Mould turned the rockabilly tinged "Turning of the Tide" into a killer piece of buzz-saw punk. I swoon to imagine what he could do with Thompson's most intensely doom-haunted song....

3. Emmylou Harris -- Withered and Died [Richard and Linda Thompson]

This song is so heartbreaking that if Emmy covered it I don't know if we'd survive the hearing.

2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers -- 19th Nervous Breakdown [The Rolling Stones]

Jagger's snarl would morph into Petty's sly drawl pretty good, doncha think? Okay, Petty's death has put the kibosh on this, but still -- I'll bet there's a live tape of it somewhere.

And the number one cover I'd love to hear is....

1. Led Zeppelin -- Bits and Pieces [Dave Clark Five]

For obvious reasons.....

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 02, 2018

An Early Clue to the New Direction: Special It's the Smithereens Edition

From their 1980 DIY release "Girls About Town," please enjoy the greatest thing from Jersey whose name isn't Bruce, i.e. The Smithereens, and their splendid cover of the Beach Boys gem "Girl Don't Tell Me."

Incidentally, that's also from a just released CD that collects all the cover songs -- four previously unreleased -- the 'Reens have done over the years, usually tucked away on movie soundtracks or single B-sides. It's an absolutely killer album; you can -- and should -- order it over at Amazon HERE.

I should add that a coveted PowerPop No-Prize will be awarded to the first reader who gleans its relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Closed for Monkey Business: Special Real Estate Edition

Had to deal with the crooks and schmucks who run the building where my late mon's apartment is yesterday. Consequently, I'm too angry to wax amusing about music at the moment.

Here's a hint, though: power corrupts people on as ridiculous a level as a co-op board as much as it corrupts anybody else.

Regular, less billious, postings resume on the morrow.