Thursday, July 18, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part III): Special "These Guys Sing Like Birds" Edition

From 1966, please enjoy The Everly Brothers and their lovely take on The Hollies' "Signs That Will Never Change."

Okay, technically this may not be a cover, given that Don and Phil's version came out first. (The Hollies didn't release theirs till 1967, as the B-side of "Carrie Anne.")

Nevertheless, it's gorgeous and I love it and this is my blog so don't give me a hard time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part II): Special "Quick Henry, the Visine!" Edition

From 2008, please enjoy The Bangles absolutely killing it on a version of the Todd Rundgren/Nazz classic "Open My Eyes."

I gotta say that's about as transplendent as it gets, for Debbi Peterson's drumming alone. And don't even get me started on the harmonies.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Who Listens to the Radio?

Well, hopefully you guys. Because I'm going to be a guest on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's Lost at Sea show this morning. On fabulous Area 24 radio.

You can access the station HERE; after you click on the link, just hit the Tune In button on the top right and crank the volume. The show starts at approximately 11am EST; I'll make my appearance around 11:15, at which point both you and Capt. Al will try to guess the theme uniting all the music I'll be introducing.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Bride of Covers Week (Part I): Special "You Talk Too Much" Edition

From 2019 and their just released Running for Covers album...

...please enjoy the pride of New Jersey The Doughboys (featuring the great Richard X. Heyman on drums) and a hilarious Yardbirds-esque version of Mose Allison's classic insult song "Your Mind is On Vacation..."

As in "...And Your Mouth is Working Overtime."

Long time readers are aware of my affection for both this band and Richard X. Heyman on numerous preious occasions, to which I will only add -- order this new record over at Amazon immediately.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Howard Beale Should Have Lived to See This

From 2017 and the Aussie TV news satire show Mad as Hell, please enjoy Shaun Micallef and friends doing to solemn Sgt. Pepper nostalgia what should have been done to it years ago.

Seriously -- that is one of the funniest things I've seen in my frickin' life.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Peter Scott]

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Image of the Day

Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers discuss a forthcoming recording session in a room in the Hotel Wolcott in New York City on September 30, 1958.

The rock stars were preparing to take an aspiring crooner named Lou Giordano into the Beltone Studios inside the hotel (at 4 West 31st Street).

Holly and Phil Everly co-produced the session. The two songs recorded were "Stay Close To Me" and "Don't Cha Know."

And because I love you all more than food, here are they are.

In any case, as friend of PowerPop Peter Spencer observed yesterday, that picture -- the photographer is unknown -- is worth it for the period decor alone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Late, and very productive, night in the studio.

Regular posting, all tanned and rested, resume on the morrow.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Utterly Fail Me

From 1963, please enjoy the incredible Bunker Hill and his total destruction to your mind single "The Girl Can't Dance."

There's not a lot of biographical info available on Hill, except that his real name was David Walker and that he was an on again/off again member of the great gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy when he wasn't singing the Devil's music under a pseudonym. He apparently died, way too young, in Houston in the early 80s, and hadn't been involved in the music business for quite some time.

In any case, the record features Link Wray on guitar (it was recorded at Link's home studio) and as somebody said in the YouTube comments, it makes Little Richard sound like Pat Boone. Had it been a hit, history might well have been changed in unfathomable ways.

[h/t Tommy Perkins]

Monday, July 08, 2019

Have Instruments, Will Demolish

From 2019, please enjoy The Tearaways...

...and their epic tribute to the legendary musicians known to history as The Wrecking Crew. You know, the guys who played on just about every hit record out of Los Angeles from the early 60s to the early 70s and beyond.

BTW, you may have noticed that heir-to-Keith Moon aka once and forever Blondie drummer Clem Burke is just one of the interesting veteran rockers in this band; for more information on them just go over HERE and tell 'em PowerPop sent you.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part V): Special "The Band That Wouldn't Die" Edition

Well, they said it would never happen, but The Floor Models -- featuring some bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels -- have a new album out.

And from it, please enjoy their live take on The Byrds version of Goffin-King's classic "Wasn't Born to Follow."

That was recorded during the the soundcheck for a radio broadcast we did for WDST-FM in Woodstock, which is why you don't hear an audience (they hadn't arrived yet). The year, I'm pretty sure, was 1995, but we had been doing the song since our earliest days in the Village, i.e. the early '80s. In any case, it was always one of my favorite things to play live, so I'm especially glad the recording survived.

As for the album itself, it's got four newly recorded tracks (including a song by our late great 12-string ace Andy Pasternack that's so beautiful it hurts) plus six more previously unreleased tunes from the vault that aren't too shabby either. The whole thing is now available for streaming and purchase at CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes; other digital platforms -- Pandora, etc -- will be up in a day or two. Physical CDs will be available in a couple of weeks, but why deprive yourself until then?

Also, we just got added to Spotify, where the album sounds especially glorious. Apparently, they have some kind of technological fix over there that makes our music sound better than it is.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part IV): Special "The Tanks Are Rolling Down the Boardwalk" Edition

From 1997, and a tribute album (One Step Up/Two Steps Back)I somehow managed to miss, please enjoy the legendary Ben. E. King and a quite lovely cover of Bruce Springsteen's holiday classic "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)."

The arrangement takes a little while to get going, but King sings it quite idiomatically, I think.

Anyway, Happy 4th, everybody.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part III): Special "The Gospel Truth" Edition

From 1994, and the stunning Richard Thompson tribute album Beat the Retreat, please enjoy The Five Blind Boys of Alabama and their spine-tingling cover of Thompson's "Dimming of the Day."

This song has been covered a lot, and I'm convinced it's all but impossible to do a bad version of it; this, however, is probably the most stylistically left field one I've ever heard. In any case, its composer did a gorgeous solo rendition of it when I saw him Tuesday night, and its been on my mind a lot since.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part Deux): Special "Battle of the Bands" Edition

Britney Spears versus Richard Thompson in a cage match to the death.

Incidentally, I saw Thompson last night (at the, alas, soon to be defunct City Winery in Manhatan) and he was brilliant as ever; he did an apparently as yet unrecorded song called "Crocodile Tears" that reduced me to helpless giggles. I'll try to find a vid of it for posting when I've worked all this covers shit out of my system.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Return of the Son of Covers Week (Part I): Special "Badass Beatles!" Week Edition

From New York City in 2008, please enjoy -- well, I don't know exactly who these guys are, but they're doing an absolutely astonishing cover of The Beatles' "Old Brown Shoe"...

...which is perhaps the best obscure Fabs tune of all time.

In any case, if that performance doesn't stop you in your tracks, seek immediate medical assistance.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Son of Covers Week (Part IV): Special "Angel of Mersey" Edition

From some time in the mid=90s, please enjoy The Spongetones and their sheer genius remake of Paul McCartney's "On the Wings of a Nightingale."

Paul originally wrote that in 1984 for The Everly Brothers comeback album (produced by Dave Edmunds); the EBs version was glorious, and deservedly a hit, but the Spongetones take on it --which is pure early Beatles with a dollop of lead guitar in emulation of George Harrison's solo stuff is, as I said, sheer genius. I could listen to this till the cows come home.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Hey, I need a day off -- so sue me.

Son of Covers Week resumes on the morrow, however. Fer sher.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Son of Covers Week (Part Le Troisième): Special "Mary -- You've Got Spunk. I Hate Spunk." Edition

From Late Night With David Letterman in (approximately) 1996, please enjoy the irrepressible Joan Jett and her beyond endearing cover of "Love is All Around" (a/k/a the theme song from The Mary Tyler Moore Show).

I should add that the author of said song, Sonny Curtis, is not only still with us but should definitely be a household word; his other credits include being a member of Buddy Holly's Crickets as well as writing The Everly Brothers' classic "Walk Right Back" and Bobby Fuller's "I Fought the Law." Cooler than that it does not get.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Son of Covers Week (Part 2): Special "Who's That Annoying Kid Upstairs?" Edition

From 1989, please enjoy The Lemonheads (featuring Evan Dando) and an utterly fabulous guitar-driven punk remake of Suzanne Vega's breakthrough hit "Luka."

I want to make it clear here that I think the Suzanne Vega original of this is as perfect a pop record as has ever been made. An absolute classic that's moving on every level.

That said, from the minute I first heard it, I always wanted somebody to do a loud snot-nosed version that sounded like the above.

And I can't believe I didn't know about this one till last week.

[h/t Tom Perkins]

Monday, June 24, 2019

Son of Covers Week (Part 1): Special "If Only I Could Remember My Name" Edition

From 2019, and the soundtrack to the just-released documentary film Echo in the Canyon, please enjoy Jakob Dylan and a stunning rendition of one of my favorite songs from The Byrds' Fifth Dimension album -- David Crosby's "What's Happening."

Saw the film last night, and with one or two cavils thought it was surprisingly terrific. I should add, however, that it struck me as amusing that although Jakob Dylan is the guy interviewing the various 60s figures reminiscing in the film the subject of his father comes up exactly once.

I should also add that when the above song first appeared on the aforementioned Byrds album its title was rendered far more interestingly as "What's Happening?!?!"

Friday, June 21, 2019

Weekend Listomania: Special "And In Conclusion, National Rifle Association -- Bite Me!" Edition

[I originally posted a version of this about ten years ago, but obviously it's even more relevant now, alas. In any case, I've rewritten it and swapped out a couple of the original entries to avoid accusations of being a total slacker. Please enjoy. -- S.S]

Okay kids, here we go. What are...


Self-explanatory, so no arbitrary rules, but by firearms I mean the obvious, i.e. handguns, rifles, etc. In other words, if you try to sneak in something like Bruce Cockburns' otherwise quite splendid "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" I'll make merciless fun of you.

And my totally top of my head Top Nine are:

9. Terry Reid -- Bang Bang

Written by Sonny fricking Bono, and covered here to within an inch of its "my baby shot me down" life. Reid, of course, is the man who passed on Robert Plant's gig in Led Zeppelin, thus altering history in unfathomable ways. A certain Shady Dame and I were privileged to see Reid in a tiny club a few years ago, BTW, and it was in a word transplendent.

8. The Connells -- Get a Gun

From 1990 and a long-time fave of mine. Utterly gorgeous on every level, I think, but to this day I haven't the slightest idea what it's about. These guys are apparently still a going concern, however, and if I ever run into them maybe I'll ask.

7. Warren Zevon -- Jeannie Needs a Shooter

I know, I know -- you thought I was gonna say "Lawyers Guns and Money."

6. Mission of Burmaa -- That's When I Reach for My Revolver

Yeah, it's a great song. Still, and I forgot who said it, but there comes a time in everybody's life when they look at their CD collection and realize that those three Mission of Burma albums are basically just taking up space.

5. Hackamore Brick -- Zip Gun Woman

From the 1971 cult album. These guys are supposed to be some kind of proto-something -- punk, powerpop, I don't know what -- and people I know whose opinions I respect actually like the record. All I know is, I pull it out once every year or two to see if it makes sense to me yet, and it never does.

4. Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul -- Under the Gun

That's Dino Danelli, of Young Rascals fame, on drums, BTW. In any case, the best nasal homage to the ouevre of Keith Richards ever waxed.

3. The Clash -- Tommy Gun

I know, I know -- you thought I was gonna say "The Guns of Brixton."

2. The Sevens -- Seven

Apocalyptic garage rock from the Rolling Stones of Switzerland. Actual gun shots -- a starter pistol, actually -- fired in real time in the studio, courtesy of producer Giorgio Moroder (in his pre-disco days, obviously).

And the Numero Uno ode to the joys of blowing stuff up real good simply has to be...

1. The Guess Who -- Guns, Guns, Guns

This is one of the Guess Who tracks I usually pull out when people make fun of my obsession with the band. I'd actually forgotten it was a single; I mostly think of it as one of the best cuts from Rockin', the 1972 LP that's not only their masterpiece but one of the most unjustly overlooked albums of its decade. The song itself is sui generis; slash-and-burn guitars, a chorus for the ages, and a lyric -- at a historical moment when corporate greedheads are trying to convince us that fracking is good for you and the NRA and their Supreme Court enablers won't rest until every American can walk into a bar carrying a Stinger missile -- that's obviously depressingly prescient.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

It's Covers Week Part IV: An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1986, please enjoy the great Webb Wilder and his blistering live version of Steve Earle's more relevant than ever "The Devil's Right Hand."

A coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who gleans the clip's relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

It's Covers Week III: Special Something Fierce Meets Spinal Tap and Then They All Go to Bobby Flay's House For Dinner Edition

From (approximately) 1989 please enjoy the pride of Wayzata, Minnesota -- Something Fierce...

...and their appropriately droll live cover of the faux Merseybeat classic "Gimme Some Money."

The echo on the guitar solo is a particularly nice touch, I think.

BTW, I know I promised a definitively revisionist take on a Carole King song for today, but I'm holding that off for next week and a differently themed series of posts. I thank you for your patience.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

It's Covers Week (Part Deux): Al Green Explains It All to You

From 1969, please enjoy the Reverend Al Green and his thoroughly kick-ass cover of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

The first time I heard that was in 1998, upon the release of a great Green box set, while I was toiling at the critically acclaimed but alas hit-deficient music site over at It was one of the best jobs I ever had nonetheless, of course; not only was I taking Rupert Murdoch's money, but my colleagues were among the most talented and fun-to-work-with folks ever, plus I was getting exposed to all sorts of pop/rock/country stuff that was at the time unknown to me. Ah, those were the days.

Tomorrow: Perhaps the, shall we say, most revisionist version of a Goffin-King song ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

Monday, June 17, 2019

It's Covers Week (Part I): Special Will the Wolf Survive? Edition

From 2010, please enjoy the pride of Brooklyn, King Hell...

...doing to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf" what always should have been done to Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf."

BTW, those guys were an absolute panic; you can read more about them (from my first encounter) over HERE, and you can -- and should -- order the album that it's from...

...over at Amazon HERE.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Mister We Could Use a Man Like Thurgood Marshall Again

From (if memory serves) 1990, please enjoy this week's heroes Something Fierce and their more relevant than ever ode (to one of the greatest members of the Supreme Court ever) "Poetic Justice Thurgood."

Incidentally, that was a bonus track on a hilarious Christmas EP the guys did; I'll will post that as soon as it's seasonably appropriate,

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Something Fierce This Way Comes

From 1989, please enjoy proud Carleton College alumni Something Fierce...

...and their hilarious and Beatles-esque ode to the profundity of strangers "Deep and Meaningful."

I wrote about those guys earlier this week, and I was delighted to learn that one reader actually went over to Amazon and bought a copy of one their albums. Alas, all the rest of them -- there were six all told, if memory serves, plus a retrospective box set that came out about ten years ago -- seem to be long out of print. I'm in touch with Fierce guitarist Jerry Lefkowitz, however, and if there's somewhere from whence they can still be ordered, I'll let you. Trust me -- they're all absolutely great.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

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

From 1985, please enjoy The Replacements and their fantastic cover of The Grass Roots classic "Temptation Eyes."

That's an outtake, which I didn't know existed until last week, from Let It Be; apparently it was in contention for a slot on the album, but ultimately they went with another cover, "Black Diamond" by Kiss.

In any case, there are some other Grass Roots songs I wouldn't have minded hearing the Mats tackle -- this one, for example.

Oh well, a boy can dream, can't he.

[h/t Tommy Perkins]

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Webslingers Rule!!!

From his forthcoming album, please enjoy Shaun Johnson & the Big Band Experience...

...and perhaps the coolest ever version of the "Spiderman Theme."

Yeah, I know it's a little on the wink-wink side, as is much of the rest of the album, which includes similarly ironic covers of tunes by The Mavericks and Elvis Presley. But as you can hear, Johnson -- who first came to public attention with the multi-million selling a cappella group, Tonic Sol-fa -- has enough serious vocal chops that the album successfully skirts the edge of camp and works on its own swinging terms.

Capitol will drop, as the kids say, on June 21. In the meantime, you can -- and should -- pre-order it over at Amazon HERE.

Monday, June 10, 2019

What Did President Mediocre Columbo Villain Know and When Did He Know It?

So apparently John Dean(!) is testifying before congress today. Talk about deja vu.

Meanwhile, in his honor, here's a fantastic song that, audaciously, rhymes "You'll spill the beans" with "Haldeman, Mitchell and Dean."

In any case, Something Fierce -- who should be household words -- and I go back a long way; you can read the whole story over HERE.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Places Bruce Springsteen Fooled Around With Your Daughter

This is by Amanda Hale, and it originally appeared at McSweeney's on May 20th of this year.

On the boardwalk way past dark

Behind the walls where heat lightning falls

Beneath the waves at twenty-thousand leagues

Where the distant oceans sing, and rise to the plain

From the coastline to the city

A pretty little place in Southern California, down San Diego way

A place where the dancing’s free

Way down beneath the neon lights

Laying in a field on a summer’s day

Out where the river runs

High in the green hills on the outskirts of town

Over mountains draped in stars

Hiding on the backstreets

In the darkness on the edge of town

Where the caravan camels roam

On a rattlesnake speedway in the Utah desert

Out by the gas fires of the refinery

Past the salvage yard ‘cross the train tracks

On a deserted stretch of a county two-lane

That dusty road from Monroe to Angeline

In her pink Cadillac

Words fail me.

Also: hide that girl away, if you know what I mean. For her own good. Seriously, I wouldn't trust that Springsteen guy as far as you could throw him.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Total Victory is Ours, Comrades!

It's true -- The Floor Models are getting so famous that we were name-checked in last Sunday's New York Times crossword puzzle!

And it was drug-themed to boot! Seriously, I couldn't be more proud.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

As My Mom Used to Say -- What Are You Hollering?

So the other day, over at Mr. Zuckerberg's Home for Doctored Nancy Pelosi Videos, several people I know and like and respect were flogging the years ago discredited canard that Bob Dylan is a lousy singer.

To which I would like to say, and for the record (in the immortal words of Nick Tosches), that said canard is merely another lesson learnt from that cherished American history book that taught us that Peary went to the North Pole alone.

In other words -- bullshit.

I mean seriously -- we're having this argument in 2019? Cheese Louise.

So let me introduce into evidence the astounding 1965 studio version Mr. Zimmerman did with The Hawks (i.e., The Band without Levon Helm) of "Visions of Johanna"...

...and then (another outtake), Bob's 1963 solo version of "Percy's Song" (one of his most brilliant early songwriting efforts)...

...and then please tell me the guy can't sing.

Let's get real here -- his phrasing on both of those can only be described as magisterial. Not to mention that ghost-haunted moan Dylan unleashes at the end of "Johanna," which may be one of the most stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks moments ever. And as far as folk or rock vocals go, it doesn't get any freaking better than these two.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Bringing It All Back Home: A Journal of the Plague Year

[I originally posted this back in 2009, if you can believe it; I'm reposting it now because a) it's a pretty amazing story and you may have missed its earlier incarnation, and b) because the music clips, which are the best part of the story, were on Divshare and those links have long since expired. In any case, enjoy. -- S.S.]

So as I've mentioned on a previous occasion or two, I was one of the gazillion kids back in the mid-Sixties who took a gawk at The Beatles on TV and thought, hey, that looks like fun. Unlike most of them, however, I was lucky enough to be in a garage band (we were called The Plagues) whose guitar player had an uncle who ran a major New York City recording facility.

The place was called Associated Studios and it was located at Broadway and 48th, up the street from the legendary Brill Building, down from what's now the Ed Sullivan Theater (home of the Stephen Colbert Show) and next door to what was then called the Metropole, which was the only topless joint in Manhattan at the time.

I knew the place was a big deal, of course, but at look at its Wiki entry has kind of floored me. Dig this partial(!) list of people who recorded there over the years.
Al Hirt, Al Martino, Albert Einstein(?!), Andy Williams, Art Garfunkel, Arthur Godfrey, Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, Barry Mann, Bette Midler, Blood Sweat & Tears, Bo Diddley, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, Bobby Darin, Bobby Goldsboro, Brian Hyland, Bryan Adams, Burl Ives, Burt Bacharach, Buster Poindexter, Carole King, Cat Stevens, Connie Francis, Cy Coleman, Danny Kaye, Dee Dee Warwick, Dick Van Dyke, Dionne Warwick, Doc Pomus, Donnie Hathaway, Edye Gorme, Eleanor Steber, Ellie Greenwich, Elvis Costello, Ethel Merman, Fats Domino, Frank Sinatra, Gene Autry, Gerry Mulligan, Ginger Rogers, Gwen Verdon, Hal David, Hank Williams Jr., Henry Mancini, Herb Alpert, Herbie Hancock, Hoagy Carmicheal, Ike & Tina Turner, Jake LaMotta(??!!), Janis Ian, John Sebastian, John Wayne, Jonathan Winters, Julie Styne, Kay Starr, Kenny Rogers, King Curtis, Leslie Gore, Lieber & Stoller, Liza Minelli, Louis Jordan, Mary Ford, Mary Martin, Melba Moore, Mickey & Sylvia, Miles Davis, Mitch Miller, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Ornette Coleman, Oscar Brand, Oscar Peterson, Otis Blackwell, Pat Boone, Patti Duke, Patti Page, Paul Robeson, Paul Simon, Peggy Lee, Perry Como, Pete Fountain, Pete Seeger/The Weavers, Peter Criss, Peter Duchin, Peter Nero, Peter, Paul and Mary, Petula Clark, Pink Floyd, Polly Bergen, Pure Prairie League, Roberta Flack, Rocky Graziano, Rod McKuen, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Sheb Wooley, Shel Silverstein, Steely Dan, Steve Allen, Steve Lawrence, Teresa Brewer, Terry Bradshaw, The Belmonts, The Chipmunks, The Delfonics, The Four Lads, The Four Seasons, The Kalin Twins, The Ronettes, The Shirelles, Thelonious Monk, Tiny Tim, Tito Puente, Tom Glazer, Tommy Edwards, Vic Damone, Walter Carlos and Woody Guthrie.

Anyway, because (as I mentioned) the Plagues guitarist's uncle owned the joint, we used to go into the studio every couple of weeks and make demos of our own (obviously derivative) songs, which we got to take home on low-fi, scratchy and prone to breakage, 45rpm acetate discs (reel-to-reel tape was expensive, so they rarely gave us tape copies. And of course there were no cassettes yet).

The engineer on some of our sessions was a classic New York music biz type named Warren Schatz. A schlubby little guy a few years older than us, he was convinced he was going to be a star someday, and perhaps as a result of that certainty he was also relentlessly trendy; I vividly recall the time he showed up wearing a ridiculous Bob Dylan cap, which we all had a mordant chuckle over. He'd also actually released a bunch of singles -- under the nom du disque Ritchie Dean -- on Tower Records, a Capitol subsidiary (Freddie and the Dreamers and The Standells were technically his labelmates), and we were sort of in awe of him despite everything.

Cutting to the chase: Some time in the late spring of 1965 we recorded one of our originals at Associated -- a Beau Brummels -inspired ditty called "The Loss is Mine" -- that Warren/Ritchie liked enough to rewrite the lyrics and demo himself (with us providing backup) a few weeks later. Shortly thereafter, our sessions at Associated basically ended as some of us went off to college, and I've always wondered whether the song was ever released or what happened to Warren/Ritchie.

Well, thanks to the Google now I know -- turns out he enjoyed some considerable success as a producer and arranger in the disco era (producing Vickie Sue Robinson, no less). I also found a discography of the 60s singles released on Tower; although they include the complete ouevre of Ritchie Dean, "The Loss is Mine" is not among them.

I was also stunned to find this clip of him on YouTube, from a soft-core porn flick from 1966. At least he's not wearing the cap, thank god.

Okay, like I said, I've told this story before, but here are the promised kickers.

I long ago lost my copy of "The Loss is Mine," and at the time I started working on this piece I hadn't talked to bandmate Allan Weissman (a fellow Teaneck kid who wrote the tune) since our 20th high school reunion in '85. But thanks to Facebook, I eventually hooked up with Al, and to my amazement he still had his. Even more amazing, it was still playable -- barely, and with hideous scratches, pops and clicks, but as it turned out ultimately salvageable by a brilliant engineer of my acquaintance who restored it to something very close to its original pristine state.

So here it is -- from probably the last surviving acetate (there were only five ever made, come to think of it).

Allan also had the improved backing track we did for the proposed Ritchie Deane version. I don't think I'd ever heard it, except on the long-ago day we actually cut the thing, but here it is as well. A pretty dramatic re-arrangement, and despite our tender years we almost sound like studio pros, I think. Note, in particular, that the one-fingered lick at the end of my piano solo on the first take has been replaced by a more effective moving bass riff.

Two final postscripts, just for the (er) record, as it were.

I'm prejudiced, of course, but as somebody who's listened to countless garage tracks from the period -- and lord knows, there are enough CDs of mediocre Kinks/Stones/Raiders/Byrds knockoffs by 60s teens currently available -- I've got to say that I think "The Loss is Mine" is as good as any I've ever heard. And better than a lot of them, including some that were actually released. Maybe it's simply a question of us ripping off a not so usual suspect, but despite the shall we say naive lyrics, the song is genuinely hooky, the harmonies are damned slick, and that shift from minor to major at the end is undeniably effective. I also love my piano solo, even the one-fingered bit, but like I said I'm prejudiced.

And to give credit where credit is due, the lineup on both tracks is me (keyboards), Peter Frankel (guitar), Allan Weissman (bass) and Alan Silvestri (drums). (Silvestri, incidentally, is today the Oscar-nominated composer of the scores to every Robert Zemeckis film of the last gazillion years.) Vocals are by Allan, Pete and Larry Diehl (I lost track of Pete and Larry decades ago, so if anybody knows what happened to them....)

I should also add that Alan, Pete and Larry were all of 15 when we did the tracks; Allan and I were grizzled 17-year-olds.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Your Monday Moment of Somebody Doing to Kate Bush What Somebody Should Have Done to Kate Bush Years Ago


Incidentally, the guy doing that is actor/comedian Noel Fielding, who is the co-star of The Mighty Boosh...

...the funniest British TV show of all time; think a cross between Monty Python and Ernie Kovacs. It's available on Hulu, where a certain Shady Dame and I have been watching it of late, but you can also stream it (or buy a DVD box set) over at Amazon.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Weekend Listomania: Let Us Now Praise Inexplicably Not Famous Men (and Women)

Okay kids -- in an attempt to distract us from the latest outrage perpetrated by President Mediocre Columbo Villain, here's a hopefully entertaining diversion:


No arbitrary rules, thank you very much, but if you cite some local band from your hometown, I will come to your house and slap you silly.

And now, here's my totally Top of My Head Top Eight:

8. The Rising Sons

Featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, before either of them got famous. They were apparently a shit-hot live band who couldn't really get it together recording-wise. This unplugged session track is spine-tingling, obviously.

7. Evie Sands

This gal had it all -- except, unfortunately, the hit records. She's still at it, BTW, and if you're ever in Los Angeles when she's gigging, don't miss her.

6. Autosalvage

Psychedelic folk/rock band from New York City; the bass player was the brother of The Lovin' Spoonful's Steve Boone. Stole a copy of their sole LP from my college radio station in 1968 and have played it obsessively (in its CD version) ever since. The concensus is that if they had moved to San Francisco they could have been huge.

5. The Poor

Future Poco and Eagles member Randy Meisner's first band; the song was written by either Brewer or Shipley. They were managed and produced by the guys who did Buffalo Springfield, and that song got a fair amount of airplay, at least in my neighborhood in the Tri-State Metropolitan Area. I actually owned the 45.

4. Bob Lind

Yeah, yeah, I know -- "Elusive Butterfly" is one of the goofiest artifacts of a goofy era, but the B-side, as you can hear, kicks genuine ass. So much so that The Blues Project, unquestionably one of the best American bands of the day, did a killer cover of it.

3. Chrysalis

Absolutely wonderful NYC folk/rock psych band with a girl singer to die for and, as you can hear, some really beautiful songs. One album and out, alas.

2. Lothar and the Hand People

Yeah, the band with the theremin. I saw them live, opening for The Byrds, and they were incredible; very charismatic (and snazzy dressers to boot), musicianship to burn and terrific tunes. This one has been a fave of mine for decades, and I find it almost painfully poignant (as well charmingly melodic).

And the number one shoulda-been-household-words act of the Sixties, it's not even close, obviously is...

1. The Nightcaps

Five kids from Dallas who were among the first white punks to get down to the heart of hep. Their sole album, released in 1960, is the kind of thing that The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds would be doing three years later, and although nobody outside of Texas ever heard of them, they were remarkably influential; Jimmy Vaughan idolized them, and both his brother Stevie Ray and ZZ Top recorded their songs.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

An Early Clue to the New Direction: Special Amnesia For The Amnesiacs! Edition

From 1962, please enjoy Don and Juan and their classic ode to short term memory loss "What's Your Name?"

A coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who gleans the song's relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Long and productive night in the studio; barring objections from my producer, Reg Thorpe, I think I finished my cover of The Byrds' classic "I Come and Stand at Every Door."

In any case, regular posting -- including a clue to the theme of Friday's Weekend Listomania -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Your Tuesday Moment of Death Metal, John Cage Style

From the Open Culture web site:

When we think of silence, we think of meditative stretches of calm: hikes through deserted forest paths, an early morning sunset before the world awakes, a staycation at home with a good book. But we know other silences: awkward silences, ominous silences, and—in the case of John Cage’s infamous conceptual piece "4’33” -- a mystifying silence that asks us to listen, not to nothing, but to everything. Instead of focusing our aural attention, Cage’s formalized exercise in listening disperses it, to the nervous coughs and squeaking shoes of a restless audience, the ceaseless ebb and flow of traffic and breathing, the ambient white noise of heating and and the suspended black noise of death metal….

We're used to seeing "4’33” performed as a classical exercise, with a dignified pianist seated at the bench, ostentatiously turning the pages of Cage’s “score.” But there’s no reason at all the exercise -- or hoax, some insist -- can’t work in any genre, including metal. NPR’s All Songs TV brings us the video above, in which -- 64 years after its debut performance by pianist David Tudor -- death metal band Dead Territory lines behind their instruments, tunes up, and takes on Cage: “There’s a setup, earplugs go in, a brief guitar chug, a drum-stick count-off and… silence.”

Pretty hilarious, not to mention hands down the best death metal I've ever heard.

[h/t Rebecca Littman]

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day 2019

From 1969, The Zombies' "A Butchers Tale (Western Front 1914)." Still, for my money, the most powerful anti-war song of them all.

And speaking of war, I note without comment that President Mediocre Columbo Villain had the good grace to not, as he had threatened, pardon any war criminals criminals today.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Holy Crap -- Yet Another Song by Bram Tchaikovsky!!!

Oh wait -- actually this is by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

I regret the error.

In any event, the musicians on that -- which dates from 1962 -- are a bunch of L.A. session cats including the great Earl Palmer on drums; the record was a hit in both the US of A and the UK.

I should add that Emerson, Lake and Palmer did quite entertaining live and studio covers of that back in the '70s, but which will not be included here due to our eminently sensible long-time policy of never posting clips involving any member of that band unless it's Keith Emerson doing Meade Lux Lewis' "Honky-Tonk Train Blues."

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Holy Crap, It's Turning Into Bram Tchaikovsky Week!

From 1981, and his Funland LP...

...please enjoy the aforementioned Mr. Tchaikovsky as he asks the musical question "Why Does My Mother Phone Me?"

Why does my mother phone me?
Just to tell me that she doesn't like me?
Why does my mother phone me --
Why doesn't she just disown me?

Why when I run away
Do they send the police to get me?
Why when I run away
Do they pretend that they just can't catch me?

If life is just a game
Why isn't anyone smiling?
And if life is just a game
There shouldn't be rules and there shouldn't be blame

Ooh la la la la la la la la
Ooh la la la la la la la la

Why am I always happy
When everybody else is scowling?
Why am I always pleased
When everybody else is down on their knees?

Ooh la la la la la la la la
Ooh la la la la la

When I sound like some kind of fool
Do I sound like I'm the only one sane?
Do I sound like I'm a fool
Because I've nothing to lose and nothing to gain?

Ooh la la la la la la la la
Ooh la la la la la

Why does my mother phone me
Just to tell me that she doesn't like me?
Why does my mother phone me --
Why doesn't she just disown me?

Ooh la la la la la la la la
Ooh la la la la la....

This is one of those where-has-it-been-all-my-life? songs; NYMary actually burned me a CD of the Funland album some years ago, and I know I listened to it, but somehow it just never registered at the time. And then more recently another friend played it for me and I felt like I'd been smacked upside the head with a 2X4.

It's about madness, rather obviously, but from a very writerly perspective; you don't get the feeling, as you do with, say, certain Syd Barrett songs, that you're hearing a cry from a genuinely troubled psyche, although it's still completely believable. In any case, the way the lyrics proceed from basically mundane, albeit funny, observational head-scratchers to existentially scary and rather profound non sequiturs is quite brilliantly managed, I think, and the production and arrangement, as the vocal layering piles up while the track moves along, reinforces the general feeling of dislocated wigginess as well, up to and including the almost surreal Spanish bullfight music finale (those castanets and trumpet just fricking slay me -- you can practically see the guys in mariachi outfits materializing out of nowhere.)

In sum, a fabulous and inexplicably moving record, IMHO. And I can't believe I'm saying this, but the whole thing -- and particularly that ending -- makes me sorry, for a change, that this is one 80s song that never occasioned a music video, although I can't for the life of me think of a director back then who could have done the record justice.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

And continuing in our tribute to the shoulda-been-a-household-word Bram Tchaikovsky, from 1979, please enjoy his astounding version of what New Yorkers of a certain age refer to as the theme from the Milford Plaza.

Okay, it's actually "Lullabye of Broadway," from Gold Diggers of 1935, and this rendition is pretty much the most amazing thing I'd never heard until yesterday.

[h/t Brett Milano]

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Guys and (Inflatable) Dolls

From sometime in the late 1970s, please enjoy Bram Tchaikovsky and an insanely great live rendition of his best known song, the transplendent "Girl of My Dreams."

On Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, of all places.

I had never seen that clip until last weekend, and I must confess I had no idea that these guys were such a kick-ass live band. The song itself, obviously, is one of the most magnificent slices of the music that provides the raison d'etre for this here blog ever heard by sentient mammalian ears.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From last week, please enjoy Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, as they join Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, in a beyond cosmic live performance of "Won't Get Fooled Again" on classroom instruments.

Apart from being absolutely the greatest thing in the history of greatest things -- make sure you stick around to the very end of the clip, so you can the genius move that Pete makes.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Born to Pedant

As attentive readers are aware, I've been in the studio lately working on a re-make of this classic by The Byrds (for a Steve solo single. I kid you not.)

Since I haven't put my lead vocal on yet, it sounds great, but imagine my surprise when I realized that I had misheard one of the lyrics for all these years. The line in the first verse is "but no one hears my silent tread," not "silent prayer," which neither makes sense nor rhymes.

Glad I learned that in time.

Have a great weekend, everybody. And apologies for not having time to have gotten a Listomania ready for today. Next week for sure!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Traces of mercury have been found in Nutella.

Seriously -- regular postings, starting with a Weekend Listomania, will resume on the morrow.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Utterly Fail Me

An obituary from Monday's Times completely gobsmacked me.

I didn't really know Springfield/Beschta, but I was in a band with her for a very short period of time; I'm not sure if it was just for a rehearsal or two or whether we actually gigged. Still, I thought she was an interesting character, but I completely lost track of her after our musical brief encounter, and I had no idea how truly remarkable the arc of the second half of her life was.

Here she is earlier this year. If I had bumped into her then, I wouldn't have had a clue.

You can read the entire Times obit over HERE.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Things I Never Thought I'd Say (An Occasional Series)

I am genuinely looking forward to seeing Rick Wakeman in concert.

Yeah, yeah, I know; I have never been a fan of either Yes or prog in general. However, I interviewed the guy once back in the mid-70s, when he was touring one of those stupid spectacle-rock things that were all the rage then; I think it was something like King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table On Ice. And to my surprise he turned out to be utterly charming, unpretentious and basically the most hilariously funny celeb I ever killed an hour and a half with over drinks and lunch.

That being the case, I will be attending his new show when it comes to my old stomping grounds in Jersey in October; if you'd like more info on the tour, you can get it HERE.

POSTSCRIPT: When I interviewed Wakeman, he let it drop that during his early days as a session guy, he had played on the 1970 album by The Pipkins (although not on their hit single "Gimme Dat Ding").

That's right -- Wakeman is tickling the ivories on THIS immortal classic.

Obviously, it was a long strange trip between that and Tales From Topographic Oceans.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Who Listens to the Radio (An Occasional Series)

From 2019, and their just released EP...

..., please enjoy indie power-pop killers Thrift Store Halo and their quite remarkable "Once."

I was unaware of these guys until last week, when I heard the song above (on yet another internet radio show that was also featuring music by one of my old bands) and it dropped me in my tracks. To these ears it sounds like Graham Parker fronting The Easybeats, which is quite a remarkable achievement.

In any case, it turns out that TSH formed in Chicago in 1994, went on a nearly two-decade hiatus in 1998, and then came roaring back with new music in 2017 (a career arc that I can relate to, for obvious reasons). You can find out more about them, as well as links to download more of their music, at their official website HERE.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Who Listens to the Radio? (An Occasional Series)

From 2018, please enjoy Tad Overbaugh and the fiendishly catchy twang-fest that is "Open Road and Blue Sky."

I was not aware of Overbaugh or that song until yesterday, when I heard it on an internet radio show (that coincidentally featured a song by a band whose bass player's name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels). But it absolutely blew me away, and I can offer no higher praise then to say I would have killed to play on it.

In any case, turns out Overbaugh and his band are long-time faves in Boston, and he's got three records out; you can learn more about him (and download more of his music) over HERE.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 09, 2019

An Ill Wind That Blows Nobody Good

Okay, I'm going to hell for that joke.

But in the meantime please enjoy singer/songwriter Ruthann Friedman and her version of a song she gave to The Association who had a huge hit with it (and hopefully it fattened her bank account commensurately).

I must confess I had never heard that till yesterday; I don't think it's quite as transplendent as the Assocation version, but you can clearly understand why the band pounced on it.

[h/t Frank De Stefano]

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

When We Paint Our Masterpiece

Finished the new, and forthcoming in a month or so, Floor Models album last night.

Here's the last track we worked on. I think it's gorgeous.

I'll keep you posted on the availability of the thing as it develops, but in the meantime, kudos to my bandmates who did stellar work over the two years this project has been in the making.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Songs I'd Forgotten How Much I Liked by Bands I'd Also Forgotten How Much I Liked: An Occasional Series

The Goo Dolls, ladies and germs! The freaking Goo Goo Dolls!!!

I hadn't thought about either of those in some years, if truth be told, but seriously -- these guys were great. I don't care that they got rich ripping off The Replacements -- they freaking rocked!!!

Play both of these really loud, BTW.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Had a long weekend -- regular posting, including a Weekend Listomania, resumes on the morrow.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Shine a Light and Get No Answer

From 1994, please enjoy Kevin Salem and "Lighthouse Keeper," the opening track from his debut album Soma City.

I hadn't thought about either song or album for years, but for some reason they popped into my head unbidden yesterday. In any case, let's just say the song is pretty much the greatest Television track that Tom Verlaine and company never did, and that the guitar work is so spectacularly perfect that I'm really glad I had switched to bass before I first heard them. I dig Salem's singing too.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Closed For Monkey Business

A very productive night in the studio, but I'm all tuckered out.

Regular posting of a musical nature resumes tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Sonic Old Age

Off to New York City and a recording studio, to begin work -- with our chum Joe Benoit -- on the A-side of my forthcoming solo single. And no, this is not a joke.

The A-side, of course is The Byrds' classic from 5D; the B-side, written by Friend of PowerPop Peter Spencer is already done. I'll keep you posted as the sessions progress.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Radio Killed the Video Star

Gonna be a guest on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's intertube radio show Lost at Sea this morning,

The show begins at 11am and you can listen to it over HERE.

I'll be gassing about some Keith Richards related stuff starting at 11:30.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

Long time Rolling Stones back-up vocalist Bernard Fowler has just made what is, for me, the best album of the year so far. And the concept is so brilliant I can't believe nobody's thought to do it before.

Here's my favorite track.

Friend of PowerPop Sal Nunziato, over at his invaluable Burning Wood blog, has the details about it over HERE.

Have I mentioned that words fail me?

Friday, April 26, 2019

Weekend Listomania: Special Four Legs Good. Also Feathers, Fins and Claws!!! Edition

Just for the record, today's Listomania is dedicated to a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance, who conceptualized it, if I may use that expression.

And also to The Incomparable Eddie©....

...without whom obviously.


No arbitrary rules whatsoever, except if anybody nominates that "Mr. Bojangles" crap I'm gonna take a hostage.

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

7. Patti Page -- How Much is That Doggie in the Window?

It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that this song is so odious that it single-handedly made rock-and-roll a historical imperative.

6. The Kinks -- Phenomenal Cat

Is there any subject Ray Davies hasn't written a terrific song about?

5.The Byrds -- Old Blue

He was a good dog, too.

4. The Byrds -- Bugler

I think this is actually my favorite thing Clarence White ever did. Seriously.

3. The Youngbloods-- Grizzly Bear

Okay, I'm cheating with this one, but those bears are pretty cute. And terrific dancers.

2. Saigon Kick -- My Dog

He's dead, he's dead

My dog was walking down the street
Minding his own business
And this fuckin' car came
And ran him over

Have you seen my dog
Playing 'round and 'round
And he was looking at me
With those big brown eyes

And he started shaking and shaking
In other words I didn't know what to do
And the blood was just pouring
Out of his mouth into a puddle

Oh, God, he's dead, no
Have you seen my dog
Playing 'round and 'round

Words fail me.

And the Number One song about a furry companion is obviously, it's not even cloise --

1. Henry Gross -- Shannon

Have I mentioned that dead dog songs are actually a genre? In any case, this one is pretty much the best of all of them. That may be Carl Wilson singing backup on this, BTW, but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1966, and the album of the same name, please enjoy The Beach Boys and their fabulous instrumental "Pet Sounds."

As always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who figures out the clip's relationship to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Regular posting -- including a sneaky clue to the theme of Friday's Weekend Listomania -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Honk If You Love Rock 'n' Roll

So I just got a copy of the new Rolling Stones 3-disc sort-of best-of album Honk (don't ask).

As you might expect, the Greatest Hits section -- which derives, partly, from every official Stones studio album since they started their own label -- is a fairly depressing document of their devolution as a creative force since, oh, maybe around the time of Some Girls, although I was surprised to find that their recent blues record wasn't as bad as I remembered.

The third disc -- which is all recent live stuff, often with guests -- has its moments, however. And, because I love you all more than food, here they are.

A pretty cool version of "Bitch," with Dave Grohl.

And a really fabulous "Dead Flowers," with Brad Paisley (who sounds, in the immortal words of Ian Hunter, like he's wanted to do this for years and years).

You're welcome.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019

Your Friday Moment of Church Rock

From 2006, please enjoy the good looking guy and his brother the Hitler look-alike, AKA SPARKS...

...and a song obviously relevant to the events of last Monday.

Incidentally, whoever posted the video got the title wrong -- it's "As I Sit Down", not "When."

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Things I Learned Reading the April Issue of MOJO...

...guest edited by Keith Richards...

...and this kinda blows my mind. Guess who's playing the sax stuff on "The Wanderer".

None other than a teenaged Bobby Keys.

From Buddy Holly to the Rolling Stones, through Dion. Man, that cat had one of the the greatest resumes ever.

BTW, if that issue of MOJO is at your newstand, grab it. For the bonus CD alone...

...which may be one of the neatest party records ever. If only for this one, which was also news to me.

So much great music, so little time!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How Do You Say "I Read the News Today, Oh Boy" in French?

There is no more gorgeous piece of early 20th century classical orchestral music (under 7 minutes) than Franz Schmidt's Intermezzo from his opera Notre Dame (yeah, based on the story everybody knows).

I bring this up because when a certain Shady Dame and I visited Notre Dame in 2009...

...that's what I kept hearing in my head.

Thank the FSM the damage turns out to have been not as awful as we feared yesterday.

Monday, April 15, 2019

If It Isn't Scottish, It's Crap!

It's official -- Korean boy "band" BTS, who were the "musical" guest on Saturday Night Live last weekend, are the single worst act that's been on the show in the last two or three years, which is really saying something

Seriously, this was just plain insulting, unless we're supposed to believe that SNL's target demographic is now undiscriminating fifteen-year-old girls.

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Punk Meets the Godfather

From 2011, please enjoy two generations of All Mod Cons, i.e. Paul Weller and Pete Townshend with a gorgeous performance of one of my favorite early Who songs.

I must confess I've always thought it really cool that these guys get on so well. I should also add that I have a tendency to forget just how good an acoustic player Pete is, and this clip is a nice reminder of that.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!