Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Travel Notes

Returning home from London today, to reunite with The Incomparable Eddie©.

Regular music related postings resume tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

England Swings (And Apparently Too Damn Much)

Had high tea at Fortnum and Mason in London today.

BTW, it’s true — the Brits are polite to a fault. Unfortunately, given the number of them who bumped into me on the street on the way there, they’re also blind as bats.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Monday Shameless Filler

Checked out the Linda McCartney photo exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert museum yesterday, and chanced across this fabulous pic of The Yardbirds circa 1968.

Hey sorry — that’s all I got today.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Weekend Listomnia: Special The Horn Blows at Midnight Edition

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental fille-de-whoopie Fah Lo Suee and I are off to beautiful Mar-a-Lago(fuck yourself) to spray paint graffiti on the wall separating the President from the special counsel's investigators.

Okay, I made that up -- actually, a certain Shady Dame and I will be winging our way to London for a four day weekend, during which time -- seriously -- we will be taking in an exhibit of Linda McCartney's photographs and seeing a performance of the smash musical Hamilton. Could be a hot one, as I'm wont to say.

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


No arbitrary rules at all, although remember, I'm talking horn section, not solo horns, so don't give me any of that Junior Walker shit. Also, I'd prefer it if the name Chicago did not enter into the festivities.

Okay, my totally top of my head Top Five:

5. Elvis Presley -- Trouble

As seen and heard in King Creole. Directed by Michael (Casablanca) Curtiz, of all people. I don't know who did the horn charts (Leiber and Stoller wrote the song, of course) but man, they kick some serious ass.

4. Otis Redding -- Can't Turn You Loose

Even the Blues Brothers couldn't spoil that arrangement.

3. Bruce Springsteen -- Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

Arrangement by the lovely and talented Little Steven, who should be immortal for this alone..

2. The Rolling Stones -- Rocks Offf

"The sunshine bores the daylights out of me." No better lyric has ever been written. Also, the horn arrangements on Exile are pretty stellar throughtout.

And the number one horn arrangement of all time, it's not even close, self-evidently is...

1. The Beatles -- Got to Get You Into My Life

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

An Early Clue to the New Direction

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Closed for Monkey Business

Well, actually insanely busy with preparations for our upcoming four day jaunt to London.

But have no fear, while we're gone Weekend Listomania will make another triumphant return.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Sing Along With Comrade Trump

From 2018, Brit comic Bill Bailey discovers that in a minor key, "The Star Spangled Banner" sounds Russian.

That guy's new to me, but he's kinda reminiscent of a Victor Borge for the current century. I particularly liked his description of a major key version of "Für Elise" as sounding like "a Bavarian milking song."

Monday, January 14, 2019

My Monday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

From 2001, please enjoy Jimmy Eat World and the goddamned cutest power pop confection I've heard in ages, and why did I not hear it before last Saturday?

As I mentioned last week, I'd never really paid attention to those guys, but one of my youthful friends, who's also my Saturday afternoon bartender, was playing a bunch of their stuff at my local watering hole two weekends ago and my ears pricked up. The song above? God, it's terrific -- some of those answering chorus vocals are sheer genius.

Thanks, Dan!!!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Return of Weekend Listomania: Special Dave "Baby" Cortez Lives! Edition

[I first posted this in 2008, back when this blog and the world were young. As is my wont, I have re-written parts of it and deleted/added a couple of the entries, just so you don't think I'm the slacker I actually am. Enjoy! -- S.S.]

So -- here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:


And by "best" we mean the most melodic, the most effective, or the most inventive. It can be a solo, an entire part as played through the length of a song, or simply a riff -- whatever gets you off.

And just to belabor the obvious, we said "organ." No pianos, clavinets or synths need apply. You heard me. And in the interests of common sense, I do hope you'll have the good breeding not to nominate anything by Yes.

Okay, that said, here's my totally top of my head Top Thirteen, with credits for the fine folks who actually play the organ parts appended.

13. The Young Rascals -- Good Lovin' (Felix Cavaliere)

The first rock organ solo I ever learned how to play. And still the most fun.

12. Janis Ian -- Society's Child (can't find the musician credits for this track -- anybody have the CD?)

"That arrogant organ." -- Leonard Bernstein.

11. Booker T. and the MGs -- Time is Tight (Booker T. Jones)

Get me drunk and I'll actually claim that this is one of the best short pieces of instrumental music, in any genre, written in the second half of the 20th century.

10. The Beatles -- We Can Work It Out (John Lennon)

That's John on harmonium, of course, which is a primitive form of pump organ so don't give me any crap. In any case, this may be the most perfect early Beatle record, largely due to those organ swells adding color and texture during the verses. And the out of nowhere liturgical riff at the end, of course.

9. A tie:

The Animals -- Boom Boom (Alan Price)

The Alan Price Set -- I Put a Spell On You (Alan Price, natch)

Price is kind of a household name in England; in this country, alas, less so. But if there was a more soulful keyboard guy and singer tossed up on the shores of the British Invasion, I can't think of him.

8. Spencer Davis Group -- I'm a Man (Stevie Winwood)

Well, maybe Stevie.

7. Brinsley Schwarz -- Surrender to the Rhythm (Bob Andrews)

This clip simply slays me. Astoundingly lyrical organ work; the young Nick Lowe wrote the damn thing and is trying hard to be the focus of attention here, but Andrews absolutely steals it.

6. Another tie --

? and the Mysterians -- 96 Tears (Frank Rodriguez)


Sir Douglas Quintet -- She's About a Mover (Augie Meyers)

Genuis simplicity or moronic mindlessness? YOU make the call!! Seriously -- the cheesy 60s organ sound that pretty much defines pop retro begins here.

5. Another tie --

Bob Dylan -- Like a Rolling Stone (Al Kooper)


Elvis Costello and the Attractions -- Pump It Up (Steve Nieve)

Kooper invents the quicksilver 60s folk rock keyboard sound in the former, Nieve updates it for the immediate post-punk era in the latter.

4. The Zombies -- Time of the Season (Rod Argent)

Argent's playing here is dazzling, of course, but the decision to overdub a second solo on top of the first one on the fadeout was sheer genius.

3. Procol Harum -- Pilgrim's Progress (Matthew Fischer)

Like "Layla," this is a song with a lengthy, seemingly unrelated instrumental coda appended from out of the blue. Unlike "Layla," this one has no guitar histrionics whatsoever, and yet it's just as gorgeous. Remarkable.

2. Alabama 3 -- Woke Up This Morning (Orlando Harrison)

This is possibly the simplest organ lick ever recorded -- really, I could teach my cat to play it in five minutes -- and yet damned if it doesn't work in the context of the everything but the kitchen sink stuff these guys surround it with.

And the number one coolest, it's not even a contest for crissakes, organ grinding on a pop/rock record of all time is indisputably ---

1. Oh crap, it's another tie!!!

The Band -- Chest Fever (Garth Hudson)


The Call -- The Walls Came Down (Garth Hudson)

The Mad Professor at his maddest and grandest. And it is perhaps no accident that both these songs, as lyrically different as they are, have magnificently primal hard rock riffs at their core.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1966, please enjoy the (then) Young Rascals and their kick-ass hit "Come On Up."

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