Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Peace in the World or the World in Pieces

Today is the anniversary of the World War II atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan (August, 1945), which I think we can all agree was one of the most morally reprehensible things ever done by this country.

Here's a reminder -- Sam Hinton's classic talking blues "Old Man Atom."

That was released (and a hit) in 1950, when I was three years old; my parents must have had a copy, because by the time I was in early elementary school I can remember obsessively playing it on the phonograph in my bedroom -- that red Columbia label is one of the most vivid images of my childhood. (I'm informed that The Sons of the Pioneers also did a version for RCA; I'll have to check that out).

In any case, given what's going on in Ukraine the song has lost none of its relevance. I should also add that the explosion at the end is a nice macabre production touch.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Ah, to Be Fifty Years Younger

Okay, I know this has nothing to do with music, but this ad on the back cover of the current issue of Vanity Fair is the most adorable thing I've seen in ages.

An actual song goes up tomorrow.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Hey -- This Kid is Good!

From his recently released album, please enjoy Harry Styles and his charmingly melodic and McCartney-esque "Matilda."

He's a good looking boy, too. In fact I have a theory about Styles -- when he gets a little older, he's gonna be cast as the next James Bond. Just you wait.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Odes to Air Conditioning

So as you may have have guessed by my absence since the weekend, I've had a couple of rough days lately, but by way of making it up to my beloved readers, please enjoy ewverybody's favorite sisters from Liverpool (by way of Austria) The Mona Lisa Twins and a lovely cover of Don McLean's "Vincent."

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- those gals have really got it.

I should add that McClean is not particularly in fashion these days (for reasons I neeedn't go into in a family blog) but that's still a really good song.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Weekend Listomania (Special "In the Summer When It Sizzles, And I'm Not Even in Paris" Edition)

Well, it's late July and we've got our air conditioning turned up to the max. That being the case, here's a little fun project for us all -- Top Best or Worst Pop/Rock Songs about This Time of the Year.

And my Top Seven nominees are...

7. Chad and Jeremy -- A Summer Song

Glorious harmonies and acoustic guitar work that reduces you to tears.

6. Brian Hyland -- Sealed With a Kiss

Utter dreck. In my high school, we used to sing it as "Kissed by a Seal."

5. The Jamies--Summertime Summertime

I still don't know if that song sucks or not.

4. Eddie Cochran -- Summertime Blues

C'mon -- rock 'n' roll doesn't get any cooler.

3. The Kinks -- Sunny Afternoon

I'd never seen that clip before, but that's about as sublime as it can be.

2. The Tearjerkers -- Syracuse Summer

"The California sun shines all the time/but East Coast Summer's are a different kind/They don't last as long so they mean a little bit more..."

And the all time great pop song about the beauty of summer is...

1. The Beach Boys The Warmth of the Sun

C'mon -- who else?

Okay -- and who would your choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Closed for Good News/Bad News Monkey Business

The Bad News: Nothing today.

The Good News: A brand new Weekend Listomania on Friday. See you then.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Reasons I Don't Always Miss the Sixties (An Occasional Feature): Special "Get Out Out of My Face Flaky Canadian Lady " Edition

From 1968 and her debut album Song for a Seagull, please enjoy everybody's sometimes favorite charmingly pretentious Southern California singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell and her nonetheless quite genuinely gorgeous "Marcie."

I bring this up for two reasons.

Number 1, apparently Joni made some kind of triumphant comeback at the Newport Folk Festival over the last weekend, and god bless her, obviously.

And number 2, recording-wise, she completely lost me after Blue, which is an inarguable freaking masterpiece of its sort of thing.

The rest of her ouevre not so much.

With the exception of her confessional autobiographical Laurel Canyon double LP Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, of course.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Closed for Monkey Business

Yesterday's Rex Reed item took a lot out of me -- regular more interesting music stuff resumes on the morrow.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Putzes I Have Known Professionally

So as attentive readers are aware, for the longest time -- twenty or thirty years, beginning in 1973 -- I scribbled off and on about music and pop culture for a magazine best known as Stereo Review. Let's just say that a cooler post-collegiate gig was pretty much unthinkable -- the money was great, I was living in an affordable rent-controlled one bed-room apartment in lower Manhattan, and I got to see A-list rock bands and movies pretty much five nights a week. For free. Plus I got to write about them, which people seemed to enjoy.

I should add that a book version of my literary greatest hits is coming out some time at the end of the year...

...and you might find it amusing.

In any case, there's a back story, which I will make as short as I can. The bottom line is I had read said magazine religiously -- by which I mean with a yarmulke on my head (heh) -- for most of my adolescence; it had been published under a variety of names since approximately 1958, and over the years I learned a great deal about all sorts of music from some of its writer/contributors, including jazz critic Nat Hentoff, opera buff George Jellinek, and classical polymath and PBS host Martin Bookspan.

Be that as it may, some time around the fabled Summer of Love, Stereo Review -- like many other magazines of its type -- was starting to hire younger scribes to give themselves a patina of hip, regardless of how undeserved. And so they hired a guy named Rex Reed, who at the time was sort of a celebrity -- he'd had cameos (usually as himself) iin a number of major Hollywood flicks, he'd produced a few books on movies, he reviewed for a couple of prestigious newspapers (including the NY Times), and he was considered a sort of happening New Journalist in a class with Tom Wolfe. Which he manifestly wasn't. And I found his writing, shall we say, cutesy. and the work of somebody who was trying way too hard. But what the hey -- I was a kid, what did I know?

In any case, Reed was responsible for this review of The Beatles early middle masterpiece Revolver in SR, and I remember thinking at the time that it made me ill. Please take a moment and read it now, to enjoy its full bullshit quotient and level of bad writing and ignorance that characterizes it.

I mean, seriously, that sucks. Big time.

So like I said, early in 1973, I wound up with a gig as pop music editor at SR -- how that happened will be explained in that book I mentioned -- and for a brief period (perhaps a month or two) I was Rex's editor. And one month into my tenure as his sort of boss, he was late with his copy. So I called him up and said -- "Rex, dude, we need your reviews immediately -- I've got a messenger standing by, so let me know when I can send him."

And Rex said -- swear to god, this is a true story -- "give me half an hour; as soon as I plug in the adjectives I'll be done."

Reed went on to a very lucrative career as a TV film critic and contributor to that little pisher Jared Kushner's pink-tinted New York newspaper/cat litter box filler The Observer, and he's apparently still alive and well. What he's doing otherwise, I have no idea.

More Stereo Review anecdotes will be forthcoming as the mood strikes me.

[h/t SteveS]

Friday, July 22, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved:: An Occasional Feature (Special "We Were Talking About These Guys Yesterday" Edition)

From 1965, please enjoy incomparable Brit Invasion rockers The Hollies and their killer single "Don't Run and Hide."

For years, I thought this was a b-side to something or other, but I was delighted to discover recently that it's actually an album cut from the Bus Stop album. A great fucking song in any case, and what a delight to hear it in stereo.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!