Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Listomania (Special The Dogs Breakfast Audio/Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental biohazard Fah Lo Suee and I are off to lovely Zuccoti Park in downtown New York City, where we are hoping to pick up a case of scabies. Hey -- Mayor Bloomberg promised us we could get one, and he NEVER lies.

That being the case, and because as you might expect things are going to be fairly quiet around here until Monday, here's a fun and morally uncompromised little project to help us wile away the empty hours until our return:

Best or Worst Post-Beatles White-Boy Blues Performance!!!

And my totally top of my head Top Seven is:

7. Pussy Galore -- Stop Breaking Down

Jon Spencer's low budget, low-fi cover of the Stones' Robert Johnson cover, recorded in a hallway somewhere before there was a Blues Explosion in his pants. I've heard worse, but then again I've been around an awfully long time.

6. John Mayall -- Room to Move

I'm sorry, I know it's not supposed to be funny, but I can't listen to this without cracking up.

5. Wilderness Road -- The Authentic British Blues

"I've got just the thing
To liberate your mind
Some asshole on a sitar
Playing 'My Darling Clementine'"
"Now wait a minute!!!"


4. The J. Geils Band -- Serves You Right to Suffer

From their great debut album, and this track has been giving me chills for over forty years now. Well, not continuously, of course; that would be rather debilitating, now that I think of it. But a great performance any way you slice it.

3. The Rolling Stones -- Good Times, Bad Times

Astoundingly authoritative -- Keith's acoustic 12-string work almost beggars belief -- and even more remarkable when you consider they were, not to put too fine a point on it, a bunch of pimply post-adolescents when they recorded it.

2. Steppenwolf -- Disappointment Number (Unknown)

From their 1968 sophomore LP, which is one of the most underrated hard rock records of the decade, here's a sort of history of the blues in a concise four minutes.

And the Numero Uno "They've Suffered for Their Art -- Now It's Your Turn" bluesola of them all simply has to be...

1. West Bruce and Laing -- Slow Blues

A performance as emotionally compelling as its title is imaginative.

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?


Sal Nunziato said...

I have two, and they are both from someone I admire and both appear one after the other. "Prison Blues" and "Blues Anthem," two songs that close out Jimmy Page's solo release, "Outrider."

These songs are astonishingly horrible. Chris Farlowe sings lead on both and it's a laugh a minute.

"Sing the blues, all my life.
I've got trouble, I"ve got strife."


"I've been a b-b-b-bad-bad-b-bad--b-b-b-boy-boy-bboy."

Jimmy's playing on both is just fine, but Farlowe, a "blues singer," sounds more like Peter Ustinov.

Seriously awful stuff from two people who should know better.

steve simels said...

The conventional wisdom in Britain about Farlowe -- who had a couple of solo hits back in the day -- was that he would have been a huge star, along the lines of Joe Cocker, if he hadn't been (not to put too fine a point on it) homely as a mud fence.

There may actually have been a simpler explanation, along the lines you suggest....

Blue Ash Fan said...

Led Zep's "Since I've Been Loving You." Put that one in the "Best" category.

edward said...

Re: Room To Move. I bought that album when I was about 13 because I thought the song was so cool at the time. Faster is better, I guess. I don't think I've listened to it in about 40 years. Hearing it now I almost agree with you about it being comical. Amazingly thin and rushed and lifeless. Sounds like they have to pee real bad, but can't until they finish the song. May have to pull out the album and listen to see if the whole thing is as lame.

Anonymous said...

The first thing that comes to mind is that moment from U2's insufferable "Rattle and Hum," when Bono demands "Edge, play the blues!" I leave the rest up to your imaginations....

pete said...

The Pussy Galore track is, obviously, the Stones' arrangement, drained of all life. The original is one of the first I'd have mentioned in the "best" category. The thing I love about Jagger is that he never obscures what he is. He is literally as white as you can be and still completely convincing through nothing more than the pure depth of his emotional connection with the music. You can say the same about Ray Charles.

Gregg Allman, yes. My nomination is "It Ain't My Cross to Bear."

Hank Williams, absolutely. And Richard Manuel. And Lowell George's "A Apolitical Blues." "I don't care if you're John Wayne/I just don't wanna take no calls." Still cracks me up. Captain Beefheart? No denying the white Howlin' Wolf.

The world is full of lousy, embarrassing, phony white blues singers but Jim Morrison deserves to be singled out, partly because his shit is so pretentious, partly because so many people actually bought the act. "Back Door Man" on the first Doors album will suffice.

Shriner said...

Glad to see I'm not the only one that hated "Rattle and Hum". Why that didn't kill U2 outright, I never figured out...

The only blues I ever liked was "Short Blues" by Neil Innes. "I woke up this morning!"

And that's it...

Maude Lange said...

I thought I was the only person who knew the Authentic British Blues.

Can Blue Men Sing the Whites?

Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steve simels said...

Hey, I like the Doors arrangement of "Back Door Man."

But mostly because of Robbie Krieger, who plays blues guitar like it was flamenco. And I mean that as a compliment.

Anonymous said...

Peter Green's Mac - Need Your Love So Bad is primo BB, but they covered all the styles

A couple of my favorite early white blues experiences were watching Mother Earth perform songs from their first album on American Bandstand, and seeing Insect Trust do their thing on an early PBS concert show.

steve simels said...

No love for the two Chris's?

Smithers or Whitley?

Dave said...

On the positive side, I'd put a word in for Dion , and not just for his fine all-blues album

steves said...

I've got two picks for the best:

One of my all-time favorite Stones' songs, I just stumbled on this clip of indeterminate providence, but it blew me away:

And this one, by New Jersey's own Little Brothers (big band edition), which,if you close your eyes, is guaranteed to transport you back to 1928:

cthulhu said...

Hey, I've been at work, and didn't have a chance to post earlier...

Too many stellar Chris Whitley performances to mention all of them. The ones that really stand out to me from the pure blues perspective: the acoustic tour de force of Phone Call from Leavenworth, the snarl of Kick the Stones, the Jimi-Hendrix-on-hallucinogens nightmare of Clear Blue Sky (from the criminally underrated "Terra Incognita"), the heartbreak-and-peace of Dirt Floor...simply brilliant.

Gotta have some love for Steve Winwood in here too; I'm going to go against the grain and pick the overproduced (in a bad '80s way) but still fun Philly soul of Split Decision, from the really overproduced (in a bad '80s way) "Back in the High Life" disc.

On the bad side, too many to mention, but Hall & Oates (too many to choose from) come to mind...

pete said...

Loved that Viola Lee. Is the Stones vid an outtake from "Ladies and Gentlemen" or did they just repeat wardrobe?

Noam Sane said...

Funny thread. I love the Steppenwolf, Steve. "Steppenwolf 7" is still my favorite, great guitar all over that record and Kaye is in fine voice. Listen:

(take a look at the "Smell The Glove" style lyrics as well -

"Come on baby, let me show you
round the room
and give you time to holler.
Any time you can sling it around, we can surely raise a dollar."

....that's just awesome.)

A band I will stand and defend any time. Up to "Slow Flux," anyway. After that, they're on their own.
I'm on the side of the angels per the Doors as well. You have to take them on their own terms, but there is some powerful music there and the production is amazing for its time. Doors seem to be a love/hate thing for people.

But for the real stuff, enjoy Hollywood Fats playing "Okie Dokie Stomp." One of my very top guitar heroes of all time.

geor3ge said...

No love for the two Chris's?

Smithers or Whitley?

Smithers plays "Statesboro Blues" like he wrote it.