Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Holy Copyright Infringement, Batman!

Another track from that 1966 album featuring Sun Ra and The Blues Project (doing business under the nom du disque The Sensational Guitars of Dan and Dale).

It's entitled "The Riddler's Retreat," but as you'll hear on even a cursory listening, it's actually a certain early classic by some guys from Liverpool.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me

Guess who.

The Back Story (Short Version): This was recorded, in 1966, for a quickie album cashing in on the Batman TV show, and it was billed to The Sensational Guitars of Dan and Dale. In reality, it was performed by members of a well known avant-garde jazz band and a well known sort of underground rock band of the period. You may not be able to guess who the musicians are immediately, but at about the halfway point of the track, when the solo guitar comes in, you should recognize at least one of the players.

Hint: It was produced by Tom Wilson.

[h/t Willard's Wormholes]

Monday, April 28, 2014

Unsolicited Song of the Week: Special No One Gets Out of This World Alive Edition

From fabulous Baltimore MD, please enjoy awesome power pop quartet Soft Peaks....

...and the hilarious and melodically infectious "Good Luck," which coincidentally is the opening track of their just released eponymous EP.

God this is great -- corrosively sane cynicism (lyrically) and the groove from "Sweet Jane." It's like the song was designed with my mind in mind. And the rest of the tracks are just as good, BTW.

You can listen to (and download -- which you definitely should) the EP in its entirety over HERE.

Seriously -- if I was forty years younger, I'd be on a bus to Maryland right now, and trying to figure out a way to weasel myself into this band. Higher praise than that, I can not give.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Aaaaarrrggghhh. Have I Mentioned AAAAAAARRRRGGGHHHH??????

Worked two hours on a new Listomania and my goddamned computer just gobbled it up.

Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

See you on Monday. Lord willing.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Offending Instrument

Still decompressing (heh) from Tuesday night's birthday jam. Regular posting -- including a Listomania -- resumes tomorrow.

Meanwhile, here's my new bass in repose, right before all hell broke loose.

Isn't that fricking beautiful?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What a Swell Party This Is (Was)

Ralph's birthday bash/jam session at historic Neir's Tavern was great.

Now I need to sleep for about a week.

Regular posting resumes on the morrow, assuming I live.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


A great good friend of mine named Rafael Fuentes -- a recovering musician, as we say -- is turning 60.

Rafael used to front a really cool NYC band called Diamond Dupree...

...who you might recall from them having backed Ronnie Spector on her Siren album.

In any event, they were really good, and some friends and folks (some of whom were in the band) are throwing a huge birthday party for him tonight at a historic dive bar in Woodhaven, Queens...a 180 year old place called NEIR'S TAVERN.

And the deal is there's a stage with band equipment (PA, amps, drums, etc) and everybody we know who even pretends to play an instrument or sing is going to show up to get drunk and make idiotic noises.

Starting at 7pm and going to...who knows when.

It's going to be glorious.

I should add that I played bass in a very late incarnation of Diamond Dupree, including on this little ditty...

...which is one of the Great Ridiculously Dumb Rock Songs of All Time, in my humble opinion.

And I will be performing it live, with whoever else is unashamed to get up on the Neir's Tavern cramped stage, at some point in the evening.

If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by to see me make an utter ass of myself. Or just have a couple of drinks (the bar is open between 7 and 9pm) and have fun.

It should be a riot, and we'd love to see ya.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Courtesy of our good friend Bruce Brodeen, the former proprietor of Not Lame Records, and now the head honcho of the cool website POP GEEK HEAVEN, a fabulous Floor Models track -- "You'll Come Around" (from the equally fabulous Floor Your Love album) -- has made an appearance on the quite splendid new sampler Power Pop Planet Volume Three.

Billed, as you can see (and aptly) as "29 Bands -- 29 Smiles."

Here's the inside art track listing (click on the image to expand it to full size).

This is a limited edition release, so I'm not gonna post any songs from it, but you can -- and definitely should -- order a copy over HERE. When the thing sells out, it's gone forever, so what are you waiting for, you cheap bastids?

And I should add that the fact we're on an album with the truly fantastic Myrcle Brah (the mp3 below is a different track than the one on PPPIII)..

...has made me around the moon happy. Jeebus, those guys are good.

As are, I hasten to assure you, all the other bands and solo artists on the album. Seriously, there's not a dud track on the collection, and I'm not saying that just because I'm prejudiced.

Anyway, remember -- every time somebody orders a copy, an angel gets its wings.

Thank you.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Your Friday Moment of Pre-Conceptions Being Challenged

So the other week, on the occasion of a Listomania about bad cover versions, somebody nominated a Van Halen version (with Sammy Hagar) of The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again."

And I, perhaps predictably, responded by saying something to the effect that hell, that's too scary for me to even contemplate, let alone try to find.

In any event, strictly out of morbid curiosity, I did finally try to find it, and here it is.

And I gotta say -- Hagar's obnoxiousness notwithstanding, this is pretty damned impressive, particularly Eddie's transposing the synth intro from the original onto guitar. I'm still not a fan of these guys, but damn -- that's a lot of music for only three instruments.

Make sure you listen to it under the headphones, BTW. The video quality is piss poor, but the audio is great.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Family First!

In case you're been wondering what Aimee Mann has been up to of late...

...she's employing her musical partner Ted Leo's uncle as the group's drummer.

It's a great song anyway.

[h/t Atrios]

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Behind the Mask

Guess who?

This is an actual performer who made an actual record circa 1966....

...(sorry that I could only find an excerpt)...

...and who actually performed it on The Merv Griffin Show.


I should add that this actual performer eventually became very famous in the 70s on a TV series where you could actually see his face.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jesse Winchester 1944-2014

From circa 2009 or 2010 -- on Elvis Costello's tv show Spectacle -- please enjoy the now sadly late Mr. Winchester with his ineffably touching and beautifully written tribute to the not-so-silly love songs of his youth, "Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding."

That's the divine Neko Case sitting next to him, with EC in the middle of the row of singer/songwriters; Sheryl Crow and Ron Sexsmith are to Costello' right.

You'll note, in a close-up, that Neko is crying genuine tears by the song's finish. I have to admit that when I watched the video for the first time, I was too.

AN INTERESTING AND ALARMING HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: Winchester attended Williams College in Massachusetts in the early 60s, where he fronted a sort of Animal House style frat-party garage band that was locally quite successful (and went on to record some demos in NYC that almost landed them a record deal).

Also in the band was noted problem gambler William ("The Book of Virtues") Bennett.

Yes, that William Bennett.

It is perhaps one of the great historical ironies of our times that Bennett -- the future hypocritical Conservative scold and Bush I era drug czar(!) -- was in an r&b group with perhaps the most famous hippie draft-dodger of the Vietnam years. One who pardoned by Jimmy Carter on his first day in office, I should add.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Cinematic Notes From All Over

Given the level of my obsession with that Wilko Johnson/Roger Daltrey album I've been bending your ear about this week...

...I really think I need to order a copy of this documentary, whose existence I had not hitherto been aware of.

I'll have a review next week, 'natch.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me

From that album I mentioned on Tuesday.

Roger and the still not dead Wilko...

...cover my single favorite Dylan record.

I can not fricking believe how great that is. Seriously.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Under the Weather

Have I mentioned I'm under the weather?

Cool stuff resumes tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Death, Where is Thy Ring-a-Ding Ding?

The short version: Wilko Johnson, the great guitarist of pub rock notables Dr. Feelgood, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in January of 2013.

A couple of years earlier (2010, to be precise) he found himself seated next to Roger Daltrey, at some awards show or something, and the Who singer turned out to be a fan of the Feelgoods. At which point, the two a) bonded over their mutual love for Brit rock pioneers Johnny Kidd and the Pirates (auteurs of the original "Shakin' All Over") and b) vowed to work together while Wilko still remained on this mortal coil.

Here's a live version of a song from the resulting album, which has just been released...

...and as I'm wont to say, words fail me.

Let me repeat -- Wilko is dying. And yet this is some of the most life-affirming stuff I've ever seen.

I should add that I am soooo ordering the album over at HERE and you should too.

As of this writing, Wilko is still with us, BTW.

Long may you choppy power chord, my friend.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Deep Thoughts Monday

Okay, kids, last week's Girls! Girls! Girls! series plum tuckered me out.

Or as Groucho Marx famously observed "This will be a gala day. And a gal a day is about all I can handle."

So basically I'm taking some well deserved time off till tomorrow.

But a very great man, who was a hero of my youth, died last week. And it behooves me to mention his passing to all who walk upright.

So fare thee well, Eddie Lawrence 1919--2014 -- and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

To your eternal credit, my wisecracking friend, there were fewer things in heaven and earth than were dreamt of in your Old Philosophy.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Girls! Girls! Girls! (An Occasional Week Long Series): Part V -- Special Saving the Best for Last Edition

Okay, this is on at least one level a mea culpa story, so please try not to think unkindly of me.

The short version: Some time last summer, a faithful reader and blog pal (whose name I won't mention, but whose initials are Phil Cheesebrough) sent me a care package of CDs by some artists he liked and was helping out in an unofficial capacity; some of them were from his local area, and some were by a Nashville-based singer/songwriter named Liz Longley. As is my wont, I immediately put them onto my Stack of CDs to Listen To at Some Point, which then as now is about six hundred feet high.

I didn't listen to them, is what I'm getting at. Hey, I'm not proud of it.

Cut to a couple of weeks ago: Phil sent me an e-mail with a picture of Ms. Longley....

...who, as you can see, was holding a copy of Floor Your Love, the brilliant CD featuring a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels (and which you can order from ZERO HOUR RECORDS over HERE); Phil informed me that Ms. Longley planned to listen to it in the car during a forthcoming day or so's drive to her next gig.

I found this both amusing and flattering, as you can imagine, and I asked Phil who she was, and should I be listening to her music?

He replied "Schmuck. She's the woman whose CDs I sent you last year, you insensitive philistine clod." (He actually phrased it more politely, but that's what he probably meant. Certainly, it's what I deserved.)

In any event, to my immense relief I found I still had the CDs, which I then played, and whaddya know -- it turns out Phil was absolutely right; Longley is great. Truly; a voice to die for, and a really terrific writer.

Here's a video to give you an idea.

And from one of those CDS, here's her stunning version of "River" -- pretty much my favorite Joni Mitchell song ever, and she does it total justice.

I should add that when I played that on my pal Allan Rosenberg's intertube radio show a few weeks ago, I introduced it as being by Joni Rivers. As in -- can we talk?

Hey, I was sipping elitist chardonnay at the time.

Anyway, you can find out more about Liz -- including how to order her CDs -- over at her website HERE.

Act now -- you'll thank me.

Oh, and I should also add that Liz just got signed by a label that a) you'll have actually heard of and b) is a perfect fit for her, artistically. Her most recent self-issued CD is set to get a national release in the fall. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Girls! Girls! Girls! (An Occasional Week Long Series): Part IV -- Special Dirty Fucking Hippies Edition

From well before the fabled Summer of Love, please enjoy the paralytically sexy Grace Slick...

...along with the rest of the drug-addled reprobates in Jefferson Airplane, in a live small club version of "White Rabbit."

Recorded (by somebody running the sound system) at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village on April 3, 1967.

I was actually in the audience, in case you were wondering.

I should also add that it absolutely boggles the mind that these guys are remembered now mostly as some kind of incense and patchouli oil soft rock crap rather than the avant-garde near punk attack noise mongerers they actually were.

Jeebus, what a great fucking band.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Girls! Girls! Girls! (An Occasional Week Long Series): Part III -- Special She Went Breakin' My Heart Edition

From 1966, and the apparently otherwise undistinguished British B-flick Dateline Diamonds, please enjoy the incomparable Kiki Dee...

...before anybody in the colonies had ever heard of her.

The Small Faces come on at the end ; Kiki, looking incredibly mod and adorable, can be seen performing (beginning at approximately the 3:50 mark) and wow.

She's great, is what I mean. Like Dusty Springfield great.

Now that I think of it -- there must have been something in the water back then; how else do you explain all those great Brit white-girl R&B singers?

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Girls! Girls! Girls! (An Occasional Week Long Series): Part II -- Tales of the X Chromosome

From 1965, and somewhere in the wilds of West Germany, please enjoy the perhaps unfortunately yclept The Liverbirds...

...and their then current single "Why Do You Hang Around Me?"

These gals were obviously Brits who, like The Beatles before them, found gainful employment in the land of the ignoble Hun. The difference is they stayed there a lot longer than the Fabs, and never conquered the world.

In any case, they weren't to our knowledge the first all-ladyparts rock band to get a record deal, but they were obviously one of the better ones of the mid-60s. Actually, their studio stuff is pretty much mediocre to average garage rock, but on the basis of this clip (and some other ones on YouTube) they were a pretty good live act. Certainly at least as good as a lot of all-guy second tier Brit bands of the period.

You read more about them -- it's an interesting story, IMHO -- over here.

[h/t Marcellina]