Friday, February 06, 2015

Friday Optometric Blogging

From 1968, please enjoy The Nazz with Todd Rundgren and their quite astonishing"Open My Eyes."

One of the greatest fricking rock singles ever made. And without question THE greatest to adapt the template of The Who's "Can't Explain." (I'm talking to YOU, "Do Ya" by The Move; you can bite me.)

I bring the song up, however, because I'm off this morning to have cataract surgery. If I survive, normal blogging -- including that Video Roundup I couldn't quite get together for today -- resumes next week.


buzzbabyjesus said...

Best of luck. Thanks for not posting that song by Jackson Browne.
This song is the reason I keep giving Todd a chance.

edward said...

Had my cataracts done last year, and I'm a bit younger than you. It is surprisingly simple. And you will be able to see real white again. Good luck.

Mark said...

Good luck on the surgery. And look on the bright side ... afterwards.

And you get to wear those super-cool post-cataract surgery eyeglasses!

Ken J Xenozar said...

Indeed, this song friggin rocks. Your vision is clearer than most, if ya know what I mean. Recover fast.

Elroy said...

I'm sure it will go fine, best of luck. It's amazing how much improvement you can get!

MJConroy said...

Had 1 cataract fixed - no problem. Other eye coming up sometime. Having 20/20 distance in one eye is better than before.

Wish I still had my Nazz Nazz red vinyl!

Anonymous said...

Best wishes, Steve. My mom had that done about a year ago. It was a piece of cake. They saved her Liz Taylor eyes. Are you having one eye done at a time or both simultaneously?

Of course the Nazz tune rules! While not a big hit nationally at the time of its release, it was a huge Top Ten in Central California (Bakersfield - Fresno - Modesto) circa September-October 1968. Yup, it was big in the land of Merle and Buck. Go figure. It took over a year for it to take off in their hometown of Philly!! But the heads in Bakersfield had the jump on everyone.

I know because I was living in Bakersfield in a streamline trailer at the time. I was with the fox of a welder who claimed what was left of my innocence at the River during that summer. My parents had shoved me into this super uptight Christian school in September and I just couldn't hang. So, after we went to the Hendrix concert at the Hollywood Bowl, I took off with my boyfriend the welder for a little road trippin'.

He had a pretty lucrative month-long gig building corrals for a handful of dairies in Bakersfield and Tulare. His welding rig was in the back of his pick-up along with his acetlylene and argon tanks. We towed a borrowed 27 foot Streamline behind to save on living expenses. It was a great vacation from my parents (who I kept posted) and school. And, oh, sooo romantic. We were in major lust. The hashish and Orange Sunshine we scored from his connection in Laguna Beach was exquisite and furthered our ends. That acid was twice as strong as Owsley's. And I've never met another person who was better to trip with than this guy. We were soooo connected. It was wonderful.

Anyway, I couldn't find any cool FM up there so we listened to the AM Top 40 stations. "Open My Eyes" was in the top rotation along with the likes of All Along the Watchtower, Fire, Time Has Come Today, Revolution/Hey Jude, Susie Q, Born To Be Wild, Elenore, Street Fighting Man, Those Were the Days and Harper Valley PTA. Pretty great company. As far as the song in question goes, I've always been a girl who's a sssucker for a good fffflanging. Plus the production's hot and Todd's never played better guitar - ever. Proof positive that you can do a whole helluva lot in under three minutes.

Vickie Rock - Off to Molly Malone's for a wheelbarrow of Jackshit

Anna said...

Hope all went well and that you're singing the MC5's "Looking At You" (while imagining a decent mix...your colleague Landau screwed THAT pooch).

I wasn't old enough to hear the Nazz when they were putting out their albums...but old enough to have scored "Runt-The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren" in a 33¢ bargain bin before "Something/Anything" came out. I'll 'fess up...when I was at college doing a late night radio show for the campus station, three Nazz albums somehow found their way into my bag one night. (It was Michigan State University...they'd never been touched. More of a Grand Funk kinda school.) But, yeah...I'm still the proud owner of all three, including that sweet red vinyl "Nazz Nazz".

Wish Todd was still good...but I think Edsel (UK) just released expanded versions of all of his vintage stuff–"Runt" as a 2 CD set, with the original version, featuring the earlier "Hope I'm Around". Hie thee to Amazon UK!

Anonymous said...

Please refer to A-Squared single for the proper bodacious Looking At You.

Vickie Rock

Anna said...

Vickie–I'll take 'em both. Love the original for its insanely overdriven anarchy, and the remake (except for the shitty Landau mix) for the insanely great Wayne Kramer solos–and totally less anarchic but still amazing arrangement.

There's no such thing as a bad "Looking At You", just a bad "Looking At You" mix.

Alzo said...

Golly, Steve. This IS a great record, but i don't understand your diss of 'Do Ya.' I bought the Move's 'Split Ends' based on YOUR record-of-the-month write-up in that magazine formerly known as Stereo Review– and I promptly wore that sucker out. In any case, this, that and 'I Can't Explain', 'Sweet Jane', 'All Day and All of the Night' and even 'More Than a Feeling' are ALL descended from 'Louie Louie.'

steve simels said...

I was being tongue in cheek about Do Ya, Which, like all right thinking people, I love.

danny1959 said...

So did Todd, Mr. Simels. He covered it with Utopia, after all. Best of luck with your peepers!

Anonymous said...

Anna - You make a good case regarding Looking At You.

The "shitty mix" of Back In the USA has been the subject of controversy since it was released in early 1970. If it is simply the mix that is the problem, why hasn't someone gone to the master tapes and remixed it? Since this album is a glaring example of so-called "bad mixing" and the band has become increasingly revered over the years, what gives? Or is it likely that the overall production, not the mix, was an abominable disservice to the band and cannot be corrected?

This was a band which was so raw that it bled. Landau didn't let the demons roar. He had no respect for the band's ambiance. The recording doesn't breathe. Sounds like it was recorded in a tiny, tinny box which muzzled and castrated the beast. But what can one expect from a rock critic producer who gave Sticky Fingers a zero star review.

I know Back In the USA is their best, most listenable effort. But that's kinda sad, isn't it? I have two copies of this album on CD - the Rhino issue from the early 1990's and a paper sleeve Japan release from 2009. While not remixed, the pricey Japanese version has a much more solid bottom.

Vickie Rock off to the Wiltern for a few jazz standards

Anna said...

Vickie–I get the feeling that the album was recorded in eight tracks at most...meaning that it'd be impossible to do a decent remix. Boosting the bass where it's needed would result in tracks that would then be bass-heavy. I really doubt, too, that the original multitracks still exist...they were probably trashed/recycled.

Even re-equalizing the album would screw things up...though I'd like to see someone make the effort. Steven Wilson, who's been doing stellar work with prog-rock stuff could probably make a far more listenable album...but then again, he's more into prog and doesn't give a fuck about the MC5, if he even knows who they are.

Some ProTools wizard out

Anonymous said...

Anna - With regard to Steve Wilson, I love King Crimson! He has done some wonderful things with their albums! One of my favorite numbers was Sailor's Tale from Islands. That's because I used to free form topless/nude/belly dance to it at a club in Pomona called the Wildcat (now defunct). I know that tune inside out. I grooved to the first 6 and a half minutes, then faded the long ending. To get in the fluid hip-rolling spirit of things, I was necessarily high. As such things go, it was pretty artistic. Certainly more so than the titty audience could comprehend.

So, yeah, I bought all the 40th Anniversary Crimson issues remixed by Wilson and they sound great!

I'm hoping against hope that the multi-tracks to the MC5 stuff didn't get lost, tossed or recycled. But after all this time you'd think someone would have turned them up. Landau fucked up Back In the USA worse than Greene & Stone fucked up the Springfield debut.

Vickie Rock

Anonymous said...

Guido's studio had a Scully 8 track. I'm pretty sure that Back In the USA was recorded on that. Anyone know where the mixing was done?

Vickie Rock

Anna said...

Well, all we know is that it was recorded at GM Studios and was engineered by Jim Bruzzese–both the studio and engineer used by Seger for his recordinga around that time, all of which sound far better. I have no reason to think that they took it out of the studio to mix it...Landau probably did the damage right there. Though the question is begged, why didn't the band step in *wherever* it was mixed and tell him that the mix sucked?