Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fuck Jann Wenner -- It's Monkees Week Part Deux!!!

Ahem. As you may have heard, The Monkees -- a/k/a the Prefab Four (or was that The Rutles? Whatever.) -- have a delightful new album out, produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne (and have I mentioned that Adam Schlesinger is a goddamn genius?).

That being the case, we continue our week-long celebration of all-things Monkees with, from 1966 (and an episode of their epochal/eponymous TV show) the original version of Mike Nesmith's classic folk-rocker "You Just May Be the One."

And now, because I love you all more than food, here -- in glorious stereo -- is Nesmith in the studio producing the song; you hear in-the-booth chatter, then the more or less complete backing track, and, finally, the finished song in a slightly different mix than the one above.

And finally, from 1995, please enjoy if at all possible, Gerry Devine and the Hi-Beams (featuring a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels) and a live version of the song recorded at the CD release party for our soon-to-be-reissued (with bonus tracks) indie album Fire Lane.

The sound could be better, but as you can hear I pretty much nailed the bass part, and kudos are also due our lead guitar player, J.D. Goldberg, who contributes a nifty solo that's not on the original record. The venue was Tommy Makem's Irish Pavillion, a fabulous but alas now departed Manhattan pub that showcased a lot of really terrific music over the years. And yes, that's Tommy Makem as in The Clancy Brothers and.

Bottom line: It's a great fucking song. Incidentally, I once met Mike Nesmith (at a press party for the release of his Elephant Parts video) and as I shook his hand I told him I was in a band that did a cover of it. He grinned from ear to ear, which was one of the great thrills of my adult life.

Oh, by the way -- have I mentioned fuck Jann Wenner?

Tomorrow: Peter Tork meets Carole King, and then they go off to breakfast at the Chateau Marmont.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Fuck Jann Wenner -- It's Monkees Week!

Happy Memorial Day, one and all.

Okay -- our patriotic duty now dispatched, let us move on to something more appropriate to the mission statement of this here blog.

Ahem. As you may have heard, The Monkees -- a/k/a the Prefab Four (or was that The Rutles? Whatever.) -- have a delightful new album out, produced by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne (and have I mentioned that Adam Schlesinger is a goddamn genius?).

That being the case, we begin a week-long celebration of all-things Monkees with, from 1986, the hit single from the band's first, MTV-inspired comeback, the totally infectious and appropriately titled "That Was Then, This is Now."

And from 1985, because I love you all more than food, here's the original, more overtly power pop-esque, version by The Mosquitos, featuring a vocal by its composer Vance Brescia.

I must confess I hadn't heard the original until a few days ago; to my surprise, however, I find I still prefer The Monkees version, the dated/annoying 80s-synth production stuff (courtesy of uber-hack producer Michael Lloyd) notwithstanding. In any case, a terrific song.

Have I mentioned that Jann Wenner can go fuck himself?

Tomorrow: My favorite tune by the Smart Monkee.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekend Listomania: Special Pining for the Fjords Edition

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental fille de whoopie stenographer FAH LO SUEE and I are off to beautiful downtown NYC -- and more specifically, to Trump Tower. I'm gonna be checking out the apartment recently vacated by Keith Olbermann, who rightly decided that he couldn't put any more money in the vulgar talking yam's pockets. With any luck, also, I'll be able to pilfer some of the bathroom fixtures before we skedaddle.

In any case, as a result, posting by moi will necessarily be somewhat fitful for a few days, especially if law enforcement is involved.

But until then, as always, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:


This is pretty much open-ended, but one arbitrary rule: No death songs (teenage or otherwise) are eligible. So if you nominate something like "Leader of the Pack" or "Tell Laura I Love Her," I will come to your house and give you a stern talking to.

That said, my Totally Top of My Head Top Six is/are:

6. Del Shannon -- Hats Off to Larry

He wants her back -- he thinks she'll change. Yeah, right, pal.

5. The Beatles -- No Reply

"I tried to telephone/they said you were not home/that's a lie." Indeed it is, John. Indeed it is.

4. The Rolling Stones -- Just My Imagination

Yeah, yeah, I know this is actually a Temptations song. But as much as I like the original, as I've noted here before, it's terribly urbane -- you can practically see the tuxedos the Temps are wearing as they sing it. The Stones version, on the other hand, is pure aching romantic longing.

3. The Searchers -- Needles and Pins

What kind of sick, sadistic world do we live in where a truly great song can be co-authored by Sonny Bono?

2. Rick Springfield -- Jessie's Girl

A/K/A Othello with guitars, as somebody cleverer than I once described it. By the way, I love Rick Springfield and I don't care who knows it. And just because, I'm appending the song he wrote and recorded with Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters not so long ago, despite the fact that it has little if anything to do with the weekend's theme.

So there.

And the numero uno "If I can't Have You" song of all time -- it's not even close, so don't bug me about this -- is....

1. Fountains of Wayne -- Stacy's Mom

C'mon -- you KNEW it was gonna be that one.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

[h/t Brooklyn Girl]

Thursday, May 26, 2016

An Early Clue to the New Direction

From 1965, [corrected -- S.S.] and the epochal For Your Love album (at least in America), please enjoy the most blues-wailing Yardbirds and their inimitable rendition of "I Ain't Got You."

As always, a coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded to the first reader who gleans the song's relevance to the theme of tomorrow's Weekend Listomania.

And incidentally -- for the life of me I can't figure why that Yardbirds album cover looks so familiar. Oh, well, I'm sure it'll come to me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Cat in the (Jiffy Pop) Hat

From sometime in the mid-80s, please enjoy the comedy and musical stylings of the late great Rusty Magee...

...and his definitive reggae send-up "Rasta Magee."

That's another clip from the West Bank Cafe, of which there are now a lot on YouTube; I can't tell you how many brain cells I killed at a ringside table for some of those midnight shows over the years (yes, that's Lewis Black doing the intro). At the risk of gloating, being in New York City back then really was a special time.

In any case, you can find out more about Rusty, who on top of being ridiculously talented was also a sweetheart of a guy, over HERE. For somebody who wasn't a household word, and who died so tragically young, he really did have a remarkable career.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Monsters of Rock

Meanwhile, while the rest of the citizens of our noble republic were obsessing about historically insignificant pishers like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, THIS was going on at a bar in Burbank, California last Saturday.

Priorities, people!

[h/t Nelson Bragg]

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday Guilty Pleasures: Special Fountain of Sorrow My Ass, Motherfucker Edition

So the other day, the Incomparable Eddie©...

...jumped off a window sill in our bedroom and landed atop the On button on our bedside radio...

...and suddenly I found myself awakened by a song I hadn't heard in quite a long time.

I happen to really like that record; I've never been a huge Jackson Browne fan, but when he isn't being Mr. Sensitive Mellow Guy, he has a real knack for old-fashioned Brill Building-esque 60s pop stuff. (Listen to "Tenderness on the Block," which he co-wrote for Warren Zevon's Exciteable Boy album, if you doubt me.) In fact, I've decided that my summer project -- in the company of my old garage band chums The Weasels, if they're agreeable -- is to record a cover of this, with the annoying "What a Fool Believes" piano riffage replaced by Keith Richards' style rhythm and chiming power pop guitar stuff. I'll keep you posted as this develops.

Incidentally, an old (now sadly departed) pal of mine was a comedian and piano player (Lewis Black's musical director in the early 80s) who used to do a hilarious bit stringing together every damn hit song -- of which there were approximately a zillion -- that featured the "What a Fool Believes" piano. Mercifully, I seem to have forgotten most of them, with the hellish exception of "Steal Away" by Robbie Dupree.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday Video Roundup

[As I've said in previous installments, it is perhaps a wonderful testament to the essential goodness of human nature that there are still publicists at various video companies who continue to send new product to an undeserving scribbler at an obscure blog. Herewith, then, in an attempt to justify this largesse, are my thoughts on a couple of the more interesting cinematic artifacts to have crossed my desk of late; unless otherwise noted, I viewed them all on DVD. -- S.S.]

1. The Hateful Eight (2016, Anchor Bay, Blu-ray)

I absolutely lurved the last two Quentin Tarantino flicks, which were basically brilliantly over the top revenge fantasies in which, respectively, the Jews won WWII...

...and the slaves won the Civil War. So I had really high hopes for his latest, which, alas, merely recycles stuff from his earlier films with no discernable point and a palpable air of weary desperation. To be fair, star Kurt Russell is very good, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that large ambulatory slab of beef Channing Tatum can actually act. Also: the film is, in its outdoor scenes at least, pictorially lovely and Ennio Morricone's bracingly post-modernist score deservedly won the composer a long over-due Oscar. Other than that, I think the word for this is "meh." Anchor Bay's video transfer is gorgeous; there are some extras included, but frankly I couldn't care less. Your mileage may vary depending on your tolerance for the film itself.

2. Phoenix (2014, The Criterion Collection)

And speaking of the Holocaust. Set in Germany just after WW II, director Christoph Petzold's latest collaboration with astounding actress Nina Hoss is, without giving anything away, a sort of cross between a meditation on the whole unpleasantness with the Final Solution (Hoss plays an Auschwitz survivor) and an homage to Hitchcock's Vertigo, i.e. a thriller with more on its mind than suspense. It's pretty much the best film I saw last year, and Criterion's characteristically superb video transfer does it full justice (the new English subtitles look particularly good). Extras include a revealing conversation between Petzold and Hoss and a more or less generic making-of doc.

3. The Manchurian Candidate (1962, The Criterion Collection, Blu-ray)

There's not much new to be said about John Frankenheimer's way ahead of its time Cold War thriller masterpiece, although for what it's worth, with the benefit of hindsight it's now obvious that if the film has a weak link, it's Frank Sinatra, who -- while mostly appropriately tortured as one of the GIs brainwashed by those perfidious Commies -- delivers line-readings that occasionally betray his membership in the Rat Pack. That aside, Criterion's brand new video transfer looks incrementally better than any other version I've seen, i.e. pretty fabulous. Extras include an audio commentary (from a previous 1997 Criterion release) featuring Frankenheimer, a brand new interview with star Angela Lansbury, still delightful at age 91, and a video essay by documentarian Errol Morris, who has very perceptive things to say about the film's cinematic innovations and its continued relevance to American politics in 2016.

4. The Easybeats: Easy Come, Easy Go (1968, Umbrella Entertainment)

Director Peter Clifton's documentary on the Easybeats' pilgrimage to London -- where among other things, the band recorded their classic world wide smash "Friday on My Mind" -- was assumed lost for several decades, so when it resurfaced in Australia a few years ago, it was greeted, rightly, as essentially the discovery of the Holy Grail of Australian rock. I'm a huge Easybeats fan -- and you should be too; these guys were right up there with the best of the Brit Invasion bands -- but the reality of the thing is that it's a moderately interesting period piece, with a very high Too Groovy for Words quotient. Still, there's a lot of terrific music in between the more calculatedly whimsical moments, including some fascinating scenes of the band working in the studio with genius producer Glyn Johns, who turns out to have been even cooler than I had previously assumed.

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015, Lucasfilm)

The good news: J.J. Abrams' reboot of George Lucas's Flash Gordon pastiche franchise gets the look and feel of Lucas's 70s originals down to the proverbial T. The bad news: J.J. Abrams' reboot of George Lucas Flash Gordon pastiche franchise gets the look and feel of Lucas's 70s originals down to the proverbial T. Which is to say, Abrams' Chapter VII is so slavishly detailed and accurate about recreating the whole Star Wars esthetic that his movie is essentially a remake of the 1978 first episode. That said, the film benefits from better acting than any other installment in the saga so far, and once Harrison Ford shows up, it's almost impossible not to get caught up in the charm of the thing, even if it is completely second hand. Bottom line, at best a reasonably diverting time waster. Bonuses include several zillion making of--documentaries, and apart from an actually interesting one featuring composer John Williams I can't think of a reason to bother watching them any of them ever again.

6. Bad Influence (1990, Shout Factory, Blu-ray)

A sort of Bush I era remake of Strangers on a Train. James Spader, who really was the most interesting young American actor around when this was made, and Rob Lowe are very good in, respectively, the Farley Granger and Robert Walker roles (Lowe surprisingly so) and the whole thing is twisty enough to be diverting. But the characters as written are paper thin and in the end this is just another okay psycho-sexual yuppie thriller of the period (exemplars of which are too numerous to mention; if you want to see one that's actually great, check out Nick Kazan's unjustly forgotten Dream Lover, also with Spader, from 1993). Director Curtis Hanson, of course, went on to better things with L.A. Confidential. Shout Factory's print and video transfer are first-rate; the sole bonus feature is an interview with screenwriter David Koepp.

Have a great weekend everybody -- regular musically themed postings resume on Monday.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Your Thursday Moment of Compare and Contrast: Special America's National Pastime Edition

From 1982, and the great Live at Bedrock single, please enjoy the incomparable Bruce Springstone and his take on the venerable "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

And from 2016, and their just released Holy Ghost album, here's post-emo faves Modern Baseball and "Wedding Singer."


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Your Wednesday Moment of Phoning It In: Special Top of the World, Ma! Edition

Jimmy Cagney in White Heat -- a movie that has my favorite screen finale ever.

True fact: In the 70s, I was in a garage bar band named Cody Jarrett, after Cagney's character in this movie. We'd open our shows with the clip below and then go directly into a really loud version of "Street Fighting Man."

Play the two clips back to back and see -- it's fun!!!

Cue SCTV's Farm Film Report.

"That blowed up real good!"

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

When I Grow Up

[Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beach Boys' landmark "Pet Sounds" album. Better late than never, then, here's a slightly rejiggered version of a Beach Boys piece I originally did here in '06, back when the world and this blog were young. I first wrote it as a comment in response to something NY Mary had written -- she was a bit puzzled that I rated the group so highly -- so it's a little rough around the edges. I stand by every word of it, however. Enjoy! -- S.S.]


I must confess I find it a little odd to be writing this -- the Beach Boys music is pretty much my lingua franca, and the idea that they need defending feels weird to me given how much I love them (although I understand your skepticism, at least in the abstract. After all, Mike Love is a humongous dick).

In any event, here's why I think they deserve respect from
mere mortals like you and me.


1. They invented an instantly recognizable sound of their own,one that practically defines a genre. Very few rock artists can make that claim. (Chuck Berry with "Johnny B Goode", The Byrds with "Tambourine Man," the Ramones, and maybe U2). That alone should guarantee the Beach Boys immortality.

2. What Raymond Chandler did for California in prose the Beach Boys did in music. They reflected a place and a time and made a kind of poetry out of it. They were not fake.

3. Five part harmonies, astoundingly gorgeous. And Brian's conception -- mating progressive jazz voicings a la the Four Freshman with classic doo-wop -- was totally unique. Here's a 1965 live clip that proves the point -- and if this a capella version of the Freshman's "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" doesn't put a lump in your throat, you need to check your meds.

4. From their inception in the early 60s, they were pretty much the only self-contained rock band in America. Wrote all their own songs, produced their own records. Who else was doing that?

5. They were a kick-ass live act. If you doubt it, listen to "Beach Boys Concert," get a video of their closed-circuit show from '64, or find "The TAMI Show" video, in which -- performing on the same bill with the Stones, James Brown and most of the Motown acts, they tear the audience to shreds. Carl Wilson was a killer surf guitarist, and the rhythm section was as good as anybody in rock at the time.

Here's their British TV debut on Top of the Pops -- from 1964, totally live versions of "I Get Around" and "When I Grow Up."

6. Contrary to myth, they were not white bread at all. Carl and Dennis Wilson were as soulful singers in the r&b sense as anybody else working in the mid-Sixties. And that includes Stevie Winwood or Felix Cavliere.

7. The car and surf songs are actually quite brilliant. Who else ever conceived of writing love songs to a carburetor? And has any rock song ever conveyed as much sheer teenage elan as "Fun Fun Fun" or "I Get Around"?

8. Brian's best songs from the early period anticipate the confessional singer/songwriter LA genre. "Don't Worry Baby" may be as nakedly emotional and self-revealing as anything Joni Mitchell ever wrote. Ditto "Warmth of the Sun" or "In My Room" or "When I Grow Up."

9. The albums that preeceed the sainted "Pet Sounds" and "Smile" are masterpeices. "The Beach Boys Today," Brian's first real studio concept album, is a mind-boggler; "When I Grow Up" isn't even the best song on it (try "Don't Hurt My Little Sister" or the astounding Sinatra goes r&b of "The Back of My Mind" sung by Dennis). It's every bit as good as "Rubber Soul." in terms of consistency and melodic invention. The follow-up --"Summer Days and Summer Nights," of which "California Girls" is simply the icing on the cake, is even better -- it's every bit Brian's "Revolver." He never used the studio more impressively than "Let Him Run Wild" or emulated the Beatles with the riffy brilliance of "Girl Don't Tell Me."

10. The album that follows the sainted "Pet Sounds" and "Smile" is another masterpiece. "Wild Honey" is one of the handful of great white r&b albums of the period, and if you doubt it check out the title song or Carl's gorgeous reading of Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made to Love Her." And in it's back to basics way, it's very much of a piece with the Beatles "White Album."

I could go on about the Beach Boys early 70s output -- you could make a fabulous comp album with songs like "Marcella" (one of their best ever rockers), "This Whole World" (Brian's canniest pocket symphony), "All I Wanna Do"(the most glorious use of reverb in history), "Bluebirds Over the Mountain" (progressive rockabilly, if you can believe it), "Do It Again" and any number of others up through "Trader" on HOLLAND.

The decline after that was appalling, to be sure, but you get my point....the Beach Boys have a huge body of really transcendent work, and Brian wasn't the only big talent in the band.

Have I mentioned that Mike Love is a humongous dick?

[NYM replies: I have actually reconsidered my position in light of Steve's arguments. I expect my attitude was based on limited knowledge and access, plus coming up in the later, crazy Brian days. But I've listened more carefully now, and I see what Steve sees. Also, the fact that he did the Barenaked Ladies' "Brian Wilson" in concert tickles me no end and speaks to a healthy self-image and sense of humor.]

Monday, May 16, 2016

And So You See...Ennui!

Had a very long, exhausting weekend.

Regular posting -- including that video round-up I've been threatening (running on Wednesday -- swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster!!!) -- resumes tomorrow.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Headlines to Articles I Somehow Couldn't Bring Myself to Actually Read (An Occasional Series)

From the great reassuring warm bath that is the New York Times Arts and Leisure section, last Sunday.

You know, god bless Serge F. Kovaleski and Joe Coscarelli, the two guys that wrote that thumbsucker; if they can make a living taking the Times' money by penning that kind of thing, more power to them, and frankly I'm jealous.

But the piece itself -- and I say this, admittedly, without having read it -- is a reminder of the most valuable lesson I learned in my several centuries career as a rock critic.

To wit: The problem with writing seriously about any aspect of pop culture is that if you do, you ultimately have to write seriously about EVERY aspect of pop culture.

And thus, no matter what, you wind up at some point typing 5000 word think pieces about The Meaning of Britney Spears.

Or, in the words of a friend in the biz (far more successful than I ever dreamed of being, BTW) famously put it -- putting your name on reviews that ultimately come down to Everything's Great, Even the Obvious Shit.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

And yes, that long-threatened video round-up will appear on Monday. You're welcome.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Surf's Up 2016

[And speaking as we were yesterday of the incomparable Nelson Bragg, here's a lightly edited version of a piece I originally posted about Nelson back in 2012. Given that the original Divshare links to Nelson's songs have long since vanished into the internet ether, I decided to repost it with new music links. Enjoy. -- S.S.]

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Nelson Bragg is -- apart from being the long-time percussionist in Brian Wilson's touring band and currently providing the same service on the surprisingly wonderful Beach Boys reunion tour [Hey, like I said, I wrote this in 2012 -- S.S.] -- one of the first people I reviewed here after NYMary gave me the metaphorical keys to the car back in 2007.

Bragg's first album -- Day Into Night -- absolutely knocked me out at the time...

The basic musical template of the record is airy-sounding massed acoustic guitars overlaid with jangly twelve-string, choirboy harmonies, and the occasional strings, horns, recorders, discreet keyboards, and pedal steel; if you're thinking early America or George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, you wouldn't be off the mark. (The album's only cover is a lovely version of "Dark Sweet Lady," from Harrison's eponymous 1979 solo album, which on the basis of Bragg's take I'd say must be better than I remember). There are also little nods (perhaps unconscious, perhaps not) to Paul McCartney, the Zombies, the Millenium, and Todd Rundgren, but the album has its own personality in spades

...and my opinion of it hasn't changed since then. What HAS changed, however, is that Nelson has now been kind enough to allow me to post a song from it. So please enjoy the absolutely gloriously melodic opening track "Forever Days."

I bring all this up because Nelson's got a new album out [This was in 2012, remember? -- S.S.] and, in many ways, it's even better than Day Into Night. In the sense that the songs are equally fab, but the overall approach is slightly harder rocking and power pop guitar oriented -- think The Hollies circa "You Need Love" and some of Bill Lloyd's stuff.

Here's the opening (and quite kick-ass) track "You Could Believe," to give you an idea of We Get What We Want's world-class smarts and melodic charm.

In any case, you can -- and definitely should -- order both albums over at Amazon or directly from Nelson's website HERE.

You're welcome very much, BTW.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Your Wednesday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

Percussionist in Brian Wilson's touring band, a fabulous solo artist in his own right, friend of PowerPop and all around swell dude Nelson Bragg announced yesterday that these guys...

..."are the BEST Jangle Folk Rock you'll ever know."

Ladies and germs, from deep in the Great White North, please enjoy Canadia's The Grapes of Wrath and a splendid 1990 live performance of their hit single (in their home country) "Peace of Mind."

I should admit up front that I had never heard of TGOW until yesterday, and for obvious reasons...

...I was initially suspicious of Nelson's claim.

That said, I watched the above clip and, although it takes a while to get going, by the time the full band kicked in, I was pretty much convinced. If you're a Byrds/REM fan like me, that song sounds pretty much like heaven.

In any case, I'm somewhat chastened that the band never impinged on my consciousness until now. Come to think of it, we may need to establish some kind of blog equivalent of the Canadian Content rule around here.

And of course -- thank you, Nelson.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Machine Stops

Computer problems.

Business as usual resumes tomorrow, the FSM willing.

Monday, May 09, 2016

Oh, to Be In England When the Heather is in Bloom....

...or, rather, more specifically, in London on June 29th when Boston's great roots/punk rockers The Real Kids...

...are playing at the Dirty Water club.

I love those guys, but I had no idea they were still kicking out the jams after all these years (their first studio album, which is a classic, was released in 1977).

And if you've never heard them, from that eponymous LP...

...here's their blistering cover of the venerable "Roberta."

Pretty kick ass, I think you'll warrant. But as a historical note, here's the version from where they probably learned it.

From the 1965 LP Animal Tracks. By -- who else? -- The Animals.

And because I love you all more than food, here's another great version of the song -- from the late Lonnie Mack's brilliant 1969 Glad I'm in the Band.

And finally, here's a live performance by "Roberta"'s co-composer, New Orleans legend Frankie Ford.

Okay, that was exhausting. But before I crash, here's a recent interview with Real Kid founder/frontman John Felice over at the Dirty Water WEBSITE.

You're welcome very much, you bastards. Now get off my lawn.

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Year of the Cat

The Incomparable Eddie© is under the weather and we're taking him to the vet.

Eddie...in the shoes only he can fill

So no musical posting today.

Regular stuff, including that video round-up I keep threatening, resumes on Monday.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

UPDATE:  Eddie without costume and makeup, and before his recent medical problems.

I like to think of that as his glamour shot. Like the ones they took of the great movie stars in the 30s and 40s.

UPDATE II: And here he is in his makeup test for the forthcoming horror flick The Animal/Medical Center After Midnight!

Not for nothing do they call him The Cat of a Thousand Faces!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Letters...We Get Letters...

Okay -- the backstory.

In 2014, when the world and this blog were young, I did a post with the original instrumental backing track for Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and prefaced it with this throwaway comment.

In case you've forgotten, the personnel on this is Bob (rhythm guitar and harmonica), Mike Bloomfield (lead guitar), Paul Griffin (piano), Al Kooper (Hammond B-3), Joe Macho Jr. (bass guitar) and Bobby Gregg (drums). Tom Wilson was the producer...Two things come immediately to mind at this point. First of all -- who the fuck was Joe Macho Jr.?

And, given that I have no work ethic, I never bothered to research the aforementioned Joe Macho Jr. and basically forgot about the post entirely.

Until the other day, when I received the following quite wonderful e-mail.

Hi, I just read something you wrote two years ago about the Dylan Like A Rolling Stone sessions and regarding Joseph Macho, Jr. - he was more commonly known by his professional name, Joe Mack. Macho, pronounced "Mah-koe" is actually a Hungarian name. He was my father and was a very busy studio bassist from the early 60's through the 70's and played on numerous hit records including "Sounds Of Silence," "Bad Bad Leroy Brown," "Walk Away Renee," "Abraham, Martin And John," "Sugar, Sugar," "Let's Twist Again" and many more. There is a brief biography about him on the All Music website. His work for Dylan includes all the electric tracks on "Bringing It All Back Home" and the single, "Like A Rolling Stone." Greil Marcus in his book, "Like A Rolling Stone: Dylan At The Crossroads," presents a detailed account of these seminal sessions. My dad died in 1977 at the age of 56. So without trying to be overly snarky, that's who the fuck Joe Macho is. -- Stephanie Mack

To which I can only reply -- a) Mea culpa and b) your dad played bass on "Walk Away Renee?" I'm completely not worthy; you have every right to be super proud of his accomplishments.

You can find out more about Stephanie's dad -- who clearly deserves to be way better known -- over at the aforementioned All-Music Guide entry HERE.

And because I love you all more than food, I'm re-posting the original backing track that set all of the above in motion.

And in conclusion, let me simply add -- Joe Macho Lives!!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Closed for Monkey Business

Dealing with an actual monkey today, so no posting.

Okay, I'm kidding, but I had a very busy day yesterday -- including some time in the recording studio -- and am attending to a certain Shady Dame's travel and medical needs today.

Regular stuff resumes on the morrow, including a very interesting e-mail I got from the daughter of a genuine unsung hero of rock-and-roll.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Your Tuesday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special The Fat Man Meets Mr. Tambourine Man Edition

From 1969, please enjoy the latter day incarnation of The Byrds backing...Fats Domino?

Say what?

That's the late great Clarence White on lead guitar, of course.

BTW, I have no idea how that particular mash-up came to be, but I'm guessing it may have had something to do with the career resurgence Fats underwent after his brilliant Richard Perry produced 1968 album Fats is Back.

I will stipulate, of course, that this is one of those dancing bear kinda deals -- you're not impressed by how well it's done, but rather that it's been done at all.

Still, in any case, just when you think you've seen everything...

[h/t ny_steve]

Monday, May 02, 2016

And a Big Thank You...

...to all the friends of PowerPop who were kind enough to send me that mp3 of Bruce Springsteen covering "Purple Rain" that I neglected to download when it was still up at Springsteen's website last week.

And so, because I love you all more than food, from 1982 and the fabulous Live at Bedrock single, please enjoy Bruce Springstone and his greatest cover ever. "(Meet the) Flintstones."

BTW, this was the brainchild of a couple of wiseacres from Baltimore, including power pop god Tommy Keene on guitar. You can find out more about it over HERE.

And thanks again to all of you who sent me the Springsteen/Prince thingie. It's transplendent.