Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Brits Just Knighted Raymond Douglas Davies!!!

From The Guardian:

Kinks frontman Ray Davies, 72, said he felt a mixture of joy and embarrassment on being awarded a knighthood for services to the arts. Despite The Kinks parting ways in 1996, Davies forged a solo career and two years ago collaborated on Sunny Afternoon, the Olivier-award wining musical based on his music and lyrics.

“This is for the people who supported my music over the years,” said Davies. “I’m kind of reluctant to collect rewards. I usually back out of ceremonies. I’m kind of a shy person.”

To which I can only add -- WHAT TOOK THEM SO FUCKING LONG?

Ladies and gentlemen, the most beautiful song written in English in the second half of the 20th Century.

Congratulations, Sir Ray.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Hey, It's Been a Rough Week or Two

Drunk Donald Trump.

I particularly like when he says that everything is "rosy dory."

Regular music posting -- possibly New Years Eve themed, but I make no promises -- resume on the morrow.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Love, Doggie Style

I hadn't thought about this song in years, but it was playing at the supermarket yesterday and I gotta say -- it blew my mind to be reacquainted with it.

Ladies and germs, please enjoy -- if that is the word -- Gilbert O'Sullivan and his 1973 hit "Get Down."

Or as we call it at Casa Simels, the most reprehensible metaphor in the history of pop music.

It also occurred to me that Spinal Tap might have been thinking about it when they wrote their immortal "Bitch School."

A subject for future research, obviously.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Closed for Monkey Business

Are the holidays over yet?

Regular tanned and ready postings resume tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Programming Notes From All Over

Yes, ladies and germs, yours truly is going to be on friend of PowerPop Capt. Al's radio show Lost at Sea today, starting at Noon, EST.

You can listen by clicking HERE, you're welcome very much.

I should add that it will be a theme show, and here's a clue. The fabulous Cheap Perfume performing the venerable "Boys."

A coveted PowerPop No-Prize© will be awarded on air to the first reader who divines said theme. And we'll be watching our e-mail -- for requests and death threats during the show.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Who Says the Contemporary Musical is Dead?

So apparently Radio City Music Hall's famed Rockettes are being required to perform -- and for most the members of the troupe, who seem to share my low opinion of the president-elect, under duress -- at the Inauguration.

That being the case, and with a hat tip to a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance, here's my suggestion for the perfect number for the occasion.

Incidentally, I had forgotten that Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick had predicted the outcome of the election on the Jimmy Kimmel Show earlier in the year.

I gotta say, that last clip of Trump making stupid noises would be the funniest thing ever if it wasn't absolutely real.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (An Annual Series): Part IV -- Special The Golden Age of Television Edition

From CBS TV -- originally broadcast live in 1956, but here recorded in the studio -- please enjoy Basil Rathbone (what a singer!) and "Mankind Should Be My Business," one of the big numbers from The Stingiest Man in Town.

Which I believe is the first ever musical adaption of Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

I was nine years old when this was first aired, and I remember it made a humongous impression on me. The ghosts were particularly scary, albeit not as much as Rathbone's atonal groaning in the songs. I also had the soundtrack LP, because an uncle of mine worked for Columbia Records at the time, and for some reason I played it obsessively for years.

You can actually order a DVD of the original special over at Amazon here.

I should add that the show was remade as a Rankin/Bass animated special in 1978, which is also available at Amazon if you're an insane Walter Matthau completist (he sings the part of Scrooge at least as well as Rathbone, for what it's worth).

And have a wonderful Christmas day, all. Especially you Jews -- enjoy the Chinese food.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (An Annual Series): Part III -- In Which I'm Revealed as a Sentimental Old Fluff Edition

[I originally posted this little confessional back in 2013; I'm reposting it now not because I'm trying to make it a tradition or anything, but because Sam Anderson -- a very fine staff writer for the New York Times Sunday Magazine -- recounted an almost identical story last week; you should READ HIS VERSION HERE after mine, because his is much funnier. -- S.S.]

This is, as I have been wont to say here on many previous occasions, a very sad story, so please try not to laugh.

It also has a certain relevance to tonight's festivities, which will be revealed later in the narrative. Please be patient.

Anyway, so the other day I was in a cab heading down the West Side Highway in a snowstorm, and the driver had the radio tuned to whatever soft-rock Lite FM station they inevitably have on when they don't have WINS News Radio blasting or some guy from Queens yelling about sports.

I wasn't particularly paying attention, but suddenly some soft-rock Lite FM staple song came on, and immediately I knew three things.

1. I had definitely heard it before.

2. It was probably from the 70s or the 80s, although I couldn't rule out the possibility that it might have been more recent, and it had that whole California soft-rock vibe, which I usually detest, in spades.

3. I had no idea who the guy or the group singing it was, although I was painfully aware that when and if I found out I was gonna kick myself. Because pretty much everybody in the world, at least of a certain age, would have been able to recognize it instantly.

The truly insidious part was that there was something about the damn thing that grabbed me. Yes, the vocals had that laid-back L.A. Mr. Sensitive shtick that usually makes my gorge rise. But the tune was charming, the voicings of the harmony parts in the chorus were really quite lovely, and -- try as I might to deny it -- it was getting under my skin.

Fortunately, because of the roar of traffic, I couldn't really hear the lyrics, although one word -- "architect" -- jumped out. "Hmm," I thought. "There's a word you don't hear in a pop song everyday."

Anyway, I then went about the rest of my weekend, but I knew with an absolutely dread certainty that I was gonna break down sooner or later and look the song up on the Intertubes.

So, late on Monday, I googled "Soft Rock song with the word architect in it" and up it popped.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...and my fingers are shaking as I type these words....Dan Fogelberg (the horror, the horror!) and his 1980 smash (which I had apparently put out of my mind, probably deliberately, ever since its original vogue) "Same Old Lang Syne."

Well. In case you're wondering, no -- I have no interest in revisiting the rest of Fogelberg's body of work, and yes, I still basically can't stand the whole genre he represents, but goddamn it -- this damn song works and it gets to me. Like I said, it's melodically quite charming, and now that I've actually deciphered the lyrics, it turns out that -- despite a certain smugness that kind of rankles -- they actually make a pretty good little short story.

And the record's not even a new guilty pleasure, to be honest, because I don't feel particularly guilty about liking it.

Sticks in my craw a bit, though.

As I said, this is a very sad story, so please try not to laugh.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (An Annual Series): Part Deux

From last year, please enjoy my pals The Mockers and the greatest Christmas rock song of this century.

"There's No War on Christmas (When Christmas is in Your Heart)."

Seriously -- if you can listen to this song and still take Bill O'Reilly seriously, you need to have it looked at.

For more on this obviously fabulous band check 'em out at their official website HERE.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Comes But Once a Year (An Annual Series): Part I

From some time in the 80s or 90s (I have no idea which) please enjoy (if possible) my all time favorite Xmas rock record.

"Silent Night."

By Rudolf's Nightmare (produced and splendid guitar by old bandmate Lars Hanson and featuring my musical director Glen Robert Allen on drums Somebody's playing bass and singing, but I have no idea who. Hopefully, I'll be informed before the end of the week.)

In any case, why this isn't a Dr. Demento standard is beyond fucking me,.

More Xmas weird shit tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

New Orleans Confidential: A Photo Essay

So as you may have heard, a certain Shady Dame and I spent a few days recently in the bosom of the Old South, specifically in the French Quarter in The Big Easy. We had a splendid -- or perhaps splendide -- time, but I must confess I found the place a little odd, despite a lot of really great food.

Herewith, a visual record of our trip, with commentary. [Click on all photos to enlarge]

Apparently people in New Orleans, despite their reputation, have a real work ethic. These musicians in Jackson Square were kicking out the jams at 10:30 in the morning, fer crissakes.

We also learned very early that prehistoric reptiles are big in this burg.

It's a strange town in other ways, too. For example just about everybody is heavily armed and drunk. Seriously, there was a shooting a day within blocks of our hotel the whole time we were there.

I just KNEW that The Perfidious Jews figured in New Orleans history! [see second paragraph]

Dead chicken earrings, as seen at an antique store in the Quarter. Words fail me.

This is the famous Lafayette Cemetery (site of the notorious acid and hookers freakout scene in Easy Rider). Who knew it was also the final resting place of The Fugitive?

The subject matter of museums in NOLA is surprisingly specific. There's actually a Museum of Death, for example, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

Have I mentioned that the natives really seem to love alligators?

Now we see the violence inherent in the system!

Fats Domino's piano, as it was recovered from his living room after Hurricane Katrina. (This is at the Katrina Museum, by the way, which is devastating).

And finally, here's the cab that took us to the Louis Armstrong airport. The door guy at the hotel who hailed it for us insisted that some people refuse to get in it.

Regular music postings resume tomorrow.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Closed for Post-NOLA Monkey Business!

Got home late from the Big Easy, and I'm incredibly wiped from how much fun the trip was.

Regular posting -- including a New Orleans photo essay -- resumes on Wednesday.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Good Times Are Rolling and So Am I!

Arrived safely in New Orleans and having way too much fun to write.

Regular posting resumes late Monday.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fuck Trump -- We're Gonna Party Like It's the Mid-19th Century!

Yes, me and a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance are headed to the Big Easy today.

Excuse: Vacation!

I suspect at least one more posting this week will reflect that eventuality. Or perhaps not, since I forgot to take the auxiliary keyboard for my iPad. So if there's nothing new here until our return -- scheduled for Monday -- please be understanding.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Programming Notes From All Over

In the immortal words of Southside Johnny -- this time it's for real.

Yes, yours truly will be heard today -- at 1pm EST -- on the Sirius XM music trivia game show 70s 80s 90s Now.

I'm also told that the show will be re-run at various times throughout the week and the weekend.

If you have Sirius, please -- tune in have a cheap laugh at my expense. Seriously, the show is very funny and host Jim Shearer is a real mensch.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Today We Are an Album

[Cross-posted at Floor Your Love -- S.S.]

And they said it would never happen.

But yes, the reissue...remastered to a fare-thee-well at great personal expense (and with five bonus tracks -- three studio and two live)...of our 1995 masterpiece (originally on Gadfly Records) is now a reality.

The song above is, as you will immediately notice, our attempt at a contemporary tune in the mold of Buddy Holly, and I think a very successful one.

In any case, the other 15 songs on the record are all on YouTube. If you want to purchase them, you can do so at CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes; the album can also be streamed on Spotify, Pandora, and pretty much all of the other usual suspects.

I should add that this reissue has been about two years in the making (and a dream come true -- the 1995 version had vastly inferior sound). And I would like to say to my bandmates -- Gerry (obviously), J.D. Goldberg and Glen "Bob" Allen -- that you should be damned proud of the work you did, both two decades ago and more recently.

I should also add that an absolutely sensational video for one of the songs -- "A Drop of Rain" -- will be viewable on-line probably by the end of the week.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Your Friday Moment of Words Fail Me

Milburn was in his thirties when he recorded that. I love the guy, but really.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

How Is A Rolling Stones Blues Album Without Bill Wyman Even A Thing?

So I just gave a listen to Blue and Lonesome. If it was a homemade CD by an obscure bar outfit from Bumfuck, Texas it would be okay.

For the Greatest White Blues Band That Ever Lived, not so much. Basically, 12 tracks of meh.

Here's what a Rolling Stones blues album SHOULD have sounded like.

1. "Bright Lights Big City"

2. "Cops and Robbers"

3. "Down in the Bottom"

4. "Good Times Bad Times"

5. "Little Red Rooster"

6. "I"m a King Bee"

7. "Love in Vain"

8. "Stop Breaking Down"

9. "Stewed and Keefed"

10. "Honest I Do"

11. "Confessin' the Blues"

12. "Down the Road Apiece"

Period. Full stop. End of story.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Closed for Monkey Business

Been a crazy week -- regular tanned, rested and ready posting resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Programming Notes From All Over: This Time It's Personal

Oops -- ignore previous deleted post.

My game show appearance got bumped to NEXT Tuesday.

PowerPop regrets the error.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Your Monday Moment of Nyah-Nyah-Na-Nyah-Nyah!

Going to see Steve Earle and the Dukes do Earle's debut album Guitar Town in its entirety tonight. At Town Hall in New York City.

Never seen Earle live before, so I am totally stoked. And of course he will also be dueting with Shawn Colvin on songs from their great new record.

But what I didn't know until just now is that yet another special guest at the show will be...wait for it...Graham Nash.

Attentive readers may be aware that I'm a psychotically enthusiastic Hollies fan and I've never seen him live before either

If I live, less hyperventilated postings will resume on Tuesday.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Friday Encounter With Greatness

Guess who I ran into last night while taping a music game show at Sirius XM Radio.

Yup -- the one and only "Cousin" Brucie. I went into total "I'm not worthy" mode.

He couldn't have been nicer, BTW, and when I told him he was great in his guest starring role on Babylon 5, he grinned from ear to ear.

I should add that two of the kids I did the show with had no idea who he was or why I was so excited to meet him.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Closed For Monkey Business

Regular postings -- including photographic evidence of an Encounter With Greatness -- resume on the morrow.