Friday, April 20, 2018

Weekend Listomania: Special Song Crushes Edition

[The original version of this went up back in 2008, which totally floors me for any number of reasons. However, I have mostly rewritten it, and added two new entries, to keep you guys from thinking I'm the slacker I obviously am. Please enjoy. -- S.S.]
Okay, kids -- it's Weekend Listomania Time. Today's theme:

Post-Elvis Album/Album Track/Song/Single You Discovered Long After the Fact and Immediately Wondered How You had Lived Without It!!!

No arbitrary rules of any kind, you're welcome very much.

And my totally top of my head Top Seven is...

7. The Grateful Dead -- Box of Rain

It's no secret that I'm not remotely a Deadhead; they were my least favorite San Francisco band back in the day, and I have never much liked any of their albums with the exception of Working Man's Dead and American Beauty, neither of which I ever owned. (Caveat: I love Garcia's bluegrass stuff; if you haven't seen Grateful Dawg you're really missing something.) That said, about six months ago, for whatever reason, I sat down under the headphones with this song and pretty much lost it. How fricking gorgeous.

6. Sonic's Rendezvous Band -- City Slang

SRB, of course, being a sort of Detroit supergroup featuring ex MC5 guitarist Fred Smith and several other worthies. I'd heard of the single, which came out in 1978, for years, but didn't get around to listening to it until when I first wrote this post. Needless to say, the damn thing is pretty much hard rock at its most intense, and god only knows what I was waiting for.

5. Los Shakers -- Always You

The Beatles of Uruguay, and every bit as good as anything by their role models, IMHO. I got hipped to this one courtesy of a long time reader, and I have to say -- of all the great songs I've discovered since NYMary gave me the spare set of keys to this place, this is the one that means the most to me.

4. You Am I -- Mr. Milk

First heard this one (which dates from 1996) sometime around 2003, over the sound system at NYCD, the late lamented (and still the coolest in history) indie record store on Manhattan's upper West Side run by our pal Sal Nunziato. How the best Australian band since The Easybeats had previously gotten by me remains a mystery that may never be solved.

3. Sam Cooke -- Night Beat

It sounds, deliberately, like a late night blues/soul/gospel jam session at a small smoke-filled club, and it's probably the greatest pop music album of the last sixty years that most people still don't know about. Cooke cut it for his own label in 1963 and it went out of print pretty much immediately; the American CD reissue from 2001 (which is when I first heard it) got pulled due to legal wrangling (love that Allen Klein) almost as quickly. But you can still find copies on Amazon; thank you Jeff Bezos.

2. The Cat's Meow -- La La Lu.

Found this 1966 garage rock gem (which definitely should have been a radio hit) courtesy of a reader back in the day; apparently, it was fairly well known in Nuggets circles, but I'd never run across it previously. In any case, a simply wonderful piece of Revolver-ish bubblegum punk.

And the Number One great song I can't live without that I hadn't heard before I wrote this piece -- it's not even remotely a contest -- absolutely has to be...

1. The Weepies -- Gotta Have You

So approximately eleven years ago, I found myself falling in love with a certain Shady Dame, and it was happening to the soundtrack of a Weepies song, which was running in a TV commercial at the time, called "All That I Want." I was later hipped to another Weepies song that I dearly love, called "Nobody Knows Me at All." But for some reason, I was never moved to research more of their stuff. And then yesterday somebody sent me a link to "Gotta Have You," which is about the most gorgeous and ineffably touching thing I've ever heard in my life. Seriously -- these guys are now The Beatles, as far as I'm concerned. And Deb Talan is the single greatest girl singer in the history of pop music.

Alrighty, then -- what would your choices be?


Anonymous said...

Mr. Milk. Wow.


Shriner said...

I had no idea that there was the "Dallas"/"Sail The Waterway" single by Steely Dan until the early days of Napster, etc. So I discovered that one way after the fact and I love it ("Dallas" in particular!)

That, or "Party Hard" by Andrew W.K. I didn't know my life was missing the multiple riffs all over that song until I heard it for the first time a few years ago.

Wendy said...

Tonio K's "H-A-T-R-E-D" --- there are times when nothing else will do. :-)

Alzo said...

I only knew Status Quo from 'Pictures of Matchstick Men.' About ten years ago, I discovered that I had been ignorant of the fact that they are an institution in Britain with scores of hit records. At their peak, they carried the torch for troglodyte boogie which can be just as much fun as any lowbrow rock 'n' roll. Now 'Caroline' is one of my all-time faves.

Ken J Xenozar said...

These are all winners, save one.

I am just gonna give you a pass on "Box of Rain" pass. Dead vocals are so incredibly bad. Its like they know there are harmonies, but they are physically incapable of getting them, even after 30+ years of trying. Or maybe I need to have my brain altered. My favorite version of Dead songs are when other people cover them.

steve simels said...

Shriner -- that Andrew WK song is pretty great, although I'd prefer to hear with a more traditional rock singer and guitar sound.

That said, in the video, he violates the number one rule of rock n roll. ANY BAND WITH A MEMBER WHO PERFORMS TOPLESS SUCKS BY DEFINITION.

cthulhu said...

Here’s a few, most discovered thanks to the great Little Steven and his Underground Garage on SiriusXM:

Small Faces, Tin Soldier
Nazz, Rain Rider, which led me to find Under the Ice too
Dwight Twilley, England and TV, which led me to find I’m On Fire as well
Traffic, Medicated Goo
Eddie Cochran, Twenty Flight Rock and others

And one I didn’t get from the Underground Garage: Traffic, Roll Right Stones

pete said...

While seconding Ken's remark I still like Box of Rain. And yes, some of the songs hold up very well in the hands of other artists. My favorite is Norma Waterson's take on "Black Muddy River" with Richard Thompson on guitar. I get chills every time I hear it. Every time.

Anonymous said...

Some comments:

Please don't over sell Los Shakers, they're okay nothing more. You're just jealous of the hair! I am also!

Mr. Milk is pretty fucking good! Play us some more!

Re: Sam Cooke - Night Beat. This is the album that shows us what we lost when he got gunned down, he was just making the transition from great popster to possibly the king of soul.

Cat's Meow: I have the same feeling as Los Shakers except Cat's Meow maybe a little inferior to them.

Weepies - Wimps without a great song/performance to draw me in and convince me there is more to hear then there is.

Finally I have to amend your comment: "The number one rule of rock n roll. ANY BAND WITH A MEMBER WHO PERFORMS TOPLESS SUCKS BY DEFINITION, except when when Grace Slick is in the band."

Your truly sexist punk trouble maker

Captain Al

Anonymous said...

More fucking comments from The Captain:

Deb Talan is a better singer then Lydia Loveless? Ouch that hurts!

Captain Al

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

Fellow Weeper here...welcome bruvvah.
Wrap your earholes around They’re In Love, Where Am I when you get a chance. But have a Handi-wipe ready to sop up your melted heart.


M_Sharp said...

"Haze Of Drink" and a lot others by Slobberbone, a great Texas alt-country punk hard rock band that I somehow missed in the '90s & 00s. Bees And Seas is a fine best-of LP.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I was pleasantly surprised at your inclusion of "Box Of Rain".
While I don't claim to understand Dead Heads, I'm equally mystified by the haters. "Workingman's Dead" and "American Beauty" are straight up classic albums, with "Aoxomoxoa" close behind.
During my formative years, those albums, more than anything else, turned me onto bluegrass and country music.

steve simels said...

I actually always loved "Golden Road" from their very first album.

Anonymous said...

Deb Talan writes a fantastic bridge. Check out "Citywide Rodeo" or "Hideaway" for other examples.

Anonymous said...

Los Shakers...where is the Hoffer ?

Ken J Xenozar said...

@buzzbabyjesus. I totally agree with you about the Dead being a gateway drug to bluegrass and country. I really enjoy the Jerry Garcia and David Grisman stuff.
I won't elaborate on my "hate", other than to say 95% Dead music is the antithesis of Powerpop.