Friday, December 20, 2019

Pre-Christmas Weekend Listomania: Special "Why Didn't I Get the Memo?" 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 changed a couple of the entries, to keep you guys from thinking I'm the lazy old coot 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 Nine is...

9. The Replacements -- Temptation Eyes

The Grass Roots song, obviously, and an outtake from an album that changed my life. A tip of the Simels chapeau to hep bartender Tommy Perkins, who knows from this stuff and turned me on to it last summer.

8. Little Isidore and the Inquisitors -- Christmas of Love

This was from the soundtrack to the Grinch movie, which I have never seen, and it is not a genuine oldie; rather it's an r&b/50s pastiche by THIS GUY, who may be some kind of genius. In any case, I heard it for the first time earlier this week at my local watering hole, and it blew me away.

7. Bunker Hill -- The Girl Can't Dance

There's not a lot of biographical info available on Hill, except that his real name was David Walker and that he was an on again/off again member of the great gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy when he wasn't singing the Devil's music under a pseudonym. He apparently died, way too young, in Houston in the early 80s, and hadn't been involved in the music business for quite some time.

In any case, the record features Link Wray on guitar (it was recorded at Link's home studio) and as somebody said in the YouTube comments, it makes Little Richard sound like Pat Boone. Had it been a hit, history might well have been changed in unfathomable ways. I mean seriously -- I think it's pretty obvious this is the missing link between the wilder strain of 50s r&b and proto-punk like The Sonics.

I should add that I also heard this one for the first time at my local watering hole. Another one I owe Tommy Perkins for.

6. 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, a year or so ago, for whatever reason, I sat down under the headphones with this song and pretty much lost it. How fricking gorgeous.

5. 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.

4. 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.

3. 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.

2. Sam Cooke -- Lost and Lookin'

From Cooke's Night Beat album. 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.

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

1. The Weepies -- Gotta Have You

So approximately twelve 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 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?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!


Anonymous said...

Bob Stinson could really nail the Alice Cooper lead.

my belated appreciation list is:
Les Paul and Mary Ford - How High the Moon
Blue Oyster Cult - The Red and the Black (thx Minutemen!)
Nick Drake - River Man (and all the rest) (thx Gilles Peterson and Andy Bey!)
Maria Muldaur - It Ain't the Meat, It's the Motion
the entire Morphine catalog - I forgot what prompted it, but I did not listen to them until after the release of The Night, the posthumous album
Lefty Frizell - Shine, Shower and Shave (thx to KPFT show that uses it as an intro)

Blue Ash Fan said...

I discovered Jersey's Successful Failures three months ago. They've been around since 2006. The best part was snapping up their entire back catalog in one fell swoop.

I didn't discover Richard Thompson until 1986. Where had I been?

I may be outside the parameters of this week's Listomania somewhat, but you get the idea.

Alzo said...

I always thought of Status Quo, if at all, as the one-hit 60s wonder of Pictures of Matchstick Men. About ten years ago or more, I happened upon Paper Plane on one of those CDs that comes with British music magazines. A little research revealed to me that they were/are an absolute institution in Blighty. Their 70s stuff is fast, heavy and simple... in other words, Punk Rock... but it didn't bother my yankee consciousness until long after the fact.

pete said...

I, too, was late to the RT bandwagon. I remember in about 1980 being at the bar in Folk City when a bunch of friends (Steve, tell me you weren't one of them) burst in fresh from his solo show at the Bottom Line. I may even have said, "Who's Richard Thompson?" The Dead tune (with David Nelson's gorgeous string-bending) reminds me of Muleskinner, the Rowan/Grisman group that came before their better-known Old And In The Way and starred Clarence White, Jr. a few months before his death. I found the one Muleskinner album in our local library a few years ago and to this day those bends remain in my walk.

LOVED Sonic's Rendevous. I don't think it can ever be topped.

Anonymous said...

Deb Talan consistently writes the best bridges since Lennon/McCartney.

cthulhu said...

Yeah, RT. Steve, your review of “Shoot Out the Lights” started a long-lasting appreciation of Thompson's work.

Small Faces, “Tin Soldier”, heard on Little Steven’s Underground Garage several years ago. Mind blown.

For some reason, the AOR FM station I had access to as a teenager in the ‘70s played Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Outlaws, etc., but no Allman Brothers Band except “Whipping Post” and “Ramblin’ Man”. I didn’t discover the rest of their discography until several years ago. The Fillmore East album in particular filled a hole in my heart I didn’t know I had. Just brilliant.

Another discovery via LSUG was Eddie Cochran and songs like “Twenty-Flight Rock”. Eddie C was a god!

My college radio station in the early ‘80s played “Pure and Easy” and “Let’s See Action” from Pete Townshend’s first solo album “Who Came First”. Two of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard. Then they played the solo acoustic stuff from the first “Secret Policeman’s Ball”, including the PT/John Williams duet on “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, which may be my favorite version of that song ever. Townshend and Daltrey played that song acoustic on their recent tour, and it was enthralling to witness.

Dave said...

"All I Do" was a perfectly pleasant Stevie Wonder cut from his so-so 1980 release, "Hotter Than July." But I never knew it was written for Tammi Terrell until volume one of "A Cellarfull of Motown!" was released in 2002. To my ears it is every bit the equal of her best work with Marvin Gaye: It's scary to think that Motown had so many treasures this went unreleased for 22 years.

Dave F.