Thursday, April 30, 2020

It's Sweet Jane Week (Part IV): Special "People Who Died" Edition

From 1983, and his album I Write Your Name, please enjoy the late Jim Carroll and his cover of some song that seems to be ringing a bell around here.

Memo to Mott the Hoople: this is how it's done, BTW.

I should add -- wait till you hear the version I'm posting tomorrow.

Let's just say that if it doesn't blow your mind you need to have it looked at.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It's Sweet Jane Week (Part III): Special "I've Wanted to Do This for Years and Years" Edition

From 1972, please enjoy Mott the Hoople (featuring the great Ian Hunter) and their David Bowie-produced rendition of that song we've been celebrating this week.

I was surprised to realize that I hadn't listened to that version -- or that entire album, actually -- in decades.

I was even more surprised to realize that I wasn't sure it holds up. And I say that as a long time Mott/Hunter fan.

Seriously — I’m not crazy about this at all. Sounds like a bar band.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

It's Sweet Jane Week (Part II): Lou!!!!!!

From 2016 and his album World War Willie, please enjoy the incomparable Willie Nile (and band) and his transplendent cover of the Lou Reed classic.

A great version, I think, and damn, I love black-and-white cinematography.

Monday, April 27, 2020

It's Sweet Jane Week: Special "Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me" Edition

From 2016, please behold in breathless wonder Liz Phair and her absolutely astounding cover of The Velvet Underground/Lou Reed classic "Sweet Jane."

Phair apparently did that for an episode of The Good Wife, and I was unaware of its existence until I stumbled across it at YouTube over the weekend (while looking for her version of the theme from the Banana Splits, with Material Issue). It apparently has never been on CD.

In any case, it boggles the mind. I think it's not only the best interpretation of the song ever, but the only one that hits as hard and as deeply as the original version on Loaded.

Seriously, when I heard Phair doing it other day, it was like discovering the VU record for the first time, a moment of my youth I still remember. Rock-and-roll was never the same for me again after that, an experience I didn't expect to relive at my advanced age. Especially in the trying time we're all enduring.

Wow. Just wow.

And thanks, Liz. As the kids say, you rock.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Reggae in the Age of Pandemic

The new Rolling Stones single, which seems relevant to our current situation.

I think these youngsters have a future. Particularly the harp player.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (An Occasional Series): Special "There Were Giants in the British Invasion" Edition

In this case, from 2020, please enjoy an in-depth interview with one of my longest-time musical heroes -- Bobby Elliott, the great drummer of The Hollies.

Obviously, there were a lot of great drummers in that period -- Ringo, Charlie Watts, and Keith Moon spring immediately to mind -- but Elliott was absolutely up there with them in the Top Five. And don't make me post a video of The Hollies live in the studio to prove it.

Oh okay, the hell with it -- here's a video of The Hollies live in the studio, during the recording sessions for "On a Carousel." That proves it.

In any event, that interview is from a fabulous podcast series (hosted by friend of PowerPop Tom Cridland) called (no hyperbole involved) Greatest Music of All Time.

And you can watch the rest of those interviews -- which include everybody from David Crosby to Kool and the Gang -- over at the website HERE.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

And Speaking of 12-String Guitar -- And Gorgeous

From 1965, please enjoy the great Beau Brummels and "You Tell Me Why."

You know, some band featuring an asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels really should have done a cover of that back in the day.

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special "Book 'em, Dano" Edition

Twelve great 12-string guitar songs that everyone forgets. AKA the missing link between Jackie DeShannon and U2.

That is, unquestionably, the greatest thing in the history of things. Kudos to Brit guitarist Dylan Pank, the guy playing all that stuff in the video.

I should add that I own the same Danelectro seen in that clip, which sells for next to nothing as these things go (around $350), sounds great (as you can hear), and is far easier to play than a vastly more expensive Rickenbacker.

We -- by which I mean The Floor Models -- used it on this little ditty from last year.

[h/t Tony J.]

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Okay, as attentive readers are aware, my old garage band The Weasels is from New Jersey.

So why weren't we invited on tonight's Garden State benefit show -- along with Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Fountains of Wayne -- to do this song of ours about the main drag of our home town of Teaneck?

For shame!

Heretofore Unknown to Me Stereo Mixes of the Gods: Special "Eddie Cochran Was the Coolest Guy Who Ever LIved" Edition

From 1958(!), please enjoy the incomparable Eddie Cochran and his genre-defining classic "Summertime Blues."

In real stereo. Not digitally recreated stereo, but honest to fucking god real stereo, like it would have been originally heard in the Los Angeles studio where it was recorded.

I had no idea that this existed until yesterday, when I was researching stereo versions of older rock records because of that great comp I posted about on Monday and Tuesday, and stumbled across it by accident.

In any case, and I don't see how this is even arguable at this historical juncture, but this is without question the greatest single recorded artifact of either rock or roll ever.

Unless I can find a similarly legit and cool sounding stereo mix of Eddie's "C'Mon Everybody."

Which so far I can't, but like the Count of Monte Cristo, I live in hope.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Remixes of the Gods (An Occasional Series)

From Hard to Find Jukebox Classics 1960-65: 29 More Amazing Stereo Hits, the fabulous comp album I alerted you guys to yesterday, please enjoy the great Denny Laine, doing business with The (pre-cosmic) Moody Blues, and the first ever stereo version of their classic 1964 hit "Go Now.

I've always loved that record, and BTW, if you get me drunk and ask me nicely, I will perform a note-for-note rendition of the piano solo. I've wowed 'em at parties with that for decades.

In the meantime, this is a small sample of what you get on the CD:

At last hear Phil Spector’s famous Wall of Sound in stereo with the Crystals’ “Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home).”

The long-awaited stereo debut of The Chiffons’ great girl-group smash “One Fine Day.”

Take it to the dance floor with the original recordings of “The Twist,” “Let’s Twist Again” and James Brown’s groundbreaking “Out of Sight,” all in wide stereo.

Catch a wave with the new stereo mix of the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ Safari” that spreads the vocals left and right, just as it would have been mixed in 1962.

In any case, you can, and should, order the album over at the Eric Records website HERE. I should add that you can see a complete listing and listen to samples from all the tracks over there as well.

[h/t Chris E.]

Monday, April 20, 2020

Monty Simels and the Holy Grail

From 1963, but more importantly, from the just released comp album HARD TO FIND Jukebox Classics 1960-65...

...please enjoy The Chiffons (with Carole King, who wrote the song, playing one of the greatest piano parts in the history of both rock and roll) and the first ever true stereo version of their (greatest rock-and-roll record ever made) "One Fine Day."

Attentive readers are aware that I've been jonesing about this here for pretty much as long I can remember.

Which means I can now die happy, although I have no intention of doing so any time soon. Heh.

I should add that the above album also features another stereo debut of a song that will blow your freaking minds, and which I will post on the morrow, you ungrateful bastards.

In the meantime, you can -- and beyond obviously should -- order a copy of this thing over HERE at the Eric Records website.

[h/t Chris E.]

Friday, April 17, 2020

I Actually Got Paid For This (An Occasional Series): Special "Brit Jewish Guitar Hero" Edition

From the June 1980 issue of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review, please enjoy my interview with Mark Knopfler of Dire Staits.

Remember -- click on the images to increase them to readable size. You're welcome very much.

I think, in retrospect, that it's a very good piece. And I heard at some point, from Knopfler's then publicist, that he liked it.

That said, and I've never told this to anybody except a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance, but writing it was, uh, somewhat problematic.

Or, to be blunt: When I actually chatted with Knopfler (over lunch at some hotel), he was (a) suffering from one of the most stupendously awful hangovers in drinking history and could barely grunt, let alone talk. And (b) the batteries in my cassette machine had died, unbeknownst to me, and nothing we discussed was actually recorded.

I mean, wow. Holy professional crisis, Batman!

The point being, in case you haven't been paying attention -- I had to write this two weeks after the fact by essentially doing it from memory or imagination. Including the quotes.


Have a great weekend, everybody.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

I Actually Got Paid For This (An Occasional Series)

From May 1978, and the magazine formerly known as Stereo Review, please enjoy yours truly doing as silly a piece as has ever been published in a national forum at any time by anybody.

Uh, BTW, click on the images to increase them to readable size. You're welcome.

Did I have the greatest job on earth, or what?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

In the Immortal Words of James Brown -- "Give the Drummer Some."


I’ve always been a drums guy. Its the one instrument in a traditional combo that I can’t make some semi-respectable sound on, but its always the first thing I hear on a record. If I like the playing, I make note of the player and seek out their other work. I’ve also had a lot of drummer friends - they’re often the funniest people in a band.

My friend Steve [Riskin] used to work for Paiste, the cymbal company. One day in the late 90s he let slip that he’d been to Jim Keltner’s house. For those who don’t know, Keltner is arguably the greatest session drummer of all time. My friend Donald calls him the human drum machine for his impeccable time. He’s played with a Who's Who, beginning with George Harrison, John Lennon, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan.

I’ve met lots of famous people so I’m rarely bothered to go out of my way to try and meet them. But there are exceptions, and this was Jim Keltner -- I'm a huge fan. I told Steve if ever the opportunity presented itself ...

A couple months later Steve called, and in his typically generous way said, I’m delivering a cymbal to Keltner’s house, you want to come along?

The house was in the Hollywood Hills as I remember, on a corner. After Steve knocked, the door opened a tad, and three faces filled the crack -- Keltner, his wife, and their adult son.

The Keltners are from Arkansas, and the warm hospitality was the kind I hadn’t felt since moving from Louisiana. We talked about the Bayou State, he asked me questions, getting to know “Steve’s friend”.

But finally I couldn’t contain myself and I told Jim I’d asked Steve to introduce me to him because he is my second favorite drummer. The broad smile he’d worn since we arrived suddenly dropped, he tilted his head, eyes piercing and said, “Second? Who’s first?”

My head tucked into my shoulders, embarrassed, and I said, “I’m sorry, it’s Ringo”.

In a moment Keltners head tilted back, the smile came back bigger then before, and he said enthusiastically, “Mine too”.

I hope to get to tell that story to Ringo one day.

Words fail me.

Except to say that said story comes from friend of PowerPop Bodie Plecas.

The auteur of the great California band Picnic Tool, who attentive readers will remember as the people responsible for the greatest rock video in history.

Thanks pal!

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

At Least He's Never Boring!

From their fabulous 1993 box set (with liner notes written by some asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels), please enjoy The Firesign Theatre as they go ape with their ode to singing gorilla "Nasi Goring."

I'm not exactly sure why this one popped into my head yesterday; I suspect it had something to do both with President Nazi's "L'etat c'est moi" press conference and with dealing with several Les Frères Bernaise on social media, but who knows. We live in trying times.

Regular light-hearted apolitical music postings touching on the theme of this here blog resume on the morrow.

Monday, April 13, 2020

It Came From the Land of Ice and Snow (An Occasional Series)

From 2020 B.V. (before the end of the virus) please enjoy (the pride of Bergen, Norway) The Thank Yous and their brand new single (and an instant classic) "These Things Happen."

From their album Good Times Killing Us...

...which will be released April 30th, on Apollon Records, where it belongs.

And may I just say that when that chorus on the single kicks in for the first time, the effect is almost psychedelic -- as if the song suddenly switched from black-and-white to Technicolor.

Absolutely freaking gorgeous.

POSTSCRIPT: Attentive readers may recall that a certain Shady Dame and I actually visited Bergen in 2019, and had a fabulous time. Including discovering Apollon Music, the oldest and coolest record store/pub in Norway.

That's me with friend of PowerPop Einar Englestad, who -- when he's not working behind the counter at the store -- is a big shot music journalist in Bergen, doing concert reviews etc. at one of the local newspapers. A great guy, who was incredibly gracious to the loudmouth American poseur who wandered into his place of business last August.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Your Friday Moment of Some Kind of Wonderful

From just the other day, please enjoy currently quarantined rock legend John Fogerty and family with a home-shelter version of the Creedence classic "Down on the Corner."

Absolutely charming, obviously, although they really could have given the old man a microphone.

I should add that the kid on the left playing bass is a ringer for the late Tom Fogerty, John's brother, who was the rhythm guitar guy in Creedence.

Have a great weekend, everybody, and stay safe and healthy!!! Think about getting the Criterion channel if you're bored.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Your Thursday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special "Everybody Sits Three Seats Apart" Edition

From 2020 B.V. (before the end of the virus), please enjoy the insanely brilliant (and heretofore unknown to me) Emma's Revolution and their obviously wildly pertinent update of Julie Gold's oft-covered folkie classic "From a (Social) Distance."

Seriously. That is just freaking brilliant -- funny, touching, gorgeously sung, and it couldn't have come at a better moment.

I have said it several times in the last few weeks, but one of the few silver linings of our current crisis is that, when its over, we're going to look back on it as a vintage time for black comedy and gallows humor.

P.S.: I just looked these kids up; you can find out more about them over HERE. And god bless 'em.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Closed for Monkey Business

Nothing wrong -- or virus related except the obvious cabin fever.

Regular posting -- including a fantastic new power pop song from some new friends in Norway -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

It's the Smallest World in the World

From 2019 B.V. (before the virus), please enjoy Australian rock goddess Sarah McCleod in her home studio with an utterly transplendent version of the venerable "House of the Rising Sun."

As I inferred in the intro, McLeod is kind of a household word Down Under, mostly for her role as the frontwoman of a band charmingly monikered The Superjesus. You can read more about her life and career over at Wikipedia here.

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit, however, that I hadn't been aware of her until yesterday, when I was at YouTube looking for this Floor Models song...

... which was written from life by our 12-string ace Andy Pasternack in the late 80s, and -- to the best of my knowledge -- about some other Sarah McLeod.

And that "House of the Rising Sun" video popped up instead.

Needless to say, I immediately found an intertube link for Ms. McLeod, and informed her of the charming coincidence.

Her pithy response was, simply, "oh wow."

[h/t Peter Scott]

Monday, April 06, 2020

Who Listens to the Radio? (An Occasional Series)

Long time readers are aware that friend of PowerPop Wayne Lundqvist Ford dee-jays the greatest podcast music show in the world.

Here's the playlist for his most recent show. You will note that it features some band called The Floor Models. A bunch of guys including a bass player whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels.

You can -- and should -- listen to the show at the link here.

And thank you, Wayne. Stay safe and healthy during this crisis.

Friday, April 03, 2020

And on the Third Day He Rose

In honor of President Schmucko's favorite holiday -- Easter -- here's the greatest photo of all time.

The late Jeffrey Hunter (Captain Pike on the original Star Trek pilot), as the Big J.

In Nicholas Ray's 1961 remake of Cecil B. DeMillle's King of Kings.

In which Christ ascends to Calvary in a pair of green Italian hushpuppies.

I am not sure if you can see that in the film itself; it's a production still that was in the book included in the deluxe MGM LP version of the movie's Miklos Rozsa film score.

That's truly gorgeous, BTW; Rozsa remains one of the greatest of all film composers.

In all seriousness, I bought that LP when I was a kid in the early 60s, being a big Rozsa fan, and I treasured that photo as hilarious from day one. I lost the book years ago, so I actually went to eBay in 2018 to get a new copy and scan the photo.

I should add that I bought said LP at the fabulous Teaneck Record Store on Cedar Lane in my home town. Remember record stores?

It's long gone, obviously, but it was where the restaurant on the left was in that more recent photo of Cedar Lane. I used to ride my bike there of a Saturday afternoon and browse; they didn't have rock 45s, but I used to dig going through the stacks anyway.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Adam Schlesinger 1967--2020

A very great man has passed.

I never met the guy, which is a major regret of my life. But obviously he was one of the reasons NY Mary started this here blog and why I have been doing it all these years since she gave me the metaphorical keys to the car.

I will simply say that I am heartbroken.

And filled with cold fury at the schmucks -- both in and out of the administration -- who enabled this plague. Damn them all to hell.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Okay, Now I'm Starting to Get Really Mad

Depending on which news reports you read, Fountains of Wayne co-frontman Adam Schlesinger...

...(or, as I usually refer to him, Fountains of Wayne co-frontman Adam Schlesinger, who is a goddamn genius) is down with the virus, and either on a respirator or in a medically induced coma.

Words fail me, especially as I had been listening to this masterpiece of his literally hours before somebody sent me a link to one of the news reports.

Look, I am well aware that the title of this here blog is PowerPop, not Pissed Off Lefty, so I'm not gonna belabor the point but -- fuck you, Trump voters. If Schlesinger does not recover, this is fucking totally on YOUR heads, just like every other death from the virus so far.

Oh, and have I mentioned fuck you, Trump voters? And also fuck you every pretend progressive who told us we had to understand the economic anxiety of those Trump voters, who really weren't simply moronic bigots, neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis so it was alright for them to not vote for Hillary because her e-mails?

Thank you.