Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Those Fabulous Seventies (An Occasional Series): Part II -- There Must Be a Vaccine For That

From their new (sorta) album, please enjoy The Mumps -- featuring An American Family star Lance Loud and power pop legend Kristian Hoffman -- and the thoroughly self-explanatory title song.

I never saw those guys live, but as you can tell from the above they were obviously a lot of fun. The new album, on Omnivore Records (where it belongs) collects pretty much everything they did in the studio between 1974-79 (plus a pre-Mumps track featuring future Willie Nile/Patti Smith Group drummer Jay Dee Daugherty) and has lots of cool photos plus reminiscences by Hoffman and ace drummer Paul Rutner. You can and should order a copy of it at Amazon HERE (including a vinyl version); you can also get it directly from the Omnivore site HERE, along with the track listing.

PS: As I said, I never saw those guys live, but I did see The Swinging Madisons, a band fronted by Hoffman some years later, that was one of the greatest things ever. I've written about them previously; it's a very interesting -- and also poignant -- story, and if you missed it when first posted, here's the link; I think you'll find it well worth your time.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Those Fabulous Seventies (An Occasional Series)

From November 3, 1976 -- a day (as the liner notes to this new collection of previously unreleased material by San Francisco sensations The Rubinoos thoughtfully informs us) after the election of Jimmy Carter -- please enjoy the aforementioned Rubinoos and their irrepressible original tune "I Want Her So Bad."

That's considerably punkier than I recall the band having been; to me, they'll always be the guys who did this power pop classic in 1979.

In any event, this new album-length vault-dive is tons of fun, especially if you were alive at the time it was recorded; you can -- and should -- order it over at Amazon HERE, or directly from the Yep Roc Records website AT THIS LINK. The Yep Rock site has the track listing, BTW, and I should add that the CD includes a spiffy remake of "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

You're welcome.

Friday, June 11, 2021

It's Willie Nile Week (Approximately): Part III -- With No Direction Home

And speaking as we have been of late of the great singer/songwriter Willie Nile...

...atttentive readers may or may not be aware that my old band The Floor Models is about to unleash a tribute to The Byrds....

...and that Willie sings lead on one of the tracks thereupon.

And now, because I love you all more than food, here it is for your listening pleasure, and absolutely free.

The rest of the record you'll have to buy -- it'll be available in July -- but in the meantime, enjoy.

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

It's Willie Nile Week (Approximately): Part II -- Stuck Inside of Mobile With the [Insert City Name Here] Blues Again

From his 1991 album masterpiece Places I Have Never Been, please enjoy Willie and company [see below] with a song that was a live staple for as long as I can remember -- "Cafe Memphis."

Two things as an addendum.

(A) That's the incomparable Richard Thompson on lead guitar on that track.

(B) The Floor Models covered that song, memorably, and often, at various gigs. Hopefully I can find a recording one of these days. Let's just say we nailed it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

It's Willie Nile Week (Approximately): Part I -- You Can Do the Boogie Woogie, and the Hippy Hippy Shake!

From Willie's forthcoming -- August 13th -- new album The Day the Earth Stood Still, please enjoy the debut video (with the great Steve Earle), "Blood on Your Hands."

"Blood on your hands/Blood on your hands/There's cracks in the walls of your best laid plans."

Gee -- I wonder what's being referenced there?

I should add that Earle's assertion -- “Willie Nile is the embodiment of Rock-and-Roll walking down McDougal Street" -- couldn't be more dead on.

Tomorrow and Friday -- more proof of Earle's thesis.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Lisa Loeb: Best Good Sport on Earth

I've said this on several previous occasions, but the people who work at the little ad agency down South who do the Geico ads have the greatest jobs in the world.

Words fail me.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Advertisements for Himself

Attentive readers are aware that Glen Robert Allen -- my great good friend and the drummer of my band The Floor Models (who I generally refer to as My Musical Director for the Last 50 Years) -- passed away two Februarys ago, literally days before the start of the pandemic that ruined 2020 for the rest of you guys.

Just wanted to mention that Glen's beloved wife/life partner Eddy Coston has put up a YouTube Channel dedicated to Glen and all his works.

Here's the first couple of things she's posted.

Including some blues stuff he did with our friend Doc French

I should add that I am particularly fond of this one.

Enjoy, and check in over there on a semi-regular basis. There's lots more great stuff to come.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

[From a recent edition of McSweeneys -- this is so brilliant it makes me want to give up the whole idea of writing stuff myself. Enjoy! -- S.S.]

Coming in 2040: No Future, the First Punk Rock Nursing Home

by Lisa Borders

Your Gen X loved ones have survived so much: the Cold War, latchkey childhoods, mosh pits, COVIDs-19-through-27. They were born into a world without the internet, but now skillfully use their Facebook Hippocampal Implants™ to share old Bauhaus videos, plot the revolution in their local Antifa groups, or photos of Joey Ramone with his cat.

Do the seniors in your life sneer at the idea of decorum? Spit at the mention of Rupert Murdoch, and go into an anti-Reagan rant like it’s 1984 and they’re canvassing for Mondale? Do they insist that none of the good music in the ’80s was played on the radio, except for college radio? Have you found old photos of Grandma when she was 20 wearing Doc Martens, ripped fishnet stockings, and a miniskirt? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then No Future might be just the place for your elders to rock out their sunset years.

Staffed almost entirely by the love children of Henry Rollins, we’re opening our doors in 2040 at this first-of-its-kind facility. From the moment you walk in, you’ll see the difference. Gone are the floral wallpaper borders, the fake oak wainscoting, the lingering scent of Febreze and death you’ll notice in other elder care facilities. We’ve designed No Future to resemble a warehouse squat, the kind in which your loved one likely attended many a gig. Our thin Berber carpeting was custom-ripped, cigarette-burned, and beer-soaked for maximum authenticity. And we’ve worked with Glade to develop a scent we call “Illegal Hüsker Dü After Party” — an intoxicating aroma of skunky marijuana, Rolling Rock, and urine. It might smell terrible to you, but the light you’ll see go on in Pop Pop’s eyes will tell you you’ve brought him to the right place.

At No Future, we welcome residents of all ethnicities, faiths, and sexual orientations. We do, however, discriminate based on musical taste — our residents wouldn’t have it any other way. Our application process includes a lengthy musical quiz with questions like, “Which album marks the point when the Clash sold out: London Calling or Combat Rock?" and “Green Day: revivalists or second-rate poseurs? Discuss.” We’ll also ask your elder to list all the gigs they attended from 1980-1995. Trust us: they may not remember their grandkids’ names, but they’ll remember those shows. You might be surprised to learn how many nights Mom spent at CBGBs, and end up wondering if Richard Hell is your real father. But what’s a little paternity confusion compared to seeing that twinkle return to her rheumy blue eyes?

No Future has been designed with two wings: Pretty Vacant, the early punk unit where our staff sport mohawks and leather jackets (white for our medical staff); and Just Like Heaven, the post-punk area where everyone is dressed up like The Cure. If Goth demand increases, we may well open a Sisters of Mercy wing at a later date.

Instead of a sterile dining hall, we offer a snack bar that resembles a New York City bodega circa 1986. Dad once told you he existed on cigarettes and coffee when he was young; now it’s time to put him to the test! We do have a cook on staff 24/7 to whip up some cheap ramen noodles or boxed macaroni and cheese for your elder after they pound back too many Budweisers listening to our Circle Jerks cover band. Residents who slam dance to our Sid Vicious impersonator will be fitted with hip and knee pads, but if the stage diving gets out of hand, our medical team is on-site 24/7 as well. “This is the kind of magazine you keep on your bookshelves with your favorite books.” — Cece Bell, author of El Deafo

As you tour other facilities, think not about the credit to the straight world your parents became after they were saddled with jobs, mortgages, and, frankly, you. Think about who they were when they were young, that hint of a Billy Idol sneer they sometimes can’t suppress, that story you’ve heard over and over about the band they were in for a hot ’80s minute that opened for R.E.M. once and “could have been huge.” Think about the kind of place where your elders can live out their punk rock dreams, that road to nowhere not taken.

No Future. Because if it horrifies you, your Gen X parents are certain to love it.

(Breaking ground in 2045: Nevermind, our new Grunge wing.)

I should add that this was anticipated by the great NYC punk band Iron Prostate, whose debut album featured a song called "Rock 'n' Roll Nursing Home," with the immortal lyric "Baby take a ride on my Craftmatic Bed." Which can be heard below...

...beginning at the 3:12 mark.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Turn It Up to Eleven: An Occasional Series

From very recently, and their just released Live at the Cavern Club collection, please enjoy the transplendent Mona Lisa Twins and their cover of a Kinks klassic you might be familiar with.

I'm getting tired of saying this, but those two kids are so talented it's ridiculous. In any case, you can and should buy the whole album over at Amazon.

Next week -- "new" music (by which we mean you've never heard before) by old people you have probably heard of, and until then HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, EVERYBODY!!!

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Great Lost Albums of the Sixties (An Occasional Series): A Mere Bagatelle, Baby!

Okay -- the short version.

These guys...

...were from Boston, and the above was their sole album, released in 1968. Paul Williams from Crawdaddy, who wrote a blurb on the back of the LP, was an early booster, which is how I originally heard about them. I also saw them live in NYC -- I couldn't remember who they opened for, but a little research turned up the fact it was Procol Harum(!) and Moby Grape(!!) at a memorable Anderson Theater show that year. In any case, they blew me away, despite the tough competition, due to a canny combination of great musicianship, genuine charisma, and snazzy dressing.

The album itself -- which I didn't listen to until sometime in the aughts -- was an admixture of R&B covers of songs that are now standards but were at the time pretty much new, and the band's own flavorful originals. There were a lot of string arrangements and the songs were all sort of segued together, so it was a concept record; essentially it was an attempt, largely successful, to do a soul version of Sgt. Pepper.

In any case, because I love you all more than food, I'm enclosing a couple of representative tracks for your perusal.

Oh, incidentally -- the skinny white guy in the weird white and purple suit front center on the album cover is none other than Willie (Loco) Alexander, who later played in the next to last version of the Velvet Underground, and after that became a brief New Wave celebrity with his Boom Boom Band.

And if you ask me nicely, I'll burn you a CD of the album.

You're welcome very much.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

You've Heard of Power Pop? Well, Here's Some Parrot Pop!

"Don't Fear the Tweeter."

Words fail me.

BTW, if you go to YouTube OVER HERE, this same duo does a version of "Stairway to Heaven" for the ages.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

I Did It My Way (მე ისე მოვიქეცი)

From a decade or so ago on Georgian late night TV, please enjoy the Singing Pediatricians and their heartfelt rendition of "My Way."

I swear to god, that is the greatest thing in the history of things.

[h/t Ollie Sakhno]

Monday, May 31, 2021

Samuel E. Wright 1946-2021

Okay, I've said this before, but this death shit is really starting to piss me off.

I was fortunate enough to attend theater school -- at CW Post, of all places -- with Sammy. I can only say this; I have been lucky in my life to have known and worked with many brilliantly talented people in various areas of the arts, but Sammy was without question the most talented of them all. Right out of college, he was the original Judas in the Broadway version of Jesus Christ Superstar (he got me into the opening night cast party at Tavern on the Green, which is a story I'll tell you some day if you get me drunk).

After that, he went through a phase of his career where -- and this was practically a running gag among people who knew him -- he was either understudying or replacing Ben Vereen in various hit shows, including Pippin (that was actually the only one). And after that he did a season on television as co-star of The Dukes of Hazzard spin-off Enos.

And then, of course he was the voice of Sebastian the Crab in The Little Mermaid, (so if you have kids, they probably love him) and most recently he originated the title role of The Lion King on Broadway.

I mean -- give me a fucking break.

You can read more about Sammy over HERE, but here's the short version as told by the man himself.

I should add that most of the Yiddish I know is stuff he taught me, and he grew up in South Carolina.

Have I mentioned that this death shit is really starting to piss me off?

Friday, May 28, 2021

Has There Ever Been a Better Rock Band?

The Easybeats. "Friday on My Mind."

And the answer to the title question is -- no. There hasn't.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Your Thursday Moment of "How Totally Alternative!"

And speaking as we were yesterday of the incomparable Todd Snider, please enjoy -- from 1994 and a hidden track on his debut album -- the utterly hilarious "Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues."

That was apparently a radio hit back in the day; I don't remember how I tumbled to it, but I do recall that every time somebody came into my cramped office at The Magazine Formerly Known as STEREO REVIEW, I would inflict it on them, with mostly positive results. Holds up nicely, I should add.

I should also add that it's somewhat less sardonic than Snider's "Reality Television Talking Blues," which I posted previously in the recent vesion by Sir Tom Jones.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Records That Were Way Better Than Their More Famous Hit Remakes (An Occasional Series)

 From 1979,  please enjoy New Wave faves Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club and the original version of "Video Killed the Radio Star."

And the word is -- wow.

I should add two things.

First: The Buggles more familiar cover is perfectly okay, if not as cool as the above, and I'm not saying that because its producer, Trevor Horn, went on to do Yes records, and is thus a piece of shit because of his involvement with the dreaded Prog Rock. (I kid, I kid!!!!)

I should also also add that one can only assume that Mr. Woolley, the song's composer, has been living very comfortably for all these years on the royalties of said Buggles version, and good for him.

Your Tuesday True Confession (And This May Surprise Some of the People Who Know Me Best)

[Posted this elsewhere yesterday, but I thought I'd share it. Forgive the self indulgence.]

As much as I've enjoyed and been proud of the music I've played and performed over the years since my first foray into a professional recording facility in 1964 -- long story, but the guitar player in my high school band had an uncle who owned one of the most well-equipped and prestigious studios in NYC -- I thank God on a daily fucking basis for the fact that I never became a rock star.
Why is that you ask?
Very simple.
1. I'd have been dead decades ago.
2. Touring? Oh how fabulous -- a plane, a crappy motel room, another plane, another crappy motel room ad infinitum.
3. Having to spend countless hours glad-handing industry assholes, and if you don't understand what that entails you utterly lack a soul.
4. I should also add that I have enormous respect for musicians, but I have no intention of ever becoming one. Fooling around in the studio? Tons of fun. Doing that shit for a living? Gross me out of my condo. 
Regular posting -- with, like, you know, music -- resumes on the morrow.


Monday, May 24, 2021

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From his brand new album, please enjoy Sir Tom Jones (and I love typing those words) and his devastatingly topical new single "Talking Reality Television Blues." A cover of a Todd Snider song, and if you don't know him, well, we'll deal with him later in the week.

In the meantime, however -- gee, I wonder who that song could be ultimately about?

Seriously, that is just beyond awesome; in fact it's as good and exciting a record as any I've heard yet in this young year.

I should also add that the cat who sings it is 80 fucking years old.

Friday, May 21, 2021

RETURN OF THE SON OF GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! WEEK -- Episode Five: As Bill Hicks Famously Said, Some Drugs Have Done Good Things

From 2014, Miley Cyrus covers The Arctic Monkeys, who asked the musical question "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?"

Have I mentioned that this kid can really sing?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2021

RETURN OF THE SON OF GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! WEEK -- Episode Four: Practice Makes Perfect, Sweetheart!

From 1965, please enjoy should-be-better known British singer/songwriter/babe Barbara Ruskin...

...and her charmingly Sandi Shaw/Petula Clark-ish "You Can't Blame a Girl For Trying."

Ruskin never had a major hit, either here or in her homeland, but as you can hear, she should have; comparisons to Jackie DeShannon would not be far-fetched, IMHO.

BTW, I've mentioned this before, but you can download a fabulous free compilation of Ruskin's work...


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

RETURN OF THE SON OF GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! WEEK -- Episode Three: The Song is Not About S&M. Get Your Minds Out of the Gutter!

From 1999 and the motion picture 10 Things I Hate About You please enjoy Letters to Cleo -- featuring lead singer of the female variety Kay Hanley...

...and their winsome cover of Nick Lowe's classic "Cruel to Be Kind."

That's just cute as a button. I suspect it's impossible to do a bad version of that song, and this isn't one, obviously.

BTW, never saw the flick, but given that Julia Stiles is in it, I probably should.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

RETURN OF THE SON OF GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! WEEK -- Episode Two: Mom Spelled Upside Down is Wow

From 1993, please enjoy former Lone Justice chanteuse Maria McKee and her exquisite cover of Mott the Hoople/Ian Hunter's "I Wish I Was Your Mother."

I've loved this song since forever, and I still find it hard to believe that it works in the context of the otherwise glam-rock 1973 Mott album, where it first appeared. Lordy knows, it threw me for a loop at the time.

Monday, May 17, 2021

RETURN OF THE SON OF GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! WEEK -- Episode One: From the Mean Streets of the Disney Channel

Why didn't I get the memo on this one sooner?

Seriously, this was from just last year. How did I miss it?

In any case, wow -- this kid can sing.

Friday, May 14, 2021

The Genius of P.F. Sloan (Part II)

From 1967, please enjoy The Grass Roots and Sloan's exquisite "Things I Should Have Said."

God, that riff. God, those harmonies. And oh my god -- those drum fills.

I have wanted to do a cover of that song since the first minute I heard it on WMCA-AM on the car radio in my Buick Skylark. Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to do it some day before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Genius of P.F. Sloan (Part I)

It has come to my attention that certain people really loathe "Eve of Destruction," a protest song Sloan wrote that was a big hit in 1965 for the otherwise forgettable Barry McGuire.

Truth to tell, I rather detested it at the time as well.

That said, when I heard this cover version in 1984 I completely changed my mind.

And I still think that's one of the coolest things ever.

I should add that The Floor Models, inspired by that version, used to do the song live; Andy, our 12-string guy, used to sing it as "You may leave here for four days in space/But when you come back you can't get a parking place."

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Les Byrds: La Femme Amie

This post is for Hardcore Byrds Fans (HBFs), a small subset of humanity that -- unless I'm very much mistaken -- includes a fair number of the people who hang out at this here blog.

Okay, to make a short story long: Back in June of the storied 1967 Summer of Love, the aforementioned Byrds released a single called "Lady Friend."

Apart from the fact that it was an absolute masterpiece -- and this is something that's been confirmed by the judgement of history -- it was also the only Byrds single written solely by David Crosby.

In any case, the teenaged me bought the damn thing, and played it endlessly, to the point that by August it was more or less worn out. And I recall, vividly, waiting in breathless anticipation for the release of the next Byrds album, so as to be able to enjoy the song in stereo, as nature intended.

Imagine my chagrin, then, when said album, which came out in January of 1968 and turned out to be the otherwise fabulous The Notorious Byrd Brothers...

...did not feature said song in either mono OR stereo, and that Crosby had been fired from the band and replaced on the album cover by a horse. Which presumably Crosby is still pissed off about, although who knows?

Cut to the present, where attentive readers are aware that my old band The Floor Models has been working for over a year -- pandemic very much? -- on a Byrds tribute album.

But what said attentive readers do not know is that just last week we finished -- 95 percent -- the last track on the album, which by an odd coincidence turns out be "Lady Friend."

And because I love you all more than food, here is said version. Enjoy!!! Oh -- and I should add that the track features our good friends and musical colleagues Swifty and Dupree's Amplified Heat, a crew that I will tell you more about when the album arrives (we have all sorts of interesting guest artists on it.)

BTW, to my knowledge, despite the splenditude of the song, the only cover version by a band anybody's ever heard of is by the usually estimable Flamin' Groovies. Alas, IMHO, it sucks. There's another one by The Posies, which is nice, but it's unplugged (i.e. all acoustic without a rhythm section), so I don't think it counts.

I should add that when our Byrds tribute album is commercially available -- which should be by late June -- I will be alerting you folks quite loudly.

I should also add that the guy playing the glockenspiel part on the intro and outro of the song is some asshole whose name rhymes with Sleeve Nimels.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Sound of a Golden Age (An Occasional Series)

This song had been totally under my radar until yesterday -- which astounds me -- but my god, this is great.

Ladies and germs, from 1965, please enjoy the obviously transplendently wonderful The Searchers and...

...their cover of P.F. Sloan's "Take Me for What I'm Worth."

Or as the friend who just hipped me to it remarked, what life would be about if Phil Spector had produced Bob Dylan.

I mean...wow.

[h/t Mark Keresman]

Monday, May 10, 2021

If I Wrote This Today, I Would Be Boiled in Oil By Women Everywhere and Justifiably So (An Occasional Series)

[I did this review, for legendary rock rag CREEM, of pioneering all-gal rock band Fanny in what seems like centuries ago, but which was actually only July of 1973. Hadn't revisited it since, untill...well, it's a long story. In any case, two things strike me in retrospect. 1) Although I still think the piece is funny and that my larger point about those kids musical value remains valid, with hindsight I probably shouldn't have expressed it in quite the way I did back in the day. Also 2) I still think drummer Alice de Buhr looked great with her new haircut. Enjoy. -- S.S.]


Mother's Pride

Germaine Greer once observed that what the Women's Lib movement needed most was a distaff band that "could lay down a really heavy riff." Now regardless of whether or not you agree with that statement (about which more later) I am saddened to report that only the most cant-ridden Female Chauvinist could make such claims for Fanny and her All Girl Orchestra, at least on the basis of this latest collection of hot numbers. Saddened because there were moments on some of their other albums when they came reasonably close; stuff like "Charity Ball" and "Ain't That Peculiar" may not have had the capacity to destroy minds, but they were at least solid, enjoyable rock and roll, played with real spunk. But Mother's Pride is pretty much of a dud, despite (or maybe because of) producer Todd Rundgren's feverish attempt at making the whole thing sound as much like Abbey Road as possible. Somebody (I forget who) once said that if Fanny were men they'd be playing in bars, and this is the album that definitively proves the truth of that. Of course, there are plenty of musical macho types that have achieved vinyl immortality these days who should be playing in bars also, but that ain't much of a consolation.

Anyway, given that the vast bulk of the record buying public is comprised of women (you don't think adolescent boys are shelling out dough for Donny Osmond, do ya?) it seems almost fultile for a group like Fanny to try to achieve stardom merely by competing with men at their own game; what they should be doing is inventing a whole new one, and I don't mean pursuing a Really Heavy Riff. Rock and roll is as much an attitude as a music (which, at the risk of offending some of my more right on sisters, is a fact that precious few women understand) and what we really need is a female band that projects an attitude, a lifestyle, a militant man-eating sexiness. American men being the masochists that they are, I bet four dazzlingy glamorous tough chicks playing aggressive high energy rock could absolutely clean up. Certainly they would do more for the Lib movement than Fanny's wistfully depressing obsession with proving they're good musicians. Imagine, if you will, a female MC5 or Rolling Stones. I mean, guys would be creaming in the aisles.

Meanwhile, I have decided that, regardless of all this, I think that since Alice de Buhr cut her hair, she became one of the all-time cuties. My number is Beechwood 4-5789, Alice. You can call me up for a date any old time.

-- Steve Simels


[h/t Rebecca Littman]

Friday, May 07, 2021

It's Mike Nesmith Week: Part V -- Propinquity Isn't What It Used to Be, But What Is?

From 1971, and his terrific Nevada Fighter album (with The First National Band), please enjoy the wool hat guy and his lovely and often-covered, if relatively conventional, Los Angeles country rock ballad "Propinquity (I've Just Begun to Care)."

Pretty nice, no? But by way of comparison, from the about to be released Dolenz Sings Nesmith album, here's Micky's remake -- re-imagined by producer/arranger Christian Nesmith (Mike's kid, natch) as a flat-out rocker that wouldn't have been out of place on Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever.

Damn, that's good, and I can't wait for that CD to arrive at Casa Simels so I can hear the rest of it.

Oh, and BTW -- in case the cover art to Micky's album looks familiar, that's because it's a sly homage to this...

...i.e., Nilsson Sings Newman, one of those indisputable pop masterpieces that belongs in everybody's collection.

Oh, and have I mentioned that Jann Wenner can go fuck himself with a rusty chainsaw?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 06, 2021

It's Mike Nesmith Week: Part IV -- The Short Guy Takes a Powder

From 1972, and his wonderful Tantamount to Treason album, please enjoy The Smart Monkee (along with his Second National Band) and their surprisingly psychedelic take on Pee Wee King's country classic "Bonaparte's Retreat."

This may be my favorite of all of Mike's post-Monkees recordings; I felt at the time it came out -- and still do -- that it really sounded like the kind of thing you would have heard a San Francisco band doing at a sound check at the Fillmore West circa the late 60s. Plus it's a great freaking song (I heartily recommend going to YouTube and searching out the Pee Wee King original.)

Oh, and BTW -- have I mentioned that Jann Wenner can go fuck himself for not allowing the Monkees into his jive ass rock Hall of Fame? Thank you.

Tomorrow: Haven't decided on the song yet, but trust me -- as always we'll be saving the best for last.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

It's Mike Nesmith Week: Part III -- You Could Possibly Qualify as Numero Uno

From their great 1967 album Headquarters -- on which they played and sang more or less every note, except some of the cello parts -- please enjoy The Monkees and their glorious version of Mike Nesmith's folk-rock classic "You Just May Be the One."

Monkees afficianados are doubtless aware that this song first appeared in an episode of the TV show, a version featuring The Wrecking Crew as the backup musicians; I love that one, and have since the first time I heard it, but I prefer this. In any case, you can go to YouTube and find the original.

Oh, and as I said yesterday, I have a story.

As I mentioned, in 1981 I went to a press party celebrating the release of Nesmith's Grammy-winning long form video ELEPHANT PARTS.

I don't specifically remember where it took place, but I seem to recall it was at some posh dive like the Plaza Hotel. Hey -- it was the early 80s; the music biz was still completely over the top.

In any case, I went up to Nez and introduced myself -- "Hi, I'm Mr. Stereo Review, blah blah blah, I'm a huge fan blah blah." He was very nice, but the word I think most precisely describes how he dealt with me is "guarded." Anyway, we shook hands, and as I turned away to head toward the free hors d'ouevres bar, I summoned the courage to say "By the way, Mr. Nesmith, I just wanted to tell you that I'm currently in a band that's doing a cover of your song "You Just May Be the One."

And he grinned from ear to ear and pumped my hand again. It was one of the major thrills of my adult life.

I should add that I can't seem to find an audio clip of The Floor Models doing the song live, but as soon as I do, I will post it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

It's Mike Nesmith Week: Part II - The Paws That Refreshes

From 1981 -- and the first Grammy-winning long-form music and comedy video -- please enjoy the opening segment of Mike's brilliant Elephant Parts. Which, I should add, is about as hilariously self-effacing as it gets.

And as I said yesterday, I have a personal story about this, which you'll hear tomorrow. Along with a really great song.

PS: Have I mentioned that Jann Wenner can go fuck himself with a rusty chainsaw for refusing to let The Monkees into the Rock Hall of Fame? Thank you.

Monday, May 03, 2021

It's Mike Nesmith Week: Part I -- Linda Freaking Who?

From the about to be released album Dolenz Sings Nesmith -- which drops, as today's kids say, on May 20th -- please enjoy former Circus Boy Micky Dolenz and the greatest cover of his bandmate's big hit "Different Drum" ever committed to the digital domain.

I don't know who produced and arranged that -- and I can guarantee I'm gonna buy the album to find out -- but it's brilliant; I'm talking Tom Petty/Full Moon Fever brilliant, which is to say the song has never sounded more gorgeous by anybody, including the song's composer. You know -- kind of like Petty's cover of "Feel a Whole Lot Better." (I don't know who the harp player is, but it would't surprise me if it turned out to be the guy from Blues Traveller.)

Tomorrow: Not only a great Nesmith song, but a great Nesmith story from my personal collection.

PS: Have I mentioned that Jann Wenner can go fuck himself for not allowing The Monkees to inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame? Thank you.

Friday, April 30, 2021

It's Rolling Stones Cover Week: Part V -- Saving the Best for Last

I've posted both of these before, but they behoove reposting.

So from the Jimmy Fallon show in 2010, please enjoy country star/Mr. Nicole Kidman (lucky guy) Keith Urban and his definitive take on "Tumblin' Dice"...

...and (from the same week) dig Green Day and "Rip This Joint."

Both of these performances are absolutely non pareil. Urban's "Dice" has all the swagger and soul of any live version I've ever heard by the Stones themselves, and his lead guitar work is stellar. As for Green Day's punk remake of the Stones' rockabilly original? Words fail me. It ups the land/speed level and still maintains the swing and humor that is the song's raison d'etre.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

It's Rolling Stones Cover Week: Part IV -- She's Late For a Very Important Date

From 1966, please enjoy pleasantly gruff-voiced blue-eyed soul guy Chris Farlowe and his hit (in the UK) version of the Rolling Stones' Aftermath classic "Out of Time."

Farlowe had a few other succesful records in the UK -- on Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate Records label -- and apparently the Stones were quite fond of him. I suspect if he had been a little more conventionally attractive, he'd have been a bigger star, but who knows? In any case, he's had a very long and productive career in the company of a variety of artists, including most recently Van Morrison.

I should add that you can hear the same backing track, only with vocal by Mick Jagger, on the Rolling Stones' unfairly maligned 1975 outtakes album Metamorphosis.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

It's Rolling Stones Week: Part III -- the Divine Cis Female M

From her album No Frills, please enjoy Bette Midler as she absolutely nails the Stones' great "Beast of Burden." Originally released as a single in 1983.

I haven't listened to that album in a gazillion years, so I have no idea if the rest of it holds up -- I seem to recall that the Marshall Crenshaw cover was absolutely terrific -- but I will say this: The band behind her on BOB, which includes Danny Kortchmar and Jim Keltner, is fucking great.

And I am SOOOO stealing that "Now write this down!" intro if I ever get to play on stage again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

It's Rolling Stones Covers Week: Part II -- Hideous Noise for Now People

From 1988, please enjoy Slovenian industrial music collective Laibach and their shall we say sepulchural take on "Sympathy for the Devil."

Well, let me take that back (up to a point): Obviously, you can't enjoy it because it's deliberately unlistenable on every level.

But it's also conceptually brilliant and hilarious, so fuck it.

Tomorrow: It's time for a great broad.

Monday, April 26, 2021

It's Rolling Stones Covers Week: Part I -- Outlaw Blues

From 1997, please enjoy the incomparable Steve Earle, along with cowpunk giants The Supersuckers, and an utterly idiomatic rendition of Keith Richards' autobiographical classic "Before They Make Me Run."

I've loved this since the moment I heard it back in the day, and obviously Earle might as well have been genetically bred to sing it.

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Dog Days of April

From 1971, and Farther Along -- the last studio album by the late version of The Byrds (before the reunion album by the original members two years later) -- please enjoy the astounding Clarence White and his heart-wrenchingly beautiful rendition of the country weeper "Bugler."

I gotta admit, I can't hear that without getting all verklempt, and not just because I've been a dog owner. Also, frankly, if you can listen to it without your tear ducts being exercized, I don't want to know from you.

And speaking of irony, I should add that White would be fatally run over by a drunk driver as he was loading his amp into the trunk of his car behind L.A's The Troubador club a mere two years later.

Presumably, the guy who did it is currently being sodomized amidst sulfurous fumes by Satan himself.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Closed for Monkey Business

Sorry kids, but this vertigo problem I've been having is kicking my ass.

Cool post -- trust me -- tomorrow.

And next week will blow your minds.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Apparently, there was another death by cop yesterday. Police in Ohio shot and killed a 16 year old black girl shortly before the Chauvin verdict.

The fact that the above 1999 Springsteen song is still obviously relevant -- 22 years after the murder of Amadou Diallo by Rudy Guiliani's city-sanctioned sociopaths -- is beyond infuriating.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Keith's Record Collection™

[I originally posted this back in early 2011, when this blog and the world were young. I'm putting it up again, for reasons that will become obvious, and -- also -- because I love you all more than food. Enjoy.]

So I'm reading Keith Richards' Life at the moment; so far, it's absolutely fascinating, and I haven't even gotten to the part where he and Mick start to get the Stones together.

More to the point, toward the end of Chapter Two, Keith talks about records he actually owned in his formative years, rock and rockabilly LPs and singles that shaped his musical tastes circa 1959, and he mentions a couple of "forgotten jewels." In particular a 45 I will confess to having never heard or heard of -- Johnny Restivo's "The Shape I'm In."

Which turns out to have a rather, er, interesting pedigree.

Johnny (John Charles) Restivo was born in the North Bronx, New York September 13, 1943. He enrolled in Cliffside Park Junior High School, New Jersey and was graduated in June of 1958. In 1959 Johnny was discovered by Joe Mulhall and Paul Neff and in June 9, 1959 he recorded "The Shape I'm In" and "Ya, Ya" at RCA Victor in New York City with Paul Simon (aka Jerry Landis) playing guitar on both tracks.

Not a bad little record, I'd say (and it's certainly still startling to hear early rock stuff like that in such excellent stereo). But on balance it strikes me as a tad (shall we say) inauthentic, at least compared to the Elvis and Buddy Holly records Keith was grooving on in 1959.

And for some reason, I neglected to include the song itself back in the aughts, an oversight I am now correcting.

On the other hand, compared to most of the homegrown Brit rock that was around at the time it probably sounded like a work of genius. But that's a subject for another post.

I should also add that you can download a high quality version of the original Restivo album that song's from, for free, at the invaluable Old Melodies blog over HERE. Just scroll down when you get there to find a teeny-weeny CD link.

You're welcome.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Okay, I Was Wrong and I'm Big Enough to Admit It.

Robert Fripp and Toyah Wilcox take the (you should pardon the expression) mickey out of the Stones' "Satisfaction."

Fun, in a goofy way, and I hearby apologize to Mr. Fripp.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

We Interrupt Mr. and Mrs. Steve Earle Week to Bring You the Greatest Topical Song of the Current Century

From the privacy of their individual homes, Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl wax poetic over the state of the pandemic.

This is a masterpiece. Period, full stop, end of story. And I don't want to hear another fucking word about prog-rock.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

It's the Duck and Doochess of Earle Week: Part II

From 2000, please enjoy spectacular country music warbler Allison Moorer (the ex Mrs. Steve Earle) and her utterly gorgous "The Hardest Part."

Too bad they're not still a couple. And wait till you hear what I'm posting tormorrow.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

It's the Duck and Doochess of Earle Week: Part 1 -- Life in the Foodchain

From his masterpiece 2007 album Washington Square Serenade, please enjoy the great Steve Earle (and his lovely and talented ex-wife Allison Moorer) and their prescient lament for the gentrification of Manhattan "Down Here Below."

I saw Joe Mitchell's ghost on a downtown 'A' train/ He just rides on forever now that the Fulton Fish Market's shut down/ He said 'they ain't never gonna get that smell out of the water/ I don't give a damn how much of that new money they burn'

Now Hell's Kitchen's Clinton and the Bowery's Nolita/ And the East Village's creepin' 'cross the Williamsburg Bridge/ And hey, whatever happened to Alphabet City?/ Ain't no place left in this town that a poor boy can go

It doesn't get much better than that, and the music's as good as the lyrics.

But wait till you hear the one I put up tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Me: A Culpa

I hope everyone who took offense to Friday's post understood that I was being at least partially tongue-in--cheek. Obviously, there is no genre of music -- with the possible exception of polka -- that is totally without value. So -- apologies to prog-rock fans.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn't note that the reaction to said post is proof of the late Pete Hamill's famous maxim -- that you should never employ irony in a Third World country.

Also, if you like Rush, have a word with yourself.

Friday, April 09, 2021

It's Self-Indulgence Week: Part V -- Like an Orange That Turns Up Juiceless, Bands Like King Crimson Are Just Plain Useless

First of all, let's establish our terms.

All -- and I mean ALL -- of what's called prog-rock completely sucks. The only thing it exists for is to remind you how great the real Beethoven and the real Yardbirds actually were.

That said, the one band who might be described as prog that is worth a fucking damn -- and it's more accurate to characterize them as classical-rock fusion -- is the stupdendously great Procol Harum.

Who achieved a seamless (and conceptually brilliant) melange of gospel (via Ray Charles organ/piano) and J.S. Bach.

And as an example, from their 1967 debut album, please enjoy their haunting -- and a song I've been trying to learn the piano part for, with zero success, over a period of 50 years -- "Salad Days (Are Here Again)."

And to every pretentious whey-faced British prog-rocker -- particularly Robert Fripp (aka the World's Most Boring Guitarist Who Isn't Frank Zappa) and anybody who ever played in Yes (with the exception of Rick Wakeman, who's a fun guy) -- please go fucking fuck yourself and your utterly sterile and soul-less music toot sweet. Thank you very much.

And may I add another fuck you to Robbie Robertson of The Band, who (in)famously said, when asked about Procol, that everything they did "was vaguely reminiscent of that Percy Sledge thing."

Fuck you, Robbie. Get back to me when anything you've ever done was as good as PH.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, April 08, 2021

It's Self-Indulgence Week: Part IV -- And Now...Her Nibs!!!

From 1972, and the brilliant album National Lampoon's Radio Dinner...

...please enjoy the most devastating parody of both Joan Baez and radical chic ever committed to magnetic tape, "Pull the Tregros." Performed by Diana Reed and written and produced by Spinal Tap's Christopher Guest and the late great Tony Hendra.

So many grievous wrongs/For me to right with tedious songs...

I should add two things. First of all, I adore Joan Baez as a person -- she's smart, sassy, and politically on the side of the angels. Her music, however -- i.e. what they used to call her "achingly pure soprano" -- has (with one exception I'll post about next week) always bored me to tears.

Secondly, you probably couldn't get away with this parody in today's climate, but that only makes it more devastingly pertinent. IMHO.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

It's Self-Indulgence Week: Part III -- Why Not?

From his 1960 comedy album classic, please enjoy hero of my youth (and a regular on the old Steve Allen show) Dayton Allen (no relation to Steverino) and "Surgeon."

And may I simply say, and for the record, that "Surgery to me is more than just a way to make a good fast buck" is one of my favorite dumb jokes of all time? Thank you.

I should add that, after the variety show, Dayton was a prolific contributor of cartoon voices, including Deputy Dawg and Heckle and Jeckle.

I should also add that he did an absolutely killer Groucho Marx impression, which you can see at the beginiing of this 1963 clip from I've Got a Secret that I've included, because I love you all more than food.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

It's Self-Indulgenece Week: Part II -- Like, Long Hair!!!

From 1935, please enjoy Serge Prokofiev playing a piano version of the Gavotte from his Symphony No.1, or as we hipsters call it, the "Classical" Symphony.

That's from one of my all time favorite historical recordings; the performance of the wonderful concerto on side one is to die for, but the side two gavotte always struck me as a sort of classical equivalent of a pop single, and I probably played it as much as any track on a Beatles album.

I should add that all Angel's reissues of 78s had the same standardized packaging as the above; the album covers felt not like cardboard but like linen, and the booklets that came with them were uniformly fabulous. I can't remember which other ones I had, although one of them was probably Fritz Kreisler doing the Brahms violin concerto.

Monday, April 05, 2021

It's Self-Indulgence (A Few of My Favorite Things) Week: Part I -- Tempus Fugit, Baby!!!

Okay, kids, in case you haven't figured it out from the title here, I'm devoting this week's posts to stuff -- from a variety of genres -- that I just happen to love, and without apology. Hopefully, you'll get a kick out of them as well.

Exhibit A in that regard: From 1967, please enjoy The McCoys and their chilling and musically brilliant ode to the passing of time in this sad vale of tears "Beat the Clock."

The song was co-written by producer Richard Gottehrer, who later did the early Blondie albums, and I think I can safely say it's the best rock song ever about aging. I should add that I literally wore out the mono 45 single version...

...of this back in the day. I mean, it was unlistenable by the time I stopped trying to play the damn thing.

I should also add that when a stereo version of this finally appeared on a McCoy's best-of in the 90s, I felt that I could die happy.

I should also ALSO add that the then teenage Rick Derringer's faux Wes Montgomery guitar solo on it is magnificent.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Okay, These Kids Are Getting Ridiculous Already

Icons of this here blog the Mona Lisa Twins with their latest live clip from The Cavern club. Covering Donovan, of all people.

Seriously -- this level of beautiful and talented should be freaking illegal.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From 1969, Fairport Convention covering Dylan's "Percy's Song." If you've never heard this, listen to it immediately, as your life is the poorer without it.

You know, kids -- there are some days I think this is the greatest Dylan cover ever. Today is one of those days.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

An Interesting Article on Former Cramps Drummer (and Co-Founder of Norton Records) Miriam Linna...

...in the most recent issue of the New Yorker.

SHOW AND TELL Chronicling Rock and Roll’s Neglected Stories

Miriam Linna, who recently published a five-pound book on the history of Fortune Records, keeps her apartment teeming with jukeboxes, magazines, and records made more for love than money.

By Nick Paumgarten

Miriam Linna met Billy Miller in 1977, while browsing at a record fair. She was looking for “You Must Be a Witch,” by the Lollipop Shoppe, a sixties garage band, and he had a copy back in his apartment. Their marriage—a celebrated meeting of the minds, ears, and shelves—lasted until Miller’s death, of cancer, in 2016. In addition to some musical collaborations (Linna, before meeting Miller, had been the founding drummer of the punk band the Cramps), they became perhaps the country’s preëminent archivists of old rockabilly and doo-wop records, among other treasures. They started the underground magazine Kicks and the Norton Records label, and Linna established a Kicks Books imprint, which published works by Sun Ra and Harlan Ellison.

At the time of Miller’s death, he had been working for more than ten years on a meticulous history of a relatively obscure Detroit label called Fortune Records. Its catalogue, catholic of genre, was a kind of Gnostic gospel of rock and roll, embodying an alternative and mostly neglected story line of rock’s disparate roots. At first, Linna was too grief-stricken to take up the project, but after a few years she and Miller’s co-author, a musician and writer named Michael Hurtt, got down to the harder-than-they’d-thought job of finishing it, with the encouragement of their editor, Marc Miller.

You can read the rest of it at the link OVER HERE.

For what it's worth, The Cramps were one of those bands who always struck me as more interesting in the concept rather than in the execution; that said, Norton Records was a very cool label, depending on your tolerance for loud prmitive historical noises.

Monday, March 29, 2021

You Monday Moment of Speaking of Gorgeous

From 1981 and Dededication, one of two comeback albums which Bruce Sringsteen produced for him early in the decade, please enjoy the ebullient Gary U.S, Bonds and a stunning cover of The Beatles' "It's Only Love."

I loved both records back in the day, but I had forgotten how much I dug that particular track until I stumbled on it on over at YouTube the other day.

In any case, what a pleasure to rediscover it.

I should that add, in honor of a forthcoming dental procedure, I was originally planning to put up a song about my chompers, but with the exception of Steely Dan's "My Gold Tooth" I couldn't find one.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Oops -- Forgot to Post on Friday

In my defense, I had the world's worst toothache. Also a recording session for the upcoming Floor Models Byrds tribute album booked.

Plus I'm senile.

Regular posting resumes on Monday, as some of it will be pretty spectacular.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

And Speaking as We Were the Other Day of the Great Evie Sands...

...here's the first video from her mind-bogglingly good new album Get Out of Your Own Way.

And as I mentioned, you can -- and should -- order the album over at Amazon HERE.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Your Wednesday Moment of "This is So Cool I Can't Even Stand It"

Brilliant. Simply brilliant. Seriously -- what a great idea, and it's almost inspirational that they're actually doing it.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts' Tech Kits for Performing Artists program is a resource to enable performing artists to document their works and publish them online. This kit contains a number of items that are commonly used to document and post performance work online.

COVID-19 has presented extreme challenges for performing artists. Live performances have all but disappeared, drastically reducing income opportunities for many artists. Simultaneously, virtual performances, auditions, classes and collaborations have all moved online, making the need for in-home technological resources all the more crucial for performing artists at any stage in their careers and creative process.

To help provide resources for performing artists during this unprecedented time, the Library is offering tech kits, including various hardware and software, to enable performing artists to document their works and publish them online.

What's included in the kits?

12.9” iPad Pro with cellular data Logitech Slim Folio Pro case with integrated keyboard Logitech B100 Corded Mouse AKG Lyra USB microphone Behringer HC 2000B Wireless Headphones with Bluetooth Xcellon usb c - 4-port usb 3.1 hub GVM LED Ring Light with Phone Tripod Stand Kit Connection cables and chargers M-Audio Keystation Mini 32 MK3 MIDI keyboard (available with select kits)

Who can borrow a kit?

Anyone over the age of 18 with a New York Public Library card. Don't have a card? Sign up for one here.

How can I borrow a kit?

Simply search the catalog for "Tech Kit," and request the item as you would any other circulating materials from the Library. Select your preferred grab-and-go location for pick-up.

How will I know when my kit is ready? Where will I pick it up?

You will receive an email when your tech kit is ready for pick-up. You will be able to then pick it up within 24 hours at the grab-and-go location you indicated when placing your hold.

How long can I borrow a kit for?

Kits are available for between one and three months.

Have additional questions?

Please email techkits@nypl.org

[h/t Rebecca Littman]

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Monday, March 22, 2021

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me

From her about to be released new album Get Out of Your Own Way (which is, BTW, her first solo record in 20 years)...

...please enjoy the incredibly great Evie Sands and "The Truth is in Disquise" over at Soundcloud HERE.

Attentive readers will recall I wrote about Evie's last solo album back in 2012.

But if you don't know her work, Evie did the original version of this classic (more familiar from the hit cover by The Hollies). Among several other great ones.

For example this.

And of course this one (from 1969)...

...which just blows me away.

In any event, it's totally mind-boggling that an artist as, shall we say, veteran as Evie has just made the best single I've heard this year.

Meanwhile, you can -- and should -- order the CD over at Amazon HERE. They also have a vinyl version, if you're so inclined.

Have I mentioned that she's originally from Brooklyn?

Friday, March 19, 2021

It's Live at CBGBs Week: Special "Essential Workers" Edition

And from that 1976 album I've been re-examining for the last few days, please enjoy The Miamis and their utterly infectious ode to the kind of service that we've all been employing during the pandemic -- "We Deliver."

Another band from that era who I always planned on seeing but never did.

I did, however, get to hear their terrific keyboard guy, Tommy Mandel, jamming solo at a restaurant years later.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, March 18, 2021

It's Live at CBGB's Week: Special "To Sleep Perchance Etc." Edition

And from 1976, please enjoy pride of the Bowery demimonde Mink DeVille and their fabulous Stones/Lou Reed/Springsteen mashup "Let Me Dream If I Want To."

I was a gigantic fan of those guys, and their first two studio albums for Capitol, produced by the great Jack Nitzsche, are as good as it gets.

That said, I have a shall we say hilarious yet terrifying story about a persoal encounter I had with Willy DeVille that I've never written about.

Get me drunk some time and I'll tell it to you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

We Interrupt Live at CBGBs Week For the Greatest Cover of a Mashup of All Time

Words fail me.

Have I mentioned that words fail me?

I should add that back in the day, the original Little Roger and Goosebumps 45 of this came to the attention of Zep's management, who threatened to sue it out of existence. However, in 2000, it came to the attention of Robert Plant, who hadn't known about it; he thought it was hilarious and gave his blessing to a CD reissue.

[h/t Oleg Sakhno]

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

It's Live at CBGB's Week: Special "Chortling Canines" Edition

So attentive readers will recall that a few days ago I posted my essay -- from the November 1976 issue of The Magazine Formerly Known as STEREO REVIEW -- about the double live at CBGBs LP Atlantic released that same year.

So I thought it might be amusing, or at least interesting, to revisit the songs from that album that I liked at the time. And to see if I still did.

Exhibit A: The Laughing Dogs and "It Feels Alright Tonight".

Well, that one's really good in a sort of 60s Zombies power pop way.

Anybody know whatever happened to those guys?

Monday, March 15, 2021

And Speaking as We Were Last Week of Live Albums...

...from her 1996 Live at Spirit Square, please enjoy the gorgeously honeyed voice of Marti Jones and her should have been a huge hit "Any Kind of Lie."

I had forgotten how great Jones was/is and how amazing that album is till reader Cleveland Jeff mentioned it in a comment last Friday.

To which I can only say -- I thank you, sir.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Weekend Listomania: Special "We Come Into Your Town We Help You Party Down" Edition

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means.

Yes, my Asian aroma therapist and plumbing supply salesperson Fah Lo Suee and I will heading down south to Mar-a-Lago, where we will spend the weekend lurking in the bushes of the Former Guy's golf course, emerging from time to time to deposit raw sewage into every hole. In the immortal words of Edith Prickley -- could be a hot one!

But in the meantime, here's an interesting project to help you wile away the idle hours till our return.


No arbitrary rules whatsoever, you're welcome very much, but I will say that if you nominate anything by The Allman Brothers or The Grateful Dead I will come to your house and slap you silly with a rancid mackerel.

And my totally top of my head Top Seven is:

7. The MC5 -- Kick Out the Jams

It is one of the great regrets of my adult life that I never saw these guys perform. I did, however, meet lead guitarist Wayne Kramer once, and he was very cool.

6. The Rolling Stones -- Got Live If You Want It

The brilliant 1965 EP, not the fairly crappy 1966 LP of the same name.

5. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes -- Jukes Live at the Bottom Line

A 1976 promo album recorded on a night when they were the greatest rock-and-roll band in the world. Hey, it happens.

4. The Yardbirds -- Live at the Anderson Theater

The Anderson Theater sat about 2000, and as I have mentioned on previous occasions, approximately 50,000 people now claim to have attended this show. For what it's worth, I actually was there, as was a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance, although we didn't know each other at the time.

3. The Who -- Live at Leeds

It doesn't get any better, obviously.

2. Richard Thompson -- Small Town Romance

Apparently Thompson doesn't like this one -- parts of which were recorded at the old Folk City, with yours truly in a ringside seat -- but I think it's fabulous. Hey -- it's Richard Thompson!!!

And the number one, it's not even close, aural document of a great rock performance in front of an audience, obviously is...

1. The Floor Models -- Floor by Four: Live at JPs in 1982

C'mon -- you didn't see that coming?

Alrighty, then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Great Recurring Themes in Hit Rock Records (An Occasional Series): Special "No Area Code Required" Edition

Okay, this one is easy.

Yeah, yeah, I know -- there are lots of songs that reference telephones generally, but not so many that reference specific phone numbers.

If I've forgotten one, let us know -- that's why we have a comments section at this here blog.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Eddie the Cat Takes Umbrage!!!

Friend of PowerPop Sal Nunziato, over at his invaluable Burning Wood blog, alerts us to the existence of a heretofore unknown Beatles song.

"Eddie the Dog."

An outtake from Let It Be, obviously, and thoroughly charming.

That said -- hey McCartney! Try writing a song about this guy!!!

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Great Recurring Themes in Hit Rock Records (An Occasional Series)

Okay -- apart from all of them being infernally catchy, what do these songs have in common?

Okay, I think everybody here knows the answer, i.e. the lyrics to all three are written from the perspective of a guy who wants a girl who's going with somebody else.

I should add that I'd never seen either the Springfield or Cars live videos before, both of which are a lot of fun.

I should also add (and I've said it before in these precincts) that some day a smart country band or artist is going to do a remake of "My Best Friend's Girl" and have a huge hit with it. I mean, Keith Urban could absolutely kill on that.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Michael Stanley 1948-2021

This death shit is really starting to piss me off.

Stanley was one of those blue collar heartland rockers who was bigger in his home town (in this case Cleveland, where he had been the afternoon deejay for a classic rock station since 1990) than elsewhere, although he was briefly a familiar presence on MTV back in the day.

I should add that the above song/video is one of my favorite things ever; the dancing in the hospital room scene still cracks me up.

Friday, March 05, 2021

My Back Pages (An Occasional Series)

I had forgotten this one, from the November 1976 issue of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review. And btw, if you click on it it gets bigger and makes it easier for you to read.

Bottom line: Just like Dr. Seuss, there are lots of things I wrote back in the day that if I could change, I would. I won't specify which stuff in the above makes me cringe, but you get the idea.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Ken Richardson]

Thursday, March 04, 2021

And Speaking of That Lovin' Spoonful Tribute Show...

From early 2020 (just prior to the pandemic ruining our lives) please enjoy The Wild Honey Orchestra, with special guest Spoonful drummer Joe Butler, and an utterly gorgeous version of my favorite song from Hums of the Lovin'Spoonful.

"Full Measure."

Have I mentioned that one of the great regrets of my life is that I never got to see those guys back in their heyday?

That said, the above is simply fabulous.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Your Wednesday Moment of Be Still My Beating Heart

From early 2020 -- just before the pandemic turned it into the worst year of our lives -- please enjoy The Wild Honey Orchestra, from their Lovin' Spoonful tribute concert, and a gorgeous cover of the Spoonful's "Darlin' Be Home Soon." Featuring the great Rob Laufer. .

I gotta say -- with the exception of the obvious Beatles/Byrds/Stones, there was no band whose albums my younger self listened to as obsessively, and tried to learn the guitar licks to, as the Spoonful.

I would have killed to attend the concert above, is what I'm getting at.


PS: Rob sang a track on the forthcoming -- by early summer -- Floor Models Byrds tribute album that will blow your freaking minds. I'll keep you posted about that, obviously.

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Songs By Bands I Recently Discovered Over the Sound System at My Local Watering Hole (An Occasional Series)

From 2017, please enjoy Hippo Campus and their quite lovely "Warm Glow."

Seriously, apart from the fact that the above is a pretty cool song, Hippo Campus has to be the funniest band name I've encountered this year.

Monday, March 01, 2021

And What's Really Ironic is That While I Don't Like The Cure, I Love This Song

Words fail me. From the reliably brilliant McSweeneys.

by Caroline Beach

I don’t care if Monday’s blue. God is dead. Or if Tuesday is utterly desaturated to the point where all choice is arbitrary, Wednesday too. Thursday, I will not make an effort to conjure you in my thoughts. I find you stupid and weak. It’s Friday, I’m in love.

Monday you will succumb to the eventualities of the second law of thermodynamics. Tuesday and Wednesday directly enact harm on my heart in a futile attempt to evoke agency, causing us both to suffer needlessly. Thursday, the processes won’t even begin. It falls into Dionysian horror. It’s Friday, I’m in love.

Saturday will be a period of cruel expectation. Sunday inevitably occurs too late to satisfy the bewildered and neglected child that lives within you, clawing incessantly at the remnants of your fractured psyche. It is not vorhanden. But Friday, never hesitate.

I don’t care if Monday’s the complete absence of visible light, as all perception is a delusion. Tuesday and Wednesday, I will have heart attacks, even after you have most certainly fatally wounded it. Thursday fails to set in motion what would be necessary for even an attempt at wish fulfillment. It’s Friday, I’m in love.

Monday, you can hold your head, perhaps because its ponderous size sits ill on your rapidly degenerating body that is trying in its own pathetic way to evolve to hold something so impractical and heavy. Tuesday and Wednesday, you are an invalid. On Thursday, you might watch the walls instead. I find them completely fascinating. It’s Friday, I’m in love.

As on last Saturday, this will be an empty day devoid of realizing your basically unknowable desires. And then, yes, on Sunday it will all be far out of your mortal reach. Nicht zuhanden. But Friday, never hesitate.

You are wearing clothes up until your eyes. I find this excellent. I have always hated mouths. It is a wonderful surprise in that it manages to briefly free you from the constructs that the Gesellschaft forces upon us thus entering a state beyond signifiers. I see your shoes and your spirits rise, a Sisyphean endeavor if ever there was one. You throw out your frown, knowing you will die ignorant as the day you were born. Though you have no mouth, you smile (an empty grimace signifying nothing) at a sound. It is sleek as the shriek, which is the true nature of reality. It spins round and round, which I find somewhat unnecessary. You take a big bite, which gets me back on your side. It is an admirable undertaking for someone in your position of near-total abnegation. If anything is beautiful then it is seeing you eat, mouthless, in the middle of the night. You can not get enough, enough of this screaming void of pure existence, which is stuff. It’s Friday, I’m in love.

I don’t care if Monday’s black. It is, as Hölderlin described it: “unfolding around its needle.” Tuesday is grey, the color and feeling of childhood. Wednesday as well. (“The weathercock crows silently in the wind” — more Hölderlin.) Thursday, I don’t give you a second Gedanke and cast you headlong into the abyss. It’s Friday, I’m in love.

Monday, you are entropy itself. Tuesday, Wednesday, I welcome you to destroy what is left of that dull pumping organ caged inside this flesh prison. Thursday, the thing that normally doesn’t happen will not even bother trying to happen, surrendering as it must to hard and final determinism. Das Nichts kommt. Das ewige Nichts. It’s Friday, I’m in love.

You're welcome.