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.

Wow.

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.
THE CURE'S "FRIDAY I"M IN LOVE" FOR NIHILISTS

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.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Her Boots Were Made For Walking

From 1965, please enjoy the remarkable -- who I somehow was unaware of untill last week -- chanteuse/songwriter/babe Barbara Ruskin...

...and her should have been a huge hit B-side "No More to Fall."

You know, I like to fancy myself something of a historian of the popular music of the last half of the 20th century, but this woman somehow totally eluded me. Despite the fact that, as you can hear, she's certainly in the same class as Carole King, Jackie DeShannon and others of as we say that ilk.

Ah well. In the meantime, you can download a brilliant Ruskin compilation...

...for free over OVER HERE

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Greatest Ramones Song the Ramones Never Recorded

From a few days ago, please enjoy the incredible Jaake Margo and the quite astounding "Rudy's Got the Roni."

As I'm wont to say -- words fail me.

I mean, yeah -- that's fucking hilarious and brilliant. And obviously as relevant to our current reality as it gets.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Your Wednesday Moment of How Did I Miss the Memo on This One?

From 1979, please enjoy The Rubinoos (not the nice Jewish boys I always assumed they were) and their frighteningly infectious "Lightning Love Affair."

I'm absolutely positive I had that album on vinyl back in the day, but for some reason that song -- which I heard at my local watering hole over a very nice lunch of lox and bagels recently -- made no impression on me when it was new.

Go figure.

In any event, a delightful should-have-been-a-hit-single.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Marc of the Beast

From his fabulous just released EP, please enjoy friend of PowerPop (and moi) Marc Platt and its quite wonderfully cosmic title song "Colors of the Universe."

A great performance and tune, obviously, and I should add that rhyming "perverse" and "universe" is a feat most of us mere mortals will never surpass.

In any case, if you don't know Marc's work, here's the short version: Although he's been a prolific solo artist for a bunch of years now, he first came to my attention when I discovered that he was a labelmate; a collection of his 80s work with his power pop band The Real Impossibles -- who as they say, were world famous in Los Angeles -- was reissued on Australia's Zero Hour records a few months after the Floor Models' Floor Your Love.

I heard this track from the compilation...

...and I was an instant fan. Why these guys weren't as critically fawned over as The Plimsouls was and is utterly beyond my ken.

In any case, the new EP has seven terrific songs -- I posted "Everything Dies" the other day -- all more or less in the same vein of catchy punkish folk-psychedelia as "Colors," and it's one of the most entertaining things I've been privileged to hear in ages.

You can -- and very definitely should -- order it (either to stream or buy the physical CD) over at Amazon HERE. Act now.

And BTW, you can snag a copy of the Real Impossibles album over at the official website of Zero Hour Records. You'll thank me.

PS: Marc also is a terrific deejay, and he has a new internet radio show, which airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday (at 3pm PDT) over HERE.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Tales from the Republican Death Cult

Via e-mail, an hour ago.

"Just learned that the best boogie piano player of our generation died in Austin - likely of hypothermia-induced cardiac arrest. His house had no heat or water for five days. He was a friend and I can't even grasp he's not going to be there to liven things up. May you have great records to listen to and great musicians to jam with wherever you are, Gene Taylor."

I should add that I'm still spitting angry at Trump for the COVID death of Adam Schlesinger. May everybody in the leadership of the so-called Party of Life -- hell, everybody who voted for that orange-haired shithead -- rot in hell in perpetuity.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Daughter of Irksome

Long time readers are aware that back in the day I had a lot of fun dissing New York Times writers Jon Caramanica and Kalefah Senneh, on separate occasions, as The World's Most Irksome Rock Critic.

Both of those worthies have long since moved on to other non-rock gigs, so I had more or less retired the title. But, alas, I now have to revive it.

Ladies and germs, I give you the New Yorker's quite preposterously irksome Amanda Petrusich.

I first became aware of Ms. Petrusich last October, when she penned a rapturous and cloyingly written ode to world's most useless Gen Z singer/songwriter Adrianne Lenker; at the time, I described Petrusich as the kind of deeply sensitive soul who underlines passages in slim volumes of poetry and then writes "How true!" in the margins, and I stand by that characterization.

However, her most recent think (heh) piece on the great Dusty Springfield is even more ludicrous, if such a thing is possible.

If only for this line/pearl of wisdom --

"Virtuosity and ease are frequently thought of as antithetical"

-- which could only be typed by somebody who a) knows nothing about music and b) has never actually listened to any.

And that's hardly the dumbest thing in the, ahem, essay, by the way.

That said, I would be remiss if I didn't thank Petrusich for reminding me of a mostly forgotten album -- It Begins Again -- that Springfield made in 1978 with (of all people) Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker. And specificially this track.

A Motown cover that Springfield was, obviously, born to sing.

In any event, kudos to Ms. Petrusich, the new title holder!!!

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Apparently It's True -- I Slept Through the '90s

Please enjoy Kurt Cobain and a fabulously sepulchural solo home version of The Beatles more romantic classic "And I Love Her."

How did I not hear about this one until yesterday?

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Closed for Computer Trouble...

...including losing a piece I had worked on at some length. Back as soon as we get the problem resolved.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Closed for Monkey Business: Now With Coming Attractions!!!

Way behind schedule for reasons I won't bore you with.

That said, music posting returns tomorrow, beginning with a review of the great new EP by friend of PowerPop and moi Marc Platt.

Here's a teaser song until then.

By the way, despite the title of that song, I am still very much not dead despite everything, if you know what I mean.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Your Monday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

From the 2011 album Retro Soul, please enjoy Andy Powell and Emily Taylor and "The Best You've Had"

I chanced upon this on Saturday, when a certain Shady Dame and I were watching an otherwise very grim French cop show called Balthazar, and that song was on the soundtrack.

Basically, I fell off the couch. I mean, that's just absolutely great. Like almost Amy Winehouse great. And I'm really pissed nobody hipped me to it previously.

Oh well, better late than never.

Friday, February 12, 2021

You Still Can't Buy a Better Rock Album

Apparently some people are copping all sorts of attitude because Bruce Springsteen did a Jeep commercial that aired at some sports event last weekend.

To those people, let me simply say -- Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of burnt challah toast.

Seriously, as the invaluable Roy Edroso makes the point -- far more amusingly than I could -- any putative liberal who's professing to be upset about this nonsense is playing into rightwing assholes hands BIG TIME.

And they should cut it the fuck out.

In any case, I'm venting about all this because I recently learned that there is an official -- with vastly improved sound -- CD release of the legendary Springsteen Live at the Roxy in 1975 bootleg (which I had on vinyl back in the day)...

...and it's even better than I remembered, i.e. absolutely transcendent and life affirming. You know -- the way art is supposed to be.

And if you don't believe me, check out this version of "Thunder Road"...

...and this cover of a Searchers classic.

You can order the whole thing over HERE, or you can just nicely ask me to burn a copy for you.

End of rant -- except why didn't I get the memo about the album previously? Sheesh.

Oh -- and have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Turtles: Happy Together

Okay, I realize this has nothing to do with the theme of this here blog, but it's utterly amazing and you have to see it.

Say what you will about Youtube, but it has demonstrated that animals are capable of far, far more than most of us ever understood or believed.

And I should add -- as cheap a shot as this is -- that the turtle helping his buddy above is a better human being than any of the murderous schmucks whose video footage was part of yesterday's impeachment hearing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Closed for Monkey Business

A bit under the weather -- that damned vertigo again -- but regular posting will return on the morrow.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

For an Absent Friend

Okay, this is a hard one to write.

The short version: Today marks a year since the passing of my pal (and The Floor Models drummer for over four decades) Glen Robert Allen.

Glen enriched my life in so many ways I couldn't begin to enumerate them, but I will say that I still really haven't come to terms with the fact that he's gone. Truth is, these days when I go into the recording studio, I inevitably look to the back of the room and expect to see him sitting on the couch yelling at me about tempos.

In any event, here's a story about Glen that I haven't previously shared, for reasons that escape me, but the time is obviously right, so here goes.

Again, the short version: The hospital in NYC where Glenn was being treated toward the end had (unbeknownst to me) a musical therapy program, which I think you'll have to admit is pretty cool. And in the late summer of 2019, he wrote a song (with the woman who ran the program), and then went into the studio to record it; Glen played drums, and the rest of the track featured our friends (and frequent collaborators) Susan Hall and Ronnie D'Addario. In case you're keeping score, they're the parents of The Lemon Twigs.

I should add that I had no idea Glen had been working on the song until he played it on a boom box in his hospital room on February 7 of last year.

Here's that performance, and if you can listen to it without getting a little choked up I really don't want to know from you.

Cut to late last summer, when our friend Phil Cheesbrough (who met Glen at the Flo Mos 2019 reunion show) told me that indie rock/country singer Jenn Bostic was going to do a cover of the song with an accompanying video. This thrilled me, as you can imagine (I've written about Jenn under happier circumstances) and it also was a mitzvah for Glen's beloved wife Eddy Coston, who knew from Jenn and her work as a Christian music celebrity.

Here's Jenn's cover, which I think you'll agree is pretty darned transcendent.

To which I can only add -- thank you thank you thank you, Jenn, from the bottom of my rapidly aging rock-and-roll heart. God bless you for doing it.

I should also add that Eddy is in the process of establishing a charitable foundation in Glen's name, and when that happens I'll be posting about it.

In the meantime, rest in peace, Glen. You made a difference to more people than you guessed.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Well, I Gotta Say, That Bob Zimmerman Guy...

...totally deserved the Nobel Prize he got.

And I'll tell you why I think so, from an admittedly personal perspective.

To begin with, attentive readers should be aware that I have been working on (and am close to completing) a Byrds tribute album by my band The Floor Models (along with special guests.)

And here's the most recent track -- my old colleague/lead singer Gerry Devine and his gorgeous solo version of "Chimes of Freedom."

I had not, originally, planned to include the song -- written by Bob Dylan, obviously, and covered by The Byrds on their life-changing (to me) debut album -- but a couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that it was even more relevant to the world in 2021 than it had been back in the day. In that regard, I give you the lyrics, which should make the point.

Far between sundown's finish and midnight's broken toll We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight And for each and every underdog soldier in the night And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Even though a clouds's white curtain in a far-off corner flashed And the hypnotic splattered mist was slowly lifting Electric light still struck like arrows, fired but for the ones Condemned to drift or else be kept from drifting Tolling for the searching ones, on their speechless, seeking trail For the lonesome-hearted lovers with too personal a tale And for each unharmfull, gentle soul misplaced inside a jail And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Starry-eyed and laughing as I recall when we were caught Trapped by no track of hours for they hanged suspended As we listened one last time and we watched with one last look Spellbound and swallowed 'til the tolling ended Tolling for the aching ones whose wounds cannot be nursed For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse And for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin

And in case you didn't get it, those lines about unarmed refugees/innocent people in jails are even MORE applicable to contemporary culture than they were when Dylan wrote them.

The larger meaning being -- if Dylan had never published anything but the above, which is the very definition of "gorgeously poetic", he would have been entitled to that award from the Swedes.

Damn, I can't wait till this record is finished.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Drinking Songs Say So Much

From that late 90s Del Amitri album -- Some Other Sucker's Parade -- I've been bugging you about recently, please enjoy the pride of Glasgow's gorgeous title song.

And what a lyric.

I must've had a million damn unlucky days But there ain't no cloud that a bottle can't chase away And I've done my deal of living, ran from place to place But when the roof comes in I don't wanna take it straight

They say with faith any soul can make it But hell, why should I wait Till the clouds go rain on some other sucker's parade

I've had my share of heartaches, let-downs and tricks But the everyday blues is the one thing I can't fix And I've heard those holy brethren muttering my name But it ain't no sin to drink when you're suffering

Patience, they say, is a saintly virtue But hell, why should I wait Till the clouds go rain on some other sucker's parade

When every heavy skyline just empties on your fate Sometimes keeping dry's something to celebrate

So if the road of sin is the one I'm taking I ain't gonna stray Till the clouds go rain on some other sucker's parade

Have I mentioned wow?

I had no idea that the Scots were even more clinically depressed than the Irish.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Ars Longa, Lovely Rita Brevis

As seen over at Roy Edroso's blog the other day -- a poem by Phillip Larkin (1922-1985)...

...that's the most brilliant thing ever written about what used to be called the Generation Gap.

"Annus Mirabilis"

Sexual intercourse began In nineteen sixty-three

(which was rather late for me) -

Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban/And the Beatles' first LP.

Up to then there'd only been/A sort of bargaining,

A wrangle for the ring,

A shame that started at sixteen/And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank/Everyone felt the same,

And every life became

A brilliant breaking of the bank/A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than/In nineteen sixty-three

(Though just too late for me) -

Between the end of the "Chatterley" ban/And the Beatles' first LP.

The cream of the jest, of course, is that Edroso is quoting this to make fun of the odious Rich Lowry (a white power prick over at that other white power prick William F. Buckley's National Review) and his, shall we say, moronically specious argument that Joe Biden is the most left-wing Democratic president in the history of the good old USA. But hey -- we already know Conservatives don't know shit about shit, and especially pop culture.

BTW, I'm embarrassed to admit it, but not only was I unfamiliar with the poem in question, I knew next to nothing about its author. Although I learned earlier today that, apparently, he had a fondness for soft-core porn and misogyny, and was no fan of modernism.

In any case, let's just say that I intend to make Larkin a subject for future research.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Dating Tips From Glasgow

Here's another live one I somehow missed at the time (1997). From their incredibly great Some Other Sucker's Parade album, please enjoy Scottish band Del Amitri and their utterly goosebump inducing "Not Where It's At" on the old Conan O'Brien show.

True story: at the time the song first appeared, the conventional wisdom was that the girl in question doesn't go for the singer because of her, er, sexual orientation, if I may use that phrase.

I, on the other hand, was convinced that it wasn't anything so specific, and that the salient line in the lyric is actually...

"I don't have my finger on the pulse of my generation/ I just got my hand on my heart, I know no better location."

...rather than the more frequently cited...

"But the one girl that I want/ she wants that one bit of geography I lack."

That said, I hadn't heard the song in ages, and when I chanced upon that video the other day, all I could do is smack my forehead and scream "What was I thinking?"

I mean, OF COURSE, it's about her sexuality.

In any case, what a great freaking song and performance.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

If Helen Reddy Married Tom Petty, and Then Divorced Him for Johnny Cash...

...she'd be Helen Reddy Petty Cash now.

Thank you -- I'm here all week. Try the veal.

But seriously, I chanced across this on YouTube the other day, and it absolutely blows my mind.

A surprisingly old -- but still annoyingly handsome -- Jackson Browne covering Petty's most overly Byrds-ish song, "The Waiting." And quite gorgeously.

I've probably told this story before, but it behooves repeating.

Obviously, there have been a lot of rock star deaths that have saddened me over the years, but I remain surprised by my reaction to this one.

Short version: I was home in Hackensack (taking care of my late mother) in the end of October 2017 when the word of Tom's passing suddenly showed up on my computer.

I was actually listening to his debut album at the time.

In any case,I wept out loud.

For ten minutes. Non-stop.

I mean, I didn't do that when John freaking Lennon was assassinated.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Your Monday Moment of "I Know I Often Don't Get the Memo, But How the Hell Did I Miss This One?"

From 1986, please enjoy singer/drummer Luis Cardenas and his beyond transplendent video for a remake of Del Shannon's classic (and obviously timeless) "Runaway."

With stop-motion dinosaurs.

Apparently, I'm the only person on the planet who hadn't seen this before, but I swear to god I was unaware of it until last night.

In any case, apart from the whole thing being hysterically funny -- AND a very nice version of the song -- it was really nice to see Del as the cop at the very end.

Hmm...I think I'll repost about Del's posthumous farewell album tomorrow. Which in case you haven't heard it, is a genuine pop masterpiece.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Insert Irish Joke Here

Dea Matrona -- those Irish kids I discovered yesterday -- and their absolutely killer version of "You're So Vain."

In the immortal words of Martin Mull, I don't want to wax too enthusiastic about them or Carly will write another song about me.

That said, if the pandemic hadn't made traveling abroad such a dicey proposition of late, I'd be off to Belfast so fast your head would spin.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

When Irish Eyes Etc.

From 2020, please enjoy the (previously unknown to me) wondrousness that is the pride of the streets of Belfast Dea Matrona and the most gorgeous Crosby Stills and Nash cover you'll ever hear in your life.

Jeebus H. Christ on a piece of burnt challah toast, but those sisters are beyond belief great.

I should add that there's a third DM gal who apparently was otherwise engaged when the above was filmed.

Words, as they say, fail me.

[h/t Jai Guru Dave]

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

A Neil Sedaka mini-concert, from three weeks ago, in which Neil a) reveals he had Covid and (thankfully) got over it, and then (b) does terrific versions of "Calendar Girl," "Breaking Up is Hard to Do," and "Laughter in the Rain."

I must admit that I had no idea Sedaka was posting this stuff until the other day (h/t my critical colleague Brett Milano, to whom many thanks).

I should also add that if I live to be Neil's age (almost 82) I will never be able to play piano stuff as cool as he does here. I mean, jeez, that solo break on "Calendar Girl" totally kills me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Number One Hits in an Alternate Universe We're Not Lucky Enough to Actually Live In (An Occasional Series)

From his 1993 debut solo album, please enjoy Cheap Trick's great lead singer Robin Zander and his cover of friend of PowerPop Rob Laufer's gorgeous "Reactionary Girl."

That Zander album, BTW, is one of the genuine lost classics of its decade; why it wasn't a humongous smash is one of those mysteries that may never be solved, along with the Roswell UFO crash and the secret formula that makes Orange Julius so devilishly delicious.

In any cause, Laufer -- who first came to prominence as the original Paul McCartney in the Los Angeles company of Beatlemania -- also recorded that song on his criminally overlooked 1996 album Wonderwood, which I have (deservedly) written about here on a number of previous occasions, most recently HERE IN 2019.

He's currently part of The Wild Honey Orchestra, a loose aggregation of (mostly) LA musicians that does all those fabulous live charity tribute concerts you may have heard about over the years (the most recent being a pre-pandemic 2020 salute to The Lovin'Spoonful).

I bring Rob up -- you just knew this was coming, right? -- because he also sings lead on a song on that forthcoming Floor Models tribute to The Byrds that I've been bugging you about of late.

I'll keep you posted about that, obviously.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Even God Is Uneasy

My current favorite song from that Floor Models tribute to The Byrds I've been bugging you about of late.

FYI, the above is only 95 percent finished; it isn't mixed, and the fake string solo will be considerably more ornate after I redo it.

That said, I absolutely adore the track even in its current form, and bless our old Village pal Marc Jonson for his brilliant work on vocals and 12-string.

I should add that we're two songs away from having a finished album; the great Willie Nile has contributed an acoustic version of "You Ain't Going Nowhere," that we're going to add a full band to, and Gerry is hard at work on a version of "Chimes of Freedom," a song that I've always loved but seems especially relevant in the post-President Shiit for Bains era. I'll keep you informed.

Friday, January 22, 2021

It's Comedy and Music Week Part V: Special "All Lyrics Guaranteed Verbatim" Edition

From 1972 and National Lampoon's groundbreaking Radio Dinner album, please enjoy Ian Faith Tony Hendra's killer parody of John Lennon's primal scream period "Magical Misery Tour."

Incidentally, if you weren't around at the time, the cream of the jest of that track is that every word is stuff Lennon actually said in his famous immediately post-Beatles interview with Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone.

Coming next week -- music that more accurately reflects the title of this here blog.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

It's Comedy and Music Week Part IV: Special "You're Using Your Whine Voice!" Edition

From 1976, please enjoy the perpetually missed Gilda Radner (and some other National Lampoon stalwarts, including Christopher Guest and Paul Shaffer on piano) and the greatest and most hilarious feminist anthem of all time -- "I'm a Woman."

The character Gilda was playing was obviously having her period when this was recorded, so maybe it isn't all THAT funny.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

It's Comedy and Music Week Part III: Special "Class Divides. Love Unites ." Edition

From 1967, the obviously very droll Al ("Año del Gato ") Stewart offers his unexpectedly posh and upper crust version of The Who's classic "My Generation."

I have no idea how I missed the memo on this one back in the day, but better late than never.

[h/t Gummo]

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

It's Comedy and Music Week Part II: Special "Listen to the Warm Spit" Edition

From 1974, please enjoy The Credibility Gap, from their LP A Great Gift Idea, doing to a record by Rod McKuen what should have always been done to a record by Rod Mckuen.

In case you didn't know, the Gap featured the great Harry Shearer, Michael McKean and the late David L. Lander. The fourth member, who's voicing McKuen, was the late Richard Beebe.

The album, of course, is one of the greatest conceptual comedy records of all time, and to reiterate something I said yesterday, ask me nicely and I'll burn you a copy.

Monday, January 18, 2021

It's Comedy and Music Week Part I: Special "Genius Outakes of the Gods" Edition

From 1972, please enjoy the brilliance that was Godfrey Daniel and their fall-off-the-couch funny version of...

...the late Helen Reddy's feminist anthem "I am Woman."

The short version in case you missed it:

Godfrey Daniel (the name is a euphemism popularized by W.C. Fields) were two freelance engineers -- Andy Solomon and David Palmer -- who to amuse themselves between official recording sessions did hilarious parodies of then contemporary songs in the style of doo-wop oldies.

An irreverent concept, verging on the seditious at the time they did it, that somehow they persuaded the powers that be at Atlantic was commercially viable enough to release on vinyl to an unsuspecting world.

That album went on to become a low selling but legendary cult artifact, especially at my house.

I should add that it is no longer officially available, but I have a high quality digital transfer that I will be happy to send to any reader who requests a copy.

I should also add that I did not know -- until, literally, last weekend -- that there were unreleased tracks from the record that were even MORE potentially subversive and/or offensive (depending on your perspective) than the ones from the official version.

The above, obviously, is my favorite so far.

See you tomorrow, kids.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Found Music (An Occasional Series): Songs From a 30 Plus Year Old Mp3 Player I Just Unearthed -- Part III (I Have No Title Joke for This One, Which is a Stone Musical Masterpiece)

The astounding World Party -- from 1990 -- and the greatest George Harrison record George Harrison never made.

As recovered from the old gizmo I have been bugging you about for the last several days.

It doesn't get more gorgeous than that, nor should it. I should add that it is one of the greatest regrets of my adult life that I never saw those guys do that song live.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Another Opening, Another Show!

So you've heard of Live at Daryl's House, right?

Well, tonight it's Live at Joe's House!!!

That's right -- my insanely talented young friend (and Forest Hills -- down the street from Casa Simels) -- homeboy Joe Benoit...

...has a fabulous new album -- What Kind of World -- that's dropping (as today's kids say) this Friday.

Here's a video teaser to give you an idea.

And to get the album out to the world in the style it deserves, Joe's doing a live performance from his living room starting at 8pm EST this evening. You can watch it at the link HERE, which will go active just before the show starts.

I've written about Joe in these pages on a number of occasions, like THIS ONE, (where we can be glimpsed in happier pre-pandemic days at our shared neighborhood watering hole) but as I said, he's just insanely talented, and the new album -- which can be ordered starting Friday over at Joe's one-stop music site over HERE -- is just great.

I am on record as saying that "The Longest Weekend," the first track from it, released earlier in the year...

...will someday be reckoned as the most important work of art to have emerged from the trying times we all shared in 2020. But the entirety of the new album is so strong I frankly hate its auteur on a deeply personal level.

In any event, listen to the live show tonight -- I know I will -- and buy the goddamn music already.

Talk to you guys after the show, I hope.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Found Music (An Occasional Series): Songs From a 30 Plus Year Old Mp3 Player I Just Unearthed

So hey youngsters -- most of you won't recognize the gizmo in this picture, but in the immortal words of David Letterman, this is how we old-timers used to enjoy the rock-and-roll music.

Oh hell -- most of you youngsters won't even know who David Letterman was, but that's a separate issue.

In any case, that's a Creative Zen Nano mp3 player -- a birthday present a friend gave me in the early 90s, as I recall -- that was essentially a flash drive, with a built in volume control and LED readout, that stored approximately 200 songs in various digital formats. I loved it, not least of which is because you didn't have to worry about charging it on your computer; you could just pop in a AAA battery and you were good to go.

Bottom line is, I recently found that gadget in the back of a drawer somewhere, and was delighted to discover that it still worked like a charm. More to the point, I was listening to it yesterday, because the playlist was a snapshot in time of the music I dug in the past but -- alas -- the title readout was so small and I'm so old geezer blind I couldn't really figure out who this one of the songs was by when it popped up. Obviously, it was a cover of The Byrds' version of Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages," which struck me as relevant to that Byrds tribute album I'm producing, but I couldn't quite place who it was by or where it was from.

Fortunately, a trip to Amazon provided the solution -- it was Marshall Crenshaw from this 2006 compilation album I had totally forgotten ever having owned.

BTW, you can still get a copy of that CD to stream at the aforementioned Amazon OVER HERE. The identical mp3 player can also be found over at eBay for a paltry 35 bucks.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Premature Weekend Listomania: Special "Rehearsals for Retirement" Edition

[I originally posted this back in 2007, when the world and this blog were young. It occurred to me it is more relevant today than it was at the time -- for obvious reasons -- and so, with some slight re-writing, here it is again. Enjoy, in the intended black humor way. -- S.S.]

Well, it's Monday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental houseboy Hop-Sing and I...

Actually, I'm gonna break character here and get serious for a minute, so bear with me.

Ahem.

As Capt. Picard said in Star Trek: Generations, I have of late become acutely aware that there are fewer years in front of me than behind. Thus, perhaps predictably, I've started to have all sorts of dire thoughts about my iminent departure from this sad vale of tears. And one of the direst is that when I snuff it, my friends (assuming they've outlived me), will feel compelled to stage a memorial service in my honor.

So at this juncture let me go on record as saying, loudly and publically, that...

I DON'T WANT A FRICKING MEMORIAL SERVICE!!!

Really -- I dislike them -- and I say that despite the fact that, earlier this year, I attended a quite lovely one for one of my dearest and oldest friends, Floor Models drummer Glen Robert Allen.

Yes, I know mine is a minority opinion on this issue, and that most well meaning folks think they're a good and appropriate idea. But -- speaking in my capacity as the (sooner rather than later to be the) Recently Deceased Guy -- here's what I'd like you all to do if you feel you absolutely must stage something to remember me by when I buy the farm.

THROW A PARTY WHERE EVERYBODY GETS STINKING DRUNK OR HIGH ON THE POISON OF THEIR CHOICE AND HOOKS UP WITH SOMEBODY INAPPROPRIATE AND GOES HOME TO HAVE CRAZED WEASEL SEX!!!

Thank you in advance for your diligence in that regard.

But since this is, after all, a Listomania, here's a little competition that seems a propos:

[I should add that I've been agonizing about this, and I must stipulate that if after I've become worm fodder you still decide -- despite everything you've just read above -- to have a fricking public farewell for me, under no circumstances -- repeat, under NO circumstances -- play any music featured on the soundtrack to The Big Chill. I'm serious about this; if you should play such music, I will come back from the dead and do a poltergeist number on your sorry ass.]

So what's YOUR memorial song?

Oddly enough, mine is "Maybe in a Dream," the alternately elegaic and peppy pseudo baroque (mostly instrumental) Sopwith Camel track which can be heard here.

If you listen, I'm sure you'll agree that the mood of the thing just seems right. It's kind of like Pachelbel's Canon, except with really cool guitars and a backbeat.

Anyway, that's my choice (although it just dawned on me that I also would't mind Warren Zevon's "Life'll Kill Ya").

What's yours?

Friday, January 08, 2021

We Are the Cambridge Preservation Society

From our Department of the Intertubes are a Wonderful Thing Department: I posted this song, from the great Kimberley Rew's 2000 album Tunnel Into Summer, a couple of weeks ago.

And if memory serves, I mentioned at the time that I really wanted to record a cover of it some day, but that I was unable to decipher about half the lyrics, due to Rew's impenetrable -- albeit charming -- British accent.

In any case, I was over at Facebook kvetching about this recently, and somebody said to me "Uh, Steve -- Rew is on the social media; I bet if you ask him he'll send you the words."

So I did. And to my utter astonishment, the great man forwarded them to me within 24 hours.

I don't even know where to begin about this. But here they are.

I wish every day was like today/ Right here in Cambridge I will stay/ The sun can stop in if it please/ If I can swish thru autumn leaves

CHORUS:

And love this is no ordinary feeling/ By your side my proud adventuress/ The simple pleasures are the best

I think about your smiling voice/ I’d sulk at home but I’ve got no choice/ Your roving spirit lets me slide/ My blinding failures pushed aside

CHORUS

After October winds have blown/ Extension builders scurry home/ Develop all they can and more/ Shapes of things to come by my front door

CHORUS

Bottom line: That's a great freaking poem, and a song lyric that is so brilliant in a deeply English way that it can only be compared to Ray Davies at his best.

And yes, I'm going to record a nasal suburban Jewish version of it sometime this summer. Please pray for me.

POSTSCRIPT: From now on, BG will no longer be referred to in these precincts as a certain Shady Dame but rather as "my proud adventuress."

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, January 07, 2021

A Time for Peace I Swear It's Not Too Late

The Fifth Symphony of Ralph Vaughan Williams -- and, specifically, the recording of it linked to below --

-- got the teenaged me through the week of the assassination of JFK in 1963.

I am not kidding about this -- I wouldn't have survived without that music.

I should add that, in retrospect, I found that fact even more moving when I later learned that the premiere performance of the symphony in 1943-- which was broadcast across the British Isles by the BBC while the bombs were falling on London during the Blitz -- is widely celebrated as a transformative generational experience by the Brits of that day.

Okay, I needn't draw any more facile parallels, but I think you know what I mean.

I should also add, and I am embarassed that I am still capable of snark after the tragic and infuriating fascist events of yesterday, but one of the things that most disgusts me about President Mediocre Columbo Villain is that he wouldn't know the difference between Ralph Vaughan Willians and Ralph Kramden.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Welsh Mining Disaster au Go Go!

From 2018, please enjoy incomprable Byrds bassist Chris Hillman and friends with an utterly gorgeous acoustic re-imagining of a classic track from the Byrds debut album "The Bells of Rhymney."

I suspect that this was done while Hillman was promoting the fabulous solo album Tom Petty produced for him just before his untimely death. In any case, a somewhat more faithful to the original cover version of this will be on that forthcoming Floor Models Byrds tribute I was yakking about yesterday.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Our Back Pages

Attentive readers are aware that, when not otherwise occupied raising my blood pressure over the outrage du jour from President Twitler in the Bunker, I have been more profitably spending my time producing a Byrds tribute album featuring my old band The Floor Models and some special guests.

At the moment we have 9 songs in more or less completed form as well as some amazing album art (courtesy of my beautiful and brilliant art director girlfriend...

...who as always is working cheap); the current plan is to finish two more tracks this month and then to get the whole thing out immediately to a world clamoring for more Floor Models stuff, but as you know, these things always take longer than you hope or expect. In any case, I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, as a sort of belated Christmas present for all you guys, here's the fully finished opening and closing tracks; hope you enjoy them.

I should add that "We'll Meet Again" features our old pal and auxiliary Flo Mo Ronnie D'Adarrio on all vocals and instruments, and we offer it up as a farewell to our late great bandmates Andy Pasternack and Glen Robert Allen. I hope somewhere in heaven they are listening to it and smiling.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Youth Wants to Know!!!

From 2020, and the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool, please enjoy the increasingly amazing Mona Lisa Twins and their live cover of The Who's classic "My Generation."

Attentive readers are aware that I'm crazy about those two kids, but I must admit -- when I first was sent that clip my gut feeling was that they weren't gonna be able to pull the song off.

Shows what I know. I mean, that kicks ass. Period.

Friday, January 01, 2021

New Years Day's Greatest Hits

[I first posted this one on New Years Day 2013, and, while I'm not trying to turn it in into some kind of internet tradition, I do find it amusing enough to give it the old "One More Time!". --S.S.]

This is, as I have been wont to say here on many previous occasions, a very sad story, so please try not to laugh. It also has a certain relevance to today's festivities, which will be revealed later in the narrative. Please be patient.

So the other day I was in a cab heading down the West Side Highway in a snowstorm, and the driver had the radio tuned to whatever soft-rock Lite FM station they inevitably have on when they don't have WINS News Radio blasting or some guy from Queens yelling about sports. I wasn't particularly paying attention, but suddenly some soft-rock Lite FM staple song came on, and immediately I knew three things.

1. I had definitely heard it before.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well. In case you're wondering, no -- I have no interest in revisiting the rest of Fogelberg's body of work, and yes, I still basically can't stand the whole genre he represents, but goddamn it -- this damn song works and it gets to me. Like I said, it's melodically quite charming, and now that I've actually deciphered the lyrics, it turns out that -- despite a certain smugness that kind of rankles -- they actually make a pretty good little short story. And the record's not even a new guilty pleasure, to be honest, because I don't feel particularly guilty about liking it. Sticks in my craw a bit, though,

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

Happy New Year, everybody.

And fuck you, Dan Fogelberg, for your pernicious influence. Wherever you are. Thank you.