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.