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.]

FANNY

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

Wow.

[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.