Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Oh, And In Conclusion, That Stupid Motherfucker Eric Clapton Can Still...

That said, I remain insanely enamored with this failed Cream single.

Originally written and released for a tacky American-International biker flick in 1968 (and, by the way, one of the very first 45rpm records released in genuine stereo).

And which you can behear, in breathless wonder, at the link below.

IMHO, the greatest cross between The Beatles and Procol Harum ever.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Oops -- Somebody Leaked the Cover Art for Eric's New Album

In all seriousness, this stupid motherfucker is dead to me.

I mean, he won't get vaccinated, but apparently he never read the warning labels on the heroin packets.

[h/t Edward Greaney]

Friday, August 27, 2021

Weekend Listomania: Special "Con Le Mie Lacrime" Edition

[I originally posted this back in 2008, when both this blog and the world were young. I have swapped out and added a couple of new songs, and done some re-writing. I hope you'll find this new version amusing. - S.S.]

Well, it's Friday, and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental amanuensis Hop-Sing and I are off to...well, actually I can't tell you where we're off to because I'm in the midst of firing the disloyal little toad (hint: That Mitzi Gaynor album is missing again) and I don't want to involve lawyers.

But in any case, posting by moi will be completely not happening until Monday.

Thus, in my absence, here's a little project for us all:

Coolest or Worst Post-Elvis Song or Record Referencing The Emotion of Sadness or the Word Sadness Itself (Title or Lyric!!!)

No arbitrary rules this time -- just take your meds and promise you won't slash your wrists when all this is over.

And my totally top of my head Top Eight is:

8. The Five Emprees -- Little Miss Sad

A big hit in the Chicago area, summer of '65. My across the hall college neighbor that fall turned me on to it just this year. Thanks, Eric!

7. The Blues Project -- I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes

Rocks pretty hard for a really sad song, no?

6. The Who -- So Sad About Us

The Modfathers at their most sublimely Byrdsian. It is one of the great regrets of my adult life that I never got a chance to play this one live.

5. Smashing Pumpkins -- Sad Peter Pan

Remember when anybody who wasn't actually in that band took them remotely seriously? No, me neither.

Inspirational verse:

It's the plan of most To discover that magnificent ghost When did I get perverted And my innocent eyes diverted from the view so grand Imbued with distractions I'm greedy like Senior Babbitt I'm just chasing that electric rabbit I'm a reluctant rebel I just want to be Aaron Neville

4. Bob Dylan -- I Was Young When I Left Home

It's like a distillation of all the melancholy in the world. And people said he couldn't sing...

3. The Beau Brummels -- Sad Little Girl

There is a school of thought, to which I occasionally subscribe, that BB's frontman Sal Valentino is one of the greatest rock voices ever.

2. Bruce Springsteen -- The River

As Thelma Ritter says in All About Eve -- what a story; everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end.

And the number one it's-all-so-sad song, don't give me a hard time about this or I'll harm you, quite obviously is ---

1. Hank Williams -- I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

Still the most profoundly blue piece of music ever recorded.

Awrighty, then -- what would your choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Closed for Monkey Business

I got nothin' today.

However, there'll be an amazing Weekend Listomania tomorrow. Trust me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Charlie Watts 1941-2021

From 1964, and Chess Studios in Chicago, please enjoy The Rolling Stones and their astonishingly authoritative cover of Amos Milburn's "Down the Road Apiece." Featuring one of the goddamned greatest rock drummers who ever lightly hit a cymbal.

I'm surprised how devastated I am to hear about the news of his passing. I mean, I understand that Keith Richards will, thankfully, outlive the cockroaches, but Charlie's work has given me so much joy over the years that I lack the words to express my gratitude.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Klaatu Barada Nikto

Saw the incomparable Willie Nile and his band at the new City Winery Sunday night.

He and the guys performed their superb new album -- The Day The Earth Stood Still -- in pretty much its entirety, and they finished with the loudest and best version of "A Hard Day's Night" I've ever heard that wasn't at a theater showing the movie. One of the greatest rock-and-roll nights of my life. Love you, Willie.

BTW, here's the aforementioned title song from that new album.


Oh hell, buy all his albums over there, because they're all fucking great.

I should add that The Day the Earth Stood Still is one of my all-time favorite movies, and rock-and-roll didn't really exist when it came out in 1951. If it had, however, Willie's song would have been perfect for the soundtrack.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Don Everly 1937-2021

Both of the legendary Everly Brothers have now passed on, which means the world is a much duller place.

Seriously, the first rock and roll record I bought with my own lunch money was their breakthrough hit "Bye Bye Love," a song whose sentiments probably would still make sense to contemporary teens.

I was ten years old when that came out, and everybody I knew -- mostly girls, but most everybody else as well -- thought Don and Phil were the coolest and sexiest guys on the planet.

That said, THIS is my all time favo)8nEngland9rite of their records. From 1965, specifically from their epochal Two Yanks In England LP -- written and backed up by The Hollies -- please enjoy "Don't Run and Hide."

Hey, what can I say? There were giants in the Earth in those days.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Great Lost Singles of the Sixties: Part V -- Special "You Oughta See Them Do The Swim" Edition

From 1965, and the B-side of "Ride the Wild Surf" (which is pretty transplendent in its own right) please enjoy the genius that is Jan and Dean and "The Anaheim, Azusa And Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review And Timing Association."

This is another of those period classics that I had on a 45rpm single -- in mono back when -- and finally flipped out over when I heard the genuine stereo version in the late 60s/early 70s. I should add that it is the absolute apotheosis of production on a surf record. An utter masterpiece.

Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Great Lost Singles of the Sixties: Part IV -- Special "Not a Town in New Jersey" Edition

From 1969, please enjoy the vastly underrated soul singer Al Wilson and his spectacular cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic "Lodi". Produced by Johnny Rivers.

For this remake, Wilson and producer Rivers replaced the original's rueful melancholy with something approaching desperation, with an appropriately kickass blues/soul backing track to match.

I've been trying to find out who played the slide guitar on this thing for years. Given that it was recorded in L.A., my guess is that one of the players is either Ry Cooder or Canned Heat's Alan Wilson (no relation to the singer), who were to my knowledge the only hotshit slide guys doing session work in those days. It's also conceivable that it was Jackson Browne collaborator Jesse Ed Davis (of "Doctor My Eyes" fame), who I believe may have been working in town around then, and I'm also told that the late Jerry Cole (who played rhythm on the original "Mr. Tambourine Man") played slide on sessions from time to time.

If anybody knows definitively, I'd buy them a drink.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Great Lost Singles of the Sixties: Part III -- Special "Music Row" Edition

From 1968, please enjoy (what was left of) The Lovin' Spoonful and their final official single, a stunning version of John Stewart's "Never Going Back."

Unless I'm very much mistaken, this was essentially a Spoonful contractual obligation single, and the only member of the original band on it is drummer/singer Joe Butler, who does stellar work. I should also add that the track is produced by Chip Douglas, who did The Monkees Headquarters album, for which he deserves respect by all who walk upright.

I should also also add that -- if memory serves -- this was one of the earliest 45 rpm discs to be issued in stereo, although I'm not completely sure about that.

I should also also also add that sometime in the 70s, the song's composer did a live version...

...whose outro sounds amazingly like the end of the original version of a certain song from the first Velvet Underground album.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Great Lost Singles of the Sixties: Part II --Special “You Could Do Magic” Edition

From 1966, and that mixtape I was discussing with you yesterday, please enjoy the incomparable Alan Price and his first solo single after exiting The Animals.

An astounding cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic "I Put a Spell on You.'

That one is one of the most mind-blowing records of its era, and it holds up gloriously. I should add that I actually learned how to play that classical organ intro when it came out. Because I had nothing else to do that year.

Tomorrow -- this one you won't believe. Let's just say it's the greatest cover of a song by folk-rocker John Stewart ever.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Great Lost Singles of the Sixties: Part I -- Special "Tempus Fugit" Edition

[The backstory: Sometime in the 'aughts -- not exactly sure when -- I found myself suddenly unemployed and stuck in the wilds of New Jersey taking care of my ailing mother. This was before NY Mary (bless her heart) handed me the keys to the car at PowerPop and also before I started playing music again, so obviously a boy needed a hobby. Anyway, for some reason I can't recall, I decided to make what they used to refer to as mixtapes, i.e. compilation CDs of whatever music struck my fancy. And I brainstormed a concept I called "Great Lost Singles of the (Fill in the Decade), which took up my time most divertingly. I would work on these things for weeks, and then burn discs of them and snail-mail the results to all my friends. Hey -- it prevented me from dying of terminal boredom.

In any case, I thought I had lost any remnant of the project until the other day, when my beautiful and brilliant girlfriend informed me that the discs were all actually archived in her iTunes library. Hence this week's stuff. I suspect I will be spending the next few weeks doing the Greatest Hits from the rest of the CDs thereof. Enjoy! -- S.S.]

From 1967, please enjoy The McCoys (featuring Rick Derringer) and their psychedelic masterpiece on the the passing of time "Beat the Clock." In stereo, as it was meant to be.

I had the 45 mono verion of this (on Bang)...

...for ages, and essentially wore it out. When it showed up on the McCoys best-of CD above in (for want of a better phrase) widescreen decades later, it was, frankly, a life-changer.

Tomorrow: One of the greatest records ever made by one of the greatest British blues-rockers who ever tied his shoe laces by himself.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Nanci Griffith 1953-2021

God, she was great.

And have I mentioned this death shit is really starting to piss me off?

Friday, August 13, 2021

Songs I Thought I'd Posted About Here Back in the Day But Apparently Never Did (An Occasional Series)

From 1980, and their eponymous debut album, please enjoy New Wave rockers Gary Myrick and the Figures and their exquisite should've-been-a-giant-hit-single "Deep in the Heartland."

Myrick seems to be a more than usually interesting guy; for starters, he's obviously a talented graphic artist (he did the album cover for the above). Which has a sort of Jean Cocteau vibe, doncha think?

I should add that there's a very good chance I'll be covering (as in recording my own version of) said song sometime before the year is out. I'm not kidding about this. Hey -- a boy needs a hobby.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2021

A Rare Photo of the Beatles Before They Got Big

Okay, that embarrasses even me.

Regular posting resumes on the morrow.

[h/t Allan Weissman]

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Upper West Side Mon Amour

And speaking of Lucy Simon, as we were the other day, I should mention that the reason I was in her touring band (if I may use that phrase for an ensemble that played all of six or seven gigs during its lifetime) is that she was promoting an album she had out on RCA Victor at the time. And I knew somebody who knew somebody at RCA who recommended me for the gig.

It's actually a very nice little album -- very much in the 70s soft-rock style of her sister Carly -- and the songs were fun to play on stage. It's never been on CD, but if you're nice to me I'll burn you a copy I had transferred from vinyl. Here's my favorite track.

In any case, Lucy is a lovely person, despite the fact that she is also -- as they used to say -- Ms. Gotbucks. She had family money, obviously (Simon as in Simon and Schuster) but she was also married to a Park Avenue shrink who obviously was never going to go hungry. And they had the most amazing apartment opposite Central Park. It was the first one I ever saw that occupied its own floor; I mean, when you got out of the elevator at their stop there was no doorbell to ring or a door to knock on -- you were IN their home.

I will finish by sharing a Lucy anecdote I've never told publicly, but I think she won't mind because, well, as I said she's the female equivalent of a mensch.

The short version: a few months after our "tour" she invited me out to lunch in her neighborhood. I was delighted, and not solely because I was jonesing for a really good meal at some ritzy boite that was out of my price range, but also because I was looking forward to seeing her again. Anyway, we had a terrific time and as I was leaving with her, she asked if I was taking a cab. I replied that no, the subway stop a block away would get me home just fine. The following conversation ensued.

Lucy: "You're taking the subway?"

Me: "Sure."

Lucy: "Do you have a subway token?"

Me: "Of course."

Lucy: "Could you show it to me? I've never actually seen one."

Thats a true story, BTW.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

I'm Really Proud of This One, Even If I Don't Know If I Still Agree With All of It

From the February 1976 issue of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review.

Terrific, I think, and it's definitely going into my forthcoming book.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Assholes I Have Met In Showbiz (An Occasional Series)

Let me begin by offering you all a good cheap laugh at my expense with this photo of me (second from left, wearing a really stupid Bruce Springsteen cap) backstage at My Father's Place in Roslyn, NY. With Lucy [sister of Carly] Simon (seated on the floor) and a bunch of other folks who comprised the Lucy Simon Band at the time (Thanksgiving, 1975).

I was playing highly inadequate lead guitar in said ensemble...

...but the other more talented folks on-stage included a couple of my old high school garage band chums and Jerry Marrotta, a very nice guy and thorough-going pro who went on to be the drummer for Orleans. I won't bring up that album cover in which he and the rest of Orleans are posed shirtless, but I'm sure you remember it.

Okay, yes I will bring it up.

Good lord, that's hideous.

In any case, for this particular four day engagement, we were the opening act for Aztec Two-Step, a folkie duo whose second album had just come out (on RCA Records, as was Lucy's then current debut LP).

I knew Aztec Douchebag, as I used to refer to them, from my college days at C.W. Post; they were big, as they say, on Long Island, and they used to play the campus coffee house all the time. I thoroughly loathed them for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that they came off with a major and thoroughly undeserved star attitude, but mostly it was the music that rankled. In particular this little ditty, which was the lead track from their major label debut album in '71. (Said album, by the way, was titled Aztec Two-Step. It's a line from a Ferlinghetti poem, which also ticked me off.)

Seriously, the mere thought of that song made me want to smack them on sight on numerous occasions, although cooler heads prevailed. In any case, as far as I was concerned these guys made Zager and Evans sound like Marx and Engels.

Anyway, on the first night of the billing, those two hippie putzes came off with the same major "WE'RE CELEBRITIES" attitude I recalled from college. But then, after the show, a wonderful thing happened.

I was standing in the wings, smoking a cigarette, and (unbeknownst to them) I overheard their manager talking to them in words to this effect: "Hey -- Rex, Neal; that guitarist with Lucy Simon is a rock critic. Be as nice to him as possible and maybe he'll plug your album in his magazine."

And for the next three days, they kissed my ass with passionate intensity. Although to me, of course, it felt like transparent smarmy insincerity. Which it was.

Also, of course, they never realized that I was smirking inside every time they waxed obsequious.

And needless to say, I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it. A lot.

And no, I didn't go on to say something nice about the album, although I did write about the experience (sans reference to Aztec Douchebag) at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review. Don't worry, though -- I have no intention of inflicting THAT one on you.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Weekend Listomania: Special "It's Still Rock & Roll To Me" Audio/Video Edition

[I originally posted this sometime before the Spanish/American war, but I've been in a very nostalgic mood of late. In any event, I've re-written a bunch of it and swapped out a couple of entries. Enjoy! -- S.S.]

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manual catharsis specialist Fah Lo Suee and I are off to...well, actually, truth is we're not going anywhere due to a bizarre picture-hanging accident that I'd really rather not get into, except to say "If you drink, don't drill."

In any case, things are still probably going to be quiet around here for the duration of the weekend, so until Monday rolls around, here's a fun little project to help us wile away the idle hours:

Favorite or Least Favorite Pop-Rock Single or Album Cut of the Skinny Tie Band Era

No arbitrary rules, although we're obviously talking about the immediate post-First Generation Punk period, roughly from the late 70s to 1983 or '84.

And my totally top of my head Top Eight is/are:

8. The Brains -- Money Changes Everything

The original indie single, not the remake on the Brains' album. I'm not a huge fan of Cyndi Lauper's more familiar version, but she knew a great song when she heard one.

7. Tommy Tutone -- Angel Say No

The greatest song those guys recorded that doesn't have a phone number in its title.

6. Bram Tchaikovsky -- Girl of My Dreams

That 12-string riff! Those harmonies!!!

5. Spandau Ballet -- True

The worst 60s frat party band song ever.

4. The Thompson Twins -- Hold Me Now

The second worst 60s frat party band song ever.

3. Nick Lowe -- She Don't Love Nobody


2. Gary U.S Bonds -- Out of Work

You know, that Bruce Springsteen guy is a heck of a songwriter.

And the absolute fucking worst song to pollute the airwaves in the early 80s unquestionably was....

1. Quarterflash -- Harden My Heart.

What an utter piece of shit. I should add that lead singer Rindy Ross is also without question the worst saxophone player in the history of music.

Okay, what would YOUR choices be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Reviews I'd Forgotten I'd Written About Albums I'd Forgotten Existed (An Occasional Series): Part IV -- Titles With Three "P"s in Them Edition

From the June 1988 issue of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review, my musings on a Nick Lowe album I doubt I've heard since.

Anybody out there have a copy of this record? Anybody think I got it right?

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Reviews I'd Forgotten I Had Written of Albums I Had Forgotten Existed (An Occasional Series): Part III -- Loud Fast Lady

From the july 1994 issue of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review...

...please enjoy Velocity Girl and their should have been a hit single "Sorry Again."

From the era when everything on SUBPOP was by definition hip and groovy. Still, I think that song holds up. If I was feeling a little more energetic, I'd try to find out what happened to those kids.

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Reviews I'd Forgotten I Had Written of Albums I Had Forgotten Existed (An Occasional Series)

[from the January 1991 issue of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review]


Warren Zevon(vocals, guitar); Peter Buck (guitar);Mike Mills (bass); Bruce Berry (drums).

Walkin' Blues; Travelin' Riverside Blues; Raspberry Beret; Crosscut Saw; Junko Partner; and five others.

GIANT/REPRISE © 24406-4, ® 24406-2 (37 min).

Performance: Deliberately goofy

Recording: Good

This is a sort of busman's-holiday project featuring the (seemingly) unlikely pairing of elder cult-LA folk rocker Warren Zevon with three members of the college-radio rock institution R.E.M. Given the musical pedigrees of all involved, however, what's particularly odd about the album is the repertory, mostly the sort of blues standards that late-Sixties garage bands used to warm up with. In that informal context, the results are entertaining enough. Nobody is ever going to mistake Zevon or the R.E.M.-sters for real blues players, but as a replica of what you or I or any baby boomer or whoever jammed in his parents' basement might have sounded like if they'd been professionally recorded, then Hindu Love Gods has a certain rough-hewn charm. The standout track -- a metallic first-take assault on Prince's "Raspberry Beret" - - is also something of a ringer, but that only adds to the fun. -- S.S

Another record I'd lost in the mists of memory. That said, when that originally came out, I thought it was somewhere between mediocre and lame. And that Warren and R.E.M. were kinda jerking off.

When I listened to it again the other day, however, I thought -- wow, that's really quite cool.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Reviews I'd Forgotten I Had Written of Albums I Had Forgotten Existed (An Occasional Series)

From the February 1990 issue of The Magazine Formely Known as Stereo Review.

I'll betcha you had no idea this recorded artifact was even a thing.


Marty Balin, Grace Slick (vocals); Jorma Kaukonnen (vocals, guitar); Paul Kantner (vocals, guitar); other musicians

EPIC OE 45271 (55 min)

Performance: Not so hot

Recording: Okay

According to usually reliable sources, the recently reunited Jefferson Airplane gave the most interesting live concerts of any of the veteran rock acts that hit the road in 1989. Speaking as somebody who frequently saw God during late Sixties Airplane shows, that wouldn't surprise me particularly. But on the other hand, however heartening it may be to have them back, their new album is pretty lame.

Superficially, at least, these oldsters still sound like the Airplane of yore, with their signature three-lead-vocals-in-search-of-a-harmony more or less unscathed by time.

But the rest of what made the band unique and exciting -- the interplay of a thundering rhythm section, stinging psychedelic guitar riffage, and ominous twelve-string -- has been smothered here beneath a host of faceless guest musicians and a production job tailored to somebody's idea of what's acceptable for radio play at the moment.

Meanwhile, the songs and performances are in equal measure generic and mediocre: With few exceptions -- as in the self-consciously soaring occasional Jorma Kaukonnen Ice Age lead guitar lines -- they inhabit an aesthetic space somewhere between obvious throwaways and clumsy agit-prop. A major disappointment. -- S.S.

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Hole. E. Shit.

Little Steven played this track from the new Floor Models CD on his SIRIUS XM radio show last night.

Words fail me, except -- as soon as the show is archived, which should be shortly, I'll let you know.

Wow. Just wow.