Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Songs I'd Forgotten I Loved from Albums I'd Forgotten Existed (An Occasional Feature)

From his 1994 album Live...My Truck is My Home, please enjoy power pop god Marshall Crenshaw and a to die for version of his (justifiably) oft covered "You're My Favorite Waste of Time."

Due to the tragic passing of Pat DiNizio, Marshall has been touring with The Smithereens as a stand-in for the group's departed front man in recent years; I saw him with the guys just pre-pandemic (if memory serves) and to be honest, I didn't think he was a good fit.

The above, however, is flat out great, and enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Your Monday Moment of "Why Didn't I Get the Fucking Memo About This Fucking Album?"

From his 2010 album See My Friends, please enjoy head Kink Ray Davies -- with special guest Jackson Browne -- and the most gorgeous cover of "Waterloo Sunset" imaginable.

Long time attentive readers may recall that I sometimes consider that song the most beautiful written in the English language in the second half of the 20th century, and that I wrote an essay about another memorable performance of it back in 2007 that I remain extremely proud of.

In any case, somehow I missed that See My Friends album at the time of its original release, and nothing I've heard this year has given me more pleasue. I recommend it unreservedly and you should download or purchase it immediately.

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Triumphant Return of WEEKEND LISTOMANIA: Special "Loud Interjection" Edition!!!

Well, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and you know what that means.

Yes, my Asian turkey-basting specialist Fah Lo Suee and I will be heading off to somewhere and I don't even have a joke to go with it, although perhaps something about brining might be appropriate.

That said, here's a little brain-teaser for all of us to enjoy in the meantime:

Best or Worst Use of the Word "Hey!" in the Lyrics or Title to A Post-Elvis Pop/Soul/Rock Record!

And my top five candidates are --

5. Bruce Channel -- Hey Baby!

A great platter in its own right, but in case you didn't know, it's the inspiration for John Lennon's harmonica on "Love Me Do."

4. The Buckinghams -- Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)

Sixties regional (Chicago) pop shlock, but -- to be fair -- good Sixties regional pop shlock.

3. David Bowie -- Suffragette City

It's no secret that I'm not a Bowie fan, but the "hey man" on this one works, no question about it.

2. Little Richard -- Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey!

Bye bye baby so long. In perpetuity.

And the number one sung use of a three letter word in the history of music is...

1. The Beatles -- You've Got to Hide Your Love Away

...John Lennon's "hey!" on the choruses of this utterly gorgeous folk-rock ballad.

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR favorites be?

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Wendy Cohen]

Thursday, November 25, 2021

It's Complete Utter Shit Week: Part IV -- Special Pigeon Droppings Edition


ATLANTIC 82444 (52 min)

And if my grandma had wheels she'd be a wagon, but this would still be irredeemable schlock. S.S.

From a Short Take section of a 1993 issue of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review.

God, that woman sucked. And not in a good way.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

It's Complete Utter Shit Week: Part III -- Maybe She's a Good Mom

From 1994 -- found this yesterday while researching stuff from back issues of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review for my forthcoming Greatest Hits book


New York Rock

CAPITOL 29843 (68 min)

Ms. Ono, I worked with Courtney Love. Courtney Love was a friend of mine. Ms. Ono, you're no Courtney Love. S.S.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It's Complete Utter Shit Week: Part II -- Duets From Hell Edition

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been going through back issues of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review. And I found this from a sort of Short Takes feature we ran in the early 90s


MCA 10633 (45 min).

Smyth's sorry-babe-I-gotta-dump-ya duet with Don Henley, "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough," has been a big hit for a simple reason: Everybody knows the feeling. Nevertheless, the album is mainstream corporate rock at its most routine and faceless -- well produced (by Springsteen asso- ciate Roy Bittan) but still overflowing with canned emotion and as spontaneous as a Swiss watch. S.S.

I actually kinda liked Smyth (who used to hang at a watering hole in the Village I frequented back in the day) but sorry -- that song totally sucks.

Monday, November 22, 2021

It's Complete Utter Shit Week: Part I -- Mrs. Pigface Sings Brooker/Reid Really, Really Badly

From 1993, please endure the insufferable Sarah Brightman butchering Procol Harum's classic "A Salty Dog."

The reason I bring this up is because the other day I was researching back issues of the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review to find stuff for the forthcoming book of my critical greatest hits, and I stumbled on a sort of short takes feature we used to run (called Quick Fixes. Heh). And here this was, and it cracked me right up.



A&M 31454 0083 (52 min)

Enya on helium? New Age electro-pop from hell? Whatever it is, it's courtesy of the Phantom of the Opera ingenue formerly married to the equally annoying Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I say get it outta here. Docked numerous points for a horrendous cover of Procol Harum's "A Salty Dog," which the without-a-clue chanteuse strips of all melodic interest or drama. S.S.

In any event, more of this stuff from now till Friday.

Friday, November 19, 2021

In the Immortal Words of Edith Prickley -- "Could Be a Hot One!"

Well, this sounds like fun. Going to see The Immediate Family -- the older guys supergroup featuring veteran sidemen Waddy Wachtel, Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Danny Kortchmar -- in Manhattan tomorrow evening.

Frankly, just hearing them tear up that song live will be worth the price of admission. But, adding to the merriment, friend of PowerPop, honorary member of The Floor Models, and all around rock legend Willie Nile will also be performing.

I'll report on Tuesday.

In the meantime, have a great weekend everybody!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Closed for Kitty Business

Our beloved pussycat, The Incomparable Eddie, is somewhat under the weather, and we're awaiting a house call from our local veterinary specialists. Regular musical postings resume on the morrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Songs I'd Forgotten I Loved by Artists Whose Work I Hadn't Contemplated in Years (An Occasional Series): Special "Nouvel Ami" Edition

From his sophomore 1985 album Easy Pieces please enjoy Lloyd Cole and the Commotions and their sublimely Velvet Underground--ish hit (in the UK) single "Brand New Friend."

What a gorgeous record.

In any case, I hadn't thought about Cole since I can't remember when, but the other day, while going through the Stereo Review archives looking for possible stuff to include in the forthcoming book of my literary greatest hits...

...I chanced across a review of his 1991 album Don't Get Weird on Me Babe, which I thought was a) particularly well written and b) made me want to revisit the CD.

Excuse me now while I head to Amazon; hopefully it's still in print.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Be So Swell You'll Make Me Hate You!

From 2021 -- this month, actually -- please enjoy The John Sally Ride and "The Nicest Things," i.e. the coolest Fountains of Wayne track FOW never made.

The JSR -- who I wrote about on the occasion of their debut record back in 2017 -- features friend of PowerPop (and proprietor of the invaluable BURNING WOOD blog) Sal Nunziato on drums; the guy who writes the fabulous songs (and sings them in his endearingly Chris Collingwood-esque voice) is John Dunbar.

I enjoyed the previous album, but this new one is more than just an incremental improvement -- it's one of the best things I've heard all year, and I say that knowing full well that The Floor Models also made a record in 2021. Obviously, if Now Is Not a Great Time (love the cover art, BTW) made me quote a line from the original 42nd Street for today's title, it's pretty goddamn good, and these guys are fucking great.

In any case, you can listen to the thing, gratis, over at YouTube, but don't be a schween -- go buy it at iTunes or Spotify. As Sal points out, 1,000,000 streams and he can afford a handball.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Graeme Edge 1941 - 2021

The drummer of The Moody Blues -- in all their incarnations -- has passed.

It's no secret I was not a fan of the post Denny Laine cosmic version of the Moodies, but Edge did yeoman work for all those years, and if he had played on nothing more than this 1965 Brit Invasion r&b classic...

...he would deserve respect from all who walk upright.

I should add that a year later he also played on the Laine/Moodies most sad and beautiful single "Boulevard de La Madeleine"...

...and that one of the great thrills of my adult life, during my first trip to Paris in 2015, was being able to hang out on the street immortalized in the song.

RIP Graeme. You did good.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Great Lost Singles of the Eighties (An Occasional Series): Special "Keep It Under Your Hat" Edition

Once again, from the 1984 film Top Secret! please enjoy Val Kilmer and his hilarious performance of the most suicidal self-pitying love song in rock history -- "Spend This Night With Me."

I'm sorry to go to the well so often on this one, but after watching this yesterday, I realized I had forgotten how funny it is; I don't know which is my favorite touch -- the railroad tracks, the head in the oven, or those three guys doing that brilliant impression of The Jordanaires.

In any case, more appropriate to the theme of this here blog posting resumes on Monday.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Great Lost Singles of the Eighties (An Occasional Series): Special "Hush Hush!" Edition

From the 1984 film Top Secret! please enjoy Val Kilmer (as teen idol Nick Rivers) driving the little East German girls wild with his rendition of the delightful neo-rockabilly "How Silly Can You Get".

As you probably know, Top Secret! was the second feature by the guys who made Airplane!, and for my money it's even funnier. Also, it's basic premise -- a Cold War thriller crossed with a cheesy Elvis Presley musical -- is nothing short of genius. (As is the joke where one of the teenyboppers in the audience holds up a sign that says "Velcome, Neek!") BTW, the above song was written for the film by Phil Pickett, who's better known for co-writing Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon."

I should add that the minute I saw Kilmer's rock star impression, I knew he was gonna make a great Jim Morrison in the (then) future Doors movie.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Okay, This is Getting Ridiculous

The Mona Lisa Twins, and an absolutely live guitar-and-banjo(!) version of the Beatles' Rubber Soul classic "I'm Looking Through You."

As usual with those two youngsters, words pretty much fail me. Except I may have to make another pilgrimage to Liverpool the next time they're playing at the Cavern.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

The Sounds of Various Different Drummers

So anyways, as I mentioned recently, a certain Shady Dame took me to see The Mickey and Mikey Show, i.e., the NYC installment of The Monkees farewell tour, in honor of my birthday.

The short version: Mike has gotten rather shockingly old...

...but he was charming, funny and still sounded great, and Mickey remained his reassuringly goofy self. Also, the backup band was on the money, and the collective ensemble did pretty much every song I wanted to hear, including this killer new version of "Different Drum" from Mickey's fabulous album of Nesmith covers.

Two surprises: During intermission, I went into the mens room and to my delight discovered that the toilet paper dispenser was named in honor of the band's late bass player.

Also, the guys told a story I was hitherto unaware of regarding how Linda Ronstadt got to do the hit version of the aforementioned "Different Drum." And while researching the details I was knocked out to discover that the original recorded artifact of the song was by Mike's friends/progressive bluegrass band The Greenbriar Boys in 1966.

Yipes, that's great, and you're welcome very much.

Monday, November 08, 2021

Closed for Monkey Business

A tad under the weather. I swear on my parents graves that a regular -- and, appropriately, a Monkees-related posting -- will appear on Tuesday.

I thank you.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Is It a Good Time For Dinosaur Jokes?

To paraphrase Charles Pierce, it's ALWAYS a good time for dinosaur jokes.

That's the winner of the latest New Yorker cartoon caption contest, BTW.

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I'd post some music today, but the above was too good to ignore and I just had to share it.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Bang the Drum Slowly: Special "Separated at Birth" Edition

Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock...

...and a certain percussionist from a long-running San Francisco rock band.

Regular music posting resumes on the morrow.

[h/t Steve Schwartz]

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

The Tooth of Crime (An Occasional Series): Special "Some Days I Really Miss Barbara Hale" Edition

I have been known to say that Fred Steiner's theme for Perry Mason is the best two minute orchestral piece written in the 20th Century. In fact I just said it again.

Here's Steiner explaining how the whole thing came about.

And here it is in all its stereophononic glory as played by The Royal Philharmonic.

I was going to find a rock band cover but I figured -- The Blues Brothers? Not in this here blog, no sirree.

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

The Tooth of Crime (An Occasional Series): Special "Martinis and Shark-Skin Suits" Edition

From 1977, please enjoy amazing Brit-rock pioneers The Pirates -- featuring genius guitarist Mick Green -- and their killer (heh) rendition of Henry Mancini's theme for the classic early 60s detective series Peter Gunn.

In case you're unfamiliar with those guys, they were hugely influential (particularly on The Who and Dr. Feelgood) and most notably they wrote and recorded the original version of "Shakin' All Over," for which alone they deserve to be immortal.

BTW, the album the above track derives from was their comeback effort, which they did in the wake of the early Brit punk/New Wave movement of the late 70s. I was lucky enough to see them perform that song, and others, live at the old Bottom Line at the time. If memory serves, it had something to do with a Stiff Records tour.

Monday, November 01, 2021

The Tooth of Crime (An Occasional Series): Special "Just the Facts, Ma'am" Edition

From their just released new album Dragnet, please enjoy the incomparable NRBQ and their performance of the title theme from the classic TV cop show of the same name.

Not sure if a rock band has ever covered this previously, but it wouldn't surprise me, given that it was one of the most ubqutious musical artifacts of the 50s. Not to mention one of the most often parodied, as witness this great frame from the Mad Magazine version.

The great Bill Elder, ladies and germs. Let's really hear it for him.

PS: I was just reminded that this was also redone in 1987 by The Art of Noise for the Dragnet movie. Won a Grammy, come to think. I prefer this new one, however.