Monday, February 28, 2022

Songs I'd Forgotten I Loved From Albums I'd Forgotten Existed (An Occasional Series): Special "Those Wacky Canadians" Edition

From 1972, please enjoy Canuck power-popsters The Wackers and their utterly gorgeous (and Beatle-esque) cover of John Lennon's "Oh My Love."

Basically, that track -- the original is on Imagine, BTW -- sounds like what John's version might have sounded like if the Fabs had recorded it for inclusion on Abbey Road.

I should add that since the song is about a certain Japanese woman who will not be name-checked by me, the inclusion of a koto on the intro is a particularly nice touch.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Ivories, Well Tickled: An Occasional Series

Ever wonder what inspired Paul McCartney's way cool piano part on "Lady Madonna"?

Lyttleton was a homegrown Brit jazz guy, and the above was a big chart hit in England in 1956 (that's him on trumpet -- the piano was by Johnny Parker). Obviously, the record had a big impact on the teenage Macca.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

[h/t Marc Platt]

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Closed for Monkey Business

Regular posting -- including something heretofore unknown to me that blew my tiny mind -- resumes on Friday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Your Wednesday Moment of Words Fail Me

From just this week, please enjoy The Mona Lisa Twins (making like a three-member 60s girl group, which is hilarious) and their new single "Questionable."

These kids are so good it's just getting ridiculous. Please -- can somebody tell me why a) they don't have a major label deal and b) why Saturday Night Live books crap like Katy Perry, who gave the silliest performance in the show's history a few weeks ago, instead of these youngsters?

Just asking. Meanwhile, I'm gonna go watch that video again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Gary Brooker 1945 - 2022

Brooker -- Procol Harum's lead singer, pianist, and co-writer of most of their songs -- has passed.

I'm reasonably sure I saw Procol in concert more times than any other band I can think of. In any case, with their flawless admixture of Bob Dylan, J.S. Bach, gospel organ and piano, and Ray Charles, they were -- unquestionably -- the only prog band that ever mattered.

As I've been saying too often lately, this death shit is really starting to piss me off.

My New Favorite Song By My New Favorite Singer

From 2017, and the original cast album of Dear Evan Hansen, please enjoy Ben Platt and the astoundingly gorgeous "Waving Through a Window."

As a rule, Broadway musicals since the Golden Age -- the 50s and early 60s -- do nothing for me. I mean, everything Steve Sondheim did after A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is complete shit, IMHO, the sort of schmutz that the late critic Gene Lees accurately described as Quack Opera. Boring, pretentious, lousy theatre and mostly unlistenable. (I will go further and say that "Send In the Clowns" may be the worst song ever written and inflicted on a long suffering public.) And don't get me started on pieces of pandering fake hippie crap like Hair or Jesus Christ Superstar. I'm also not a fan of jukebox shows, although I'll concede Jersey Boys and the Carole King thing were tolerable.

That said, over the last year or two, I'd be in a cab or a restaurant and a song from DEH would come on and my reaction would be -- well, that's not bad at all. So the other day I broke down and grabbed a copy of the album, listened to it and flipped. It's actually rock, that kid is a fantastic singer, and it made me want to see the show now that it's back on Broadway. (I'm told the movie version was a letdown, but I'll probably watch it to avoid paying Broadway prices).

Anyway, the album's great and I highly recommend it. Enjoy!!!

Monday, February 21, 2022

Social Notes From All Over

So a certain Shady Dame and I are celebrating President's Day by heading into Manhattan tonight -- hey, still a novelty since the pandemic -- to see The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by the charmingly yclept Yannick Nézet-Séguin...

...doing Beethoven's symphonies number 1 and 9 at Carnegie Hall.

Haven't been to a classical show in I don't know how long, but the Philly Orch used to be my favorite band in the world, so it could be a hot one.

I should add that we're having a pre-show dinner at the fabulous Carnegie Deli across the street. Pastrami sandwich, here I come!!!

Friday, February 18, 2022

It's Runt Friday!!!

So by way of setting the stage, as it were, it's not exactly a state secret that I have mixed feelings about Todd Rundgren.

The short version: He's a genius producer, I absolute adore his first band Nazz, think some of the stuff on Something/Anything is great (The Floor Models used to do "Couldn't I Just Tell You" live), but detest his work with Utopia and think most of his solo albums since the middle 70s are at best, er, inconsistent.

That said, our friend Sal Nunziato, proprietor of the invaluable Burning Wood blog, is a huge fan, and he has alerted us to the fact there's a just released tribute album in honor of Something/Anything, which HE has mixed feeings about.

Me, off the top of my proverbial head, I love two of the covers.

First, Carole King's daughter Louise Goffin's take on "I Saw the Light"...

...and second, Marshall Crenshaw's sweetly acoustic version of the aforementioned "Couldn't I Just Tell You".

Have a great weekend, everybody!

[h/t Sal Nunziato]

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Comedic and Novelty Tales From the Original Vinyl Age: Part IV -- Going to the Dogs

From the 1983 Beatle Barkers (by the Woofers and Tweeters Ensemble, and yes, that's the original cover)...

...the LP of which was one of the most hilarious things in the history of things, here's my favorite track, "I Want to Hold Your Paw Hand."

I should add that you can stream the album OR order a complete vinyl version over at Amazon, which is pretty cool in this day and age.

You're welcome very much.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Comedic and Novelty Tales From the Original Vinyl Age: Part III -- Special Non-Testosterone Edition

From 1972, please enjoy the incomparable Godfrey Daniel doing to Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" what nature always intended.

This is a bonus track from the CD reissue of one of the funniest LPs I've ever heard; it first crossed my desk back in college, when I was a pre-professional rock critic who was getting free albums because I was writing reviews for my school newspaper (man, I've led a charmed life).

In any case, it was performed and produced by two free-lance NYC engineers who mostly worked for Atlantic Records. It's out of print at the moment, but I'll be happy to burn you a copy if you ask me nicely.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Comedic and Novelty Tales From the Original Vinyl Age: Part II -- Have We Mentioned Great Jewish Rock Songs Since Last Week??

From 1963, and the utterly fab album Mad "Twists" Rock 'n' Roll (as in Mad Magazine) please enjoy their immortal ode to nasal corrective surgery "She Got a Nose Job."

I'm not sure if this has ever been on CD officially, but it's freaking hilarious across the board, and I've got a copy I downloaded from somewhere. Ask me nicely, and Ill burn you a disc.

I should add that I have always been amused that this was released on the same label that brought us the great hits of Del Shannon.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Comedic and Novelty Tales From the Original Vinyl Age: Part I -- The Creme de la Creme of the Horror Race

From some time in my youth, please enjoy the great Hans Conreid and Alice Pearce and the title track to the fabulous musical/comedy album Monster Rally.

I can't find any specific info -- release date or musical credits -- for this, but I know I originally bought it (probably while in Junior High) at the Teaneck Record Shop, which was located on the block below on Cedar Lane, the main commercial drag in my home town. And it was probably in the early 60s, which is when Universal released all their classic horror movies to television.

And yes, obviously, that fabulous cover is by the great MAD Magazine artist Jack Davis.

I should add that the whole album is a major hoot, and while it has never been (to my knowledge) transferred to CD, it's up at YouTube in its entirety.

Friday, February 11, 2022

The Greatest Jewish Pop Songs of All Time (Part III): The Biggie!!!

From 1965 - and by the way, one of the guys in this band was Irish, but still -- please enjoy The Fugs and their astoundingly Yiddish ode to fucking "Nothing."

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Greatest Jewish Pop Songs of All Time (Part II): Special Nice Kids From New York City Edition

From 1967, please enjoy the incomarable Blues Project (i.e., the most accomplished underground NYC band of all time) and their astounding Al Kooper-written "Wake Me, Shake Me."

The Blues Project were one of New York’s seminal bands in the mid-1960s. Their first album, “Live at the Cafe Au Go,” recorded at the Greenwich Village club at the end of 1965, forged a fresh alliance between folk, blues and rock and roll. They played folk songs by Eric Anderson and Donovan, blues by Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters and rock ‘n’ roll by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

There were originally six members of the Blues Project, including vocalist Tommy Flanders. After Flanders opted out of the band around the time the live album was released, what was left was a half-minyan of Jewish musicians from New York: Al Kooper (organ and piano), Danny Kalb and Steve Katz (guitars), Roy Blumenfeld (drums) and Andy Kulberg (bass).

I should add that the joke around town was that the Project were the Jewish Beatles. I should also add that Tommy Flanders, the original lead singer, managed the Floor Models for the first year after we got together

Here's the rest of the story.

And wait till you see the one that's going up over the weekend for Shabbos.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Well, Here's a Subject I Never Expected to Be Dealing With in This Venue

From the current issue of The Forward (or, as we authentic Red Sea Pedestrians pronounce it, The Forvard), please enjoy their hilarious and informative piece on The 150 Greatest Jewish Pop Songs of all time.

Starting with this one by Lou Reed...

The poet and writer Delmore Schwartz, who at 25 published one of the most dazzling collections of stories ever written, “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” was born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrants in 1913. A James Joyce obsessive (see his papers at Yale’s Beinecke Library for a look at his brilliant annotated “Finnegans Wake”), he had a remarkable and bitterly short life, dying alone in the Chelsea Hotel at 52 in a sort of cruel reversal of the immigrant son’s American Dream. But a few years before he died in 1966, he taught creative writing and literature at Syracuse University, where he was Lou Reed’s teacher.

Lou Reed, who grew up in a Jewish family in suburban Long Island, moved from the radical Velvet Underground to his solo career, carrying with him the “spirit” of Delmore Schwartz, who famously told Reed he would come back and haunt him if he betrayed his talent.

Here's the rest of it.

Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Your Tuesday Moment of Veterinary Medicining

Assuming a certain Shady Dame and I can get him into our new cat carrier, The Incomparable Eddie© is going for a check up at our vet's office this morning. If we all survive the ordeal, regular musical postings will resume on the morrow.

Pray for us.

Monday, February 07, 2022

Is Rock Poetry? Uh, When It's Good, Fuck Yeah!!!

And speaking as we were the other day of Fountains of Wayne's "Someone to Love" and what a great fucking poem its lyrics are...

Ladies and germs, from 1967, please enjoy The Kinks "Autumn Almanac." A song and band I suspect was a serious influence on FOW's Adam Schlesinger.

From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar. When the dawn begins to crack... It's all part of my autumn almanac.

Breeze blows leaves of a musty-coloured yellow. So I sweep them in my sack... Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

Friday evenings, people get together. Hiding from the weather.

Tea and toasted buttered currant buns Can't compensate for lack of sun, Because the summer's all gone.


Oh, my poor rheumatic back Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac. ...


Oh, my autumn almanac Yes, yes, yes, it's my autumn almanac.

I like my football on a Saturday. Roast beef on Sundays, all right. I go to Blackpool for my holidays, Sit in the open sunlight.

This is my street, and I'm never gonna to leave it, And I'm always gonna stay here If I live to be ninety nine 'Cause all the people I meet Seem to come from my street And I can't get away, Because it's calling me (come on home) Hear it calling me (come on home)...


Oh, my autumn Armagnac. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes,'s my autumn almanac.

That's as gorgeous an evocation of somebody's real life as has ever been set to music. Just brilliant.

I should add that the "Autumn ARMANGAC" thing at the end may be me mis-Hearing it. Okay. So sue me.

I should also add that when they gave Bob Dylan the Nobel for literature, I cheered. But Ray deserves it too.

Friday, February 04, 2022

It's Fountains of Wayne Week (Part Le Fin): Special "L'Amour, Le Jersey Shore" Edition

From the fabulous new Fountains of Wayne/Adam Schlesinger tribute album Saving for a Summer Van...

...please enjoy Motion Picture Soundtrack and their astoundingly faithful cover of "A Dip in the Ocean"...

...and Mikey Eng and a killer remake of "Hey Julie."

I don't know which of these I like better; the "Hey Julie" is a little wimpier than the original, but it still makes me cry, but "A Dip..." sounds so close to the FOW version that the first time I heard it, it thought it WAS the FOW version. Which is kind of amazing, given what a fiendishly difficult song it is to perform faithfully, at least to my my mind.

I should add that if you're so inclined, you can get a vinyl copy of all this over at Vinyl Me Please, but a digital version can be found at Bandcamp.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

[h/t Sal Nunziato]

Thursday, February 03, 2022

More Fountains of Wayne Covers -- Coming Later Today!!!

Scout's honor!!! Check back in the afternoon!!!

You're welcome!!!!!

Too tired. New FOW cover song up on the morrow for the weekend.

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

It's Fountains of Wayne Week (Part II): Special Tranche de Vie Edition

And speaking, as we were yesterday, of the utterly transplendent new FOW tribute album Saving for a Custom Van...

...I have this to say about a song that was NOT covered on said tribute.

To wit: The above features one of the Top Ten greatest and most poetic slice-of-life lyrics ever written by anybody who isn't Ray Davies...

Seth Shapiro got his law degree He moved to Brooklyn from Schenectady, '93 Got some clients in the food industry He says it's not the money, it's the recipes

He calls his mom, says he's doing fine She's got somebody on the other line Puts Coldplay on, pours a glass of wine Curls up with a book about organized crime

When it's late, and it's hot And a date with the Late Show's all that you've got Don't give out, don't give up One of these nights you might find someone to love

Beth McKenzie got the job of her dreams Retouching photos for a magazine aimed at teens It's Thursday night she should be out on the scene But she's sitting at home watching "The King of Queens"

There's something wrong that she can't describe She takes the contacts out of her eyes Sets the alarm for 6:45 So she can get a little exercise

When it's late, and it's hot And an hour in the shower is the best that you've got Don't give out, don't give up One of these nights you might find someone to love

And you're not the only one who's lonely

Seth Shapiro is trying in vain To hail a taxi in the morning in the pouring rain Beth McKenzie sees one just up ahead She cuts in front of him and leaves him for dead

...and that the video may well be the greatest in rock history.

I should add that FOW auteur Adam Schlesinger, who wrote the song, died of COVD in early April of 2020 at the age of 52, and that I hold President Donald "Schmucko" Trump personally responsible.

A fabulous track from the new album will be here on the morrow.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

It's Fountains of Wayne Week: Special Gender Flip Edition

From just now, and the brand new Fountains of Wayne tribute album Saving For a Custom Van, please enjoy Crazy Ex-Girl Friend co-star Rachel Bloom and her version of the beyond great "Stacy's Mom" that I guarantee the late Adam Schlesinger, who wrote it (obviously), would have dug the shit out of.

More about this album as the week progresses.

[h/t Sal Nunziato]