So a certain Shady Dame and I are going to see a certain venerable theatrical classic on Broadway tonight; let's see if you can guess which one it is.
Here's a hint.
You know, it's funny -- I don't think I've ever seen a stage production of Shakespeare's Scottish play. My first exposure to it was on live TV, in 1954, in a celebrated NBC Hallnark Hall of Fame version starring Maurice Evans, who shall we say had a whiff of pork about him...
...but it nevertheless made a profound influence on the young me.
I should add that, obviously, the version I'm gonna see tomorrow -- which stars Daniel Craig, of James Bond fame -- will probably blow my aging mind as well.
I mean, Macbeth played by a guy who looks good in a tux? Wow!
From his brand new 2022 album Harry's House, (released just last Friday, actually), please enjoy former boy band behemoth Harry Styles and his lovely (and 70s singer/songwriter influenced) ballad "Matilda."
Seriously, that's a really pretty record. I gotta say, to my delighted surprise, that this Styles kid is really talented.
Dig a club version of Chuck Berry's "Around and Around." The studio version of which originally opened The Rolling Stones' 1964 12 X 5.
And (originally) from their It's Only Rock 'n' Roll album in 1974, please enjoy a killer live take on Jagger/Richards' oh so cool, catchy and funny reggage-influenced "Luxury."
Okay, the backstory in case you've missed it
In 1977, the Stones put out a double LP in-concert album called Love You Live...
...that pretty much nobody (including me) liked; most of it was recorded in arenas, with lousy sound, the Andy Warhol cover art was lazily tossed-off crap, and the performances were way less than stellar.
LP side three, however, derived from a small club show the Stones had done in Toronto as a warm up for the tour that produced the other sides of dreck, and that club stuff was fricking amazing. And for years, people have been pining for an official release of that whole intimate show.
Et voila! The two tracks above, which derive from said intimate show, and are now from the Stones' new-found (and previously unreleased) masterpiece Live at the El Mocambo 1977.
I should add that said artifact is now one of my two favorite Stones live albums of all time, and -- even more impressively -- one of my four favorite live albums of all time by anybody. (I leave it to you to guess what the other two are).
From their 1996 album Hourly, Daily, please enjoy second greatest (after The Easybeats) Australian rock band You Am I, and their power pop masterpiece "Mr. Milk".
The short version: Sometime after that song was released, I happened to wander into NYCD, the fabulous record emporium on Manhattan's Upper West Side that I lived a few blocks away from. The above song was playing on the store sound system at the time, and I had no idea what it was or who had done it and it flipped me fucking out. (I mean -- is that 12-string riff the coolest or what?)
Fortunately, friend of PowerPop and proprietor of the invaluable Burning Wood blogSal Nunziato was behind the counter at the time, and was able to provide me with the track's backstory.
From just now in 2022, please enjoy incomparable singer/songwriter (and friend of PowerPop) Cait Brennan and her fabulous new cover version of the hard-rock classic "Open My Eyes," (written by Todd Rundgren, who was doing business at the time with The Nazz).
Attentive readers will recall that I first wrote abouve Cait -- who, BTW, has an interesting backstory; let's just say she's quite a gal -- on the occasion of the release of her fabulous first album back in 2017, and that I later raved about her upon the release of her sophomore album, which was recorded at the same Ardent Studios where her idols Big Star plied their trade.
I should add that, since then, I was fortunate enough to have her sing back-up vocals on a track -- "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" -- from the recent Floor Models tribute to The Byrds.
I should also add -- as if you couldn't tell on your own -- that she's just great, and that the above Nazz cover -- the original, which I adore, came out back in the antedeluvian days of 1968 -- and I'm delighted that Cait (collaborating with her long time producer and multi-instrumentalist Fernando Perdomo -- did such a wonderfully radical re-imagining of it.
As attentive readers may know, I went to college at a place called C.W. Post -- a subsidiary (if that is the right word) of Long Island Universary, whose actual, i.e. physical, campus is located in lovely Brookville, N.Y. This was between, approximately, 1968-1972, in case you were wondering.
In any event, the place was lousy with great musicians, and one of said great musicians was a guy named Michael Sternberg. Same age as me, and like moi a nice Jewish boy from the tri-state area. But unlike me, a fucking tremendous guitar player. Mostly a blues guy -- he could do Mike Bloomfield better than anybody I ever encountered, but he was also a super British Invasion afficianado. To this day, one of the most amazing things I've heard was Mike's casually tossed off version of the lead guitar part from The Beatles' "And Your Bird Can Sing."
A part, I might mention, that on the original Beatles record is played by TWO (count 'em) two musicians simultaenously. I.e., George Harrison and Paul McCartney.
I mean, my jaw still hasn't stopped dropping after all these years.
I should add that Michael's a wonderfully talented visual artist as well; here's a self-portrait he did back in the day, and that's just what he looked like.
In any case, I stayed in touch with Michael after college; like me, he moved to Manhattan in the 80s, and I remember jamming with him and some of the Floor Models on at least one occasion during that decade. Since then I've also become Facebook buddies with him for at least ten of those years.
But here's the thing -- what I did NOT know about Michael, until a few days ago when he posted these photos over at his FB feed -- was that his mom was a big shot actress in the Yiddish theater back in the day.
I mean, are those pictures the coolest things you ever saw?
Shoot, I'm willing to bet a bunch of my relatives attended performances by his mom, on stage live, at some point.
From 2021, please enjoy the incomparable Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and their magisterially gorgeous "The Future."
I think we can all safely agree that the above is the most convincing emulation of vintage period Robert Zimmerman -- circa, say, Blonde on Blonde -- any of us has heard lately.
But a little backstory.
As attentive readers are aware, my local watering hole is a joint called the Keuka Kafe, a few blocks down Queens Boulevard -- or as the regulars call it, the Boulevard of Death, due to the sadly high number of little old lady traffic fatalities -- from our digs in Forest Hills.
Apart from the splendid food and drink available there, and the hospitality of its proprietors Oleg and Olga Sakhno, the Kafe is also notable for the high quality of the music played on its sound system; I've been frequenting the place for six or seven years now, and hardly a visit goes by where I'm not hipped to some cool song previously unknown to me. The Rateliff tune above, which I heard for the first time this past Saturday, is just the most recent example.
I should add that if you're in the neighborhood, another reason to check the place out is their splendid selection of Ukranian beer, the sales of which are all donated to charities benefiting that beleaguered country. And tell 'em PowerPop sent you.
BTW, the song has been covered on numerous occasions; I tried to find the 70s version by porn star Robin Byrd, which New Yorkers will doubtless remember as the theme from her appalling Manhattan Cable TV show, but alas it was not to be.
From 1973, please enjoy the great John Cippolina, doing business as the frontman of Copperhead, and their eponymous album's opening track "Roller Derby Star."
Copperhead was the (short-lived) band Cippolina formed after his exit from Quicksilver Messenger Service, and when their album crossed my desk at the old Stereo Review, I remember laughing my posterior off at the song, and playing it obsessively (the fact that I had been a huge Quicksilver fan probably had something to do with it). In any case, in the intervening years I forgot all about the track.
Until the other day, when for some reason I was thinkig about Cippolina's slightly surreal custom built amplifier stack, which I had marvelled at a few years ago when I saw it at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland --
--- and suddenly the song popped into my head. Kind of Proustian, when you think of it, but a lot louder than Proust would have enjoyed.
In any event, I haven't heard the album in decades, but I am pleased to report that it is available in multiple formats over at Amazon HERE.