Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Incomparable Eddie is Having Old Age Related Health Problems

Our priority for the next few days is keeping an eye on him.

Regular posting will resume when it resumes, and we'd appreciate it if you'd light a metaphorical candle for our beloved feline pal.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Closed for Monkey Business

Regular posting about obscure songs I love but had forgotten resumes tomorrow.

Monday, June 27, 2022

All Reeds Load to Gnome

Why you pay the big bucks to live in the five boros: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (at Lincoln Center) is curently running Lou Reed: Under the Twisted Stars, an absolutely smashing exhibit and tribute to the late great rock auteur.

And I should know, because I was dere, Charlie, a few weeks ago, for the show's official opening night party.

Among the attractions at the show, which runs till March 4th, is a listening room where (including other sonic assaults) you can hear excerpts from Metal Machine Music when it was a work in progress; explore a recreation of Reed collaborator Hal Willner's recording studio; and sample a DJ set of doo wop singles from Lou's record collection spun by Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye. The Library also now features a Reed research archive, i.e. a definitive collection of his lyrics, poetry, correspondence, hand-written notebooks, etc, which was donated by Lou's partner and main squeeze Laurie Anderson last year.

I should add that the opening night-- which was lavishly catered, i.e. with lots of free food and booze -- was the kind of fete that (back in the 70s) I attended, for professional reasons, pretty much five evenings a week. Which is to say that not only was the exhibition absolutely splendid, but as a social event it inspired a certain slack-jawed nostalgia in yours truly. Damn -- I was a really lucky bastard in my days at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review.

I should also add that I once got to meet and shake hands with Lou at a party the magazine threw (I believe) in early 1973; it was one of our Record of the Year shebangs, and it was among the most awkward experiences of my life. Fortunately, there's a lovely capper to the story which perhaps I'll tell later this week.

In any case, for more info on the show, check out the NYPL's website OVER HERE.

[h/t Rebecca Littman]

Friday, June 24, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: An Occasional Feature (Special "The Four Seasons" Edition)

From 1967, please enjoy The Hollies and (the b-side of "Carrie-Anne") their gorgeous (Clarke-Hicks-Nash penned) "Signs That Will Never Change."

The song itself first saw the light of vinyl in 1966, on The Everly Brothers Two Yanks in England LP, on which the Bros were backed by The Hollies. But this rendition has some vaguely psychedelic touches that to my ears make it definitive. In any case, a genuine overlooked classic.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: An Occasional Feature (Special "The Band That Died For Your Fins" Edition)

From their 1982 Album -- Generic Flipper, please enjoy the aforementioned Flipper and their toe-tapping classic "Sex Bomb Baby."

These guys made an idiosyncratic brand of punk rock that was simultaneously hilarious and disturbing. I must admit that I was kind of late to the party where they were concerned, but the first time I heard the song above I knew I would never be the same.

I should add that Flipper's 1993 masterpiece (American Grafishy) sported the greatest album title in history.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: An Occasional Feature (Special "Follow the Money" Edition)

From 1974, and their sophomore album Sheet Music, please enjoy 10cc and their mordant, ironic (and obviously still relevant) ode to rapacious greed "The Wall Street Shuffle."

Like most of the early 10cc stuff, it was too hip for the room (i.e., it was a hit in the UK but bombed here).

I should add that it was co-penned by Graham Gouldman, who in my humble opinion is the greatest British rock songwriter of his day whose last name isn't either Lennon or McCartney.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: An Occasional Feature (Special "The Poor Are Always With Us" Edition)

From early 1967, please enjoy Los Angeles country-folk-pop-garage-psychedelic band The Poor and their terrific minor hit single -- okay, it made the Top 40 in New York City, and I actually owned a copy of the 45 seen below when it came out -- "She's Got the Time (She's Got the Changes").

The short version: These guys were bassist Randy Meisner's band before he joined Poco (and later The Eagles), and they were managed by the guys who handled Buffalo Springfield. Also as you can hear and see...

...the song -- which is terrific -- was written by Tom Shipley, later of the duo responsible for "One Toke Over the Line." Okay, I've forgiven both of them.

I should add that the comp album above is one of the coolest artifacts of the just-pre-San Francisco rock era, and well worth checking out.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: An Occasional Feature (Special "Snoopy -- the Comic Strip Dog, Not the Rapper -- Would Have Flipped For This One" Edition)

From late 1966, and the B-side to their deserved hit single "Hello, Hello," please enjoy the vastly underrated Sopwith Camel and "Treadin'," one of the great lost folk-rock records of all time. Sort of a cross between the original Byrds and middle-period Zombies.

Don't get me started on the Camel; those guys were historically important for being the first of the Fillmore era hippie San Francisco bands to score a hit single, and their album pictured above -- which didn't come out for a year or so after their breakthough success for reasons that have been murky ever since -- is an utter masterpiece. God knows it's vastly superior on every level to both the debut LPs by their contemporaries the Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane.

I should add that it was produced, brilliantly, by Erik Jacobsen (who helmed the records of the Lovin' Spoonful, Norman Greenbaum and Chris Isaak) and that to the best of my knowledge "Treadin'" did not appear on any actual version of the Camel album back in the day, nor was it available in a stereo mix previously. Discovering this version has been one of the biggest surprises I've had since I woke up in 2016 and learned that a mediocre James Bond Villain had mysteriously become president of these United States.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved : An Occasional Feature (Special "You Be Bad, Girl" Edition)

From their eponymous 1985 debut album, please enjoy should-have-been-bigger LA band Lone Justice and their terrific -- written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell -- single "Ways to Be Wicked."

If memory serves I first became aware of these kids when they did the song above on Saturday Night Live; in any case, I remember flipping out over the album and raving about it in the pages of The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review. Haven't heard any of the rest of the record in years, but this one -- which I rediscovered last week -- holds up, I think.

Trivia Note: lead singer Maria McKee is the half sister of the late Bryan Maclean, the Brian Jones blonde look-alike in Arthur Lee's Love.

Have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Friday, June 17, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved (An Occasional Feature)...

...will return tomorrow, and the song in question is a doozy. Trust me on this, and sorry for the delay necessitated by real world concerns.

See you Saturday.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: An Occasional Feature (Special "Who Were These Guys, Anyway?" Edition)

From 1965, please enjoy Brit popsters Unit Four plus Two (featuring future Argent drummer Bob Henrit) and their quite lovely Beatles/Beach Boys-esque take on the venerable pop hit "When I Fall In Love."

The song itself -- co-written written by celebrated film composer Victor Young -- was originally featured in a 1952 Robert Mitchum Cold War thriller, and has been covered innumerable times, including by Linda Ronstadt and Rick (It Was Ghastly) Astley.

The version above, however, was the B-side of the international hit "Concrete and Clay," and as a teenager I used to play it obsessively. I mean more than the A-side; it had a Dion and the Belmonts doo wop vibe that somehow connected with the pre-college me.

A lovely record, in any case, and nice to be re-acquainted with it after all these years.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: An Occasional Feature (Special "Alan Turing" Edition)

From 1982, please enjoy first generation greaseballs The Capris -- of "There's a Moon Out Tonight" fame -- and their fabulous modern day doo wop cult hit "Morse Code of Love."

The short backstory:

As attentive readers are no doubt aware, I'm a sucker for doo wop. Apparently so were some people at Sony Music -- a couple of rock critics, if memory serves -- who ran, briefly, a low budget label subsidiary called Ambient Sound, which was devoted to doo wop old and and new.

In any event, I was vaguely aware of all this, but for some reason never bothered to listen to the stuff Ambient released when their vinyl crossed my desk at the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review. But then sometime in the late 80s I happened to hear "Morse Code of Love" for the first time on WCBS-FM (our local oldies radio station) while travellling home from a weekend long recording session in Delaware, and practically leapt out of the car in joy at the innocent gorgeousnesss of the song. And when I looked it up and found out that it was a actually a contemporary track, my little heart danced in ways I find difficult to describe.

Since then, I've binge-listened to it every couple of years, and last week I went nuts over it all over again. Hopefully, you guys will have the same reaction to it as I did.

Oh and BTW -- I should add that Manhattan Transfer did a drop dead great cover of it (billed as "Baby Come Back") that is the perfect capper to the saga, especially since it actually charted.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Closed for Repairs

Fabulously groovy stuff, including a photo essay about the new Lou Reed exhibition at Lincoln Center, will appear tomorrow through Friday. But you'll have to take my word for that.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Records I'd Forgotten Existed, Let Alone Loved: An Occasional Series (Special "When's the Mummer's Day Parade This Year?")

From their brilliant (and aptly named) 2000 album Kids in Philly, please enjoy the City of Brotherly Love's finest, aka Marah, and their haunting and kinetic "It's Only Money, Tyrone."

Alas, these guys make publically consumable music only occasionally these days (although they all seem to be alive and well, knock wood).

In any case, as you can hear from the above, nobody's ever done a more accomplished mashup of Bruce Springsteen and The Replacments.

Friday, June 10, 2022

And Speaking of Rock en Espanol…. we were the other day (over here), from 2010, please enjoy the pride of Guadalajara, Mexico -- AKA ManĂ¡ -- and their gorgeously Police-y ballad "Rayando el Sol."

In all seriousness, these guys are rapidly turning into my favorite band, despite the language barrier.

Incidentally, the title translates as "Reaching for the Sun."

Have a great weekend, evertybody!

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Les Enfants Vont Bien

From just the other day, please enjoy everybody's favorite sisters from Liverpool (or wherever the hell they're from) doing a fabulous unplugged version of The Who's classic early single.

(Look at the bookshelf top right, BTW).

From Mona and Lisa:

"When tlhe legend himself, Pete Townshend, got in touch with us a few years ago, simply to write some encouraging words to us, it felt like a circle was closing and real life got elevated to some surreal fairy tale."

I'll bet, gals. I'll freaking bet.

Saturday, June 04, 2022

Your Weekend Moment of "How Do You Say Backstory?" in French: Special Today We Are Le Vinyl Edition

So anyway, the short version.

Sometime last year, I got an e-mail out of the blue from a lovely gentleman from Canada (specifically Quebec) previously unknown to me named Martin Tremblay. Turned out Martin ran an indie label -- Mean Bean -- which specialized in late 70s/early 80s power pop and punk reissues on vinyl. Martin -- god only knows how -- had heard of The Floor Models, asked me if I would like to contribute a track, and specifically asked for our "Enough's Enough," which is the song I would have picked myself. He had previously issued two volumes of this stuff, beautifully packaged -- liner notes about each band, an insert map poster showing where each band was based -- and, flattered beyond belief, I told him I was in (duh), and sent him a remastered version of our song.

In any case, the album was released earlier in the week -- as promised, a 12-inch LP like the good old days -- and it's absolutely fabulous on every level (love the cover, for example).

Anyway, here's a couple of representative tracks, beginning with the opener -- The Tearjerkers' Beach Boys-esque "Syracuse Summer" (bet you can't guess where those guys were from)... my favorite track (for obvious reasons) -- The Floor Models' "Enough's Enough," featuring yours truly on bass...

...and The Toasters' hard-rocking, melodic and funny "Stuck On You."

To my surprise, I had only previously heard of a couple of the bands on the record; here's the complete song and artist listing...

...and you can -- and should -- order the album at the link HERE.

Act now, because only 500 copies are gonna be available to the anxiously awaiting public, and when they're gone, they're gone baby gone.

And a tip of the Floor Models hat to Martin Tremblay, who made it all happen.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I am so gassed about this release that I am leaving the blog post up for one more day. Regular new stuff resumes tomorrow.

Friday, June 03, 2022

Okay, What Do We Have Here?

Hint: It's an old fashioned 12" vinyl LP, and it just became commercially available.

And what is all this stuff...

...that seems to be inside the package in the first picture?

Trust me, all will be revealed tomorrow in the backstory we might title The Musician Whose Name Rhymes With Sleeve Nimels -- Call Home!

The Coolest Thing Ever is Coming Later This Afternoon!

Check in for the details, won't you?

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Out Out, Damn Schmuck!

So as I mentioned recently, a certain Shady Dame and I went to see the Daniel Craig Broadway revival of Macbeth last Tuesday...

...and if you were wondering, with the exception of Craig, who has presence and charisma to burn, it, er, sucked eggs.

I mean, it was godawful -- miserably acted by a large, surprisingly amateurish ensemble cast, and directed by some putz would-be avant-garde auteur who makes a justifiably forgotten asswipe along the lines of Tom O'Horgan seem like Orson Welles.

Basically, it was the contemporary equivalent of a pretentious "experimental" college production of a Shakespeare play from the early 70's. I.e., incoherent trendy cringe-inducing bullshit trying to rip-off the mercifully (lost in the mists of history) Living Theatre. You know -- the kind of crap it was de riegeur to subject yourself to at some downtown dive like La Mama.

And when I say that, I know what I'm talking about, i.e. I was in a couple of those shows back in the day.

In any case, it's all but unwatchable -- if you're in the neighborhood of Broadway, save your money.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Your Wednesday Moment of Disarmament

So as you may have noticed, last weekend I couldn't come up with songs that seemed appropriate to the horrendously tragic recent events in Buffalo and Texas.

Typically, now I just did.

This one, by the great Ian Hunter (who comes from a country where they don't have the problems that we do) seems blindingly apt.

As does this one from Little Steven's first album. (BTW, that's the cosmically great Dino Danelli -- of Rascals fame -- on the stupendous drum part.)

In any event, two superb and obviously relevant tunes, although (granted) a day or two late, and a bitcoin short.