Friday, May 31, 2024

The Greatest Weekend Listomania of All Times: Special "I've Wanted to Do This For Years and Years" Edition

Okay, as you may have heard, Apple Music has just posted a list of what are supposed to be the Best Albums Ever Made.

To predictable outrage from the sort of people that take this kind of online shit seriously and should know better. Myself included.

In the Apple Top Ten?

Six words. Lauryn. Hill. Frank. Ocean. Kendrick. Lamar.

I mean, gimme a fucking break.

Seriously, look I know, these lists are nothing but clickbait, and this one is no more ridiculous than any other one. And yeah, it's a generation gap thing, and there's no accounting for taste, and fuck you boomers, and blah blah blah.

That said, there actually are, objectively, records that should be on a list like the above, and I happen to be an expert in this regard.

So here they are, in this blog's traditional Weekend Listomania form, and after you've perused them you can nominate your own, which I will doubtless have nothing but justified scorn for, you morons.

To wit:

All-Time Best Post-WWII Records Ever Recorded -- In Any Genre!!!

As you can see, there are no arbitrary rules. Oh wait -- fuck that laissez-faire shit. hiphop/indie rock/Phillip Glass or Steve Reich-ian Minimalist shit/Taylor Swift albums -- or anything from the 21st century -- need apply. Because obviously all of that sucks*.

On the other hand: If you want to nominate a dopey novelty single, go for it. What the hell do I care?

Okay -- and my totally top of my head Top Ten is...

[*The following list is only partially meant tongue-in-cheek. Just so we're clear. -- S.S.]

10. Miles Davis/Gil Evans -- Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960)

Ahh, Miles. If ever a dude bopped in from an alternate universe, it was him.

9. The Firesign Theater -- Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers (Columbia, 1970)

The Beatles of comedy? Uh, yeah. This album is that good.

8. Alex North -- Spartacus (The Sound Track Album) (Decca, 1960)

Have I mentioned that Alex North may have been one of the greatest American composers of the second half of the 20th Century? And if you don't believe it, dig the Spartacus main title above.

7. Nervous Norvus -- Transfusion (Dot, 1956)

Rockabilly meets the Age of Anxiety and then they all go to Golden Corral for lunch.

6. Marty Robbins -- Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (Columbia, 1959)

For the proto-leather bar album cover alone, although the uncut version of "El Paso" is also great when you want to signal your party guests to go home.

5. Bidu Sayao and Heitor Villa-Lobos -- Bachianas Brasileira No. 5/Cantilena (Columbia, 1952)

A chick singer, a small string section and a haunting melody. This is the hit that every bad prog band has been chasing since forever. And please -- don't give me any of that Joan Baez shit because I don't want to hear about it.

I should add that I actually had the original LP version. Love that album sleeve.

And if memory serves it was a ten-inch, if you'll pardon the expression. Heh.

4. Dennis Brain and the Philharmonia Orchestra with Herbert Von Karajan -- Mozart Horn Concertos (EMI, 1953)

Hey -- apart from the fact that his playing (and not just of Mozart) was virtuosic and meltingly gorgeous, his last name was actually freaking Brain. Sheesh. There isn't a rock star ever who wouldn't have killed to be able to pull that off.

3. The Singing Dogs -- Jingle Bells (RCA, 1955)

Inter-species music making. Obviously, it doesn't get any better.

2. B. B. King -- Live at the Regal (ABC, 1964)

Everybody, by which I mean rock critics, agrees this is the greatest blues album ever made, and yet none of them (including me) has ever bothered to listen to it. How cool is that?

And the most significant thing ever recorded down through the echoing corridors of time and even into the far distant future (if any) unmistakably is...

1. Tonio K. -- Life in the Foodchain (Columbia, 1978)

C'mon -- like you (and especially long-time readers) didn't see that coming FROM A MILE AWAY DOWN BROADWAY?

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be? (Don't worry -- they can't possibly be sillier than the some of the ones on the Apple list).

And have the most transplendent weekend in world history, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Closed for Transplendently Brilliant Monkey Business

Hard at work on Friday's Weekend Listomania, which will be beyond the pale of human experience great and I am not exaggerating. In fact, that's a hint to the theme of the thing.

See you tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

If It's Wednesday, There Must Be a Stairway to Heaven

From 1989 or '90, and the Australian comedy talk show show The Money or the Gun, please enjoy highly fetching Sydney-based New Wave/power popsters The Whipper Snappers and their adorable take on that insufferable Led Zeppelin classic.

The show must have been a lot of fun, BTW.

Each week a guest would perform their own version of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". Versions would occasionally tie in with the theme of the episode ("Guns - the Musical" had a Broadway-style version by Jodie Gilles as the conclusion, while the episode on Australian Comedy had the Doug Anthony All Stars performing it with the assistance of Barry Crocker) but the most surprising of all was the version by Rolf Harris which eventually reached number 7 on the UK singles chart. Generally the performance of "Stairway" would be a break in the program and the artists would have no other part in the program. The CD release won an Aria Award in Australia in 1993 and was subsequently released on the Atlantic Label in the USA though truncated.

I'm told there was also a commercially available video with 27 of the STH performances, but alas, it only made it to VHS.

[h/t Peter Scott]

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

In the Immortal Words of Bobby Darin -- How Was I to Know There Was a Party Going On?

From just last week, and her album When Therapy Fails (heh!), please enjoy Texas-based roots-rocker Pam Ross and her latest (and aptly named) single "Fire in the Hole."

That song kicks some serious ass, I think you'll agree, but the video -- which looks like the live-band-in-a-bar performance I have been searching for what seems like my entire adult life -- just absolutely slays me.

Man -- what I wouldn't give to have been an attendee at the party/show that was shot at.

Oh well. In the meantime, you can (and should) find out more about Pam -- including where to hear and download more of her music -- over at her official website HERE.

BTW, have I mentioned I would have killed to dance with the punk gal with the is-it-a-mohawk-or-isn't it? hairdo cavorting in front of the band? Thank you.

Monday, May 27, 2024

It’s Memorial Day at the Shore: How Proustian!!!

So as attentive readers are aware, a certain Shady Dame and I saw the 2024 edition of the redoubtable Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes last Thursday.

Short version: They were as much fun as always, but to my delighted surprise, they did a wonderful version of this Stones' classic...

...which I was previously unaware they had recorded, but which, it now occurs to me, they must have perfomed numerous times back in their early 70s pre-record deal days as the premier bar band in south Joisey.

Okay -- that's all I have to say about that, except...enjoy the holiday, everybody!

Also: New music -- filmed at what looks like the most fun party in rock-and-roll history -- resumes on the morrow.

Friday, May 24, 2024

La Fin de La Semaine Essay Question: Special "I Don't Think This Relationship Can Be Saved" Edition

Still recovering from last night's live show by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes -- a bunch of real heroes of mine, and yet I hadn't seen them since well before the pandemic -- so today's intro will be necessarily brief.

In other words, let's get immediately to the weekend's business. To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) post-Elvis pop/rock/country/soul song about a boy/girlfriend from hell, the one that got away, a fucked up romance or a sad break-up is...???

No arbitrary rules, although I was sorely tempted to exclude anything by Joni Mitchell or Taylor Swift, just because I don't give a rodent's behind about either of their romantic problems.


Anyway, my nominee is this amazingly catchy yelp by brilliant Chicago power popsters Material Issue.

A song I find hysterically funny, until I remember that MI auteur Jim Ellison offed himself in his garage (carbon monoxide poisoning) shortly after committing it to tape in 1996.

Which is to say it's a lot more autobiographical than anybody knew prior to his sad passing.

In any case, now that I've thoroughly depressed you -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Encounters With Greatness (An Occasional Series)

Okay, this is a true story, so cut me some slack.

Once upon a time (actually sometime in 1974) I found myself -- along with my colleagues from my post-college rock band The Hounds -- in the prestigious and normally prohibitively expensive confines of world famous recording studio Electric Lady, on 8th Street in New York's fabled Greenwich Village.

The short version is that the studio was running a program of classes for aspiring recording engineers, and they needed bodies in the studio making noise while they taught the students how to be the next George Martins. I don't recall exactly how we got lucky enough to be such freebie musical guinea pigs, but I do recall that we were acutely aware of our good fortune in this regard, and as a result we were -- uncharacteristically -- well rehearsed and well prepared. I mean hey -- it was the best and in many ways the coolest studio in the freaking world at the time; we weren't gonna fuck around. Especially at those prices.

In any case, we had been gifted with two four-hour sessions on consecutive Saturdays, and our goal was to perform, record and mix one of our original songs, to be used as a demo to knock on record company doors with, before time ran out.

During a brief break in the first session, I meandered into the studio lounge looking for the coffee machine. And to my stunned and delighted surprise, there I ran into none other than Rolling Stones' guitarist Ronnie Wood, making himself a decaf. (I didn't know it at the time, but Wood was working in one of the bigger rooms at E.L., doing sessions for what became his first solo LP, I've Got My Own Album to Do.)

I tried, with what success I know not, to remain cool in the presence of one of my long-time idols, and poured myself a cuppa. And then Wood suddenly said "'Allo mate. Whatcha doin'?"

I mumbled something about what we were up to -- I assume it was utterly incoherent -- and finally he replied "Well, good luck to ya. And use this while you're doin' it."

And then he handed me one of these...

...and exited stage right.


I. I never actually used that pick to play my guitar, but it sat in a place of reverence in a dish on my living room coffee table for at least the next twenty years. (I lost it subsequently; how, I have no idea).

II. In case you were wondering, our E.L. session turned out fabulously. I would have preferred a bigger guitar sound, but nonetheless we ultimately were thoroughly pleased with the finished product -- a delightful piece of Stones-ish punk/pop that we used for the A-side of our DIY single a year or two later.

Which actually sold 800 copies (including a couple overseas) and which is an honorable footnote to rock history, you're welcome very much.

You can listen to it HERE.

Hey -- I said it was a true story. But as I often add on these occasions, I didn't say it was an interesting one.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Your Wednesday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo? (Special "Ripped Jeans Say So Much" Edition)

From her 2005 album Little Fugitive, please enjoy noted woman in rock Amy Rigby and her infectious and kinda touching account of the night she spent "Dancing With Joey Ramone."

I've been a fan of Rigby's since her 1996 debut Diary of a Mad Housewife, but somehow I missed the above until last weekend. Oh well, better late than never.

Oh, and in case you can't make out the lyrics...

He walked into the party looking just like he had in the past
He came up to me and he didn't even have to ask
I tried to say something, he said "Girl, shut your mouth
They're playing Papa Was a Rolling Stone"
Last night I was dancing with Joey Ramone

He was cool with his leather jacket and his little dark shades
He started dancing around, I tried to copy every move he made
When I reached for his hand he kind of brushed me off
Then they played "Hangin' on the Telephone"
Last night when I was dancing with Joey Ramone

They played "The Worst That Could Happen" by the Brooklyn Bridge
"He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)"
"Glad All Over", "Needles and Pins"
"Be My Baby" again and again
"Gloria" by the Shadows of Knight
"He's So Fine" and "I Feel Alright"
"Charlie Brown", "Can't Sit Down"
We were dancin' around and around

Well I closed my eyes for a minute and then he was gone
The room looked different but the music kept playing on
And on and on and on
When I woke up today I had a song in my head
I wanna wanna wanna go home (wanna wanna wanna go)
They played it last night when I was dancing with Joey Ramone
Last night I was dancing with Joey Ramone
Last night I was dancing with Joey Ramone
Last night I was dancing with Joey Ramone

C'mon -- isn't that like the cutest thing you've ever heard? Not to mention hooky/catchy as a good Ramones track.

Okay, gotta go now -- have to start writing a song called "Dancing With Taylor Swift."

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Sometimes You Just Have to Pick a Side

Exhibit A.

Okay, that totally cracked me up, for any number of reasons. Sorry, Daryl.

I should add that the guy in the shirt is way cool Jersey-born rocker and friend of PowerPop Mike Daly.

Attentive readers will recall my bringing him to their attention back in 2017, when he unleashed this hilarious masterpiece upon an unsuspecting out of state audience.

Anyway, thanks Mike! And thanks again for the other t-shirt...

...which I still wear proudly,

Tomorrow: Back to serious regular posting, and a song that will knock your proverbial socks off!!!

Monday, May 20, 2024

Classic Rock Makes Strange Bedfellows!

Okay, this is disturbing, but it made me laugh anyway.

BTW, I have no idea who's responsible for that photo, but my hat's off to them.

I should probably also add that not only do I dislike both those album covers, but I also dislike both those albums.

But of course that's a story for another time.

Friday, May 17, 2024

La Fin de La Semaine Essay Question: Special "You Make Me Feel Like Manson” Edition

[Apologies to Leo Sayer for today's title -- S.S.]

Still recovering from seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse down the street from Casa Simels in Forest Hills last night -- but that's a whole other story; let's just say, I wanted to kill the audience.

In the meantime, let's get immediately to the weekend's business, which is inspired by the brilliant choreography in The Heart of Rock and Roll that I mentioned yesterday.

To wit:

...and your favorite post-Elvis, non-Disco pop/rock/soul/country song referencing a dance or dancing in its title or lyrics is...???

No arbitrary rules, you're welcome very much, but a warning -- I'm gonna enforce that exclusionary No Disco clause big time. Seriously, if you mention any of that Boogie Oogie Oogie shit I will come to your house and slap you with a dead fish.

Oh -- and my nominee?

The Beach Boys. "Dance, Dance, Dance."

A Rickenbacker 12-string, one of the all-time killer riffs, and those harmonies = one of the greatest singles of the 60s.

I should add that A) I've never seen that clip before, and have no clue from whence it derives -- anybody have an idea? B) If you ever wondered if the original BB lineup could cut it live, the above should settle the issue. Brian, in particular, shines -- trust me, simultaneously playing that riff and singing like an angel is not a skill to be sneezed at,

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Do You Believe in Comps?

So as some of you may be aware, a certain Shady Dame and I were gifted tickets for last Sunday's matinee performance of Broadway's The Heart of Rock and Roll, i.e. the Huey Lewis and the News show.

As you may also be aware, I'm not particularly a fan of either 80s nostalgia or juke box musicals, and let's just say I went in with very low expectations.

The short version: To my delighted surprise, it's absolutely wonderful. Smart, very very funny, and with (obviously) lots of great music -- and believe it or not, none of the songs feel shoe-horned into the plot. Which is to say the after-the-fact storyline that's been concocted for the thing really works. I mean you actually care abut the characters, which is the last thing I expected.

Yeah, yeah, I know -- I wouldn't have thought it possible, either.

I should add that the choreography is to die for; in particular, the first act number where all the characters line up to dance on an unrolled length of bubble wrap(!) is a genuinely hilarious show stopper.

As for the music, you know going in just how good the Lewis/News hits are, and that they've stood the test of time, but I must say that "The Only One" -- which I had forgotten about, and which figures prominently in the show's most poignant scene -- is just freaking great.

(Slightly off topic digression: I should also add that I'd TOTALLY forgotten just how interesting a guitarist The News' Johnny Colla was. I mean seriously, not only does he have an absolutely gorgeous instrumental tone, but his solos on that track sound like the ones I always wished I was good enough to invent back in the days when I fancied myself the Jewish Keith Richards/Mick Taylor but wasn't.)

In any event, trust me -- if you're in NYC and somebody gives you a pair of tickets, get thee to the James Earl Jones Theater pronto. You won't regret it.

And a big tip of the PowerPop hat to my old college chum Michael J. Nugent and his pal Andrew Perez, without whom etc.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Closed for Monkey Business: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait Edition

Real life bullshit intruded, so I regret I got nothing today

Here's a hint about tomorrow's post, however:

Those Fabulous 80s! And the Magic of Theater!

See ya then!!!

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

New Music From Around the World (An Occasional Series): Special "Feed Your Lawn -- Feed It!” Edition

Okay, folks -- from just the other day (i.e., it's just released), please enjoy way cool Scottish indie power pop combo Be Like Pablo and their addictive new single "There Goes the Sunshine."

The song is fabulous, I think you'll agree, but the video is particularly freaking hilarious. Kudos to stars Alec Westwood (as the Janitor) and the incomparable Pepper the Robot.

I should add that these guys were previously unknown to me, but apparently they've been around for awhile and you can find out more about them (including where they're gigging, if you happen to be in the UK) over at their official website here.

I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize to the band for the truly dumb joke in the title of today's post, which of course borrows from the current TV ad campaign for Scott's Turf Builder. (Get it -- Scott's?).

Sorry -- I should have known better.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Your Monday Moment of Words Fail Me: Special “Jews for Jesus” Edition

From 2022, please enjoy Richie Furay and friends and their brilliant take on Marc Cohn's sublime "Walking in Memphis."

Seriously -- that's an absolutely breahthtaking performance.

The song itself, of course, is one of the greatest contributions to American popular music in all of the second half of the 20th century. Sorry if you're too cynical and punk rock to get it, but it's nonethelss true.

And yeah. yeah, I know, that off-stage Furay's politics are a little, shall we say, problematic.

But sorry -- if you were prominently a fixture on the three genius Buffalo Springfield albums, and then responsible for the above, I'm willing to give you a pass despite whoever you're voting for.

BTW, as great as the above is, it is NOT my favorite visualization of "Walking in Memphis" not involving the composer.

This sequence -- from my favorite expisode of The X-Files -- is.

Hey -- I'm a little weird. So sue me.

[h/t Jai Guru Dave]

Friday, May 10, 2024

La Fin de La Semaine Essay Question: Special "Love, Where is Thy Ring-a-Ding-Ding?" Edition

Okay, it's Friday. And as you may have gleaned after yesterday's l'affaire Swift extravaganza, I've been forced to repair to a top secret secure location where I'm safe from death threats, but where it is, unsurprisingly, difficult to work.

Consequently, we're going to go swiftly (heh) and directly to the weekend's business.

To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) recorded performance of a pre-rock pop standard by a post-Elvis pop/rock/soul/country performer is...???

Arbitrary rules: 1) I am allowing the inclusion of any versions of "Till There Was You" or "Moon River," despite their having been written in the rock era. 2) If you nominate anything sung by Michael Bublé, I will come to your house and beat you savagely.

And in case you're wondering, my choice is "Goody, Goody." In the hit version recorded by the great Frankie Lymon.

Sweet jeebus, but that kid was a staggering package of talent. And if you doubt it, hie thee over to YOUTUBE here to watch him performing the song live on The Ed Sullivan Show.

I should add that the song itself was originally written by the great Johnny Mercer in 1936. Mercer, of course, also co-wrote "Moon River" decades later, thus bringing things satisfyingly full circle.

Okay -- alrighty then, what would YOUR choices be?


And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, May 09, 2024

A Few Thoughts on Taylor Swift (Steve's Version)

Okay, I may regret this -- no death threats, please -- but as a responsible journalist I feel I can't put it off any longer.

So here's the thing: I liked everything about Taylor Swift -- her attitude, her politics, her work ethic --EXCEPT her recorded output, i.e. her songs and albums.

And I didn't know why that is.

Weird, right? And, adding insult to confusion, lately that inability to get behind La Swift has really been bugging me.

Until, however, last week, when a couple of things popped up on the intertubes (or went viral, or became memes, or however the youngsters categorize the phenomenon) and I finally figured out what it was about Taylor that I didn't dig.

Here's exhibit A -- a knife-turning (yet clearly affectionate) parody of the 21st century's biggest pop phenomenon by somebody who's actually a huge fan.

Pretty hilarious, for sure, but it started me to thinking. At which point the following piece in the New Yorker by Sinéad O’Sullivan appeared to my wondering eyes. (Sorry, I can't give you a link to the entire thing, but it's behind a paywall and you'll get the idea from this excerpt anyway).

Ask music critics what they think of Taylor Swift’s eleventh studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, and those who aren’t afraid of getting doxed might say something about the interminable length, the repetitive synth overlays, or the uninspired lyrics. Take “imgonnagetyouback,” a track that’s notably similar to Olivia Rodrigo’s “Get Him Back!”. In the chorus, Swift sings that she hasn’t yet decided “whether I’m gonna be your wife or gonna smash up your bike.” Perhaps the lyric is meant to be somewhat infantile, but even the most novice editor should have pushed Swift toward the more obvious rhyme: “whether I’m gonna be your wife or gonna smash up your life.”

Ask a Swiftie what they think of the album, though, and they may very well say that it’s her best work yet. Yes, it would have made more sense for her to rhyme “wife” with “life” in “imgonnagetyouback.” But Swift obsessives know to connect “imgonnagetyouback” with “Fallingforyou,” a song by The 1975 that was written by Swift’s ex-boyfriend Matty Healy. In it, Healy sings, “I’m so excited for the night/ All we need’s my bike and your enormous house.” Swift’s mention of a bike, in “imgonnagetyouback,” is therefore an intentional creative decision, like the lack of spaces in the song’s title. Some fans have gone even further, claiming that the lack of spaces not only invites a comparison to “Fallingforyou” but to Swift’s own “Blank Space,” a song on her 1989 album. (1975, 1989—there are a lot of years to keep track of here.)

“In Blank Space music video, Taylor Swift is smashing things and sings ‘Cause you know I love the players And you love the game’” a YouTube user called Miranda-ry9tf writes in a comment. “In 'imgonnagetyouback' she says ‘We broke all the pieces, but you still wanna play the game.’ Perhaps “Blank Space,” released in 2014, was about Healy, too? Those Swifties who have gone far down the rabbit hole might argue that Swift, by leaving out the spaces in her new song’s title, has created a kind of ouroboros — - a running theme in the artist’s work since 2016, when Kim Kardashian referred to her as a “snake.” If you write the words “imgonnagetyouback” in a circle, you’ll notice that the “k” and “im” are right next to each other. This might seem like a reach, but -- six tracks later -- Swift mentions a mysterious rival named Aimee, on a song titled “thanK you aIMee.” It doesn’t take a Swiftie to figure out whose name the capital letters spell.

Alrighty, then. So how is all this stuff relevant to my lack of enthusiasm for the music?

Well, for starters, as should be obvious from the video above, it's way too easy to parody Swift, which is a bad sign from jump.

I mean, I love the line in the take-off about how singing fast is the closest Taylor ever gets to rapping. But the larger point being made there is that her songwriting and record-making can be reduced to their basic level -- which is to say a shtick -- in an instant.

C'mon, really; can you even imagine the work of any previous comparably important pop auteur -- The Beatles, Dylan, Joni Mitchell -- being distilled to a few cliche predictable gestures like that?

Okay, Joni Mitchell maybe. But otherwise, I think not.

As for the rest of it, and this is my real problem with Swiftiana -- we're obviously talking about somebody whose major talents come down to mad marketing skills. Period, end of story, and sorry.

Forget the depressingly anonymous cookie-cutter-unimaginative instrumental backings that decorate the whole of her oeuvre, or the albums' numbingly endless cavalcade of relationship songs (does she write anything else?) that seem -- deliberately -- addressed after all this time solely to the concerns of 15-year-olds.

Forget all that and it's still clear that Swift's medium -- her aesthetic, if you will -- is essentially the equivalent of nothing more or less artistically valid than a Marvel Universe Superhero franchise.

Or, not to put to fine a point on it, something totally self-referential and uninteresting to anybody but rabid enthusiasts with unhealthily expansive attention spans. And let's just add that such a thing is NOT what I, at least, go to the movies/listen to pop music for. Or ever have.

Your mileage may vary, of course, and Swifties will doubtless disagree. Hey -- that's life in a corporate-dominated cultural environment.

But thank you for your attention in this regard in any case. And now excuse me -- I have to go find some out of the way hidey-hole to disappear into untill all this blows over.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Closed for Monkey Business: Special "Les Yeux Have It" Edition

Just back from the eye doctor, and my peepers are going slightly crazy. Seriously -- after whatever stuff he shot in my left eye, I'm seeing what looks like black spinning 45 rpm discs, complete with the big holes in the center, nonstop. I kid you not.

Regular non-vision impaired posting -- including that Taylor Swift thingie I teased yesterday -- resumes on the morrow.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

The French They Are a Funny Race -- They Fight With Their Feet and...Well, You Know

So anyway, as attentive readers are aware, a certain Shady Dame and I just returned from the charming city of Montreal, in darkest Canadia. While there, in a sort of equivalent of New York's old East Village neighborhood, i.e. the bohemian part of town, we chanced across this hilarious and funky vintage clothing store...

...which we were immediately hooked by when we spied that hand-painted sign below the top center windows. (Which, if you can't make it out, reads "Fuck X-Mas I Want to Come Now.")

But that's a story for another time.

What really grabbed us, however, was inside the store -- this poster on the wall. Hanging above some over-priced shirts.

A thoroughly striking graphic/image, doncha think?

And clearly, although I had never heard of her, that Annabel person was some kind of French pop star from back in the day. I'm a big fan of some of the others of that ilk, i.e. existential cuties like Juliette Greco, Françoise Hardy and Sylvie Vartan, and that poster -- simply as a piece of period art -- blew me away. (Kind of a Patti Smith vibe, n'est-ce pas?)

So back in our hotel I did a little research.

Turns out her full name was Annabel Schwob, and apart from being a pop star -- and a writer of some repute -- she was the wife of the poster's artiste. A guy named Bernard Buffet, who was extremely well known in his home country and actually considered in the same league as Pablo Picasso, until he fell victim to changing fashions and went out of style long before his death in 1999.

So, naturally, I went to YouTube. And, flush with excitement, found this clip of her on French TV, sometime in the early '70s, doing her chanteuse thing.

Okay, then. Alas, that sorta, er, sucks.

I should have guessed, of course. Hey -- there's a reason why Annabel (or most of those other French warbler babes besides Jane Birkin) never sold any records in the US of A. And it isn't because she could have had me if she'd played her Gallic cartes right, if you know what I mean.

Sad, vraiment? Oh well, la vie isn't always belle.

BTW -- if you want a beautiful suitable for framing original print of that Annabel poster, you can get it at eBay over HERE.

Coming tomorrow: Speaking of existential cuties, I finally have something definitive to say about Taylor Swift.

Monday, May 06, 2024

Welcome Back, (Alte) Kaker

So as you may have guessed, a certain Shady Dame and I have returned, unscathed, from our brief sojourn to lovely Montreal, in darkest Canadia. We had a great time, and on the morrow I'm gonna post something interesting and amusing and actually relating to music that we encountered while there. It'll be worth the wait, trust me.

But in the meantime, from his just released album Undefeated, please enjoy hitherto unknown to moi middle-age Brit punk-folk- pop-and-occasionally-political rocker Frank Turner, and his absolutely fab gear new single/valentine to the "Girl From the Record Shop."

That song totally rocks, as you can obviously hear, and I'm absolutely knocked out by the video, which manages to be both creepy and hilarious -- if that was done low budget with AI, the future may not be as dire as I've been thinking of late.

In the meantime, where the hell has this Turner guy been all my life? According to Wiki he's been recording and performing since forever (well, since 2001) and he's incredibly prolific, and yet for some reason he's never impinged on my consciousness until now.

Like what's the deal with that?

Friday, May 03, 2024

La Fin de la Semaine Essay Question: Special "'Allo, Sailor!" Edition

Okay guys -- as you know, a certain Shady Dame and I are currently relaxing in scenic Montreal, in the heart of darkest Canadia.

I won't bore you with the details, and I certainly won't do any cheap jokes à la française, so let's get down to the business at hand toot sweet.

To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) post-Elvis pop/rock/soul or country song specifically referencing an actual geographical location -- OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES -- is...???

No other arbitrary rules, vous êtes les bienvenus, and just be grateful I'm giving you the chance to include Hawaii and its environs.

Oh, and in case you're wondering (and long-time readers will not be surprised to learn) but my personal nominee has got to be "The Boulevard de la Madeline." That oh so sad and beautiful song by the original (i.e., listenable, before the hippie hits happened) Denny Laine-era Moody Blues.

And yes, that's me at said address, on the first trip to Paris I got to take with the aforementioned Shady Dame.

It's a sad day in Paris
With no girl by my side
Got to feeling so badly
Like a part of me died
It would have been
So good to see her
I never thought
She wouldn't be there
There's no girl standing there
And there's no one who cares
And the trees are so bare
On the Boulevard de la Madeleine

Ah, c'est tellement romantique, n'est-ce pas?

Discuss. Which is to say -- what would your choices be?

And have a great weekend everybody!!! See you upon our return!!!

Thursday, May 02, 2024

Your Thursday Moment of Why Didn't I Get the Memo?

Okay, I'm a HUUUUUUGE Hollies fan, and this clip is a new one on me.

That's from the I'm sure very interesting (but not reviewed by us) 1963 Brit film It's All Over Town; the song itself was the B-side of the lads' wonderful version of Maurice Williams' oft-covered hit "Stay."

An early Graham Nash-Tony Hicks tune, apparently. I should also note that the drummer is original guy Don Rathbone, who was replaced soon after by the incomparable Bobby Hicks for all the Hollies's subsequent classic hits.

Pretty amazing, no? And damn -- what are they, like 12 years old in that scene?

Coming tomorrow: A guaranteed fun Weekend Essay Question!!!

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Tales From the Great White North: Rare But Not Well Done

From sometime in the 'aughts, please enjoy a commercial for Outback Steakhouse featuring a lyrically rewritten remake of "Wraith Pinned to the Mist (And Other Games)," the admittedly infectious song originally unleashed by deceptively monikered indie poseurs Of Montreal. (And by deceptively, I mean that the band was from Athens, GA, fercrissakes.)

So why do I bring this up, you ask?

Because, as I suspect at least one of my perceptive readers has already guessed, a certain Shady Dame and I are winging our way today to Montreal itself. Excuse: vacation.

But don't worry, we'll be back on Sunday, and fear not: new Thursday and Friday posts are already written and in the on-deck circle.

And hey -- if anything interesting or alarming happens to us during our brèves vacances dans le Nord, I'll keep you posted.