Friday, July 19, 2024

Weekend Listomania: Special "Shoot 'Em While They Run Now (On Fifth Avenue)" Edition

[I originally posted versions of this back in 2010(!) and 2019, but I'm re-upping it now because of its obvious relevance to recent events in Pennsylvania and Milwaukee.

I have also done a shitload of rewriting, and swapped in five new songs, just to demonstrate my Taylor Swift-ish work ethic. Enjoy! -- S.S.]

Well, well. It's the weekend, and you know what that means.

Yes, my Oriental manual catharsis manager girl Friday Fah Lo Suee and I will be travelling to...well, at this point, as long-time readers are doubtless aware, I was going to insert the traditional sort of lame topical political gag here, but it occurs to me I've already done it. And to be honest, the naked racism and misogyny being spewed by the substitute teacher J.D. Vance wing of the Republican party in the last few days has been so utterly loathsome that my heart's just not in the job. Sorry.

In any case, posting by moi will be sporadic for a few days.

So on a hopefully much lighter note, in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

...BEST OR WORST POST-ELVIS POP/ROCK/SOUL/COUNTRY/HIP-HOP SONGS OR RECORDS THAT REFERENCE FIREARMS IN EITHER THE TITLE OR THE LYRIC!!!

Self-explanatory, so no arbitrary rules, but by firearms I mean the obvious, i.e. handguns, rifles, etc. In other words, if you try to sneak in something like Bruce Cockburn's otherwise quite splendid "If I Had a Rocket Launcher" I'll come to your house and make merciless fun of you.

And my totally top of my head Top Eight is/are:

8. KISS -- Love Gun

An embarassingly crappy song by an embarrassingly crappy band from an embarrassingly crappy album. And let's not even get into the fact that these mooks thought they were making a witty parody of the Sex Pistols.

Okay, it's a generation gap thing, I'll grant you. And, in fact, my Gen X colleague/friend Doug Brod has written a brilliant recent book actually making a plausible case for KISS being an actually important band. Let's just say that while I recommend you read it, I disagree with it on several profound levels.

7. Mission of Burmaa-- That's When I Reach for My Revolver

Yeah, it's a great song. Still, and I forgot who said it, but there comes a time in everybody's life when they look at their CD collection and realize that those three Mission of Burma discs are basically just taking up space.

6. Hackamore Brick -- Zip Gun Woman

From their 1971 cult album. These guys are supposed to be some kind of proto-something -- punk, powerpop, I don't know what -- and people whose opinions I respect actually like the record. All I know is, I pull it out once every year or two to see if it makes sense to me yet, and it never does.

5. Mike Daly and the Planets -- Kill a Clown (No, Not Really)

He's only kidding, folks. Heh.

4. Aerosmith -- Janie's Got a Gun

It may surprise you to learn that I think that this record's a fucking masterpiece on every level. I should also add that yes, I'm aware that people who came of age during those guys original 70s heyday prefer that incarnation of the band, but I think it's pretty obvious that the earlier Aerosomith couldn't possibly have written and performed anything as good as the above.

3. Eminem -- Darkness

I always thought he was kind of a putz, but jeebus -- apart from the over the top melodramatic gun shit, self-pitying much?

2. The Sevens -- Seven

Apocalyptic garage rock from the Rolling Stones of Switzerland. Actual gun shots -- a starter pistol, more specifically -- fired in real time in the studio, courtesy of producer Giorgio Moroder (in his pre-disco days, obviously).

And the Numero Uno ode to the joys of blowing stuff up real good simply has to be...

1. The Floor Models -- A Shot in the Dark

Okay, I'm aware there's no actual reference to guns in the lyric, but what a great freaking song anyway. And c'mon -- you just knew that was gonna be the one, right?

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?

And have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2024

And Speaking As We Were Last Week of Les Animaux Blancs

So okay, today -- once again -- we're going to celebrate brand new music by one of the greatest roots rock/punk/powerpop bands you might never have heard of. (Well, as I keep saying, if you were a sentient college kid down South in the 80s, you heard of them. And also if you're a longtime reader.)

In any event, I refer to the aforementioned up top (aux francais) White Animals, seen here today in an absolutely fab new group photo.

I mean seriously -- those bastids have aged better than anybody in their line of work has any right to. Wow.

But okay, let's bring things further up to date.

The short version: I've been a fan of these guys since I first saw them in 1978 -- as an acoustic duo doing Sixties classics at some low dive in Nashville -- while I was interviewing the great Marshall Chapman for the Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review. Later, as a four-piece, they went on to pretty much rule the 80s college rock party circuit down South, and as I've mentioned on numerous occasions, they were a ferocious live act (any band that shared a stage with them did so at their peril -- me and The Floor Models gave it a go on our home NYC ground, so I know what I'm talking about!) and true musical visionaries, whose ahead of its time mix of garage-punk energy, British Invasion song structures, and dub reggae soundscapes by way of Lee Perry(!) still sounds utterly fresh and contemporary. I should add that they were the first indie band to get their videos on MTV, which was a hugely amazing accomplishment at the time. Here's one of the clips in question (which should give you an idea of both their coolness quotient and their songwriting and performing chops). I should also add that they had the single most enormous live sound of any band I've ever witnessed anywhere at any time period.

Okay, cut to the present: These guys, who have reunited on several occasions since their New Wave heyday, went into the studio recently, and they exited with an absolutely world class new album -- the appropriately titled Star Time -- that not only does justice to their legacy but actually breaks some new artistic ground.

Here are my two favorite tracks, with commentary by the band's frontman, Dr.(!) Kevin Gray. First, the hilarious "In a Post-Apocalyptic World (Would You Be My Girl?)"...

Sometimes I write songs when I’m not trying to write a song. When pandemic era real estate prices were at their zenith, my wife and I sold our Nashville home and bought our dream house in Thomasville, GA, with a big yard and a pool. I was working in the back, pulling vines out of the tall Japanese Cheesewood hedge. I had that “this is too good to be true feeling”, and in my head I’m singing, ‘Have you heard the news today? Troubles are here, and more is on the way’. I yanked at more vines. ‘In a post-apocalyptic world, would you be my girl?’. I tugged at a really tough vine, and my shoulder was starting to hurt. ‘Love will matter more than ever’. I went inside and put the song down.

...and then the drop dead amazing "Man of Constant Dread," which takes a venerable American folk song and gives it the dub treatment I referred to above. Wow.

I suspect, of course, it was [the band's brilliant bassist Steve Boyd] who pushed for us to do this traditional song live. Originally titled “Farewell Song” it is over 100 years old, and lent itself perfectly to our Dread Beat swirl of psychedelic swamp guts, pounding drums [courtesy of Ray Crabtree], angel harmonies, and guitars, guitars, guitars. In my mind, it is the Rich Parks [the bands' guitarist] dream showcase, as he laid down multiple tracks that display his incredible virtuosity and taste, including a tribute track to the late Andy Gill [axe man for Gang of Four], the greatest guitarist who people too often forget about. Steve and I spent hours layering his guitars and other elements of this track and it is simply the best musical creation I’ve ever been a direct part of… so far!

Okay, that's as much of a teaser as I'm gonna give you. You can find out a little more about the Animals history and the circumstances behind the genesis of the new album over HERE.

More important, you can listen to the rest of the record and purchase the thing itself -- and WTF are you poltroons waiting for? -- over at the official website HERE!!!

You're welcome very much!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Closed for Tropical Monkey Business

Sorry kids, it's too freaking hot and humid to get any work done today.

Part Deux of my tribute to the incomparable White Animals will be up tomorrow, come rain or come shine.

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

My Favorite New Song (An Occasional Series)

From 2022, and the soundtrack to (season I episode 3 of) The Afterparty, please enjoy Ben Schwartz as annoying Millenial musical careerist Yasper and the melodically infectious and lyrically hilarious "Yeah Sure Whatever." ."

In case you haven't seen the show (and a certain Shady Dame of my acquaintance turned me on to it just last week) TAP is a sort of black comedy murder mystery set at a high school reunion (class of 2015) in Marin County. Each episode has a different character arc and a different visual and dramatic style (to my knowledge, the episode from whence the above song derives is the only one with a big musical number).

In any event, it's quite brilliantly written and often fall off your couch funny (it's worth seeing for the first episode Hall and Oates gag alone), although I should add that if -- like me -- you're not particularly nostalgic for your high school years, you may also find it a bit creepy and uncomfortably close to the bone.

In any event, "Yeah Sure Whatever" has had me singing it in the shower for several days now; if it isn't a fab gear example of contemporary power pop I don't know what is.

Oh, and the series is on Apple TV, for those who have.

"They'll make a sequel to A Star Is Born starring me!"

Heh. Yeah sure, pal -- whatever.

Monday, July 15, 2024

Wails From the Crypt (An Occasional Series)

So the other day, to my utter astonishment, I happened to chance across (via the invaluable Internet Archive, which is the 21st century equivalent of the Library at Alexandria) a whole bunch of back issues of Video Review magazine.

The short version: VR was the second greatest consumer magazine ever (the first was, as longtime readers are doubtless aware, Stereo Review) that I was lucky enough to work for in the fullness of my youth. It was published from sometime in the late '70s till the early '90s; I was the managing editor for two years in the late '80s, a job I was manifestly unqualified for. But that's a story for another day.

Anyway, I hadn't seen any of the stuff I wrote for VR since forever, and I thought it might be fun to share a brief piece that's relevant on some level to the theme of this here blog.

So -- from the April 1990 issue, please enjoy my thoughts on...

By any reasonable standard, this is an exemplary career documentary on what is now the longest-lived successful band in rock history -- well-balanced, musically rich and visually fabulous. Of course, there’s no question the band deserves this kind of hagiographic treatment; nobody in rock ’n’ roll has a more impressive body of work. So, with one major (very major) caveat, 25 X 5 has to rate as the best archival rock program anybody’s come up with since The Compleat Beatles back in 1981.

Granted, the format here -— talking heads and performance clips -— is not exactly innovative. Individual band members and assorted associates are glimpsed reminiscing as footage of the band from 1964 to the present flashes by (most of the songs, alas, are truncated). Much of the footage, put together with apparently unlimited access to the band’s archives, will be unfamiliar even to hardcore fans, but it's usually so good and so unerringly chosen that you hardly notice. It’s all -— and I mean all — here, from long-unseen excerpts from the band’s performance on TV’s old Hollywood Palace (yes, the show on which Dean Martin famously made fun of them) to the Rock ’n’ Roll Circus special (Mick claims they never aired it because his performance was substandard and the clip bears him out), and even a legendary and actionable tour film (a/ka Cocksucker Blues).

As a bonus, the new interview segments are often a hoot. Charlie Watts, predictably, comes off as the sanest of the bunch, and the problematic points in the band’s history -- their relationship with manager Andrew Oldham and the drug problems of cofounder Brian Jones -- are dealt with unflinchingly, while the soundtrack audio, even when the source material is TV mono, is pretty great. From a technical and conceptual standpoint, then, 25 x 5 could hardly be bettered.

So what is the aforementioned caveat? Frankly, it’s that the band’s story gets less interesting at the same time as their music does. In other words, however admirable their 1978 Some Girls comeback songs or their recent live performances may be, still only an acolyte or revisionist historian could argue honestly that the Stones’ most vital days are not behind them, that the recent ‘‘A Rock and a Hard Place" (which closes the tape) is as epochal as a ’60s classic such as "The Last Time.” That is, admittedly, an unfair complaint, although it’s not as unfair as what most critics wish had happened -— that the Stones had gone down in a plane crash around 1972 and become unassailable legends, like Charlie Parker or Buddy Holly.

Still, this is a very long tape and while your interest may flag in its later segments, there’s guaranteed to be at least one moment here that will have you emitting a Mick Jaggeresque ‘‘Whoo!”. So it seems ultimately churlish to carp -- face it: you or I should be so cool after 25 years.

Not a bad piece, I think, and yes, a lot of stuff has changed since it was written.

And Hole E. Shit -- here's the documentary film in question, completely complete and in a VERY high quality transfer. I had no freaking idea.

You're welcome very much, folks.

Friday, July 12, 2024

La Fin de La Semaine Essay Question: Special "Fifty Shades of Grey" Edition

So from just the other day, please enjoy my friend and guitar god Benny Landa (with the Papa Dukes band) and a freaking great cover of The Hollies' classic "Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress."

I've known (and worked occasionally with) Benny since the last century (here we are at some outdoor gig in Queens in 1994)...

...and he just contributed fabulous guitar to the A-side of my forthcoming single (a cover of The Replacements' "I'll Be You," if you can believe it. I mean really -- just what the world needs, right? A recording of a 76 year old nasal voiced Jewish guy performing Paul Westerberg. But that's a story I'll catch you up with in a few days,)

Anyway, that leads us to the business at hand. To wit:

...and your favorite (or least favorite) post-Elvis pop/rock/soul/folk/country/hip-hop song referencing a specific color in its artists' name/title/lyrics is...???

No arbitrary rules whatsoever, except if you nominate something involving the Blues (as in the music genre) I will come to your house and smack you silly.

Discuss.

And in case you're wondering what both my favorite AND least favorite is...

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choice(s) be?

Meanwhile, have a great weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Today's Cartoon Chuckle

I'm not particularly a Black Flag fan, and I haven't really followed their legal/personnel problems over the years, but the above is freaking hilarious just in the abstract.

I mean -- if for no other reason than the inclusion of Al Jardine.

BTW, if you can't read it, just click and enlarge.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

I Worry That Drugs Have Made Us More Creative Than We Really Are

Thank you Lily Tomlin for the title of today's post.

Anyway, I bring it up because I have just learned the answer to a question that has plagued me since the fabled Summer of Love, i.e. 1967.

Specifically -- why the hell did Moby Grape (and songwriter Skip Spence) title the killer hit tune (from their eponymous masterpiece debut album) "Omaha"...

...given that the lyrics...

Listen, my friends!
Listen, my friends!
Listen, my friends!

You thought never but
I'm your's forever
Won't leave you ever

Now my friends
What's gone down behind
No more rain
From where we came

Get under the covers, yeah!
All of your lovin'
Beneath and above ya
Bein' in love!

...do not mention/have-absolutely-nothing-whatsoever-to-do with the titular city.

Or, for that matter, any geographical location whatsoever.

Seriously, and I suspect I'm not alone in this, but every time I've heard that song since it originally came out I've found myself going "What the fuck? Omaha? Say what?"

Okay, I won't keep you in suspense any longer -- here's the answer as I just learned it.

It's a hippie drug joke.

It's not Omaha, the place.

It's somebody meditating and suddenly achieving enlightment.

To wit -- "Om...Aha!!!!"

Get it?

Hey, I guess you had to be there.

Anyway, all this is by way of introducing my new favorite indie band (Australians, BTW, and apparently a legendarily hard working live act who've been around for 14 years) who I have no doubt would appreciate the Grape's joke, and whose psychedelic three guitar attack probably would have probably gone over really well with the San Francisco crowd back in the day.

Ladies and germs, please enjoy the wonderfully monikered King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, and their totally rockin' ode to the reptilian joys of a "Rattlesnake."

Coincidentally, I just discovered these guys over the weekend -- no kidding, I was totally unaware of them previously -- and I think they're a riot, which is the highest praise in my personal critical vocabulary. Your mileage may vary.

I should add that KG&TLW are playing, literally around the corner from my digs in the Paris of the North East, i.e. at Forest Hills Stadium, later in August. I gotta tell you -- I'm almost tempted to brave the heat and go see them.

Tuesday, July 09, 2024

Nancy's Record Collection (And Mine): An Occasional Feature

So Friend of PowerPop© and Burning Wood proprietor Sal Nunziato had a very entertaining post yesterday involving covers of the Stones' "Street Fighting Man," none of which I had heard previously, and none of which -- IMHO -- were anywhere near as good as the original. (I should also add that it was depressing to learn that Lucinda Williams, whose music I generally like, is kind of full of shit. But that's a subject for another time.)

Anyway, I found myself thinking gee -- it's too bad that Steve Earle never had a go at the song, but then I remembered he'd actually done a great version of another favorite Stones song of mine, and that you guys might not have heard it.

So -- without further ado, from a 1997 indie EP with Arizona cowpunks The Supersuckers, here's Earle and the song I think you'll agree he was born to cover.

Enjoy!!!

Monday, July 08, 2024

The Adventure of the Missing Umlaut

And speaking as we were the other day of new music by artists that has crossed my desk unbidden recently, here's without doubt my favorite of the month so far -- American monsters of metal The D.O.O.D. (short for The Distinguished Order of Disobedience)...

...and a cut from their forthcoming (Sept. 17) album Dissonance, the catchily toe-tapping guitar fest that is "2000 Miles."

Not -- obviously -- to be confused with The Pretenders song of the same name.

These guys are apparently world famous in their South Florida home base, and with good reason, obviously. Equally obviously, long time readers will be aware that The D.O.O.D. is not -- musically/stylistically speaking -- particularly my usual cup of tea, but it won't surprise said readers that I nonetheless find the band's general attitude kind of hilarious and wonderful. Which is kind of more important, at least on some occasions.

Also, the red-headed siren second from right in the group photo -- a/ka/ Jonzey the bass player -- could obviously have me if she played her cards right. Heh.

Anyway, you can find out more about them -- including where to hear/purchase more of their music -- over at their official website HERE.

[PS: The followup to Friday's White Animals post had to be delayed due to technical problems. It will go up later this week, promise! -- S.S.]

Friday, July 05, 2024

La Fin de La Semaine Essay Question: Special "Les Animaux Blancs" Edition (Première Partie)

So okay -- today we're going to celebrate brand new music by one of the greatest roots rock/punk/powerpop bands you might never have heard of. (Well, if you were a sentient college kid down South in the 80s, you heard of them. And also if you're a longtime reader. But let's move on.)

In any event, I refer to the aforementioned up top (aux francais) White Animals (seen here today).

And who were/are those guys, you ask?

Here's a short version, adapted from a post I did about them here back in 2000.

The White Animals are the great lost American rock band of the 80s -- a ferocious live act (any band that shared a stage with them did so at their peril) and true musical visionaries whose ahead of its time mix of 60s garage-punk energy, British Invasion song structures, and dub reggae soundscapes by way of Lee Perry still sounds utterly fresh and contemporary.

I first met these guys -- who basically ruled the alt-rock/frat party scene down South in their heyday -- in the late 70s while interviewing the redoubtable Marshall Chapman (scroll down to page 86 after clicking on the link HERE). Years later, The Floor Models had the great pleasure of opening for them on one of the Animals infrequent trips to NYC. I should add -- as I suggested in the blurb -- that they blew us off the stage. In the nicest and most supportive way possible.

Oh, and here's a video -- from Nashville TV in 1982 -- that just slays me and should give you an idea of their total coolness.

But let us return to the present. When I am delighted to report that these guys -- who among other things, were the first indie band to get a video on MTV, which was an amazing accomplishment -- have reunited and just released a new album...

...that's an instant classic in what we refer to as the rock-and-roll field.

I'm gonna leave you with that teaser, and trust me -- you'll thank me.

But in other words, we will continue our tribute to the WA's on Monday, when I will be singing their praises in more detail and sharing some of their brilliant new songs with you guys.

But in the meantime, on to the weekend's thematically pertinent business.

To wit:

...and your favorite post-Elvis pop/rock/soul/folk song or band whose lyrics or name reference some sort of animal -- mammal, reptile, insect, whatever -- is...???

No arbitrary rules whatsoever.

And...discuss.

Oh, and in case you were wondering -- and most long-time readers will have already guessed -- here's my favorite.

Heh.

Okay, like I said, Part Deux of my WA's encomium will appear on Monday.

Meanwhile -- have a great holiday weekend, everybody!!!

Thursday, July 04, 2024

It's Independence Day (Assuming the SCOTUS Hasn't Re-Installed the Monarchy!)

And in its honor -- a PowerPop tradition since 2018 -- please enjoy Bill Pullman, the greatest president of the United States who was never president of the United States...

Okay, sorry about the dumb joke.

What I meant to say was please behold the late great Ben E. King and his gorgeous cover of Bruce Springsteen's "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)."

As I've noted on previous occasions, the existence of that clip -- in the immortal words of Cristina Applegate on Married With Children -- makes the mind wobble.

I mean -- can you imagine how cool for Bruce it must have been to learn that one of the singers he idolized back in his youth had actually beautifully interpreted a song he had written?

I think the word is wow.

Meanwhile, enjoy -- if that is the appropriate word in the disturbing times we live in at the moment -- the rest of your 4th, everybody!!!

And yes -- a way cool new Weekend Essay question will appear on the morrow.

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Why I Love My Phony Baloney Job Some Days (An Occasional Series)

So one of the perks of doing what I do -- a big one, actually, especially given that no money is ever involved -- is that every couple of days I get unsolicited music and stuff over the proverbial transom. From people and artists I've never heard of, and hailing from (quite often) exotic geographical locations that I've never been to (and, alas, probably never will).

And, more relevantly, it's amazing how good the stuff often is.

Case in point: the following aural delight that arrived unbidden in my mailbox over last weekend.

Ladies and germs, from far away in one of the lands down under, please enjoy the quite amazing Silk Cut!!!

Or as they described themselves and their music:

Silk Cut is a four-piece rock band based in Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand.

The lead-off power-pop single "Turning The Whole World On" is from their new self-titled album [releasing today -- i.e., July 3, 2024].

Two guitars, bass and drums - the classic rock configuration. “The plan was to try and get some weaving of parts done - think Television, Swervedriver, Big Star and Ride. And, of course, when you get two guitarists with something to prove in the room, there’s going to be some sparks”

Okay, sparks for sure -- i.e., that track is pretty darned great. An instant classic, actually. Play it again slightly louder, won't you? Otherwise you'll miss that fabulous chiming riffage and the world-class harmonies.

I should add that the song is from Silk Cut's second full-length effort, and that they have been known to share stages with antipodean bands including Hoodoo Gurus, which makes them automatically cool in my book.

In any event, you can (and should) find out more about those guys, and download/order the entire album (which is equally as swell as the song above) over at their official website HERE.

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Closed for Monkey Business

Between a minor injury (don't ask, although it's actually kind of amusing in the abstract), profound depression over the SCOTUS just giving Trump the legal cover to kill those people on 5th Avenue he used to fantasize about, and trying to get my next post -- which involves new music by a great band that happens to be a Friend of PowerPop© -- just right, I needed a day off.

Good stuff resumes on the morrow. Honest Native American.

Monday, July 01, 2024

Nobody Likes a Wiseass, Simels!

Okay, there are days I think this is the funniest thing I ever wrote. From The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review in June 1990.

SONGSTYLES OF THE RICH & FAMOUS

Consider the compact disc. A marvel of modern technology, it's the result of hundreds of thousands of scientific manpower hours and countless dollars for research and development. Truly a monument to man's ingenuinity and genius, it represents on every level -- intellectual, aesthetic, whatever -- the finest, most noble impulses and accomplishments of the human species.

Like...William Shatner singing "Mr. Tambourine Man"?

Well, yeah. Which is why it's such a thrill to hail the CD release of Rhino's Golden Throats: The Great Celebrity Sing-Off. Because in this one gleaming five-inch package science, art and commerce have come together in a transcendent collision of the ridiculous and the sublime. It proves, whether by accident or design, that even in the latter half of the Twentieth Century (once described by Isaac Bashevis Singer as "on balance, a complete flop"), the ideal of the Renaissance Man is alive and well.

Yes, Renaissance men (and women, to be sure) are the very raison d'etre of Golden Throats. For you can find -- whence, as Alan Funt would say, you least expect it -- greart thespian talents, artists who've enriched our lives with their portrayals of Gomer Pyle, Sgt. Joe Friday, and Family Affair's Mr. French, artitists who refuse to rest on their hard-earned laurels. Here, making much -- not for crass commercial gain, but because they must -- they bring their skill and inspiration to bear on the Muse of Song.

For these selfless offerings, of course, mere mortals can only give thanks before listening, awestruck, to the recorded results. Breathes there a music lover who will not thrill to the very idea, let alone the reality, of Joel Grey (father of Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey) negotiating the haunting chord changes of Cream's "White Room," and in a big-band arrangement to boot? Is there out there a sentient mammalian so soulless as to be unresponsive to the Byronic nonchalance of Sebastian Cabot's virtuoso recitative of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe?" Could even the stoniest-hearted among us audition Jack Webb's "This is the city"-styled performance of "Try a Little Tenderness" without shedding a silent, solitary teardrop? Like, get real, dude.

There will be, sad to say, those whoe decry Golden Throats in the sure and certain knowledge that Allan (The Closing of the American Mind) Bloom was right, and Western civilization is doomed to the dustbin of history. Lonely, loveless, and probably physically unattractive, these bitter dweebs will note Mae West's "Twist and Shout" (superior, even, to the Rodney Dangerfield version), Eddie Albert's "Blowin' in the Wind" (featuring the very same band that backed Dylan on Blonde on Blonde) or Leonard Nimoy's virile baritone rendering of John Fogerty's "Proud Mary" and, if pressed, respond only with a scornful "Huh?!" Such people, it goes without saying, are to be avoided, for they will someday borrow money from you that they have no intention of repaying.

But that's another story. So, returning to the CD at hand, let us close by praising Rhino's usual superb rematering, by offering our condolences to my friend Greg, who nearly had a religious experience and drove his car off the side of I-95 on hearing Golden Throat Shatner assailing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," and by thanking whatever gods we recognize that such a digital experience is available at better record stores at popular prices. And let us contemplate the myriad wonders awaiting us when the visionaries at Rhino offer us an ever greater celebrity anthology, one sure to include excerpts from the Robert Mitchum Calypso Album, the Brady Bunch Kids' "American Pie," and (oh joy!) Ted Knights' "Hi Guys!".

And people say that life is not worth living.

I also can't believe my notoriously strait-laced and humorless editors let me get away with it. But we'll tell you that tale on another occasion.

PS: Here's what the above looked like in the mag.

If you're having trouble reading it, just click to enlarge.