Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Post of 2008

I wish I had some incredibly brilliant bon mot to end the year with but unfortunately I'm all out. For a lot of us it's been a rough year, with so many folks losing their jobs and/or their savings in the stock market. As readers of this blog know I too did not get through it unscathed. But nothing is all bad or all good and I expect that 2009 will bring its share of joys and disappointments as well. So for now I guess all that's left is to wish everyone a Happy New Year and let's party like it's 2009.

DMZ - Busy Man
Before The Lyres there was DMZ who were possibly a little more influenced by 70s punk but had their roots firmly entrenched in 60s garage thanks to their leader Jeff Conolly
Amos Milburn - Down the Road Apiece
Many people have recorded this song over the years. I know I'll always associate it with The Stones who did a version on their "Now" album way back in 1964. But I sure love hearing it played by Amos Milburn who plays some incredible piano throughout.
Carl Perkins - Glad All Over
Carl was a big part of the Sun Records story and while he may not have been as wild as their other Rockabilly artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Billy Riley, his voice had an easygoing warmth to it that I've always liked.
Dr. Feelgood - Milk and Alcohol
In the mid and late 70s Dr. Feelgood were mainstays of the British Pub Rock scene in which punk luminaries like Nick Lowe and Joe Strummer got their start.
The Druids - Cool Calm & Collected
Hailing from sunny San Diego The Druids had a pleasant melodic folk-rock sound. I first heard this song on one of the "Fuzz, Flaykes & Shakes" compilations put out by Tony the Tyger, most of which are still available from Amazon.
The Headstones - 24 Hours (Everyday)
This song was originally released on the very collectable Pharoh Records label down in Texas in the mid-60s. Both sides of their 2 singles are all really excellent and are available on a number of different garage comps that have been released over the years.
Kevin Ayers - Flying Start
Here's another song by Kevin Ayers who I still don't know very much about. I'm aware that he's released a number of albums over the years and in fact he's just put out a 4 or 5-disc retrospective of his career but in these unemployed times I've had to tighten my belt and be satisfied with the occasional mp3 that floats my way. I really like his voice.
L.C. McKinley - Nit Wit
"Nit Wit" was originally recorded for the small Bea & Baby label. About 3 years ago Castle Records put out a 2-disc B&B label retrospective that I wholeheartedly recommend for anyone into upbeat Chicago style blues and R&R.
Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva - Swingin' On A Star
This remake of Bing Crosby's 1944 number 1 smash was a minor hit in its own right, reaching number 38 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1963. I'm thinking that it must have been an even bigger hit in the NYC area because I remember hearing this on the radio a lot.
Locksley - Let Me Know
Locksley released their debut album "Don't Make Me Wait" earlier this year and this is one of a handful of really great pop songs from that album. I sometimes hesitate to post new releases on here but I'm hoping that this might pique someone's interest enough to investigate these guys further. Like a lot of the albums I'm mentioning in this post, it's available from Amazon.
The Primitives - Crash
I'm not sure if this was a hit when it was released in the late 80s but if it wasn't, it definitely deserved to be. Although I haven't played it in years I also remember liking the album "Lovely" from which it came.
The Stones - Suzie Q
After my last post I realized that up to now I have not posted anything by The Stones and that just cannot be. From "12 X 5", here is their remake of the old Dale Hawkins song.
The Sweet - AC-DC
Ever since I heard it back in the mid-70s, "AC-DC" has always been a favorite of mine. I always thought it was pretty cool how unthreatened this guy seemed with his woman friend havingall these other lovers. Although in these post-AIDS days, I've got to admit that I might have some reservations if I were him.
The Birds - No Good Without You Baby
Featuring a young Ron Wood, the Birds were one of many bands playing their own brand of white boy R&B in the London club scene in the mid-60s.
Link Wray - Drag Race
I've always loved Link's dirty distorted guitar sound which, legend has it, he got by punching holes in his amp speakers. I saw him back in the mid-80s when he was (unfortunately) backed by this heavy metal sounding band. I really didn't care for it much but as I remember, he could REALLY play!
Warren Zevon - I Was In The House When The House Burned Down
I'm not exactly sure why but to me this song is about looking back and thinking about all of the things one might have done differently. He may have been an absolute bastard in real life (I still have his biography on my bookshelf and I'm half afraid to read it) but he really had a way of saying things in a way that nobody else could.
The Kinks - Better Things

With all the stuff you hear on the news about people losing their jobs and the lousy economy, I really wanted to end the year with a word of hope. On January 20 we will have a new leader, one who I believe has a real sense of what this country needs. And by 'this country' I mean all the people, not just the power brokers and lobbyists. Let's hope that 2009 brings us all something better. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Summer In December

As we march ahead into what looks like will be a very cold winter, I thought that perhaps we all needed a little Summer Fun to keep keep warm and remind us all that better times are coming. So, my Christmas present to you is a little summer music in December. But before I get to the tuneage, I would like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Good Kwanzaa and Happy Festivus (for the rest of us).  I hope Santa Claus is good to you all.   

Jan & Dean - Ride The Wild Surf
I tried to limit the number of bonafide chart hits for this post but there were a few I just couldn't resist sneaking in. What a great record!   
The Barracudas - Surfers Are Back
For my money, The Barracudas early material, where they tried to inject the fun punkiness of The Ramones with a West Coast Beach Boys vibe and came up with something totally new (yet familiar at the same time), was always their best.  
Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues
Not exactly 'summer' music, in fact I'm pretty sure it was snowing on that day back in March of 1968 when I bought the single at Woolworth's, this is still my favorite version of "...Blues"  with all of the excesses that make people either love or hate it. 
Bruce Springstone - Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Summer means baseball, right? Forget about the fact that this is a Bruce Springsteen parody (and here too, people either love him or hate him - although I'm kind of in the middle but that's another story) and you've got a near perfect version of this perennial baseball classic.
Al Green - Summertime
According to Google and  Summertime Web, "Summertime" has been covered by over 2100 different artists. Now that's what I call a classic! For this post I was torn between Billy Stewart and Al Green and then decided to go with the non-hit version.
The Dictators - California Sun
They may be singing about "California Sun" but whatever the Dictators do always ends up sounding more like the sidewalks of New York City than anything else. 
Freddy Cannon - June, July And August
"JJ&A" was originally the flip side of "Palisades Park" (another great summer record) but over the years this has come to be recognized as one of Freddy's best rockers by his many fanatical admirers.
Sloppy Seconds - V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N. (In the Summer Sun)
I was thinking of posting the original by Connie Francis but when I came across SS's punked-up version I knew this was the one.
Larry & the Loafers - Let's Go To the Beach
Like many 60's garage fanatics I first heard this on the fabulous "What A Way to Die" comp. This track is taken from that LP and may need to be cranked up a bit. Another proven dancefloor filler. 
The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City
Despite the fact that it's been played to death on oldies radio, to me this sounds as fresh after hearing it over 1000 times as it did when it first came out in the summer of '66.  
Pat Boone - Beach Girl
Back in the early 60's, in the wake of the Beach Boys popularity everyone was getting in on the surf music craze and Mr. Clean Cut was no exception. And he does a pretty good job of it too, probably helped along by producer Terry Melcher who was behind so many surf/hot rod hits back in the day.
Peter Paul & Mary - Right Field
I can totally relate to this tale about a clutzy kid who couldn't play to save his life but loved the game anyway. The only difference between me and our hero is that I never made that amazing catch that saved the game. This song still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear that final chorus.
Blondie - In The Sun [Original Single Version]
Surf's Up! This 45 was one of my first exposures to anything resembling Punk. Truth be told, after their first album I never really liked Blondie all that much but this single remains a classic.  
The Rip Chords - One Piece Topless Bathing Suit
Here's another track featuring Terry Melcher. Although The Rip Chords are mainly known as one hit wonders for "Hey Little Cobra", they did record 2 albums back in the day both of which are quite listenable and available from Sundazed Records.  
The Soup Dragons - Hang Ten
Although they veered off in other directions, the first few singles and debut LP by The Soup Dragons were punk/pop masterpieces. Here is a live version of one of the best songs from their heyday.  
The Undertones - Here Comes The Summer
Speaking of punk/pop masterpieces, this song should need no introduction to anyone. Their early singles and first 2 albums remain the standards by which many other bands have been judged. 
Bittervetch - Keep Surfin'
Besides the fact that, according to the Garage Compilation database, these guys hail from Dayton, Ohio I don't know much more about them. Although, listening to this song I think I now know from where William Hung got his delightfully nasal vocal style. And I mean that in a good way. Honest. 
Jackie & The Cedrics - Banzai Diamond Head
I don't know how often they play together anymore but back in the early-mid 90s Japan's Jackie & The Cedrics were among the most exciting live bands on the scene along with Untamed Youth. Their forte was surfy Rock and Roll and "BDH" was pretty typical of their sound although they also featured vocals on many of their songs.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Music from Couple

On TOMH's first playlist I posted a song by Couple, a power pop quartet from Malaysia and one of my favorite new bands from anywhere. They are about to release their 2d album "Teenage Disc Fantastic" which is a pretty apt description of how it sounds. Although frontman/songwriter Aidil is a successful lawyer in his 30s, there is a kind of youthful innocence to his songs that sounds totally natural and not at all forced or put on. Although "Teenage..." is not on sale yet you can listen to it at the band's Reverbnation page. If you like power pop ala Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet or for that matter early Beatles or Lovin' Spoonful you really need to give Couple a listen.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Less Talk More Music Pt. 2

Not a whole heck of a lot's been going on in my life lately and sometimes the less said about it the better.  I still haven't found a job although I have had a few potential nibbles. And even if none of those pan out, as I take stock of my life this holiday season I realize that things could be much worse. And are for a whole lot of folks. So for now I'm going to let the music do the talking. Enjoy, go out and buy something and leave comments.

The Unrelated Segments - The Story of My Life
This song's been comped a number of times over the years. This stereo mix comes, I believe, from a Collectables CD issued a few years ago. Despite it's lack of collectability,  "Story..." still gives me an adrenaline rush each time I hear it. Crank it up!
Lucinda Williams - Passionate Kisses
As an White, middle class American I realize that I feel a certain sense of entitlement in my view of the world. It's been ingrained in me for my entire life. This isn't a judgement or a guilt trip but a statement of fact. Lucinda touches on that feeling in "...Kisses" and, for better or worse, I can totally relate to how she feels - or maybe it's just how I perceive it.
Goh Nakamura - Somewhere
I forget which one it was but I became a fan of Goh Nakamura when another blog I frequent featured his new CD "Ulysses" as it's pick of the day. Although he doesn't really sound anything like them, his temperament reminds me of artists like John Sebastian or Steve Forbert. Check out his website where he is allowing folks to download his new album for free. 
Lyn Collins - Rock Me Again & Again & Again
Produced by the late James Brown as only he could, this has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it back in the mid 70s. You can hear more on the highly recommended 2-disc collection "James Brown's Originally Funky Divas".
The Parasites - Crazy
Just like in the 60s when young musicians heard The Beatles and The Stones and started their own garage bands, so it seems The Parasites were similarly inspired when they heard The Buzzcocks years later.  
The Quests - Come on Down To My Boat
As almost any fan of the genre knows by now, back in the 60s garage bands were not only popping up in the US and Europe but also in some of the more remote (at least for the times) corners of the world. The Quests hailed from Singapore and here they turn in a rockin' version of  Every Mother's Son's Top 10 smash.
Redd Kross - Annie's Gone
Awhile back I posted a song by Redd Kross. This is taken from the same album "Third Eye" which is, in my opinion their best. Whenever I hear "Annie's Gone" I imagine it's about a friend who committed suicide, there's just such an intensity about it.  
Jimmy Shaw - Take A Chance On Me
Jimmy was one of many who was inspired by Little Richard to make a little noise of his own. I know absolutely nothing about the singer or this particular record besides the fact that I totally love it. As usual, if anyone has any more info, please feel free to leave a comment.
The Fuzztones - Bad News Travel Fast
The Tryfles - Had Enough Of Your Lies
Back in the 80s there was a huge Garage Band scene here in NYC and The Dive, a little hole-in-the-wall club on W. 29 St., was the center of the action until it closed in May of 1986. Both The Tryfles and The Fuzztones were mainstays of that scene and could be seen playing there almost every week.  
The Tombstones - I Want You
Back in those 80s Garage days a big part of the fun, especially for record nuts like myself, was keeping up with all of the comps of original and rare 60s garage 45s put out by some of the major collectors. In fact, many of the comps became famous in their own right and none were more reknown than the "Back From The Grave" series which specialized in only the wildest of vintage sounds.  The Tombstones from Greensville, South Carolina may not have found fame and fortune in the 60s but they were immortalized forever on BFTG which, even today, is still seen by some as the holy grail of garage.  
Matthew Sweet - Happiness
Along with Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet has this talent for writing incredibly perfect pop songs with just the right combination of innocent wistfulness and rockin'  backbeat that leave the listener wanting more when it's over.   
John & Jackie - Little Girl
I, like many I'm sure, first heard this song on the "Las Vegas Grind" collection which came out in the late 80s. Not surprisingly, John and Jackie saw very little radio airplay with this orgasmic little nugget. 
The Counsellors - I'll Be Your Man
Although they are not nearly as well known as some of their contemporaries such as Q65 and The Outsiders, the Counsellors have cooked up a tasty tidbit of mid-60s Dutch R&B.
Herbie Hancock - Cantaloupe Island
The list of musicians that Herbie Hancock has played with reads like a Who's Who of Jazz. His story is way too long to give it justice here so all who are interested can read more about him on Wikipedia. "Cantaloupe Island" is one of his earlier and more well known compositions. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Giving Up The Ghost

One day last week I got together with my former co-workers at the bank I used to work at. The occasion was a colleague's "retirement" luncheon. I use the word retirement in quotes because, although in her case there's a good chance that she will decide to retire, as with myself this was not by choice. After working there for over 20 years her position is being outsourced. Prior to this gathering I'd had a conversation with my ex-manager who told me that things were not going well with this whole program and it was starting to become apparent to people above him in the management chain. Very little work was getting done and many of the projects that were going into production were going in wrong and had to be undone and fixed. So naturally this raised my hopes a bit that the powers that be might have started to see the light and would possibly begin to consider hiring me back. Unfortunately, all my former colleagues told me that there were plans to lay off almost another 2000 employees within the next year. Most, if not all of them fully expect to be gone within the next 6 - 12 months. It's a bitter pill to swallow but I know it's better to finally face the facts. There will be no going back. 

All of this makes me wonder. In my little area alone they took 100 years of collective experience and decided that it could be replaced by inexperienced programmers mostly just out of school, from halfway around the world, ignoring all of the language and cultural differences. And this is happening not only at my former employer but at many other companies besides. All so that they can show a better bottom line in the short term and make the value of their stock go up. And we've all seen how much the value of the stocks have been going up lately - ha ha ha. The shortsightedness of this amazes me. Doesn't anyone think about what is good for the business (and the country) in the long term? Am I really the only one who sees this? The same thing is true for what is happening at General Motors. They let themselves be influenced (or maybe I should say 'bought') by the oil companies and did little or nothing to develop more energy efficient cars. Again, they went for the short term profits, gave themselves lavish salaries and bonuses and now they are in danger of going out of business entirely. I shudder to think of the long-term ramifications and ripple effect that GM shutting down would have on this country.

I don't know how much our new president will be able to do about this. After all, this is the result of a whole mind set that is based on greed. Hopefully if (or more likely when) there is a bailout package delivered to the auto industry there will be some intelligently thought out and strictly monitored strings attached that will lead to some more long-term thinking on their part. And President-Elect Obama has stated that he is against tax benefits for companies that continue to to move jobs offshore. I hope so. This is not just about me. With a little bit of luck and some hard work and brains, I'll most likely be OK. But there are a lot of people who are in the same situation who are, for various reasons,  a whole lot worse off.  I really believe that this is about the future of this country. 

Albert Hammond Jr. - In Transit
Although I haven't heard all that much from Hammond's band The Strokes, what I have heard hasn't impressed me all that much. To me they sound like little more than warmed-over Led Zeppelin. But his solo work is much more interesting. This song in particular has a nice melodic side to it that I find quite appealing. 
Zakary Thaks - Please
Even though this is not ZT at their 'garagiest'  it's always been a favorite of mine. Brought to you in crystal clear quality from their Sundazed CD "Form the Habit" which is highly recommended to any fans of Beatle-y (and sometimes harder edged) 60s garage band sounds. 
Big Boy Myles - Hickory Dickory Dock
Guess where this was recorded.  Did I hear someone say 'New Orleans'? Originally released on Specialty records in the late 50s, "Hickory..." really has that Crescent City bounce I've come to love so much.   
The Cramps - Human Fly
Although many musicians and singers have combined a cheesy horror flick sensibility with Rock & Roll, few have done so with the same flair that The Cramps have. Now in their 4th decade their approach has changed little since their early days. While I haven't bought a new Cramps record in over 20 years, their first few albums and singles are required listening. 
David Ruffin - I Want You Back
From his at-the-time unreleased album, David's take on the Jackson 5 smash shows that at heart, this was so more than just a typical teeny bopper bubblegum-soul song. It's a shame that it wasn't released as a single but I'm guessing that the Motown bigwigs didn't want it to compete with the J5 who were being groomed to be their next major superstars.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Too Much Aint Enough (Live 1978)
Although he was talking about Rock & Roll and girls and not corporate profits, this song definitely goes well with the theme of this post. I've never seen Tom Petty live and judging from this 1978 performance, that's my loss.
Don Wayne - Head Over Heels in Love
This upbeat little bopper is from the "Ten Long Fingers" comp, a collection of piano driven 50s rockers, many obviously influenced by Jerry Lee Lewis. On this song in particular I love those hiccupy vocals. The "TLF" comp is on Collector Records and can probably be ordered from Norton Records Mailorder. 
Jack Bedient & The Chessmen - Double Whammy
It should come as no surprise to anyone that these guys were from the Pacific Northwest as "...Whammy" sounds like it could've been recorded by either The Wailers or The Sonics. A classic stomper for sure.
The Lyres - Cinderella
Speaking of The Sonics, here are The Lyres paying homage to their heroes on this track, recorded at the Downtown Lounge in Portland, Maine on May 24, 1980. 
The Man From Delmonte - Drive Drive Drive
This is a band I know absolutely nothing about, although from the sound of them I'm guessing that they were part of the whole C86 scene. At this point I need to thank my friend TweeKid who turned me onto these guys. 
Rocket Morgan - Tag Along 
Once again I must plead complete ignorance as the only thing I know about this record is that it's on the "Louisiana Rock & Roll" comp on Krazy Kat records and it rocks like crazy. Any additional info anyone out there can provide would be greatly appreciated.
The Thanes - I'm A Fool
I saw these guys back in July of 2000 at the Las Vegas Grind festival. They were the last band playing the Sunday night show and there were only a handful of us left. In fact, by that time  I too had had more than enough and was thinking of skipping them when a little voice inside told me not too. I am sooooo glad I listened as they proved to be one of the highlights of that amazing weekend. Their forte is generally the folk-rock, poppier side of garagedom and here they turn in a wonderful version of The Sandy Coast's "I'm A Fool". 
H-Bomb Ferguson - Midnight Ramblin' Tonight
I first heard "Midnight Ramble Tonight" on the Hound's Saturday afternoon show on WFMU-FM sometime back in the 80s. For years I looked for a copy of this record to no avail but luckily now it's featured loud and proud on a few different comps including Ace's "King Rock & Roll" which is pretty readily available.     
The Vacant Lot - Just One Night
These guys were always favorites of mine especially in the early 90s when they used to play clubs like Mercury Lounge and Brownies in downtown NYC on a regular basis. Pete Ciccone, the singer and main songwriter in the band really had a way with a hook. Unfortunately he is pretty much out of music these days.
Warren Zevon - Poor, Poor Pitiful Me
About 6 months ago I bought a copy of WZ's tell-all biography "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon" but I'm somewhat afraid to read it. I've always been such a big fan of his songs and I guess I fear that if I get to know the man, and all the horror stories, I won't be able to appreciate his music anymore. I always admired his sense of humor and how he could direct it at himself as well as the world at large. 
West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - I Won't Hurt You
There's always been something special about this song that, if I were wooing a reticent lover, I would want to sing it to put to rest any fears. Maybe it's that percussion that sounds like a heartbeat but it's always sounded so reassuring and safe.
Gotta Get Away (second version) - William Penn & His Pals
From Palo Alto, California William and friends had had a few singles on the Scorpio label, same as the Pre-Creedence Golliwogs. I guess it was just a matter of not having the means to adequately promote their records as this definitely had hit potential.
Velvet Crush - Kill Me Now
Talk about injustices, these guys have close to 10 albums and EPs (maybe even more) and while they definitely have their cult following, success on a larger scale has eluded them. If Power Pop with a somewhat darker and deeper side sounds like your cup of tea, VC are definitely worth your time and money investigating. One place to start is Emusic which has about 7 of their albums including "Free Expression" from which this song is taken.    

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

I read an interesting article at The New Disease blog. It seems our esteemed president has given the NRA a parting gift. For the last 20 or so years there has been a ban on having concealed weapons in National Parks which our fearless leader has seen fit to repeal. Now personally, it will be a cold day in hell when I actually find myself camping out in the great outdoors. My citified idea of roughing it is sleeping with the window open instead of the A/C. But something about reading this struck a chord with me. It doesn't take a genius to realize that guys throwing back a few (or more) beers around the campfire and guns is potentially a fairly lethal mix and this ban has probably prevented more than a few accidental deaths by shooting. It just boggles the mind that this man went out of his way to rescind that ban. What could his thinking possibly be? When is it GOOD to have a concealed weapon on a camping vacation in a national park? This man is not just stupid, he is evil stupid and that's an even more dangerous combination. Thank God he's gone after a six more weeks. Let's just hope that he doesn't do too much more damage in that time. 

Lee Rogers - Cracked Up Over You
I first discovered "Cracked..." on a Goldmine Soul Supply CD which means that original copies are likely going for highly inflated amounts. And sure enough, a click to my favorite online record seller Gemm Music shows it being sold for prices ranging from $20 for a VG copy from a dealer in the US to $225 for a  NM copy from a dealer in the UK. It's amazing how when a record gets labeled as Northern Soul the price shoots way up.
The Creation - Biff Bang Pow
This record and band need no introduction to most Rock and Roll fans. Next to The Who, these guys were the best and most influential mod/freakbeat bands of the mid-60s. Their guitar pyrotechnics were likely an influence on a young Jimi Hendrix. I saw them a few years ago at a reunion gig they did at Cavestomp and the old magic was definitely still there. 
The Grip Weeds - Rainy Day #3
Back in the 90s I saw The Grip Weeds a number of times and I always liked them a lot. "Rainy Day # 3"  is one of my favorite songs and is from their "Summer of a Thousand Years" CD which you can order from Amazon
The Grotesque Mommies - One Night Stand
"...Stand" is taken from the "Sands of Time" comp which can probably still be ordered from dealers like Get Hip and Bomp. This Tacoma, Washington combo may not have achieved much in the way of fame and fortune but surely they deserve some extra points for their unusual moniker.   
Johnny Rivers - Secret Agent Man
I generally shy away from posting songs that were big hits. For one I'd like to avoid copyright issues if I can and for two, almost everyone who'd be reading this has heard the song a thousand times already. But when I was putting this list together I was really in the mood to listen to it, so here it is. 
The E-Types - She Moves Me
These guys put out a number of garage/psych gems back in the mid-60s, all of which can be found on the Sundazed CD "Introducing The E-Types", which I highly recommend. Incidentally, when I went to the Sundazed site to copy the URL I read that in January they are releasing a 2 LP set of all of the Remains material in its original glorious MONO (the way God intended it) mix. Now THAT is news!
The Lyres - Here's A Heart
Boston's Lyres have been mainstays of the East Coast garage scene for going on 3 decades and on their  best nights they can still put on some of the most inspiring live shows you're ever going to see. Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons they have done almost no recording in the last 15 years. A new album would be most welcome but it's highly unlikely at this point. The good news is that while most of their albums are out of print, they can still be found fairly cheaply on places like Amazon (see link above) including "A Promise Is A Promise" from which "...Heart" is taken.
Marianne Faithfull - Come and Stay With Me
With it's folk-pop musical arrangement and lyrics like "I'll do all I can so you'll feel free" this record almost screams 1965. While it does sound rather dated it is still a really pretty song written by Jackie DeShannon.
Matthew Sweet - Sick Of Myself
Matthew is regarded almost like a God in Powerpop circles and, while in my opinion not everything he touches automatically turns to gold, he has written more than his share of bonafide classics, this being one of them from his "100% Fun" album. 
The Pernice Brothers - The Weakest Shade of Blue
Although as yet The Pernice Brothers are not as well known as Mr. Sweet, among their fans they are regarded as no less icon-worthy. As this song shows there is clearly something special going on here and I for one am certainly looking forward to hearing more from them. 
The Plimsouls - A Million Miles Away
Speaking of pop deities, The Plimsouls certainly qualify. "A Million Miles Away" is over 20 years old and it still sounds as if it could've been written yesterday. 
The Shells - Whiplash
I don't know if there was ever actually a dance called The Whiplash but what I do know is that when I used to DJ, this song always got folks up on their feet.  
The Little Bits - Girl Give Me Love
From Jennings, Louisiana, The Little Bits sound young enough that had that girl given them the love they were demanding, one has to wonder if they would've known what to do with it. Nonetheless this is a perfect example of raging teen hormones set to music. You gotta love it.
Gene Clark (with the Gosdin Brothers) - Is Yours Is Mine
As much as I love The Byrds in every phase of their existence, it's their earlier material that they cut with Gene Clark as part of the group that still stands out for me. Although he never attained the same level of stardom that he had with the Byrds, he went on to produce some incredibly lovely music until his untimely death at the young age of 46 in 1991. 
Junior Wells - Little By Little (I'm Losing You)
While he may not be quite as well known as some of his contemporaries, Chicago bluesman Junior Wells had an impressive discography  starting in the early 60s continuing until his death from lymphoma in 1998. "Little By Little" was one of his earlier records with a bit more of a Rock & Roll/R&B edge to it than some of his others. His "Hoodoo Man Blues" album on Delmark is widely regarded as a classic among blues lovers.
The Kinetic - The Train
These guys were one of many young UK bands playing American R&B inspired Rock & Roll in the early 60s. While they never made much of a name for themselves they did produce a handful of very worthwhile recordings.

Looking back over this latest playlist I see that, more than on some of my other posts, there are a number of bands/artists that are either still performing or have CDs out from which they are (presumably) seeing some royalties. So, if you hear something here by an artist you really like that you might want to investigate further, please go out and buy something by them. Like it or not, it's money that keeps things going to a large extent and if we don't support the music and artists we love, at some point it's all going to dry up. And we certainly don't want that.

And as always, comments are not only welcome they are encouraged.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Time On My Hands Xmas Promise

It's hard to believe that it's Christmas season once again. Maybe it's just me but this year it just doesn't feel like Christmas. Perhaps it's the overall lousy economy or the enormousness of the horror and tragedy of what happened in Mumbai, but I just can't seem to work up much of a jolly Xmas spirit.  And what makes it even worse is all the happy happy Christmas music being played all over the place. In NYC, the only halfway decent radio station WCBS-FM has been playing nothing but Xmas music 24/7 for over a week already. It's enough to make me scream. It's not that I don't like Christmas. I love giving and receiving presents and every year I go to at least 3 parties, each one put on by completely different sets of friends and family whom I truly love. So it's not me being a grinch. It just somehow feels all wrong. The total commercialization of the holiday, something which I had grown to accept and even kind of enjoy in a weird way years ago, somehow this year feels ugly and crass. So my promise to you dear bloggers is that there will be NO Christmas music posted here.   

The Outcast - You Gotta Call Me
Awhile back I posted their totally off-the-wall version of "Long Tall Sally" and while they don't go quite as bonkers on this track, it's still a terrific record in fine Beatlesque style. Hailing from Japan, they can be found on a number of Group Sounds comps that are readily available. 
Barbara George - Talk About Love
This was her follow up to her big hit "I Know" and it retains all of the ingredients that made that one so irresistible. Unfortunately and inexplicably, Barbara remained pretty much of a one-hit wonder. 
Captain Soul - Looking For Love
Some of you will recognize that these guys got their moniker from a song by the Byrds and listening to "...Love" it's quite obvious that McGuinn, Clark & Co. were a major influence.  The good news is that they have the chops and songs that make them stand out on their own.
The Flamin' Groovies - Jumpin' In The Night
Not much needs to be said about this one. The band and the song are both classics. If Richard Simmons ever does another "Sweating to the Oldies" video, this would make a great entry. 
Gloria Jones - Tainted Love
Unfortunately most folks know this song via the cover by Soft Cell and while (IMHO anyway) that version isn't as awful as many think, the original is just soooo much better. Unfortunately, it sold zilch in the late 60s when it was released, never even cracking the Billboard Top 100. Such a shame.
Honeyboy Bryant - Funny Looking Thing
Collector Records in Holland specializes in releasing collections of totally obscure Rockabilly and R&B records from the 50s. This is from one called "Black Huchia Cuthia". I know nothing whatsoever about this particular track and have never heard of Honeyboy Bryant before.  But based on what I'm hearing here, I hope there's more where this came from.
The Loved Ones - Surprise, Surprise
This song first became known in the mid-80s NYC Garage scene by being covered by The Vipers who used to play the Cavestomp night at the Dive every Thursday. They were turned onto the record by one of the major collectors at the time and judging from the scratches that are audible, this sounds like it might have come from that exact same copy of the 45 which I have on a tape buried deep in my closet somewhere. In case you were interested.   
The Popguns - Waiting For The Winter
My friend TweeKid turned me onto this record more than 15 years ago and it remains a favorite to this day. I love the lyrics which seem to be about how it feels when one outgrows a relationship that was either abusive in some way or just plain wrong (but could sometimes feel so good!) after lots of soul searching. 
Poverty Stinks - Another World
PS were from Finland but remained almost totally unknown in the US. Luckily for me I discovered them during my record reviewing days (early-90s) when I was in contact with a number of Finnish bands and labels. The lead singer has an incredible and quite unique voice. 
The Cadillacs - Sugar Sugar
In their way The Cadillacs were a major part of my music appreciation education. For the most part they were known only for their big hit "Speedoo" and it never occurred to me that there might be so much more hidden beneath the surface. Then in 1983 Murray Hill Records released a 5-LP set of material, almost all of which was unheard of by me at that time, and it totally blew me away. "Sugar Sugar" was one of their many amazng songs that I discovered at that time.  
The Raunch Hands - Mess Around
These guys were also part of the NYC Garage scene back in the 80s and 90s. When they were 'on' and running on all cylinders, they were pretty much unbeatable. This track, an update of an early Ray Charles hit, is taken from a Japanese compilation and it sounds like it was recorded live so hopefully you can hear what made them so great at the time.
The Frame - Doctor Doctor
"Doctor..." perfectly encapsulates that moment in time when all those British mod/freakbeat bands who were fueled by uppers first discovered pot and LSD. Like many of us back then, as the 60s wore on, the music the started taking itself way too seriously and lost the innocent charm that made it so memorable in the first place.  
The Fabs - Dinah Wants Religion
Speaking of music with innocent charm not taking itself too seriously, this Texas Flashbacks/Back From the Grave classic is about as good as it gets. I seem to remember The Chesterfield Kings doing a nice cover of this as well.
Double Feature - Come On Baby
This is another record I know almost nothing about except that it was released as a single in the UK sometime between 1966 and 1969 and was included as the leadoff song on the first Colour Me Pop compilation.
The Braves - Woodpecker Rock
This definitely came out in the mid-late 50s with it's indirect yet not-so-subtle reference to Woody Woodpecker (heh heh heh). I don't know if they had any other records out. If anyone out there has any info on them, please post a comment.
Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl
While this song has been covered a number of times (The Yardbirds and Warren Zevon's versions come to mind) nobody else sings it with the good-time panache of Mr. Kador. Of course, no one else had the cream of New Orleans sessions musicians playing backup either.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Shuffle Your Feet
These guys are a relatively recent discovery for me so I'm sure that there are many people who are more qualified to write about BRMC than myself, so once again, enlightening comments are always welcome. All I am going to say is that I like them and, if you like this song (from their "Howl" CD), these guys are actually out there playing and recording as you read this, so buy their music or go see them in concert.   
The Endd - Out Of My Hands

One of the things I like most about this record is how the lead singer sounds so much like John Lennon. In fact I have this fantasy that maybe, sometime during the summer of 1966 while the Beatles were touring here, he might have run off with some local musicians and recorded this on the sly. I wish I had a better recording and if one turns up, I will repost it.

Friday, November 28, 2008

(A Somewhat Belated) Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that all of you out in Cyberland who celebrate Thanksgiving had a great day yesterday. I certainly did. I spent the day with good friends, ate lots of delicious food and enjoyed some stimulating conversation.  It doesn't get much better than that. With all of the crap that's happening in the world these days it's easy to get bogged down in negativity, so I think it's important to stay mindful of the good things in life, those people and things that make you feel glad to be alive. So, for today, this is my gratitude list. I'm grateful for my family who I know will always be there to help me up when I fall down. I m grateful for the good friends I have who are there for me when I need them. I'm grateful for my cat Mickey who is the cutest and sweetest little puss who loves to be petted and doesn't scratch up my record album covers. I am grateful that after 57 years on this earth I am learning to truly love myself, warts and all. I'm grateful that I am also finally acquiring some humility that, more and more, lets me see the world as it really is instead of just through the eyes of my own desires.  I'm grateful that I am learning to see the cup as half full instead of the other way around all the time. Finally, I am grateful for my wonderful apartment, my music collection, my life of relative abundance and the fact that all my problems are for the most part, problems of privilege. And now, as Ronnie Dawson used to say, "Gimme the downbeat Maestro". 

Barrence Whitfield - I Just Want To See You So Bad
Barrence Whitfield is one of the most incredibly talented and soulful vocalists I've ever heard. I've always loved this Lucinda Williams song but hearing Barrence sing it makes it even more special. 
The Byrds - It Won't Be Wrong
Speaking of favorite songs, if I had to choose just one, this would probably be my pick of all the fantabulous Byrds tracks that they've recorded over the years. It's from their "Turn Turn Turn" album and was also released as a single.
The DC5 - Don't You Know
Back in the day, the Dave Clark 5 were regarded as nothing more than a teeny-bopper singles band, not to  be taken seriously by 'real' music fans. It took long enough but luckily we musical snobs have learned a thing or two. This is an early album track that actually never came out on a 45.
Dave Davies - Creeping Jean
I'm not sure if this originally came out as by The Kinks or Dave Davies. Nonetheless, it's a terrific record and I just love that jack-in-the-box bass guitar riff.
Del Shannon - Move It On Over
Del never rocked out any harder than he did on this, one of his later Amy singles that unfortunately, went nowhere.
The Headless Horsemen - Can't Help But Shake
The Dogmatics - Gimme The Shakes
Back in the 80s and 90s when I used to be really into making tapes for people and parties, this was one of my favorite song combinations. Both bands were (and still are) personal favorites especially the Horsemen who were local friends and whom I must have seen at least 30 times over the years. Sadly, due to premature death and other destructions, it's very unlikely that either of these bands will ever reform. 
Jules & The Polar Bears - Sometimes Real Life
I've never been sure of what he's trying to say in this song but I love the chorus. "Sometimes real life is just like real life. Sometimes real life is just what we expected". True, true.
Kenny & The Kasuals - Nothing Better To Do
I believe that this was their first single and while it's not quite on the same level as their legendary "Journey to Tyme", it's a better than average record in its own right. Awhile back I read somewhere that someone was putting out a band-sanctioned compilation of their best material presumably from master tapes and such. I really hope that's true but in the meantime, there's a pretty decent sounding CD out on Eva which is where this track came from. 
The Keys - I Don't Wanna Cry
I first discovered this little gem on one of the "Shake Some Action" comps and it immediately became a favorite. Those vocals, especially when they go into that mini falsetto, are just so innocent and sweet, the essence of pure pop.  
Lightnin' Hopkins - Mojo Hand
In complete contrast, Lightnin' Hopkins sings like a man who has been everywhere and seen everything. This is the title track from an album he recorded in 1962 which is supposed to be one of his better albums. It can be found relatively cheaply on Amazon. 
Ronnie Dawson - This Is the Night
Back in the 90s Ronnie was touring with this incredible backing band. I especially remember the lead guitarist who would just rattle off these amazing licks, one right after the other. From the sound of it, I think that band is backing him on this track which is from the "Monkey Beat" album.   
Teenage Fanclub - He'd Be A Diamond
In addition to their own songwriting abilities TFC are known for being able to cover a song and make it their own. "He'd Be A Diamond" was written and originally recorded by Bevis Frond but this version really brings out the wistful passion of the words. I remember the first time this song played on my Ipod on my way into work, I must have had it on repeat almost the entire rest of the day.    
The Count Bishops - Train Train
Caught up in the first wave of UK punk, the Bishops' brand of red hot bar band R&B was seen as somewhat passe at the time. This song in particular has a haunting quality to it that totally captivates me every time I hear it. 
The 7th Cinders - You Take Me For Rides 
This moody garage punk masterpiece was first unearthed on one of the Garage Punk Unknown albums. To my ears this record had a lot more going on than many others of the same ilk and, with better production, had the potential to be at least a minor hit in the same vein as The Beau Brummels.
The Lazy Cowgirls - Still On The Losin' Side
I absolutely LOVE these guys. I've got about 4 or 5 albums by them, plus a single or two and while they all may sound pretty much alike, when you do what they do so well, there's really no reason to reinvent the wheel. I saw them a bunch of years ago when they did a show at CBGBs and, as you might imagine, they were awesome.
The Lyrics - Mr. Man
These guys are best known for their two 60s garage classics "So What" and "They Can't Hurt Me" so this song sometimes gets overlooked.  Which is a shame because while it might not be quite as intense as the other two, it still packs quite a wallop both lyrically and musically.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Less Talk More Music

For the most part I've just about stopped paying attention to the news. As the saying goes "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference". And there is soooo nothing I can do about what's going on these days. Everywhere you turn there are more big corporations asking for government bailouts from quagmires that I can't help but think were created by their own greed and shortsightedness, and workers by the thousands losing their jobs. And quite frankly, when I think about it all, it depresses and scares the hell out of me. So, as a measure to save what sanity I have left, I have decided that all I can do is try to take care of myself and not worry about the rest of the world's mistakes. So far I remain optimistic about our new president but I am realistic enough to realize that he is just one person and that it's going to take awhile for things to turn around. So for now, on with the music.

The Beau Brummels - Don't Talk To Strangers
Of all their singles, this is easily my favorite. Those harmonies when they sing "baaaaaaaabe" are nothing short of awe inspiring. And I am old enough to remember how amazing they sounded coming through my little transistor radio speaker.
Etta James - Tell Mama
This was Etta's biggest hit but, according to her autobiography "Rage to Survive", she never really liked it. Nonetheless, she turns in a powerful vocal and it's big danceable beat is an almost guaranteed floor-filler.
Earl Hooker - Frog Hop
As is evidenced here, Earl Hooker was an above average blues guitarist, despite never attaining the success and reknown of some of his contemporaries. "Frog Hop" was recorded for Chess Records in the early 60s. 
Grandpaboy - Dead Man Shake
Grandpaboy is actually an alias for Paul Westerberg and on this track, the ex-Mat wears his Rolling Stones influence right on his sleeve. 
Joe Clay - Get on the Right Track
"...Right Track" is one of a handful of singles by Joe Clay released by RCA who were looking to capitalize on the success of Elvis Presley. But Clay is no mere imitator and most of his releases are quite worthy in their own right. According to his website, Clay is still performing today.
Kevin Ayers - Shouting In A Bucket Blues
KA is probably best known as one of the founding members of Prog rockers Soft Machine. Not being a big fan of the genre I must admit I never paid much attention to him but after hearing a friend tell me about his music I was intrigued. This song reminds me somewhat of John Cale's "Vintage Violence" album - which is by no means a bad thing.
Moon Martin - No Chance
The spirit of Buddy Holly definitely lives on in this track. "No chance of loving you, no chance at all". We've all been there and Martin captures the despair of the moment beautifully without falling into melodrama and self-pity.
Dorothy Berry - You're So Fine
Produced by David Gates, who would later go on to form the soft-pop group Bread, this update of the old Falcons hit is one of many records that came out in the years 1963 - 1965 that was influenced by Phil Spector's bigger-than-life production style.
Lee Dorsey - Candy Yam
I've always loved Lee Dorsey's funky yet good-time style of singing. Vocalists like Otis Redding, David Ruffin and Wilson Pickett may have had more grit and soul but very few singers had the welcoming warmth that Lee Dorsey brought to his records.
The Scientists - Frantic Romantic
"Frantic..." was The Scientists debut single released in 1979.  Their later material had a much more grungy and dirty edge to it but even here there is a certain amateurish, ragged quality that adds a lot to its charm.
T.R. and the Yardsmen - I Tried
From the absolutely essential "Friday at the Hideout" comp on Norton, comes this mid-60s stomper. As far as I can tell from Soybomb's Garage Database, "I Tried" was their only single but it's still enough to guarantee them at least a footnote in the history of 60s Garage R&R. 
The Blue Hearts - I Wanna A Kiss
Back in the late 80s and early 90s these guys were superstars in their native Japan, selling out large stadiums. It was at that point that their record company tried to launch them stateside but the language barrier proved to be too much of an obstacle. Nonetheless, their records are upbeat, catchy and sing-alongable in any language.  
Tim Buckley - Song For Jainie
From his first album, released in the fall of 1966 this is one of his prettier songs. Subsequent records would show him moving in a more jazz influenced direction.
The Scorpions - Keep-A-Knockin
These guys started out as a German beat combo imitating their heros like The Yardbirds and Pretty Things. After not too long they took on a more metal sound, became very successful and are still performing today. But for many of us this is truly among their finest moments.
Buddy Love - Heartbreak Hotel
Buddy turns in a remake of Elvis' early smash at twice the speed as the original. While, at the time, it came and went without a trace, today it is a big favorite among Rockabilly fans and can be found on a number of compilations. 
The 13th Floor Elevators - Tried To Hide
This is the B-side of "You're Gonna Miss Me" and it's a totally different, much faster recording than the version on their first album. Rumor has it that there is a 10-CD box set of Elevators material coming out early next year which will consist of stereo and  mono versions of their albums from the master tapes for the first time as well as a ton of alternate takes and live shows. I can't wait.
The Society - High & Mighty
I just love this kind of primitive, pre-LSD psychedelia. From the sound of things, I'm guessing they were still mainly playing covers of the hits of the day at local dances yet, with all that was happening in the 60s and maybe having smoked some pot from time to time, were beginning to expand their musical horizons.
Richard & The Young Lions - You Can Make It
One of the best shows I've ever seen in my life has to be the Richard & The Young Lions show at Maxwells about 8 years ago. Richard Tepp, their lead singer (who has since passed away) was so sickly and frail that he literally had to be helped on and off the stage but once he got behind the mike, he sang, ranted, raved and shouted like he was still a kid of 16. If ever anything on this earth was a sign of Rock & Roll's rejuvenating powers, this show was it. Of their 3 singles, this was their last and, in my opinion, their best.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

3CLFS - Pt. 2

Things haven't been going so great lately. Not just for me but, it seems, for the whole country and maybe even the rest of the world as well. Everyone I talk to, when I mention that I am out of work, tells me that they know someone else who has also recently lost their job. Despite the optimism that many of us share at the thought of the Bush White House years coming to a close and a new Obama presidency beginning, every day it seems that the mess he will inherit just gets larger and larger. So, there comes a time when one has to just take a step back and, when things are looking their bleakest, remain thankful for all the little pleasures that life has to offer. It is with that thought in mind that I put together this playlist. As Peggy Lee once said, "If that's all there is then let's keep dancing". 

Danny's Reasons - Little Diane
While Danny certainly doesn't have the vocal ability of Dion, he and his Reasons certainly came up with  a spirited version of Mr. DiMucci's Top 10 hit from 1962.  
Firestarter - Trashy Dreams
One of the highlights of the 1994 Garage Shock festival was seeing Teengenerate play a few shows in the Seattle area. When they broke up some of them formed Firestarter who play similar supercharged garagey punk, with possibly a bit of a more poppy sound.
Florian Monday & His Mondos - Rip It, Rip It Up
This is the original version of one of my favorite Swingin' Neckbreakers songs. Although to me the Neckbreakers' version still has the edge, it's easy to see why they picked this particular song to cover with the arrangement intact.
Jack & the Jumpin' Jacks - More More
Just like in the punk and garage eras, in the mid-50s when scores of bored, horny teenagers who'd been raised on country music heard Elvis Presley, they picked up a guitar and decided to have a go at it themselves. While there may be nothing particularly memorable about this track, it's still a fun listen 50 years later.
Joe Jitsu - Start It Up
No, not the Dick Tracy character, this Joe Jitsu is a 3-piece pop punk band from Beaumont, Texas. If you like The Queers, The Descendents or The Vacant Lot you are sure to like these guys. Check out their MySpace page.  
Kid Thomas - Rockin' This Joint Tonite
This has long been a big favorite of mine and is possibly one of the fastest records ever recorded before The Ramones got together. Who put the benzedrine in Kid Thomas' Ovaltine?
Little Richard - I Saw Her Standing There
While this version of the Beatles' rocker can't come close to the wildness of his earlier Specialty records, it has always been a big favorite with the Northern Soul crowd. Unfortunately, this recording is from the stereo album ("The Rill Thing") which definitely dilutes some of the oomph of the 45. One of these days I'll try to upload the mono single version which is much punchier.  
Paul Bascomb - Mumbles Blues
Paul was actually more of a jazzman than a rocker but like like many of his contemporaries he attempted a few Rock and Roll records in the 50s. 
Phillip Roebuck - Jackass Blues
"Jackass Blues"  comes from a double CD entitled "Attack of the One Man Bands" which is chock full of wacky, swingin' nuggets just like this. 58 of them in fact. I'm not sure what this says about my musical tastes but this CD set is actually one of my favorite purchases of the last year. I can't listen to all of it at once but in small doses, it can't be beat.
The Poets - Vowels Of Love
From the first "Ba wa na na na now now" this record rocks like crazy. Most people think of doo wops as slow dreamy ballads and for the most part, that is what the genre is best known for. But most of the time, those ballads were paired with a rocker on the flip side. This is one of the better ones - in my opinion anyway.
Richie Deran - Girl and a Hot Rod
Over the years I've seen many bands cover this song. And why not, it's a classic. A girl and a hot rod - if only life were so simple.
Slade - Goodbye T`Jane
Although Slade were huge hitmakers in England, here in the U.S. they were largely ignored. This was their biggest hit of the Glam Rock era, making it up to number 68 on the Billboard chart in March of 1973. Back in those days I was very serious and mostly into singer/songwriters but something prompted me to buy their album. At the time I remember liking it but never being quite sure why.
The Maniacs - Now I Know
Soybomb's garage compilation database lists  6 songs called "Now I Know" and a number of bands called The Maniacs. To be truthful, the record itself is rather generic but for whatever reason, whenever it comes up on the Ipod, I always crank up the volume.
The Valiants - Don't Wanna Leave the Congo
I first heard this on "Las Vegas Grind" many years ago and it has remained a favorite of mine. With it's nonsensical spoken vocals and jungle noises this has been a highlight of many a party tape in its day.
006 - Like What Me Worry
I'm guessing that this song was inspired by Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Newman as LWMW was his catchphrase. While I'm sure it was done all in fun, listening to it now I have to wonder if the violent nature of the lyrics was one thing that prevented it from getting any radio airplay. 
The Painted Ship - I Told Those Little White Lies
Speaking of nasty lyrics, this is about as spiteful as it gets but in an understated kind of way. Nonetheless (or possibly because), this remains a favorite among 60s garage fans.
The Spinners - Heebie Jeebies
This is the very same Spinners that had all those hits in the 70s. This was the B-side of their very first hit, the doo-wopish ballad "That's What Girls Were Made For". Not too surprisingly, I like this side much better. 
T-Rex - Jeepster
"Jeepster" got a lot of radio airplay in NYC back in the early 70s. Enough so that I was surprised to learn that it never even cracked the Billboard Top 100. This is another one of those records that I always liked a lot but hearing it on my Ipod while walking in the city made me appreciate even more. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some Random Thoughts and A Little Music Too

My job search is not going very well at all. In the 6 weeks that I've been unemployed I 've probably sent out close to 200 resumes, the end result of which so far is a total of 1 interview and a few phone calls. I'm not telling you all of this just to complain.  After all I've got it a lot better than many other people in my situation. For one thing, I have no family to support. It's just me and Mickey my cat. No kids to think about putting through college. Nobody is really being affected except myself and if I have to tighten my belt even more for the next year or so, it's nothing I won't survive. 

But am I really the only one being affected? Forget the fact that I (and others in my situation) are simply not spending and supporting local businesses the way we were. Let's just talk about taxes. In 2008 I'll say for argument sake that I paid $20,000 in Federal, State and Local taxes.  In 2009, if I don't find other work, not only will I not be paying those taxes but I will also be a drain on the economy. For one thing I will be collecting unemployment insurance. So let's say I am collecting $400 a week for 26 weeks. That's $10,400 I am taking away from the system. Do the math. From +$20,000 to -$10,400 is a difference of $30,400.  Multiply that by the 300 - 500 employees who were laid off by the bank I worked for due to outsourcing. We are now talking about a tax loss of over $15 million, because of the actions of a large corporation who are already getting huge tax incentives just for being who they are.     

To me the solution is simple. Why not make my former employer pay the difference? It may not directly help me or any of the other people who have already lost their jobs but it might make sending more jobs overseas less attractive. 

Apples In Stereo - The Rainbow
Sometimes these guys come off as a little too clever for cleverness' sake but here they do what they do best - creating perfect 2 1/2 minute catchy pop vignettes ideal for singing along to.
Bob Dylan - Queen Jane Approximately
Nobody writes love songs like Dylan. While he's not offering romance, hearts and flowers, he is promising to be there when things turn sour, no explanations or excuses required.  Sounds good to me.
Duke Ellington - Ad Lib On Nippon
If he isn't already, there will soon come a time when Duke Ellington will be regarded as one of the top American composers of the 20th century. Listening to any one of his hundreds of recordings, there is always something special to discover, not just in the melodies and solos themselves but in the arrangements, coloring and texture of the music. This piece, from the "Far East Suite" album is one of many he wrote with his long-time friend and collaborator Billy Strayhorn. 
Harold Burrage - Messed Up
Unlike the music of Duke Ellington, there's nothing sophisticated or complicated about "Messed Up". But I'm sure the Duke himself would be the first to say that that takes nothing away from the vibrancy of this particular track. Or as an old buddy of mine would say "This is some seriously good shit". 
The Litter - Legal Matter
From their "Distortions" album, reisssued a few years ago by Arf Arf and highly recommended, these guys turn in a spirited version of one of my favorite songs from "The Who Sings My Generation" album.  
The Little Ones - Lovers Who Uncover
From the Phillipines via Los Angeles, this young foursome is creating some of the sweetest pop music I've heard in a really long time. You can hear more by clicking on their Myspace site.
Robert Parker - You See Me
I'm not sure if this song was ever actually released as a single but with it's bouncy New Orleans rhythm and those wonderful "Woo Woo's" in the background, this has 'hit' written all over it.
Ronnie Dawson - Action Packed
Sadly, Ronnie passed away about 5 years ago but I was lucky enough to see him about 6 or 7 times in concert. And he was never anything less than amazing! His enthusiasm and love for playing came across in everything he did, and he was a helluva nice guy besides. Although he recorded "Action Packed" when he was in his teens, it remained a highlight of his live shows throughout his career.
The Shags - Don't Press Your Luck
From the wilds of Connecticut comes this moody garage gem by The Shags in pristine sound. From the Sundazed compilation of the same name, this is just one of many great tracks on that album.
Z.Z.Hill - You Just Cheat And Lie
While not a household name by any means, Z.Z. had been recording for many years up until his premature death at the age of 48 in 1984. This is one of many recordings he made for the Kent label back in the 60s and 70s. 
Mouse & The Traps - Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice
This needs no introduction to fans of garage punk music. With it's searing guitars, superfast tempo and snarling vocals, "Maid of Sugar..." is as close to perfection as it gets.
Homer Banks - A Lot Of Love
One has to wonder if The Spencer Davis Group heard this soul stomper before recording "Gimme Some Lovin'". This is another record that really got folks onto the dancefloor in a hurry back when I used to DJ. 
Jimmie Patton - Okie's In The Pokie
Although I have this song on a few different Rockabilly comps, I have to admit I know nothing about the recording or the artist. But even if this was his only record, it's enough to guarantee him a place in the hearts of Rock and Rollers forever.
The Flippers - Sargento Flippers
Speaking of records I know absolutely nothing about, this 6T's Columbian combo turns in a dynamite version of the Sgt. Pepper theme. If any of you Spanish speakers out there can provide a translation please post it in the comments section. 
The Zombies - What More Can I Do
I'm sure a more technically trained musician than myself could explain exactly why, but The Zombies had a sound that was so different from that of their contemporaries. For a long time they were rather underrated and overlooked by many fans of 60s British bands. While "Odyssey and Oracle" was acknowledged as the classic that it is, their earlier beat-styled material was largely ignored. Luckily, all that changed with the release of the Zombies box by Big Beat back in the late 1990's. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Morning 1 AM

There hasn't been all that much happening here in YankeeBoy land these past few days. I either had a minor case of the flu or else a really bad head cold that knocked me out for a few days but I'm starting to feel a lot better. So tomorrow I'll be getting back to the job search.  My newest favorite waste of time is watching "3rd Rock from The Sun" reruns on TVLand. There's something about the whole premise of aliens living among us and the comedic situations that arise as they attempt to adapt to our ways that I find very amusing. John Lithgow is perfectly cast as the 'commander' and Jane Curtin is superb as his somewhat uptight love interest and straight (wo)man. And now for the musical portion of our program.

Andre Williams - The Greasy Chicken
Andre has had a huge career revival over the last 10 years, playing clubs and festivals around the world and recording with musicians young enough to be his kids. And while there is no question that he still has his vocal chops and that 'dirty little man' peculiar kind of charm, for me it's those original Fortune records from the 50s that I mostly want to hear.
The Barracudas - Inside Mind
Their first album is still regarded as groundbreaking, merging surf-vocal, garage and punk styles in the unique way it did. And while their subsequent records had a somewhat darker edge to them, they could still be just as exciting. "Inside Mind" is from "The Garbage Dump Tapes" which has always been one of my favorites.
The New Colony Six- At The River's Edge
In the latter part of their career The NC6 achieved some Top 40 fame with a couple of soft-pop hits but this is their very first single from their garage band days.  In fact, their first 2 albums, reissued by Sundazed, are regarded as near-classics by 60s garage music fans.
Tommy Ridgely - Looped
I don't know much about this record other than that it was recorded in New Orleans sometime between 1949 and 1954. An ode to the joys of getting totally smashed, "nippin' and sippin' all night long". To quote officer Joe Bolton, "Kids, don't try this at home."
Boris The Sprinkler - No Longer
This Green Bay, Wisconsin pop-punk combo definitely took the 3CLFS credo to heart. According to their listing in Wikipedia, they had a very extensive discography most of which I haven't personally heard. It's rare that a band can be silly and fun without sounding like they're trying too hard at it, but on this track at least, they manage to do just that.
Clifford Curry - She Shot A Hole In My Soul
This was as close as CC ever got to the big time as "She Shot..." was a minor hit for him in the spring of 1967. It's a tasty slice of upbeat soul with a nice Stax-y horn section that had all the ingredients to be a much bigger it than it was.
The Dillards - I've Just Seen a Face
The Dillards got their start in bluegrass/folk circles and eventually gravitated to more Rock oriented fare. This Beatles song however perfectly lends itself to a country/bluegrass treatment and the results, especially those lovely harmonies, are nothing less than magestic.
Eddie Bo - I'm Wise
With that syncopated shuffle beat, this has New Orleans written all over it. It's another record I know little about but that doesn't take anything away from how my enjoyment.
Fish 'N' Chips - Four Times Faster
I played this at a record party I DJ'd at once and I was surprised at how quickly this bouncy bubblegum garage nugget filled up the dance floor. 
The Michael Guthrie Band - Do What You're Doing
I'd never heard of Michael Guthrie, his band or their album but once again I have the folks at Power Pop Lovers (now Power Pop Criminals - see sidebar) to thank for bringing this back to life. It amazes me that back in 1981, when many less talented bands playing the same kind of upbeat Badfinger-esque pop were getting major label contracts, this record went totally unnoticed. Hopefully the master tapes still exist and somewhere down the road someone will decide to reissue this stone gem of an  album. 
Henry Henry - Baggie Maggie
I first heard this Rockabilly pounder on a Buffalo Bop compilation (Date Bait). What it lacks in originality and 'sophistication' it more than makes up for in sheer Rock & Roll stompability.
The Kan Dells - Cry Girl
From the cold wilds of Minnesota comes this 1965 garage rocker, another dancefloor filling favorite from my DJing nights. Nowadays this record is rather hard to find, unless you have the "Root 66" LP comp that came out back in 1984 and which is now being sold for over $100 on Gemm Music. Back in the days when these comps were coming out one after the other, nobody ever thought there'd come a day when the comps themselves would become the collector's items they now are. Pretty incredible, huh.
Love - Can't Explain [Mono]
Here's another track from Love's self-titled debut album that I wrote about a few posts back. 40 years later, it's difficult to explain how hearing this album for the first time when I was 15 years old changed my life forever. 
The Magic Numbers - Love Me Like You
As far as I know the Magic Numbers have barely registered at all with the American music buying public although they are quite big in the UK. And that is definitely our loss. Listening to them I hear echoes of Brit pop as well as a hint of C86 and a heartfelt love of 60s California surf vocals. But like the best pop music, their sound is way more than just a sum of their influences. 
The Meteors - Fire Fire
I first discovered these guys back in the 80s when I was pretty much exclusively listening to garage music. To me there didn't seem to be much of a difference between them and bands like The A-Bones and The Raunch Hands. Perhaps it was their image or whatever but for some reason they never caught on over here.
The Talismen - I Know A Girl
If I didn't already know who the band was and someone told me this was a long lost Sonics outtake, I'd definitely believe them. According to Soybomb's Garage Compilation database this has never been comped which is a damn shame. So enjoy it here folks. 
Walter Egan - Only The Lucky
Egan is best known for his lovers ballad "Magnet And Steel" but this was released a year earlier. Like his big hit, it was produced by Lindsay Buckingham and you can hear his influence all over the place. Another non-hit that shoulda, coulda, woulda been.

As much as I love writing about and posting some of the music I love, I'm beginning to feel like I'm doing this all in a vacuum. So please leave comments - good, bad or indifferent. I want to know if and how any of this music is affecting you, or if you know something about one of the artists or songs that I might have neglected to mention. Whatever it is, I want to hear it. Thanks