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.

1 comment:

greenfuzz said...

Hi Jeff, I'm starting to download your music now. Thanks!