Friday, January 23, 2009

Something Better Beginning

Like most Americans and indeed, many people around the world, I was (and still am) quite excited about the events of this past Tuesday and the promise of a new administration in Washington. Not just any new administration but this one in particular. On more than one occasion President Obama's inauguration speech actually gave me goosebumps, I was so moved. When I listen to him speak I get a real feeling that he has a genuine interest in fair play for everyone, that he is much less concerned about towing the party line and playing politics and that while he is definitely his own man, he will listen to and seriously consider the advice of the experts he has surrounded himself with, even when they disagree with him. I like the fact that he doesn't try to sugarcoat things and tell us that everything is going to be fine. From day one he has made no bones about the fact that it will be a long time before everything is fine again and that a lot of hard work and sacrifices lie ahead before that day comes. But with President Obama (it feels so good to be saying that instead of you-know-who) leading this country I believe that we have made a good start at setting things right again, not just with the economy here at home but with our standing with the rest of the world. So, for this posting I have tried to pick songs that are optimistic and celebratory in some way. History was made on Tuesday, Jan 20, 2009 and something better is definitely beginning. President Obama, you have made me feel proud to be an American once again.   

The Kinks - Something Better Beginning
There can be no better way to start off this post than with a song by one of my all-time favorite bands. And I can think of no other song that captures that sense of cautious optimism that many of us are feeling better than this Kinks classic.
Barrance Whitfield - Rockin' the Mule
Barrance's take on this old R&B pounder doesn't stray far from the original but that's more than OK with me. When he really gets going nobody can rock the house like him.
The Who - I Can't Explain
From the first time I heard this song as a 13 year old tyke back in March of '65 I knew that these guys were special and that this record was the most incredible thing I'd ever heard up to that point. 40-plus years later it still gets my adrenaline pumping. 
Dave Edmunds - From Small Things Big Things Will Come
I've always loved the 'can do' spirit of this song and in these times it seems like an especially appropriate message.  
Fontella Bass - Safe And Sound
While she doesn't stray too far from the sound of her big hit "Rescue Me", I still love the sound of this. I'm guessing that "Safe..." is a big favorite among the Northern Soul crowd.  
Bobby Fuller - Keep On Dancing
Although this was recorded a few years before he hit it big, it's obvious that BF's sound and style was pretty much developed by the time he laid this one down. I'm not sure if it was released at the time but it did show up later, with some slightly different lyrics as "Let Her Dance" on his "I Fought The Law" LP.
Bull Moose Jackson - Big Ten-Inch Record
It's just a crazy hunch on my part but I don't think he's really talking about a record here - ha ha ha. While this is considered an R&B classic in the 21st century, I have to wonder how much airplay this got at the time back in the early 50's.
The Honeycombs - I Can't Stop
This was their follow-up to their Top 5 hit "Have I The Right" and it actually cracked the Top 50 on it's own, making it up to number 49 in December of 1964. For you shoppers out there, beware that there are 2 versions of this song and this, the US single version, is way superior to the other one.  
The Rocking Vickers - I Go Ape
Those of you who are as old as I am will remember when 'going ape' was a pretty common slang
expression. Unfortunately that didn't translate into any chart success for this cool Merseybeat styled raver, at least here in the US.
Ron Tyson - Oh What A Night For Love
I'm a total sucker for a nice upbeat Frankie Lymon-esque kiddie vocal rocker. Enough so that I paid about $25 for a M- copy of this about 20 years ago. I consider it well worth the money. Whenever this comes on the Ipod it always adds a little bounce to my step.  
Shirley & Lee - Feel So Good
This record should need no introduction to anyone reading this. Despite the fact that I've heard it hundreds of times (if not more) over the years it never gets old.
The Small Faces - Sha-La-La-La-Lee
"Picked her up on a Friday night, Sha la la la lee" and by the third verse "We invited just a few close friends". Remember when life really seemed that simple?  
The Soul Children - Bring It Here
I first heard this song as a cut on a Soul Children album that wasn't all that hot - at least I thought so at the time. I don't think it was ever released as a single so I decided to 'bring it here' for all to hear.  That was an awful rhyme, I'm sorry. 
The Sweet - Wig-Wam Bam
Glam was never as big here in the US as it was in Europe. I'm not sure why - maybe we were all too busy protesting the ongoing Vietnam War (er, I mean - conflict) and worrying about Watergate. While The Sweet did manage to have a few chart hits, this was not one of them but it's a fine record nonetheless. It's always been one of my favorites.
The Flys - Be What You Is
From McLean, Virginia The Flys had their 15 minutes of fame with this garage stomper back in 1966. I'm glad my English teacher at the time never heard this.
Throw That Beat In The Garbage Can! - Little Red Go Cart
TTB..., named after a song by the B52s originally hailed from Germany and had a number of releases both in the US and in Europe. While not quite as campy as their namesakes, it's not too hard to hear their musical influence.    
The Vacant Lot - Sweetest Sound
I've written about these guys here before so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail again here except to say that they did release a handful of CDs and 45s, all of which are well worth picking up and can probably be found online for not too much money. Check Amazon.
Adam Faith & The Roulettes - It's Alright
Adam Faith with the Roulettes was a totally different animal than when he was on his own. As a solo he was little more than a second rate cabaret singer (IMHO anyway) but with the band, he cut a handful of rockers that hold their own with the best of what was coming out of England back in the day.



Didn't realize that The Honeycombs - I Can't Stop was a different mix in USA. Thanks for the information.

YankeeBoy said...

I'm not sure it was a single anyplace else. All I know is that when I've heard it on some albums that were originally released in the UK, it was an inferior version. If you are looking for it I'd check Gemm Music. I think you can probably find one there pretty cheaply. Thanks for visiting. Enjoy the music.

Daniel Rubin said...

really nice. glad i found you.

Anonymous said...

This one is my favorite