Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's Baseball Season!!!

Baseball Season 2009 is finally underway and from my moniker I guess it's not too hard to tell where my loyalties lie. After an incredible spring the Bombers didn't look too terrific the other day against Baltimore but I remain optimistic nonetheless. After all, in 1998 when they had their best year ever they went 0-4 to start the season. CC Sabathia was less than stellar and there was some sloppy playing all around but I think they have the makings of a great team that could go all the way. Their pitching staff, both the starters and in the bullpen, is strong and they have a nice mix of proven veterans and hot prospects. Like many Yankee fans I have grown somewhat tired of ARod and his drama and it will be interesting to see what they can do with Cody Ransom playing third base. I think it is going to be a fun year.

The Beach Boys - Forever
"Fovever", written by Dennis Wilson, is  from "Sunflower" which has always been one of my favorite Beach Boys albums. Whatever I can say about this lovely ballad doesn't begin to do it justice, so just stop reading and listen to it. 
The Bluestars - Social End Product
I first heard "...Product" when it was covered by The Chesterfield Kings on (if I'm not mistaken) their "Don't Open 'Till Doomsday" LP.  This is the original from the mid-60s. Over the past 10 years there have been a number of comps issued covering the mid-60s Australian and New Zealand garage scene and (not too) surprisingly there was a world of incredible music from down under just waiting to be discovered. For more info you might want to check here or here
Dwight Yoakam - Same Fool
DY is one of a new breed of Country singers with a pronounced Rock and Roll sensibility to his music, even going so far as to cover songs by Cheap Trick and The Clash. He has close to 20 albums out (maybe even more - I've lost count) and for fans like me every one is worth owning. Newbies may want to start with his Greatest Hits package.  
Eddie Boyd - Come Home
Bea and Baby was a Chicago blues/R&B label in the late 60s and early 70s. Until this 2-disc retrospective was issued a few years ago I had never heard of them but that was truly my loss. Featuring some well-known artists along with a handful of unknowns, if you like this song and want to hear more, this is well worth your time and money.
The Five Keys - Ling Ting Tong
Making its Billboard chart debut on Christmas day 1954, with a background chorus of "I smokum boo" this might have been one of the first Rock and Roll records geared for the teenage market with a pot reference.  If it was I'm sure it went unnoticed by the white radio programers at the time as it actually made it up to number 28.   
Gin Blossoms - Idiot Summer
I've always thought that these guys were one of the better and more consistent power pop bands around. They remind me of  an American version of Teenage Fanclub. This is from their first album "Dusted".
Herman's Hermits - Don't Try To Hurt Me
Although Mr. Noone & Co were chart toppers back in the 60s, "real" music lovers like myself always kind of pooh-poohed them as little more than teenybopper pablum. Which doesn't mean that I didn't own a copy of "Herman's Hermits On Tour" from which this song comes. I just  didn't admit it to anyone. Luckily for everyone concerned they are finally getting the respect they deserve.
Jack Green - So Much
Although at this point in time he is regarded as little more than a footnote in the annals of pop music, Jack Green does have a nice way with a tune. The album from which this is taken, "Humanesque",  is currently out of print and someone is asking over $190 for the only copy being sold on Amazon.  It's a great album but....
Jackie DeShannon - When You Walk In The Room
Just about everyone reading this probably knows the Searchers' hit version of "....Room" but here is the original as done by its original writer. Note the Phil Spector influence.  
The Oxfords - Time And Place
From Louisville, Kentucky I sure hope these mid-60s rockers enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame. To me, this is the essence of what Rock and Roll is about. Yeah, the big hits are great and I love 'em but it's the little bits that fell between the cracks, many of which are almost totally forgotten by the original band members but are revered by a few fanatical collectors today, that get me even more excited. 
The Stones - All Down The Line
Speaking of hit makers, this supposedly comes from a proposed live album that was supposed to come out after their 1972 tour. The sound quality is a little rough for an official album but the energy of their performance comes through loud and clear.  
Sonny Rhodes - You Better Stop
As with garage bands, the world of 60s Soul is filled with snappy little records that for one reason or another, never made it much past the launching pad. A case in point is this punchy upbeat dancer recorded for the Galaxy label.
The Tell-Tale Hearts - Bye Bye Baby
Mike Stax is probably best known as being the driving force behind the "Ugly Things" fanzine but in the mid-80s he was the bass player, along with Ray Brandes, Bill Calhoun, David Clouden and Pete Miesner in this 60s retro-styled garage band.  Over the last 20+ years many bands of this type have not aged all that well but these guys managed to put it all together in such a way that still sounds fresh today. 
The Beatles - Think for Yourself (Dr Ebbets mono)
The stereo mix for "Rubber Soul" is one of the worst abominations ever in popular music, with the vocals all the way on one side and the instruments on the other. Ugh! Luckily for us there is Dr. Ebbets who not only remixed the stereo version of this album and made it listenable but also served up a punchy mono version as well. I just read that in September of this year EMI is releasing all of their albums newly remixed in both stereo and mono. If they are smart they'll hire the good Doctor to do that remixing.   
Grandpaboy - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Grandpaboy is really ex-Replacement Paul Westerberg and here he turns in a stirring version of Hank William's classic. Next to the original of course, the best rendition of "...Lonesome.." I ever heard was when Patti Smith sang it at a free concert in Hoboken in 1996. Nonetheless, Paul really gets to the heart of it in his own starkly strung-out fashion.
The Kindred Spirit - Under My Thumb
To the best of my knowledge this version of The Stone's "Under My Thumb" has not been reissued on any commercially available compilation although it has circulated on a few privately pressed CD-Rs over the years. On first listen it doesn't sound like anything special but the geeky nerdiness of the singer and the 
unprofessionalism of the production in general soon exudes its own charm.


Anonymous said...

thank u for ur work, your selections and your song comments.

greetings from spain


Anonymous said...

Another very intersting compilation. Thank You!!!

paulomi said...

This is really a nice post. The collection of your song is so good that it is beyond of making any comment. I am truly impressed with the the reviews of each of the album you have written.hope you will put some more interesting stuff in future. I am also a die-heart fan of soul music and recently I have come across a really interesting site, which is called It is dedicated wholly to the Soul genre since its genesis. The latest news, biographies of the soul stars and other cool stuffs have made this site really a great one.

YankeeBoy said...

Thank you for your kind words paulomi. That soul site looks quite interesting indeed.

kennyhel77 said...

the life long torture of Baseball. Good luck with your season Yankeeboy. At least your team has won World Series' in your lifetime. I am a lifelong suffering Giants fan. But, ya gotta love our pitching this year!!!!