Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Another year done been and gone. I know many people who will be glad to see the last of 2009, hoping for better things in 2010. For me personally, it wasn't all bad by any means. I finally finished school - it took me 40 years but I actually got my BBA. I even managed to get a B+ in Calculus. Hopefully the job market will improve enough so that my diploma will actually help me get a decent job within the next few months. No matter how down I got over this past year, I tried (even if I didn't always succeed) to keep in mind the fact that despite whatever hardships and pressures I was facing, there were millions of people throughout the world who would happily trade places with me. Sometimes a little perspective helps. Tonight I will be celebrating the New Year (and decade as a matter of fact) with The A-Bones and The Detroit Cobras. Happy New Year one and all.

B.B. King - Woke Up This Morning
More often than not, I find B.B.'s music a little too clean for my tastes. But here he adds a little New Orleans styled Rhumba beat to spice up the proceedings.
Ian Dury and the Blockheads - Wake Up And Make Love With Me
What guy I know hasn't felt like this at one point or other? In anyone else's hands this would sound totally sleazy but Ian makes his point in his usual gentlemanly style.
Chad & Jeremy - The Truth Often Hurts The Heart
The first time I ever heard this song was when C&J made a guest appearance on The Patty Duke Show and as far as I know, it never got much radio airplay anywhere. It's a shame because it's one of their best records. Maybe the truth hurt too much.
Drafi - I Wanna Take You Home
Although Drafi was much more popular in his native Germany, he had a minor hit here with "Marble Breaks and Iron Bends" in the Spring of 1966. I like this one just as much.
Bram Tchaikovsky - Lullaby On Broadway
I seem to remember this song being issued as an import 12-inch single (remember those?) sometime around 1979 or 80 and it even got a fair amount of airplay on some "alternative" radio stations. Unlike a lot of music that got lumped in under the "New Wave" banner, this has aged quite nicely and still sounds fresh.
Bob Relf - Blowin' My Mind To Pieces
I first heard this song on a Goldmine Soul Supply compilation about 10 years ago and since then it has been reissued a number of times on a few different collections and even on a 45. Which is lucky for us as an original will set you back at least $100.
Puffy - I Don't Wanna
For a number of years Puffy were the darlings of the J-Pop crowd. For the most part I found most of their music a little too cutesy for my tastes but somewhere along the line, their producers decided to have them rock out more. Not a bad idea at all.
The Gaggas - Bright Light Big City
Besides the fact that these guys came from Sweden, I have absolutely no information on them. I don't even remember from where I got this mp3, as according to the Soybomb garage database, this song is not on any compilation. There is a video of them on Youtube however. If anyone out there knows anything more, please leave a comment.
Solomon Burke - Maggie's Farm
Another Dylan cover. This is as unlikely a pairing as I could ever have imagined but somehow it works. But then again, I don't think there's anything Solomon Burke couldn't sing.
Primal Sream - Ivy Ivy Ivy
Over the course of their career, Primal Scream have gone though a number of personnel and style changes. I personally like them best when they play straight ahead tuneful Rock & Roll as they do here. "Ivy Ivy Ivy" is from their self-titled album available on Amazon for pretty cheap.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins - You Ain't Foolin' Me
Screamin' Jay has one of the most distinctive voices in R&R. I saw him one time at an oldies show in Central Park and they had to stop the show for about a half hour as the police would not allow him to do his schtick where he would come onstage in a coffin. I don't remember how it was all finally resolved but he was great.
The Youngbloods - Sunlight
This is such a pretty song. Over the years it's always been a favorite, bringing out various emotions depending on my relationship status and state of mind at the time.
The Bush - Feeling Sad and Lonely
Hailing from California in the mid-60s, these guys made it big enough to open for The Stones back in the day. This moody R&B number is from their CD that was issued last year by Ugly Things magazine. You can buy a copy here.
The Undertones - Teenage Kicks
This Undertones classic will need no introduction to many readers of this blog. When I was attempting to learn to play guitar, this song was always a lot of fun to play - the 80s equivalent of "Gloria".
Huey "Piano" Smith & The Clowns - She Got Low Down
This must have been some crazy party until it got totally out of control. HPS & Co. never fail to provide the perfect good-time vibe, be it for a party or just walking around listening to the Ipod.
Alfred Brendel - Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major ('Alla Turca')

This is some of that "longhair music" Huey Smith & his Clowns were singing about. When I was a kid I remember reading an Archie comic, the gist of it being that Archie's father walks into a record store and asks for some "short hair" music. For me growing up, Classical music was one of the things that got caught up in the 'Us VS Them' generation wars. Listening to this now, it seems to me that Mozart was his era's combination of Paul McCartney and Alex Chilton. His music is easy to listen to, incredibly hummable and, the more one listens the more hidden nuances make themselves heard. Alfred Brendel is one of the world's premier pianists and has recorded many albums of Mozart's music but this particular piece comes from this one.