Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Blahs

For some reason, I've been in somewhat of a funk this holiday season. Considering where I was last year at this time, I "should" (God, I hate that word!!) be feeling great and believe me, I am not unmindful of how bountiful and privileged my life is compared with so many others in the world and even among my own circle of friends. But feelings are feelings and while it helps to be aware that they are not necessarily reality, they can't just be thought away. We own them and whether or not we choose to share them, we're stuck with them. It doesn't help that everywhere we turn at this time of year we are bombarded by false cheer. See how delighted Miss Amazingly Beautiful Lady Love is with her new diamond pendant from Shlomo's Jewelers and just look at that perfect family enjoying their new Phony HD TV in happy togetherness! The pressure to feel this fake sense of warmth and fuzziness is immense and this year I found it particularly oppressive. But like all feelings, this too shall pass and today, when New York City is in the midst of our first blizzard of the 2010 winter, I had to go outside to run some errands and the same neighborhood I've been living in for the last 11 years was magically transformed into something else. It really was beautiful and breathtaking and it touched me like nothing else has this holiday season. I know that by tomorrow it will all be piles of gray slush but today the world really is a winter wonderland. So, whatever holiday you celebrate, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus (for the rest of us) or none or all of the above, I hope it's filled with prosperity, love, joy and good health.

Adrian Lloyd - Got A Little Woman
Adrian is so well known for his garage classic "Lorna" that this little gem of a b-side tends to get overlooked. It's a little slower and more brooding than his "hit" but it's no less addicting in its own way. With a 1-2 punch like this, I can't even begin to imagine what original copies of the 45 must sell for.
Flop - I Told A Lie
Back in the early 90's one of my favorite music fanzines was "Noise for Heroes, Music for Zeros" and I am pretty sure that is where I first read about these guys. Catchy pop-punk in a Ramones/Buzzcocks mode. This particular song comes from their "Fall of the Mopsqueezer" CD, copies of which are available from Amazon for as little as 1 penny (I kid you not!).
Bobby Womack - All Along The Watchtower
There are some songs that just lend themselves to interpretation and "All Along the Watchtower" is definitely one of them. It seems pretty obvious that BW spent a little time listening to Jimi Hendrix' version but when all is said and done he manages to come up with his own rendition.
The Cowsills - In Need of a Friend

Back in the day I would never admit to liking a Cowsills song but with 20-20 hindsight it's not hard to see that they had more than just a couple of pop classics in their repertoire. IMHO this was one of their best with an arrangement and lyrics that still speaks to people today.
The Royal Jokers - You Tickle Me Baby

I know next to nothing about these guys (if anyone has any info feel free to leave a comment or two) but this is pure loud and fast fun that can always get a smile out of me.
The Split Ends - Rich With Nothing
Another garage classic that probably needs no introduction to most readers of this blog. Pure snotty perfection.
Buddy Covelle - Lorraine
Buddy Covelle is anothere artist I knew nothing about (or had even heard of) before stumbling across this rockin' paean to his lady love. Again, I'm sure there is a story behind the artist and/or the record so if anyone out there knows a little more, please feel free to share.
The Long Ryders - Tell It To The Judge On Sunday
Despite being lumped in with the whole 80's Paisley Underground movement, of which I was an avid participant, I never paid much attention to these guys. But about a month ago I heard this song on Dave the Rave's Top Shelf Oldies show (Saturday nights from 10 PM till 3 AM) and I liked it so much that I just had to order the CD.
The Hollies - Nobody
"Nobody" was one of the lesser known Hollies 45s released in 1965. While it may not rank up there with classics like "Look Through Any Window" or "I Can't Let Go", it is still a nice record and I figured that if I never heard it before, it may be new to some of you visitors as well.
Warren Zevon - Johnny Strikes Up The Band
Despite all the horrible things I have read about his personal life and relationships, I have always been a major fan of WZ's music and one of my biggest regrets is that I never got the chance to see him live. I always thought that this was one of his better rockers and after reading that it was written as a tribute to Johnny Carson, I like it even more.
Steve Flynn - Mr Rainbow
According to Wikipedia, Steve Flynn was a pseudonym for writer/producer Mark Wirtz and this song comes from "A Teenage Opera" which is also where Keith West's "Grocer Jack (Excerpt from a Teenage Opera)" originates.
Roky Erickson & 27 Devils Joking - You Don't Love Me Yet
27 Devils Joking was a New Mexico punk band that had a couple of interesting records on their own but I have no idea how they hooked up with Roky Erickson. But hook up they did and managed to come up with a blistering version of one of my favorite Roky songs.
Major Lance - Gotta Get Away
Back in the mid-60s during his stay on Okeh records Major Lance recorded a ton of incredible records many of which have found a renewed popularity among the Northern Soul crowd in the UK. This stereo mix of "Gotta Get Away" comes from a 2-disc best-of that CBS released about 15 years ago that no home should be without.
Teddy Robin & The Playboys - Lies
Just like today, in the mid 60s, American and British Rock and Roll insinuated itself into many different cultures. Hong Kong was no exception and Teddy Robin & The Playboys was one of the most popular bands in the country. Their 45s are quite collectible today and fetch prices in the hundred dollar range on Ebay.
The Secret Service - What's Going On

It's impossible for me to write objectively about these guys as back in the late 80s and early 90s they were good friends of mine and I must have seen them play at least 100 times. "What's Going On" was a staple of their live set and as I am listening to it now I am seeing them on that tiny stage at The Dive on 28 Street and 8th Ave. in NYC. Hard to believe that was almost 25 years ago. It feels like yesterday.
The Wild Ones - Bowie Man
While this may be typical British R&B circa 1964, it doesn't take anything away from the little jolt of adrenaline I still get every time I hear it. This particular rip comes from a privately pressed CD-R made directly from the 45 and sounds a lot better than the reissue on the "English Freakbeat" series.
The Charts - Ooba Gooba
I'm not sure where I first heard this record - maybe a Las Vegas Grind comp or something of that ilk. Back in the late 50s and early (pre-Beatle) 60s there were literally hundreds of records like this coming out all the time. Not exactly novelty records but not entirely serious either, backed by some soulful riffing and a solo or two. Ooba Gooba baby!

They'll be rocking in the projects, walking down along the strand

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm Mad as Hell....

A few days ago I watched the 70's hit movie "Network" for the first time in over 30 years. Back when I first saw it, when I was in my mid-20's I'd probably smoked a few joins beforehand and it was all a big joke. But seeing it again now, with all that has happened over the last few decades, despite some aspects being a little dated (how odd it is to see an office with no computers), in other ways it rang more true today than it did back then. That scene where Howard Beale is in the room with the head corporate honho being totally hypnotized by that "There are no countries; no democracy - just corporations" routine was a big joke when we were all a lot younger. Yeah, we may have had our suspicions but none of us (people that I knew anyway) knew or really cared how true those words were. Now as we see what is happening in and to this country every day it is obvious where the real power lies. I could turn this into whole big rant about how the top 1 percent of this country makes 23 percent of the income or talk about what a disappointment President Obama is turning into (oh please prove me wrong Mr. Prez - I would gladly eat those words!!) but I won't. I'll just say that if you get a chance to see this movie again or for the first time, I think you'll find it rather eye opening.

One more thing before I get to the music. I'd like to thank all of the supporters out there who left such nice comments in support of TOMH after my little run in with the DMCA. So far I still don't know what the offending song was. Enjoy the music and please, leave comments. I love hearing what you have to say - good, bad or indifferent.

The Brigands - (Would I Still Be) Her Big Man

45 years ago this poor guy was worried that if his girlfriend knew he was "only" a poor laborer she might not love him anymore. These days, what with the recession and so many jobs moving overseas, he'd be considered a great catch.
Richie Barrett - Some Other Guy

Although here in the U.S., "...Guy"
never dented the Top 100, back in 1962 a bunch of these 45s must have found their way over to England because, along with its b-side "Tricky Dicky", it became a staple of many budding young R&B bands repertoires.
Joan Baez - Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word

In her song "Diamonds and Rust" JB has a line about a genius being a pain to live with at home. Listening to this song, as brilliant as it is, I can see why. While I am not a fan of everything Ms. Baez has ever done, I applaud her mental fortitude for coming through the experience of being in love with a young Bob Dylan with her sanity relatively intact.
Larry Brinkley - Move Over Rover

I have no idea what LB may have done before or since, but "Move Over Rover" is enough to guarantee him at least a footnote in the history of Rockabilly and probably a huge dent in the wallets of Rockabilly collectors.
The Greenberry Woods - That's What She Said

While these guys are pretty well known among hard core Power Pop fans, they came and went generally unnoticed by the public at large. Needless to say, the CD that this song is on "Razzle Dazzle" is long out of print but there are still copies to be bought quite cheaply on Amazon.
The Fire - Fathers Name Is Dad

To fans of 60s garage and freakbeat "...Dad" needs no introduction as it's been recognized as a classic since its first appearance on a "Chocolate Soup for Diabetics" comp almost 30 years ago. It still sounds great today.
John Lee Hooker - Money

Some singers can sing any song and make it their own and there are some songs that are so classic and timeless that they transcend genre and style. John Lee Hooker singing "Money" is a perfect example of both of these coming together at the same time.
John Martyn - Don't Want To Know

I was never a really big John Martyn fan. It wasn't that I didn't like him, I just was pretty much unaware of him. Unfortunately, it wasn't until he passed away in 2009 that I started reading about him and became curious. I could make myself seem much more knowledgeable than I am by talking about his life and music, but you can read all that in the same article that I just read.
Monte Warden - Don't Know a Thing
Monte is a relatively new artist that I discovered on one of the power pop blogs that I have listed in the sidebar. In this song he wears his Buddy Holly influence on his sleeve but to me that is never a bad thing. Check out his Myspace page to hear more.
Grateful Dead - Box Of Rain
If I were to make a list of all the songs I have listened to most in the last 40 years, "...Rain" would certainly be in the Top 5. Besides being the soundtrack to one of my first unrequited love affairs when I was 19 (and we all know about those I am sure), in lines like "Look into any eyes you find by you, you can see clear to another day" there is that promise of all sorts of wonderful things happening at any time. Silly, I know, but if music isn't about taking us to a better place, even one that exists only in our own minds, then what's the point?
The Hides - Don't Be Difficult

From Pittsburgh PA, by the looks of it this was their one and only claim to fame. But a damn fine claim it is, good enough for an appearance on the acclaimed "Back From The Grave" series.
J.J. Jackson - But It's Allright
This song actually appeared on the Billboard charts twice, the first time in 1966 making it up to number 22 and then again in 1969 when it reached number 45.
King Khan & BBQ Show - Too Much In Love

These guys have managed to meld doo wop and garage in a way that I personally find irresistible. His other band The Shrines gets more into a James Brown kind of funky thing that I don't enjoy quite as much but I can listen to stuff like this all day long.
Kenny Dino - Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night

This Hicksville Long Island native made it to the Billboard Top 30 for the first and only time in 1961 with this peppy little gem. "..Ma..." may also sound familiar to some of you as The Turtles did a virtual note-for-note cover for the flip of their second single "Let Me Be".
Dee Dee Warwick - Suspicious Minds
Although Elvis Presley had a much bigger hit with this song, I think I actually like this version better. Her vocals are as soulful as it gets and The Dixie Flyers (I'm guessing) provide the perfect backdrop.
The Zombies - Don't Go Away

A quick check through my old posts shows that despite being one of my favorite groups of all time, I've only posted one song by these guys. Despite the box set that Ace/Big Beat released more than 10 years ago, it seems to me that these guys are totally underrated when compared to other British Invasion bands of the same ilk such as The Hollies and even The Kinks. My problem was not in finding a good song to post but rather eliminating all of the possibilities down to only one.

It's all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Bloggers Rite of Passage

After 2 years (Happy Birthday "Time On My Hands") I received my first DMCA takedown notice and I've got to admit, it has taken some of the wind out of my sails. I have no objection or issue with Blogger for taking down the offending post. That is their right and even their responsibility. If some musician, songwriter, publisher or label thinks that by having a song posted on this blog will hurt then in any way (although for the life of me I can't imagine why) it is their right to tell me to remove it. No problem there. In fact there are some artists who are known for not wanting their music posted who I like very much and I deliberately avoid them. "Time On My Hands" has always been about presenting music that may otherwise go unheard or be ignored in a different context than what may otherwise be expected. Nothing more and nothing less. If someone doesn't want to be a part of that I certainly respect their wishes. I believe I have made that clear from the beginning.

What does bother me however is that after more than a month (my takedown notice was dated Sept. 15) I still have no idea what song it was that somebody objected to. There is a site that is supposed to contain this information ( but so far I have not been able to find any info on my particular takedown. Looking over my post I see nobody who really has much (if anything) to lose by having the 150 or so people who normally download any particular post "stealing" their song. But what I do see is a really great set list (if I say so myself) filled with songs that I really wanted to share that will go unheard by a hundred or so people who might really appreciate them and maybe even be motivated to go out and buy something by one of the artists involved. As the lyric to a song whose title I've forgotten goes "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it" that bothers me.

In other news, I wasn't too upset about Texas beating my beloved Yankees in the playoffs this year. What surprised me more than anything was that the Yanks managed to win 2 games against a team that was obviously superior to them in just abut every way. This year the Yankees simply ran out of gas. I've not seen any statistics but it seems that since the All-Star break they barely played over .500. As far as I am concerned, the better team won and more power to them.

This Tuesday is Election Day and it looks as if the Democrats are going to take a beating. While things are slightly better than they were 2 years ago many people are disappointed that President Obama hasn't been able to accomplish more and despite the fact that they were the main cause of that, the Republicans are poised to take full advantage. This may prove to be a good thing for President Obama for 2012. If the Republicans take control of one or both houses of Congress this year and by 2012 times are still as tough as they are now for so many Amerricans, Republican politicians will have nobody to blame but themselves. I too have to admit some disappointment with the Obama administration. I still think he is a brilliant man with some great ideas but I think he perhaps could have been better prepared for the level of opposition he faced. But the fact remains that if he were running again today I would still vote for him.

Big Maybelle - One Monkey Don't Stop No Show

Including this one, I can think of at least three really terrific songs with the title "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show", the other two being by The Honeycones and The Animals. But Big Maybelle was the first and from the sound of this I'm guessing it was recorded in the mid-50's.

Ducks Deluxe - Coast To Coast

When I first got into Punk Rock, somewhere near the end of 1977 I started reading magazines like NY Rocker and Trouser Press religiously. It was in the latter where I first read about Ducks Deluxe and when I found their album with the blue background on the cover in an import bin I fell in love with this song. Hard to believe this was recorded in 1974 when singer songwriters reigned supreme.

Lesley Gore - That's The Way Boys Are

With songs like this one and "You Don't own Me" LG displayed a maturity that many of us (this writer certainly) lacked at that younger more innocent age when "...Boys.." was blasting out of AM transistor radio speakers.

Neil Young - Rockin' In the Free World

For me, after "Harvest" many of Neil's albums were hit or miss affairs. Total brilliance one minute and virtually unlistenable the next. "Rockin'..." has always been one of my favorites.

Tammi Lynn - Mojo Hanna

This could only have been recorded in New Orleans. Listen to that incredible drumming by, I'm guessing, the incomparable Earl Palmer.

Mouse And The Traps - Lie Beg Borrow And Steal

In their time (mid-60's) these guys released a handful of singles on the Fraternity label. This one and "Maid of Sugar..." are their best and are considered classics today by Garage fans everywhere.

Eddie Bond - Don't Tear Me Up

Listening to this I can hear where artists like Dwight Yoakam and Deke Dickerson may have found some of their own inspiration.

Roger McGuinn - Anna

Like many of us who came of age in the 1960's I'm willing to bet that Roger first heard "Anna" on the "Introducing the Beatles" album. And just like John Lennon's, Roger's voice is the perfect vehicle for "Anna's" melancholia and wistfullness.

The Byrds - She Don't Care About Time

When I was 14 and in 9th grade I remember buying "Turn Turn Turn" on a Columbia 45 and playing it over and over for at least an hour. Finally I turned the record over and was quite pleasantly surprised to find "She Don't..." waiting for me on the flip.

The Hi-Risers - Wild Romance

I love these guys! I've always been a huge power pop fan and The Hi-Risers do it as well as anyone and better than most. Upbeat and perky it's virtually impossible to feel sad when these guys are playing. I saw them a few months ago at Maxwell's in Hoboken NJ opening up for The Trashmen and they're just as much fun live as they are on record. They've got a whole slew of songs just as fabulous as this one so check out their myspace page to hear more.

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes - I Don't Want to Go Home

Anyone who has ever sat in a bar at 3 AM still searching for that potential love of their life or just someone to help keep the loneliness at bay for a few more hours will certainly be able to relate to Johnny's tale of woe.

The Scorpions - Hey Honey

When you mention Dutchbeat to fans of the genre, right away most folks think of The Outsiders and Q65. But, like music scenes everywhere, there were many many other bands involved who were not quite as well known. Meet The Scorpions.

Vicki Anderson - No More Heartaches No More Pain

I haven't updated my "Way to Go" section in awhile but when I do I will certainly include a link to the incredible "Derek's Daily 45" site which is where I first heard this fiery little gem. I've been visiting them for close to a year now and have lost count of how many times I've gone straight from there to Gemm Music or Ebay to add another amazing 45 to my collection.

The Wanderer's Rest - Don't Know What I'd Do

From the wilds of Milwaukee, Wisconsin The Wanderer's Rest released a handful of 45's before fading into obscurity. Virtually their entire recorded legacy is available on "Garagemental: The Cuca Records Story Vol. 2" on Ace/Big Beat.

The Lolas - Ballerina Breakout

I'm not sure where I first heard of these guys - most likely one of the numerous power pop blogs around - but their CDs have been out of print long enough for them to be fetching fairly substantial prices on places like Amazon, Gemm Music and Ebay. But I liked what I heard enough to warrant shelling out for pretty much their whole output including some Japanese CDs with bonus tracks.

Charles Mingus - East Coasting (Take 4)

Like Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus is reknown as much for his musical compositions as he is for being a bandleader and musician. Although I have read that he was a very angry man at times I hear a distinct sense of humor and playfulness in his music. "East Coasting" was recorded fairly early in his career in 1957.

I want you and I need you and I love you so much

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Gone-Away World

I generally don't read a lot of science fiction but from what I have read it seems that the sci-fi author's task is two-fold. Not only does he or she need to have a storyline with a plot and dialogue but a good sci-fi novel also needs to create an alternative universe in which the story takes place. In "The Gone-Away World" by Nick Harkaway this universe is a post-apocalyptic society where much of what once was, suddenly no longer exists and what is left in its place is often a creation of the imaginings, delusions and fears of those who have survived. It is a world ruled by a huge conglomerate all-powerful corporation that is bent on preserving itself at all costs. Mr. Harkaway does an excellent job in bringing us into this world, slowly but surely letting the reader in on the details of it's creation and current reality. The parallels he draws between his Gone-Away world and ours are certainly made clear without his being annoyingly pedantic or preachy. The only problem for me was towards the end in the way he tied certain events and people together. It seemed somewhat artificial. It was as if he realized he was close to 500 pages and it was time to stop so he did it in the most expedient way he could. Unfortunately it just wasn't always very convincing, at least not to me. But over-all "The Gone-Away World" has a lot going on and much to say for itself. More than can be digested in one reading most likely. I don't do this very often but I'll probably go back in a year or so and re-read it. In the interim I would not be all that surprised to see "The Gone-Away World", the movie. And now, some music.

The Automatics - When The Tanks Roll Over Poland Again
I think I first heard of this record when I read a review of it in Trouser Press sometime around 1979 or so. Unfortunately the copy of the 45 I got at the time had the same distortion on it as this rip. Hopefully the master tapes still exist somewhere.
The Ceeds - Motherless Children
"Motherless Children" is a traditional blues song that has been recorded a number of times by folks ranging from Blind Willie Johnson back in 1927 to The Steve Miller Band, Roseanne Cash and Eric Clapton in more recent years. This 1966 version by The Ceeds sounds like it could have been a hit with the proper promotion and distribution.
The Tradewinds - Little Susan's Dreamin'

"...Susan.." was the b-side of The Tradewind's minor hit "Mind Excursion" in the fall of 1966. Unfortunately both sides were probably too drug related to generate much radio airplay. Funny how it all sounds so innocent now.
Barrence Whitfield & The Savages - Walk Out

In their heyday Barrence and company were one of the most exciting and dynamic live bands I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. He's mellowed some over the years but he's still always a pleasure to see and a super nice guy to boot.
Steve Forbert - Steve Forbert's Midsummer Night's Toast

I haven't kept up much with Steve Forbert's music over the years but I still love his first couple of albums from back in the late 70's. I remember seeing him in concert at some small club in New Jersey, just him and an acoustic guitar, and he was really warm and engaging and most of the women (and probably some of the men as well) wanted to take him home and mother him.
J.J. Barnes - Come On Back

J.J. released a slew of wonderful 45s back in the 60's and for all I know maybe even well past that time. Unfortunately most of them are only known to a handful of collectors.
Bill Johnson-You Better Dig It

I first heard " You Better Dig It" when I used to see The Swingin' Neckbreackers back in the 1990's. In fact, until quite recently when I stumbled across Bill Johnson's version I was under the impression it was one of their originals. Now that I know better, the reality is they pretty much stole the whole arrangement from BJ note for note.
The Easybeats - I'll Make You Happy

Amazingly I have never posted a song by Sydney, Australia's finest. This is but one of many many incredible records they released over their career. More to follow.
The Naked Eye - Recovery Time

Staying Down Under a little while longer but moving up in time a bit, The Naked Eye definitely sound influenced by fellow countrymen Radio Birdman. This particular track is from the "Antipodean Screams" compilation but they also have a few albums on their own.
Procol Harum - Too Much Between Us

Back in the days when albums were vinyl only there were certain album sides that stuck out in my mind as entities unto themselves. One of them was Side 2 of the British "Hard Day's Night" album and another was Side 1 of Procol Harum's "A Salty Dog" which is where I first heard "Too Much Between Us". To me, no other song so eloquently depicts that moment in a relationship when a parting of the ways seems sadly inevitable.
The Chiffons - Oh My Lover

It's hard to believe that it was almost 50 years ago that I first bought The Chiffon's "He's So Fine" 45 on Laurie Records at Larry's Records on Springfield Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway in Bayside, Queens. It wasn't too long afterwards that I discovered this gem of a tune lurking on the b-side. To this day it's still a favorite.
The Motifs - If I Gave You Love

From somewhere in the wilds of New Jersey, The Motifs gave us this moody garage classic. It's a little out of tune here and there and possibly a trifle off-key occasionally but it's certainly a classic nonetheless in 60s garage circles.
The Cavaliers - Hold On To My Baby

I goofed here - the real name of the band is The Cavaliers while the file shows it by The Naked Eye. Oops. Released on RCA in, I'm guessing 1966 or 67, copies of this Northern Soul staple now sell for well over $100.
Ros Sereysothea - Cry Loving Me

Starting out with a horn riff straight out of Stax Records and then launching into a note-for-note rip off of "Proud Mary" it's pretty amazing how perfectly the pieces all fit together. It makes me wonder if anyone on the Stax roster thought to cover the CCR hit and if nobody did, why not? I can just hear what it would have sounded like in the hands of someone like Eddie Floyd or Johnny Taylor.
Bill Ennis - I'm Hypnotized
Just as with Garage and Punk in the ensuing decades, back in the 1950's for every Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis riding high on the charts, there were a slew of also rans with varying degrees of talent vying for their share of Rock & Roll glory. While I can't honestly say that Bill Ennis coulda/shoulda been a chart contender, this is a fun little record nonetheless.
Material Issue - When I Get This Way
Back in the mid-90's these guys specialized in deliciously hooky if somewhat lightweight power pop releasing a handful of albums on Mercury Records (produced by Jeff Murphy of The Shoes) that sold in the hundreds of thousands. Tragically, lead singer and songwriter Jim Ellison committed suicide in June of 1996 putting an end to the band.
The 13th Floor Elevators - You're Gonna Miss Me
One of the highlights of the movie "High Fidelity" was the opening scene when the needle drops on a record and "You
're Gonna Miss Me" comes blasting through the theater. I bought the first Elevators album in March of 1967 on a whim after seeing and totally digging the psychedelic cover while shopping in E.J. Korvettes. This has always been and will continue to be one of my favorite songs ever.

Let him who fears his heart alone stand up and make a speech
Link removed due to DMCA request

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Agony and The Ecstasy

If any of you readers/downloaders out there in blogland still haven't seen "The Agony and The Ecstasy of Phil Spector" it is definitely worth a few dollars and a couple of hours of your time. The man is entertaining, no doubt about that and he also never lacks for self-confidence as he compares himself to Galileo and DaVinci. The interview segments, which were taken in between his two murder trials are interspersed with courtroom scenes and videos of many of the acts he produced and if nothing else, one walks away with a renewed respect for his unique musical vision. Pop symphonies indeed! The question of whether or not he actually did murder Lana Clarkson is never pondered on anything more than a superficial level nor do they talk about what evidence in the second trial actually convinced the jury to find him guilty. While I fully believe he is capable of doing what they say he did, I oddly (and somewhat disconcertingly) found myself rooting for the guy. And, of course, the music and especially the live footage was absolutely breathtaking. Go see it.

The Astronauts - Come Along Baby
Despite the fact that these guys had a whole slew of albums and 45s on RCA back in the 60's I always found their music kind of lightweight. And while chart success does not always equal musical worthiness, apparently the American public also felt pretty much as I did as they only cracked the Billboard Top 100 once, in July 1963 when their version of "Baja" made it to number 94. One of their best records, "Come Along Baby" was recorded in 1962 before they actually signed with RCA and when they were still known as The Stormtroopers. It's probably a good thing for them that they changed their name.
Big Star - When My Baby's Beside Me

I never really bought into the whole mystique that saw these guys as demigods but that doesn't mean that they didn't have a bunch of really fabulous songs, of which this is but one.
Bobby Milano - Life Begins At Four O 'Clock
Another favorite of mine from long-gone more innocent days. If only life really were this simple - even if it didn't seem that way at the time.
Jerry And The Others - Don't Cry To Me
From Dayton, Ohio, Jerry and his pals recorded this 2 minutes and 52 seconds of sonic skronkiness and were, as far as I know, never heard from again. Nonetheless, as far as one-song legacies go, as the Scooter Phil Rizzuto would have said, this one's not too shabby. Not at all.
Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep-Mountain High
The Devil Dogs - Best Part Of Breaking Up
One of the highlights of "The Agony..." had to be the live footage of Ike and Tina performing "River Deep..." in 1974. Although this was, deservedly, a number one record in England, it got little or no airplay here in the states. At the time I remember hearing OF this record but never actually hearing it until a few years later. For a few years, back in the early 90's, the Devil Dogs were favorites in the NYC garage/punk scene. Despite the misogyny of many of their songs, those of us that knew them knew that it was really just a matter of the lady doth protest too much. At heart they were just a bunch of wide-eyed pop romantics and their super-adrenalized take on this Ronettes classic was always a crowd favorite.
The Resonars - I'll Keep It With Mine

I've always had a soft spot for a good Dylan cover and in this case, for years, the only version of "I'll Keep It With Mine" I was familiar with was the one by Nico from her "Chelsea Girl" album. On one of the many fine compilations put together by the folks at Power Pop Criminals (see sidebar for link) The Resonars turn in their own rendition, taking this song in a whole other direction.
Kangaroo - Such A Long Long Time
I first heard Kangaroo when they opened up for The Who and The Doors at the Singer Bowl in August of 1968. With such co-headliners as that it says a lot that I walked away from that show determined to seek out their first album, which had just been released and was reissued again a few years ago. By the way, The Doors were absolutely awful but that's another story.
The Jaguars - Its Gonna Be Alright
According to the Soybomb Garage Compilation Database there were at least a dozen bands calling themselves The Jaguars back in the 60's. These particular Jaguars came from somewhere in Michigan and while this may be their only 2 minutes-plus of fame, they can take pride in the fact that they were the only Jaguars to make it on to a "Back From the Grave" compilation 20 years later.
The Booby Traps - What A Guy Can't Do

"What A Girl Can't Do" is a garage classic that's been covered numerous times over the years. But this is the first time I'm hearing it from the girls' point of view. What's good for the goose is god for the gander.
Little Johnny Taylor - I Can't Stop Loving You
Besides the fact that it's on some comp I got from another blog I really don't know a whole lot about this particular record. Little Johnny Taylor had a handful of minor chart entries back in the early 60's but this wasn't one of them. Still, it's a fine record and if anyone out there has a little more info, please leave a comment.
Dion DiMucci - Drip Drop
I'm sure that Dion needs no introduction to anyone reading this blog as he's had so many hits over the years and so much has been written about him. This particular record, another remake of an old Drifters' song, came out after he had such a big hit with his definitive version of "Ruby Baby". While it did make it all the way to number 6 on Billboard's chart in the latter part of 1963, to me it just doesn't pack the same wallop as "Ruby...".
Dee Clark - 24 Boyfriends
Speaking of wallup, this Little Richard imitation/tribute has plenty to spare. For reasons I can't fathom this song may have never been issued as a 45, only appearing as an album track. I love that line "Bust 'em all in the head with a rolling pin". Pure genius!
The Gurus - Blue Snow Night

Although I can't remember exactly when (I'm thinking early fall of 1966) I remember very vividly being in this hardware store in Bayside, Queens where I grew up that sold records in the back. I picked this 45 up in its picture sleeve with those freaky looking guys, that big mandala and I was sold. Unfortunately for them I must have been the only one as "Blue Snow Night" never cracked the Top 100 and plans for an album were shelved, probably due to consumer indifference.
Teenage Fanclub - About You

I've written about these guys before here on TOMH so I'm not going to mention yet again how overdue these guys are for a definitive box set that includes all of their numerous non-album b-sides and other rarities. No, I'm not going to talk about it at all.
Warren Zevon - Bad Karma
Say what you will about Mr. Zevon - I've had his biography sitting on my shelf for 2 years and I am still afraid to read it - the man did have a sense of humor and his best songs were incredibly insightful while never taking themselves too seriously. What am I afraid of you ask? Once I read the details of what a horrible abusive violent jerk he was in real life I'm afraid I won't be able to enjoy his music anymore which would really be a loss for me. Every time one of his songs comes on my Ipod, it hits me like the proverbial ton of bricks and I end up playing it 3 or 4 (sometimes more) times and the experience always leaves me feeling transformed somehow. I don't want to lose that so I am thinking that for now, what I don't know won't hurt me.
Dave Berry - Don't Gimme No Lip Child
I'm not sure how much UK chart action Dave Berry saw back in the day but here in the U.S. he was a virtual unknown. This was actually the B-side to "The Crying Game" which was featured in the movie of the same name years later.
Willie Mitchell - Monkey Jump
Sadly, Willie Mitchell is no longer with us, having passed away back in January. While he is mainly known as the producer of Al Green's and Ann Peebles' hits for Hi Records back in the 70's he had a rather extensive discography of his own. He will be missed.

How long can you search for what's not lost?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The World Without Us

A few weeks ago an interesting title caught my eye while browsing in my local bookstore. "The World Without Us" by Alan Weisman talks about what would happen to the planet we all call home if, all of a sudden there were no more people - as in here today-gone tomorrow. He talks about how it would affect the animal kingdom as well as plant and mineral life, what would happen in the oceans, rivers and lakes, the biggest cities and the most remote spots on the globe. In order to talk about the future he goes into our geological history and while sometimes he gets a little too technical and scientific for my understanding, the scenarios he describes are nothing short of fascinating. The good news is that with 2 possible exceptions, most of the crap we left behind would be absorbed back into the earth within a few millenia. There could be a problem with all of the non-biodegradable plastic bottles, cups and what-not we've managed to scatter all over until some microbes evolve who could actually eat the stuff. But the biggest mess we'd leave would from all of our nuclear reactors which would eventually break down and all of the nuclear waste storage facilities we've got scattered about. When all of this radioactive chazarai started leaking or melting, it would cause quite a bit of havoc. With the possible exceptions of the cockroach (who as it turns out would not fare so well without humans) living things generally don't like radiation. But even that would dissipate over the next few million years or so. So the bad news, as many of us already know, is that we may be polluting the earth too much for human life to survive but the good news is that in the overall scheme of things, the whole human race doesn't amount to a hill of beans, radioactive or not.

Arthur Gunter - Crazy Me

Arthur recorded this song over 50 years ago but love can make us just as crazy today as it could back then. And that'll still be true in another 50 years. So sing away Arthur!
DM3 - T.V. Sound
I've written about Dom Mariani before here in Time On My Hands and it still amazes me (and not in a good way) that he's not a star. Or at least more widely recognized than by the small cult of rabid fans he has accumulated here and there.
The Palace Guards - Sorry
Not to be confused with the Palace Guard (singular) from Los Angeles, these guys came from Metarie, Louisianna and while they did have at least one other 45, this is what they'll be remembered for.
Little Eva - Keep Your Hands off My Baby
If the legend is true, Little Eva was Carole King and Gerry Goffin's baby sitter. Even if it's not it's a great story anyway and this is but one of a string of hits she had in the early-mid 60's on the Dimension label.
Mel Dorsey & The Heartbeats - Little Lil
Here is proof positive that you don't have to be a poet to come up with a great song. I'm too lazy to count but I'm guessing he sings "Little Lil" at least 50 times. Now that I think about it, what the heck am I talking about - this is pure poetry!
The Giant Jellybean Copout - Awake In A Dream

A quick Google search didn't turn up a whole lot of information on these guys(?) but it seems fairly obvious that they were heavily influenced by "Pet Sounds" and "Good Vibrations". And maybe a puff or two of some good herb.
Grin - Moon Tears
Nils Lofgren is best known for playing with Neil Young and, later, Bruce Springsteen but he also made a number of records both as a solo and with his 70's band Grin. "Moon Tears" has always been a personal favorite of mine.
James Carr - Stronger Than Love
James Carr was mainly known as a deep soul ballad singer but he also cut a handful of nice upbeat sides. Ace Records has re-issued a number of his albums and singles for anyone who wants to hear more.
The Magicians - An Invitation To Cry
Like most people of my generation (or at least those of us who gave a damn) I first heard "....Cry" when Lenny Kaye included it on his legendary Nuggets compilation. It blew me away then and I still really love it today.
Mayday - ???
Last year when I went back to school there was this young Taiwanese guy who sat next to me in one of my classes. One day I asked him what he was playing on his Ipod and he said "Here, listen". These guys are pretty hot stuff over there. Over the course of the term he played me a few more songs by these guys and while they were ofttimes too ballad-heavy for my tastes, they did come up with some bouncy power pop once in awhile.
Roy Orbison - Communication Breakdown
No, this ain't Led Zeppelin! "...Breakdown" was Roy's second to last 60's chart entry, peaking at number 60 in December of 1966.
Myracle Brah - I'd Rather Be
Like Dom Mariani, these guys deserve more fame and fortune than they've found so far. They've got at least3 albums chock full of guitar-heavy, hummable hook-fests similar to this. To give credit where it's due, I want to thank my old buddy Pat L. for turning me onto these guys.
The 13th Floor Elevators - You Don't Know (Live at the Avalon Ballroom, SF)

Since he's been touring again I've been lucky enough to see Roky Erickson in concert a few times and it's great that he still does a couple of old Elevators songs. Listening to this I can just imagine how incredible the Elevators were live back in their heyday.
Deon Jackson - Ooh Baby
Back in the mid-60's Deon's big hit was "Love Makes the World Go Round". Here he displays more of a Smokey Robinson influence on his last record to make the Billboard Top 100, sometime in 1967.
The Tourists - Let's Take A Walk
It's hard to believe that the folks behind this freakbeat sounding rocker were Dave Stewart and Annie Lenox who would find fame and fortune as The Eurythmics just a few years later.
Bo Dudley - Shotgun Rider
Somewhere along the line I heard that Bo Duddley was actually a relative of the more famous Bo and was mad at him so he made this record to piss him off. Like the Little Eva story it doesn't matter if it's true or not - it's just kind of fun to think it might be. Regardless, it's a damn fine record.
Hank Williams - Long Gone Lonesome Blues
It's like I said in the begining. Love has always been able to make a sane person absolutely crazy. Which is why, despite having been recorded about 60 years ago give or take a few months, this song is still so moving.

Ask me if it's right to love another guy

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Back on the Chain Gang

I've been back on the job now for a little over two weeks and things are going quite well. I like the work and the people I work with. Although my new function closely related to what I used to do, it is somewhat different and it's taken me a little time to adjust to my new role. Luckily the senior member on my team came over the same way and has been really helpful. My body is still trying to get used to waking up at 6:30 AM every day. I've always been somewhat of a night person and during my long period of unemployment it wasn't uncommon for me to stay up until 4 or 5 AM and then sleep until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. So it's a bit of a struggle going to bed around 11:30 when there is still so much prime nighttime (and "The Nanny" reruns) ahead of me. But I'll adjust I'm sure.

I was kind of surprised when I checked Multiupload earlier today to find that in the last two weeks my last posting only had 50 downloads. Especially as I thought it was one of my better collections. On the other hand, one of my posts from back in March, done when I was feeling pretty down about my situation has proven to be one of my more popular recent compilations. None of this is going to change my approach however. I've always known that my musical sensibilities are not very widely shared and if there are only 50 or so folks out there who get it I am grateful for each and every one of you. So 'hello' to all of you in the Nifty Fifty.

Big Star - In The Street

Big Star are probably just as renown for the slew of musicians they've influenced over the last 30 years as they are for their actual music. If my memory serves me correctly I bought their first record in a cutout bin for $1.99 as at the time nobody really seemed to care.
Bo Diddley - Cadillac
Nobody does Bo like Bo. I first heard "Cadillac" on the first Kinks album and while they do a fine version, it's like I said. Nobody does Bo like Bo. Dig that sax player about halfway through and again at the end.
The Chayns - Why Did You Hurt Me
Borrowing a riff from The Yardbirds' "I'm A Man" these San Antonio lads came up with their own brooding garage masterpiece. " I don't even want you baby." Yeah, you tell 'em!
The Plimsouls - Magic Touch

So much has been written about The Plimsouls over the years that I really have nothing to add. A classic song by a classy band. Enjoy!
The Stones - Hi-Heel Sneakers
Although they never included "...Sneakers" on any of their albums or singles, this was a mainstay of their live sets back in their early days. This comes from a bootleg of BBC recordings.
The Cordials - Dum Dum

Every tine this song comes on I never fail to play it over at least 4 or 5 times. It's such a happy, catchy song and whoever that lead singer is, I just love his voice. Sorry for the low bitrate on this one but believe me it sounds fantastic on the Ipod.
Felt - Ballad Of The Band
To me these guys sound like a C86 band who spent a lot of time listening to the Velvet Underground's "Loaded" album. They've got that same understated vocal style with much more of a jangly pop sound. Somehow it all comes out sounding very comforting but not too fey or sugary.
The Sidekicks - Ask Your Friends
Here's a band I know absolutely nothing about. They're not listed on the garage database (at least not for this song) and I have no idea where I stumbled across this song. But it's a nice one in a Tommy James and The Shondells mode.
Wanda Jackson - Money Honey
Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly. I wasn't there but some friends of mine saw her in concert about 5 or 6 years ago and they all said she was fabulous. A little more country and Jesus and a bit less Rock & Roll but she still had all her vocal chops intact.
Sir Mack Rice - Mustang Sally
"Mustang Sally" is best known for the hit version by Wilson Pickett and the cover by The Young Rascals (and therefore a staple of every NYC area garage band's set) but this is the original by the guy who wrote it.
Jo Jo Gunne - Run Run Run
In the Spring of 1972 this was a Top 40 hit and one of the bright spots of AM Radio. Listening to it now I am picturing myself cruising around town in one friend or another's battered old jalopy with the radio blasting trying to light a hash pipe with the window open. Not an easy feat but yours truly always managed to find a way.
Ash - Girl From Mars
I haven't heard much more than this song from these folks but I like this enough to he inspired to purchase a singles compilation on Amazon that will hopefully live up to expectations.
Junior Wells - You're Tuff Enough
Junior Wells was a well-known Chicago bluesman but at some point back in the 60's he tried to expand his audience base with this foray into Soul. I don't think he had much commercial success with it but today the results sound more than fine.
The Underworld - Go Away

From Toronto, Canada this 2-minute plus slab of sonic wonderfulness is probably one of my all-time favorite mid-60's garage records. A modified Bo Diddley beat, some earnest yet snotty vocals and one of the wildest guitar solos this side of Jimi Hendrix and viola, perfection!
Screaming Trees - Other Worlds
Back in the early 90's I used to see these guys all the time. I guess being from the Pacific Northwest it was inevitable that they would get caught up in the whole grunge movement at the time but their music had a lot more of a psychedelic influence than that of their contemporaries.
The Olympics - Baby, Do The Philly Dog
A Northern Soul favorite and a favorite of mine as well. This was another guaranteed floor-filler from back in my DJing days.
The Sparklers - Bloodhound
Back in the late 50's and early 60's bands like this were a dime a dozen, playing bars, strip joints and frat parties all across the country. Oh, where are they now?

Look at granny getting in the groove

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Welcome to the Working Week

After 1 year and 8 months of unemployment I finally found a job which I started last Thursday. Ironically enough it is for my old employer, though as a consultant and not as a direct employee. In the financial data processing field contracting is the norm these days. But I am really happy to be back at work, no matter what the circumstances. This time around there will be no programming involved in my job at all. I am strictly a Business Analyst, which in a nutshell means I get to come up with the big ideas and then leave them for others to actually execute. Not quite but in a roundabout way as, depending on the level of programming expertise, I may also be asked to write specifications for and work with the programmers who are likely in India. Business as usual all over America these days.

I spent most of Thursday and Friday on the job going over documentation about the project I will be working on and was pleasantly surprised at how much of my prior business and processing knowledge I still retained. I think I am really going to like and do well at this job and as yesterday was my 59th birthday, I can't think of a better birthday present. I'm sure the local record and CD sellers are happy as well. In my heart I always knew I was doing the right thing by going for a BA position but I must admit that there were lots of times over the last 20 months when the rest of me was seriously in doubt. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I need to work on the weight that grew around my belly during that time but that's a another story for another time.

Los ShaIns - El Monstruo
Back in 1965 when "The Crusher" by The Novas spent 3 weeks on the Billboard Top 100, peaking at number 88, I doubt if anyone involved thought it would be heard by fans thousands of miles away in Peru. Not only was it heard but it actually even inspired a Spanish cover version.
Groovie Ghoulies - Hello Hello
The Groovie Ghoulies of Sacramento California have a huge discography but of everything, this Partridge Family cover is easily my favorite.
Muddy Waters - Let's Spend The Night Together
I remember reading an interview with Muddy Waters when "Electric Mud" came out and he talked about how much he hated it. But to my 18 year old, stoned-out ears this song in particular was one of the best things I had ever heard. It still sounds pretty damn good to me today.
The Kinks - Days
If we're lucky we get to have that one incredible love affair that comes on like a comet and fades away just as quickly. But those few days or weeks are nothing short of pure ecstatic joy and they change us forever.
The Diplomats - Don't Bug Me
I wish I had known about this record back in my DJing days as I'm sure this would have been a surefire dancefloor filler.
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky
This was a big AM radio hit back when I was in college for the first time and most cars were not yet equipped with FM or tape players. I can't even begin to describe how good that fuzz guitar sounded coming out of those tinny little speakers at full blast.
The Dentists - You Make Me Say It Somehow
At this point I want to publicly thank my friends Bruce P. and Scott C. who, when they were working at Venus Records on 8th Street in NYC, turned me on to these guys. They play an energizing mix of psych, pop and garage and this song is but one example of what they can conjure up. If you're interested you can read more about them and listen to some tunes on their Myspace page.
Jimmy Crockett & The Shanes - Lovin' Touch

As most 60s garage music lovers know, back in the day Australia had more than it's share of bands who, inspired by The Beatles, Stones etc. were ready willing and (sometimes) able to try for the brass ring. According to the Garage Comp Database this was their only record but it's definitely a keeper.
Sugar Pie Desanto - Go Go Power
This is a very popular and (unfortunately) quite collectible record with soul aficionados these days. Although it's been reissued a few times over the years, it's always been the stereo version. This mono rip comes from an MP3 singles compilation that I found posted somewhere in Cyberland within the last year or two.
Suzi Quatro - 48 Crash
Most people know SQ as the actress who played Leather Tuscadero on "Happy Days" but before that she recorded some of the best Glam R&R singles known to mankind. Sometime later, after she toned down her style quite a bit she had a Top 5 hit with "Stumblin' In" but it pales in comparison with this.
The Twilighters - Spellbound
From Kirksville, MO comes this organ-fueled snappy little frat rocker. After their 1:45 of greatness I'm guessing they were never heard from again outside of their immediate area where I bet they must have rocked the house come Saturday night.
Little Moose & the Hunters - Granny Rock
I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff. Upbeat novelty doo wop with a touch of falsetto. I have no idea whatsoever who these guys were but with a name like Little Moose & The Hunters I'm thinking that they weren't taking their music career all that seriously. Granny does the Rock & Roll indeed!
The Raves - Billy The Kid

Speaking of novelty doo wop, back in the late 50's records celebrating the exploits of Western heroes and outlaws were prevalent enough to almost be a sub-genre in and of themselves.
James Hunter - The Hard Way
A little blue-eyed soul in the tradition of Van Morrison and Mink DeVille. Check out his web site here.
The Pooh Sticks - On Tape
Although I never considered cassette tapes a viable substitute for owning the actual record or CD, I love this song for it's catchy hummability and indie pop name dropping.
Miles Davis - It Ain't Necessarily So
"It Ain't Necessarily So" has been recorded by hundreds of artists over the years. Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, The Moody Blues, Ella Fitzgerald and countless others have interpreted this American classic. In 4 1/2 minutes Miles Davis takes this song to some interesting places.

I'm gonna go to the place that's the best

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Back From the Ipod Pt. 5

After a cooler than usual month of May, Spring is finally in full bloom here in the Big Apple. It's time to put away the sweaters and the hoodies and break out the short-sleeve shirts. And there's nothing I like to do more in weather like this than walk around the city with my Ipod cranked up to 11. If I say so myself I think this is one of my better playlists that is just about guaranteed to add a little bit of bounce to your step and chase away the blues.

Jo Armstead - I Feel An Urge Coming On
I don't remember where I first came upon this song - probably on one of the alt-binaries newsgroups a few years ago. A quick check around the net tells me that this was released on the Giant label out of Chicago sometime around 1966 or thereabouts. I'm guessing this must have been a favorite with the Northern Soul crowd.
The Chanters - You Can't Fool Me
These are not the same Chanters who had a minor hit with "No No No" on the Deluxe label back in 1961. These Chanters came from the UK and this song can be found on the "Mod Meeting Vol. 4" compilation, copies of which can be found on Ebay.
Mando Diao - Moonshine Fever
A few months ago I posted a song by these Swedish pop-rockers and here is another one. Apparently these guys have a rather extensive discography and it's a shame that they seem to remain relatively unknown outside of their home country.
Lazy Lester - Sugar Coated Love
It sounds as if Lester has it really good and knows it. I could sure go for some sugar.
The Tempests - Lemon Lime
I'm not sure if these are the same Tempests who recorded the garage classic "Look Away" but this is just as loud and insane in its own right.
Eddie Cash - Doing All Right
Unlike some other forms of Rock & Roll (such as garage) I'm not the worlds biggest Rockabilly fan. I only like the top say 20 percent and the rest just leaves me flat. "Doing All Right" easily falls into that top fifth. He's got an interesting story for anyone who feels like reading a bit more about him.
Groovie Goolies - We Go So Good Together
These Goolies are not to be confused with the Sacramento punk band Groovie Ghoulies. I'm guessing that these are the same Groovie Goolies from the Saturday morning cartoon show of the same name that ran in the early 70's. Which means that at the time I wouldn't have given this a second (or even a first) listen but now I can't get enough.
Herman's Hermits - It's Alright Now
Speaking of music I thought I was much too cool to listen to at the time, I've already written about how Herman's Hermits were a guilty pleasure of mine, one which I kept in the closet during my hippie years. Now, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, it really amazes me just how many truly wonderful records these guys made.
Ray Charles - I Won't Leave
A few weeks ago one of the blogs I frequent (sorry I can't remember which one - but I'll keep trying) posted a collection of Ray's lesser known 45s and album tracks from his tenure with ABC-Paramount. Needless to say there were a bunch of incredible songs I'd not heard before that I couldn't believe were still so unknown. And I'm not just talking about second rate filler material. They were all of shoulda/coulda been a hit calibre. I'm not sure if this particular song was ever a single but this stereo mix comes from the long-out-of-print LP "A Portrait of Ray". A plea to the powers that be who own the rights to this material: Please PLEASE reissue these songs legitimately. I can guarantee you at least one sale right here. This is Ray f*&^ing Charles we're talking about! His legacy (not to mention his fans) deserve no less.
The Stones - All Down The Line (withdrawn single)
This week The Rolling Stones released their much-heralded remastered version of "Exile on Main Street". For me the jury's still out. So far I've only heard it on my computer speakers but I definitely hear things I have never heard before and the whole album sounds so much clearer than ever. On the other hand, the original muddy mix was always part of "Exile's" charm. So even though I got the CD the first day it was out, I'm not sure how often I'll actually listen to it. However, the second disc of outtakes definitely gets the thumbs down from me. I'm not going to go into a whole long spiel here but suffice it to say that there was so much other better material that they could have included. Like this withdrawn single mix of "All Down the Line". It's not all that different than the version that was released (maybe on some of the background vocals) but it sure sounds punchy as hell.
The Magic Lanterns - I Stumbled
These are the same Magic Lanterns that later had a hit in the U.S. with "Shame Shame". Legend has it that included in their lineup were future members of 10CC and Ozzie Osborne of Black Sabbath. Be that as it may, this 1966 single is a memorable piece of freakbeat-pop that stands out well enough on its own.
Jesse Allen - Love My Baby
This song is typical of hundreds, if not thousands, of black R&B sides that were cut in the mid-50's. The song itself is nothing special, the band is good though not outstanding and Jesse's vocals are in that basic blues shouting style that was so popular back then. But somehow, they all come together here in such a way that makes this record simply irresistible.
The Checkerlads - Shake Yourself Down
These lads hailed from Saskatchewan, Canada and this tune has appeared on a number of various garage comps over the years. At one time original RCA pressings of the 45 were available for a reasonable price. I love the little organ break in the middle.
The Brogues - Don't Shoot Me Down
"Don't Shoot..." is also fairly well known in Garage circles and has appeared on a number of comps, most recently "Allergic to Flowers". Over the years I must have heard at least 5 bands cover this song. It's almost impossible to do a bad version.
The Del-Vikings - Cool Shake
After having two Top 10 records earlier in the year, this cool rocker made it to number 12 in July of 1957.
The Scholars - I Need Your Lovin'
On the YankeeBoy scale of wonderfullness, it doesn't get a whole lot better than this. Two-minutes and twenty-two seconds of total garage-stompin' craziness and a wild sax solo to boot. I bet you can't listen to this just once.
Roky Erickson - Bo Diddley's A Headhunter
Saving the best for last, here is Roky Erickson paying homage to one of his own Rock & Roll heroes. There are a few recordings of this song floating around but this 8-minute plus live version, recorded with The Aliens back in 1977 is definitely the best. Sadly, the CD that this particular version comes from, "Mad Dog" is out of print and being sold for big bucks. So enjoy it here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Less Talk More Music Pt. 5

There hasn't been a whole lot going on in Yankee Boy Land since my last post. I had one job interview in April but since then there's not been much action employment-wise. Ideally my best career choice at this point is to be a business analyst - that is a liaison between the business and IT areas of a company. The problem is that every ex-programmer who is out of work is also looking to do the same thing. So I need to try and figure out what else I may be qualified to do that would pay me a decent salary. At this point I am still living off of the pension I cashed in last year so money is not the immediate problem (at least not yet) but the total lack of structure in my life is definitely getting to me. But for now all I can do is my best to accept life on life's terms and go on living. Music has always been a source of strength for me and it's also the reason why you're here. So let's get to it.

Brendan Benson - Tiny Spark
I'm not sure where I first heard of Brendan Benson - probably from either the Power Pop Criminals or Power Pop Overdose blogs. (see sidebar) Although these days he is probably best known for being part of The Raconteurs I really like the dreamy pop of his solo albums, all of which are available on Amazon.
Don Willis - Boppin High School Baby
Along with "Warrior Sam", "Boppin..." is Don Willis's best known record, recorded for the Satellite label in early 1958. With a frantic vocal and searing guitar solo, it's no wonder this is considered a classic.
Golden Earring - The Words I Need
Most Americans, if they have heard of Golden Earring at all, know them for their early 70's FM radio staple "Radar Love". While that's a fine record in its own right, their career actually started a decade earlier and extended long after. "The Words I Need" was the B-side of their second single from January, 1966.
Inez & Charlie Foxx - Baby Drop A Dime
Until I discovered this song online I had never heard it before. From the sound of it I'm guessing it was recorded a year or two after their big hit "Mockingbird".
The Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love
One of my favorite songs by one of my all-time favorite bands. What more can I say?
The Louvin Brothers - When I Stop Dreaming
If bands like The Beatles and The Hollies learned harmony from listening to The Everly Brothers, the Everly's in turn learned their craft growing up listening to The Louvin Brothers.
The Shanes - I Don't Want Your Love
According to the Garage Database Sweden's Shanes cut a slew of records back in the day but this is probably their most frantic - at least of the ones I've heard.
Tommy Roe - Sheila
Back in the Summer of 1962 when I was a wee lad of 11, "Sheila" was the number one record in the country. It was a favorite of mine then and remains so to this day. Check out the rhythm guitar playing in the left speaker.
GBV - Teenage FBI
At their best, Guided by Voices have a way of drawing the listener into their own peculiar world where reality is whatever they say it is. Coupled with their knack for conjuring up some of the catchiest Revolver-era pop sounds around, they can be pretty hard to resist.
Joe Tex - I Gotcha
While Joe Tex made a name for himself with his preachy styled ballads like "Hold What You Got", as"I Gotcha" shows, he could get down and funky with the best of them.
The Bondsmen - I've Tried And Tried
As far as I know, this record has only been comped on the "Let 'Em Have It" CD that came out about 10 years ago. Sadly, "LEHI"'s sound quality is bad enough to rival even the worst of the Moxie comps. This rip comes from a private CD-R and sounds a whole lot better.
Jesse Malin - Prisoners Of Paradise
Jesse almost had his 15 minutes of fame with D-Generation, a 70s glam inspired band that everyone thought would be the next big thing but somehow never was. Since then he's released a few albums under his own name.
Dossie Terry - I Got A Watch Dog
There's not a whole lot of info out there on Mr. Terry but from what I can tell, he spent a fair amount of his recording career in The Big Apple. Checking my own mp3 database he's got at least a half dozen other songs on various comps. According to the sellers on Gemm Music "...Watch Dog" came out on King.
William Penn & His Pals - Gotta Get Away
This originally came out on the Scorpio label which was also the early home of Creedence Clearwater Revival when they were still known as The Golliwogs.
Dion & The Belmonts - Where Or When
Despite the fact that this this song has been played to death by oldies radio, it's such a classic that I never get tired of it. Those harmonies, Dion's innocent and plaintive vocal and that little sax riff that pops up from time to time makes this a perfect record. For me anyway.
The Outlets - Best Friends
Despite the fact that this was recorded around 1980, Boston's Outlets are still together and actually feature this song on their Myspace page.
The Searchers - Umbrella Man
Recorded in 1968, long after their chart topping days were over, this is a nice slice of late-60s psych-pop. As far as I know the only place to find it now is on their 40th Anniversary Collection unless you score an original Liberty 45.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Young At Heart

Last night I went to see the Young@Heart Chorus at the St. Ann's Warehouse Theater in Brooklyn, NY and I truthfully haven't had a more moving and stirring musical experience in quite some time. The chorus is composed entirely of elderly people (the youngest member at the moment is 73) but no way is this just an activity for some bored and lonely senior citizens. While they did throw in a few old standards, their repertoire is remarkably varied and rather contemporary with selections ranging from Neil Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly & The Family Stone to The Replacements, Wilco, Joy Division, Nirvana and The Buzzcocks. I take my hat off to their directors Bob Cilman and Ken Maiuri for the depth of their musical knowledge as well as their arrangements. These remarkable performers don't try to hide their age by trying to look young. In fact, it is their age, along with some incredible vocal chops, that gives the music much of its power. One of the songs they performed was The Buzzcocks' "What Do I Get", a definite favorite of mine. and hearing it performed by a woman who was probably in her 70's instead of a guy in his 20's or 30's gave it a whole different perspective. Same goes for the incredible performance of Jerry Butler's "Only The Strong Survive" sung by a man who reminded me of a retired English teacher. One of the highlights for me was a rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "Missing" which originally appeared as a single in Europe (I told you their musical directors really know their stuff!) and when I got home, found the original online and listened to it, I was disappointed. I liked the Y@H Chorus' version so much better. The same goes for their version of Blondie's "Dreaming" which was sung by a frail looking elderly lady, someone you give up your seat on a crowded subway train to, with one of the most beautiful, crystal clear voices I've heard in quite some time. Although they didn't perform it last night, they have a pretty funny video of "I Wanna Be Sedated" on YouTube which is well worth watching. I went to the show expecting some kind of Sha Na Na for the Geritol Set but what I got was so much more and I was totally blown away. As we of the Rock & Roll generation grow older, it is heartwarming, inspiring, and quite frankly, reassuring to see that the music we love has the power to keep us feeling young even when our backs ache and our knees hurt.

The Lyres - Sick And Tired
Unfortunately, the Lyres (or at least Jeff Connolly) seem to be in retirement these days as I can't remember the last time they played. Jeff was always an incredibly soulful singer and this version of Chris Kenner's classic might be my favorite one of all.
Johnny Soul - Lonely Man
Here's another song I bet Connolly and Co. would do a great job on but even he would have to go some to make me forget Johnny Soul's rockin' original.
Spirit - I Got A Line On You
I've never been a fan of Spirit. To me, most of their music was little more than a whole bunch of noodling with very little real substance. This is the one exception and what an exception it is! Unfortunately, every mix of "...Line" I've ever heard has always sounded kind of weak and watered down, lacking the punch it needs to really send it over the top. I seem to remember The Fleshtones doing a really great version of this at some of their old shows.
Roy Orbison - Land Of 1000 Dances
Back in the 60's many artists would release albums with one or two singles and fill the rest up with some hastily recorded covers of current hits. I don't now if that was Roy's intention here but he really does a terrific job on this song. I especially love the organ playing. Check out this link to see a great live version, probably from around 1968 or so judging by the clothes and hairstyles.
Funkadelic - Hit It And Quit It
Back in the late 60's/early 70's I wasn't quite ready to fully appreciate George Clinton's unique brand of psychedelic, stoned-out funk. Sly & The Family Stone were about as far out as I was willing to go in that particular direction. Better late than never I always say.
The Nerves - When Ya Find Out
More often than not The Nerves are remembered for their original members' subsequent careerts rather than their own output. While that's totally understandable the truth of the matter is that they did record a handful of nice catchy upbeat power-pop tunes, this being one of them.
The Trolls - Don't Come Around
The garage comp database shows at least five bands calling themselves The Trolls back in the mid-60's. The "Don't Come Around" Trolls came from Pueblo, Colorado and had a handful of worthy singles at the time, including a remake of The Stones' "Stupid Girl".
Millie Vernon - Bloodshot Eyes
"'Uh uh! Don't roll them bloodshot eyes at me!" You tell 'em Millie. By the sound of things, she doesn't sound like anyone you'd want to cross. I think this is actually a cover of an Amos Milburn record. According to an undocumented online source, she died of Alzheimers about a year and a half ago. If anyone out there has any more info, please leave an update in the comments section.
Kim Fowley - In My Garage
I've always appreciated Kim Fowley more for his outside productions than his own records. But I've always had a soft spot for this Dylan cop that he did around 1979 or so.
Vashti Bunyan - Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind
I think I kinda screwed up in that the file has a different song title - this is the correct one. It's also a Jagger-Richards song that was probably deemed not suitable for The Stones. Listening to this as I write I can hear that this is not exactly the best rip. I'll try to find another one and repost it at some point.
The Toppers - I'm So Lovesick
Until I got this on a German beat group comp I had never heard of the band or the song. Whoever is singing really has quite a voice and the band does an admirable job backing him up. It's good enough that I have to hope this was a hit somewhere in the world. I also have to wonder what it would have sounded like had The Animals gotten their claws into it (bad pun I know, I'm sorry).
Teenage Fanclub - Escher
Long time followers of this blog know how much I love these guys. This is from their "Thirteen" album. Listening to it again as I write, I can't help but think that this might be a good song for the Young@Heart chorus to try. They have a new album coming out later this year and a link to one of their new songs (no download, just for listening) can be found in the comments section of one of my more recent posts.
Willie Ward And The Warblers - I'm A Madman
I love crazy crap like this! For me it's truly one of life's great gifts to be constantly discovering gems like this that fell through the cracks at the time and are finally getting the appreciation they deserve all these years later.
The Roosters – Ain't Gonna Cry Anymore
According to the garage database, although there were a number of bands called The Roosters, none of them had a record called "Ain't Gonna Cry Anymore" or if they did, it was never on any comp. I think I must have gotten it from one of Gyro's garage comps on the old Twilight Zone blog. For those of you who missed it, here it is in primo sound quality.
AC/DC - Big Balls
Only AC/DC could get away with singing a song called "Big Balls". Nobody ever said they didn't have a sense of humor.
John Coltrane - Straight Street
Recorded in May of 1957, not long after leaving Miles Davis' band, this is Coltrane still in his relatively formative years. Nonetheless, he's still developed his style enough to take the melody to some very interesting places.