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