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


glenn said...

Jeez, I didn't know there was a difference between the Palace Guard and Palace Guards. Now I'm gonna have to go figure out who's who in my collection. I think some of my tracks were tagged wrong. Anyway, I digress, thanks for another fine mix!

Madame De Jezebel said...

I was in a record store in Edinburgh and I bought an Aphex Twin record and the bag had a quote that read, “I was talking to a guy who was telling me that CDs are better than vinyl because records have surface noise; I said ”Listen mate, life has surface noise.”

I love this quote