Monday, February 15, 2010

Less Talk More Music Pt. 4

Once again there's not a whole lot to talk about here in YankeeBoy land. The job search is plodding along and although I've gotten a few calls from recruiters, nothing much more than vague half-promises has materialized so far. For the most part I try to avoid paying too much attention to the news as it just aggravates me, and besides there is nothing I can do about any of it. So for now I really don't have any pearls of wisdom to share so just enjoy the music. And please leave comments - good bad or indifferent. I love getting feedback - even when people disagree with me.

One last thing. I've switched from Sharebee to Multiupload. From my side it's more reliable and easier to keep track of things. I've not heard any complaints so I'm guessing that for you downloaders it's working out as well.

Dorothy Moore - Misty Blue
Leading off this go round is one of my all-time favorite ballads and a Top-5 hit for Dorothy Moore. We've all felt this way at one time or other, especially around Valentine's Day.
Big Danny Oliver - Sapphire
"Sapphire" has appeared on a number of R&B comps over the years and it's also found its way onto a few of my own Ipod playlists. Whenever I'm walking around town and this song comes on it always puts a little extra bounce into my step.
The Gurus - It Just Won't Be That Way
"It Just Won't Be That Way" was originally an album track by The Critters before it was recorded by The Gurus for their second single, following up their minor hit "Blue Snow Night" on United Artists.
Dale Hawkin - Wild Wild World
The Knack - Just Wait And See
Sadly, this is the memorial section of the post. Since my last playlist our R&R community has lost two of its members to cancer. Dale Hawkins is mostly known for his 1957 Top-40 hit "Suzie Q" which can be found, along with "Wild Wild World" on the Ace Records CD "Rock and Roll Tornado". Doug Fieger was the main force behind The Knack who are also, somewhat unfairly, thought of by many as being a one-hit wonder, that hit being "My Sharona". "Just Wait..." is just one of a number of stellar power pop tracks they recorded over their career and is from one of their later albums "Round Trip" which is unfortunately out of print at the moment.
Dorothy Berry - Ain't That Love
Dorothy is best known for her remake of the Falcons' hit "You're So Fine" but this is another Northern Soul pounder that is just as worthy of attention.
The Humane Society - Knock Knock
This moody garage classic has been on a number of compilations over the years, most notably the Rhino Nuggets Box that came out a few years ago.
Joyside - I Don't Care About Your Society
About a month ago I saw this incredible documentary about the Punk scene in Beijing called "Beijing Bubbles" and Joyside were, in my opinion, the best of the 4 or 5 bands featured. While some of their lyrics might sound quaint or passe to our jaded Western ears, considering the society in which they live, there is a lot more on the line for these guys than there ever was for their U.S. or U.K. counterparts.
The Royal Guardsmen - Leaving Me
This was the original flip side to their first single, a remake of the Young Rascals song "Baby Let's Wait" which went absolutely nowhere. After all of their "Snoopy..." hits "BLW" was released as a single again with a different B-side. Too bad as this is easily their most garage-y and best record.
The Olympics - Baby Do The Philly Dog
From the late-50's thru the mid-60's The Olympics were no strangers to the Billboard Hot 100. "...Philly Dog" is a big favorite among soul DJ's and it was also their last chart entry from the fall of 1966.
Andy & David Williams - I'll Love You
Being the son and nephew of singer Andy Williams, these younguns were all primed and ready to be America's next favorite cutie pies back in the early 70's. I'm not sure if it ever worked out that way for them but they did leave a few nice records in their wake and I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this one. It may be a bit too sugary for some of my regular visitors so consider this my nod to Valentines Day.
The Artesians - Koko Joe
"Koko Joe" has been done many times but this is possibly the most rockin' version ever. Surpisingly, it was never released at the time but can be found now in all it's Hi-Fi glory on Norton's "Stomp! Northwest Killers Vol. 1 1960-1964.
Richard Berry - Baby Please Come Home
RB is best known for writing the Frat Rock classics "Have Love Will Travel" and "Louie Louie". While "Baby..." is more standard R&B fare for the period, Richard manages to leave his distinctive mark, especially towards the end of the song.
Mickey & Ludella - That Look You Gave To Me
Mickey & Ludella are part of that whole Medway group of musicians influenced by and involved with Billy Childish, who may even be playing somewhere on these sessions.
Frederick Delius w/Andre Kostelanetz (cond.) - On Hearing The First Cuckoo In Spring
Frederick Delius was a German-English composer of the late 19th and early 20th century. Unlike many of the Classical composers of the previous few generations, his music is much more impressionistic. It relies on setting an atmosphere more than having an identifiable, hummable melody. Personally I find it very relaxing to close my eyes and let myself be carried away on the gentle waves of sound.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Who Were They?

Being almost 59 years old myself, I definitely subscribe to the theory that one is never too old to Rock & Roll. Over the last 5 years I've seen The Stones, John Fogerty (twice), Brian Wilson and Nick Lowe in concert and in addition I still love newer works by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty and a host of others whose names escape me at the moment. So what I am about to say is not at all about ageism. But the other night during half-time I felt totally embarrassed for that travesty that was calling itself The Who. It's not that Roger Daltry (who I thought bore a striking resemblance to Mrs. Doubtfire) can't sing or that Pete Townsend, who I really wish would have finished buttoning his shirt before coming onstage, can't play anymore. My problems with The Who started right after Keith Moon died. To me, this band was truly always much more than the sum of its parts. Here we had 4 distinct and often conflicting personalities and styles that joined to form this electrifying, unique combination that was way bigger than any of them individually. When Keith died that synergy was gone and they became just another rock band whose best days were behind them. When "Face Dances" came out I heard a few songs on the radio and was unimpressed. It was the first Who album I didn't buy. And now that John Entwistle is gone they're even less The Who than ever. I think I'd respect them more if they called themselves "The Townsend-Daltry Band" or something like that. But they will never be The Who. To quote Pete Townsend: "We won't get fooled again".

The Who - My Generation
Now THIS is The Who! Snotty, angry, arrogant, pumped-up and in your face. Listen to Entwistle and Moon - nobody could play like them before or since. The Who is dead. Long Live The Who!
Beck - Devil's Haircut
Many of my fellow garage-heads dismiss Beck as just one more modern artist they can't relate to, but I enjoy a lot of his music in much the same way that I've always liked XTC. He's got a real appreciation of R&R's past (check out the intro stolen note-for-note from "I Can Only Give You Everything") to which he adds an engagingly skewed pop sense of his own.
Bo Diddley - Put The Shoes On Willie
This is somewhat of a novelty number for Bo, despite having his trademark Bo Diddley maracas-shaking beat. Novelty or not, I've always liked this song.
Johnny Winter - Highway 61 Revisited
If this doesn't get your adrenaline flowing, then probably nothing will. I've never read or heard anything one way or the other, but my guess is that Bob Dylan would heartily approve of Winter's take on his classic. You've got to love that slide guitar playing. This particular rip lacks a little in the volume department so you might want to crank it up a bit.
Jason Eddy & The Centremen - Singing The Blues
I've seen his last name spelled with both a 'y' and an 'ie' at the end so I hope I got it right. This is one of Joe Meek's more raucous productions and a pretty out-there version of this old Guy Mitchell country standard.
Ognir And The Nite People - I Found A New Love
Over the years Ognir & Co. have shown up on a number of garage compilations and, to these ears anyway, they're always welcome. I wouldn't be surprised if by this point in time, original 45s are going for close to 4 figures and way out of my budget.
Chuck Higgins - Motor Head Baby
While Chuck Higgins may not have been the most accomplished of musicians, he certainly had a long and successful career, playing shows well into the 1980's. This is from his earliest session for Combo records in 1952.
The Viletones - Don't You Lie
From Toronto, Canada this song is taken from their "Look Back in Anger" EP recorded in 1978. It's funny how a lot of the punk records from that era that sounded so outrageous at the time, nowadays sound like nice upbeat pop. Which is by no means a bad thing. What's also amazing is how many of these singles are commanding such super high prices - even more than original 60's garage records at times.
The Roulettes - Bad Time
Although these guys are mostly knows as Adam Faith's backup band, they released a handful of singles on their own, this being their best. Anyone wanting to hear more, can check out their CD here.
Little Caesar & the Romans - She Don't Wanna Dance
This was the flip side to their ballady hit "Those Oldies But Goodies". While the A-side has been played to death on oldies radio, "SDWD" remains relatively unknown.
The Stones - Connection
This is taken from a rare mono version of "Between The Buttons". To me it sounds a whole lot punchier than the stereo mix. Back in late 1966 the druggy connotations gave this song an extra shot of 'cool' but even without that, it remains one of their better songs from that era.
Shemekia Copeland - Breakin' Out
The last time I saw Ms. Copeland perform in concert at B.B. King's in New York she must have played for close to 2 hours and she was absolutely incredible. Whether she's playing a slow blues or an upbeat rocker, she's a bundle of pure energy with a voice that reminds me of a young Etta James.
The Stems - She's A Monster
It's hard to believe that Dom Mariani has been playing either in bands or as a solo for over 25 years and yet remains relatively unknown. "...Monster" is one of his first recordings with garage rockers The Stems. Most of their early recordings have been collected on "Mushroom Soup: The Citadel Years", available from Amazon.
Charlie Rich - Lonely Weekends
Recording for Sun Records back in the late 50's, Charlie was a lot more of a traditional country singer than most of his labelmates, which is probably why they stuck on that awful background chorus.
Spencer Wiggins - Love Attack
Although he never made Billboard's Top 100, Spencer was well known and loved in soul circles. Now that Ace Records is reissuing so much of the Goldwax Records catalog, perhaps he will finally get a little more recognition.
The Us Too Group - I'll Leave You Crying
From Fairfield, Ohio, this moody, minor-key opus appears to be their one and only claim to fame.
Roy Loney - Born To Be Your Fool

Along with Cyril Jordan, Roy Loney was the main impetus behind the original Flamin' Groovies. After 3 critically acclaimed but commercially disappointing albums, Roy left the band and went out on his own. Until last year most of his early solo material remained unavailable on CD but Raven Records in Australia has since rectified the problem with a nice 28-track best-of.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Little Blog Music

There's not a whole lot going on these days in YankeeBoy land. Being unemployed with no regular hours is playing havoc with my sleeping schedule, as evidenced by the fact that I am writing this at 2 AM. I really need to find a job soon, not just for the money but for my own sanity. If and when I can ever retire I will need to find some activity to fill my time. But since I had to cash in my pension in order to pay for school and life in general, I figure that if I'm lucky I'll be able to retire sometime around my 98th birthday. At my last job I used to joke with my boss and tell him that if he wasn't nicer I would die at my desk and he would have to deal with my carcass. These days it doesn't seem quite so funny. But enough of this. Let's get to what we all came here for.

Badfinger - Rock Of All Ages
Although Badfinger managed to score four Top-20 hits back in the early 70's (this was the B-side of their first "Come And Get It") the band was beset by musical setbacks, internal disputes and mental illness resulting in the tragic suicides of two of their founding members.
Bob Dylan - Love Minus Zero (No Limit)
Back in the Spring of 1965, after "Mr. Tambourine Man" by The Byrds first hit the charts, my friend's older sister lent me "Bringing It All Back Home". Much of what I heard went over my 14-year-old head but this song really struck a chord with me. It remains one of my favorite Dylan songs.
The Broken Hearts - You Won't Find Me
This song is the leadoff track of their first (only?) album "Want One". Fans of upbeat, slightly garagey Power Pop would do well to check it out on Amazon as it contains 20 tracks of similar musical fare.
Billy Harner - Don't Want My Lovin'
I've always thought that The Fleshtones would do a great cover of this song. Unfortunately there has never been a comprehensive Billy Harner 'Best-Of' but the good news is that most of his singles can still be found for not too much money.
The Pleasure Seekers - What A Way To Die
Like most of the garage-loving world, I first heard this song on the comp of the same name. Back in the late-80's I sang a variation of this song called "What A Way to Diet" with Vince Brnicevic's Air Force.
Wayne Newton - Comin' On Too Strong
For almost everyone I know, this song is where interest in Wayne Newton begins and ends. This Terry Melcher produced masterpiece is a far cry from "Danke Schoen".
Madness - Bed And Breakfast Man
I've always loved the first Madness album and "B&BM" is one of its forgotten gems. I especially like that chunky little organ riff throughout the song.
John Lennon - Nobody Told Me
For me, this is the ultimate "coming of age" song. It so perfectly captures that moment in our lives when we realize that so many of the grand assumptions of our youth are not quite that way and that life is
Los 007 - No te Puedo Encontrar
This mid-60's Peruvian nugget is an interesting melange of styles. The guitars have this moody, slightly ominous feel and then the vocals come in sounding almost like The Vogues or The Lettermen.
The Woggles - Sayonara Blues
Along with The Lyres and The Fleshtones, Atlanta GA's Woggles put on some of the most energetic shows I have ever seen. For sheer danceability and fun, these guys are just about as good as it gets.
Ted Taylor - Everywhere I Go
Ted Taylor has one of the more distinctive voices in R&B/Soul. This is one of his more upbeat tracks, that I'm guessing was recorded fairly early in his career.
Warren Zevon - Johnny Strikes Up The Band (Live @ The Roxy 4-24-78)
I've always been a big fan of Mr. Zevon and this song, a tribute to one of his own heroes Johnny Carson, has always been one of my favorites.
Joe Frank & The Knights - Can't Find A Way
Hailing from Jackson, MS I am assuming that this organ-fueled pounder was their only 45 as, despite their appearance on a number of garage compilations, this is the only song of theirs that has come to light. Still, if you're going to leave a one-song legacy, you could do a lot worse than this.
Dale McBride - Prissy Missy
This primitive stomper has appeared on a number of online compilations over the years but a search on Gemm Music and Ebay could not turn up any copies of the original 45. Apparently Dale has had quite an extensive career as a country singer although this is the only record I know by him.
Ruby Johnson - Keep On Keeping On
Ruby was one of the lesser known artists on the Stax/Volt roster but her lack of crossover mainstream success should not be taken as a lack of artistic merit as she had a handful of quality records in the mid-60s before retiring from the music business.
The Beau Brummels - One Too Many Mornings
For many fans of their original folk-rock sound, after the Beau Brummels left Autumn Records to sign with Warner Brothers, their records were nowhere near as compelling, despite some interesting experiments like being one of the first Rock bands to record an album in Nashville. "OTMM" however hearkens back to their original sound and remains one of the best versions of this song ever recorded.
The Cordells - Annie Get Your Yo-Yo

Ritchie Cordell was one of the many unknowns of the Brill Building music scene back in the mid-60's and he penned a number of hit songs for acts like Tommy James & The Shondells and The 1910 Fruitgum Company. This was one that certainly deserved to be a hit but for some reason, failed to click. Sadly, Cordell died of pancreatic cancer in 2004.