Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Post of 2008

I wish I had some incredibly brilliant bon mot to end the year with but unfortunately I'm all out. For a lot of us it's been a rough year, with so many folks losing their jobs and/or their savings in the stock market. As readers of this blog know I too did not get through it unscathed. But nothing is all bad or all good and I expect that 2009 will bring its share of joys and disappointments as well. So for now I guess all that's left is to wish everyone a Happy New Year and let's party like it's 2009.

DMZ - Busy Man
Before The Lyres there was DMZ who were possibly a little more influenced by 70s punk but had their roots firmly entrenched in 60s garage thanks to their leader Jeff Conolly
Amos Milburn - Down the Road Apiece
Many people have recorded this song over the years. I know I'll always associate it with The Stones who did a version on their "Now" album way back in 1964. But I sure love hearing it played by Amos Milburn who plays some incredible piano throughout.
Carl Perkins - Glad All Over
Carl was a big part of the Sun Records story and while he may not have been as wild as their other Rockabilly artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Billy Riley, his voice had an easygoing warmth to it that I've always liked.
Dr. Feelgood - Milk and Alcohol
In the mid and late 70s Dr. Feelgood were mainstays of the British Pub Rock scene in which punk luminaries like Nick Lowe and Joe Strummer got their start.
The Druids - Cool Calm & Collected
Hailing from sunny San Diego The Druids had a pleasant melodic folk-rock sound. I first heard this song on one of the "Fuzz, Flaykes & Shakes" compilations put out by Tony the Tyger, most of which are still available from Amazon.
The Headstones - 24 Hours (Everyday)
This song was originally released on the very collectable Pharoh Records label down in Texas in the mid-60s. Both sides of their 2 singles are all really excellent and are available on a number of different garage comps that have been released over the years.
Kevin Ayers - Flying Start
Here's another song by Kevin Ayers who I still don't know very much about. I'm aware that he's released a number of albums over the years and in fact he's just put out a 4 or 5-disc retrospective of his career but in these unemployed times I've had to tighten my belt and be satisfied with the occasional mp3 that floats my way. I really like his voice.
L.C. McKinley - Nit Wit
"Nit Wit" was originally recorded for the small Bea & Baby label. About 3 years ago Castle Records put out a 2-disc B&B label retrospective that I wholeheartedly recommend for anyone into upbeat Chicago style blues and R&R.
Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva - Swingin' On A Star
This remake of Bing Crosby's 1944 number 1 smash was a minor hit in its own right, reaching number 38 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1963. I'm thinking that it must have been an even bigger hit in the NYC area because I remember hearing this on the radio a lot.
Locksley - Let Me Know
Locksley released their debut album "Don't Make Me Wait" earlier this year and this is one of a handful of really great pop songs from that album. I sometimes hesitate to post new releases on here but I'm hoping that this might pique someone's interest enough to investigate these guys further. Like a lot of the albums I'm mentioning in this post, it's available from Amazon.
The Primitives - Crash
I'm not sure if this was a hit when it was released in the late 80s but if it wasn't, it definitely deserved to be. Although I haven't played it in years I also remember liking the album "Lovely" from which it came.
The Stones - Suzie Q
After my last post I realized that up to now I have not posted anything by The Stones and that just cannot be. From "12 X 5", here is their remake of the old Dale Hawkins song.
The Sweet - AC-DC
Ever since I heard it back in the mid-70s, "AC-DC" has always been a favorite of mine. I always thought it was pretty cool how unthreatened this guy seemed with his woman friend havingall these other lovers. Although in these post-AIDS days, I've got to admit that I might have some reservations if I were him.
The Birds - No Good Without You Baby
Featuring a young Ron Wood, the Birds were one of many bands playing their own brand of white boy R&B in the London club scene in the mid-60s.
Link Wray - Drag Race
I've always loved Link's dirty distorted guitar sound which, legend has it, he got by punching holes in his amp speakers. I saw him back in the mid-80s when he was (unfortunately) backed by this heavy metal sounding band. I really didn't care for it much but as I remember, he could REALLY play!
Warren Zevon - I Was In The House When The House Burned Down
I'm not exactly sure why but to me this song is about looking back and thinking about all of the things one might have done differently. He may have been an absolute bastard in real life (I still have his biography on my bookshelf and I'm half afraid to read it) but he really had a way of saying things in a way that nobody else could.
The Kinks - Better Things

With all the stuff you hear on the news about people losing their jobs and the lousy economy, I really wanted to end the year with a word of hope. On January 20 we will have a new leader, one who I believe has a real sense of what this country needs. And by 'this country' I mean all the people, not just the power brokers and lobbyists. Let's hope that 2009 brings us all something better. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Summer In December

As we march ahead into what looks like will be a very cold winter, I thought that perhaps we all needed a little Summer Fun to keep keep warm and remind us all that better times are coming. So, my Christmas present to you is a little summer music in December. But before I get to the tuneage, I would like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Good Kwanzaa and Happy Festivus (for the rest of us).  I hope Santa Claus is good to you all.   

Jan & Dean - Ride The Wild Surf
I tried to limit the number of bonafide chart hits for this post but there were a few I just couldn't resist sneaking in. What a great record!   
The Barracudas - Surfers Are Back
For my money, The Barracudas early material, where they tried to inject the fun punkiness of The Ramones with a West Coast Beach Boys vibe and came up with something totally new (yet familiar at the same time), was always their best.  
Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues
Not exactly 'summer' music, in fact I'm pretty sure it was snowing on that day back in March of 1968 when I bought the single at Woolworth's, this is still my favorite version of "...Blues"  with all of the excesses that make people either love or hate it. 
Bruce Springstone - Take Me Out to the Ballgame
Summer means baseball, right? Forget about the fact that this is a Bruce Springsteen parody (and here too, people either love him or hate him - although I'm kind of in the middle but that's another story) and you've got a near perfect version of this perennial baseball classic.
Al Green - Summertime
According to Google and  Summertime Web, "Summertime" has been covered by over 2100 different artists. Now that's what I call a classic! For this post I was torn between Billy Stewart and Al Green and then decided to go with the non-hit version.
The Dictators - California Sun
They may be singing about "California Sun" but whatever the Dictators do always ends up sounding more like the sidewalks of New York City than anything else. 
Freddy Cannon - June, July And August
"JJ&A" was originally the flip side of "Palisades Park" (another great summer record) but over the years this has come to be recognized as one of Freddy's best rockers by his many fanatical admirers.
Sloppy Seconds - V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N. (In the Summer Sun)
I was thinking of posting the original by Connie Francis but when I came across SS's punked-up version I knew this was the one.
Larry & the Loafers - Let's Go To the Beach
Like many 60's garage fanatics I first heard this on the fabulous "What A Way to Die" comp. This track is taken from that LP and may need to be cranked up a bit. Another proven dancefloor filler. 
The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City
Despite the fact that it's been played to death on oldies radio, to me this sounds as fresh after hearing it over 1000 times as it did when it first came out in the summer of '66.  
Pat Boone - Beach Girl
Back in the early 60's, in the wake of the Beach Boys popularity everyone was getting in on the surf music craze and Mr. Clean Cut was no exception. And he does a pretty good job of it too, probably helped along by producer Terry Melcher who was behind so many surf/hot rod hits back in the day.
Peter Paul & Mary - Right Field
I can totally relate to this tale about a clutzy kid who couldn't play to save his life but loved the game anyway. The only difference between me and our hero is that I never made that amazing catch that saved the game. This song still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear that final chorus.
Blondie - In The Sun [Original Single Version]
Surf's Up! This 45 was one of my first exposures to anything resembling Punk. Truth be told, after their first album I never really liked Blondie all that much but this single remains a classic.  
The Rip Chords - One Piece Topless Bathing Suit
Here's another track featuring Terry Melcher. Although The Rip Chords are mainly known as one hit wonders for "Hey Little Cobra", they did record 2 albums back in the day both of which are quite listenable and available from Sundazed Records.  
The Soup Dragons - Hang Ten
Although they veered off in other directions, the first few singles and debut LP by The Soup Dragons were punk/pop masterpieces. Here is a live version of one of the best songs from their heyday.  
The Undertones - Here Comes The Summer
Speaking of punk/pop masterpieces, this song should need no introduction to anyone. Their early singles and first 2 albums remain the standards by which many other bands have been judged. 
Bittervetch - Keep Surfin'
Besides the fact that, according to the Garage Compilation database, these guys hail from Dayton, Ohio I don't know much more about them. Although, listening to this song I think I now know from where William Hung got his delightfully nasal vocal style. And I mean that in a good way. Honest. 
Jackie & The Cedrics - Banzai Diamond Head
I don't know how often they play together anymore but back in the early-mid 90s Japan's Jackie & The Cedrics were among the most exciting live bands on the scene along with Untamed Youth. Their forte was surfy Rock and Roll and "BDH" was pretty typical of their sound although they also featured vocals on many of their songs.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Music from Couple

On TOMH's first playlist I posted a song by Couple, a power pop quartet from Malaysia and one of my favorite new bands from anywhere. They are about to release their 2d album "Teenage Disc Fantastic" which is a pretty apt description of how it sounds. Although frontman/songwriter Aidil is a successful lawyer in his 30s, there is a kind of youthful innocence to his songs that sounds totally natural and not at all forced or put on. Although "Teenage..." is not on sale yet you can listen to it at the band's Reverbnation page. If you like power pop ala Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet or for that matter early Beatles or Lovin' Spoonful you really need to give Couple a listen.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Less Talk More Music Pt. 2

Not a whole heck of a lot's been going on in my life lately and sometimes the less said about it the better.  I still haven't found a job although I have had a few potential nibbles. And even if none of those pan out, as I take stock of my life this holiday season I realize that things could be much worse. And are for a whole lot of folks. So for now I'm going to let the music do the talking. Enjoy, go out and buy something and leave comments.

The Unrelated Segments - The Story of My Life
This song's been comped a number of times over the years. This stereo mix comes, I believe, from a Collectables CD issued a few years ago. Despite it's lack of collectability,  "Story..." still gives me an adrenaline rush each time I hear it. Crank it up!
Lucinda Williams - Passionate Kisses
As an White, middle class American I realize that I feel a certain sense of entitlement in my view of the world. It's been ingrained in me for my entire life. This isn't a judgement or a guilt trip but a statement of fact. Lucinda touches on that feeling in "...Kisses" and, for better or worse, I can totally relate to how she feels - or maybe it's just how I perceive it.
Goh Nakamura - Somewhere
I forget which one it was but I became a fan of Goh Nakamura when another blog I frequent featured his new CD "Ulysses" as it's pick of the day. Although he doesn't really sound anything like them, his temperament reminds me of artists like John Sebastian or Steve Forbert. Check out his website where he is allowing folks to download his new album for free. 
Lyn Collins - Rock Me Again & Again & Again
Produced by the late James Brown as only he could, this has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it back in the mid 70s. You can hear more on the highly recommended 2-disc collection "James Brown's Originally Funky Divas".
The Parasites - Crazy
Just like in the 60s when young musicians heard The Beatles and The Stones and started their own garage bands, so it seems The Parasites were similarly inspired when they heard The Buzzcocks years later.  
The Quests - Come on Down To My Boat
As almost any fan of the genre knows by now, back in the 60s garage bands were not only popping up in the US and Europe but also in some of the more remote (at least for the times) corners of the world. The Quests hailed from Singapore and here they turn in a rockin' version of  Every Mother's Son's Top 10 smash.
Redd Kross - Annie's Gone
Awhile back I posted a song by Redd Kross. This is taken from the same album "Third Eye" which is, in my opinion their best. Whenever I hear "Annie's Gone" I imagine it's about a friend who committed suicide, there's just such an intensity about it.  
Jimmy Shaw - Take A Chance On Me
Jimmy was one of many who was inspired by Little Richard to make a little noise of his own. I know absolutely nothing about the singer or this particular record besides the fact that I totally love it. As usual, if anyone has any more info, please feel free to leave a comment.
The Fuzztones - Bad News Travel Fast
The Tryfles - Had Enough Of Your Lies
Back in the 80s there was a huge Garage Band scene here in NYC and The Dive, a little hole-in-the-wall club on W. 29 St., was the center of the action until it closed in May of 1986. Both The Tryfles and The Fuzztones were mainstays of that scene and could be seen playing there almost every week.  
The Tombstones - I Want You
Back in those 80s Garage days a big part of the fun, especially for record nuts like myself, was keeping up with all of the comps of original and rare 60s garage 45s put out by some of the major collectors. In fact, many of the comps became famous in their own right and none were more reknown than the "Back From The Grave" series which specialized in only the wildest of vintage sounds.  The Tombstones from Greensville, South Carolina may not have found fame and fortune in the 60s but they were immortalized forever on BFTG which, even today, is still seen by some as the holy grail of garage.  
Matthew Sweet - Happiness
Along with Teenage Fanclub, Matthew Sweet has this talent for writing incredibly perfect pop songs with just the right combination of innocent wistfulness and rockin'  backbeat that leave the listener wanting more when it's over.   
John & Jackie - Little Girl
I, like many I'm sure, first heard this song on the "Las Vegas Grind" collection which came out in the late 80s. Not surprisingly, John and Jackie saw very little radio airplay with this orgasmic little nugget. 
The Counsellors - I'll Be Your Man
Although they are not nearly as well known as some of their contemporaries such as Q65 and The Outsiders, the Counsellors have cooked up a tasty tidbit of mid-60s Dutch R&B.
Herbie Hancock - Cantaloupe Island
The list of musicians that Herbie Hancock has played with reads like a Who's Who of Jazz. His story is way too long to give it justice here so all who are interested can read more about him on Wikipedia. "Cantaloupe Island" is one of his earlier and more well known compositions. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

Giving Up The Ghost

One day last week I got together with my former co-workers at the bank I used to work at. The occasion was a colleague's "retirement" luncheon. I use the word retirement in quotes because, although in her case there's a good chance that she will decide to retire, as with myself this was not by choice. After working there for over 20 years her position is being outsourced. Prior to this gathering I'd had a conversation with my ex-manager who told me that things were not going well with this whole program and it was starting to become apparent to people above him in the management chain. Very little work was getting done and many of the projects that were going into production were going in wrong and had to be undone and fixed. So naturally this raised my hopes a bit that the powers that be might have started to see the light and would possibly begin to consider hiring me back. Unfortunately, all my former colleagues told me that there were plans to lay off almost another 2000 employees within the next year. Most, if not all of them fully expect to be gone within the next 6 - 12 months. It's a bitter pill to swallow but I know it's better to finally face the facts. There will be no going back. 

All of this makes me wonder. In my little area alone they took 100 years of collective experience and decided that it could be replaced by inexperienced programmers mostly just out of school, from halfway around the world, ignoring all of the language and cultural differences. And this is happening not only at my former employer but at many other companies besides. All so that they can show a better bottom line in the short term and make the value of their stock go up. And we've all seen how much the value of the stocks have been going up lately - ha ha ha. The shortsightedness of this amazes me. Doesn't anyone think about what is good for the business (and the country) in the long term? Am I really the only one who sees this? The same thing is true for what is happening at General Motors. They let themselves be influenced (or maybe I should say 'bought') by the oil companies and did little or nothing to develop more energy efficient cars. Again, they went for the short term profits, gave themselves lavish salaries and bonuses and now they are in danger of going out of business entirely. I shudder to think of the long-term ramifications and ripple effect that GM shutting down would have on this country.

I don't know how much our new president will be able to do about this. After all, this is the result of a whole mind set that is based on greed. Hopefully if (or more likely when) there is a bailout package delivered to the auto industry there will be some intelligently thought out and strictly monitored strings attached that will lead to some more long-term thinking on their part. And President-Elect Obama has stated that he is against tax benefits for companies that continue to to move jobs offshore. I hope so. This is not just about me. With a little bit of luck and some hard work and brains, I'll most likely be OK. But there are a lot of people who are in the same situation who are, for various reasons,  a whole lot worse off.  I really believe that this is about the future of this country. 

Albert Hammond Jr. - In Transit
Although I haven't heard all that much from Hammond's band The Strokes, what I have heard hasn't impressed me all that much. To me they sound like little more than warmed-over Led Zeppelin. But his solo work is much more interesting. This song in particular has a nice melodic side to it that I find quite appealing. 
Zakary Thaks - Please
Even though this is not ZT at their 'garagiest'  it's always been a favorite of mine. Brought to you in crystal clear quality from their Sundazed CD "Form the Habit" which is highly recommended to any fans of Beatle-y (and sometimes harder edged) 60s garage band sounds. 
Big Boy Myles - Hickory Dickory Dock
Guess where this was recorded.  Did I hear someone say 'New Orleans'? Originally released on Specialty records in the late 50s, "Hickory..." really has that Crescent City bounce I've come to love so much.   
The Cramps - Human Fly
Although many musicians and singers have combined a cheesy horror flick sensibility with Rock & Roll, few have done so with the same flair that The Cramps have. Now in their 4th decade their approach has changed little since their early days. While I haven't bought a new Cramps record in over 20 years, their first few albums and singles are required listening. 
David Ruffin - I Want You Back
From his at-the-time unreleased album, David's take on the Jackson 5 smash shows that at heart, this was so more than just a typical teeny bopper bubblegum-soul song. It's a shame that it wasn't released as a single but I'm guessing that the Motown bigwigs didn't want it to compete with the J5 who were being groomed to be their next major superstars.
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Too Much Aint Enough (Live 1978)
Although he was talking about Rock & Roll and girls and not corporate profits, this song definitely goes well with the theme of this post. I've never seen Tom Petty live and judging from this 1978 performance, that's my loss.
Don Wayne - Head Over Heels in Love
This upbeat little bopper is from the "Ten Long Fingers" comp, a collection of piano driven 50s rockers, many obviously influenced by Jerry Lee Lewis. On this song in particular I love those hiccupy vocals. The "TLF" comp is on Collector Records and can probably be ordered from Norton Records Mailorder. 
Jack Bedient & The Chessmen - Double Whammy
It should come as no surprise to anyone that these guys were from the Pacific Northwest as "...Whammy" sounds like it could've been recorded by either The Wailers or The Sonics. A classic stomper for sure.
The Lyres - Cinderella
Speaking of The Sonics, here are The Lyres paying homage to their heroes on this track, recorded at the Downtown Lounge in Portland, Maine on May 24, 1980. 
The Man From Delmonte - Drive Drive Drive
This is a band I know absolutely nothing about, although from the sound of them I'm guessing that they were part of the whole C86 scene. At this point I need to thank my friend TweeKid who turned me onto these guys. 
Rocket Morgan - Tag Along 
Once again I must plead complete ignorance as the only thing I know about this record is that it's on the "Louisiana Rock & Roll" comp on Krazy Kat records and it rocks like crazy. Any additional info anyone out there can provide would be greatly appreciated.
The Thanes - I'm A Fool
I saw these guys back in July of 2000 at the Las Vegas Grind festival. They were the last band playing the Sunday night show and there were only a handful of us left. In fact, by that time  I too had had more than enough and was thinking of skipping them when a little voice inside told me not too. I am sooooo glad I listened as they proved to be one of the highlights of that amazing weekend. Their forte is generally the folk-rock, poppier side of garagedom and here they turn in a wonderful version of The Sandy Coast's "I'm A Fool". 
H-Bomb Ferguson - Midnight Ramblin' Tonight
I first heard "Midnight Ramble Tonight" on the Hound's Saturday afternoon show on WFMU-FM sometime back in the 80s. For years I looked for a copy of this record to no avail but luckily now it's featured loud and proud on a few different comps including Ace's "King Rock & Roll" which is pretty readily available.     
The Vacant Lot - Just One Night
These guys were always favorites of mine especially in the early 90s when they used to play clubs like Mercury Lounge and Brownies in downtown NYC on a regular basis. Pete Ciccone, the singer and main songwriter in the band really had a way with a hook. Unfortunately he is pretty much out of music these days.
Warren Zevon - Poor, Poor Pitiful Me
About 6 months ago I bought a copy of WZ's tell-all biography "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon" but I'm somewhat afraid to read it. I've always been such a big fan of his songs and I guess I fear that if I get to know the man, and all the horror stories, I won't be able to appreciate his music anymore. I always admired his sense of humor and how he could direct it at himself as well as the world at large. 
West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - I Won't Hurt You
There's always been something special about this song that, if I were wooing a reticent lover, I would want to sing it to put to rest any fears. Maybe it's that percussion that sounds like a heartbeat but it's always sounded so reassuring and safe.
Gotta Get Away (second version) - William Penn & His Pals
From Palo Alto, California William and friends had had a few singles on the Scorpio label, same as the Pre-Creedence Golliwogs. I guess it was just a matter of not having the means to adequately promote their records as this definitely had hit potential.
Velvet Crush - Kill Me Now
Talk about injustices, these guys have close to 10 albums and EPs (maybe even more) and while they definitely have their cult following, success on a larger scale has eluded them. If Power Pop with a somewhat darker and deeper side sounds like your cup of tea, VC are definitely worth your time and money investigating. One place to start is Emusic which has about 7 of their albums including "Free Expression" from which this song is taken.    

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

I read an interesting article at The New Disease blog. It seems our esteemed president has given the NRA a parting gift. For the last 20 or so years there has been a ban on having concealed weapons in National Parks which our fearless leader has seen fit to repeal. Now personally, it will be a cold day in hell when I actually find myself camping out in the great outdoors. My citified idea of roughing it is sleeping with the window open instead of the A/C. But something about reading this struck a chord with me. It doesn't take a genius to realize that guys throwing back a few (or more) beers around the campfire and guns is potentially a fairly lethal mix and this ban has probably prevented more than a few accidental deaths by shooting. It just boggles the mind that this man went out of his way to rescind that ban. What could his thinking possibly be? When is it GOOD to have a concealed weapon on a camping vacation in a national park? This man is not just stupid, he is evil stupid and that's an even more dangerous combination. Thank God he's gone after a six more weeks. Let's just hope that he doesn't do too much more damage in that time. 

Lee Rogers - Cracked Up Over You
I first discovered "Cracked..." on a Goldmine Soul Supply CD which means that original copies are likely going for highly inflated amounts. And sure enough, a click to my favorite online record seller Gemm Music shows it being sold for prices ranging from $20 for a VG copy from a dealer in the US to $225 for a  NM copy from a dealer in the UK. It's amazing how when a record gets labeled as Northern Soul the price shoots way up.
The Creation - Biff Bang Pow
This record and band need no introduction to most Rock and Roll fans. Next to The Who, these guys were the best and most influential mod/freakbeat bands of the mid-60s. Their guitar pyrotechnics were likely an influence on a young Jimi Hendrix. I saw them a few years ago at a reunion gig they did at Cavestomp and the old magic was definitely still there. 
The Grip Weeds - Rainy Day #3
Back in the 90s I saw The Grip Weeds a number of times and I always liked them a lot. "Rainy Day # 3"  is one of my favorite songs and is from their "Summer of a Thousand Years" CD which you can order from Amazon
The Grotesque Mommies - One Night Stand
"...Stand" is taken from the "Sands of Time" comp which can probably still be ordered from dealers like Get Hip and Bomp. This Tacoma, Washington combo may not have achieved much in the way of fame and fortune but surely they deserve some extra points for their unusual moniker.   
Johnny Rivers - Secret Agent Man
I generally shy away from posting songs that were big hits. For one I'd like to avoid copyright issues if I can and for two, almost everyone who'd be reading this has heard the song a thousand times already. But when I was putting this list together I was really in the mood to listen to it, so here it is. 
The E-Types - She Moves Me
These guys put out a number of garage/psych gems back in the mid-60s, all of which can be found on the Sundazed CD "Introducing The E-Types", which I highly recommend. Incidentally, when I went to the Sundazed site to copy the URL I read that in January they are releasing a 2 LP set of all of the Remains material in its original glorious MONO (the way God intended it) mix. Now THAT is news!
The Lyres - Here's A Heart
Boston's Lyres have been mainstays of the East Coast garage scene for going on 3 decades and on their  best nights they can still put on some of the most inspiring live shows you're ever going to see. Unfortunately, due to a number of reasons they have done almost no recording in the last 15 years. A new album would be most welcome but it's highly unlikely at this point. The good news is that while most of their albums are out of print, they can still be found fairly cheaply on places like Amazon (see link above) including "A Promise Is A Promise" from which "...Heart" is taken.
Marianne Faithfull - Come and Stay With Me
With it's folk-pop musical arrangement and lyrics like "I'll do all I can so you'll feel free" this record almost screams 1965. While it does sound rather dated it is still a really pretty song written by Jackie DeShannon.
Matthew Sweet - Sick Of Myself
Matthew is regarded almost like a God in Powerpop circles and, while in my opinion not everything he touches automatically turns to gold, he has written more than his share of bonafide classics, this being one of them from his "100% Fun" album. 
The Pernice Brothers - The Weakest Shade of Blue
Although as yet The Pernice Brothers are not as well known as Mr. Sweet, among their fans they are regarded as no less icon-worthy. As this song shows there is clearly something special going on here and I for one am certainly looking forward to hearing more from them. 
The Plimsouls - A Million Miles Away
Speaking of pop deities, The Plimsouls certainly qualify. "A Million Miles Away" is over 20 years old and it still sounds as if it could've been written yesterday. 
The Shells - Whiplash
I don't know if there was ever actually a dance called The Whiplash but what I do know is that when I used to DJ, this song always got folks up on their feet.  
The Little Bits - Girl Give Me Love
From Jennings, Louisiana, The Little Bits sound young enough that had that girl given them the love they were demanding, one has to wonder if they would've known what to do with it. Nonetheless this is a perfect example of raging teen hormones set to music. You gotta love it.
Gene Clark (with the Gosdin Brothers) - Is Yours Is Mine
As much as I love The Byrds in every phase of their existence, it's their earlier material that they cut with Gene Clark as part of the group that still stands out for me. Although he never attained the same level of stardom that he had with the Byrds, he went on to produce some incredibly lovely music until his untimely death at the young age of 46 in 1991. 
Junior Wells - Little By Little (I'm Losing You)
While he may not be quite as well known as some of his contemporaries, Chicago bluesman Junior Wells had an impressive discography  starting in the early 60s continuing until his death from lymphoma in 1998. "Little By Little" was one of his earlier records with a bit more of a Rock & Roll/R&B edge to it than some of his others. His "Hoodoo Man Blues" album on Delmark is widely regarded as a classic among blues lovers.
The Kinetic - The Train
These guys were one of many young UK bands playing American R&B inspired Rock & Roll in the early 60s. While they never made much of a name for themselves they did produce a handful of very worthwhile recordings.

Looking back over this latest playlist I see that, more than on some of my other posts, there are a number of bands/artists that are either still performing or have CDs out from which they are (presumably) seeing some royalties. So, if you hear something here by an artist you really like that you might want to investigate further, please go out and buy something by them. Like it or not, it's money that keeps things going to a large extent and if we don't support the music and artists we love, at some point it's all going to dry up. And we certainly don't want that.

And as always, comments are not only welcome they are encouraged.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Time On My Hands Xmas Promise

It's hard to believe that it's Christmas season once again. Maybe it's just me but this year it just doesn't feel like Christmas. Perhaps it's the overall lousy economy or the enormousness of the horror and tragedy of what happened in Mumbai, but I just can't seem to work up much of a jolly Xmas spirit.  And what makes it even worse is all the happy happy Christmas music being played all over the place. In NYC, the only halfway decent radio station WCBS-FM has been playing nothing but Xmas music 24/7 for over a week already. It's enough to make me scream. It's not that I don't like Christmas. I love giving and receiving presents and every year I go to at least 3 parties, each one put on by completely different sets of friends and family whom I truly love. So it's not me being a grinch. It just somehow feels all wrong. The total commercialization of the holiday, something which I had grown to accept and even kind of enjoy in a weird way years ago, somehow this year feels ugly and crass. So my promise to you dear bloggers is that there will be NO Christmas music posted here.   

The Outcast - You Gotta Call Me
Awhile back I posted their totally off-the-wall version of "Long Tall Sally" and while they don't go quite as bonkers on this track, it's still a terrific record in fine Beatlesque style. Hailing from Japan, they can be found on a number of Group Sounds comps that are readily available. 
Barbara George - Talk About Love
This was her follow up to her big hit "I Know" and it retains all of the ingredients that made that one so irresistible. Unfortunately and inexplicably, Barbara remained pretty much of a one-hit wonder. 
Captain Soul - Looking For Love
Some of you will recognize that these guys got their moniker from a song by the Byrds and listening to "...Love" it's quite obvious that McGuinn, Clark & Co. were a major influence.  The good news is that they have the chops and songs that make them stand out on their own.
The Flamin' Groovies - Jumpin' In The Night
Not much needs to be said about this one. The band and the song are both classics. If Richard Simmons ever does another "Sweating to the Oldies" video, this would make a great entry. 
Gloria Jones - Tainted Love
Unfortunately most folks know this song via the cover by Soft Cell and while (IMHO anyway) that version isn't as awful as many think, the original is just soooo much better. Unfortunately, it sold zilch in the late 60s when it was released, never even cracking the Billboard Top 100. Such a shame.
Honeyboy Bryant - Funny Looking Thing
Collector Records in Holland specializes in releasing collections of totally obscure Rockabilly and R&B records from the 50s. This is from one called "Black Huchia Cuthia". I know nothing whatsoever about this particular track and have never heard of Honeyboy Bryant before.  But based on what I'm hearing here, I hope there's more where this came from.
The Loved Ones - Surprise, Surprise
This song first became known in the mid-80s NYC Garage scene by being covered by The Vipers who used to play the Cavestomp night at the Dive every Thursday. They were turned onto the record by one of the major collectors at the time and judging from the scratches that are audible, this sounds like it might have come from that exact same copy of the 45 which I have on a tape buried deep in my closet somewhere. In case you were interested.   
The Popguns - Waiting For The Winter
My friend TweeKid turned me onto this record more than 15 years ago and it remains a favorite to this day. I love the lyrics which seem to be about how it feels when one outgrows a relationship that was either abusive in some way or just plain wrong (but could sometimes feel so good!) after lots of soul searching. 
Poverty Stinks - Another World
PS were from Finland but remained almost totally unknown in the US. Luckily for me I discovered them during my record reviewing days (early-90s) when I was in contact with a number of Finnish bands and labels. The lead singer has an incredible and quite unique voice. 
The Cadillacs - Sugar Sugar
In their way The Cadillacs were a major part of my music appreciation education. For the most part they were known only for their big hit "Speedoo" and it never occurred to me that there might be so much more hidden beneath the surface. Then in 1983 Murray Hill Records released a 5-LP set of material, almost all of which was unheard of by me at that time, and it totally blew me away. "Sugar Sugar" was one of their many amazng songs that I discovered at that time.  
The Raunch Hands - Mess Around
These guys were also part of the NYC Garage scene back in the 80s and 90s. When they were 'on' and running on all cylinders, they were pretty much unbeatable. This track, an update of an early Ray Charles hit, is taken from a Japanese compilation and it sounds like it was recorded live so hopefully you can hear what made them so great at the time.
The Frame - Doctor Doctor
"Doctor..." perfectly encapsulates that moment in time when all those British mod/freakbeat bands who were fueled by uppers first discovered pot and LSD. Like many of us back then, as the 60s wore on, the music the started taking itself way too seriously and lost the innocent charm that made it so memorable in the first place.  
The Fabs - Dinah Wants Religion
Speaking of music with innocent charm not taking itself too seriously, this Texas Flashbacks/Back From the Grave classic is about as good as it gets. I seem to remember The Chesterfield Kings doing a nice cover of this as well.
Double Feature - Come On Baby
This is another record I know almost nothing about except that it was released as a single in the UK sometime between 1966 and 1969 and was included as the leadoff song on the first Colour Me Pop compilation.
The Braves - Woodpecker Rock
This definitely came out in the mid-late 50s with it's indirect yet not-so-subtle reference to Woody Woodpecker (heh heh heh). I don't know if they had any other records out. If anyone out there has any info on them, please post a comment.
Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl
While this song has been covered a number of times (The Yardbirds and Warren Zevon's versions come to mind) nobody else sings it with the good-time panache of Mr. Kador. Of course, no one else had the cream of New Orleans sessions musicians playing backup either.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Shuffle Your Feet
These guys are a relatively recent discovery for me so I'm sure that there are many people who are more qualified to write about BRMC than myself, so once again, enlightening comments are always welcome. All I am going to say is that I like them and, if you like this song (from their "Howl" CD), these guys are actually out there playing and recording as you read this, so buy their music or go see them in concert.   
The Endd - Out Of My Hands

One of the things I like most about this record is how the lead singer sounds so much like John Lennon. In fact I have this fantasy that maybe, sometime during the summer of 1966 while the Beatles were touring here, he might have run off with some local musicians and recorded this on the sly. I wish I had a better recording and if one turns up, I will repost it.