Sunday, November 29, 2009

Home for the Holidaze

Is it just me or, this year, does it seem that the holiday season has sprung up out of nowhere? Maybe it was due to this years' November baseball - I was watching the World Series and then when I went out to the store, the whole shopping area was filled with Christmas decorations. Or perhaps it's because for the second year in a row, this holiday season finds me (and countless others) still unemployed. Whatever the reason, it just doesn't seem very Christmasy this year. Oh well, c'est la vie. Enjoy the music and leave comments. I really love hearing from people.

Bryan Ferry - The Times They Are A-Changin'
The more things change the more they stay the same. Bob Dylan wrote this song over 45 years ago and it still sounds apropos to our current time. Bryan Ferry's version has always been a favorite,so here it is.
Carl Perkins - Her Love Rubbed Off
Carl might not have been as wild as some of his Sun Records contemporaries but, as this song proves, he could be just as intense in his own somewhat softer, quieter way.
Casey Jones & the Governors - Don't Ha Ha
I've always loved this song by Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns and here, CJ & Co turn in a snappy sped-up version. Back when I used to see The Swingin' Neckbreakers, they always used to do this song and now I know from where they most likely got their arrangement.
Crabby Appleton - Go Back
Stories - I'm Coming Home
And now for the hit portion of our program. Back in May of 1970, Crabby Appleton hit the charts for the first and last time when "Go Back" made it up to number 36 on the Billboard Top 100. Two years later, Stories had their first of a handful of chart entries as "I'm Coming Home" climbed up to number 42. This song was written by Michael Brown who, a few years earlier, wrote "Walk Away Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina" for the Left Banke.
Fred Neil - The Dolphins
Fred Neil was very active in the early 60's folk scene and the list of songs he wrote for himself and others is quite impressive to say the least. "The Dolphins" has always been a personal favorite of mine.
Gino Washington - Out Of This World
I seem to remember playing this a few times in my DJ days and, if memory serves me correctly, it never failed to fill up the dance floor. Listening to it now on my computer, it still sounds damn fine.
John Fred & Playboy Band - Can I Get a Word In
Although JF & Co. are mostly remembered for their rather annoying hit record "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)", they had a handful of other singles, of which this is but one, that were so much better.
Little WIllie John - Talk To Me, Talk To Me
For my money, Little Willie John had one of the best voices in R&B and was second to none in the way he could put over a song. Sadly, he died while in prison in 1968 at the young age of 40.
The Lyres - You Won't Be Sad Anymore
Despite the fact that the vocals are somewhat muffled and it's hard to make out the words, this has alway been one of my favorite Lyres songs. At this point they are not as active as they once were which is a shame because when they were running on all cylinders, their shows were second to none.
Mando Diao - Cinderella
I don't remember exactly when and where I first heard of these guys although now that I have, I am definitely a fan. Hailing from Sweden it's not likely that they'll be playing NYC anytime soon but if and when they do, I will definitely be there to cheer them on. Check out their MySpace page.
Paul Revere & The Raiders - Good Thing
According to my friend and Top Shelf Radio DJ Dave the Rave, he is working with some folks at Collector's Choice Records on a multi-disc Paul Revere & The Raiders singles box. Although many of the single versions have appeared as bonus tracks on some Sundazed PR&TR album reissues, this will be the first time that they are all together in one place. I for one, can't wait.
Doris Troy - Special Care
This song is from the album she recorded for Apple Records which is now out of print and is selling for big bucks on places like Amazon and Gemm Music.
Willie Egans - It's a Shame
"It's a Shame" is pretty standard, straightforward mid-50s R&B. While it may sound like hundreds of other records made back in the day, and despite the rather crude recording, it's definitely got an extra spark of something that makes it sound fresh and exciting 55-plus years later.
The Cobras - I Wanna Be Your Love
While many of you will already know this song from the "Teenage Shutdown" series this version comes from a privately pressed CD-R, made directly from the 45s. And anyway, this is one of those songs you can never hear too many times.
Thelonious Monk - Boo Boo's Birthday
I always feel a little intimidated writing about Jazz. I feel like one of those people who say "I know nothing about art but I know what I like". But the fact is that I do like this song a lot. It's got an upbeat happy sounding melody and I like how the soloists go out on their own but never seem to stray too far from the tune.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Falling Into Fall

I guess it's a testament to my true procrastinating nature that here it is one month away from the start of winter and I'm first falling into fall now. The truth of the matter is that I've been kind of busy with school and dealing with a bit of depression these past weeks. Going back to school was an interesting adventure at first but now I am getting rather tired of it. After working for so many years, taking all these classes that seem so unrelated to the "real" world (whatever THAT is) with kids that are almost young enough to call me grandpa, is starting to get to me. But the good news is that in 6 weeks I'm all done and will be an official college graduate. Hopefully that will make finding a job a bit easier. Also, on the good (if somewhat old by this time) news side of the page is the Yankees winning the World Series. It was a great series and the Phillies were worthy adversaries. It doesn't always work out that way but this year the World Series really did match up the two best U.S. teams in baseball. So enough talk, time to strike up the band.

The Fowls - The Yanks Are Champs

Back in the mid-80s I spotted this record on a back shelf in Stan's Souvenirs Shop, which sits right across the street from the old Yankee Stadium. As soon as I saw the yellow Rotten Rat Records label, I figured it was worth a listen. So I handed over my $4 and hoped for the best. And what a fabulous record it is! Even Billy Miller, co-editor of Kicks Magazine and one of the most vehement Yankee-haters I know has admitted that this is one of the best sports related Rock & Roll records ever.

Bob Dylan - It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (7-25-65)

I'm not sure from what album this particular recording originates although I'm guessing it was from one of the numerous bootlegs made from live tapes recorded during that period. Nonetheless, this is a splendid rendition of one of his best songs.

The Flatmates - If Not For You

I've always had a fascination for Dylan covers. His songs are so multi-faceted and open for interpretation. The best known version of "If Not For You" is probably George Harrison's but I've always liked the Flatmates' take on it just as much.

The Hoods - I'm A Dog

The Hoods hailed from Sweden and this 2-minute plus blast of snotty garageified R&B is one of a handful of great records they recorded in 1964-65. A quick Google search didn't reveal much so if anyone out there has any info on these guys, a comment or two would be greatly appreciated.

Jimmy Patton - Yah I'm Movin'

A few months ago I posted Jimmy' "Okie's in the Pokie" and this track is just as good. He had at least one more 45 "Let Me Slide" which I'll also post sometime. All three are available on a number of different Rockabilly comps that have come out over the years.

Jimmy Reed - Shame, Shame, Shame

Jimmy Reed has always been one of my favorite blues singers. This song is one of his best and has been covered a number of times over the years. Back in January I posted a wild version of this song by Aerosmith from their "Honkin' on Bobo" album.

The Lackloves - In Due Time

These guys embody everything I love about Power Pop - hook-filled songs with intelligent lyrics, lots of chiming guitars and confident yet not overly cocky vocals. They have at least 3 albums out, all of which are available on Amazon.

Lady Dottie & the Diamonds - Why I Sing the Blues

If Etta James ever got together with The Detroit Cobras, they'd probably sound a lot like Lady Dottie and The Diamonds. I can't remember the last time I heard such soulful blues rock so hard. Check out their album. I don't go to nearly as many live shows as I used to but if LD & Co. ever come to town, I'll be front and center.

Beck - I'll Be Your Mirror

I really love this new project of Beck's. He's going back with various friends and re-recording songs by some of his favorite artists. This is his first effort and here he turns in a beautiful version of "I'll Be Your Mirror" from the Velvet Underground's debut album. Best of all, he's posting them online for no charge.

Mike Furber & The Bowery Boys - You Stole My Love

Brisbane, Australia's Mike Furber & Co are fairly well known in 60's garage circles, most notably for their version of "That's When Happiness Begins" but I think I like this one even better.

The Beatles - Baby You're A Rich Man (alt.)

Considering that The Beatles broke up almost 40 years ago, all of the hoopla surrounding their latest box set reissues is truly amazing - and richly deserved. I've been a fan since day one and when I listen to these remasterings I hear things with a clarity I never experienced before. Because they were such perfectionists, for almost every song they recorded there are a number of alternate versions and outakes. I'm sure it's way too much to ask but I'd love to see a similarly mastered box dedicated to some of those. This version of "Baby You're a Rich Man" is not very different from the original single version but I think I detect a few slight changes here and there.

Frantic Johnny Rogers - Sassy

From the fabulous "T-Bird Party" compilation comes this delightful R&B stomper. Anyone with an extra $149. to spend can find a nice NM copy of this on Gemm Music. Or if anyone is looking for a nice graduation present to get me....

The Sting Rays Of Newburgh - Fool

These guys hailed from my home state of New York and as far as I know, this record was their only claim to fame. My apologies for the screw up on the file name. This is how it should read.

The Chaps - Remember To Forget Her

From the sound of this moody folk punker I'm guessing it was recorded in 1965 or 66. This particular recording was taken from the Psychedelic States: Arkansas compilation and if anyone has an original for sale or trade, please get in touch via the comments section.

Vivian Girls - Such A Joke

While this is not at all retro sounding, I can still hear a 60s garage influence in their music. Of course it's all filtered through a punk/post-punk sensibility that many garage purists might not like but personally, I really like both of their albums. Fans of Jesus and Mary Chain or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club take note.

Roger Miller - Dang Me

To many, Roger Miller is primarily remembered as a Country novelty act and this song will do little to change anyone's mind. Truth be told, he was a lot more than that and he was elected to the Nashville Songwriters hall of Fame in 1973. I've always liked his songs for their easy-going warmth and their sense of joie de vivre.

Z.Z. Hill - Baby I'm Sorry

Although Z.Z. never achieved Otis Redding's or Wilson Pickett's level of commercial success, it wasn't for lack of either trying or talent as this stomping soul toe-tapper clearly shows.

Strike one....strike two....strike three.....You're OUT!