Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'm Mad as Hell....

A few days ago I watched the 70's hit movie "Network" for the first time in over 30 years. Back when I first saw it, when I was in my mid-20's I'd probably smoked a few joins beforehand and it was all a big joke. But seeing it again now, with all that has happened over the last few decades, despite some aspects being a little dated (how odd it is to see an office with no computers), in other ways it rang more true today than it did back then. That scene where Howard Beale is in the room with the head corporate honho being totally hypnotized by that "There are no countries; no democracy - just corporations" routine was a big joke when we were all a lot younger. Yeah, we may have had our suspicions but none of us (people that I knew anyway) knew or really cared how true those words were. Now as we see what is happening in and to this country every day it is obvious where the real power lies. I could turn this into whole big rant about how the top 1 percent of this country makes 23 percent of the income or talk about what a disappointment President Obama is turning into (oh please prove me wrong Mr. Prez - I would gladly eat those words!!) but I won't. I'll just say that if you get a chance to see this movie again or for the first time, I think you'll find it rather eye opening.

One more thing before I get to the music. I'd like to thank all of the supporters out there who left such nice comments in support of TOMH after my little run in with the DMCA. So far I still don't know what the offending song was. Enjoy the music and please, leave comments. I love hearing what you have to say - good, bad or indifferent.

The Brigands - (Would I Still Be) Her Big Man

45 years ago this poor guy was worried that if his girlfriend knew he was "only" a poor laborer she might not love him anymore. These days, what with the recession and so many jobs moving overseas, he'd be considered a great catch.
Richie Barrett - Some Other Guy

Although here in the U.S., "...Guy"
never dented the Top 100, back in 1962 a bunch of these 45s must have found their way over to England because, along with its b-side "Tricky Dicky", it became a staple of many budding young R&B bands repertoires.
Joan Baez - Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word

In her song "Diamonds and Rust" JB has a line about a genius being a pain to live with at home. Listening to this song, as brilliant as it is, I can see why. While I am not a fan of everything Ms. Baez has ever done, I applaud her mental fortitude for coming through the experience of being in love with a young Bob Dylan with her sanity relatively intact.
Larry Brinkley - Move Over Rover

I have no idea what LB may have done before or since, but "Move Over Rover" is enough to guarantee him at least a footnote in the history of Rockabilly and probably a huge dent in the wallets of Rockabilly collectors.
The Greenberry Woods - That's What She Said

While these guys are pretty well known among hard core Power Pop fans, they came and went generally unnoticed by the public at large. Needless to say, the CD that this song is on "Razzle Dazzle" is long out of print but there are still copies to be bought quite cheaply on Amazon.
The Fire - Fathers Name Is Dad

To fans of 60s garage and freakbeat "...Dad" needs no introduction as it's been recognized as a classic since its first appearance on a "Chocolate Soup for Diabetics" comp almost 30 years ago. It still sounds great today.
John Lee Hooker - Money

Some singers can sing any song and make it their own and there are some songs that are so classic and timeless that they transcend genre and style. John Lee Hooker singing "Money" is a perfect example of both of these coming together at the same time.
John Martyn - Don't Want To Know

I was never a really big John Martyn fan. It wasn't that I didn't like him, I just was pretty much unaware of him. Unfortunately, it wasn't until he passed away in 2009 that I started reading about him and became curious. I could make myself seem much more knowledgeable than I am by talking about his life and music, but you can read all that in the same article that I just read.
Monte Warden - Don't Know a Thing
Monte is a relatively new artist that I discovered on one of the power pop blogs that I have listed in the sidebar. In this song he wears his Buddy Holly influence on his sleeve but to me that is never a bad thing. Check out his Myspace page to hear more.
Grateful Dead - Box Of Rain
If I were to make a list of all the songs I have listened to most in the last 40 years, "...Rain" would certainly be in the Top 5. Besides being the soundtrack to one of my first unrequited love affairs when I was 19 (and we all know about those I am sure), in lines like "Look into any eyes you find by you, you can see clear to another day" there is that promise of all sorts of wonderful things happening at any time. Silly, I know, but if music isn't about taking us to a better place, even one that exists only in our own minds, then what's the point?
The Hides - Don't Be Difficult

From Pittsburgh PA, by the looks of it this was their one and only claim to fame. But a damn fine claim it is, good enough for an appearance on the acclaimed "Back From The Grave" series.
J.J. Jackson - But It's Allright
This song actually appeared on the Billboard charts twice, the first time in 1966 making it up to number 22 and then again in 1969 when it reached number 45.
King Khan & BBQ Show - Too Much In Love

These guys have managed to meld doo wop and garage in a way that I personally find irresistible. His other band The Shrines gets more into a James Brown kind of funky thing that I don't enjoy quite as much but I can listen to stuff like this all day long.
Kenny Dino - Your Ma Said You Cried In Your Sleep Last Night

This Hicksville Long Island native made it to the Billboard Top 30 for the first and only time in 1961 with this peppy little gem. "..Ma..." may also sound familiar to some of you as The Turtles did a virtual note-for-note cover for the flip of their second single "Let Me Be".
Dee Dee Warwick - Suspicious Minds
Although Elvis Presley had a much bigger hit with this song, I think I actually like this version better. Her vocals are as soulful as it gets and The Dixie Flyers (I'm guessing) provide the perfect backdrop.
The Zombies - Don't Go Away

A quick check through my old posts shows that despite being one of my favorite groups of all time, I've only posted one song by these guys. Despite the box set that Ace/Big Beat released more than 10 years ago, it seems to me that these guys are totally underrated when compared to other British Invasion bands of the same ilk such as The Hollies and even The Kinks. My problem was not in finding a good song to post but rather eliminating all of the possibilities down to only one.

It's all a dream we dreamed one afternoon long ago