Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Blahs

For some reason, I've been in somewhat of a funk this holiday season. Considering where I was last year at this time, I "should" (God, I hate that word!!) be feeling great and believe me, I am not unmindful of how bountiful and privileged my life is compared with so many others in the world and even among my own circle of friends. But feelings are feelings and while it helps to be aware that they are not necessarily reality, they can't just be thought away. We own them and whether or not we choose to share them, we're stuck with them. It doesn't help that everywhere we turn at this time of year we are bombarded by false cheer. See how delighted Miss Amazingly Beautiful Lady Love is with her new diamond pendant from Shlomo's Jewelers and just look at that perfect family enjoying their new Phony HD TV in happy togetherness! The pressure to feel this fake sense of warmth and fuzziness is immense and this year I found it particularly oppressive. But like all feelings, this too shall pass and today, when New York City is in the midst of our first blizzard of the 2010 winter, I had to go outside to run some errands and the same neighborhood I've been living in for the last 11 years was magically transformed into something else. It really was beautiful and breathtaking and it touched me like nothing else has this holiday season. I know that by tomorrow it will all be piles of gray slush but today the world really is a winter wonderland. So, whatever holiday you celebrate, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus (for the rest of us) or none or all of the above, I hope it's filled with prosperity, love, joy and good health.

Adrian Lloyd - Got A Little Woman
Adrian is so well known for his garage classic "Lorna" that this little gem of a b-side tends to get overlooked. It's a little slower and more brooding than his "hit" but it's no less addicting in its own way. With a 1-2 punch like this, I can't even begin to imagine what original copies of the 45 must sell for.
Flop - I Told A Lie
Back in the early 90's one of my favorite music fanzines was "Noise for Heroes, Music for Zeros" and I am pretty sure that is where I first read about these guys. Catchy pop-punk in a Ramones/Buzzcocks mode. This particular song comes from their "Fall of the Mopsqueezer" CD, copies of which are available from Amazon for as little as 1 penny (I kid you not!).
Bobby Womack - All Along The Watchtower
There are some songs that just lend themselves to interpretation and "All Along the Watchtower" is definitely one of them. It seems pretty obvious that BW spent a little time listening to Jimi Hendrix' version but when all is said and done he manages to come up with his own rendition.
The Cowsills - In Need of a Friend

Back in the day I would never admit to liking a Cowsills song but with 20-20 hindsight it's not hard to see that they had more than just a couple of pop classics in their repertoire. IMHO this was one of their best with an arrangement and lyrics that still speaks to people today.
The Royal Jokers - You Tickle Me Baby

I know next to nothing about these guys (if anyone has any info feel free to leave a comment or two) but this is pure loud and fast fun that can always get a smile out of me.
The Split Ends - Rich With Nothing
Another garage classic that probably needs no introduction to most readers of this blog. Pure snotty perfection.
Buddy Covelle - Lorraine
Buddy Covelle is anothere artist I knew nothing about (or had even heard of) before stumbling across this rockin' paean to his lady love. Again, I'm sure there is a story behind the artist and/or the record so if anyone out there knows a little more, please feel free to share.
The Long Ryders - Tell It To The Judge On Sunday
Despite being lumped in with the whole 80's Paisley Underground movement, of which I was an avid participant, I never paid much attention to these guys. But about a month ago I heard this song on Dave the Rave's Top Shelf Oldies show (Saturday nights from 10 PM till 3 AM) and I liked it so much that I just had to order the CD.
The Hollies - Nobody
"Nobody" was one of the lesser known Hollies 45s released in 1965. While it may not rank up there with classics like "Look Through Any Window" or "I Can't Let Go", it is still a nice record and I figured that if I never heard it before, it may be new to some of you visitors as well.
Warren Zevon - Johnny Strikes Up The Band
Despite all the horrible things I have read about his personal life and relationships, I have always been a major fan of WZ's music and one of my biggest regrets is that I never got the chance to see him live. I always thought that this was one of his better rockers and after reading that it was written as a tribute to Johnny Carson, I like it even more.
Steve Flynn - Mr Rainbow
According to Wikipedia, Steve Flynn was a pseudonym for writer/producer Mark Wirtz and this song comes from "A Teenage Opera" which is also where Keith West's "Grocer Jack (Excerpt from a Teenage Opera)" originates.
Roky Erickson & 27 Devils Joking - You Don't Love Me Yet
27 Devils Joking was a New Mexico punk band that had a couple of interesting records on their own but I have no idea how they hooked up with Roky Erickson. But hook up they did and managed to come up with a blistering version of one of my favorite Roky songs.
Major Lance - Gotta Get Away
Back in the mid-60s during his stay on Okeh records Major Lance recorded a ton of incredible records many of which have found a renewed popularity among the Northern Soul crowd in the UK. This stereo mix of "Gotta Get Away" comes from a 2-disc best-of that CBS released about 15 years ago that no home should be without.
Teddy Robin & The Playboys - Lies
Just like today, in the mid 60s, American and British Rock and Roll insinuated itself into many different cultures. Hong Kong was no exception and Teddy Robin & The Playboys was one of the most popular bands in the country. Their 45s are quite collectible today and fetch prices in the hundred dollar range on Ebay.
The Secret Service - What's Going On

It's impossible for me to write objectively about these guys as back in the late 80s and early 90s they were good friends of mine and I must have seen them play at least 100 times. "What's Going On" was a staple of their live set and as I am listening to it now I am seeing them on that tiny stage at The Dive on 28 Street and 8th Ave. in NYC. Hard to believe that was almost 25 years ago. It feels like yesterday.
The Wild Ones - Bowie Man
While this may be typical British R&B circa 1964, it doesn't take anything away from the little jolt of adrenaline I still get every time I hear it. This particular rip comes from a privately pressed CD-R made directly from the 45 and sounds a lot better than the reissue on the "English Freakbeat" series.
The Charts - Ooba Gooba
I'm not sure where I first heard this record - maybe a Las Vegas Grind comp or something of that ilk. Back in the late 50s and early (pre-Beatle) 60s there were literally hundreds of records like this coming out all the time. Not exactly novelty records but not entirely serious either, backed by some soulful riffing and a solo or two. Ooba Gooba baby!

They'll be rocking in the projects, walking down along the strand