Sunday, March 26, 2017

MEME, CIRCA 1970

A few days ago I had an earwig, a song I just could not get out of my damn head. It's one you've heard before, I guarantee it. One of those songs people hate, but is near impossible to get out of your head once you hear it. I won't subject you to the title, because that would just set things off. When I get a song in my head like that, if listening to other music doesn't work, I just start singing random lyrics that I know. That always results in some songs that I hadn't thought about in years, but I might know some of the words. This time it happened to be "Cracklin' Rosie" by Neil Diamond. Where the fuck that came from, I have no idea. It's a cool-era Neil Diamond song, around 1970, back when he had a bunch of Top 40 hits. On most of them he was backed by the Wrecking Crew. Classic AM radio.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Neil Diamond - Cracklin' Rosie mp3 at Cross Roads Duo (?)
Neil Diamond - Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon mp3 at Pensées en Images 
Neil Diamond - Holly Holy mp3 at Jon Grauer
Video:
Neil Diamond Parking Lot - Interviews with tailgating Neil Diamond fans at YouTube From the team that brought you Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Thursday, March 23, 2017

THE TRANSYLVANIA TWIST

It's not always about the sound of a particular song or the type of music that sucks you in. There are other factors you might take into consideration. When you're young you're often drawn to a band that looks cool, and wanting to seem as cool, you adopt their style as your own if only to have something rub off on you. Sometimes you're drawn to a particular band because you want to hang with the other people who follow them, what you perceive as a cool crowd. Sometimes you can't put your finger on why you are drawn to something.

In the case of Romanian singer Sandu Ciorba, the self anointed "King of Gipsy Music", I can tell you why I'm drawn to him. When I watch his videos I can't look away. As far as I can tell, Ciorba is a competent singer. I'm no Roma music expert, so I can't tell you if the music he makes is faithfully traditional or not. Because some of it has a beat similar to dance music, I would guess that he delves into updated Romanian jams. Actually, when I watch his videos, the music is almost secondary. I've sampled several, and from beginning to end every one is, well, total WTF. Not because there is anything alarming. It's just that they seem to have been made in a vacuum, without any awareness of more sophisticated videos or anything current, despite the fact that some of were made as late as 2015. This one was my introduction. After watching the whole thing, trying to make sense of it, I was sucked in.


It would be easy to make fun of Ciorba's videos. There is an abundance of women in short skirts and a handful of shirtless bruisers (that bring to mind Vladimir Putin in his vanity shots), and a lot of extras, dancing, flexing, shaking and gesturing this way or that. The dancing style is foreign to me, I'll leave it at that. Besides Ciorba and his cast of extras, another big star of some of the videos is the green screen, which seems to be the favorite tool of the director. That and the jagged editing. But, damn. Dude loves the green screen.

What of Ciorba himself? He has a bit of a gut, scraggly hair and in almost every video a wrinkled shirt that looks like it was pulled from the laundry pile, unbuttoned to mid-chest. He carries himself as if he was the Tom Jones of Romanian Gypsies. Who knows, he might be. Like I said, it might be tempting to make fun of his videos, but I prefer to look at them in a different way. Watch them and imagine that they came from a David Lynch film. David Lynch meets Benny Hill. Lettin' it fly. What I really dig about him, his videos, his cast of characters and the green screen is that they sucked me in with their undefinable weirdness. When that happens, I tip my hat, and I don't ask questions.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Sandu Ciorba - Pe Cimpoi mp3 at Internet Archive
Sandu Ciorba - Dalibomba mp3
at Internet Archive

Video:
Sandu Ciorba -  Lady at YouTube
Sandu Ciorba - Camau at YouTube
Sandu Ciorba - Istanbulu'
at YouTube Green screen gold
Sandu Ciorba - Mamaliga Cu Malai
at YouTube Jackpot!

NOTE: There are plenty more at YouTube, each one special in their own way.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

PRE-FLANNEL

Man. Look at those get-ups. Goofy hats, plaid pants, puffy sleeves, ascots. Epic fail. That's Creedence, then the Golliwogs, just a year prior to "Suzie Q". Yeesh. Here's one by the them in the earlier incarnation, and a great cover by the Nashville Ramblers. The latter, most badass.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
The Golliwogs - Fragile Child mp3 at Internet Archive
The Nashville Ramblers - Fragile Child (streaming) at YouTube

Monday, March 20, 2017

PRE-FACE FEATHERS

Billy Gibbons wasn't always that goofy guy with a beard everyone knows from ZZ Top. Prior to goofy get-ups, ZZ Top was a straight forward blues rock band. Then came the eighties, and visual presentation became a bigger part of a bands image due to the advent of music videos. ZZ Top jumped all over that shit with a string of goofy videos and outfits that betrayed their somewhat humble roots. They went so far as to remix their seventies LPs to sound more eighties, which pretty much ruined them.

Before ZZ Top, guitarist Billy Gibbons was in the Moving Sidewalks, playing the same Texas teen scene circuit as the 13th Floor Elevators. While their records didn't take the world by storm, regionally they were a big deal. Then two members were drafted and that was that. The band broke up and Gibbons started ZZ Top.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
The Moving Sidewalks - 99Th Floor mp3 at Internet Archive
The Moving Sidewalks - Need Me mp3
at Internet Archive
The Moving Sidewalks - Every Night A New Surprise mp3
at Soylent Cream

Saturday, March 18, 2017

TO SIR WITH LOVE

This one hurts. You may have heard that Chuck Berry died earlier today. Of all of the early first generation rockers, those there at the beginning who helped define the genre, he may very well be the most significant. His work certainly was. For starters, he wrote almost all of his own material, far more than his peers. Elvis? Get outta here. Gene Vincent? Uh, no. Little Richard? He wrote a lot, but not nearly as much as Berry. Jerry Lee Lewis wasn't close, and even as prolific as Bo Diddley he wasn't close either. No one was. It would be different if his songs weren't top notch, but the music was pure, unadulterated, un-hyphenated, rock 'n' roll, his lyrics pure poetry. His music was, for many, the template from which they worked. To put it simply, he was rock 'n' roll.



There were missteps along the way. You can't blame him for that shitty novelty song "My Ding-A-Ling" being his biggest hit, he didn't even write it, Dave Bartholomew did. I'm sure he would have rather had it been one of his own songs. And you can poo-poo many of the live dates that he did with pick up bands as being less than top notch. He would show up before gigs and expect bands to just follow his lead, without a set list or a sound check. Bruce Springsteen once described the prep he was given when his band was to back Berry. When he asked what songs they would be playing, Berry answered matter of factly "Chuck Berry songs". But even his practice of playing dates without a touring band was a matter of economics. There were lean years, particularly in the late sixties and early seventies. To wit, my cousin went to see him at a college located just a mile from where she lived. After the show she was thumbing home and a VW bug pulled over. The passenger door opened and there was Chuck Berry, driving. His guitar case was in the back seat. He traveled light.

A novelty hit and ill prepared back up bands are just minor blemishes. There were other more grievous offenses. In 1959 he was arrested for transporting an underage girl across state lines. He was 33 at the time. The biggest dog to get over though was an incident in 1990. He was raided and was popped for weed, but also having in his possession video tapes from a camera that was installed in the women's restroom of his restaurant. He claimed that the camera was there to try to catch a female employee who he thought was stealing from him. C'mon. Not even his best song could have me believing that story. That has always pissed me off. One thing that I just can't get past. So what are you gonna do? Can I still like his music? Well, I guess I can because I do, immensely.



A big part of the reason I love Chuck Berry's music is the effect it has had on my life, particularly in the boys room. Had my brothers and I not been fans of Chuck Berry as early as we had (our mid-teens), we might not have been the young music fiends that we were. And because that was the biggest thing that we shared, our brotherly dynamic may have been very different. I believe in the butterfly effect.

Here's a bunch of Berry related things. Let me say this, particularly to you younger folks. If you don't know anything about Chuck Berry, do some poking around. This is Rock 'n' Roll 101, you should know it. I'd start with a compilation, a more complete one. There are easily forty or fifty songs that should be considered essential. (A link to fifty is below.) Read his autobiography. It's out of print, but there are still copies easily found online. It's good, really good, worth seeking out. His writing (or dictation) in the long form is just as fluid, well constructed and descriptive as his songwriting. It was written in 1989, so the 1990 bust doesn't come up. In fact, forget I ever mentioned it.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Update 3/25/17, first posthumous song released this week:
Chuck Berry - Big Boys (streaming) at YouTube
Listen:
Chuck Berry - Promised Land mp3
at Archive.org
Chuck Berry - Maybellene mp3
at Rocky 52
Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode mp3
at Tune the Proletariat
Chuck Berry - Downbound Train mp3
at Clumsy and Shy
Chuck Berry - Roll Over Beethoven mp3
Thierry's Official Web Site
Chuck Berry - Memphis mp3
at Taking Over the Internet
Chuck Berry - Back In the USA mp3
at Riddell Family (?)
Chuck Berry - It's My Own Business mp3
at the Rising Storm
Chuck Berry - Duece mp3
at The Rising Storm
Instrumental mix:
Chuck Berry - A Berry Rainy Day mp3
at Basement Rug 30 minute mix, go there to get the song list.

The 50 song comp:
The Chuck Berry Collection at Internet Archive NOTE: In the right column, under "Download options" click on "VBR MP3 Files"
Video:
Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode at YouTube From The TAMI Show
Chuck Berry - Roll Over Beethoven at YouTube
Chuck Berry and Keith Richards - Carol (rehearsal) at Vimeo From the film Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll
Chuck Berry and John Lennon - Johnny B Goode at YouTube Interesting juxtaposed with video below.
Chuck Berry and Julian Lennon - Johnny B Goode
at YouTube
Visit:

Chuck Berry Lives! at New Yorker
Chuck Berry Dies at 90; Helped Define Rock ’n’ Roll at NY Times
Chuck Berry
Official site

Chuck Berry at Wikipedia
Chuck Berry Song Listings at Songwriters Hall of Fame

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

THIS SONG STOLE MY NIGHT

Man, never heard this one before tonight and I can't stop listening to it. Irma Thomas at Fame Studio, Muscle Shoals, 1967. "Cheater Man", vintage soul from the sticks. 100% genuine American soul music. 

Groove Addict has another song and the whole LP in a zip, along with other posts with stuff by her from Stax and other studios. (See the links right under each of the posts.)

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Irma Thomas - Cheater Man mp3 at Groove Addict
Irma Thomas - I Did My Part mp3 at Groove Addict

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

DANCE WITH THE DREAD THAT BROUGHT YOU

Back when I was twenty years old I knew very little about the different types of reggae. I knew I liked reggae, but I didn't have many friends who knew much about it, the internet didn't exist and there were few books on the subject in book stores or record stores other than Bab Marley bios, I had to go by gut instinct, what looked like it could be heavy, and the photo above of U Roy was all it took to take a chance on his Dread In A Babylon LP. I mean, look at it. "Three Little Birds" it ain't. That lead to road testing other reggae DJs, Two others among the earliest of my reggae albums were Big Youth's Hit the Road Jack LP, and Dr. Alimantado's Best Dressed Chicken in Town. I've been listening to all three for over half my life and they still never get old. Toe tippers start here.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
U Roy - Dreadlocks Dread mp3 at Now That's What I Call Bullshit
Dr, Alimantado - I Killed the Barber mp3 at Now That's What I Call Bullshit
Big Youth - Hit the Road Jack mp3 at PashPash

Monday, March 13, 2017

WHY DON'T YOU SMILE NOW

Boone (detail) - Jean-Michel Basquiat
I heard Nat King Cole's "Mona Lisa" earlier tonight on the jazz station. It's not what I was expecting on a jazz station but it still stopped me dead in my tracks. Really beautiful, It's easy to see why my Mom was such a fan of his. The song is awesome for what it is, a vocal number. But I needed something to twitch to. So it was on to Carl Mann's version.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa mp3
at Internet Archive

Carl Mann - Mona Lisa mp3 at Rocky 52

Sunday, March 12, 2017

STRIKE TWO

You're in a punk band in Australia with an unusual name, one that will make you stand out. Unbeknownst to you, there is an American punk band at the same time with the same name, and they will become much better known than you and your mates. Several years later, the internet happens. Now people all over the world will know about your band. Oh shit. The name of your band is X. Welcome to Google hell.

The Australian X doesn't pop up online very often. I don't think I've ever seen anything of theirs posted anywhere but YouTube. Still In Rock, to their credit, just posted a couple songs of theirs, along with a heap of text, but it's in French so later with that.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
X - I Don't Wanna Go Out mp3 at Still In Rock
X - Present mp3
at Still In Rock
X - X-Aspirations (Full Album)
(streaming) at YouTube

Thursday, March 9, 2017

RAMONES COVER DEPOT

You might not need a whole shitload of Ramones covers, I know I sure don't. But a handful of oddball Ramones covers is a worthy diversion, if only for mix meat. Here's a few that are by bands that you may or may not recognize and links to pages at Cover Me of covers of every Ramones song on their first five LPs, around sixty in all.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Flesh Eaters – I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement mp3 at Cover Me
Shonen Knife – Pinhead mp3
at Cover Me
Ramonetures – I Wanna Be Well mp3 a
t Cover Me Davie Allan with the Phantom Surfers
Tom Waits – The Return of Jackie and Judy mp3
at Cover Me

Full album cover posts:
The Ramones - Covers at Cover Me
The Ramonse - Leave Home cov
ers at Cover Me
The Ramones - Rocket to Russia covers
at Cover Me
The Ramones - Road to Ruin covers
at Cover Me
The Ramones - End of the Century covers
at Cover Me

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

MITTY NIGHT

A cool image and two cool songs. Done. That's how lazy I am.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Mitty Collier - Little Miss Loneliness mp3 at Groove Addict
Mitty Collier - Ain't Than Love mp3 at Groove Addict

Monday, March 6, 2017

HIT RESET DAD!

An acquaintance of mine recently mentioned that she was going to buy the most recent Iggy Pop LP. Intrigued, I asked if she had any Iggy Pop stuff already. When she replied that she didn't, I advised her to start with something early, specifically Fun House, even more specifically, "L.A. Blues". It's the one song to start with. You can get one of the extremes out of the way right away. From there you can just leap frog forward depending on your tolerance. But "L.A. Blues" pretty much takes care of the primal whacked out shit end of things. In terms of cacophony, it is "Johnny B. Goode", like that last sinus blow out when you're getting over a head cold, what your arms feel like after an hour or so with a jack hammer, or what it feels like when a big wave closes out right in front of you and you're held under almost, but not quite, to the point of panic.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~ 
Listen:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

HE JUST NEEDS TO TAKE IT

He sounds like Jackie Wilson, Ben E. King, Sam Cooke, and Ray Charles all rolled into one (yet he's white and he's British). He has a tight band, and now he's on Daptone. What does it take? If you're one of those people who wonders why James Hunter isn't better known, then you know he's been at it a while. His shit is perfectly good, so what's the deal?

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
The James Hunter Six - A Truer Heart mp3 at Soul Doughnuts
James Hunter - No Smoke Without Fire mp3
at ATumblr (?)
James Hunter - Carina mp3
at Caffeine Headache
James Hunter - Jaqueline mp3
at Bag of Songs
Video
The James Hunter Six - (Baby) Hold On (Live at WFUV)
at YouTube

Friday, March 3, 2017

MORE SUN SHAKE

Macy Skipper
Before these start piling up, a mini-link dump of unrelated Sun stuff is in order. Let's get this one out of the way first: The Sun Records mini-series. I don't know where you're from, but if you have access to CMT (Country Music Television) they're airing an eight part docudrama about Sun Records (Thursday nights). Two episodes have aired so far, and, besides the obvious Sam Phillips, good ol' Dewey Phillips figures in prominently, along with an Elvis, B.B. King, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. It's corny, and the casting is off (most of the OGs didn't have marquee looks), some of the chronology seems questionable, and there are period imperfect props all over the place, but I watch anyway. It might be more interesting had I not recently read the Sam Phillips bio by Peter Guralnick, because Guralnick's book just blows away the series. It makes it seem more like a rockabilly Knots Landing. It's almost like I'm watching just to see mistakes, or where undue liberties were taken. Seriously, read the book, it is far better. (And beware the film version that is apparently coming, starring Leonardo Dicaprio as Phillips. Oh brother.)



I wasn't even looking for Sun stuff at Rocky 52, but it just so happened that Jimmy Haggett, whom I've never heard of and was just a random click, recorded at Sun. Hell, I'll give anything recorded at Sun (or Memphis Recording Studio) a run. When I went looking for an image of Haggett, I ran into Macy Skipper, another Sun nobody. After hearing a half dozen vintage Sun rockabilly sides I never knew existed, I decided to bite on something else that caught my eye. Macy Skipper on Stax. Ho-ly shit, this was where the wheels just about came off. I'm not sure what the fuck this one is, and I'm not sure it's even the same Macy Skipper. But really, how many Macy Skippers could there have been in Memphis? But it's a trip. Three non-stop minutes of what sounds like half drunk freestyling. A nice jolt on the WTF-O-Meter, I don't care who it is.

Again, looking for images I got totally side-tracked at 706 Union Ave. Man, what a black hole that one is. For anyone with more than a mild interest in Sun Records, it's a total feast. More Sun data, trivia and anecdotes than you'll ever get through. You want Johnny Cash? Sure, here's Johnny Cash. But, Macy Skipper! Hell yeah!

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Macy Skipper- Bop Pills mp3 at Rocky 52
Macy Skipper- Slow Rock and Roll mp3
at Rocky 52
Macy Skipper- Quicksand Love mp3
at Rocky 52
Macy Skipper- Goofin' Off
at Rocky 52 Stax (not Sun)
Jimmy Haggett - Rock Me Baby mp3
at Rocky 52
Jimmy Haggett - Rabbit Action mp3
at Rocky 52
Jimmy Haggett - How Come You Do Me Like You Do mp3
at Rocky 52
Visit:
706 Union Avenue

Thursday, March 2, 2017

WASS DIS TWO TONE SHIT?

There's this commercial that's been on TV lately that uses a snippet of the Specials' version of "Rudy, A Message to You". Wanting to get the cover out of my head, I went for Dandy Livingstone's original and landed on a 48 song reggae post that I know I've been to before. But that didn't stop me from spending the last couple hours going back for seconds.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Dandy Livingstone - Rudy, A Message to You  mp3 at Dinosaur Gardens 1967
The Skatalites - Confucius mp3 at Dinosaur Gardens 1966
Honeyboy Martin – Dreader Than Dread  mp3
at Dinosaur Gardens 1967
The Trojan Story - 48 reggae cuts
at Dinosaur Gardens 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

GOOD TIMES

The only thing that ever kept me from liking the Dead Kennedys was Jello Biafra's voice. I couldn't stand it. I can tolerate it now after years of hearing it, and gradually giving more weight to the songs themselves. It just hit me tonight that, rather than the punk downer protest songs that they are, these songs hit me as good time music. Forever linked to a span of about five years when it seemed everybody had them, and people were still making a sufficient amount of trouble, with these as part of the soundtrack.

~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~
Listen:
Dead Kennedys - California Über Alles mp3 at Margauxville Dig that drum sound
Dead Kennedys - Holiday In Cambodia mp3
at Killed By Death Go there to get it
Dead Kennedys - Police Truck mp3
at Killed By Death Ditto