Night Music: Warren Zevon, “Accidentally Like a Martyr”

It’s Hall of Fame time and yesterday I signed up for Facebook group trying to elect Warren Zevon into the RnRHoF.

Which is stupid. It’s stupid to worry about who is in any Hall of Fame, and the RnRHoF is particularly silly.

But I’m in favor of Warren Zevon becoming immortal.

Oh, he’s dead? Well fuck that then.

This is a great song. It may be a perfect song. Even though it definitely qualifies as LA Rock. Woah!

Song of the Week Revisited – Bar-B-Q, Wendy Rene

bar_b_qIGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED

Stax/Volt soul singer Wendy Rene has died of complications from a stroke. She was only 67 years old. You can read a full obituary here:

Wendy Rene Obituary

Below is a SotW I originally posted on June 30, 2012. I’m revisiting it here today in her honor.

I’ve always got my ear to the ground with the hope of discovering some long lost soul gem. A couple of months ago I was listening to the 9 CD, 244 song, boxed set – Stax/Volt – The Complete Singles 1959-1968. The collection has all of the well know favorites by the label’s major stars, but also goes deep into the catalog for some wonderful obscurities. I found one that’s perfect for the summer and the upcoming 4th of July holiday — 1964’s “Bar-B-Q” by southern soul legend, Wendy Rene.

Born Mary Frierson, her stage name was the suggestion of Stax label mate Otis Redding. Her first release, the mournful “After Laughter (Comes tears)” was her biggest hit. That song was eventually covered by Alicia Keys under the title “Where Do We Go From Here.”.

But I prefer the lighthearted, upbeat Bar-B-Q.” The bass and organ lay down a funky rhythm. The famous Memphis Horns add to the southern soul stew. It even features a little Steve Cropper guitar solo. Then there’s Wendy’s sassy vocal on the playful lyric.

i smell something in the air, you know it smells like barbecue
if i had some i wouldn’t care because i like barbecue

well, i like barbecue
you like barbecue
we like barbecue
you know i sure like barbecue

sister’s out back sittin’ in the swing, she wants some barbecue
little brother’s on the porch doin’ handsprings, singin’ i’d like some barbecue

chorus

my old dog has got a bone, and he wants some barbecue
i’ve got an old gray cat sittin’ on the stone, and he’s beggin’ for barbecue

chorus

here comes pop from up the street and he’s got some barbecue
all the kids are startin’ to pat their feet because they want some barbecue

By 1967, Wendy was in a second marriage and raising a growing family so she decided to leave the record business. I’ve heard the story – but I’m not sure if it’s true – that she was scheduled to perform one last show with Otis Redding and other Stax artists but that she turned it down at the last minute. As the story goes, that gig was Redding’s last. He was killed along with four of the Bar-Kays when their plane crashed on the return from the show.

Enjoy… until next week.

Lunch Break: A Snail Named Strummer

strummerassnailBiologists who discover new species are given the privilege of naming them. Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium discovered these deep sea snails.

“Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and they have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment, we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon,” said Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

And thus, A.strummeri was coined. More story here.

And here’s a band called the Snails covering (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais in 2010, in memory of Joe Strummer’s death, which came 12 years ago this week. Perfect.

Breakfast Blend: Black Breath

This Seattle band played in New York the other day, and I didn’t go to see them. I’d never heard of them, but the review in the Times was enthusiastic, so I’ve been playing them. The band is great, the songs are inviting, the arrangements are clever with dynamics (if not exactly air), but the singing is a mystery. Why?

I’m not sure what should take its place, of course, but it wrecks these tunes for me.

Of course, we get back to the issue of live music, which brings different expectations. Just watching their heads on this one is fun. Almost. Stop singing!

Late Night Music: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “Bad Reputation”

I know we had some Bad Reputation chatter here recently, but I’d never seen this video until tonight.

It’s not a great video, but it does take on EMI and Virgin, the way the Sex Pistols did. What’s more important is that this is a fantastic song, burnished in my head from watching Freaks and Geeks (you should!).

Night Music: The Runaways, “Cherry Bomb”

Controversially voted into the rapidly expanding rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame today, Joan Jett wrote this one with the band’s colorful manager, Kim Fowley. In the movie Fowley is brilliantly played by Michael Shannon. I remember hearing Cherry Bomb the first time, in the music transfer room at the film school I went to. My work study job was to rip songs from vinyl to 16mm film for students to use in their projects. Nothing more need be said.

Afternoon Snack: The Numbers Band, “The Animal Speaks”

The Animal Speaks was written by Akron bandleader of The Numbers Band, Robert Kidney, and recorded for the band’s first album in 1975. Earlier versions of the Numbers Band had Chrissie Hynde’s brother and future members of Devo on board, but by the time they recorded their first album, a live one, they had a different lineup.

They went on to make three albums over the next ten years, popular success didn’t find them the way it did Pere Ubu, let’s say, and for a while Robert Kidney toured with the Golden Palominos.