Song of the Week – Float On, The Floaters

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Back in the ‘70s, in the Disco era, one of the most cliché’ pick-up lines was conceived – “What’s your sign?”  In some ways, it isn’t as corny as it seems today.  You see, back then there was a significant cultural meme around horoscopes and astrology.  The website at the link below documents the era.

Flashbak – What’s Your Sign?

Needless to say, that cultural phenomenon could not escape popular music!

“Float On,” by the soul group The Floaters, did their best to capitalize on the trend.

Each of the group’s singers states his sign, name and what attributes he desires in women.

Aquarius and my name is Ralph
Now I like a woman who loves her freedom

Libra and my name is Charles
Now I like a woman that’s quiet

Leo and my name is Paul
You see I like all women of the world

Cancer and my name is Larry, huh
And I like a woman that loves everything and everybody

The sultry r&b music holds up but the lyrics haven’t aged well.  Yet I still enjoy hearing it because it’s so ludicrous.  It always makes me smile.

The album version extends to almost 12 minutes of slow jam sensuality.  The single was cut to 4 minutes to accommodate radio programming.  In 1977 it reached #1 on US Hot Soul Singles chart and #2 on Billboard Hot 100.

“Float On” was the subject of a parody, “Bloat On,” by comedy team Cheech and Chong.  It was originally released as a single and later included on their Let’s Make a New Dope Deal album.

Harry Nilsson (featuring Gloria Jones and the Zodiac Singers) recorded a song called “What’s Your Sign” (1975) and Frank Zappa’s “Dancin’ Fool” (1979) is a scathing lampoon of the Disco culture and has the line “Love your nails … You must be a Libra… Your place or mine?”

Enjoy… until next week.

Canned Heat, Amphetamine Annie

Driving today, this came on KRFC, Radio Fort Collins. Thank you. I thought this was odd, because I was in a grocery store a few days ago and Canned Heat’s Going Up the Country came on. But Going up the Country is classic rock, a hit song in rock’s best days. So, synchronicity? Not really. But when I was making dinner (creamy fish chowder) I put on Canned Heat’s greatest hits, and there are some good tunes there. Amphetamine Annie isn’t one of those, exactly but maybe we’ll touch base on some of them in the coming days. I like this song for the way the band shouts, Speed kills! An earlier version of this post said Bob Hite doesn’t sing on Amphetamine Annie, when in fact he does. I got that wrong because I always thought Hite sang Going Up the Country, but that was in fact Larry Taylor.

Van Morrison, Why Must I Always Explain

This one is from 1991. Van Morrison is no remnant, he’s been a giant star for a long time. But he’s also a working musician, a scrappy one who has not bent his vision to match the future, as such. He records new stuff, he tours, he has looked like a heart attack waiting to happen for 40 years, but luckily for us he’s survived and visited us with his Celtic rhythm and blues-y jazzbo stylings regularly. I’m not going to vouch for all of it. There’s too much to listen to, for one thing, but the album this is from, Hymns to the Silence, his 21st long player, seems to me brilliant all the way through, a mixture of personal animus and griping and soulful stylings and professions of faith, with a tight band and not a little bit of nostalgia for things before they’d been debased. I don’t agree with that last point entirely, but I like the music it pushed Van Morrison to on this record.

The Pandoras, Let’s Do Right

So, yesterday, I was driving and listening to KRFC and the DJ started saying it was time for his $1.99 album of day, which turns out to be an elpee he found recently in a yard sale or flea market. Today’s $1.99 album of the day was the first Pandoras’ elpee, which seemed to fit in well with recent posts. I’d not heard of the Pandoras before. They were/are an LA band in the 80s. Their elpee, Stop Pretending, is a very good garage rock album. The band’s story is a mess of contention, comings and goings, and lots of live playing. What I like is just how good all this music sounds, respecting the past (liberally), but also getting the emotional part right, too.

The Pandoras, I Want My Caveman

It took a while, but I found a fine Colorado radio station out of Fort Collins called KRFC. The frequency is 88.9. But of course in this modern age, and I’m in Boulder, the radio signal is kind of weak (though they’re running a fund raiser to go to 50K watts) so I get a lot of static, unless I load the website. Anyway, KRFC is fantastic, one of those radio stations that gives the programming to the DJs and stays out of the way. I keep hearing live shows at noon of local talent. Some good, some not, always worth listening to. I think that’s the bar. Are you worth listening to?

Song of the Week – You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain, The Turtles

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Today’s SotW celebrates the 50th anniversary of one of the strangest events ever to occur in Rock History.  On May 10, 1969, The Turtles took drugs in the Nixon White House and all hell broke loose.

The accounts of what actually happened that day are a little sketchy.  (The were no smartphones capturing everything on video.)  I’ll do my best to tell the story as pieced together from several sources.

Tricia Nixon, the President’s daughter, was a big fan of The Turtles.  She was having her first party in the White House and invited The Turtles and The Temptations to provide the entertainment.  The guests were socialites and the children of high-powered business execs – about 450 of them!

The first incident occurred when the Secret Service freaked out because the could hear something ticking in the equipment cases.  Turns out it was only a metronome, but just to be safe, the agents stomped it into pieces to make sure it wasn’t an IED.  In another telling, the SS pried the cover off of it and drowned it in water.

Next came the drugs and alcohol.  Some say The Turtles snorted cocaine off the Lincoln Desk (as Howard “Eddie” Kaylan claims in his 2013 autobiography — Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc.) and others that they smoked some weed in the Lincoln Bedroom.  Who really knows?  There was also an abundance of champagne being poured.

But one thing’s for sure – Mark “Flo” Volman, got so wasted that he fell off the crowded stage several times.

Later, Volman tried to hit on Lucy Baines Johnson, The former President’s daughter, much to the dismay of her angry husband, Pat Nugent.

At this time The Turtles were making their underappreciated album, Turtle Soup.  That’s the one that they called on The Kinks’ Ray Davies to produce.  Today’s SotW is “You Don’t Have to Walk in the Rain” from Turtle Soup.

Enjoy… until next week.

The Opposite of Remnants

Vampire Weekend has a new album out. Drew Magary wrote a funny review of it. I haven’t listened to the album yet. Don’t know why I would (though I like Oxford Comma, the song), but this is my favorite quote (I liked that one Shins record a lot, only to recoil afterward): “Motherfucker, this just sounds like the other two songs. Like The Shins did a one-off album after scoring a djembe at a yard sale.”

Wicked Lady, Plastic Queen

Live and learn. I found the source for my Wicked Lady post. Dangerous Minds. There was also a band called Wicked Lady in the Netherlands in the late 70s. This clip is from 1981.
If you listen to the songs linked in the Dangerous Minds story you’ll find some good sounds with some pretty weak songs. This might be the best of them, if you don’t count Girls cover of Cherry Bomb. Plus that’s a nice guitar solo. Not that punk.

Wicked Lady, Run The Night

I don’t really know how I found this. I think it was a story about girl rock bands from the 60s, though when I found a short biography of the band it was quickly clear that these were blokes in this band. These were Englishy blokes who got together in 1968 and quickly had a following of bikers who discouraged club owners from booking the band. After too much drinking and too many drugs they broke up, then reformed with a new bass player and recorded their songs, which were then pressed in a very limited run for band members and their families. They seem to have had a bad attitude, they reportedly played the same song over and over again at one gig until the owner threw them off the stage, and once again broke up, this time for good. All this biography is from a page at AllMusic.com. At some point a compilation of Wicked Lady’s song was released by Kissing Spell Records, which is when the band went from anonymous bangers to psychedelic revival candidates. One of their newly found fans created this excellent home made video on YouTube in 2012. You can find their tunes on Google Music and Spotify. In the end, it looks like Wicked Lady is kind of immortal.
Another home made video for this song.
Seems that the music is now licensed to YouTube by a Spanish record company called Guerssen.

Song of the Week – Talking Straight, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

The Melbourne, Australia based Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever had a good 2018.  They released an album, Hope Downs, that found its way onto many “best of” lists last year and also played to huge American audiences at the 2018 Coachella Festival.

I like their sound.  It reminds me a little of early R.E.M.  Take, for instance, “Talking Straight,” today’s SotW.

Jangly guitars provide a galloping rhythm that evokes mid-‘80s modern rock.  The vocals are like The Only Ones’ Peter Perrett.  (Remember “Another Girl, Another Planet?”)

The song’s writer, singer/guitarist Joe White, has been quoted suggesting that the track is about loneliness.

I’m hopeless, no embrace
I wanna know
I wanna know where the silence comes from
Where space originates

“The idea in this song is that we might be lonely, but we could be lonely together.”

Enjoy… until next week.