Lunch Break: Lawr channelling Joe Walsh, “All Night Long”

Since the Remnants brought up Joe Walsh free of any self aggrandizing by moi, here are the Biletones in action at a dive bar.

We had a great set, and my wife Diane filmed this with iPhone, yet it is still pretty good (though if you can listen on headphones, the sound is soooo much better and you can really hear the bass).

Night Music: The Allman Brothers, “One Way Out”

Last night, in New York, the Allman Brothers played their last show. The band has been a different band for much of it’s career than the band that once contained Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, which is playing on this live version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s song, One Way Out. Better? Worse? I loved the old days. The Allman Brothers were the first big rock band I ever saw live, though I didn’t know anything about them that day. They were the opening act for Mountain at Stony Brook University. A fan was made.

Breakfast Blend: ? and the Mysterians, “96 Tears”

In the same vein as Hey Little Girl and the Music Machine posts of late, 96 Tears came bopping out of the KTKE stream the other day, and as much as I love that the station drops gems from the past into their mix without warning, I never understood why this song was such a big hit.

Like Incense and Peppermints or Spirit in the Sky, or (double gag) MacArthur Park, this song did and still does little for me. But, all those songs were big hits somehow.

OK, if you turn the volume up while streaming the vid below, it is not horrible, but certainly not any kind of a break through classic song. And, as a garage song, it does not compare with Talk Talk, or even Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) in my meager view.

I am sure this will rankle many, and I am sorry if you love it. Give me Jackie Wilson’s Higher and Higher over it any minute of any day of the week.


Why don’t they just officially change the name at this point?

Music hasn’t been a big part of Shandlerfest for me, but this song stands out.

My usual crew were cruising Scottsdale looking for something new a few years ago when we stumbled into a new bar that had just opened. Shotgun Betty’s was a rock ‘n’ roll misogynist dream – top-notch beautiful girls in the skimpiest of daisy dukes alternating between pole dancing and bartending, with loud, mostly classic rock blaring. It’s wasn’t a strip bar, “classier” I guess and the girls were all enthusiastic and friendly. We went there every night of that particular trip.

Unfortunately, the next time we got there (spring or fall, I forget), the top-notch beautiful girls weren’t there anymore, replaced with unenthusiastics and unfriendlies. We stop maybe once every couple of trips anymore, but the place never comes close to that original visit.

This song caught my ear that first night and perhaps gets at a little of what Peter always talks about with the in-the-moment bar setting, although I’d happily listen to this at home too. Nothing original here, owing completely to “LaGrange” and “Boom Boom” and surely a million other Delta bluesmen on stools. But it sure is nice to see a bunch of average-looking guys in drab clothes kicking the shit out of what the usual Hot Topic Adam Levine lookalikes with generic tribal tattoos (oooh) and earrings in their lips (aaah) are doing.

Unfortunately, I’ve explored more Clutch and I don’t think anything else compares to this either:

Lunch Break: Cream, “Deserted Cities of the Heart”

I was lucky enough to see Cream in 1968, during their first big American tour. I was just 15, but they knocked me out. Oddly, the opening act was the Grateful Dead, who played Alligator for an hour, and that was it, making it really hard for me to warm up to the band for a number of years (Workingman’s Dead started the change).

They were great, and I do indeed love Fresh Cream, though curiously, nothing by the band made my essentials list.

Still, NSU, I Feel Free, and I’m So Glad are serious faves.

However, in deference to Lindsay’s “what I like to listen to when I am sad,” I grabbed my favorite Cream cut, Deserted Cities of the Heart, penned by Monsieur Bruce, and in honor of his passing.

From Wheels of Fire, which was produced by said Felix Papplardi (whom I believe played cello on the cut), this song rocks, is dreamy, and takes some unexpected form twists (I LOVE the doorbell/glockenspiel/whatever is channeled into the background as Clapton starts his solo).

Miss you Jack! You were great (and somehow, I cannot believe Ginger Baker outlived you).

I included both the haunting studio version with said strings and treatments, and a fairly blistering live take as well.

Breakfast Blend: Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell is not perfect, but she is perhaps our best example of a singer-songwriter with a rock ‘n’ roll heart.

She created music, from the start, that challenged expectations, became hits, fearlessly exposed her self (Rolling Stone mocked her sex life, famously and appallingly), and explored relentlessly the world outside herself, which she hoped to inhabit gracefully.

To put it bluntly, if she had had balls she would have put them forward in jeopardy to show that she was serious about her place in the world. The music may have been pretty at times, but the emotions were often as raw as anything else. And usually more so.

As seems to happen often with songwriters I admire, it is a cover that helps me explain Joni Mitchell. That would be Annie Ross’s Twisted.

And a cover of one of her songs, Clouds, that takes it just a bit farther.

Night Music: Mountain, “Theme For An Imaginary Western”

This song was written by Jack Bruce, with words by Pete Brown, for Bruce’s solo Songs for a Tailor album. My grandfather was a tailor and I found this picture of him and my grandmother in his shop on Fifth Avenue, probably in the 60s.

grandparents-inthetailorshopMaybe it was in this room that my grandfather made me a Nehru jacket, which was tres sharp.

In any case, Felix Pappalardi, who produced Songs for a Tailor, brought the song to Leslie West, and Mountain recorded it for their classic and great album, Climbing. They also played the song at Woodstock and it is on the Woodstock 2 album, but this is the studio version.

Bruce subsequently joined Mountain’s Leslie West and Corky Laing in West Bruce and Laing, something of a supergroup that didn’t make that much of a splash, though my friends and I were enthusiastic fans.

Jack Bruce died this week, and he was a huge star because of his work with Cream, but he also created a substantial body of work that didn’t have that much to do with Cream. We still have that, too, and shouldn’t forget it.

Sad Happens, Music Helps

Sometimes things happen that make you want to lay down and listen to sad music. I have a few playlists for such occasions. I thought I’d share a few of my most comforting sad time songs.

Dear Prudence – The Beatles

Wild Horses – The Rolling Stones

Heart Cooks Brain – Modest Mouse

Once I Was – Tim Buckley

Pink Moon – Nick Drake

Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding

The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale

Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

Asleep – The Smiths