Baddest Bassline of All Time

Again I sing the praises of 70’s funk. This one is the perfection of Sly’s Family Affair style. Family Affair was the bigger hit but what do they know? Among its many virtues, this is the baddest baseline in history. I open the floor to other contenders.


Should Have Been a Hit

Actually it was a #1 hit in Britain. Somehow I missed it back in the day. Garage soul with Satisfaction-plus fuzztone. That singer’s got some pipes. They didn’t write it but they might as well have. The original by Jackie Edwards is an early reggae song and a fine tune, but Spencer and the fellas make it something else again.


The Kings

I’ve had a week with the new Queens of the Stone Age album Villians and it is truly a monster. It is the best album of 2017. There’s hardly a reason for anyone to release anything else. It should win every award.

Dense, lush, intense. Lots of melodies and harmonies and multi-layered interplay between guitars and bass and vocals and keys and synths (not a bad thing). Soaring and singing, melodic dissonance.

All the songs are good. Most are great. Most are long. This is an album to be taken seriously, to be consumed in its entirety. Over and over again.

Gene presented The Pillows a few weeks ago and asked, “if not this band, then who?” I will say, for me, it’s the Queens. They are leaps and bounds ahead of any other new music being made today. They would stand their ground in any era. Josh Homme is a musical genius.

This is my favorite song, for now at least. It’s a good sample of what makes the Queens so special, although most other songs on the album aren’t far behind. Pay particular attention to when the main riff sneaks back in (via synth), after the stoopid punk rock part kicks in.

Thank goodness there’s something that rises above the cesspool that is today’s music.

Best Version

Garnet Mimms was a soul singer of distinction, best known for the original version of “Cry Baby” that Janis Joplin covered. This is my fave of his. The singing is great beginning to end but it’s not even the best thing about it, which is the beat. It rides and it’s funky at the same time, with a big assist from the unknown-to-me rhythm guitar player. He cuts The Drifters by a mile.

Soul Party Hits

Best song by this band. Multi-percussion fell out of fashion in rock and in soul too, if you count rap as soul. I mean, there are rap songs with lots of percussion but they are few, and punk pretty much wiped out the woodblocks, cowbells and timbales not to mention congas and bongos. It didn’t die altogether, Talking Heads come to mind, but lying dormant there are unexplored possibilities.

When we were 14-15 we used to sing and bang anywhere and anytime. We had this song down, harmonies and cross-rhythms on the money. No selfies in those days; too bad.

Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives

25 years ago I had a pair girlfriends, back-to-back, named Debbie, whom, in retrospect, I refer to as the “Deb-aucle.”

I guess the best way to describe the sensitivities of Debbie I, would be this little tale. I liked this woman, who was quite pretty, and who never seemed to feel acknowledged. So, I wrote a couplet for her that read:

“She is not the Deb you taunt,
That would not be fair.
She is just the Deb you want,
She’s so “Deb-o-nair.”

My beloved’s response to this epithet? “What in the hell is that supposed to mean?”

Well, Debbie I was a Top 40 girl of the highest order, although when we went together–and ashamedly I admit I endured a year with her–Debbie was seriously into country music. And, the worst shit in my view: Reba McIntire and Toby Keith and those kind of flag waving Jesus loving knuckleheads.

But, during that time, Marty Stuart released his album, This One’s Gonna Hurt You, and I bought that album and have kind of followed the fine guitarist (who began his career as a teenage guitar player with Lester Flatt’s band) and a guy I just liked.

Marty is now on tour supporting his latest album, Way Out West, and his band was set to play a wonderful little 400-seat venue called The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. This is not a little dump either, but a cool downtown non-profit community supported venue that is modern, has wonderful sound, and killer acoustics.

So, I hit my friends and musicians Steve Gibson and Stephen Clayton up and we toddled off to see Marty and his band Monday night, and all I can say is they were one of the two best live bands I have ever seen.

This statement is kind of bombastic, going back to 1968, and including seeing acts like Pink Floyd, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes, The Who,  Jimi Hendrix and Buffalo Springfield and so on. But a lot of bands, and a lot of great ones over the past 50 years.

From, however, the first note by Marty, Kenny Vaughn (guitar), Harry Stinson (drums) and Chris Scruggs (bass, and yep, Earl’s grandson, and a guy who can play every instrument on the stage) came out of the blocks smoking, and just got hotter and tighter with a set that featured new stuff from the new album, old stuff (Running Down a Dream) and a monster cover of Charlie Christian’s, Bennie Goodman’s, and Jame’s Mundy’s Airmail Special, of which I looked for a YouTube link, but none exists.

So, I went for this clip from David Letterman which gives an idea of just how tight the band is and how exceptional their players are.

One of the “oldies” the band played was Marty Robbins incredible El Paso, a song I loved from first listen in 1959. When guitar player Grady Martin was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Stuart and his band were asked to play, and since Martin played the melodic moving part in the song, El Paso was what they performed. The band did cover it Monday, and I did find a link.

BTW, I said one of the two best bands I have ever seen. The other? George Clinton and Parliment (with Bootsie, Bernie, et al).

Hey There, Little Stranger

Gimme Danger is finally out in a medium we can easily watch.

I streamed it for $4.99 last night on Amazon. In the beginning of the movie, it says “Amazon Studios” so this might be the only place it’s currently available.

Was it as good as advertised? Abso. Fucking. Lutely.

If anyone wants to watch it and talk about some rock ‘n’ roll, I’m here.