Afternoon Snack: Cher/Nancy Sinatra, “Bang Bang”

OK, so I am kind of into letting the Spotify do its thing. Mostly, on the 35-minute ride to the links, I have picked an artist and let the streaming rip, but this morning I was feeling nostalgic, so I dug around and found a 60’s hits stream.

There was a bunch of Dylan and Doors, and the Turtles along with the Isley Brothers and ultimately Stevie Wonder when Bang Bang, by Nancy Sinatra came on.

Let’s be clear. I hated These Boots Were Made for Walking (save the cool bass walkdown at the end) from the first time I heard it, as a 13-year old in 1966. I did not think Nancy Sinatra talented. Her singing wasn’t chanteuse-like a la Marlene Dietrich, nor was it pretty, a la Connie Francis (sorry, I had a mad crush on Connie as an eight-year old).

There was nothing that seemed remotely real about Sinatra the daughter (or son, who did redeem himself with a guest shot on Family Guy). And, for extra fun, remember that Frank Jr. was kidnapped out of Harrah’s in 1963, and that Dean Torrance–the Dean of Jan and Dean–was involved in that caper.

Nancy just seemed the epitome of plastic to me: worse, she was a moderate talent at best who was able to cash in on her father’s name and fame, for had she been Jane Doe from Everytown, Iowa, Nancy would never have had a hit record.

There is this quasi Django Rheinhardt gypsy-ish guitar in the background of Nancy’s version, but basically it just blows. I was happy for I Was Made to Love Her to kick on after Bang Bang was shot.

As a means of comparison, I did go out an find the Cher version, which is far more orchestrated than I remember. I do like Cher’s voice: at least I did back then and to a degree for Cher was like Neil Diamond in that I liked her early stuff, but as she got bigger and mainstream, her songs seemed cornier, and I was disinterested.

The thing I like about the Cher version is the clear Phil Spector/Sonny Bono influence. Also, at the time, I knew she was a shitload hotter than Nancy could ever hope to be. I mean, Nancy could only hope to attract the likes of Gene Simmons, Gregg Allman, or Richie Sambora.

 

Bad Songs: The Wailers, “It’s You Alone”

Steve’s Sonics posting brought back the other, not very good Wailers, who I guess were known as “The Fabulous Wailers” because I guess we were supposed to think they were terrific musicians or something.

Aside from the fact that these guys could not hold a candle to Marley et al (I doubt they could execute a decent cover of a Marley tune, either), neither of the bands hit’s–Tall Cool One and It’s You Alone–have stood much of a test of time, although I did not realize just how awful both songs were till Steve’s post tripped the wires and I went in search of YouTube.

To prove the point, here are the Wailers a few years back “performing” It’s You Alone and it only makes me think of one thing.

And, that thing is when I started gigging regularly in bands, I made my friends and loved ones promise me that if I ever looked or acted like any of these guys in these Wailers, to either shoot me in the head, or tell me to stop: whichever came first.

What’s with the barefoot sax player, and how about the guy standing stage right? Yeah, standing. Value added. And the “featured guy” makes Bill Murray’s lounge singer act really seem seriously good, and not just funny ironic.

How pathetic is that?

 

 

The Moving Sidewalks, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”

There are some reasons to grok ZZ Top. Or dig, if you prefer.

Hard guitar sounds and rockin’ blues are virtues. But this cover of the Beatles hit, by the Moving Sidewalks, which included Billy Gibbons, is an excellent reason to question his taste and ideas.

The Beatles wrote a great pop hit song. The Moving Sidewalks take that song and add a lot of Hendrix moves that add, um, zilch. Right?

Comment if you disagree, but this is so profoundly awful it can’t go uncommented on.

Bad Music: Stewie Griffin (aka Bryan Adams), “Everything I Do”

OK, my love for Family Guy is widely known. I know, too much barf, too many farts, and sometimes there are routines and the producers simply cannot let go (Syrup of Ipecac barfing, Peter fighting the chicken, eg), but when they nail it, Family Guy nails it better than anyone. As in up there with Mad Magazine, The National Lampoon, Monty Python, SNL, you name it.

This particular selection is Stewie’s love video for Susie Swanson.

It’s awful (so is the song).

OTOH, these guys so nail sappy crappy MTV songs and videos in animated form, that what can I say?

Judge for yourself (keep the Syrup of Ipecac hand, however).

Obit: Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

nimoySo Leonard Nimoy was not so much rock’n’roll, but he did release eight (yes, eight) albums.

  1. Leonard Nimoy Presents Mr. Spock’s Music From Outer Space.
  2. Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy
  3. The Way I Feel
  4. The Touch of Leonard Nimoy
  5. The New World of Leonard Nimoy
  6. Space Odyssey
  7. Outer Space/Inner Mind
  8. Highly Illogical

Who knew? Who even heard?

Of course, we all remember William Shatner’s kitchy cover of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.

But, the pair also cut a disc together, as you can see. nimoykirk

Still, there is no question of the influence of Star Trek and its characters on us boomers, and the cottage industry it spawned (I watched Next Generation and Voyager in addition to the original series).

There was also some music on the actual original Star Trek show, most of which was awful.

In honor of the life of the esteemed cultural icon, Spock, here is part of what was perhaps the worst episode, with some of the worst music. I do remember watching this when I was 16, and being half embarrassed, while half laughing my ass off.

But, Nimoy was indeed a mensch, as witnessed by his final message/Tweet, earlier in the week: “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”

Irrespective, Live long and prosper, Nimoy. You were a good egg.

Half Time: Katy Perry!

I like some pop music, and Katy Perry is the most fun of today’s pop stars. She is politely offcolor, rebelling from religious parents, and has steered herself an amazingly straight line to popular stardom, from the novelty hit I Kissed a Girl to the singing at half time at the Super Bowl. I’m sure that’s going to be murky and awful, especially because the long in the tooth Lenny Kravitz is the guest artist (taking the lead vocal on I Kissed a Girl, by the way), but that shouldn’t obscure the awful corporate fun of at least three Katy songs (and videos).

Novelty dance decadence cheese.

Passionate overstatement, her best song.

Crazy alien sex metaphors. Or is it literal?

All of this music is terrible, terribly popular and I just watched the halftime show and it was as murky and dismal as expected. All I can say is, like the NFL, please forgive me.

Night Music: Spooky Tooth, “The Mirror,” and Boxer, “All the Time in the World”

Christmas–in fact the holidays at large–is an excuse for excess.

I was trying to think of a fitting tune as such, that would reflect the panoply of things that represent the season–food, drink, gifts, money–while also remembering that for Diane and me, Boxing Day will be the actual gift exchange with the family for the first time. That is because Kelly, Lindsay’s sister, has to work the holiday and cannot get away. (It was the same Thanksgiving, the first holiday where she was so grown up she couldn’t get home because of work, so it is fine to stall a day.)

For some reason, the thought of Boxing Day must have triggered my thoughts of the band Boxer, and the song All the Time in the World. While checking out versions, I was reminded of Mike Patto, who headed the group Boxer, and played with Spooky Tooth, a band full of great musicians, but one that never really caught on in the states.

An art rock group of sorts, SpookyTooth included such personage as Chris Stainton, Henry McCullough, Greg Ridley, Mike Harrison, and Gary Wright.

In reviewing this information, I was reminded of the song The Mirror, from the album of the same name, released in 1974. I was in love with ELO at the time, and when I heard the song The Mirror, I thought it was close to perfect.

Fortunately, within three years, punk would arrive and save me from the horrors of second generation prog rock. In fact, when I played The Mirror, while concoting this piece, I was sort of surprised that I ever liked it at all.

Certainly the song is heavily influenced by Gary Wright and the Dreamweaver phase, and I do like the arpeggio guitars and the drums, and even synths, but the words? God help me, and the chorale influenced singing during the over-indulgent bridge makes awful even worse.

Still, an interesting look at Brit psychedelia during the era of Elton John

 

boxer

Mike Patto left Spooky Tooth to form Boxer, and I remember buying their album Below the Belt when it came out, not so much because I loved the band but rather because I thought the album jacket would make the record collectable someday (I was right as it goes for between $75-$100 on Ebay). I do think though, that this had to be what Christopher Guest and Michael McKean and Harry Shearer and Rob Reiner were thinking when they were imagining the jacket of Smell the Glove.

Either way, curiosity got the better of me, so I pulled up All the Time in the World and it was actually sort of raw, but a lot better than The Mirror.

Which I guess isn’t saying much.

Hope your seasonal excesses don’t get the better of you, and if you are doing the gift thing tomorrow, happy Boxing Day!

Morning Vomit: KISS, “Deuce,” “She” and Other Crap

We went out to dinner with my friend Stephen Clayton, and his wife Karen last night (it was Stephen’s 63rd birthday).

While we were waiting to be seated, and after smooching howdy to one another, of course we all checked our phones for messages and other errata.

I happened to have my iPhone open to the Remnants site, and up popped the clip of KISS below, posted by Steve, I guess in defense of a bad band he loved when he had braces on his teeth.

Steve noted that we should, “be prepared to be blown away” (or some like quasi pithy comment), that Flip Wilson’s (the host) outfit was awesome (yawn) and that Joni Mitchell could stick this “up her cootch.”

Aside from that fact that anything in life would only be made better after swimming around in Joni’s vagina, irrespective of her age, I did watch this, with Stephen (with whom I saw KISS in 1979, as I think I have mentioned before).

I can understand 14-year olds being enamored. In fact, aside from the fact that I did take some great photos of the band, there was nothing else I left with other than they were at best a ho-hum group, who did indeed pander to 14-year olds (girls, Steve, even) who would be lost without their make-up (ok, maybe not lost: maybe never even found).

This clip re-affirms it. Aside from some very nice rhythm chords leading into the solo in Deuce, this performance is as meandering and uninspired and tired as it gets. Like the band, who are indeed tight, but neither particularly clean, nor smart let alone original (ooh, make-up, how clever, tell Alice Cooper to try it, and ooh, windmill guitar, maybe Keef could try that and show it to Pete Townshend, and ooh, choreographed guitar dance steps, maybe Paul Revere and the Raiders could pick up on that one).

I have to say I feel the same about Slade, who wore the same stupid shoes, but who were also a completely one-dimensional band in my view.

I get we all have our adolescent loves (I dug the Moody Blues, and still love the Who and the Kinks as much now as I did in 1968), but to suggest this stuff is better than Green Day (I will accept both being equally vapid, but the truth is, I like Green Day and their poppy-punky stuff, which at least sounds crisp, and does whine about teen angst, an essential to rock’n’roll) is just stupid. Like KISS

Anyway, as I concocted a response to the post to put here this morning, the clip (which was called “Breakfast Abortion”) mysteriously disappeared. Knowing Peter, I doubt he cut it because of any form of censorship.

So, I can only imagine Steve thought twice, and yanked it himself (el cajones minora, Steve?).

Truth is, it is more than fine with me to like this shit. As is liking Slade and Hellacopters and Turbonegro and a bunch of loud run of the mill working bands who basically play straight ahead three chord rock. I mean, I like Green Day and the Who and U2, and Joni Mitchell and have never claimed my taste was anything other than things I personally liked anyway.

But, please don’t suggest this stuff is better than much aside from Spirit in the Sky, In the Year 2525, or Incense and Peppermints.

Because it isn’t.