This won’t mean much unless you lived in the East Village, but this was a place to buy cigarettes and egg creams back in the day. And maybe into the future.
My friend Rael posted about a girl group called the Fortune Cookies on Facebook. They have a record called It Should Have Been Me. Good song, standard girl group arrangement. The video uses The Graduate well. https://youtu.be/a7da84nRkKY But of course things don’t stop there. There is, it turns out, another song called It Should Have Been Me with a wedding theme, and a totally different sound. Also well worth hearing.
This is one weird song. Kind of jug band, kind of pop. Between the Buttons is an odd elpee that merges Brian’s interests with Andrew’s obsessions, and somehow Mick and Keith still win. Plus their producer, Jimmy Miller. All in all, a collaboration well worth exploring.
Laughner was a member of Rocket From the Tomb and Pere Ubu, influential, more heard of than heard bands from Cleveland. He said he wanted to be to Cleveland what Brian Wilson was to LA and Lou Reed was to New York, but instead died in 1977 at age 26 mission unfulfilled. A record company called Smog Veil has just released a five-LP box set of all known Laughner recordings, mostly self recorded in the late night by himself. The NY Times has a story about the release today. While you read it, here’s Ain’t It Fun! Laughner’s hit, which was later covered by Pere Ubu (if that’s a cover), the Dead Boys and Guns and Roses.
I saw the Neville Brothers play a few years ago. Okay, maybe in 2008. They were great, but what impressed me was that they said this was their 30th year. I saw them in 1978 at the Bottom Line in New York, opening for the Wild Tchoupitoulas. At the time the Nevilles seemed timeless, and the Tchoupitoulas even more so. But while Art was a seasoned veteran with the Meters and countless sessions, the Brothers had only stepped out on their own that year, backing up Big Chief Landry. It was a great show, maybe the best live show I’ve ever seen, in part because it was impossible not to dance and while the Bottom Line crew tried to enforce the city’s no-dancing rule, everyone knew that was hopeless on this night. The Nevilles and the Meters before them played with everyone. Part of the magic of New Orleans is how this music helped create ska and reggae, and how the jazz of Louie Armstrong and the amazing Professor Longhair led to a culture of breadth and rhythm. So, choosing a song is impossible, but rest in peace Art. I saw you plenty, felt I knew you, but that was an illusion.
I didn’t know Duncan by name, but he was a vocalist and guitar player in the Quicksilver Messenger Service, one of the great San Francisco bands of the late 60s. Quicksilver made a great impression on me with the brilliantly adolescent and epic first song on their first album. QSM were nothing if not quintessential hippies, living on a commune, jamming constantly, living on health food and drugs, as this obit describes. But Duncan had an earlier incarnation as a musician in The Brogues, whose I Ain’t No Miracle Worker was included on Lenny Kaye’s Nuggets collection.
There’s a new movie out from Danny Boyle, who made Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, called Yesterday, about an indie Indian rocker who has an accident and wakes up in a world without Beatles. As in, a world in which he knows the Beatles music but no one else knows of it. I don’t know if this is a good premise for a movie, I have my doubts, but it surfaced this charming story of Peter and Gordon, guys who should have been remnants, but who kept getting hit songs, starting with this one Paul McCartney wrote when he was 16. This story in Slate is terrific filling in the details.
Okay, I never wondered what the Stones covering Dylan would sound like, but now I know.
Jody Rosen has written a long and worthwhile story about masters archives, jumping off from a fire that burned about 120,000 masters of the Universal Music Group in 2006. He does a great job explaining why the masters of albums by Elton John and Nirvana and Muddy Waters and John Coltrane, among many others, are valuable even when you can stream their music online. But then he gets grittier, and talks about Don Bennett, whose masters burned in the UMG fire, and whose career is almost impossible to survey. He was a vocalist in the Chocolate Watchband, which I’d heard of, but he also had a solo career, which has almost completely disappeared. The point? Lots of music that is disregarded at first turns out to be valuable later. So, here is the Chocolate Watchband. And a plea for Rosen to digitize the album he bought and get it out there!
I first admired Tony Glover’s writing in Rolling Stone in the early 1970s. He wrote a great story about a man who claimed to be the world’s oldest man, a story I think of often. In his obituary in today’s New York Times Glover’s writing is mentioned, and he’s quoted saying of Jimi Hendrix: Hendrix plays Delta blues for sure — only the Delta may have been on Mars. Glover reviewed the first New York Dolls album for Rolling Stone, too, which certainly turned me on to that great band. It’s a review that ranks the Dolls with the Allman Brothers as great real bands of the time, which is very true and not at all obvious, which is what we look to writers to do. One of my favorite obscure records, one of those that not many know, is Ashes in My Whiskey, the record Glover and Dave Ray made in 1990.