Boomtown Rats, I Don’t Like Mondays

When I first heard this song it was way more punk rock than most punk rock, thematically if not sonically.

When I was in high school I fantasized about blowing the whole place up. Didn’t we all?

This is the conceit of the movie Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, isn’t it?

But the Boomtown Rats endure, and are important and their initial joust doesn’t say much about gun violence, but it sure does crank on the dynamics of mental health and violence and our lives.

Isley Brothers, Summer Breeze

I was in a bar tonight with my friend Herrick. The bar is new, it’s called Bierwax. Bad name, right? Here’s a link to their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BierWax-269076593218456/.

What they do is sell 12 draft beers from local breweries you can’t get anywhere else. That’s the bier part. Plus a couple of handfuls of bottles, cans, and big bottles of craft beers.

They also have thousands of vinyl elpees on the wall behind the bar, and two DJ turntables on the back shelf. That’s the wax part.

No requests, it says plainly on the shelves of vinyl, and you can’t see what they have. So, you could say, Counting Crows please? And they would mock you.

Or rather, they would be as nice as they are, and they wouldn’t play any Counting Crows.

In any case, this tune came on at some point, and we were talking and didn’t hear the intro and the rather signature guitar line. Catching up in the middle, four plus minutes in, it gets wild enough you hope Seals and Crofts never heard it.

Old Man Finds Fault

Still, not uninteresting. A highly influential industry dude seems to be letting loose. Not shocking. But not uninteresting.

http://www.vulture.com/2018/02/quincy-jones-in-conversation.html?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=s3&utm_campaign=sharebutton-b

I’d link to some Michael Jackson stuff but he was a pederast, sadly, or some Bill Cosby stuff, but he was a rapist, sadly.

Still worth reading, I think. And I hope I never get old.

 

A Weird Story About Zane Campbell

The Washington Post profiles an old failed punk rocker turned failed but also kind of exalted country artist Zane Campbell. There’s also a video well worth watching.

This is a big ol’ shaggy dog story involving musical history, the Ramones, drugs, drinking, notebooks and a voice that the writer gushes about. It’s also tough to judge from the video if the artist the writer describes deserves the attention. But he rewards, even if he isn’t actually worthy.

To judge that I went to hear his music, something the video avoids.

I’ve now sampled a lot of his country stuff. I didn’t find album cuts, there aren’t any on Google Music, but there’s lots of poorly recorded live videos. I don’t know, I think I get why the video stays away from his song.

The 2015 album the article admires is available on Spotify, if you want to give some better produced tracks a try. It’s a better presentation, but the awkward breathing mars the singing, and weird pauses disrupt the flow of the songs. Campbell’s history is a checkered one, he freely admits, and it is reflected in the polish of these songs. It isn’t like they need to be slicker, but they should be more integral, more bewitching, instead of sounding like a man fighting to keep up. I liked the Post story better before I heard them.

Van Gets Even

One of my favorite Van Morrison albums is his 1991 double CD Hymns to the Silence, which is admittedly uneven but is also eclectic and lovely and swinging, religious and profane, too. And that’s what the best of all Van Morrison’s work is.

Hymns wasn’t on any streaming service and my version of it is vinyl, so I hadn’t listened to it for a long time, but Steve’s post prompted me to look for it again and there it is now on Google Music. But that’s not today’s story. While looking for Hymns today I found a record called The Infamous Contractual Obligations Albums of 1967, which consists of 30 songs, not one of which is more than a minute and half long.

The title is relatively new. The record was originally released as The New York Sessions ’67, and the story is complicated, involving contracts, hatred and death. You can read the whole thing here, at Dangerous Minds.

The writer there ponders the question of whether there is musical merit in these dashed-off tunes, a Minutemen-colored version of Van the Rocker. I’m not sure about merit, but what is cool about listening to the album through is how elemental the chord progressions of these “songs” are. Many refer to other hit songs, like Hang On Sloopy and Twist and Shout, but others are just clever enough to stand as underdeveloped bits of rock ‘n’ roll with goofy lyrics.

This is more derivative than some, more rockin’ than others. Go ahead, try out the whole thing. It’s fun.

Mark E. Smith Has Fallen.

Over the years I’ve listened to a lot of The Fall records, and liked all of them. But I never was a fan. There is probably a conversation to be had about that.

Mark E. Smith, the singular head of The Fall, the constant amidst constant change over 40 years, died this week. The first video of them I found was this, which doesn’t seem typical, but does kind of get a vibe going.

The younger Fall is what I remember better. And it isn’t that different.

Watching that Totally Wired clip I could imagine why I would fall in love with this band, this guy, this poet. But that wasn’t a connection I made. At the same time, I was totally down with the Fall as a great band. Why? Because of a Barbara Manning song. Her endorsement meant everything.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, 1969

The subject applies to so many things these days, but of course the subject is the name of a song. A Rolling Stones’ song.

It is a Rolling Stones’ song from the days of Andrew Loog Oldham, Brian Jones, and Nanker Phelge, attributed to Jagger-Richards. Recorded in 1965, it was the Stones’ first No. 1 hit. Mick Jagger said the song is the one that made the Stones different than other bands. He’s surely right, at least up to a point a few years later.

So it isn’t amazing or anything that the Stones played this song at their 1969 shows at Madison Square Garden. These shows became the meat of Get Yer Ya Yas Out, one of the great live albums of all time.

But what I found tonight was the video of the Stones playing the song at the Garden during those Ya Yas shows, mostly because I was looking for Janis Joplin things and she was standing beside the stage that night.

The original is a riff-based song where the music totally propels the satirical lyrics.

This live version introduces Mick Taylor to the band, and the results are not surprisingly magical. What is old becomes new. This doesn’t diminish the brilliance of what Mick and Keith started, and Brian Jones arranged, but how awesome to add lovely guitar solos!

I hadn’t heard this before. If you have, please be patient. I’m not saying it’s the best version. But it is a fantastic version by a band operating at peak effect.

And Janis Joplin, how I got here, is standing in the crowd.

Classic Nuggets: Paul Revere & the Raiders, “Sometimes”

I am not sure why Sometimes of all songs from my past popped into my head the other day. I think someone asked me a question, and I answered “sometimes,” and poof, there you go.

But, I am glad because I remember loving the shit out of this song when I bought Paul Revere’s third album Here They Comethough it was never a hit or even released as a single. It was covered later by The Cramps and The Flamin’ Groovies, however.

The Raiders were certainly a hot band in 1963. I saw them twice in the early 60’s opening for the Beach Boys (whom I actually saw six times and was in attendance August 1, 1964 when Beach Boys Concert album was recorded) and with music and television growing, The Raiders became a house band on Dick Clark’s Where the Action Is, his follow-up to Bandstand aimed at the next generation of pop music kids.

But, talk about an advanced sounding song, recorded in 1965, Sometimes was produced by Terry Melcher. Melcher was a principal producer for Columbia Records at the time, and was the son of Doris Day. Melcher had a band–The Rip Chords–who had an early 60’s hit (Hey Little Cobra) and as part of Bruce and Terry (Here Comes Summer).

Bruce, was Bruce Johnson who eventually became a member of the Beach Boys, but Melcher also was tied to Charles Manson. Melcher rejected Manson’s audition tapes, clearly pissing Manson off. Melcher had owned the home where the Tate-LaBiancha murders took place, but (obviously) did not live there any longer when Manson’s minions did their dirty work.

Rumor has it that some of the recording of Here They Come was performed by The Wrecking Crew, but Drake Levin probably did play the guitar and his solo is pretty hot. Levin was a pioneer with guitar pyrotechnics, having been among the first to double-track a solo on Just Like Me.

To me, however, Sometimes sticks out as an actual substantive song as opposed to a lot of what turned into the car song pop dreck that highlighted pop music, along with surfing, before the Beatles and Brit Pop rescued us. Nothing represents this pre-genre better than Hey Little Cobra.

Compare that to Sometimes.

And, will try to write here more often. The re-launch of Creativesports, and work on my latest book have distracted me!