Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Passenger

Saw I, Tonya tonight. It’s well worth seeing, a grand entertainment, as they say, in a theater. On TV it will look like something that elected Trump.

The closing credits are this Iggy Pop song by Siouxie and the Banshees, which is worth a listen.

Though in all fairness, we should also link to the original. Well, not recording, but amazing live performance.


Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson

While we go afield, here’s a tune from Saturday Night Live a bit ago.

Chris Stapleton is the biggest rock guy in country music. Think music.

Sturgill Simpson is the songwriter of country life. Think words.

Here the two of them offer awesome guitar solos, and a classic country theme. On Saturday night TV.

I’m glad to have heard it. And won’t ever likely hear it again.

Sturgill Simpson, You Can Have the Crown/Some Days

A few years ago I heard about this country songwriter named Sturgill Simpson. In recent years what I’ve heard from him has been clever and smarty, and not that interesting.

But this clip, from 2014, is surely the reason folks have been talking about all his talent. This is good stuff, if you like this stuff.


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.

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.

Last Kiss Plus Wayne Cochrane and Pearl Jam

Wayne Cochrane wrote and performed the song Last Kiss in 1961. It wasn’t a great hit. But it had legs. Here’s the original recording.

Cochrane is a character in John Capouya’s new book about Florida Soul, which is how I came upon the song.

The funny thing for me is that the original version of the song is catchy, but doesn’t get at the real moral position the young man is in as the Pearl Jam version, even though Cochrane was a preacher (a Florida preacher, but still). What Pearl Jam version?

Basement 5, Last White Christmas

I bought the Basement 5 album 1965-1980 unheard. Cool logo, promise of reggae-punk fusion, and I’m not sure what else. Did I know the drummer was in the Blockheads? I don’t think so, but maybe I did. Don Letts sang with the band at some point, but they weren’t Clash or PiL associated that I remember at the time. But who knows, it was a long time ago.

I stumbled across the artwork yesterday, remembered I owned the disk, then found that the elpee had been rereleased recently on vinyl by Rough Trade. And then I stumbled upon this Peel Session recording from 1980, which sounds a whole lot better than the album did. Or does.

I was talking about this at dinner last night at a friend’s house, the song immediately appears on our host’s Spotify over Sonos magnificent sound system from the elpee, and it sounds terrible.

Peel Session sounds great. Last White Christmas is a keeper. My attention has wavered on and off after that one. But for an obscure one-off from a long time ago, having one song worth listening to is pretty darn good.

The Grammy Awards 1987: Blues Jam

There is good playing here, and a minimum of offensive show biz (while there is plenty of show biz). It feels amazing that this clip is from a Grammy Awards show, but who knows? The last time I watched one of those might have been in 1986. This is fun, musically, and larded with a ton of contextual social stuff that someone else might like to unpack.

For me, it is the playing and seeing these big stars live (on tape).