The Clash, Armagideon Time

After hearing this Clash cover and profound remix I bought the Willie Williams version. Williams has all the parts, but doesn’t have the whatever it is that makes the Clash version epic.

The Clash version is also not religious. And while the whole Clash excursion into the Third World is culturally suspect. To their credit, they seemed to know that. At least a little bit.

If pressed, I’d call this my favorite (most powerful) Clash song.

The Selecter, Everyday

I found myself quoting this song to my internet service provider today. Bye bye Spectrum.

Which reminds me that this is a cover. The Pioneers version is great, but a little different. Maybe that’s the change of islands.

On YouTube there are also versions of the song by George Acard and George Dekkard that seem to be the Pioneers version. Can’t have too much of a good thing.

And little enough of crappy Spectrum internet.

Ps. The Selecter version of the tune is credited to Petty Harding, and is called Everyday, while the Pioneers much earlier version is called Time Hard.

Is it coincidence that Petty Hardin are the songwriters of Buddy Holly’s much different classic tune Everyday?

What is weird is that in the Wikipedia page’s exhaustive list of Pioneers singles, Time Hard isn’t listed.

But in a footnote the Selecter are credited with covering Time Hard as Everyday.

All Music credits the song to Composed by George Agard / Jackie Robinson / Sydney Crooks

In the UK the song was credited to George Dekker, the band’s lead singer.

What a mess. I suspect some royalties are owed somewhere. Or everywhere.

Are We Not Men? Pick Your Favorite Song from Devo’s Debut.

For some reason I’ve been thinking about Devo lately. Not in any profound way, just thinking about listening when I got a chance. I got a chance today while making dinner. On goes Are We Not Men? We are Devo, which starts with the brilliant Uncontrollable Urge, moves onto (Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, which I owned on 7″ long before the elpee came out, and then goes all over the freaking place. And I do mean freaking.

Remembering, at the time, I grouped the band with the Talking Heads, who had a similar angular geeky-ness, and the Tubes, who had an over the top theatricality. When I listen now I hear mostly classic rock moves, filtered through a novel lens, a lens which made it both surprising the band existed and that they then made hits with mainstream success and surprising that we didn’t see just how inevitable that was on first listen.

I think what I mean is, we knew weird. We loved Zappa, dug Alice Cooper, admired Captain Beefheart, but each of those personalities carved out his own space on the edges of taste and sensibility. They had some pop exposure, but they were happy to exist as novelties.

Devo carved out that space, then tried to bring the whole dang world into it. They were weird, uncompromising, and ambitiously popular, not content to reside on the sidelines with the other freaks. That was cool.

So, while listening to their first elpee tonight, I was struck by how strong the songs are. How little there is that is thrown away. Maybe none of it. And as I went from song to song I said to myself, That’s a great tune. Then, Oh, that’s a good one. Oooh, love it. Which got me thinking that maybe we all have different favorite songs from Are We Not Men? We Are Devo.

I’m laying claim to Mongoloid. It was the first Devo song I heard, it is the one I know all the words to and compulsively sing along to, but I’m pretty sure there are strong cases for others. What’s your favorite song on Devo’s first album?

 

The first two Cure albums

The career arcs of bands are not always controlled by the players. Or they spin out beyond local expectations.

The Cure became an international pop sensation, and in many ways deservedly so. I have no idea if that is what they aspired to, but they got it.

But all we ever listened to were their first two elpees, which are wonderfully clear and direct and poetic. Not unpopular, but pure art in a way.

If you’re at all studious about life in our modern world, you should read Albert Camus’s The Stranger, and listen to this song by the Cure. Obviously not the whole story, but a bit of perspective.

Part of the brilliance is you don’t need to know the book to love this song, and wonder about it.

 

Hank Wood and the Hammerheads, Go Home

I’m halfway through this elpee on YouTube, listening at top volume while editing the biographical info of quarterbacks for the Fantasy Football Guide. Blame Hank and Co. for any errors.

There aren’t many modern punk bands that grab me, but this is clangorous driving rock n roll, a little garage-y, with some fun song ideas a la the first and second wave of bands with ugly album covers. These guys have that, too. But they don’t sound derivative so much as inspired to make their own noise. So they do!

I think this is their first album. The second one is called Stay Home, or it could be the other way around.

A Bob Lefsetz Anecdote about Gregg Allman

I’ve quoted Bob Lefsetz’s newsletter before. He’s a former music industry guy who, in his later years writes about a range of topics in an energetic and provocative way. Provocative mostly because he states his opinions directly. You can read and subscribe to his stuff here. In a post this week he wrote a history of the Allman Brothers and Gregg, and his first personal encounter with Gregg. I quote:

ANYTHING GOES

My favorite cut on the “I’m No Angel” album, there’s a moment, after the break, when Gregg Allman reaches down deep and at the top of his lungs screams…ANYTHING GOES! It’s at 3:20in the song if you wanna check it out, and it’s moments like these that are personal, that keep you going, putting one foot in front of the other, so when we were hanging out before the show…

Yes, I ain’t got no money, but I’m rich on personality, and that has allowed me to meet all my heroes, get e-mail from them, it thrills me, and about an hour before they took the stage at the Greek I was introduced to Gregg and I had to ask him, about that emotive explosion.

Now you’ve got to understand, they’re not like you and me.

First and foremost, he was wearing his boots, the original American rockers never got over the Beatles. And he’s towering above me, and he leans down to my ear, his long hair almost falling on my shoulder, and he starts whispering, telling a story, sotto voce, like we’re the only two people in the universe, like he’s gonna reveal a deep dark secret.

“I can’t hit that note every night. But there are certain evenings, when I’m sitting on the piano bench, and I reach over to hit a note and my left nut gets caught under my leg and I yell ANYTHING GOES!”

I swear to god, just like that, that’s about an exact quote.

And he backs off, stands straight, but gives me a poker face, and I’m not sure if he’s making fun of me, pulling my leg, putting me down, or initiating me into the ways of the road, making me an honorary insider, but one thing’s for sure, he was still COOL!

I don’t know. You be the judge. I remember this album, and it seemed Gregg modernized and wrapped in frou frou. Not terrible, his was a great voice, but this was not music from our roots.

But if Gregg explained this moment to Bob this way, it’s very swell, no matter if it is actually true. A fine ad lib. Check it out: