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?

Tommy Keene RIP Places That Are Gone

I liked this song back in the day, partly because of the Bobby Thompson quotes, but it’s also smart and sounds great and has a bit more oomph than many of the 80s power pop tunes did. He went to the same high school as Nils Lofgren, made many records, had no hits and a part of the world mourns his death yesterday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It was my civic duty to make this post. I was rearranging my CDs over the Thanksgiving days and I ran into Primal Scream’s Riot City Blues, which made me realize how good it is. This is perhaps the best song on the album.

Things:

1) Three chords. All the guitar solos are rock ‘n’ roll cliches. Beautiful.

2) Notice how many posing/cliche rock star moves the players do. When a song causes a musician to launch uncontrollably into a rock star move, that’s a good thing.

3) “Don’t need a knife, don’t need a gun, I got a crown made of human skull.”

4) The chick (I didn’t know who she was either) is the singer from The Dead Weather, among other bands.

5) Jools Holland!

Song of the Week Revisited – Moanin’, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

Today the great jazz vocalist, Jon Hendricks, died at the age of 96. You can read his full obituary here:

This SotW post was originally made in April 2009. I’m reposting it in honor of Hendricks’ passing.

IGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED

Back in the early 70s, Joni Mitchell – one of my favorite artists – began her explorations into jazz. Long before she veered off to make her most ambitious jazz outings — Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter (1977), Mingus (1979) or her live album with Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and Lyle Mays, Shadows and Light (1980) — Mitchell recorded “Twisted” (Court and Spark (1974)) and “Centerpiece” (The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)), two songs popularized by the jazz vocal group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross.

The influence of LH&R on Mitchell is obvious if you watch this video of Annie Ross performing “Twisted”:

Joni’s vocal arrangement mimic’s Ross’ which in turn was a copy of the tenor saxophone solo by Wardell Gray from his 1949 recording of “Twisted.”

LH&R are fun to listen to. They may be the most important vocal group in the history of jazz. Their influence can be heard in groups like The Manhattan Transfer. They more or less invented the style of singing called “vocalese.” Vocalese is where lyrics are sung as the parts that were originally played by instruments. It’s sort of like scat, but with real words rather than nonsense syllables.

The song of the week is “Moanin’.”

Listen to how Jon Hendricks is able to create the timbre of a saxophone with his voice. At 2:15 into the song, Ross soars to hit notes usually played by a high lead trumpet! If you’re not already, I hope this makes you a fan.

Enjoy… until next week.

Robbie Robertson Goes to Little Willie John, and then to Hell?

A few weeks back Peter noted some great stuff about Little Willie John on the site.

And, that kicked my brain cells back to Robbie Robertson’s eponymously named debut album which is a killer in my meager opinion.

Employing Peter Gabriel and U2 and the Bodeans among others to help with instruments and especially vocals, the album really goes all over the map musically, with each song a little stronger than the cut before.

This one, Somewhere Down the Crazy River is clearly the one that tripped the Little Willie John wires:

But, this song, Hell’s Half Acre is as driving and kickass a rocker as ever lived. I can actually leave it in a loop for five or six playings on my phone it is so good and visceral.

Here is hoping everyone out there has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday!

Song of the Week – God, Tori Amos

IGNORED OBSCURED RESTORED

Today’s SotW is “God” by Tori Amos.

I chose the song because it is relevant given all of the current allegations (e.g. Harvey Weinstein, Lewis CK, Roy Moore, Al Franken, and sadly, our president) that have brought attention to how our patriarchal (and often misogynistic) society allows men use their positions of power to take advantage of women or keep them down. More on that later.

Amos was a piano prodigy, raised in a very strict religious family headed by her Methodist minister father. Legend has it she could play the instrument before she could talk. When she was only 5 years old she won a full scholarship to the prestigious Peabody Institute for gifted children; the youngest person to be admitted).

By the time she was a teenager she became interested in rock music. In the mid-80s she was heading a band called Y Kant Tori Read. This was a career misstep that is obvious just by looking at the album cover and press photos. (The album still commands very high prices in record collecting circles.)

Around 1990 she went solo where she really found her footing and began a very successful career with a following that is passionately loyal.

This brings us back to “God” which was on her second solo album, Under the Pink (1994).

The lyrics are edgy, taking on Christian religion and how women are portrayed as sexless (e.g. the Virgin Mary) and how that tradition has left women in a “less than” role, even today. She challenges this dominant male point of view and the subservient role of women, singing “God sometimes you just don’t come through / Do you need a woman to look after you?”

In the book Women, Sex and Rock ‘n’ Roll – In Their Own Words by Liz Evans, Amos expands on what “God” is all about.

I’ve written a song called ‘God’ about patriarchal religion, and how it’s just fucked the whole thing up. Basically I say to Him, “You know, you need a babe and I’ve got nothing to do Tuesday and Thursday this week!” lt’s unacceptable in how it’s affected people. And it isn’t just women who’ve been affected. Men have had to cut out a whole part of themselves too, which is why we have to deal with all that shit from our boyfriends! Men and women are going to have to recognize the female energy that we’ve cut out.

Beside the thought-provoking lyrics, the music is cool. During this period, Amos mostly performed and recorded solo – just her voice and piano. But on “God” she employs a full band and electronic loops. The result is a cacophony of keys, guitars, drums and effects that yield scronks and squeals that sound like seagulls swarming above.

Over the years I’ve learned that Tori Amos is the type of artist that divides people into lovers or haters. There’s no middle ground – you either get it or you don’t. I think she’s great and “God” is one of my favorite cuts!

Enjoy… until next week.

Time To Go Back In The Kadavar Water

I bought an album by German band Kadavar a couple years ago and liked it OK, but I found it a little too straight Sabbath rippy to hold my interest for more than a couple listens.

Classic Rock magazine told me tonight that their new album, Rough Times, is uncharted territory for them. This song has perhaps just enough pop sensibility to make the whole thing work better. I’m gonna give Rough Times a try.

The drummer’s eyes, the singer’s teeth, the hairbrush at the end. Intriguing!!!

The End of the Internet

You know how you’re going from place to place on the internet, and then you end up someplace and you have no idea how you got there? Tonight that happened to me, when I landed at clubdevo.com.

Devo would seem to be an internet savvy band, all techno and futuristic, even if that represents the devolution of humankind. But clubdevo.com is a wasteland. Only the Twitter feed is alive with content. You can check in here: http://www.clubdevo.com/

But better to check this:

 

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.