Sunday, January 15, 2017

Songs Of The Week, 2017: 1/8-1/14

Rock N Roll With Me -Donovan
Ace Of Spades- Eli "Paperboy" Reed
I Can't Read- Tin Machine
Last Nite- The Detroit Cobras
Don't Pass Me By- Field Music
I Don't Want To Tie You Down- Bill Lloyd
Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid- Hall & Oates


Thursday, January 12, 2017

We're Having A ...

Having nothing at all to do with the 60 degree January weather here in NYC, I swear, here is the U.K.'s Pama International and their new cover of the Motown monster, "Heat Wave."

As my friend put it, "I think it's pretty good for a ubiquitous 60's song." I agree. I think it's pretty great, actually. Now I must look into what else Pama International have done.

(h/t Lesley H.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Living The Wyldlife

My favorite punks are back! This is the new one from Wyldlife, who continue to brilliantly keep the punk spirit alive with a two and half minute blast of nothing but hooks and a video that makes you want to slap the shit out of them. If that ain't punk, then I'm happy-go-lucky. But singer Dave Feldman and gang have always been more than that. I knew that after loving their first two kick-ass records and Little Steven Van Zandt finally found out, as their new record, "Out On Your Block" drops on his Wicked Cool label on January 20th.

Check out the new single, "Contraband."

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

David Bowie: One Year Gone

A year ago today, David Bowie shocked the world yet again, this time by dying. Then, over the course of 12 months, so did everyone else. Too many literally, and many, many more figuratively. Bowie seemed to fuck up 2016 for all of us.

"Ziggy Stardust" was one of the first records I latched onto that was outside of my little pop circle of The Beatles, Beach Boys and AM radio. This led me to "Mott" by Mott The Hoople, "The Slider" by T.Rex and then, well it all exploded. I went as far ahead as I could, until I had no choice but to go back and discover what I had missed. But it was Bowie, and that opening drum beat of "Five Years" that rattled me in the best possible ways.

I recall a day at my shop, around the time of Bowie's 1997 release "Earthling." My friend had come in before I officially opened the doors. We started listening to "Earthling," he as he shopped, and me as I priced CDs. As each song finished, he would look my way from the floor of the store, and we'd both just shrug our shoulders. By the 4th or 5th song, he finally asked, "What do you think?" I said, "I don't know yet." 20 years later, with a fairly recent release of "Earthling" on vinyl, I paid it a new visit after not hearing it for years. I still don't know yet. I've lived with his final recording "Blackstar" for an entire year. I've played it dozens of times and I still don't know yet what I think.

This is not a bad thing. I do know I enjoy just about every note I hear on all of his records, even if I don't know yet how much.

I've been complaining for years how new music from new artists simply doesn't move me in the ways it used to. When I hear something, when someone says, "You should listen to the new record by....," I know, right away, it ain't happening. I know. I have no desire, there is nothing moving me to go back.

Bowie's music, from the earliest, Anthony Newley pop of his 60's, to the classic recordings of his 70's to the most commercial and biggest seller, "Let's Dance," and even the weakest music he made in the late 80's and early 90's, still wants me to come back to it and I have no problem doing so. David Bowie's records, all of them, including the ill-fated Tin Machine records, and especially the records of the new millennium, which contain some of the man's best work, have something to offer. Bowie's music begs you to pay attention, even if you hate the man. "Earthling" may have tapped into the electronica and jungle beats that had already been popular in the clubs, but Bowie somehow managed to make "Earthling" sound original. That's the key. He made music you can recognize, yet kept it just far enough outside so that you needed to work as hard as he did in order to get inside.

At least that's how I feel about David Bowie's music.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Songs Of The Week, 2017: 1/1-1/7 (And A Bowie B'day Bonus)

Little Movies- Aaron Lee Tasjan
Where Were You- Brenda Holloway
Much Too Much- The Who
If You Can't Love Me- Sting
Stormbringer- John Martyn
Humble Daisy- The Four Bags
Ms. Martha- Curtis Mayfield
Growin' Up- David Bowie
Pretty Pink Rose- Adrian Belew & David Bowie
Seven Years In Tibet- David Bowie
What's Really Happening?- David Bowie
God Bless The Girl- David Bowie
Slow Burn- David Bowie
When I Met You- David Bowie


Friday, January 6, 2017

JGB & JB: The Weekend Mix

For a very brief period in 1976, New Orleans piano wizard and genius James Booker, played with the Jerry Garcia Band. I will leave it to the fine people over at "Lost Live Dead" to take it from here.

The problem with Booker and the Garcia Band, ironically enough, is that Booker simply dominates the sound. Booker's left hand is so powerful that there is hardly room for Kahn, and his right hand is golden, so Garcia has a difficult time finding space to play. Booker had probably been playing by himself for so long that he had stopped leaving room for other musicians, but it's very rare that a piano player can simply step all over both Jerry Garcia and John Kahn. Now, granted, the music is very ragged, but the sound simply comes pouring out of Booker's piano. Booker plays fine organ, too, although in a style very far from Merl Saunders. On organ, Booker sounds like Art Neville of the Funky Meters. This isn't surprising, since Booker had ghosted for Neville on many of his early 60s singles while Art was on the road.

As many of you might have gleaned from being long time readers, I am a James Booker disciple, and over the years, I've grown from not quite understanding the phenomenon known as the Grateful Dead, to becoming a real fan. 

I have had this recording of the JGB with Booker for years. It was recorded at Sophie's in Palo Alto, California on January 9, 1976. It isn't particularly rare, but I have always been fascinated by the music, especially how this set of music could just as easily be labelled James Booker featuring Jerry Garcia, as both take the lead on vocals and material from both is performed.

Booker's skills on the piano can leave the most cynical music fan in awe. He can take something as basic as "Goodnight Irene" or "Let It Rock" and turn them both into once in a lifetime performances. That was James Booker. The performances here are under rehearsed, but that doesn't always work against the music. I was in the mood for this set, so I thought I'd share.


All By Myself
Goodnight Irene
Fur Elise
Right Back Together
Please Send Me Someone To Love
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
Tore Up Over You
Neighbor Neighbor
United Our Thing Will Stand
Please Come Home
Let It Rock



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Today's Obsessions

When I am not trying to save the world, I obsess over music. Today, it's the kickass early career of Bob Seger and the ridiculous, but also kickass theme from the blaxploitation film, "Black Belt Jones."

Man, they don't make'em like this anymore.

That's all I've got.

Carry on.