Wednesday, July 26, 2017

TRACK 8: "Any Time At All" VS. "What Goes On"





There is a reel to reel tape, somewhere out there, of me and my cousins singing the chorus of "What Goes On in three part harmony. We couldn't have been more than 12 years old, but it wasn't bad. I always loved that song...then. But honestly, this is Ringo filler if there ever was Ringo filler. George's playing on the verses...or should I say, barely playing...always intrigued me. Still not enough to even make this Lennon throwaway with a Macca-Starkey co-write close.

"Any Time At All" a killer, side two opener.




 "Can't Buy Me Love"-25
 "Michelle"- 10



1. A Hard Day's Night
2. Norwegian Wood
3. If I Fell
4. Nowhere Man
5. And I Love Her
6. Tell Me Why
7. Can't Buy Me Love
8.


Previously on Album Battle:

TRACK ONE

TRACK TWO

TRACK THREE 

TRACK FOUR 

TRACK FIVE 

TRACK SIX 

TRACK SEVEN

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Two For Tuesday




My friend and band member Sal Maida has a fine little radio show on Mondays called Spin Cycle, which can be found at LittleWaterRadio.org.

Yesterday, aside from giving a bit of air time to our new record, the John Sally Ride's "A New Set Of Downs, out now on the Kool Kat label, he blew me away with this James Gang cover by Philly's Three Degrees. Yes, the same Three Degrees with the 70's disco hits on Philadelphia International. This track was 5 years prior to "When Will I See You Again" and man, what a record! "Collage" was actually the b-side of "Maybe," their version of the old Chantels doo wop hit, and man, what a record that is!

"Maybe" has one of those classic, melodramatic spoken word intros that is wonderful camp, but if you stick with it, the opening verse feels like it was shot out of a cannon. What a powerhouse 45.

Of course now, I am completely obsessed with everything on this debut LP from 1970, so let me get over it and we will continue with Side Two of the Beatles battle tomorrow.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Songs Of The Week, 2017: 7/15-7/21



Dogman- King's X
Great Big Kiss- Johnny Thunders
Heavenly Day- Patty Griffin
Here Comes A Regular- The Replacements
English Tea- Thurman
Jenny Wren- Paul McCartney
We Ran- Katy Moffat

zip

Friday, July 21, 2017

TRACK SEVEN: "Can't Buy Me Love" VS. "Michelle"





"Tell Me Why"- 24
"The Word"-15

We will close out both the week and Side One with today's match-up, and I'd be very surprised if this wasn't a landslide. Here's what I think:

I was a kid, at a single digit age, when The Beatles changed my life. And no two songs represented exactly what I didn't want to hear from The Fab Four at that age.

The Beatles were all about three part harmony and "Can't Buy Me Love" doesn't have any. It's a straight screamer from Paul. I wasn't quite savvy enough to appreciate feel and attack. "Michelle," on the other hand, was slow and had lyrics in French, and weird chords, and to these immature ears, it made me run for the tonearm.

I never liked these two tracks.

That said, I picked up a Beatles bootleg in the early 80's, with alternate takes. It was the first time I heard so much of what ended up on the Anthology series. "Can't Buy Me Love" HAD harmonies and a call and answer verse. Paul would sing "I may not have a lot to give, but what I've got I'll give to you" and the boys would shout back, "Oooohh, give to yoooou." This became one of my favorite outtakes and then, I found a new appreciation for the song. As for "Michelle," it, like so much of Macca's work, right up through his last studio LP "New" is taken for granted and severely underappreciated. What I didn't hear at 7 years old I hear now. I mean, he was 23 when he wrote this baby.  I do love "Michelle." But, I think I'd rather hear "Can't Buy Me Love," so it gets my vote.







1. A Hard Day's Night
2. Norwegian Wood
3. If I Fell
4. Nowhere Man
5. And I Love Her
6. Tell Me Why
7.


Previously on Album Battle:

TRACK ONE

TRACK TWO

TRACK THREE 

TRACK FOUR 

TRACK FIVE 

TRACK SIX

Thursday, July 20, 2017

TRACK SIX: "Tell Me Why VS. The Word



Before we continue, let's catch up.

I have this theory, though I am sure I am not the only one, that we've all come to believe by dint of simply saying so for such a long time, that certain works of art, music and film especially, are the best in their field. "Rubber Soul?" Of course it is better than "A Hard Day's Night." And though this method is admittedly flawed, stacking up the songs from those two records against each other, just might give "A Hard Day's Night" the edge.

One last thing- to clear up some confusion, and maybe I should have thought of this at the beginning of this battle, try to vote with your heart, not your head. What might be a better composition might not be what you'd rather listen to. I know most of the time I'd rather watch "Jaws" than "Citizen Kane."

I find all of this very interesting, and by the amount of comments here and on Facebook, I think you do too. So enough of my yakkin'!

"And I Love Her"- 30
"Think For Yourself"- 18

When I was a kid, I would skip over "The Word." There was something about the chorus, specifically the 4-note melody, over and over again, that would give me the twitch. Many years later, I've grown quite fond of it, with its funky feel and rhythm not unlike "In The Midnight Hour," this is yet another example of what these four lads could do. In the middle of a 60's, folky pop record, they toss in a little bit of R&B it feels like fits perfectly.

"Tell Me Why" was apparently written by Lennon as filler. Tossed off while on tour. What great filler! Another great Ringo performance. More great harmonies behind a soulful Lennon lead vocal. Those indecipherable falsetto vocals right before one of my fave lines, "I really can't stand it, I'm so in love with you." This track is a monster. And it gets my vote.

1. A Hard Day's Night
2. Norwegian Wood
3. If I Fell
4. Nowhere Man
5. And I Love Her
6.


Previously on Album Battle:

TRACK ONE

TRACK TWO

TRACK THREE 

TRACK FOUR 

TRACK FIVE

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

With Him In Mind: Stanton Moore Pays Tribute To Allen Toussaint



The death of David Bowie in January of 2016 kicked off what seemed like weekly death notices that lasted well into 2017. But this long miserable stretch of loss and sadness really began eight weeks prior. The sudden death of the legendary New Orleans songwriter, piano player and producer, Allen Toussaint, at the conclusion of a November concert in Madrid, threw New Orleans, and the music world, into a state of disbelief. While working with his trio on the follow-up to his wonderful 2014 record, "Conversations," drummer Stanton Moore stopped the sessions. He knew what he needed to do.  His band, bassist James Singleton and pianist David Torkanowsky agreed, and "With You In Mind" was born.

The songs here are not jazz trio interpretations of your fave Lee Dorsey and K-Doe singles. No sir. These boys would not settle for that. Are you kidding me? This record is an event. A celebration. An exercise in stamina and imagination. The trio is augmented by the Crescent City's finest, including a brass section featuring Trombone Shorty, Nicholas Payton, Mark Mullins and Donald Harrison Jr., as well as the soulful vocals of Brother Cyril Neville on five of the tracks, one of which is an impossibly funky version of "Everything I Do Gone Be Funky." In 5/4!  Neville also lends his vocals to "Night People" and Ernie K-Doe's "Here Come The Girls," both of which, again, have been reimagined in ways only this fine trio can produce. Another highlight, is also one of the most beautiful pieces of music you will hear this year, an absolutely stunning take on the title track, showcasing the enormously talented David Torkanowsky on piano. You will be moved.

If I made one hundred trips to New Orleans in the last twenty years, you can be sure, I saw one or all three of these musicians on each visit. In a number of instances, the trips were planned around these guys. In a city full of amazing drummers, it can be a challenge to remain one of the best. And as a drummer myself, I can tell you, Stanton Moore is at the top of his game. If I said that James Singleton and David Torkanowsky are two of the most exciting and innovative musicians to ever come out of New Orleans, it would not be hyperbole. The music created and performed by this trio, individually, collectively and basically in any shape or form, has been some of my favorite music of the last quarter century, so it is no surprise at all that "With You In Mind: The Songs Of Allen Toussaint" is every bit as brilliant as I expected it to be.


"With You In Mind: The Songs Of Allen Toussaint" drops Friday, July 21st. I implore you to pick up what will be, one of the five best records of 2017.

BUY THIS NOW





















Monday, July 17, 2017

We Interrupt This Program To Bring You, The John Sally Ride



It's official! Our new record is out on the fab Kool Kat label.

Here is the press release:

NEW RELEASE ON THE KOOL KAT LABEL! 

The John Sally Ride was inevitable. Long time friends, with thousands of combined hours listening to and talking about music, the trio of musicians that comprise this exciting new band had been making music separately for years. The time had finally come to make a record together. It wasn't just their mutual love of The Kinks, David Bowie and Todd Rundgren. And it wasn't just that special knack of finishing each other's musical sentences. It was all of that, for sure. But, like any great band/record, it all starts with the songs and the magic that suddenly took hold of these gents when they finally hit the studio. 

John Dunbar (A Confederacy Of Dunces The Kunks), Sal Maida (Roxy Music, Sparks, Milk N Cookies, Cracker) and Sal Nunziato (Pep In The Cat, The Hard Copies, Burning Wood) made a record, just like their musical heroes made records, with original music and lyrics, instruments and voices. "A New Set Of Downs" is that record. 

“Anchored by Maida’s great bass line, Dunbar makes the best of the opener ‘One of These Days You’ll Have One of Those Days,’ a very Kinks-like composition with kazoo and guitar flourishes. The steady rhythm of ‘I Didn’t Know I Was Saying Goodbye’ is another gem about an unexpected break-up. Dunbar gets stuff off his chest with ‘Your Closest Friends,’ a rant that mentions ‘If you met them now for the first time you’d hate their guts.’ And easily the catchiest tune is the single ‘Not Taking Credit’. Another big highlight is ‘The Girl You Won’t Leave Your Wife For,’ with its dense melody and harmonies in the chorus. Easily Dunbar’s most accessible work. Highly Recommended.” – Powerpopaholic.com 

“I've always liked the indie pop of John Dunbar. It's great melodic pop, the sort we thrive upon. ‘Not Taking Credit’ shows how Power Pop the trio could be and Dunbar's vocals lend well to that genre, but the news from the resulting album is that it is far more harmonic pop than power. Imagine a cross between The Monkees and Squeeze. The singalong shuffle of the opener, ‘One Of These Days You'll Have One Of Those Days’ emphasizes the Monkees comparison. ‘She Walks Her Dog In Pyjamas’ with its psych guitar is in Small Faces territory. ‘From Expectation To Surrender’ comes across as a sweet sounding chirpier version of The Proclaimers and it's great to hear Maida's bass lines again on ‘I Love The Girl (You Won't Leave Your Wife For)’. ‘I Love The Girl’ is almost Lindisfarne with it's almost folk backdrop. The trio have fashioned up a real feel good album to accompany the nights getting lighter. Nunziato's drumming seems to hold the whole thing together. This is great summer pop. It's hard to name a favourite track, I loved ‘Not Taking Credit’ from first listen and still do, but I'll go for ‘Your Closest Friends’, a real chipper song that sums up what the band are about. This album is a great listen and now you have your chance to confirm that.” – IDontHearASingle.com GREAT!! 


This is my ticket out of this godforsaken backwoods town, so click on the link and buy a CD.

And thanks for listening.


 A New Set Of Downs