Friday, October 28, 2016

The Flat Five

This is from the Bloodshot Records press release:

The Flat Five is a Chicago-based pop vocal super-group — Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough, Alex Hall — five in-demand musicians who individually spend much of their time touring and recording with bands like Neko Case, NRBQ, The Decemberists, Andrew Bird, Mavis Staples, Iron and Wine, Jakob Dylan, Robbie Fulks, Alejandro Escovedo, The New Pornographers, and many other heavy hitters. These five folks stay very, very busy. Yet for the past ten years, these shameless harmony junkies would come together, like a moth to a porchlight, to make music as The Flat Five. Purely for the love of singing together.  For the mother-effing fun of it.

The new record, "It's A World Of Love & Hope" came out a few weeks ago.  I can't stop listening to it. It's all of my favorite things in less than 40 minutes. NRBQ, The Lovin' Spoonful, Brasil '66, Dean Martin, 60's AM radio, the Beach Boys. Give it a listen. And take a look at their Spanky & Our Gang cover. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Forgotten Classics or Undiscovered Gems or Overlooked Masterpieces or Records That Got Away or something...

David Bowie's "The Buddha Of Suburbia," a 1993 collection of songs written for a British TV serial of the same name, might not have been tossed aside if it had been released as a proper album and not as a "soundtrack." As it turned out, only the title track was used in the series. The rest of the record is a terrific collection of songs, that in retrospect, sounds like a perfect combination of the Bowie-Eno material from "Low" and "Heroes"and what can be found on Bowie's return to the studio after a ten year hiatus, "The Next Day."

I don't really believe this is a masterpiece. But I do think it's an incredibly strong record, and certainly more accessible than the jumbled mess of "Outside," which followed it. The single and last track on the record, "Strangers When We Meet," is posted above in demo form, which is not much different than what appears on the album, but still feels better to me. This track also appears, in a much noisier and cluttered version on "Outside," as well. All of "The Buddha Of Suburbia" can found on YouTube if you are curious.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Caveat Emptor; Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Not Cringe At The Sound Of My Voice

Blah blah, Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, blah blah blah blah blah, Jann Wenner, blah blah blah, no rap music, blah blah, bullshit, blah blah blah blah, I don't care, blah blah blah, JANE'S ADDICTION? REALLY?

If you can stand the sound of my voice...I myself is the recent edition of Showbiz Sandbox, the entertainment podcast, where hosts Michael Giltz and J. Sperling Reich ask me about Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize and I weigh in on this year's RNRHOF nominees. It's great fun, especially when I stammer and clumsily explain the difference between Dylan's singing voice and Lou Reed's singing voice.

Listen Here

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Songs Of The Week, 2016: 10/15-10/21

Crazy Like A Fox-Al Anderson
Grounded- The London Souls
She Cries Your Name- Beth Orton
Ode To Billie Joe- Bobbie Gentry
Hold On Tight- ELO
What In The World- David Bowie
Take It Home- Utopia


Friday, October 21, 2016

Weekend Mix: LEGEND

Sal may have oversold my mix. It is neither as transcendant as "Then Play On" or as inspirational as Bruce, rocks............LAMF.

Over the years I've collected a lot of albums purporting to be "lost masterpieces", records which upon release didn't enter the canon, but were greeted with indifference at best.
Usually it's obvious why. With the exception of Big Star, most often it's a combination of bad luck, weak vocals and worse songs.
I don't know why I never took a chance on LEGEND, as it has a very cool cover. I remember seeing it, back in the day, in the import section, but until recently I had no idea what it was about.
They were "pub rock" a few years before it was a thing.
Mickey Jupp is a fine singer, songwriter, who also plays guitar, and a mean rollicking New Orleans piano as well.

Here are liner notes from the recent reissue of "Legend" (aka The Red Boot):

"In some circles, Mickey Jupp is something of a minor legend, a roots rocker with excellent taste and a cutting wit, best heard on the songs "Switchboard Susan" and "You'll Never Get Me Up in One of Those," both covered by Nick Lowe. 

Basher's endorsement is a clear indication that Jupp is a pub rocker, a guy who specializes in laid-back good times, so it shouldn't come as a great surprise that his first band, Legend, was proto-pub, an unabashed celebration of old-time rock & roll, filled with three-chord Chuck Berry rockers and doo wop backing vocals. Nevertheless, listening to their 1970 LP is a bit of a shock, as it's completely disassociated with anything that was happening in 1970, even with Tony Visconti enlisted as their producer. 

Legend's sensibility is ahead of its time in its retro thinking, pointing the way to the rock & roll revival of the late '70s and not even that similar to the country-rock of Eggs Over Easy or Bees Make Honey, as this has little of the rustic feel of the Band: it's just straight-up oldies rock, a trait emphasized by those incessant doo wop harmonies that are on almost every cut. 

Those harmonies and the light, almost goofy, touch of Jupp's writing here distinguish Legend and also illustrate why they made no waves in 1970; it's hard to see the counterculture getting roused over the verse "If you were an apple you'd be/Good good eating/If you were a book you'd be/Good good reading." 

These slightly silly flourishes do have a lot in common with the wry humor of Nick Lowe, who at this time was denying this mischievous streak as he attempted to sound like Crosby, Stills & Nash, but at this point, Jupp was largely on his own doing this light, good-time pub rock. That may be why it sank without a trace at the time, but heard apart from its era, Legend is a minor delight, one of the first flowerings of the pub rock sensibility."

-Stephen Thomas Erlewine

This music is straight foreard, no-frills Rock N Roll. The "Red Boot" was produced by Tony Visconti, so it's no coincidence that drummer Bill Fifield left shortly afterwards to join T-Rex and record "Electric Warrior" credited as Bill Legend.

It was engineered by Eddie Offord, Yes, ELP, etc.

They didn't break any new ground, but the familiar elements of blues, country and early rock n roll they worked with was treated with dignity and love. 

In short, they rocked. 

"Moonshine" was released in 1972, and self produced. After which they disbanded, and,


"Jupp pursued a low-key existence until the pub-rock revolution (spearheaded by local bands such as Dr. Feelgood, for whom he wrote the hit single "Down at the Doctors") created a fresh interest in rock and roll. He signed to Stiff Records in 1978, and they initially released a compilation album of the first three Legend albums, which was also called Legend, giving three albums with this title. This was followed by his first solo album, Juppanese, an album in two different styles. The first half was recorded with Rockpile and produced by Nick Lowe, and is in a simple raw style, whereas the second half, produced by Gary Brooker of Procol Harum, was slicker.The album had a racist cover photo, in which Jupp sits at a table of oriental food, pulling at the corners of his eyes. Jupp had a long-standing connection with Procol Harum; one of his early idols was Gary Brooker then with R&B group the Paramounts. When Procol's bassist David Knights went into management, Legend were his first act. He also produced their final album Moonshine. Robin Trower also produced Legend's second single "Georgia George Part 1"which was actually Jupp backed by Mo Witham and Procol's Matthew Fisher and B.J. Wilson.

The follow-up album Long Distance Romancer was produced by Godley and Creme, and has a slick, highly produced, sound, which was generally seen as less successful.

Jupp went on to release a further seven solo albums, some appearing on Swedish and German labels. His songs have been recorded by Rick Nelson, Elkie Brooks, the Judds,Chris Farlowe, Delbert McClinton, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Gary Brooker, the Hamsters, Dr. Feelgood, Roger Chapman, and the Searchers."

here is a taste:    Cross Country

This compilation includes two songs from "Legend" (1969), "Legend" (Red Boot, 1970), most of "Moonshine" (1972), some singles, and "Natures Radio" (1976).

It totally Rocks.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Weekend Mix: The Opening Act

I think BBJ has something wonderful in the works for the Weekend Mix, but I wanted to get this out there before hand. Think of it as the support act.

I don't recall where I got this, but it's a personal fave. Over the course of Bruce Springsteen's "Devils & Dust" tour of 2005, he managed to play the entire "Tunnel Of Love" record. Here it is, sequenced seamlessly.

"Tunnel Of Love" is an extraordinary collection of songs that must be talked about when discussing Springsteen's great body of work. These stripped down versions offer a different perspective and to my ears, evoke new emotions as they play on.


Ain't Got You (Grand Rapids)
Tougher Than The Rest (Asbury Park)
All That Heaven Will Allow (Bridgeport)
Spare Parts (Hamburg)
Cautious Man (Denver)
Walk Like A Man (Stockholm)
Tunnel Of Love (Grand Rapids)
Two Faces (Dallas)
Brilliant Disguise (Rome)
One Step Up (Columbus)
When You're Alone (Buffalo)
Valentine's Day (Columbus)


Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Fiddling about on YouTube while I sipped my coffee this morning, I found this. I had no idea it existed. It is the first time I am seeing it and I admit, it got to me. The fabulous Posies, performing at my shop just a few months before we closed for good. What a day that was. And what an unexpected flood of memories, both amazing and horrible, to begin my Tuesday.