Sunday, January 21, 2018

Songs Of The Week, 2018: 1/13-1/19

Prelude/To Claudia On Thursday- The Millennium
The Sheltering Sky- King Crimson
Samba Vocalizado- Luciano Perrone
Fractal Zoom- Brian Eno
Mutiny- William Elliott Whitmore
(If You Cry) True Love, True Love- The Drifters
Broken Dreams- Thin Lizzy


Friday, January 19, 2018

Weekend Mixes: "The Rhite Album" and More

It has been some time since I was inspired to put together a Weekend Mix, which may be why this weekend we have two.

First up, something I am calling "The Rhite Album." Your indulgence please.

Most Beatles fans feel about "The White Album" the way Paul McCartney feels. "It's the fucking White Album." Young-ish Beatles fans love "The White Album" and "Abbey Road" and cannot listen to early Beatles. And there are some who think the record is crap. Well, I don't think it's crap by a long shot. But, it is my least favorite Beatles record. I simply can't get behind about half of it. So for my listening pleasure, I put together what I am calling "The Rhite Album." (Get it? Heh.) This sequence of songs plays pretty damn well for my purposes, so I thought I'd share it for the hell of it.

The Rhite Album (In Mono)
Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me & My Monkey
Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Martha My Dear
I'm So Tired
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Cry Baby Cry
Dear Prudence
Mother Nature's Son
Sexy Sadie
I Will
Helter Skelter

The second mix is a handful of songs that popped up this week alongside some others. These stood out for various reasons.

The Del Shannon track is from his 1967 London sessions, which came out in the USA as "Home & Away" and in the UK as "And The Music Played On." For years, I only knew Del Shannon's hits, the most famous being "Runaway," which I could take or leave. But over the last few years, thanks to a brilliant collection of early singles on the Norton label called, "Move It On Over," I have become a bit obsessed. This guy was a genius at making records and he could sing anything and make it sound passionate, and at time desperate. This track made me think of ELO's cover of "Little Town Flirt," so both are here.

"Mother Nature's Son" has never been a go-to Beatles track for me, and it was only this week, while listening with headphones on a train ride, that it popped up and smacked me across the head. Why does this happen? I don't know, but I am grateful for these random moments of musical discovery. What made it even more fantastic was that the damn iPod algorithm segued into "Bye Bye Blackbird" from McCartney's standards record from a few years ago. I was impressed by both the span of time between the tracks and the way Paul's voice changed. I think both are quite beautiful, and I was especially moved by Paul's phrasing and delivery of this standard, as if he had written it himself.

I can't say enough about Chris Price's most recent release, "Stop Talking." Please, please check it out. And if you dig it, go backwards and listen to "Homesick," which is also a gem. "One Of Us" is from that record and it sets up the Roy Wood track very nicely.

And speaking of gems, if you are a fan of Boz Scaggs, I suggest spending time with his 1997 release, "Some Change." It might be his best and "Time," which closes out the mix, is from that set.

January, 2018
Shy Boy- Tomorrow
One Of Us- Chris Price
Oh What A Shame- Roy Wood
36 Inches High-Jim Ford
Outbreak Of Love- Midnight Oil
Led Along- Del Shannon
Little Town Flirt- ELO
Mother Nature's Son- The Beatles
Bye Bye Blackbird- Paul McCartney
Time- Boz Scaggs

Well, dat's dat.

Enjoy, I hope.

Rhite Album


Wednesday, January 17, 2018


From 1975, courtesy of Epic Records and my iPod shuffle, here is Essence and "Sweet Fools," an excellent Chicago soul single, written by Jim Peterik, the man behind "Vehicle" and "Eye Of The Tiger." This track blows my mind the two or three times I hear it every ten years.


Well, it's great record making, made even greater by the absolutely genius lyric, "Sweet, sweet fools, rat-a-tat, hey hey!"

And there ya have it.


Monday, January 15, 2018


From The Daily Mirror:

"The British guitar legend Eric Clapton has told of the self-disgust he felt at seeing old footage of himself chanting racist slogans at a 1976 concert in the British city of Birmingham. Clapton was speaking at a Q&A in London following the screening of the highly anticipated biographical documentary Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars.

The 18-time Grammy winner said he felt shame about the notorious incident, wherein he praised the racist Tory MP Enoch Powell, declared that Britain must stop itself from becoming a “black colony,” and said “England is for white people, man.” 

Okay, no Clapton or Clapton-related records. Check.

Revised List: 1/15/18

Approved Listening:
Jingle Bells-The Singing Dogs

Approved Viewing:
Yule Log
At the risk of being bombarded with "I haven't listened to Clapton since Disraeli Gears" type comments, at what point do we separate the art from the artist? Clapton's comments, which you can look up yourself, are horrible. But, those comments are over 40 years old, and at the time, Clapton's daily diet consisted of three bottles of cognac, and mounds of cocaine snorted off of a steak knife. 
There is a website called Rotten Apples, where you can type in your favorite movie or TV series, and research whether any pigs were involved in the making of said show. Type in "Kill Bill," and of course Harvey Weinstein's name appears, so of course, you cannot watch "Kill Bill" anymore, right?

Is it fair to compare Harvey Weinstein to Eric Clapton? How about Frank Sinatra? Or John Lennon? Or John F Kennedy?

Comedian Chris Rush had a bit about why we eat cows and not dogs. "It's because dogs are smart. "Come here boy. Bring my slippers. Good boy. Try that with a cow. Here Elsie. Here Elsie. MOOOOO. All right, put him on the truck."

I bring that up because I know people who will still watch "Chinatown" but "can't watch Annie Hall." And fuck Clapton because he hasn't made a good record in 30 years. Think I'll listen to Elvis Costello's "Armed Forces."


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Songs Of The Week, 2018: 1/6-1/12


Too Many People- The Hollies
Wolf Teeth- JD McPherson
Richmond- Faces
Happy Jack (Acoustic)- The Who
Astral Traveller- Yes
Never Make Me Cry- Fleetwood Mac
I Didn't Know Myself- NRBQ


Friday, January 12, 2018

I Love Love LOVE The Flat Five From Chicago

I am not a songwriter, so I am not bothered when I see artists covering other songwriters. And if I chose to pull out some old demos that I did write when I had a piano in my apartment, I guarantee that nothing would even come close to Brian Wilson. Flip Wilson, maybe.

So this is why I absolutely adore The Flat Five from Chicago. They are musicians and singers. I am a musician and some think I can sing harmony. I can aspire to play and sing the hell out of some of my favorite songs others have written. And this morning, I fell into a Flat Five, YouTube rat hole, and found this quintet, playing and singing the hell out of some of my favorite tunes. It was the most fun I have had all week.

As some of you may recall, The Flat Five's debut, which featured all original songs by Chris Ligon, brother of NRBQ and Flat Five guitarist Scott Ligon, was my favorite record of that year. I still play this baby with great enthusiasm. But I wanted more and I found a stunning live cover of Spanky & Our Gang's "Sunday Will Never Be The Same," which I also posted last year. I found a few other unlikely choices that blew my little mind. Quality varies, but nothing is unwatchable and all are fantastic.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Two For Thursday

First up, this absolutely genius take on Iggy Pop from the late, great Nick Curran. I forgot just how good this is, as is just about everything from Curran's way too short career.

And this...

Before Robert Palmer's career skyrocketed thanks to MTV, he was making some pretty interesting records. Honestly, I genuinely like Palmer's hits, even if the videos are now (and maybe even then) looked upon as terrible. But before the 80's really stepped into high gear, Robert Palmer was recording everything from R&B and funk to world music and punk. This track, if memory serves, was a b-side that I know I paid little mind to back in '83, but hearing again 35 years later, really blew my mind. Palmer excelled in phrasing. It was his strongest asset as a vocalist, and more often than not, he turned a mediocre tune into something special because of how he was singing it. "The Silver Gun" is an odd tune, but I just love the programming, which like Palmer's vocals, is just special enough to stand out.