Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Some Nice Things You May Have Missed

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I did not. But I'll save that story for the book.

In other news, the Prince estate released official audio for a song called "Silver Tongue," the one and only Prince co-write with Nikka Costa. I guess it has been floating around for some time, as well as having an official appearance on a Nikka Costa record, but I hadn't heard either until a few days ago when ?uestlove posted it on his Instagram page. I think this is pretty damn great, and makes me want to hear a full jazz combo vocal album from the man.

It was yesterday's Song Of The Day, but it's here again in case you missed it.



I had the iPod going a few times this weekend, and really enjoyed the early Wailers take on Jr. Walker's "Shotgun." It's today's Song Of The Day. Give it a listen. It may soften the hardest of hearts.

If you are unaware of the four part Stax documentary running on HBO, I can't recommend it enough. It's big and beautiful and heartbreaking and is filled with amazing music and stories. "STAX: Soulsville, U.S.A." Check it out, if only for Booker T.'s story on how he wrote "Green Onions."




Tomorrow, maybe...my review of one of the best records of the year which is also one of the best records of the artist's career.

Welcome back!

Buy some records!

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Songs Of The Week, 2024: 5/18-5/24

 


Feel My Pulse- Electrafixion
Walk Away- Donna Summer
Love Is All I Had- Phyllis Dillon
Back In N.Y.C.- Peter Gabriel
Driving Wheel- Al Green
Love & Harmony- Jennifer Lara
You Don't Love Me- Sonny & Cher

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Feel My Pulse- Electrafixion
(This Echo & The Bunnymen side project got a Record Store Day vinyl release last month and it was the first time I heard it since its initial release. I really enjoyed it, like Echo with balls.)

Walk Away- Donna Summer
(The "Bad Girls" album was a big summer hit in Sheepshead Bay in 1979. Even the hard rock loving disco haters loved this record. I still do. Moroder is a genius.)

Love Is All I Had- Phyllis Dillon

(The first of two...yes TWO reggae cuts this week. I picked up some great records at Roots Tonic in Oakland and they are all making me very happy. I couldn't help but share.)

Back In N.Y.C.- Genesis

(I know "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" is considered a prog classic, but if you boil it down to a single LP, trim that proggy fat, and use the most accessible songs, it might as well be a psych pop album.)

Driving Wheel- Al Green

(I used to cover this one with The Cool Jerks. The band was pretty damn good on it, too. But we'll keep it with the Rev for this mix.)

Love & Harmony- Jennifer Lara
(Here's the other reggae track. "Studio One Presents Jennifer Lara" was always a very expensive record, but Roots Tonic, who I mentioned above, got a few limited represses in at an affordable price. Love the album and love this track. Maybe you will, too. Don't skip over it.)

You Don't Love Me- Sonny & Cher
(Buried deep on Side Two of Sonny & Cher's debut is this cover of the Willie Cobbs classic that you probably know best from the ABB "Live At The Fillmore East" record. Whose idea was this? Not bad, actually.)

Saturday, May 25, 2024

BW's Saturday #20


 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

About Face


 

The first time I heard "Let's Dance" I almost lost my mind. It arrived just when I needed it.

David Bowie had been quiet, and his previous release, 1980's "Scary Monsters" left me somewhat cold. I wasn't a fan of that album then, and though I have warmed up to some of it, I still don't love "Scary Monsters." But in 1983, I had been DJ-ing the occasional booze cruise on the Circle Line in Manhattan, and "Let's Dance" hit hard. This was funky and huge and you could dance to it--things you couldn't say about a David Bowie song since 1975's "Fame." I loved that track to death. 

When the album was finally released in April of '83, its first track "Modern Love" hit me just as hard. Tony Thompson's drums rattled my entire body. It was like listening to the Supremes' "You Can't Hurry Love" from the inside out. David Bowie was back.

I listened to "Let's Dance" last night for the first time since Bowie's death in 2016. Prior to that, I don't think I had listened to "Let's Dance" since the 80's, but after Bowie passed, I binged for weeks and weeks, covering every note from his awful early Anthony Newley inspired singles through the "Baal" E.P..

I did not enjoy "Let's Dance." 

The two singles still hold up. But his version of "China Girl" is a laughable mess and cannot hold a candle to the original found on Iggy Pop's "The Idiot." Though not as atrocious, the dolled-up version of "Cat People" found on "Let's Dance" pales in comparison to the almost grimy soundtrack version. The cover of Metro's "Criminal World" is a real mystery. Bowie must have loved it enough to cover it, obviously, but it wastes valuable space by not going anywhere for almost five minutes. And "Shake It," which closes out the album, might as well have been called "Let's Dance (Reprise)."

On top of all that, I think the sound of Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar on the entire album is a distraction. He was right to quit before the tour started.

I mentioned all of this in truncated form on Threads and someone replied, "I think 'Tonight' is better."
That confused me and so I had to ask, "Are you saying 'Tonight' is better the way bronchitis is better than strep throat?" He went on to say that "as a big Bowie fan" he thinks "Tonight" is "more interesting."

Well, I certainly didn't see that coming.

"Let's Dance" forty years on, seems awfully dated, as I guess most music does from that era. But as a big Bowie fan that does not find "Tonight' interesting, I surprised myself with how little of "Let's Dance" I could stand. Most of it gave me the twitch. But, in Bowie's defense, he wanted a hit record. He wanted to be bigger and Nile Rodgers delivered big time.

Is there a record that you once loved but now find hard to listen to?

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

That Makes Two Of Us

 

Wake me when Tara Kemp goes on tour.

Monday, May 20, 2024

New From Valley Lodge

I came into Valley Lodge thanks to a tip from a friend in 2018, just as they released "Fog Machine," a solid album of melodic pop, occasionally with power, and almost always hook-filled. Dave Hill and gang have released a new record after a five year wait and in some ways it's even better than the last.

What I like about "Shadows In Paradise" is that it is more consistent, or at least it sounds that way to me. "Fog Machine" felt more like a pastiche of pop styles whereas the new record seems to rarely stray from that oft-maligned power pop label. That is not a bad thing.

I don't think there are any songs on "Shadows In Paradise" as strong as "I'm Gone" or "Stars Won't Fall" from "Fog Machine," but the new one has more to love...at least that's how I am hearing it.

Check out these faves and if you're into, you can get yourself a copy over here.