Friday, November 6, 2009

FINALLY, IT'S HERE!

As promised, I'm at long last announcing the arrival of my new rock and roll trivia book, the one I've been working on wrapping up over the summer and fall. Whew! This volume not only covers more of the early vintage stuff from the 60s and some 50s, but goes on to include popular songs and artists from the 70s and 80s. There's more of everything! Here's the official blurb:

A fun compendium of music facts, fictions, legends, and lyrics, Peanut Butter and Mashed Potatoes: Satisfying Trivia for Rock and Pop Fressers by award-winning author, poet, and visual artist Deborah Godin proves to be another wild romp down memory lane. As a follow-up to Papa Do Run: A Baby Boomer Looks (and Laughs) at Vintage Rock & Roll, the book that launched a thousand laughs and a new breed of musicologists, this sequel reveals a number of pop culture’s best- and worst-kept secrets.

As funny as it is playful, Godin once again dissects the whole truth and stops to enjoy more than a few roadside attractions. In fact, her sidebars and tangents are what make this book enjoyable and so incredibly readable. Readers familiar with her original dissertation on the rock and roll revolution of the fifties and sixties will love this broad look back at the sixties, the whole of the seventies, and a few snippets of eighties. In five chapters with titles like, “Here, There, Everywhere: Songs about Real Places,” “What’s Your Name, Who’s Your Daddy: Songs about Real People,” and “From Califon-ya to the New York Eye-land: Searching for America’s Band,” Godin insists on having a heck of a good time along the way as she shares little-known tidbits such as the location of the real “Hotel California,” “Tobacco Road,” and “The House of the Rising Sun,” not to mention who the original Mrs. Robinson really was. Godin even provides a bird’s eye view of the goings on at the infamous Chelsea Hotel. Music and lyric lovers unite! So hang on, Sloopy, and let those good times roll, better yet, let the good times rock!



You can read excerpts with the Search Inside feature at AMAZON, and I'll be posting the book trailer here as well soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

BREAKING NEWS


I have some some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, Papa Do Run is going on sabbatical. Or a hiatus. Or something like that, and for an unspecified amount of time, but maybe into the summer. We're busy working on a lot of music and book related projects, plus some other stuff, and there just aren't enough hours in the day. So, while we're away, we hope that wherever you are, you keep on listening to those oldies but goodies. The good news is when we come back, we'll have a brand new music trivia book to tell you about. So, until we see you again, here's a little something from The Hollies - Pay You Back with Interest.












Video by YT member vinylWindsor
Photo from Shutterstock

Friday, April 17, 2009

ONE HIT WONDERLAND

Some of my favorite songs from the "vintage years" (50s and 60s) are OHWs. One Hit Wonders. Why do you think that is? I don't think of myself as a person who automatically roots for the underdog. But I do believe that a lot of pretty decent talent kind of withered on the vine. Maybe it was lack of decent material to record, or lack of decent promotion promotion by the label. Or lack of funds for payola. Anyway, this little number, "He's Mine", was a fave of mine back in 1963, and it still is today. Alice Wonder Land (sometimes written as Wonderland) was born Alice Faye Henderson. There's a story out there that Alice's discovery resembles that of the Little Eva with "Loco-motion" - being a maid and/or babysitter for a songwriter, or a friend of a songwriter, or...something like that. Both stories may be all or in part apocryphal, and for our purposes here, I don't think it matters. We just want to hear a great and maybe long-forgotten oldie, right?! Little Eva didn't stay a OH Wonderwoman. We also remember her for one of the great girl group smack-down songs of the era - "Keep Your Hands Off My Baby" which unfortunately, isn't on YT at all. That's a shocking omission I hope some YT channel member rectifies soon!





Anyway, I tried to come up with a photo of Alice, but between Alice Faye the actress, and the little blonde Alice of the book and the Disney movie, it wasn't happening, so I posted them instead. Also, the embedding for this video has been disabled, so I'll have to give you the YouTube link.
LINK to "He's Mine"





Alice in Wonderland photo from Wikimedia Commons
Alice Faye photo from www.classicmoviemusicals.com

Sunday, April 12, 2009

NBC stands for “NOT BACKING CHARLIE”


[Okay, I know this isn’t my usual topic for this blog; nothing “vintage” or "musical" about it, but I just had to get this little television rant off my chest, so please, if you'll just indulge me…]


FAREWELL TO LIFE!

No no no – I’m not going to off myself! I’m talking about the procedural cop show, Life. Last Wednesday we saw the Season 2 finale, which couldn’t have looked more like a Series finale if NBC (a pox on their house!) had put yellow crime scene tape around it. In case you aren’t familiar with it, Life is/was a smart hip funny show with a terrific cast, notably starring Damian Lewis as the wrongly accused, newly exonerated, fresh-fruit addicted Detective Charlie Crews, recently released from prison, returned to the job, and backing his badge with a Zen attitude. Then there’s Sarah Shahi as his fresh-out-of-rehab no-nonsense partner, Dani Reese. The mismatched detectives are thrown together, but soon bond into a quirky delightful team. The third main star of Life is Donal Logue, who is letter-perfect as Captain Tidwell, a transplanted NYC cop finding his feet in his new L.A. precinct—oops I mean station (a little inside joke for the fans). And Tidwell's hook-up with Reese was one of the best romantic pairings out there, IMHO. I must admit, there was no middle ground with fans of the show; they either loved or hated Tidwell/Reese (or “Tideese” to the diehards). Personally, I thought the sometimes awkward, finish-each-other-sentences chemistry between the two was sexy and appealing—but I’m what you might call a “Tidwell bunny” so maybe my opinion is biased.

Regardless of who or what anyone liked best about the show, it was the entire ensemble that endeared Life to it’s devoted fans. Evidently not enough devoted fans, you’re probably thinking. Well, NBC (I spit on the ground at the mention of that name!) really didn’t do diddlysquat to properly promote the show right from the get-go. And when they got the expected results that too little promotion brings, they started playing time-slot roulette with Life, either burying it a ratings dead zone or putting it up against giants like Lost and American Idol. The 2008 writers strike probably didn’t help, either. Anyway, although NBC (boo, hiss!) has all but officially declared the show DOA, fans are signing polls and petitions like mad, and writing snarky letters to the network. Will it be enough to bring the deeply comatose Life back to life?

If you’d like to join the throng of Life Supporters giving NBC an earful, go to this LINK and scroll down to “feedback” at the very bottom.

[And thank you,readers; I feel much better now]

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A LIFETIME OF NUMBER ONE SONGS


A friend recently sent me a link to finding the number one song on just about any date in history. Well, make that modern, recent history. I don't think Billboard was around when the Spanish Armada was defeated. Anyway, as into oldies as I am, I must admit I didn't know what song was topping the Hit Parade the day I was born, so of course I looked mine up right away. I'm not posting this today because it's my birthday. That won't be until next month (I'm not getting old, it's only the 2nd anniversary of my 31st birthday!), but I just couldn't wait to pass this along to you. So here you go, now you can calculate the song that was playing on all the significant events in your life.

http://www.joshhosler.biz/NumberOneInHistory/SelectMonth.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_number-one_hits_(United_States)


And here's what I found listed as the song on my day/year - "Heartaches" by the Ted Weems Orchestra. (I don't know why it says 1938 on the YouTube vid) - I was born in '47.







Video by YT member 240252
Photo at http://www.dewittco.com/storefront/xcart/images/T/73652_vintage_crafts_books_patterns.jpg

Sunday, April 5, 2009

AND HOW WAS YOUR NIGHT?


Last night was one of those nights. You know what I'm talkin' about. From the minute you hit the pillow until the break of dawn, you're stuck on the old rotisserie. So what else can we listen to today than Mr. Bobby Lewis' 1961 hit, Tossin' and Turnin.' This is a terrific old tune, am I not right?! And at least there's one thing about have a rotten sleep one night; you're pretty much guaranteed to crash and burn the next.








Video by YT member JohnB1948Two
Photo at www.luxuryhousingtrends.com

Thursday, April 2, 2009

THE DAY AFTER APRIL FOOL'S


Okay, so there you are in the kitchen, or maybe the break room, pouring yourself a big cuppa joe after sorting things out, i.e. putting the sugar back in the sugar bowl and the salt back in the salt shaker. Funny how you fall for that every year. But now everything is right in your world again. And here's a couple of songs to go with. The first is "No Salt On Her Tail" by the Mamas and the Papas. That's a saying you don't hear much at all anymore: No salt on her (or his) tail. It comes from the old wives' tale that if you put salt on a bird's tail, it won't be able to fly. Yes, I can hear you going, "Duh! If you're close enough to a bird to be able to put salt on it's tail, you can grab that sucker like that (finger snap)!" I couldn't agree more, but the wisdom of all those old wives is not to be tampered with on a whim! And it makes the perfect metaphor for love, which brings us back to the M&P song, with it's lyrics:

This little bird, she can fly away;
No salt on her tail--
No cage to make her stay.



Our other selection today is the bubblegum classic "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies. Talk about a perfect April Fool's band, The Archies never actually existed. Here's from Wikipedia:

The Archies are a fictional garage band founded by Archie Andrews, Reggie Mantle, and Jughead Jones, a group of adolescent fictional characters of the Archie universe, in the context of the animated TV series, The Archie Show. The fictional band's music was recorded by session musicians featuring Ron Dante on vocals and released as a series of singles and albums. Their most successful song, "Sugar, Sugar", became one of the biggest hits of the bubblegum pop genre that flourished from 1968 to 1972.




So happy day after, everybody. Let's do this again next year! And no more tricks, I promise...

Videos by YT members mulluy (top) suzydastar2007
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

DOIN' THAT CRAZY HAND JIVE

Being a big fan of this song (and of bilateral symmetry) I have loved this dance ever since I first learned it (which took about 10 seconds). The hand jive is one of those dances that it's really pretty close to impossible to mess up. And you can add onto it just about anything you can think of. I've seen more complicated versions of it, particularly one rather raunchy version that made the rounds of the frat parties when I was in university, which may have been a lot closer to the original rhythm and blues original than we realized at the time. If memory serves, it was called the "Dirty Thirty from Chi-town." That's really all I can tell you today. Maybe it had 30 hand jive gestures, I never counted. Maybe it originated in Chicago, I never thought to ask.

Whatever it was in the early days, for me, the hand jive was always the classic version seen here in the first video embed which I found on YouTube. As you can see from the apparent age of the girls in this vid, the hand jive that I did in the late 50s through the 60s is still being done by contemporary youth. Like they say, rock and roll is here to stay! Warning, the video is four minutes long, but after the first 10 seconds, you've seen all of the moves; the girls don't go on to free-style it, so if you're pressed for time...



In looking for a vid of the acutal song, I found this terrific vintage footage of Johnny Otis performing his huge hit, complete with some very hip dancers (reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn in "Funny Face"). As you can see, their hand jive really isn't all that much about the hands. But I like it! Good old Wikipedia has more to say on the subject:

The Hand jive is a dance particularly associated with rock and roll and rhythm and blues music of the 1950s. It involves a complicated pattern of hand moves and claps at various parts of the body, following and/or imitating the percussion instruments. It resembles a highly elaborate version of Pat-a-cake. Hand moves include thigh slapping, cross-wrist slapping, fist pounding, chest slapping and pounding, hand clapping, elbow touching and hitch hike moves.The hand jive was particularly popularized by Johnny Otis's 1958 hit "Willie and the Hand Jive". Eric Clapton did a version of the song in 1974 that reached the Top 40.[1] It is also featured prominently in the Broadway musical Grease through the song "Born to Hand Jive"; in the movie adaptation of the musical, the song is performed by Sha Na Na.



Finally, I saw this on the news lately, and thought it was the perfect way to wrap up our hand jive coverage. This one is worth watching all the way through (3 mins exactly!) because there are virtually no repeats. It's about the best hand jive you could find that's done sitting down and not to music! And after you see this, I promise you you're going to look at Wolf Blitzer in a whole new light.



Videos top to bottom by YT members icecreamlover531, twobarbreak, wgn

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A POP CULTURE MOMENT - The “Sandwich Ordering Scene “


No, I’m talking about Jack Nicholson in “Five Easy Pieces” but that was a very good guess. Actually, I’m referring to my local Subway shop. I like to drop in there once or twice a year, when I feel like having a half-decent lunch or dinner to go, or when I feel like messing with some heads. And I always order the same thing – a BLT on brown. Now, if you haven’t ordered from a Subway shop in a while and need a refresher, the drill goes like this:

· They ask you what you want, and you tell them the basic order.
· They slice the bread make it up as you watch. So far so good.
· They ask what else you want on it. “What else” could be anything from the tubs of add-ons they have behind the glass. Olives, onions, pickles, chilies, several kinds of cheese…I’m sure I’m leaving some out; I never really look at them because I never add-on any of them.
· You tell them what kinds of “what else” you want, and then they wrap the whole thing up for you.
· You pay, leave, eat. What could be simpler, right? Well, maybe it’s simple for everyone else, with any other kind of sandwich, but not for me. Here are two versions of a slightly different “sandwich ordering scene” starring me, and a supporting cast of various Subway “Sandwich Artists” –

SA: What can I get you?
Me: I’ll have a small BLT on brown.
SA: What else would you like on it?
Me: Nothing, just a plain BLT thanks.
SA: (starts to wrap up the bacon on the bare bread)
Me: Wait, you forgot the lettuce and tomato!
SA: You said you didn’t want anything else.
Me: Well, yes, I do want the Lettuce and Tomato.
SA: (exasperated look, muttering) That’s what I asked…

Variation on the above:

SA: Would you like anything else on it?
Me: No, just a plain BLT thanks.
SA: (sweetly) Nothing, not even lettuce and tomato?
Me: Well, yes, I want the L and the T…
SA: ?

I’m telling you, I can barely pay at the till with a straight face. Then, in the parking lot, I want to stand and shout to the sky, “Doesn’t any body know what a B(acon) L(ettuce) and T(omato) sandwich is anymore!!??” But I’m afraid there would be only an existential silence. Or maybe the clouds would part and a big booming voice would deliver another classic movie line – “What we got here is failure to communicate!” (see tags)

Here, for a refresher of another kind, is the original “sandwich ordering scene” from Nicholson’s 1970 counter-culture anti-hero classic, “Five Easy Pieces.”




Video from YT member weezyrokk
Photo from soupytrumpet.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

FEATURE SONG - MONY MONY by TOMMY JAMES and the SHONDELLS


I was visiting a fellow blogger's blog the other day, and she had posted a cover of this song by Billy Idol. Being stuck in the 60s as I am, I didn't know Billy Idol had recorded this one. Mony Mony is such a classic vintage pop song, I believe it's hard to do it completely badly, but I still think Tommy James' original is the one. Some may dismiss it as bubblegum pop, and to those who do, all I can say is, "May a big stringy wad of Double Bubble dog your heels for the rest your days." Really. I mean, check out this time capsule video of Tommy and the boys. That's what we used to call a "nehru jacket" - a durable fashion statement of the late 60s and beyond, and one which they can bring back any time they want, as far as I'm concerned. So many famous people have worn them: the Beatles, Johnny Carson, the Monkees, Dr. No (they were a wardrobe staple with several Bond villains), Steven Segal, Weird Al, televangelist Benny Hinn, Sammy Davis Jr. See what I mean? And, getting back to Tommy James, don't miss the love beads, and what I'd call a kind of post-Beatle hairstyles, and of course, the psychedelic "acid-trip" background...it's all there. And I think Tommy James sings this with way more of the proper 'tude than Billy. But why take my word for it...






Video by YT member myrainbow2
Photo at www.sillysac.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

FEATURE SONG FOR ST. PADDY'S DAY - GREEN GREEN by the NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS


When I saw this video, it really struck me how many people are in it! I must have seen the NCM perform on TV when I was a kid; maybe I even saw this very show, but I certainly didn't remember what a big group they had. Anyway, they have a great sound, and were part of the wave of folk that hit the commercial airwaves in the early 60s. As with so many groups, this one was no stranger to personnel changes. Over the years, the NCM have included the following well-known performers: Kenny Rogers, Gene Clark (The Byrds) Kim Carnes (Bette DAvis Eyes) Larry Ramos (The Association) Barry Mcguire (Eve of Destruction...you'll pick him out right away!) not to mention it's talented founder, Randy Sparks. So, here we go, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!





Video by YT member cskwan
T-shirt photo at Cafe Press

Friday, March 13, 2009

A NEW FIND BY SOME OLD FRIENDS


This album was released last fall, but has taken all this time to glide into my orbit. But it was worth the wait. Of course, I'm speaking as a long time fan when I say that. The J. Airplane/J. Starship crew can do no serious wrong in my books, and yes, that includes the just plain Starship era, which saw some fans bail on them. I am proud to say I stuck with them, and now they are back full force, a little older, some new faces and voices, but still rockin'the house while getting back to their folks roots. Here's what Amazon.com has to say:

The legendary Jefferson Starship is at it again. Moving forward by reaching back, and in doing so, daringly casting a light for a new generation of change-makers riveted by the group's first new studio album in a decade, Jeffersons' Tree Of Liberty. The 18 song CD finds the group harnessing rare gems from the great folk tradition that inspired the rock n' roll hall of fame band more than 4 decades ago. The brainchild of singer/songwriter/band co-founder Paul Kantner (and co-produced by band manager Michael Gaiman, recurring Jefferson Airplane/ Jefferson Starship fixture and Quicksilver Messenger Service founder David Freiberg and Paul Kantner), the album mixes it up with Jefferson's trademark knack for defying fans' expectations as well as their own, introducing a soaring new female voice on many of the songs, Cathy Richardson, and tapping rock icon and original Jefferson treasure Grace Slick to appear on the album's mesmerizing `Easter Egg' bonus track.

And here's the track list, just to whet your appetite.
1. Wasn't That a Time
2. Follow the Drinking Gourd
3. Santy Anno
4. Cowboy on the Run
5. I Ain't Marchin' Anymore
6. Chimes of Freedom
7. Genesis Hall
8. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
9. Royal Canal (The Auld Triangle)
10. Rising of the Moon
11. Frenario
12. In a Crisis
13. Maybe for You
14. Comandante Carlos Fonseca
15. Pastures of Plenty
16. Imagine Redemption
17. On the Threshold of Fire
18. Quiet Joys of Brotherhood
19. Surprise Surprise (bonus track)

If this sounds like it might be up your musical alley, I don't think you'll be disappointed. There's hints and flavors from the good old days, and a brand new political saavy for right here, right now.




Photo from Amazon.com

Monday, March 9, 2009

IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN’T DOO WOP? (with apologies to Louis Jordan)



Experts and amateurs in the field will debate long into the night on whether or not the version of the version of "Tell Me Why" by Dion and The Belmonts is a doo wop song. The date is wrong; doo wop was over by 1961. The date is okay because doo wop got revived. It doesn’t sound like doo wop. It sounds like doo wop.

Well, I’m here to go on record (pun intended) that this one is doo woppy enough for me, in spirit anyway. I have always been a big Dion fan, both with and after The Belmonts. I love his voice, his style, his rhythm, his finger poppin’, his hats…I could go on but I’ll spare you… This one is very high on my list of eminently listenable Dion songs. But there’s also that really terrific recording of "Tell Me Why" by Norman Fox & The Rob-Roys that pre-dates Dion, in 1957. That one is so inarguably doo wop, maybe that’s why people give the Dion version a hard time. Personally, I have room for both, but you can decide for yourself, because, happily, they are both on YouTube. So let’s get down to it, shall we?








Videos by chargertom and meekfreak51 respectively
Dion photo at www.vervemusicgroup.com

Update March 10th, from a blog reader: I received an email from John in the Bronx: "Here is a little info on the song Tell Me Why. The Rob Roys song came out in 57 and the Bellmonts song in 61 is without Dion, The lead I believe Angelo D' Aleo, Dion left in 1960." So maybe I've been wrong (now how did a thing like that happen!) in thinking it was Dion all these years. Well, nothing can change my enjoyment of this song, that's for sure, but I thought in the interest of full disclosure, I'd post it for you, too. Happy listening!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

STEAMY WINDOWS FEATURE: HALFWAY TO PARADISE - TONY ORLANDO


It's not that I don't appreciate Tony Orlando's later musical hook-up with the Dawn girls. Those are all good songs, and the girls are terrific singers (hey, they backed up Bob Seger on "Still the Same") but I'm still partial to Tony's early hits, like "Bless You" and this one, both from 1961. Now, back in '61, I was only 14 years old, and in those days, teens were a whole lot less, um, precocious than they are today. Plus, none of us were old enough to drive (at least that's one thing kids today still do have to wait to do...) So, my point is, I'm not sure that in 1961, the whole concept behind steamy windows would have meant much to us. Kids didn't really get to spend "quality" one-on-one alone time back then. The most we could hope for was a "mixed party" in someone's basement, and when the parents went upstairs to refill the chip dip bowl, someone would quickly kill the lights for a short "makeout dance." I mean, it doesn't take much time to toss a bag of potato chips in a bowl. That was pretty much as wild as it got; Meatloaf's "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" was an incredible 16 years into the future!

So, let's take a trip back to our youthful days, no matter what the decade, and remember dancing in that darkened basement. Or maybe you were old enough to be parked watching the submarine races. Good for you.






Video by YT member bluejeans1944

Saturday, February 28, 2009

HONEY, WHILE YOU'RE OUT, PICK UP A BUCKET OF SOUL AND A SIDE OF EXCITEMENT...

Jackie Wilson, aka Mr Excitement, singing "Lonely Teardrops" on Bandstand, circa 1959. The song was writen by the Dee-troit duo of Tyran Carlo (Roquel Davis) and a young, pre-Motown Berry Gordy Jr. The moves are by Jackie himself. If you want the dictionary definition of "moves" just watch the video, there's two minutes and thirty-seconds of definition. What more is there to be said...?











Video from YT member Tavikitty

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

OH BABY !


I was just over visiting my friend Kat at her musical Keep The Coffee Coming blog. One of the songs she's recently featured is Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue." Now, that's a good one, to be sure, and I stopped and had a listen at the MP3 she posted. For some inexplicable cosmic reason, a number of my favorite oldies mention the color blue. The one I wanted to hear next was this one, so after leaving Kat's place, I made a beeline to YouTube to see if they had it. And they didn't let me down!




When I was in high school, I taught myself the finger alphabet that deaf people use, just because I thought it was really cool. I can't actually sign the gestures, however. If I wanted to speak with a deaf person, I would have to laboriously (and excruciatingly slowly for them, I'm sure) spell out every word. But when I have this one on in the Tamale, and am tooling down the road, I sometimes take the wheel in one hand and spell the letters out as the boys sing them. If I ever get in an accident doing that, it's going to be a very strange explanation. No, office, I wasn't eating or drinking or texting or talking on my cell...



Here is a no doubt incomplete list of other "blue songs" I like:
Tangled Up In Blue (Dylan) Blue Bayou (Orbison/Ronstadt) Blue Moon (The Marcels) Blue Angel (Orbison) Bell Bottom Blues (Derek and the Dominoes) Devil in a Blue Dress (Mitch Ryder) Behind Blue Eyes (The Who) Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochrane) Blue Kentucky Girl (Emmylou Harris)




Video from YT member billylee1949
Photo from www.zebramatts.com

Sunday, February 22, 2009

FEATURE SONG/ARTIST: YOU'RE ONLY LONELY by J.D. SOUTHER


...not to be confused, of course, with Roy O's huge hit, "Only the Lonely," although it does have a kind of Orbisonian feel to it. You know, like a slow dramatic "rock ballad" with a gently swaying melody and long plaintive notes - if it was a waltz, you could waltz clear across Texas to it. Well, he may have been born in the Motor City, but he was raised in Amarillo. Later in the 60s, Souther teamed up with another Detroit boy, the future Eagles memeber, Glenn Frey and formed his first musical partnership, the very country-sounding duo called Longbranch Pennywhistle. Souther's collaborations and associations sound like a who's who of early SoCal rock and country - Jackson Browne, Richie Furay, Chris Hillman to name a few. And then there was The Eagles.

This is really the only solo hit that I recall from J.D. Souther, but he's been there writing and co-writing some of my favorite songs for a long time, going back to early Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor, right on up to his work with The Eagles, co-writing well-known songs like "New Kid in Town" and "Best of My Love." All the artists mentioned here are scattered throughout my CD shelves, including this one from. And I heard that just last year, Souther released his first new work in 25 years! I just might have to check that out, but for now, let's here "You're Only Lonely" one more time...









Video from YT member soulbrofunkytom
Photo from www.last.fm

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

THIS ONE’S GOIN’ OUT TO DON, IN SUNNY CALIFORNIA


Fellow blogger DON over in San Fran mentioned this song in a recent comment here, and so we just had to go back and hear it again. Don posts gorgeous photos of his city, so go there and check it out. Just be sure to wear a flower in your hair, 'kay.



So here we go, The Marvelettes with "Too Many Fish in the Sea." It’s the best possible advice on the subject. And while we’re listening, we can check out the great moves the girls are puttin’ down, like that little fanny-pat right at the beginning. And every girl needs a tambourine, right?!









Video by YT member live4motown
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, February 15, 2009

WHAT TIME IS IT? WHY IT'S TIME TO STRUT YO STUFF!



This one is so infectious that just one listen in your youth (or at any stage in life, for that matter) can give you a serious case of rockin’ rhythm that never goes away. It can lie dormant for years in your feet and your shoulders and especially your derriere, only to burst forth gloriously the very moment you hear the opening bars of those boss horns. No matter where you are – pushing a cart in the grocery store or loading the dishwasher in the privacy of your own kitchen, this song will get you groovin’ in a heartbeat.

Eddie Floyd is one of those artists who may not be a household name, but is a giant in the music industry. He’s written for, played, sung and toured with all the soul greats, from his early days in Detroit (he was born in Memphis in 1937, but the family moved to the Motor city when he was only six weeks old) where he founded the Falcons, to his Stax days in Memphis in the 60s and 70s, and he’s still going strong today. All that wood-knocking must be good for you.

Here he is, a young, adorably cute EDDIE FLOYD - just hang in there, the dumb intro is only 28 seconds. (I have to give you the link because embedding on this vid had been disabled) Now go dust off your old moves!

Friday, February 13, 2009

ESTELLE BENNETT (July 22, 1941 – February 11, 2009)



Estelle Bennett (photo R) one of the original members of that signature 60s Girl Group, The Ronettes, has passed. Along with her sister, Ronnie (Bennett) Spector, and their cousin, Nedra Talley, she gave us so much to dance and cry and sigh about. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine where we’d be musically without them. After the break-up of the Ronettes, Estelle recorded a single on the Laurie label, called “The Year 2000/The Naked Boy.” I never heard that one, but the title sure makes me curious. I’ll bet if you have a copy of that today you really have something collectible. After that one single, Estelle quit the music business completely. She even declined to sing with her sister and cousin in 2007 when they were inducted into the rock and Roll Hall of Fame, giving only a few words of thanks instead.

The Ronettes share the top of my Girl Group pinnacle with The Shangri-Las. I know I learned more about life, love, and angst from them than from any other source. So, our condolences go out to Ronnie and Nedra and their families. And thanks to Estelle and the girls for all the good advice and handed-down girl wisdom. Here’s a sample of it:



Video by YT member whopfrog

Thursday, February 12, 2009

FEATURE SONG – ALL TOMORROW’S PARTIES, 1967 and 2007


Who still has their original LP of The Velvet Underground & Nico with the Andy Warhol. You remember, the one you kind of kept facing backwards so your mom wouldn’t see the cover with that big ol’ banana by Andy Warhol when she put off your clean clothes on your bed? Or maybe you put it right at the front of the stack, in a prominent place along your bedroom wall so she would see it. Oh yes, I see you nodding your head, you wild thing you! Well, anyway, who is going to argue that the banana album is a true classic? One of my enduring faves on it is our feature song, “All Tomorrow’s Parties.”

Here, for a refresher, is a YouTube video of Nico with the 1967 original. You just can’t beat Nico’s Marlene Dietrich-y monochrome vocals against that relentless guitar-driven, heroin-laced dirge – hey, you gotta have some purple prose to go with this song!



Okay, fast forward to 2007, and what I consider to be one of the Great Voices of Our Times – Johnette Napolitano, formerly of Concrete Blonde. I have some old Blonde albums for the early days (that would be the early 80s-90s), and more recently, Napolitano’s first (2007) solo album, titled Scarred. It’s got a lot of terrific original songs and great covers, including, again, our feature song (with a cameo by Lou Reed himself). Too bad there isn’t a video of it on YouTube, but heck, you’re probably better than I am at tracking down songs in other places, so I’m sure you can find all or part of it somewhere. But if you haven't updated this section of your CD shelf in a while, check this album out. Meanwhile, we’ll console ourselves with another fave of mine, and one that will be instantly familiar to all of you, too, “Joey” – Napolitano’s paean to loving someone who isn’t in the program but who should be.







Video by YT member tomorrettisgay (Nico) tearecords (JN)
Photo from Wikimedia

Monday, February 9, 2009

AND THE WINNER IS...


...well, we don't actually know yet. It was all done very private and hush-hush. But I'm sure there will be an announcement on everybody's news crawl, and Larry King, Oprah, Katie Couric, and heaven only knows who else will do an interview, real soon.

Anyway, the final bid (never mind what I quoted before, either I was hallucinating or there was some kind of issue with bids) is $186,853.06 after a total of 91 bids! Imagine losing by three cents. Anyway, whoever gets it now inherits a lot of sleepless nights, as this will surely renew interest (not that it ever really died out) in crank calls to that famous number.

Whatever. The rest of us average citizens will all sleep better tonight now that this phone number mania is over.




Image from Shutterstock

DEWEY MARTIN (September 30, 1940 – January 31, 2009)


Drummer Dewey Martin is probably best known as a member of the short-lived but long-remembered and accoladed 60s group Buffalo Springfield, passed away last month at the age of 68. Buffalo Springfield was the only context I ever knew him in, but a check with Wikipedia and I learned that he also had stints with The Standells (of Dirty Water fame), with The Modern Folk Quartet (check out their very Beach Boys-y sounding number, “This Could Be The Night”disc 3 of the Back to Mono box set), and The Dillards (remember the band on the old Andy Griffiths show?) just to name a few of his many musical credits.

I know I often rag on covers of my favorite songs as being inherently inferior, but there’s a pair of versions of Stephen Stills’ gem, “Sit Down I think I Think I Love You” that just can’t be compared. Neither one loses, in my opinion.
Seems the vid of the Mojo Men version on YouTube that Stills refers to has been withdrawn. Darn. You may recall it, sounding kind of old-timey with the tack piano, ballaika and accordian. You can pick up a copy of their Mojo Men’s CD on Amazon for a mere $134.00 (or used, $67). Bit of a collector’s item, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, here’s a really cool b/w vid of the Buffalo Springfield singing Sit Down, with Dewey on drums.




Video by YT member woodenshipsjp
Album cover photo at www.rateyourmusic.com

JENNY WATCH UPDATE


I hope you are finding this as fascinating as I am. The famous Tommy Tutone song Jenny 867-5309 has, as of the moment, an eBay high bidder listed at $ 365,400 from a total of 95 bids. Much as I like this catchy song, and much as I recognize its great importance in the rock and roll stream of existence, I have to wonder who would pay such a price? Bidding is open to only pre-authorized bidders and buyers, so probably some radio station wants it for their call-in hotline, or perhaps for rich eccentric rocker or pop star (does Jacko still have that kind of pocket change?). Anyway, in just over 6 hours we'll have the answer. Stay tuned, as they say.

Image from eBay listing

Thursday, February 5, 2009

JENNY REDUX

YOU PAID WHAT???!!!




SERIOUSLY, IF YOU DIDN'T COPY AND PAST THE EBAY LINK FROM THE PREVIOUS POST (TOMMY TUTONE, FEB.1st) YOU BETTER DO IT BEFORE FEB 9th WHEN THE AUCTION SHUTS DOWN. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE WHAT THE BID IS UP TO ALREADY.

GET YOURSELF SOME GOOD OLD SCRATCHY 45-rpm SWAMP ROCK BOOGIE


This one is fairly obscure, I’d be the first to admit, but man oh man, it’s one of the best rockabilly flavored rockin’ tunes ever cranked out. It was one I practiced my dance moves to, back when high school sock hops were still in my elementary school future…

DALE HAWKINS AT-A-GLANCE

· Born in Goldmine, LA in 1936 as Delmar Allen Hawkins
· cousin of that other rockabilly giant, Ronnie Hawkins
· called the architect of “swamp rock boogie”
· composed the famous “Susie Q”- best known cover to my generation is CCR
· did some producing, including 60s hit “Western Union” by The Five Americans
· 2007 Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee

So without further ado, here it is, his hit song that I used to dance too, “La Do Da.” Hope it stays posted on YouTube for a while. You’re right, it’s not the most screamingly original title, but have a listen. It's a great song, and ya gotta love that scratchy old Mono!








Video by YT member meekfreaks51

Sunday, February 1, 2009

OKAY ALL YOU 80s MUSIC FREAKS, HERE’S YOUR BIG CHANCE!

PASTE THIS!

http://cgi.ebay.com/867-5309-phone-number-in-NYC-area-DJ-company-8675309_W0QQitemZ260354849950QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item260354849950&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1205%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318%7C301%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50





Give us a call if you get it, mmkay?



Video from YouTube - WGN

FEATURE SONG – FREE MAN IN PARIS by JONI MITCHELL


I’ve never been the world’s biggest Joni Mitchell, but this is one of a handful of her songs that I really like. Having said that, it never occurred to me until just yesterday to Google the meaning of it. By that I mean find out who the song is about. I can’t believe I haven’t done that before, especially since, in my forthcoming sequel to Papa Do Run, I devote a whole chapter to songs about “real” people. Duh-uh! Anyway, I’ve made up for lost time. I now know whom this song is about. You may have known the person behind the lyrics for donkey’s years, but I’m a bit of a late bloomer sometimes, so go easy on me SVP, as we say in Canada (short for s’il vous plait). Here, from Wikipedia:

"Free Man In Paris" is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. It appeared on her 1974 album Court and Spark, as well as her live album Shadows and Light. It is one of her more popular songs...(and) is about music agent/promoter David Geffen, a close friend in the early 1970s and a trip they made to Paris with Robbie and Dominique Robertson.

Now, I think that’s pretty cool. I don’t usually go in for much celebraity gossip, but I do like to know about song enigmas, etc. However, this next part of the Wiki entry leaves me stymied. Read on:

In 2007 the song was covered by Sufjan Stevens for a tribute to Joni Mitchell compilation. Similar to his cover of The Beatles "What Goes On", Stevens kept only the lyrics and let the words inspire him to write a new arrangement and melody for the song Stevens has stated that with his cover he "decided to conjure up a party song, with strings and trumpets and trombones and vibraphones marching in a parade down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, all lit up with fireworks."

I don’t get it. To be totally honest here, this just ticks me off. You take a nice song like Free Man in Paris, with not only wonderful lyrics, but a great melody, and when you decide to cover it, you change half of it??!! Why would you do that? Why?? If mean, why not just write a whole new song, your own song, about a parade in the Champs Elysees? Maybe because I’m not a musician you can say that I just don’t understand. No argument from me. In my defense, I have to say that when I like a song, I really like it and don’t like to see it messed with. Okay, I know you all are familiar with this one, but here’s a nice video of it so we can all sing along, picture David Geffen with a phone receiver on each ear, and enjoy Joni’s brilliant lyrics AND melody.







Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Video by YT member hanbanxxx

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

HOW TO COMBAT CABIN FEVER


I realize that not all who read this blog live in the northern hemisphere, and thus may not feel the need to get out from under winter's fat white chilly thumb, but if you do, want you to kick up your heels a little, I have the perfect mental health solution. It was actually suggested to me by a fellow blogger at my other blog, The Cloud Messenger, but it’s the very thing to share here.


1) Turn the thermostat way up and get the place nice and toasty.
2) Dig your freakiest wild summer vacation clothes out of the bottom drawer and put them on.
3) Turn up your speakers to the max.
4) Tune in to the following YouTube video, Come Dancing, by The Kinks.
5) Dance like you did when you were a little kid.


If you don’t live in the north, and are already warm and toasty, then add and extra Step 6 – pour yourself a tall cool one.




Here’s lyrics in case you want to add some karaoke to the fun! Don’t we all have fond memories of a local Palais (or some kind of fun hangout) from our youth? Mine was only a McDonald's drive-in, but hey, don't knock it...

They put a parking lot on a piece of land
When the supermarket used to stand.
Before that they put up a bowling alley
On the site that used to be the local Palais.
That's where the big bands used to come and play.
My sister went there on a Saturday.

Come dancing,
All her boyfriends used to come and call.
Why not come dancing, it's only natural?

Another Saturday, another date.
She would be ready but she'd always make them wait.
In the hallway, in anticipation,
He didn't know the night would end up in frustration.
He'd end up blowing all his wages for the week
All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek.

Come dancing,
That's how they did it when I was just a kid,
And when they said come dancing,
My sister always did.

My sister should have come in at midnight,
And my mum would always sit up and wait.
It always ended up in a big row
When my sister used to get home late.

Out of my window I can see them in the moonlight,
Two silhouettes saying goodnight by the garden gate.

The day they knocked down the Palais
My sister stood and cried.
The day they knocked down the Palais
Part of my childhood died, just died.

Now I'm grown up and playing in a band,
And there's a car park where the Palais used to stand.
My sister's married and she lives on an estate.
Her daughters go out, now its her turn to wait.
She knows they get away with things she never could,
But if I asked her I wonder if she would...

Come dancing,
Come on sister, have yourself a ball.
Don't be afraid to come dancing,
It's only natural.

Come dancing,
Just like the Palais on a Saturday.
And all her friends will come dancing
Where the big bands used to play.




Video by YT member sundaegirl12004
Photo at www.streetswing.com

Saturday, January 24, 2009

PACIFIC OCEAN BLUE


I can't say that I remember exactly what I was doing back in 1983 when I learned that Beach Boy Dennis Wilson had died - not like I do with the Kennedy and King assassinations, and when John Lennon was killed - but I do remember the feeling of shock, and loss. I mean, he was only 39. I never knew much about the private lives of the Beach Boys. I didn't read the music mags or seek out any of the gossip rags. My appreciation was strictly for the music back then, but that all changed with time. A person would have to be a total hermit not to pick up BB trivia along the way, and I've researched the band for both my music trivia books. Yet somehow, I never managed to discover that Dennis had recorded a solo album, and a very well-respected one at that. It wasn't until I got my hands on the January 8, 2009 issue of Rolling Stone, wherein Dennis Wilson's 1977 release heads the list of Rolling Stone's picks for the 10 Best Reissues of the Year. I think I put the magazine down immediately and went straight to Amazon.com and ordered a copy of Pacific Ocean Blue.

The album is described in RS as Dennis' "personal masterpiece" - his own Pet Sounds. Dennis was kind of the diamond-in-the-rough, the Beach Boys' best kept secret, a rare talent, and a person most likely, by many accounts including his own, to live fast and die young. I'm just beginning to delve into the gems on this album, but I'm liking it a lot. It seems to me that Dennis Wilson was an original, with much more talent than he was possibly given credit for, and, for all the talent, he sometimes got in his own way by living on the edge, a little scattered, without the discipline to work the business. In that sense he kind of reminds me of Tim Buckley (who also died far too young) although Denny's rugged vocals are very different from Buckley's soaring tenor. The Pacific Ocean Blue reissue contains all the original tracks, plus some material from his follow-up album, the unfinished Bambu - rather like his own lost Smile, if you want to stretch out the comparisons to the breaking point. But brother Brian finally did put Smile together, while with Denny's untimely death, all we will ever have is his small output, and this wonderful reissue.

Here's a video of a cut, Thoughts of You, from YT memberIsobelRivers. I hope it doesn't get removed before you get a chance to listen to it!







Photo at www.hipersonica.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WHAT GOES TOGETHER BETTER THAN CARS AND OLDIES? (answer: nuthin'!)

My friends sent me an email recently, maybe you've seen it, if you are of a certain (i.e. old fogey-ish baby boomer) age and your firends send you stuff like this, too. Anyway, I thought it was kind of cute so I'm posting it here. Besides, it gives me an excuse to play some summer put-the-top-down music by the Beach Boys. Never a bad idea!


I came across this phrase yesterday 'FENDER SKIRTS'.



A term I haven't heard in a long time and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like 'curb feelers'


And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) suicide knob


Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first
Any kids will probably have to find some elderly person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.

Remember 'Continental kits?'
They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.


When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?'
At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'

I'm sad, too, that almost all the old folks are gone who would call the accelerator the 'foot feed.'

Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the 'running board' up to the house?





Here they are, the Beach Boys, singing "I Get Around" Promise me you'll turn you speakers WAY up, okay? You get extra points if you open the windows, too, even if it's freezing cold!





All photos except for the bottom one came with the email, so I don't know who to credit. The running board car is used with permission of Wendimages.
Video by YT member whitegp2008

Sunday, January 18, 2009

TIME FOR THE COOL DOWN


Oh I'm just so proud of you all! For the two previous posts you did a terrific job with your New Year's Resolution workouts! First you did the Hokey Pokey warm up, then on to the cardio, with the Dear Lady Twist. You are all looking fit and simply fahb-yoo-luss! Now it's time for a well earned bit of relaxation, time to cool down, kick off your leg warmers, stretch those tired muscles, and listen to the soft strains of Johnny Rivers. Maybe you could even have yourself a little libation while you're at it. Why not pop a beer, you've certainly earned it. And hey, how about a some pizza to go with? Just a medium, that can't hurt, right? And then you may as well finish off the Haagen Dazs after that. Oh, this losing weight and getting in shape is going to be fun and easy!!





Video by YT member classicpoprock
Flashdance poster from MySpace

Thursday, January 15, 2009

HEY WHERE YOU GOING, WE’RE NOT DONE YET…


In the previous post, we got started on our path to improvement in the New Year with the Hokey Pokey. Well, now that we’ve mastered that, I can tell you it was just the warm-up. We now move on to the cardio portion of our program. We all remember Gary U.S. Bonds for his great NOLA-based hits, “New Orleans” “Take Me Back to New Orleans.” and his smash hit “Quarter to Three.” He had another big hit with a song (that owed much of it’s success to Chubby Checker’s blockbuster dance craze) called the “Dear Lady Twist.” So come on, kiddies – get up off from your chair and let me see you workin' it. Go for the burn!!







Video by YT member JBauder1948
Photo at www.streetswing.com

Monday, January 12, 2009

THAT SOUND YOU HEAR MIGHT BE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION HITTING THE FLOOR


Here we are not even halfway through January and you say you’re already slacking off on your promise to get on the treadmill every morning before work? You tired of that hamster wheel feeling already? Well, I have just the ticket. Remember that dance we all did as kids at our little birthday parties and brownie meetings? Come on, I know you guys even did it a few times, too – the Hokey Pokey. What better way to get a little variety in your routine than to shake some body parts and jump around?! Here we have the original Hokey Pokey, recorded by Ray Anthony and his Orchestra, who also gave us that other party staple, the Bunny Hop, as well as the theme to the classic TV show, “Dragnet” (dum dum dum dum DUM!) back in the 1950s. Ray was a terrific trumpet player (and still active as of 2006) and also did some acting, notably along with his then wife, 50s sex symbol bombshell Mamie Van Doren. But today we want to enlist Ray in our effort to keep with the program. So, come on everybody – if you’re in a group, form a circle; if you’re by yourself, then be a circle of one (until you lose the weight, at least). Here we go!





Hokey Pokey sign from Mental Floss, a website, blog and magazine you really should be reading. You have to be mentally fit, too, you know...
B/W photo from another terrific trivia blog, TYWKIWDBI. Go there!
Video from YT member gramophoneshane

Friday, January 9, 2009

A POP CULTURE PERSPECTIVE ZAP


I must apologize, I really meant to get this posted yesterday - the actual "day-of" but you know how it goes, some days it's like Mr. Murphy and his annoying Law just seems to follow you around all day. You feel like Wile E. Coyote. Every place you go, it's as if the Roadrunner is sneakily sticking his foot out in the aisle, metaphorically speaking. Well, enough about my troubles. I'm sure you don't want to hear about the container of ACME carpet cleaner solution on the shelf that leaked all down inside the closet and into the catbox. You definitely don't want to hear about the world's biggest lump of clumping cat litter either. So let's just get on with it.

If you watched Larry King last night, you saw the special footage of Priscilla Presley, and thus already know that yesterday, January 8th, was Elvis's birthday. This year, he would be (if you're one of those who think he's dead) a whopping 74 years old! Kind of makes you wonder what he might look like, doesn't it. Would he have aged like Brando (who got pretty expansive) or Peter O'Toole (trim to the end)? Yeah, that's where I'd put my bets, too.

Anyway, to celebrate the occasion, even though a day late, here's a nice little YouTube video (hope it doesn't get yanked like the Gene Autry in my Christmas post did!) of one of my very favorite Elvis songs, "(Let Me Be Your)Teddy Bear"




Oh, I should also mention that this year Brad Pitt will turn 46, and Leo DiCaprio will be 35. How old does that make you feel?! You can look up the exact dates if you want to. Maybe celebrate with a nice cake from the ACME Bakery.



Video by YT member nighthawk57
Photo at www.mrcheapstuff.com

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

TALK TO THE HAND, BUT LISTEN TO THE WALL


Okay, this will be quick. Just one last post about the Wall of Sound before we move on to other things. I found this video in my travels around YouTube, and if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the viewing just for the old photos, not to mention the music. See how many your can guess, the link will take you to the answers on the More Info drop-down.




Graffiti wall photo from WIkimedia commons
Video by YT member olmerpictureshow
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2nA_9D-mMs

Monday, January 5, 2009

GOIN’ MONO-A-MONO WITH STEREO


Continuing with the theme of the previous post, we’re going to look again at the Wall of Sound (WOS) phenom. As with any new musical discovery, it really started to catch on. In the same era, WOS-style numbers can be heard from the Beach Boys (God Only Knows, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Pet Sounds), some of the hits of Dusty Springfield – called the “Anglicized Wall of Sound” (You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me) and The Walker Brothers (The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Any More), Harry Nilsson (Everybody’s Talkin) and even some early ABBA hits, (Waterloo, Dancing Queen)! And the list doesn’t end there. It’s obvious the Baby Boomers artist and producers of the 60s weren’t the only ones who understand the grandeur, the import of this sound. Wikipedia has a whole article on the WOS, but we'll just sample the following:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's landmark 1975 Born to Run album — which includes more than thirty guitar tracks — is perhaps the most extensive and faithful updating of Spector's early-60s "Wall of Sound" production style.

The list goes on, but we’ll stop here so we can have ourselves a retro-listen to a couple of these vintage greats. Just listen to the Wall!!

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows, from the album Pet Sounds


The Walker Brothers, The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More






Photo from Wikimedia Commons
BB video by YT member Alixx2
Walker Bro video by YT member garageband66

Saturday, January 3, 2009

WE GOT OUR BACKS TO MONO AND WE’RE UP AGAINST THE WALL


Yesterday’s playlist for me was even more eclectic than usual. I started out with the Chambers Brothers, “Time Has Come Today” in a video I saw on somebody’s blog (and unfortunately didn’t bookmark it, and now can’t remember which of you it was, so can’t credit you, sorry!!) Anyway, from there I bounced around the later 60s, a little Iron Butterfly (In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida) a little Deep Purple (Hush) and little Scott McKenzie (If you’re goin’ to San-Fran-cisco… After that, a big leap pover to Berlioz, and then some Canadian talent – Cape Breton’s finest, Jimmy Rankin. I ended the day listening to the oldies station on my dish, and was lucky to catch a string (unintentional, I’m sure) of 60s Wall of Sound hits, produced by Phil Spector.

Phil has fallen on hard times of late, but back in the 60s he was the Boy Genius of the music industry. His signature sound was really something to behold – still is. The Wall of Sound (WOS) was a little something he whipped up using huge conglomeration of multiple musicians, unorthodox combinations of instruments, a whole swack of tracks and an echo machine. The resultant music hit you like a wall…well, of sound. And while he denounced stereo in favor of mono, after he got through with it, it sounded like a tsunami of sound that enveloped the listening in pop splendor that stereo just can’t touch. The studio musicians became famously known as The Wrecking Crew. Here, from Wikipedia:

In the 1960s, Spector usually worked at the Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles because of its exceptional echo chambers, essential to the Wall of Sound technique. Microphones in the recording studio captured the sound, which was then transmitted to an echo chamber—a basement room outfitted with speakers and microphones. The signal from the studio would be played through the speakers and would reverberate around the room, being picked up by the microphones. The echo-laden sound was then channeled back to the control room, where it was transferred to tape. The natural reverberation and echo from the hard walls of the room gave his productions their distinctive quality and resulted in a rich and complex sound when played on AM radio, with an impressive depth rarely heard in mono recordings.

WOS number came in two basic speeds: slow and mellow and here-we-go. Here’s one of each. I purposely picked selections from YouTube that don’t have live footage or other distracting videos. Not this time. So turn up your speakers, and listen to that fullness of sound, that great big wall of it, and remind yourself how lucky you are that you born at the right time...

Ike and Tina Turner “River Deep, Mountain High”



The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”




Videos by YT memeber tinturnerfan84, vwestlife
Album cover at http://rateyourmusic.com

Thursday, January 1, 2009

STARTING OFF THE NEW YEAR RIGHT!


Greetings music lovers! Here’s hoping you had terrific holidays, and aren’t nursing too big of a hangover this morning. Today is a day of reflection, of resolution, of charting a course for the new year ahead, and of course, a day for Neil Sedaka.

I know that Neil’s 1960 hit, Calendar Girl is a well-worn favorite on all the oldies stations, and so everybody knows the words. We can have a little New Years karaoke while playing this delightfully dated video from YouTube. Neil will sing for us and maybe play a couple of notes on the piano (but I think it’s mostly there as a prop to give the girls a place to dance) and Neil will kind of shakes it up a little, too. Don’t laugh, that was pretty cool stuff back then, I can vouch for that. I really wish I knew the exact when and where of this video. I’m guessing that it could actually be 1960, and maybe even prior to the bombshell release of Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” because there is not a hint of a twist in any of the girls’ dance moves.

As for the girls, well, you will see that some of the costumes try to match up with the lyrics. Miss February is in a bunny suit with big ears, and Miss July has a weird firecracker headdress that looks borrowed from Mardi Gras. Why the choreographer didn’t follow through and put Miss March in a wedding dress (I’m gonna march you down the aisle) or Miss November in a nice little shortie (adult stores probably have them!) pilgrim dress is a mystery. And Miss August, who is supposed to be at the beach looks, well, I won’t spoil it for you, but I don’t think even Cher wouldn’t wear it!

So, here you go. I’m off to enter all the important dates for this new year in my brand new 2009 daytimer – birthdays, oil changes, the premier of LOST…





Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Video by YT member tuggle