All-Star Jam

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Oct 222020

Is it time for an All-Star Jam?

This video could be one of those “list all the things wrong with this video” and it surely would break the record for thread with the most posts. And it would also determine which Townsman has the most fortitude to make it through 54 minutes of this; I had to bail after about 4 minutes. For a band known for vocals and harmonies, none of them can carry a tune here and harmonies are non-existent.

Hard to understand why Mike Love‘s look never caught on.

Please fellow denizens of Rock Town Hall, what are you listening to that can wipe this memory from my mind?

Oct 152020

Who belongs on the Mount Rushmore of New Wave?

Wow, there’s a broad category, huh?

And I’m not going to try to define it or narrow it down; that’s up to Rock Town Hall.

Whatever the definition, I say Talking Heads has to be there. Three-piece, four-piece, expanded funk version, it doesn’t matter. The fact that they were so good in all those incarnations is one of the reasons they belong on the Mount. I’ll leave it to the other better musical explicators on the list to explain just how good, just how innovative, and just how timeless (40+ years later we now know that) they are.

Frantz/Weymouth-type complaints aside, what criticisms can you level against them, unless you want to hold then to account for the pale white-boy funk imitators that followed in their wake?

Who else shares the Mount with them?

Oct 152020


Previously, we discussed which band reduced rock ‘n’ roll to its cliched essence. Now, I ask you to confirm to me that the above song represents “classic rock” at its most depressingly pro forma. It starts out sorta “mellow” and reflective before transitioning to a “rockin'” outro. (A reverse-“Layla”?) A perfect simulacrum of passion, good times, summer vibes, etc. with as little thought given to the lyrics as humanly possible. But then I think of some hesher tooling around in his Trans Am rocking out to this, and I can’t help but smile. Even if I’m fairly sure that scenario simply never happens anymore

I look forward to your responses.

Oct 072020

As a young punk, when they emerged on the scene, I was never a fan of Van Halen. I thought Eddie Van Halen was a particularly evil force in terms of the downward spiral of popular aesthetics. Over time, however, I came to appreciate the band Van Halen, for their craftsmanship, for David Lee Roth’s comic swagger, and for the song “Jump,” the one Van Halen hit that barely features Eddie’s guitar wankery.

That said, I was sadder than I could have imagined when I saw the news that Eddie Van Halen died last night, at 65. He was a fierce adversary in my imagination. To be the best, we’ve got to beat the best. He was among the best in his field of practice, and I respect – and now miss – that.

Oct 022020

Did anyone ever?

I became a diehard fan of the Kinks in the late ‘60s, around the time of Arthur. I loved that album, played it constantly, loved every song, everything about it. I went back from there and continued forward with them for quite a while, long past the time I should have bailed. They were the headliners at my first rock & roll concert, in Philly in 1971, with local Philly band Good God opening and Edgar Winter’s White Trash second billed. That was the first of my disappointments with The Kinks. Was there ever a more disappointing live band?

I still love Arthur but have to ask myself, how could I ever have liked “She’s Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina”? My only defense it that I was 13 years old and in love with the album and like the early days of love you may be a little blinded.

Here’s the worst of two worlds: “She’s Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina” live. Yes, that’s right, they released it twice –

I’m sure I could look back on a lot of albums from my first decade or so of buying records and there will likely be a lot of Princess Marinas but that one in particular sticks out in my mind.

I think of a song like “Honey Pie” from The White Album. I loved it then, probably for similar reasons to “Princess Marina,” but despite recognizing intellectually that it is a way minor song in the Beatles canon, I still love it. It’s part of the Beatles, part of my DNA, and intellect be damned, I still love it

But “Princess Marina”, sorry, no.

Does anyone else feel like confessing up to a similar lack in taste, an album you loved then, still love, but has this glaring “What was the matter with me” song in it?


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