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 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?

Sep 182020

Theme Time Radio was a SiriusXM show that Bob Dylan had for 100 episodes, from May 2006 through April 2009. Themes ranged all over the place – mothers to weather to baseball and a whole lot more. Another episode coming later this month was recently announced with the theme of Whiskey. (We will see if Dylan, the reluctant marketer, mentions his line of Heaven’s Door whiskeys.)

I don’t know if it’s too late to influence the song selections but who better than Rock Town Hall to help in the endeavor. I don’t know what restrictions Bob will put on the theme but let’s stick to hard liquor, no beer or wine served here, and it has to be in the title.

Here’s Robbie Fulks doing “White Lightning”

Sep 082020

No need to shoehorn Motown acts into some Rushmore; here they get their very own.

Here are my ground rules but feel free to go ahead and make your own.

This is Motown, not soul more generally, not Stax/Volt, not Philly International. If you are on the Motown Rushmore then your bones had to be made at Motown.

We all know that Berry Gordy, the Funk Brothers, Holland-Dozier-Holland, and a bunch of other behind the scenes people had as much to do with Motown’s success as any act did. Maybe they will get their own Rushmore one of these days but for now, for this Rushmore, these are the acts (individuals or groups) whose names were on the discs.

I’ll offer up the act I think is the Beatles of Motown, the undisputed act that has to be carved on the Mount – Marvin Gaye. Singer, songwriter, sweet soul-pop love songs, the duets, and the pièce de résistance of “What’s Goin’ On.” A song so magnificent we have to present it twice

With James Jamerson:

Who shares the Mount with Marvin?

Sep 012020

Following up on the Mount Rushmore of Rock & Roll: British Invasion, which American bands held the line against the invaders, trying to champion the rock & roll that those British groups had co-opted from the United States?

I will propose that the Beatles equivalent for this Mount Rushmore is The Beach Boys. Yes, I know they had an album’s worth of hits before the Fabs ever met Ed Sullivan, but I think that makes them even more deserving. They were at the top of the heap, they took the challengers’ best punch, lost the championship, but came back stronger than ever.

Here’s a Beach Boys deep cut that is one of my BB favorites:

I don’ think there is a counterpart to the Rolling Stones, but I think there are more worthy contenders for the remaining spots than there were for the British Invasion mount.

Who would you put up there? Anyone disagree with me about the Wilsons & family?

Aug 242020

Looking back in the RTH archives I see where there were some threads choosing assorted Mount Rushmores of Rock & Roll. Let’s resurrect that now with this British Invasion version.

What four acts would be on the British Invasion Mount Rushmore? Would anyone argue that The Beatles are not on it? Or The Rolling Stones? If you want to, proceed at your own risk.

Ah, but what are the other two?

I say The Kinks have to be number three. I think it can be creditably argued that “You Really Got Me” alone justifies the selection.

Add in whatever else you want – the other early hits, the string of impeccable albums from Face To Face up to Lola Versus Powerman & the Moneygoround – and they have to be carved on, although I’m afraid Ray’s gapped teeth could cause sculpting problems.

But what’s the fourth. The Who were just a little late. The Animals would bring something very different to the Mount but were they really that good, that impactful, that lasting?

And how about the bands with an album’s worth of great pop hits like The Dave Clark 5 or The Hollies or even Herman’s Hermits?

I hope this will be the first of many such threads. Feel free to define your own Mt. Rushmore and get it up here. But first, argue for or against my three locks and tell us your fourth.


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