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Jul 232020
 

This video has someone, could be anyone, and his list of the Top 20 Debut Rock Albums of All Time. I watched it so you don’t have to.

His criteria for selection:

  • Songs, usually big hits, that became important for the rest of the band’s career
  • Create/inspire a new genre
  • Consistent from start to finish

You’ll notice he actually has 22 songs, because he couldn’t narrow it down to 20.

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Extend That Metaphor

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Jul 152020
 

I’ve been listening to a lot of old soul music lately (not an unusual occurrence) and happened to have a sequence of three metaphor songs in a short spell. All three are great greats songs from the ‘60s, and it’s easier to just put up the YouTube videos than to try and explain in words what I mean by this type of song.

First up is Mel & Tim’s classic “Backfield In Motion.” Sports infractions are the metaphor for cheating in love. The metaphor covers football (“offside & holdin’”), baseball (“balkin’”), boxing (“you hit me below the belt”), and basketball (“double dribble”). This video has all the lyrics.

Then there’s 100 Proof Aged In Soul’s sole hit “Somebody’s Been Sleeping.” This was one of the early hits on the Hot Wax label, formed by the team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, after they left Motown in 1968. Here the metaphor is the Goldilocks & The Three Bears fable. And it’s an interesting metaphor in that it is both metaphor and not metaphor. Somebody has been sleeping in his bed! Here’s the lyrics video for this one.

By the way, this is the album version, which I didn’t hear until many years after this was a hit in 1970. When I first heard this version I definitely preferred the single edit; now I love the album version and don’t want to hear the song without the instrumental break that comes 2 minutes in – a minute and a half of pure funky soul horns.

The third is “Agent Double-O-Soul”, Edwin Starr’s first hit from 1965. This was on the Ric-Tic label, which was bought by Berry Gordy a few years later. Bond, James Bond is the metaphor here. Here’s a great (albeit lip-synced) performance video from a 1960s teen dance program; sorry, I couldn’t find one with lyrics.

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Hero or Villain?

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Jul 092020
 

Following assorted links I came to this interview with Chris Frantz, who has an autobiography coming out later this month:

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/talking-heads-drummer-chris-frantz-memoir-david-byrne-reunion-odds-1023773/

Very interesting with, unsurprisingly, much to say about David Byrne and his refusal to reunite Talking Heads. And there are lots of great video clips – from 20 minutes of the three-piece Talking Heads at CBGBs in 1975 through to their only “reunion” for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame up to Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway. I’ll let you decide which ones to watch rather than embed something here.

Are artists like Byrne or Robbie Robertson or Paul Weller (to name two more that come to mind quickly) heroes or villains? Sticking with Byrne, he owes his success to Talking Heads; he surely wouldn’t have a hit Broadway show without that on his CV. Does he owe it to Frantz, Tina Weymouth, and Jerry Harrison to reunite for the type of tour Frantz mentions in the interview for a “treasure trove” of money? Should he at some point have “taken one for the team that used to be”? Or is he to be admired for walking away from a successful band to pursue his other artistic ambitions and not looking back? (As a side point, I wonder if Byrne wishes he had taken that treasure trove given the shut down of Broadway; maybe his Utopia is gone for good.)

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Jun 032020
 

I feel like I should be but I’ve never been a big fan of Patti Smith. She certainly has cred. And when I see videos like this, I love her:

So respectful, so humble, so human, so pure. And then there are the rave-ups like “Gloria”; who could not like those?

And there’s PJ Harvey. Townsman Geo has suggested I check her out and mentioned this video:

It is a pretty short list of Dylan covers that I love and this makes that list.

Please advise me Rock Town Hall. Patti Smith: yeah or nay? PJ Harvey: yeah or nay? Why? Where to start?

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May 262020
 

This is a simple one and may be a brief one. I can think of only a few songs that meet my criteria but I’m counting on the Hall to know more.

I need songs that give props to other singers. This is not the mere mention of someone’s name. And it’s gotta be more than one name. You’ll know what I’m looking for when you listen to this song. Multiple singers and songs are specified.

I’m starting off with this one because I think it will be unknown to many people. And because it’s a killer.

According to Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles 1955-2002, this song didn’t chart. I can’t find out much about The Brothers Two. This was released on Crimson Records, a Philly label whose biggest hit (I’d guess) was The Soul Survivors’ “Expressway To Your Heart.” I can’t recall if it was a local hit in Philly, and I’d just be guessing as to where or when I got the single.

EPG, what do you know about this?

As with all Last Man Standing threads, don’t bogart this thread! Please limit yourself to one entry per post. In other words, if you’ve for 15 songs in mind, post them one at a time, ideally one after every other participant thinks he or she has drained the last entry.

Last Man Standing starts now!

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May 012020
 

A friend of mine recently sent me this description of Steve Winwood:

Not an arrogant asshole, written classics, outplays virtuosos live on stage, catalog is essential, sold millions of albums solo (some self-produced and self-played all instruments), led/joined influential bands, and songs covered by various genres. He’s Rock & Roll’s Swiss Army Knife.

I thought it a pretty apt, very RTH-type description/metaphor but I couldn’t think of any other Rock & Roll Swiss Army Knives. Any help?

Is there a perfect Rock & Roll Duct Tape? Rock & Roll WD-40?

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This Is Us

 Posted by
Apr 012020
 

Here are some things I would have commented on during the interregnum since October 2016:

I would have continued championing Dylan’s Sinatra period as he released Triplicate. Here’s Dylan doing “Once Upon A Time” at a Tony Bennett 90th birthday tribute. Dylan does it far better than Bennett, as does Sinatra.

I would have mentioned the Len Price 3, one of my favorite “new” bands of the last 15 years.

I would have raved about Scorsese’s Rolling Thunder Review “documentary.” Personally, I love the phony bits in this; it’s so Dylanesque I’m surprised he hasn’t thought of it before. Hmmm? And you have to love the film if only for the performance of “Isis,” which immediately joins 1966 and the first Letterman performance as the best Dylan live performances.

And speaking of Dylan, Robbie Fulks’ album 16, a cover of Dylan’s Street Legal, is as great a Dylan cover set as you are going to hear. Little is a replication of the original; it’s a wonderful reinterpretation in much the way that Dylan reinterpreted Sinatra.

And speaking of Robbie, his collaboration with Linda Gail Lewis, Wild! Wild! Wild!, is another great one, on record and especially live.

And it was plenty of fun seeing Mott the Hoople in NYC last spring. Ian Hunter giving Ariel Bender and Morgan Fisher another chance to be in the spotlight and dress up glam. Bender pulled it off and Fisher had moments where he seemed to know where he was. At 64, I was one of the younger members of the crowd, many of whom were glammed up as well, even those with walkers and, I kid you not, in one case a walker and an oxygen tank. Not exactly all the young dudes.

Oh, and as long as we are talking about fun concerts, the oldies show with Freddie Cannon, Lou Christie, Bobby Rydell, and Darlene Love was lots of fun. Even if I didn’t get to hear Darlene sing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” live (apparently November 5 is too early for that); that was rectified this past December.

What would you have written about in the last 3½ years?

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