RTH Talent Show

 Posted by
Mar 032022

I’m not sure who the last man standing on this site but on the off chance that you are still here and not on other social media sites, please note that on Saturday March 19th, no less than 4 bands containing at least one townsman will be hitting the stage at the Fire (4th and Girard, Phila). The lineup includes Manayunk Homeboys featuring Geo; The Donuts featuring cdm, Chickenfrank, and long dormant townsman Sonny; Nixon’s Head featuring Chickenfrank Andy, Sethro, and Mr Mod; and the Cowpokes featuring one of our newest members, Garlicsalt. The show starts at 8. Come on down!

Nov 292021

Seriously? Nobody is going to post about Get Back?

I’ve always felt like a Beatles neophyte around here. I only read my first Beatle book about 2 or 3 years ago, while some of you seem to have a wing of your personal libraries devoted to them. I don’t own all their albums. I haven’t even heard all of their songs despite the fact that they’re readily available on Spotify. But they’re the Beatles for chrissake! Even as a Stones guy I can admit that they had the greatest run of any band ever. And I’m enjoying the hell out of this unprecedented peek behind the curtain. Watching them make up songs on the spot that would go on to be so ubiquitous for the next half a century is fascinating, as is hearing them glibly sniffing around the idea of disbanding. This show is great and I can’t tell if everyone is too jaded to be impressed or has collectively moved to other platforms (I suspect the latter).

I’m only partly though the second episode but here are some of my observations so far:
– Mal Evans looks like an extra from the Benny Hill show;
– Magic Alex appears to be adding nothing of value;
– I’m increasingly nervous about the pressure being put on Glyn Johns to compensate for Magic Alex’s shenanigans;
– Michael Lindsey Hogg is terribly irritating;
– Yoko was very close to being rehabilitated in my mind but all that has now been erased. Good lord, she is the worst;
– Paul is somehow both the most annoying guy in the band and the most understanding guy in the band;
– After a solid 4 decades of being my least favorite Beatle, Ringo has emerged as my favorite. This isn’t based on Get Back alone. It’s been in the works for a while but even I’m not totally sure how I arrived here.

Anyone else care to chime in?

Nov 192021

It’s just come to my attention that Martin Scorsese is directing a biopic about the Grateful Dead. In the spirit of the casting call that we had for Downtown Abbey a while back (, I propose we help Marty out by providing some casting suggestions. Jonah Hill has already signed on as Jerry. I’m leaning toward Seth Rogan as Pigpen. Let’s hear your ideas!

Nov 052021

Did you ever wonder what it would be like if Skunk Baxter, Jay Ferguson, Bob Welch and members of Spirit, the Doobie Brothers, REO Speedwagon, the Knack, Heart, and Manassas did a bunch of blow and then plugged in the old guitars and just fucking went for it? Me too! I’ll bet it would look a little something like this…

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Sparks Propaganda

 Posted by
Nov 042021

I sometimes feel like it’s a failing of mine that I don’t “get” some Rock Nerd sacred cows such as Pet Sounds, Nina Simon, and most of Joni Mitchell’s catalog. These are but a few examples of art/artists held in high regard by a lot of friends with excellent and generally comparable musical tastes to mine. Why don’t I get it? Am I too musically unsophisticated? Am I shallow? Maybe, just maybe, could this be a difference of opinion and taste instead of some shameful personality deficiency?

I will revisit some of this stuff every few years to see if my tastes have evolved in a way that will allow me, for instance, to appreciate the bittersweet, openheartedness of Tony Asher’s lyrics, but for now they still sound like a Hallmark greeting card. So far, Raw Power has been the only one to break through.

I will, however, read a bio or watch a documentary about almost anyone, even if I despise their music (Twisted Sister), despise them as a person (David Crosby), or both (Papa John Phillips). And so, I ended up watching The Sparks Brothers on Netflix last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I first heard of them when they appeared in the mid-70s disaster movie Rollercoaster. Similar to when I saw Devo on SNL for the first time, I couldn’t tell if Sparks was a real band or a joke. Over the years, I’ve taken an occasional stab at listening to some of their stuff. I definitely do not like their music. But this documentary is great. I found their relationship with each other and their relentless pursuit of a shape-shifting muse to be really endearing. Even though I can’t find any musical common ground with them, I’m glad that I live in a world where they exist. Much like Rush, I like everything about them except for their music.

I highly recommend the movie. There have been Sparks posts on RTH in the past and our staunchest Sparks defenders are AWOL, so that leaves it to me, a non-Sparks fans to try and convince you to check it out. There will almost certainly be some moments that will annoy some of you, but I encourage you to power through to the end. It’s worth it. Come on, these guys have been at it for 50 years, can’t you spare them 2 hours?


Mystery Date!

 Posted by
Jul 242021

Let’s review the ground rules here. The Mystery Date song is not necessarily something I believe to be good. So feel free to rip it or praise it. Rather the song is something of interest due to the artist, influences, time period… Your job is to decipher as much as you can about the artist without research. Who do you think it is? Or, Who do you think it sounds like? When do you think it was recorded? Etc…

If you know who it is, don’t spoil it for the rest. Anyone who knows it can play the “mockcarr option.” (And I’ve got a hunch at least one of you know this one.) This option is for those of you who just can’t hold your tongue and must let everyone know just how in-the-know you are by calling it. So if you know who it is and want everyone else to know that you know, email Mr. Moderator at mrmoderator [at] rocktownhall [dot] com. If correct we will post how brilliant you are in the Comments section.

The real test of strength though is to guess as close as possible without knowing. Ready, steady, go!

Here are 3 tracks by the same Mystery Band.


Pardon My French

 Posted by
Mar 082021

If we are connected on social media, some of you are already aware of this so feel free to skip to the next post.

As a side project for the past few years, I have been writing songs in French, despite the fact that I don’t speak the language. I wrote the lyrics using Google translate and a French rhyming dictionary. The music is an attempt at French Pop by a guy who just read a Wikipedia entry about it without actually hearing what it sounded like.

I recorded them them with some friends in Philadelphia who play in such diverse groups as Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra, the actual Philadelphia Orchestra, John Train, Magnolia Electric Company, Candy Volcano, Marah, Nixon’s Head, Rome 56, Baby Flamehead, the Low Road, Slo-Mo, the Silence, etc.
Long dormant Townsman General Slocum and Chicken Frank’s better half both made excellent contributions.

I finally got 4 of them mixed (three originals and an Ramones cover) at Studio 1935, and put them out as an EP. I plan to put at least one more EP out once I get them mixed too.

These will be up on Spotify and Bandcamp soon but for now, they are on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. There’s also a video on YouTube.

Here are the links. Profitez!





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