May 052021

Until somebody far cleverer than me takes the time to post something meaningful and thought-provoking, I intend to continue clogging the RTH pipes with meaningless drivel and pointless fun and games — like this post, in which I’ve taken the liberty of running some easily identifiable lyrical snippets through online translators thusly:

English > Afrikaans > Albanian > Amharic > Basque > English

Your job is simple:  deduce what the original lyric actually says.  Here we go:

  1. Motorhead: If you want to bet, I’ll tell you I’m your husband – they win, they lose, it’s the same for me
  2. Beatles: Keep your head up, relax and swim
  3. Girl, you found me. You found me so I don’t know what to do
  4. There is a back seat now, my lover is always covered and I will talk until my dad speaks
  5. Elvis Costello: Oh girl, it’s fun to watch after so much, and I realize you weren’t surprised by how you look
  6. He’s like me, he’s like me and we’re all together
  7. ZZ Top: Get up, go down, take the word, my way, I don’t ask for much
  8. Prince: If you want to kiss me and your photo, browse
  9. Dylan: How many steps does it take for someone to call?
  10. I get up and nothing falls on me. If you have any difficulties, I have seen the most difficult ones in the area

I look forward to your responses.


Apr 272021

Please identify these albums. To assist you, I’ve zoomed in on at least one of the hands featured on the front cover — I imagine that should be enough to help. I look forward to your responses.


Apr 232021

Earlier today, I fell down an internet rabbit hole while looking at posters for obscure music festivals from the late 60s/early 70s. My question for you is simple: which, if any, of these festivals would justify a trip in RTH’s notoriously vomit-inducing time machine? Note that you would have to live as the locals do upon arrival — camp in the mud, eat bad concert food, politely refuse a nibble of the ‘shrooms being passed around, etc.

I look forward to your responses.


Apr 142021

In life, there are innumerable things we just know to be true: being loved is better than being lonely; cruelty is bad; freedom is better than slavery; racism is wrong, and so forth. There’s really no point to explaining exactly why we believe these things are true — they’re just not up for debate, and debating them essentially proves that you’re a fool, an asshole, or insane.

In the world of rock nerdery, there are similar articles of faith: Jimi Hendrix was a great guitar player; the 1960s was an unparalleled decade of growth and creativity in popular music; the Beatles were great.

Now, just because everybody agrees with something doesn’t make it easy to defend. But sometimes, like some of us did in debate club, we have to try, just to keep our wits sharp, and to make sure we don’t believe in important truths for false reasons.

It’s in that spirit that I hope we can come together to examine all the real, true reasons why “Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard is glorious, while Pat Boone’s version is awful. Is it okay to say you like Little Richard’s version because it has more of what EPG calls “animality”? Is animality just a code word for “Black”? Do we cringe at Pat Boone’s version because it’s so “white”? Does Little Richard’s version have more “soul”? How does one measure such a thing? At the end of the day, are we really talking about race when we talk about the vast qualitative chasm that separates these two versions? Or is that just me?

I look forward to your responses.


Apr 012021

In preparation for a long-overdue post on the mystery that is Carlos Santana (coming soon to a Rock Town Hall near you), I was plowing through some vintage Santana performances, and came across the above, from 1977.  It’s not the greatest version of “Carnaval/Let the Children Play” I’ve ever seen or heard, but I was really taken by the performance of Pablo Tellez, the band’s bassist at the time.  As I watched him dig in to his instrument (watch in particular at 2:56, and again at 3:54), horsing every note out for maximum impact, I thought (paraphrasing one of my favorite scenes from “Master and Commander”):  that’s bassmanship, people; my God, that’s bassmanship.

Bassmanship, in my view, is the ability to stroke the thunderbroom in such a way that you bring extra life, extra swagger, extra joy, and extra extra to an entire band’s performance.  It doesn’t mean adding more bass-as-cock-extension hip thrusting, or more Lee Sklar tastiness, or more in-the-pocket/locking-with-the-drummer-whatever-that-actually-means-ness.  It means doing what Tellez is doing:  making you enjoy the music more by watching the bass player love what he or she is doing.

Who’s got bassmanship?  Well, this guy is the all-time heavyweight champion, in my view.  Just watch.  Don’t tell me he doesn’t know full well just how much he lifts the entire band with his subtle in-place sashay.

Or Dan Hartman, leading Edgar Winter’s White Trash into a whole ‘nuther groovy dimension in this live rendition of “Frankenstein”:

Bruce Foxton?  Oh, yeah; bassmanship.

You know who doesn’t have any bassmanship?  Bill Fucking Wyman.  I actually really dig his playing, but on stage?  Give me a break.  It’s like watching mold grow.

Just thought I’d share.  


Mar 262021

I’m going to keep this simple. Below, you’ll find a brief selection from the couple-hundred country music 45s I chose to rip after my west Texas storage shed discovery a few years ago. In order to foster healing, understanding, and general RTH good vibes, I’m asking Mod to listen to each of these trackssss, and explain to all of us why he thinks they suck. Here we go:

Sure, a lot of classic country music is pretty sad stuff. But when you can put over a lyric like this one without a whiff of pretense… man, I dunno. Freakin’ George Jones can make me goddamn cry.

I used to have a problem with the “same-ness” of much classic country. Over time, I grew to appreciate the genius of the songwriters who were able to work within that same-ness to produce music that still moved me. BUT: here’s a track produced and co-written by the great Billy Sherrill that expands the traditional country music form to include pop-ish elements like bridges, turnarounds, and so forth. If nothing else, you should appreciate the fact that your precious Elvis Costello is a huge Billy Sherrill fan.

Okay, so country music doesn’t feature too many sick bass and drum breaks. But holy shit, the stuff they give the guitar player! And the pedal steel guy, and the piano man. Anyhow, this Bob Wills track pretty much blew my guitar-pickin’ mind.

… and of course, the fact that our precious rock and roll descended so directly from country music’s demon seed ought to count for something — right?

Anyhow, those are four tracks pulled out of my west Texas haul that — just maybe — might convince you that country music is worth listening to. But if you’re still in the naysayers column, at least do us the courtesy of dissecting these trackssss so we all can better understand the source of your anti-country-music bias.

I look forward to your response.



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