Jan 312014

Thanks to the AUX function in the car, my wife’s been playing car DJ with her iPhone and music. One song that recently came on was The Pretenders‘ “Mystery Achievement.” I have very vivid and fond memories of this album in high school, driving around with my friends, doing nothing, with this as our soundtrack.

Hearing it again also had me thinking what a stunning debut this was. As if this band was in hibernation for years before releasing it; it’s that polished. I always loved the guitar playing and rhythm section, too. And though I suspect Mr Mod feels Martin Chambers is akin to Rick Buckler, his fills are so good and he really chugs them ahead.

I’ve been wracking my brain to come up with another band that was this good this early. The Clash got better and Costello’s debut was just a sketch of the greatness to come. So sad to think of how good the Pretenders might have been. Sniff.

Any debut contenders to take the crown?

Dec 052013

So it occurred to me the other day that if aliens were to beam down from Mars and ask “Hey what do the Clash sound like?” and I could play them just one song … it would be “Safe European Home.” I know, I know Give ’em Enough Rope is a bit muddled production-wise, but this song has almost every Clash touchstone: the classic Mick Jones single-note guitar, the typical Clash Break … the reggae bit at the end, and Joe’s classic singing. When he hits the “They got the weed, they got the taxis” the song achieves “lift off” in my opinion — in a way few Clash songs do.

I’m up for a Battle Royale here. (My guess is this is well-trod ground.) Look it may not be the “best” song in their cannon … but truly emblematic in my humble opinion. What’s better?

Oct 042013


So I’ve been going through another Nuggets binge. I’ve always dug the Amboy Dukes and would love to buy Journey to the Center of the Mind, but I’m conflicted. I really, really hate almost everything about Ted Nugent and what he stands for politically, socially, and musically

Should I put all my prejudices away for the sake of the music? I like Woody Allen, for instance, but feel skeevy about his personal marriage, yet I still watch his films. Am I a hypocrite? Would it be better to “steal” the album off the web so I don’t have to put a dime in Nugent’s pocket? Or is that a blurry line I don’t want to cross?

Or does the album not live up to the 2 to 3 great Amboy Dukes songs I’ve heard?

Help me, friends of the Hall?

Jul 152013

So on one of the classic rock stations the other day they were playing a three-some from the Allman Bros. I like them in a respectable sort of way. But the first song they played was the instrumental “Jessica,” which is a cool song, a definite showcase for the players — and probably the one instrumental song I don’t mind and was happy to listen to all the way through.

Typically I view instrumentals as just filler that bands throw in because they’re just too lazy to write lyrics, or it’s a song the bassist brought in that no one else wants to touch. They’re mostly just “jams” that go nowhere. Which is why I do like “Jessica” — it moves but feels structured like a real song, with different solos coming in at just the right time to keep me from getting bored.

I know the Stones and certainly Zeppelin are really guilty of this but they do these instrumentals in the name of “da blooz” right?

Any instrumentals (from non-jam bands mind you) that can top “Jessica”? I’m all ears.

May 202013

Is it just me or does Manfred Mann’s pronunciation of “deuce” bother you? Every time I hear this cover, all I can think of is: Did anyone in the freakin’ booth say “Ummm, I’d hate to be wrapped up like a douche. That would be really uncomfortable.”

I mean there were probably 100 people who heard this before it was pressed onto vinyl…and it’s sung about 60 times. An ode to feminine hygiene?

It’s not like he mispronounced a word that became harmless. It sounds like DOUCHE!!

Sorry, just had to vent. What went on here???

Which version of "Blinded by the Light" do you like better, Manfred Mann & The Earth Band's hit version or The Boss' original?

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