Aug 062011


I need to cancel this week’s edition of Saturday Night Shut-In as I drive back from a quick trip to Pittsburgh, where I will get my first look at the Pirates’ supposedly awesome PNC Park and, hopefully, meet one of my childhood idols, Manny Sanguillen, at “his” barbeque stand in the park. To make up for this huge hole in your Saturday night festivities I bring you a Very Special Edition of Dugout Chatter, in which I post songs for your listening pleasure, of course, but more so for your gut comments on the tunes and the associated question I pose regarding each track. Here goes!

For those of you on the “Krappa” side of the divide, does the following make you feel better or worse about Frank Zappa?

[audio:|titles=Ruben And The Jets, “If I Could Only Be Your Love Again”]

I think I’m almost always disappointed by albums produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry. He strikes me as a more sham than shaman. The few tracks I have from an album by The Congos that he produced, however, are solid. Is this stuff and Junior Murvin‘s “Police and Thieves” the best I’ll ever hear from Perry (excluding The Clash‘s majestic “Complete Control,” that is, for which he probably did little more than roll joints and let engineer Bill Price produce)?

[audio:|titles=The Congos, “Fisherman”]

Is this the last great song by David Bowie? I didn’t appreciate it in its time. Now I love it to the point that it might creep into my Top 5 Bowie Songs. Now that I think of it, what are your 5 favorite Bowie songs? 

[audio:|titles=David Bowie, “Ashes To Ashes”]

Has Lou Reed ever sounded more the way he was meant to sound?

[audio:|titles=Lou Reed, “Peggy Sue”]

I look forward to your comments.


  9 Responses to “Dugout Chatter: Saturday Night Shut-In Replacement Edition”

  1. tonyola

    1. This isn’t Zappa. He wrote and produced the song, but he had no musical input. This is a group called Ruben & The Jets – not a Zappa creation – that Frank briefly produced in the early 1970s. He allowed them to use the name and he wrote this one song too, but that was as far as his involvement went. Not to be confused with Zappa’s own 1968 Cruising with Ruben & The Jets album. I’m pretty much a Zappa fan, though there is stuff of his I don’t particularly like. Zappa did other production work too, including Grand Funk Railroad.

    2. Don’t know enough to pass judgement.

    3. Bowie did some fine stuff in the 1990s so “Ashes to Ashes” isn’t his last great song. My five fave Daves are ever changeable, but currently I’ll say:

    Moonage Daydream
    Look Back in Anger
    Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
    Dead Man Walking

    I’m sure the list will be different next week

    4. Interesting idea. Now if they only had a singer. Did someone try calling Bowie?

  2. misterioso

    1. It doesn’t make me feel anything about Zappa. Nothing does. I feel nothing for Zappa. His music and his ideas about music are completely uninteresting to me.

    2. Yeah, no strong views on Lee “Scratch” Perry. I understand that his is a name one is expected to invoke at certain times and you can count on people to nod knowingly. But in general this is not music that does anything for me. (Except, of course, the Clash.) I’m not a reggae guy.

    3. Top 5 Bowie songs, that’s tough. It depends. But let’s say for today: Life on Mars?, Moonage Daydream, Lady Stardust, Rebel Rebel, Heroes. Ashes to Ashes is tremendous.

    4. See, this is basically, in a nutshell, why I have no interest in tribute albums. You have Lou Reed do Peggy Sue, and it sounds just like Lou Reed doing Peggy Sue. Clap, clap. Next.

  3. trigmogigmo

    I may apply the word “great” too liberally, but Bowie’s written some great stuff in the ’90s and ’00s. “Ashes to Ashes” is beyond great. If that marks the end of “classic Bowie” era, here’s a Top 5 latter era great Bowie:

    The Hearts Filthy Lesson (1995 Outside)
    Thru’ These Architects Eyes (1995 Outside)
    Looking for Satellites (1997 Earthling)
    I’m Afraid of Americans (1997 Earthling)
    New Killer Star (2003 Reality)

  4. 1. I’ve read about the Ruben and the Jets project but never heard any of it before. I liked it more than a lot of his more typical overdone material. But he’s clearly not serious here either.
    2. OK for dub reggae.
    3. Trigmo has listened to more later period Bowie than I, but I always liked this Adrian Belew / Bowie tune:
    4. Lou Reed / Buddy Holly: Wherever you go, there you are.

  5. 1. At least it’s not full of cartoon-jazz vibraphone. After Baby Ray & the Ferns, I care little about Frank.

    2. I like it, but I like other Perry productions, too. He’s no Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, though.

    3. Bowie….Yeah, I’d say Scary Monsters was his last great album. I’m not a huge fan, but: 1. Queen Bitch 2. Life on Mars 3. Ziggy…etc., etc. 4. Young Americans 5. I dunno, Boys Keep Swingin’ ? There are others, but those are what came to mind.

    4. I don’t like covers to sound like the original, but this is just ludicrous…& I’m a huge fan of Lou….just not in the last 15 – 20 years (I guess Magic & Loss would be the cut-off point for me).

  6. That wasn’t a bad later-period, rockin’ Bowie song, but two aspects of the performance were even more fascinating. Could any chord Bowie played avoid being immediately damped by the pouffy sleeves on his pirates’ blouse? And Belew’s bald man’s samurai ponytail may inspire a future Rock’s Unfulfilled Fashion Ideas pieces.

  7. misterioso

    BB, I agree with your remark “I don’t like covers to sound like the original,” and at the same time I dislike the “let’s get so and so to cover X and have it sound exactly like what you’d expect if so and so covered X.”

    From this, it sounds like I don’t really like covers at all, and maybe I don’t! But it seems to me there is some mysterious area where a sense of faithfulness to the original combined with the performer’s own particular talents that is the place to be. I mean, the Beatles’ cover of “Rock and Roll Music,” for instance, is faithful without being a copy and, to my ears, adds a certain something to the original. Maybe this is an unfair comparison, I don’t know.

  8. And I can’t say, as a Dave Edmunds fan, that I hold fast to that rule, either. Still, in general, I prefer something like Devo’s version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” or John Cale’s (or Buddy Love’s, for that matter) take on “Heartbreak Hotel” over something like Phil Collins’ “Can’t Hurry Love”…Even the Stray Cats did a more original sounding version of that. I do like a lot of the British Invasion bands versions of 50s U.S. rock, blues & r & b numbers, so I know what you mean. I also generally dislike tribute albums, as they usually sound tossed off (like Lou’s thing here).

  9. I guess I just like it when a cover works, which I know is entirely subjective, but this one definitely doesn’t. It just sounds like disparate elements slapped together for the hell of it, without regard for any type of cohesion.

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