Dec 212020
 

Like some others here (? [“Indeed,” says Mr Moderator]), Get Happy!! is my favorite Elvis Costello album, and “Men Called Uncle” is my favorite track from that.

For the longest time I thought the opening line was

Now there’s lip prints all over your face
Well maybe that’s why I can read you like a book

I thought it was possibly “kiss prints” which would give a similar meaning but that’s not really a phrase you hear.

What a disappointment when I learned that it was actually “newsprint”. Could that actually be it?

Really, isn’t “lip prints” far better?

I’m looking for a little love in this but also looking for other misheard lyrics that you think are better than the actual.

But don’t turn this into an exercise in mondegreens. No “There’s a bathroom on the right” allowed.

I couldn’t find a good live video of EC on this song but was pleased to find a Robbie Fulks cover (from a show where he apparently covered the whole album).

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Dec 102020
 

I can only think of one example, but I trust you will keep this from being the shortest Last Man Standing ever! As there may be only one example of this phenomenon – a hit instrumental by an artist known for vocal-driven hits – I won’t prime the pump with an initial entry. I will say, however, that songs like The Beatles’ “Flying” DO NOT COUNT. Unless you can show me evidence of that instrumental charting in Nambia or wherever.

As always, don’t Bogart this thread. Please limit yourself to ONE ENTRY PER POST.

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Dec 022020
 

Go ahead, call this Dad Rock. I dare you.

Let’s jam on it. What random topics are floating your boat in the homestretch of 2020?

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Dec 012020
 
“Glory of love…”

I believe no song in Lou Reed‘s catalog better represents the hardships he overcame as a musician than “Coney Island Baby.” I wish there was video of the live version from Take No Prisoners, with the sincerely beautiful, painful, uncomfortable intro about wanting to play football for the coach, but this will have to do. It helps to have video evidence of the struggle simply playing rhythm guitar and singing was for Lou.

I’ve spent a lot of time through the years having a laugh over Lou Reed, but I love the man’s music and the awkward pathos he brought to rock ‘n roll. I think about the expenses that went into paying studio cats and the highly accomplished road warriors who made up his touring bands to put flourishes on the 4 chords Reed can barely muster playing on songs like “Coney Island Baby.” I think about the background singers who had to get paid to accompany his hectoring on the choruses. I think about how much effort went into this attempt at reaching out to The People, the way Bruce, The Boss, has been able to do since he ambled out of his mother’s womb. Does “Coney Island Baby” land as intended for all but a handful of even Lou’s most passionate fans? Probably not.

“Coney Island Baby” always hits the spot for me. We typically measure our heroes up by their greatest accomplishments, their “Sweet Jane,” their “Like a Rolling Stone.” Greatness can also be measured by an artist’s “missed landings.” I want to play football for the coach.

Is there a missed landing, an against all odds numbers by one of your favorite artists that does as much to demonstrate that artist’s greatness as their acknowledged classics?

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Dugout Chatter

 Posted by
Nov 282020
 

President elect Joe Biden’s choice for Secretary of State is a guy named Anthony Blinkin and he has a band and two of their songs are on Spotify. I suspect you’re thinking the same thing I was: Great, let me brace myself for some flaccid, middle-aged blues rock fumblings along the lines of that band of hedge fund guys from a few years ago, or Joe Scarborough’s mid-life crisis offerings.

The first indication that this might be different from what I feared was the picture of Blinkin playing a Danelectro. I believe that you can tell a lot about a person by their gear choices, and this is a hip choice. Noted bassist Mike Huckabee can be seen with the occasional P-bass but there are also plenty of pictures of him with some Guitar Center Special like a Yamaha, or an overly fussy high end bass like a Warwick, or, God forbid, a 5-string. So it’s no surprise that he turned out to be a horrible human being. A Danelectro, on the other hand, says to me, “Sure, I could have gotten a Tele. They are iconic and a choice that is beyond reproach. But I wanted something just a little more left of center.” (I’ve always liked the Danelectro but, much like the SG, I frankly don’t think that I’m cool enough to pull it off.)

Then I read the bio notes:
“Singer-Songwriter and, with Eli Attie, Jay Carney, Dave McKenna and David Segal, member of studio-only bands — including Cash Bar Wedding and Big Lunch — that have recorded in New Orleans, Bakersfield, Minneapolis and Washington, DC, with contributions from Alex Chilton and Grant Hart. Perform with two Washington, DC-based occasional charity concert bands, Pink Noise and Coalition of the Willing, formed in 2004 by Andras Simonyi with Linc Bloomfield, Dan Poneman, Dan McDermott, and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers acclaim. Inspired, still, by 1970s classic rock and R&B.”

Okay, Skunk Baxter kind of makes sense since he designs missile defense technology or something these days. But Grant Hart? Alex frigging Chilton? I need more details. The word “contributions” seems intentionally vague in a way that is meant to capture almost any musical contact so I would like some clarification.

I see that he’s been in a band with Jay Carney, the former press secretary for Obama who namechecked Guided By Voices from the podium once. I’m assuming that Jay was the one that came up with the name “Cash Bar Wedding” since it sounds like it could be the name of a GBV album or song. This is an objectively great band name. “Coalition of the Willing” gets the silver medal for band names mentioned in this bio but loses out due to its wonkiness. The name “Ablinkin” must have seemed like a great idea that fell right into Blinkin’s lap but I think the cutesyness of that name causes it to wear out its welcome fairly quickly.

The songs: There’s only two songs. They both seem like they are recorded professionally. Honestly, they’re both catchy and well done. The arrangements are well thought out, and the playing is solid. His voice reminds me of someone. Do I hear notes of Elvis Costello? The songs seem like they fall into the category of Dad Rock as I understand that category to be. He seems like just a guy with a day job who never got tired of playing in bands, so in that respect, he’s not unlike me or a number of my fellow Townsmen. Are these songs changing the world or breaking new ground? Nope. But if the Donuts were putting together a show for a Saturday night with Nixon’s Head and these guys ended up on the bill too, I don’t think they’d be wildly out of place. Maybe they’d even have Skunk Baxter with them and I could confront him about the time when I was bartending and he was rude to me. (We’d probably end up laughing about it and then talking about compressors and whatnot.)

On to the questions:

  1. Are these songs legit or are they the little red sports car of someone’s midlife crisis?
  2. Is this Dad Rock?
  3. How do you define Dad Rock?
  4. Are a person’s gear choices a window into their soul?
  5. Are there any particular guitars you consider to be especially cool?
  6. Are there any guitars you consider to be inherently uncool?
  7. Between Blinkin name checking Grant Hart and Alex Chilton, Jay Carney professing his love for GBV, and people like former Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine saying the Replacements are his favorite band, are we entering the Golden Age of Musically Relatable Politicians?
  8. In terms of relatable politicians, would you rather have a beer with George W Bush, or argue the ranking of the three original Big Star albums with Blinkin?

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Nov 252020
 

The other day must have been Diana Ross‘ birthday, or something, as our local AAA station played a block of her music, from The Supremes through the excellent “Upside Down” single she did with the Chic crew. The penultimate track in the block was a song that, when it started out, I’d forgotten about, “Love Hangover.” While driving around and digging this unexpected block, I turned up the volume once more and as this forgotten hit from my early teen years started up. Then it happened: the song suddenly shifted to a Why Bother? disco jam that never let up for the rest of the song. It kicks in about 90 seconds into this live version.

“Why bother,” those who like to dance may say, “because we like to dance, Cement Hips!” I don’t know, even if I could dance, what’s there to get out the tacked-on disco exercise that that song turns into. I might as well be strapped into a massage chair. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

It made me think of the classic Mel’s Rockpile episode on SCTV, where Richard Harris performed his new stylings on “MacArthur Park.” That bit said it all about the moment when disco went from a fun, innovative, cultural celebration to an impersonal Happy Ending.

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