Jun 212021
Am I the only person who finds the author’s name inappropriately large and confusing, in the context of the artist and his real name?

Townspeople, it’s that time for cracking open summer music reading. My birthday just passed, which means I’ve got some new books piling up. I’ve been digging right into this oral history on David Bowie, listening to all the Bowie albums being covered as I read. So far, for all my complaints, I’m clearly enjoying it, but maybe in a bit of a “hate-read” way.

You may recall my longtime difficulties with Bowie. Despite the fact that I love 30 songs by him, he’s just…not my kind of guy. The focus of this oral history is on his devouring – aesthetically, sexually – side of him. It confirms so much of the foreign – to my sensibilities – vibe I’ve always gotten from him. He seemed like he was so ambitious, so eager to create a persona – two qualities I actually don’t have an issue with – but he wasn’t doing it for himself, the way my natural music hero John Lennon seemed to be doing. Instead, he seemed to do all this to insulate his inner void, or whatever. I’m thoroughly enjoying this book, I am ashamed to say, but the story so far, through Aladdin Sane and his dumping The Spiders, is making me a bit queasy.

I’m curious to see if this rock bio can end without chapters on our hero hanging out with Phil Collins and Sting at exclusive Caribbean resorts. I hate when that happens.

What music reading do you have underway or lined up for the summer?

Jun 132021

Hey, gang — I need some help with some Stones lyrics. I cued up a bunch of trackssss from across their career — nothing too obscure — and wrote down what I heard, starting right at the top of each tune. But Mick was pretty much incomprehensible, so I stopped transcribing before I hit the choruses. Which was pretty stupid, because now I don’t remember which songs these are. Can you help ID the tunes? Once I get the song names, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to figure out what the heck Mick is yelling about. Thanks.


Yeah, once papa cold when I was crazy spade

Gear New York’s lanky legs

I saved my money, I took a plane

Ever I go seems the same


I’m a little bit clean of mulcher

All my friends are cultures, snot feelers too


When your walrus is rough

Satan’s glove

I been browned in your love

You got a front door blue, yeah

I’m from the same one that you, yeah

Oh, I mock the helm mop blues


Break me five, big me down, me runny, know my way around (assy Choo cha!)

Pig me pile, ping me dan, beat me run-in, beat me on the ground


No git, can’t sleep, wing up, no sleep, sky diver insider, slip brooch, sky dang

Moon bed lover, got no time on feen

One less sucker bare freak on the soul scene

Oh, for bid nay oh, git stand


Made me think of Percy

All the kind of worsen

Make me fer the cattle on thang

Baby, Baby

Doe these the jews in a frown


Reb troll up the cold town bully

Come on bend my hand

Riff so yo you braille buddy

Briss so muss so pram

Bray buss every lane granny you and stay

But I lost a lot of girl over you

Jun 112021

Not sure where or how to start this rant, but — well, let me just call all of RTH out (yes, including me) for being a bunch of bullshit rockist pansies. How is it possible that in the 15 years or so that we’ve been bloviating about music we’ve never stopped to acknowledge how truly amazing the Bee Gees were?

And look — before any of you start yammering about their output in the ’60s, or their silly-psych concept albums, or any other rockist justification for liking the band — let’s just call a spade a spade: during the second half of the 1970s, the Bee Gees’ batting average for crafting powerful, moving, era-defining, ethnic ghetto-busting pop music was literally close to 1.000.


My wife and I had to spend a lot of time on the highway over the last few days for work reasons that are too boring to get into here. Because my shoulder is still pretty jacked up, my wife had to do all of the driving — and that meant she got to choose what we listened to as we trundled down the highway. For a while, I was able to sneak shit that I wanted to hear on the rental car stereo, but it didn’t take long for her to start making specific demands — and the last one, made in the interest of staying awake and alert, was “play something you can dance and sing along to.” Enter the Bee Gees. I found a pretty generic greatest hits package on Amazon Music, and pressed play. A full hour later, I was shocked by the fact that we hadn’t exited the 1970s yet, and each and every tune we’d heard was aces.  

And let me be clear:  sure, these tunes are danceable. Yes, they’re catchy. They do make you feel happy. But they’re stealth vehicles for some of the densest Kentonism in pop music. I’m not smart enough to describe the music theory going on behind “Nights On Broadway,” or “How Deep Is Your Love,” or about a dozen other songs that owned the charts 45 years ago, but their music was some seriously brainy shit.

So let’s give it up for the Bee Gees, shall we? And please do so without referencing their 1960s output. That stuff is occasionally excellent, but we need to face the truth here: the Bee Gees made pop music great in the late 1970s.

I look forward to your responses.


Jun 082021

Idle prestidigitation for the recent wailing installment of RTH brought to mind a most curious phenomenon, one which left me  bamboozled for the last few years until I solved it a few weeks ago, came to mind.

I’d enter the kitchen without a thought of glam rock in my head and yet, by the time I’d tidied up, I’d be humming a specific T Rex song to myself and wondering where it came from. Again.

Finally, I realised it was the dishwasher. 

One press of the button and the motor comes on for a long, grinding beat, then silence  2,3,4, another blast on the motor, another imaginary count of 2,3,4 and off it goes again. Then it whirrs into action, just like the guitar on the introduction to 20th Century Boy.

In the days when my work office was open, a run of any more than a dozen page on the photocopier set up to replicate the rhythm of Money by Pink Floyd set me off down that rabbit hole

Surely, in such august company, I cannot be the only one to have experienced this? 

Which items of household or office machinery do you have which set off rhythmical earworms? And are they songs which, broadly speaking, you enjoy?

Jun 062021

In our recent Nitpicking thread, I picked a nit over Pink Floyd‘s most down-easy song, “Wish You Were Here,” for copping out with wind effects rather than find a more graceful end to the song. I am here to apologize for picking that nit.

Today, The Rolling Stones‘ “Wild Horses” started. It has a similar intro to “Which You Were Here,” which made me regret my nitpicking with that song and say to no one in particular, “I wish the Stones had cued the wind machine and left me wanting more!”

Maybe it’s just me, but I think “Wild Horses” goes on for a good 3 minutes longer than it has any business going on. The “plaintive,” on-bended-knee lyrics and delivery by Jagger are up their with “Lady Jane.” Or down there, I should say. It’s a charming, promising song at first – and I like the version by Flying Burrito Brothers a little better – but both bands should have had the good sense to cue the wind machine.

What song would you like to turn up the wind on?

Jun 042021

I don’t know what compelled me to look up a live version of my least favorite song in the world, Blood, Sweat & Tears’ version of Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die,” but I’m glad I did. This live version is even worse than the studio version.

Let’s be real: Nyro’s version is almost as terrible as the better-known cover. At its songwriting heart, it’s like an outtake from a thwarted musical version of Gone With the Wind. Or Birth of a Nation. Blood, Sweat & Tears, led by the self-satisfied David Clayton-Thomas, milk the the Plantation Party vibe for all its worth. Yuck!

Have you ever found a live version of a song you can’t stand that maximizes all you can’t stand about the studio version?


Lost Password?

twitter facebook youtube