Apr 232011

Sounds of the Hall in roughly 33 1/3 minutes!

In this week’s edition of Saturday Night Shut-In Mr. Moderator can’t stop thinking about a recent act of heroism. Then, as the evening progresses, he drifts off into bagism, as he considers taking the episode through the wee hours. Unfortunately this week’s planned hockey talk segment has been postponed, but join us, won’t you?

[audio:https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/RTH-Saturday-Night-Shut-In-25.mp3|titles=RTH Saturday Night Shut-In, episode 25]

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  15 Responses to “Rock Town Hall’s Saturday Night Shut-In: Heroism, Bagism, and the Often-Frustrating Laura Nyro”

  1. BigSteve

    Thanks for giving Laura Nyro a shot. The 5th Dimension version of that song goes down a lot easier, but the solo version shows her in her weird private world. I checked and the OED has no entry for ‘surrey’ as a verb.

    Also thanks for undermining your opening rant with that last cut. The backing track isn’t bad as early Stones go, and I dig the “like crying, like crying, like crying” thing they add to the arrangement, but Mick’s vocal is just embarrassing. Maybe if you’d never heard Solomon Burke or Professor Longhair or Betty Harris sing that song (which most of their fans at the time, including me, hadn’t), you might think it’s acceptable. But there’s no excuse for that anymore.

    I know it’s not a heroic opinion, but there it is.

  2. tonyola

    The Stones took a while to get good. Although they managed to pull off a few decent covers (“Mercy, Mercy”, “Hitch Hike”, “It’s All Over Now”), most of the time they were clumsy and, as you say, Mick’s trying to be soulful could be laughable. Their best early efforts were the self-composed numbers beginning with “The Last Time” in 1965. The first Stones album that really stood on its own as a classic was Aftermath in 1966.

  3. ladymisskirroyale

    Always a pleasure to listen to this on Saturday night. We decided that the MC5 sounded like The Guess Who performing Oasis’s “Fucking in the Bushes” with the help of Chicago…in a good way. Robert Pollard seemed to be channeling later Scott Walker. The Laura Nero was nice – very Brill Building. And even I liked the Stones tune. Around the same time period as “Heart of Stone”?

  4. Very funny, BigSteve. I know Solomon Burke’s version. The Stones’ version is thoroughly mediocre – like the song – but it’s got spirit to it – and they’re playing the song as best as they are able, which admittedly is only so-so. What they’re not doing is throwing together a bunch of hoodoo while waiting for their next great song to come along.

  5. BigSteve

    I agree that the key to enjoying the early Stones is to stick to the original songs as much as possible.

  6. BigSteve

    I think it’s this spirit thing I don’t get. You mean they love the music even though they lack the competence to perform it? Doesn’t pretty much every artist play as well as they are able to? If so I don’t see how that earns anyone bonus points.

    And I don’t think Cry To Me is mediocre at all. That Bert Berns knew his way around a song.

  7. What’s really laughable is the stuff some Exile fans buy as Mick actually being “soulful.” Why did a 22-year-old Brit have to uphold some unrealistic notion of “soul” – or a slightly older Brit in the South of France, for that matter? Despite the music they were covering and sources they were working from, the early records should be judged on their music. And why is Aftermath so often considered a better record than some of the ones that preceded it? If any of the 878 poor-man’s Stones who’ve followed in their wake turned out an album as good as 12×5 they would have creamed their jeans – and we would have too.

    I think we too easily lose perspective on how great the Stones were from the start because history has thrown our perspective into confronting issues like the rivalry with the more-accomplished Beatles and then dealing with the mythological heights of Exile.

    If you asked them, I’m pretty sure they were geared toward being a “kick ass rock ‘n roll band,” if that term had existed in 1965. Whether they were doing one of their excellent hits from that period or jiving their way through a half-assed cover, man, I think they delivered. Shit, erase “The Rolling Stones” from the label of almost any one of those recordings and insert The Flamin’ Groovies, Dr. Feelgood, or some other second-rate hero and only assholes like me would find fault.

  8. I’m curious about your opinion of the Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request album. Bad Sgt. Pepper’s copy? Overlooked and under-rated classic? An odd misstep? Too many drugs?

    I personally tend towards the under-rated classic opinion. It’s definitely the odd one out in the Stone’s catalog, but on the whole I like it. At times reminds me more of early Pink Floyd than the Beatles, and that was a pretty daring place to be in 1967. But then I think that “Dandelion” and “We Love You” were wonderful songs, too. A strange once-in-a-career side trip but a worthy one.

  9. What’s E. Pluribus Gergely’s term, animality, or something like that? Maybe you don’t get it. That’s cool. I don’t get The Fall, for instance, but they stir some white-boy energy in some folks despite having absolutely no competence.

    By me saying the early Stones played as well as they could, I meant it in terms of they “put out.” No, not all artists put out like others. I’m sure you or dr. john will now feel the need to lecture me on the values of restraint and taste – and all that surely has its place – but for a young band that’s still getting a feel for themselves and their instruments, the ability to put out with style counts for something. I think the early Stones (and later Stones for that matter) had it in spades. To me, it’s their greatest asset. On various musical levels it could be argued they’ve always been behind a lot of their contemporaries.

    Obviously, these are just my opinions. I have no hope in convincing you of most of what I have to say.

  10. Mostly shit. Cool 3-D cover, though:) Honestly, if it were by a 2nd-rate psych-garage band it would be a little better.

  11. Yes, the Stones tune is from that general period. That MC5 track is a strange bird. Good characterization!

  12. BTW, BigSteve, I meant to comment on it during the show, but Laura Nyro frustrates me because she is occasionally so good that I want to like her more, until I come across one of her overly complex minstrel show numbers, like “When I Die.” Do you know her song “Luckie”? It may perfectly straddle what I really like about her music and what I can’t stand. Maybe I’ll play that one next week and we can all take some time to discuss it.

  13. Aftermath was a huge leap forward in that the Stones wrote all of their own material. Everyone knows “Paint It Black”, “Under My Thumb”, and “Lady Jane”, and they’re fine songs to be sure. But it’s the minor songs like “Stupid Girl”, “It’s Not Easy”,”Doncha Bother Me”, “Flight 505”, and “Think” that are so much better than the half-assed covers that came before. The only real misstep on Aftermath is the over-long bluesy “Goin’ Home”. Not a terrible song, but it should have stopped at three minutes rather than stumble on for another eight.

  14. 2000 Man

    How could it be better if it were by someone else? How many truly great albums came from the psych era? Not many, I’d say. It’s a style that lends itself much more to a few songs. I wish they’d have dropped Sing This All Together (See What Happens) and put Dandelion and Child of the Moon on instead, but it is what it is. It’s not bad but it’s not geat.

    Now! is one of the best albums of the 60’s, and one of the best albums the Stones ever did, period.

  15. bostonhistorian

    My eight year old loves “She’s A Rainbow”, albeit in a cover version.

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