May 222009

Who among us hasn’t been amazed by the wisdom of The Hall? For as many knowledgeable individuals who dazzle with their rock knowledge, it is the collective wisdom of our participants that I find most dazzling.

It is in this spirit that I want to continue a feature that was launched a couple of months ago, not only for the people but by the people.

As originally described, the concept is simple. This is a place to seek specific wisdom from the collective intelligence. These are not to be philosophical queries but rather to seek advice and wisdom on specific rock questions. It may be a place to seek listening and purchasing recommendations.

Today I have a simple request, for The Orockle, one that may spark lengthy conversation, or not, but will hopefully illicit some sage advice.

As always, when any of us consult The Orockle, the opportunity exists for folks to ask similar questions and receive similar advice. The topic shouldn’t necessarily focus just on my topic.

Here’s the question I would like to ask The Orockle:

I’ve always loved “Tell Me Something Good,” by Rufus, featuring Chaka Khan. This Midnight Special live clip I stumbled across is even better than the slow burn of the studio recording. That solo hit that Chaka Khan had in the ’80s, in which she referenced herself (“I Feel for You”???) was pretty good, but did Rufus do anything else anywhere near this good? The playing on this live version of the song is so fluid and confident!

As you answer my specific question, please use this space to ask fellow Townspeople if there are undiscovered depths to another artist with one killer song that you’ve long loved while not knowing much else about the rest of that artist’s catalog.


  22 Responses to “Consult the Orockle: Tell Me Something Else That’s Anywhere Near This Good”

  1. I think the Rufus stuff is better. The live album “Stompin at the Savoy” might be a good place to start. The band is really in the pocket, and her voice is like a beam of light from the stratosphere. But this is with the understanding that it is very slick/studio player, and if that’s not your thing, you probably won’t dig it. Besides, isn’t, “Tell me something good” better than, “I feel for you”?

  2. Mr. Moderator

    Yes, this Rufus song is outstanding – much better than the decent “I Feel for You.” I’ll have to hear some more Rufus. Thanks.

    That 10cc song is troubling! I hope I can get to sleep tonight.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    It’s usually a bad sign when all the songs you like by an artist are written by other artists. “Tell Me…” is a Stevie Wonder song, and of course “Feel for you” is Prince.

    I found Rufus’ “Rags to Rufus” LP in a thrift store, and it was perfectly mediocre.

  4. 2000 Man

    I like that Rufus song. It reminds me of smoking Kools and Blueberry Tiparillo’s when I was a kid. I never felt an urge to hear more Rufus, though. I think back then Earth, Wind and Fire and Kool and the Gang did enough of that stuff every five minutes on the radio.

    10cc is a band that I can take or leave, I guess. I’ve got a hits album of theirs and I like it a lot, but most of their album tracks, like that video, bore me. I hardly have any hits albums, so they fill a unique space in my collection. I found this and thought it was cool that they recorded a new version for a promo film:

    I always liked How Long by Ace. I bought the album, but it’s pretty sucky if you ask me. I never much cared for anything else I ever heard Carrack do, either. But this is a great song:

  5. 2000 Man

    And now I’m in some mid 70’s YouTube hell!

    Remember The Ozark Mountain Daredevils? I only ever heard Jackie Blue and If You Wanna Get to Heaven. I never took a chance on an album. Should I?

  6. BigSteve

    Tell me something else that’s anywhere near this good:

    I don’t think you can. “Maceo! I don’t want no trash!”

    [Sorry, another blog pointed me to this clip today, and it’s so amazing I just had to share.]

  7. This was always my favorite Chaka Khan, but I like the whole album:

    The one artist who has a song I love, but I don’t know much else about is Freedy Johnston. I love “Bad Reputation”.

  8. @northvancoveman

    Regarding Freedy Johnson. Check out the album Can You Fly. “Bad Reputation” aside, I thought the album This Perfect World was pretty disappointing TBH. It’s really hit-and-miss. Can You Fly, on the other hand, features a really strong set of songs.

  9. Mr. Moderator

    That “Sweet Thing” song sounds familiar, Northvancoveman. Definitely a good one!

    Here’s a heavy rock song I dug when it was in heavy rotation on European MTV the year my wife and I lived in Hungary, “Nowhere” by Therapy?.

    I once checked out a few songs off an album by them, maybe the one with this song, and it was all that heavy rock noodling and overdone drumming and none of the anthemic punk stuff that reminded me of Stiff Little Fingers. Did they record even one more song with the qualities I like in this single?

  10. BigSteve, neither I nor anyone else can tell you something else is as good as that James Brown clip – unless it’s the other half-hour of JB clips that one led me to look at before I forced myself to stop. Good Gawd!!!

    Watching that clip leads me to pose this question – did James write “fini” to funk? Was he so far and away better than anything before or since that there’s no point listening to anything else in that genre?

  11. sammymaudlin

    Orockle, I humbly ask-

    Did The Soft Machine (or any of the members) ever do anything as near as good (re similar) as their session work on the couple of heavy-groovin’ tracks on The Madcap Laughs?

  12. underthefloat

    10cc is clearly worth deeper digs (I’d start with “how dare you”) but then my tastes my not be yours. I’ve stated my case previously for them. My point now is that their video’s are dated and boring as hell. They seem like more of a studio band to me. Somehow watching it sucks the joy/life out of that song. Blech.

    Question: I’ve wondered about Danny O’Keefe. OK, maybe I’m alone on this but I’ve always liked “Good time Charlie’s got the blues”. I stumbled on a disc of his from a few years post this song and it stunk to high heaven. Oracle is anything worth seeking out or have I sinned for this contemplation?

  13. hvb, I’m an ELO convert. I had the hits and the first album (the latter because of my love of Roy Wood). But thanks to the Borders 1/2 price sale a few weeks ago (and thanks to whichever Townsperson it was who alerted me to that) I picked up A New World Record, Face The Music, and Out Of The Blue. Just listened to them in the last week and love them, especially Out Of The Blue.

    So how would you (or anyone else) compare the rest of the discography to them? Which to get? Any to avoid?

  14. sammymaudlin

    Al- I’m an ELO Kiddie and dig all that you mentioned. Not on your list is, Eldorado which is one my favorites.

    The one before that, On The Third Day, is good too. Some Lennon stuff plus the hits, Showdown and the crunchy Ma-Ma-Ma Belle. Some real skippers too so I’d move on to Eldorado first.

    The fist one, No Answer, is interesting and about half (the Lynne half) is good but the Wood stuff…ooof.

    I can’t speak to ELO II and would like to know if the Orockle can as well as anything post Out Of The Blue which looks like treacherous waters.

  15. ELOoooo! El Dorado is definitely the next one to get. It’s chock full of Sgt. Pepper concept goodness.

    Post Out of the Blue? I myself am quite fond of the very disco album Discovery. I just like most of the songs for some perverse reasons known only to me. I also like the last “real” ELO record called Balance of Power. again, it may be some masochist streak in me, but I listen to it and like what I hear. Secret Messages and Time are certainly “proceed with caution” records. The solo Jeff Lynne album Armchair Theater is worth seeking out a used copy of. Fans of later George Harrison and Full Moon Fever-era Tom Petty will appreciate this. It’s not going to blow anyones’ minds, but it’s a solid enough record and it’s quite possibly the best the Lynne did after Out of the Blue. I’ve also mentioned here before the last “ELO” record from 2001 called Zoom. It’s really more a Jeff Lynne solo thing with ELO slapped on the label, but it’s a good record. Jeff Lynne writes good pop songs. If good pop songs are your thing, then Jeff Lynne brings the goodness.

    ELO II is something I know nothing about. Here’s a tour for the ages:

    ELO II, Badfinger featuring Joey Molland, and The Byrds! The Beach Boys could fill in some special festival dates. I’d actually go see that…


  16. alexmagic

    Maudlin is right, definitely El Dorado if you like the ones that followed it. I’d say it’s their best, overall. I like On The Third Day, but it would have benefitted with more actual strings instead of the synths they had at the time.

    ELO II is a weird one, though I like it. It’s only five songs, the shortest clocking it at just about seven minutes long, so you have to have a high tolerance for that kind of thing. It’s Lynne still working in his Message From The Country Move mindset, and if you like the Lynne songs on the first ELO album, these are similar. I skip “Roll Over Beethoven” every time now. “Kuiama” is Jeff Lynne weighing in on Vietnam, if you can imagine such a thing. “Mama” is the best song on the album.

    For the albums that come after the ones you bought, Al, nothing is really essential, as the sound and production start to thin out a bit, and you might actually want to skip ahead to the 2000s one Lynne put out, “Zoom”. That said, if you’re willing to risk the disco, “Discovery” is underrated as a follow-up to the sound of “Out of the Blue” and nothing on it is as embarassing as “Jungle”.

    Edit, after seeing TB: That’s two of us for Discovery! Anybody else willing to stand up for it?

  17. ELO II! I thought we were talking about the group, not the album! Dumbass me! I think El Dorado is where ELO hit its stride in sound and effect. The first three albums have their moments, but none punch you in the gut the way Dorado does.

    “Last Train To London” just makes me smile. I love that disco bass.


  18. dbuskirk

    Another shout out for CAN YOU FLY, a semi-forgotten gem of a record…

  19. jeangray

    Gotta put my vote in for “El Dorado.” That would be my hands-down pick for ELO.

    Now my question:

    I went big-city-shopping at a CD store today. Remember those??? Anyway, I came upon a CD that I’ve always been curious about, but $$$ considerations dissuaded me from a-buying it. Now I’m starting to wonder if’n I made the right choice.

    The CD in question was “The Greatest Hits of Archie Bell & the Drells.” I’ve always loved “Tighten Up,” but have never heard another cut by this band. Should I have gone for it? Please! Lemme know. Thanx.

  20. Yes, you should have gone for the Archie Bell set. Besides Tighten Up, I Can’t Stop Dancin’, Showdown, and Soul City Walk are classic and there are plenty of other great songs. Make sure to get a comp that has Soul City Walk though; some don’t have that.

    But the better thing to do is buy the album There’s Gonna Be A Showdown. To crib from another thread, this is hands down the best Archie Bell album – and that includes his greatest hits album. In fact, it’s the greatest soul album excluding best of’s that I know of. Hell, it’s better than many a soul best of’s and comp. There was an import a few years ago that had lots of extra tracks and I see that on amazon from resellers for under $8. Gamble & Huff wrote most of the songs and did the production and it is them at their best (do I need to say more than that?).

    I raved about this album a long time ago on RTH v.1 I think maybe Mr. Mod picked it up. Did you Mr. Mod? Can you second my emotion?

  21. Mr. Moderator

    I forgot to pick up that entire …Showdown album, Al. I’ll have to find that yet. Jeangray, count me as another TSOP-raised Townsperson who highly recommends your picking up an Archie Bell & the Drells comp. Their best songs have a nice mix of melody and loose rhythms that continue a bridge from soul to rock ‘n roll that would be harder to find as soul music moved into the ’70s and became more sophisticated and studio/producer driven.

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