Apr 192020

Growing up, the record continued to deliver, especially when my ability to read and comprehend improved. The record more or less served as my gateway to a whole ‘nother world of music beyond that which was served up on WI00, the local AM radio station. Each track served as a key, unlocking doors to songwriters; publishing companies; record companies; and most importantly performers, who were for the most part black. Black folks were an unknown and forbidden entity in my neck of the Central Pennsylvania woods. Hence, my fascination and drive to find out about all things related to black culture. Let me tell ya, that was some tough gig, especially in the early 1970s.

A track by track examination of the LP will most probably best show what I’m getting at.

Side 1

1) Around and Around (Chuck Berry) BMI 3:00. This is where reading and comprehension kicks in. Alright, the parentheses below the title tells who wrote the thing. Chuck Berry. Who is Chuck Berry? At the time, the only way you could find out about Chuck Berry was through a much older family member or a purchase at the mall record store. For me that was Listening Booth, and thank God, it was run by a knowledgeable freak more than happy to help out the little weirdo with the bowl head hair cut who kept coming in and asking for records by black artists. The kind-hearted soul steered me away from the Mercury label’s rerecorded greatest hits comp and turned me on to the Chess two-LP gatefold Golden Decade collection crammed with all the good stuff. He also threw in Golden Decade volumes 2 and 3 free of charge. Like the Stones, he delivered, and he was also consistently one hell of a storyteller. And he did it quickly and to the point in less than 3 minutes. All that said, I preferred the Stones’ take on “Around and Around.” With my closer look at “Around and Around,” I began to see that one of Stones’ many talents was to take a so-so song, figure out what could make it better, and turn it into the second coming of Christ. 

BMI? It seemed like all the black records had the BMI initials after the parentheses surrounding the names of the songwriters. BMI was all over the place on the Chuck Berry Golden Decade LP. Alright, so BMI is some kind of outfit that handles all the black songwriters. BMI was all over the place on the back cover of 12 X 5 as well. All the BMI songs were great. Hence, BMI is another thing to keep an eye on. For now, BMI definitely means something like a guarantee of quality.

2) Confessin’ the Blues (Shann; Brown) ASCAP 2:45. Whadaya know? This track was also on one of the Berry comps (and just for the record, nearly every Chess artist took a crack at it), but again, I liked the Stones version better. Through further conversations with the kind-hearted soul, I found out that Shann was Jay McShann, a popular Kansas City bandleader in the ’30s and ’40s whose band featured a very young Charlie Parker. Parker’s first recorded performance also resulted from his stint in McShann’s Band. Brown is Walter Brown, a vocalist for McShann’s band.

ASCAP? Again, gotta love that kind-hearted soul. It turns out that ASCAP was the organization that monitored performances and airplay of songs, collected royalties, and paid song publishers for the right to use the songs. Before there was BMI, there was only ASCAP. Turns out ASCAP was a little too snooty and a little too greedy with percentages, and that’s more or less how and why BMI came to be. BMI showed themselves to be less snooty, less greedy, and more than willing to take on the disenfranchised. Once again, everything fit together. And like “Around and Around’”s 3-minute time, you’re in and out. Your point is made, and it’s time to move on.

3) Empty Heart (Nanker-Phelge) BMI 2:35. What punk rock sounds like from a band with chops. Dr. Frankenstein’s exclamation of “It’s alive!” comes to mind here. Probably written and recorded as filler, but winded up being something a whole lot more than that: raucous, rhythmic, and definitely something different. That turned out to be the case for most of the Nanker-Phelge titles. I mowed a lot of lawns ‘til I finally raised enough money to find out Nanker-Phelge was what was in the parentheses below a song title when the whole band had a hand in the composition. Hence, Nanker Phelge (note they opted to go with BMI and remain in good company with their heroes) titles turned out to be a little more twisted than the usual Stones’ title. A nanker turned out to be Brian Jones’ moniker for turning your face into that of a pig’s by using one’s thumbs to pull one’s nostrils northward and one’s index fingers to pull one’s skin below the eyes southward. Not a pleasant site. James Phlege was a Stones’ Edith Grove flatmate in the early ’60s, celebrated for his his pig-like behavior as well.

4) Time Is On My Side (Norman Meade) BMI 2:50. Killer. You hear it, you love it. If you don’t hear it, you need to get checked out. Norman Meade? Again, the kind-hearted soul helped me out here. Look, I know you’re sick and tired of hearing about the guy, but there was nowhere else to go for info. At that time Central Pennsylvania was all about fur trapping, spotting deer, Sea Breeze, Wonderbread, Farrah Fawcett (never understood that creepy Barbie thing), feathered hair, greasy hair, Skoal, Wrangler and Lee jeans (definitely not Levis), Fun Dip, the Redskins coming to town to train at Dickinson College’s sports grounds, hot tuna surprise, etc. In a word: hell. Simply put, Mr.Hossenfeffer, one of the clerks at Otto’s Hardware, was not going to know that Norman Meade was a pseudonym for Jerry Ragavoy, who produced gazillions of great soul records, including this winner, which was first done by Irma Thomas. Again, even now, I prefer the Stones track for the same reasons I brought up during my discussion of track one. That said, I actually think I might be in the wrong here. I’m not perfect. And yes, the Stones were always the ultimate cover band, but they were smart enough to know they couldn’t make a career out of that.

5) Good Times, Bad Times (Jagger, Richards) BMI 2:28. Once again, opting for BMI. Very nice, early acoustic blues songwriting effort, effective change of pace, well placed on side 1, right before the final track confirms the Stones’contention that they are indeed the worlds’ greatest rock and roll band. Years later, I wondered whether the song title served as the impetus for Led Zeppelin’s first track on their first outing, but decided the research wasn’t worth the effort. Zeppelin? No thank you.

And here’s a fair question: At what point did critics decide it was time for Zep’s critical upgrade? During my high school years, me and my Costello-, Jam-, and Specials-loving buddies would have never ever owned up to having a taste for Zep. When asked, the pat response was, “I don’t listen to that crap.” And you know what? I still don’t listen to that crap, best summed up as talking loud and saying nothing. That said, I gotta give credit where credit is due. “Good Times, Bad Times” and “Communication Breakdown” never fail to please. And I’d probably put “Misty Mountain Hop” on my list of favorite rock songs of all time. Lady Gergely and others may disagree, but as far as the rest of their catalog is concerned, I wouldn’t bat an eye if someone dropped a bomb on the vault where the master tapes are currently being stored.      

6) It’s All Over Now (B.&S. Womack) BMI 3:20. Probably the ultimate track proving the Stones are the ultimate turd polishers. Despite what the Marcuses and Christgaus of the world think, the original, by Bobby and Shirley, blows. It wraps a decent story around a very awkward stiff beat that sucks the life out of the thing. The Stones dropped all that and turned it into shit-kicking redneck monster that got airplay regardless of the fact that Mick chose to describe his woman’s games as “half assed” instead of “high class.” As a kid, I thought, “Wow, they got away with that!” They continually upped the ante.

By the way, Bobby later redeemed himself when he wrote and recorded “Sweeter than the Day Before,” in 1966, (yet another Chess release – could they do no wrong?) with The Valentinos and  “Up on 110th Street,” in 1972, which marked the high point of his solo career. Undeniably powerful stuff.

Side 2

1) 2120 South Michigan Avenue (Nanker Phelge) BMI 2:08. It was real good back then, and it’s even better now because it served as the initial background music for my first date, 4 years ago, with Lady Gergely. Despite the fact that I’ve told the story before, I’m gonna tell it again whether you want to hear about it or not. I’m less of an ass these days because of her, and that’s why it’s worth a second hearing.

I broke just about every rule in the book when I started dating Lady Gergely. More about that later. I knew I had to make her mine the day I met her. On our first date, I got all gussied up, tried to make myself look like Paul Newman in The Hustler, a flawless movie that’s definitely in my Top 5. I also spent a good hour or so agonizing about what music I wanted for the trip. For some reason or another, “2120 South Michigan Ave.” had to be the track playing in the background when I picked her up. I thought it would work.

Anyway. I hop in the car, drive to the corner (we’ve lived in the same neighborhood for 15 years or so, but never met each other; that all changed after a chance meet up while walking our dogs, recently gotten from the SPCA), and she’s drop-dead gorgeous, looking like Annabella Sciorra during her Jungle Fever days. My confidence went right down the john, and I stuttered while saying hi to her when she got in the car. God only knows how I was going to pull this off. I think she realized pretty quick that I was a nervous wreck so she started asking me about the music I was playing, that she liked it, and that her and her older son, the Dylan obsessive I told you about earlier, were really enjoying Freaks and Geeks. Then she tells me that she’s not a Deadhead, that she doesn’t get that whole thing, but she loves the song “Box of Rain.” Right then and there, I knew I was going to ask her to marry me, which I did about a month or so later. Right away, she said yes, and I decided that there may indeed be some kind of god after all.

I was right; it worked.

2) Under the Boardwalk (Resnick-Young BMI 2:45. So, I’m 10 years old, and I enter this Father’s Day contest at the mall called “My Pic of My Pop.” Win and get a free LP from Listening Booth and a free pastel portrait from local artist Paula Pucci! I enter. I draw my dad, and it’s one of hundreds hung up all over the walls between a multitude of stores like Feel Fine, Woolco, and Kinney Shoes, that is, stores that went bankrupt when they refused to believe that your everyday run-of-the-mill Central Pennsylvanian would no longer piss away his/her hard-earned dollars on inferior products such as NBA basketball sneakers, a “ditch the leather and use vinyl” Adidas rip off, which steered clear of copyright infringement by adding a fourth stripe. I win, and my little brother, who also entered the contest, has a meltdown because he’s supposed to the one who’s the family artist. The solution to the problem? Ms. Pucci agrees to two pastel portraits. She successfully morphs our faces into those of monkeys, and over the years, her work is sporadically brought out at family get-togethers by my sister for the sole purpose of humiliation. She continues to have a ball with all this.  Know that my little brother and I still dread the moment during coffee and brownies when she says, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

I used the gift certificate for the recently released Band on the Run, by Paul McCartney and Wings, hands down the best of the solo Beatle records. It still holds up, something that can’t be said of most of that other solo dreck.  Anyway, after the kind-hearted soul gave me a thumbs up for my taste, he asked me if I was still digging the Stones LP. I was indeed, and I was especially enjoying “Under the Boardwalk.”  “Yeah?” he asked. Miraculously, my gift certificate somehow or another covered the additional cost of The  DriftersGreatest Hits. I went home, played both LPs continuously with a needle and heavy tone arm that destroyed them, but the Drifters LP won out. The Stones “Boardwalk” was a pale imitation of the real thing. Hard to admit but true. You just can’t win ‘em all.

That was good though. Through the Drifters LP, I eventually learned about the Drifter variations, the Ben E. King-led group (he was a Drifter in an earlier version of the group. He didn’t sing lead on “Boardwalk,” but his Drifters tracks were on the LP as well) and the even earlier one led by Clyde McPhatter, which in turn led me to his tracks with The Dominoes, the ones that make the hair stand up on the back of your head: “60 Minute Man,” “That’s What You’re Doing to Me,” “These Foolish Things Remind Me of You”….The next time I have to suffer through one of those hipster bozos telling me doo-wop is boring, I’m gonna reward him for his monologue (there is no back and forth with those clods) with a 2 X 4 across the bridge of his nose.

3) Congratulations (Jagger-Richards) BMI 2:25. The first of the folk-rock Stones songs. Granted, at that point, songwriting was not their thing, especially something in this vein, but they got very good at this type of writing very quickly, and eventually produced a catalog of folk-rockers much better than the work of the so-called masters of the genre. I equate their work in this regard to Elvis, who really wanted to be Dean Martin more than anything, but wound up being the King of Rock and Roll due to the fact that he was encouraged by producer Sam Phillips to continue that which was more or less a comedy act for his buddies Scotty and Bill during a recording break. God bless Andrew Loog Oldham for telling the Stones to write or die. We would never have had “Blue Turns to Grey,” “The Singer Not the Song,” “I’m Free” (just writing that title gives me goosebumps; one of the all time great B sides), “Take It or Leave It,” “Sittin’ on a Fence,” “Out of Time,” nor the Flowers album, thrown together by Andrew Loog Oldham and Lou Adler as a grab for a chunk of that Mamas and Papas market…Again, it wasn’t them, and they may have been (they probably were) laughing all the way to the bank, but a good record is a good record regardless of what’s really behind it.

4) Grown Up Wrong (Jagger-Richard) BMI 2:04. “Empty Heart” is to “Grown Up Wrong” as Frankenstein is to Son of Frankenstein. Anyone who’s actually taken the time to see Son of Frankenstein knows what I’m getting at. It just doesn’t work. Even the guitar solo is weak, and a weak solo is something you never expect to hear in a Stones song. Believe me, admitting this hurts like hell, but it’s time to let go. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one truly flawless album, Revolver. You can’t win ‘em all. 

My other beef is a common belief of the unenlightened that “Grown Up Wrong” is the very epitome of what the Stones are all about, irresponsible loud slop, which led to the unfortunate formation of countless, embarrassing, calculated Stones rip off bands who never got it and whose living members continue not to get it, including the Chocolate Watch Band, the New York Dolls, the Dead Boys,  the Chesterfield Kings, and yes, the almighty Stooges, whose only listenable album, Raw Power, is dissed because there’s an actual stab at craft within the grooves. And just for the record, the Iggy fans are the absolute worst, even worse than Deadheads, something I didn’t think was possible. The younger ones can be forgiven because they haven’t listened to enough music to figure out what’s really good or bad and right or wrong musicwise, but the older ones should know better. I saw a few of them a year ago, when Sloan played at the Haverford music festival (now there’s a band I don’t particularly care for, but they ended up being a real treat). They’re still wearing some leather, drain pipe pants, and a rock like hair cut still sits atop their heads. It’s a dumb look. It’s a look that says, “Here’s hoping the day finally comes when I can drop all this crap and sing along unashamedly to ‘Your Song’ should I hear it while driving.” Honestly, next time you’re stuck at a party with one of these lost souls, ask them specifics about the Iggy masterworks. They’re always at a loss because there’s never been anything memorable enough on those albums to file in anyone’s long-term memory.

5) If You Need Me (Bateman-Picket) BMI 2:00. Bateman is Robert Bateman (who also wrote “Please Mr. Postman”) and Pickett, of course, is Wilson Pickett. There’s a variety of great black versions of this song, and the Stones’ take is on par with the best of them. I found out about nearly all the versions of “If You Need Me” through my dad’s sisters, my aunts Jane and Paula, who still lived at home in Baltimore (to this day, they swear they saw the Velvet Underground in a club in Philadelphia called the Classroom, which had an elementary classroom decor, but I have yet to find any info anywhere that proves this to be true). Whenever our family paid my dad’s family a visit, I brought my Stones LPs with me. The sisters, too, were big Stones fans, and up in their shared attic room were two twin towers of nearly every decent pop and R ‘n B 45 released in the ’60s. I told them I liked “If You Need Me” a lot. They told me to go through the towers and grab every record that had a red and black label with the word “Atlantic” on the label’s top half. And that’s more or less how I found out about and fell in love with Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Don Covay, Percy Sledge, Solomon Burke, etc. The sisters were particularly sold on Burke’s “Stupidity,” which hit in Baltimore, but never seemed to click anywhere else. That didn’t make sense to me after I heard it. After I picked out all the Atlantic stuff, they told me to go upstairs and pick out all the records on a light-blue label called Arctic. I thought they were just joking around, but that’s how I found out about and fell in love with Barbara Mason, The Volcanos, and Honey and the Bees. For some reason or another, the sisters had all those records as well, and they weren’t even Baltimore hits. They all came out of Philadelphia, and many of them met the same inexplicable fate as “Stupidity.” Lesson learned: never underestimate the stupidity of the American public.

6) Susie Q (Broadwater-Lewis-Hawkins) BMI 1:59. While I was picking out the Atlantic and Arctic 45s, I found another: “Susie Q,” by Dale Hawkins on Checker, a subsidiary of Chess. The experience was best described as epiphanous. All the twists and turns were coming together, not unlike the solution of a Rubik’s cube. Here was the original version of the song, with a strange chunky, sludgy rhythm and wicked distorted guitar. While I was playing the record, my Uncle Charlie walked in during the guitar break.  “You like that? The guy that’s playing the solo is Roy Buchanan. He used to live around here.” At the time, Roy Buchanan was one of my older brother Em’s favorite guitar players. Em was super cool. He was one of those “give me 5 minutes, and I’ll be the best at it” guys. To see him in his element, skating backwards, pirouetting with a perfect landing at the Midway Roller Rink, winning fly fishing competitions over and over again, playing Outlaws‘ solos note for note as the featured guitarist of Appalachia (they backed The Ramones at Dickinson College at one point; yet another case of truth being stranger than fiction; that’s a story in itself) at the Carlisle fair… As far as he was concerned, I was nothing more than an embarrassment. A week or so after we returned to Carlisle, he heard the Buchanan solo from “Susie Q” cranking out from my white and orange General Electric powerhouse. “What the hell is that?” he asked. “That,” I replied, “is your hero Roy Buchanan. It’s the first record he played on. He’s on another cool record I have by a guy named Bobby Gregg. It’s called ‘The Jam.’ I think that’s the second record he played on. You wanna hear it?”

For the first time in my life, I got Em to hang out with me for 5 minutes. At that point in my life, it was my single greatest accomplishment. One last thing, I’m known for being very, very cheap. My beer of choice? Genesee.  Why? It’s one hell of a deal: 30 cans for $13.99. My need to make the most of a buck probably began with 12 X 5. Honestly, who’d have ever thought a beat-up old freebie would garner all that?


  90 Responses to “The Rolling Stones’ 12 X 5: My Heroes With a Thousand Faces”

  1. diskojoe

    12X5 was probably the second Stones album I ever bought after December’s Children. I bought it @ the same place, the Record Exchange in the Witch City. I got it from the $1.00 bin of records that had no inner sleeve and/or were beat on. Mine was the mono version. You definitely nailed the high & lows of that album, although I think that the version of “Time Is On My Side” is a different take from the single version.

    I also picked up that 2 LP Chuck Berry compiliation & Vol 2 from the Record Exchange & I also played it a lot. I hope people will still remember & play Chuck Berry. My friend Barrence does “Around & Around” in his live shoes.

  2. Hi diskojoe, the version of “Time on My Side” on the LP is indeed a different version. I go back and forth about which one I prefer.

    The truth of the matter is that I most probably could have written more or less the same review for all their albums up to December’s Children. 12 x 5 gets more love than the others because that’s the one for me that got the ball rolling.

    Never get tired of those early Chuck Berry records. Next time you pull out Golden Decade 2, crank the stereo volume up to 11 and give “Carol” a spin.. Honestly, it really doesn’t get any better than that.

  3. Gergs, this is a beautiful piece, and I’m especially pleased with you pointing out the Wedding at Cana-like work the Stones did with Bobby Womack’s awkward effort at expressing his own “All Over Now.” How they even realized the buried gem within that original is a testament to their generosity of spirit. That said, starting tomorrow I’m going to bring a force of reasoned Stooges fan down on you like Charlton Heston’s Moses came down on Edward G. Robinson and his crew. It’s going to get ugly. Sleep tight.

  4. That’s fine. You still, for reasons only someone like Ed Wood would find comprehensible, need to hang on to all that. Not me. I said what I said because it needed to be said. Know that I’m proud as a peacock to let loose with the truth so others too can rid themselves of that cantaknerous albatross of elephant like proportions.

  5. Just a quick update. If what’s happening right now continues, I most probably won’t be available tomorrow. The house is currently surrounded, pandemic be damned, by thousands of people. all creeds and colors, including columnists and reporters from CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Mojo, Pitchfork, you name it, relieved that someone, god bless his heart, had the balls to call bullshit on almighty Iggy. Even Thurston Moore, thee penultimate buffoon, is here, wiping tears away from his eyes, arms outstretched looking for what seems to be a hug. The charade has finally come to end. The lost sheep have finally come home!!!

  6. 2000 Man

    That was swell! Of the pre-Aftermath albums, I like Now! the best. That’s when they showed every kid that wanted to start a band what they needed to shoot for. They could have made that Nuggets CD boxed set five disks and just made Now! disk 5.

    Someone older had to tell me about Chuck Berry, too. I was the oldest kid, and my mom was a bit younger than my dad and pretty young when she had me. Later on she told me stories about cutting school and listening to Maybelline on a jukebox in a diner and dancing and smoking cigarettes with boys. Not having an older sibling, I found out about everything I like from someone else. A lot of my friends were the second oldest, and had older sisters so that’s what I heard, too. But my mom turned me on to all that 50’s stuff. She didn’t really have any records when I was growing up and her mom threw out her 45’s and record player at some point before mom could give them to me, but my mom would always turn up Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly or any of the heavy hitters that weren’t Elvis and tell me why she and her friends liked them. She didn’t seem to care one way or another about Elvis and at one point said it was because he didn’t sing Rock N’ Roll much anyway.

    I kind of wish I had liked The Stones when I was a kid, but I was just too stubborn I hadn’t really heard much of their first couple of records and I let some Beatles fans convince me that The Stones didn’t really write their own stuff then so they could be dismissed. I wish I had heard Not Fade Away when I was younger. I’d have been a huge fan.

  7. Is that Don Was I see in the crowd gathering outside your house, carrying his 360-gram vinyl reissue of Raw Power? I thought so. Once again, EPG, loved your write up of 12 X 5 and agree with almost everything you have to say about the album. Although I can’t say I shared your experience of growing up in Central Pennsylvania and not having African American culture woven into the fabric of your everyday life, I empathize and sympathize with you. This may explain something about your failure to get The Stooges. Where do I begin?

    You may recall a story my close personal friend KingEd told in these Hallowed Halls years ago, a story about communing with the amazing Fun House album: https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/shake-some-action-an-evening-with-lemgfu/. Listen, I’m willing to put aside your belief that Raw Power is your *favorite* of the band’s albums, but to dismiss the first two albums, the only ESSENTIAL recordings Iggy Pop was ever involved in making, is troubling.

    I find it curious that the more conventional Raw Power is the only Stooges album that makes any sense for you. Aren’t you the world’s greatest expert on ANIMALITY? Raw Power has its traces of unhinged animality, such as on the title track, but a lot of the album is a showcase for the same Iggy that you correctly identified as a gateway for the worst Anthony Bourdain-like suburban fantasies of LIVING DANGEROUSLY! Sure, the “street-walking cheetah” of that album’s other great song, “Search and Destroy,” is a vital, necessary symbol of virility, but for most of us in our age group, that cheetah is going to be curled up asleep on the couch by 10:00 pm. You’re missing out on what’s at the core of The Stooges – and I mean the real The Stooges, with Ron Asheton on guitar, not James Williamson – not “Iggy and…,” which is a signpost of everything troubling to come that you can’t get past (don’t judge the past by the future, man – I know we’ve all struggled with that, like I did for years regarding David Bowie’s actual greatness, a greatness that I’d been clouded to seeing thanks to what he would become from Let’s Dance onward). You’re missing out on the original band’s…ANIMALITY!

    From the first album, which has a sort-of beautifully bubblegum production, I want you to focus on “No Fun” alone. There is no street-walking cheetah without the bored, disaffected teen. This is the same teen of “No Satisfaction,” the song that best achieves the true objectives of rock ‘n roll. This is the fucking core of The Stooges and, yes, Iggy Pop. Hold his proto-Trash & Vaudville shtick against him all you like, but he was also the guy who, with his hammer-on barre chord-playing mates in the original version of The Stooges, could get to the heart of the matter. “1969” is the other standout from that album. I know every rock fan who makes you cringe raves about “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” That song is overrated and does get more credit than is necessary thanks to its suburban. midlife crisis, escape-hatch fantasy opportunities. It’s a cool song in the right mood, but I need you to come to terms with fucking “No Fun” if you do nothing else with this week.

    Then, you need to metaphorically or actually suck down a few bong hits of “shake” and prepare for a communion with Fun House. Don’t think in terms of “songs” or “hooks” or “craft” or – and you will need to take a look in the mirror, if you get to this point – “chops.” Don’t even think. Let your toe jam loose and commune with the animality of those pentatonic meditations. Don’t judge this record by your Judeo-Christian hangups, man, as you put aside judgment on the 1920s Alan Lomax field hollers on 78 that you tracked down in 1988. Fun House is your gateway to a secret society composed of you and your coolest friends on earth – people like me, chickenfrank, andyr – when we were still innocent and poised to pick up on all that life was throwing down.

    My boys sometimes ask me, “Dad, will you ever smoke pot again?”

    I tell them, “Only on one condition that I hope never comes to fruition: If I need to undergo chemotherapy.”

    I don’t tell them about the one other condition I’ve kept under consideration, one that is only to BE considered should another close personal friend, general slocum, ever decide to follow through on the only thing that would make him consider smoking pot again: listening to Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. You know I have no interest in Genesis and once even did a whole episode of Saturday Night Shut-In trying to make sense of that album, but general slocum is another one of those primordial cool kids, and if he ever wants to light up a bong and revisit his favorite Genesis album, I’d consider going along for the ride.

    I’ll add a third condition to this list, if necessary: smoking dirtweed with you and taking you on a guided tour through Fun House. It’s the best, EPG. I promise not to suddenly mix in some Pere Ubu or Captain Beefheart. With the love of Lady Gergely lighting up your life, I think you’re ready for this album to bring you into that clubhouse of some of the coolest people you know on this planet, right before we actually became cool.

    Another day, we can get into your blindspot on Led Zeppelin. And believe me, I was the same as you in high school.

  8. Hey, 2000 man! You and I have that same thing for Now! Years ago, you said something absolutely hysterical about that LP, something like you can do this to it, that to it, and it still delivers like no other. Do you recall what that exact quick review was?

    One other thing, I read your review of Satanic on your blog page. It was dead on. That album really holds up for me, even though the Stones themselves aren’t big on it.

  9. 2000 Man

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve looked at my blog page in a long time. I just don’t have time these days, or I just don’t have the motivation. I don’t know which. I have no idea what I was on about in regards to Now! I really love that album, and I’m sure if I ever made a top ten list of Stones albums for me that would be on it. Someone found an old post I made on a message board about how every song on Exile on Main St. was about fucking. I laughed at it but I didn’t remember writing any of it. I tend to forget what I said a lot. I do think Their Satanic Majesties is probably the best Psych album ever. No one ever made a great Psych album, and there’s way less turd moments on the Stones’ Psych album than anyone else’.

  10. Go back and read that review on your blog. Honestly, it’s definitely worth the trip. It’s that good!!!!!!!

  11. Moderator,

    As always, you got it all wrong again. Whenever I talked about animality, it was always animality reigned in with shades of genius (bizarre insights), taste, chops, and production. “Misty Mountain Hop” may well indeed be the finest example of that mix: out of control lunacy, delivered tastefully by disturbed shit hot musicians and put together with someone who really knows how to work the board. “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” has all that going on as well.

    That’s not what’s happening with the Stooges. They have no insights nor chops, and when you want to say something with that kind of tool kit and rely on someone who really doesn’t know how to produce a record as well, you wind up with that thin Soundesign cesspool that’s served up on those two Elektra albums.

    When you’re a teenager, I get the attraction. Your hormones are out of control, you wanna be in a band, you’re not willing to take the time to develop anything bordering on technical skill. You hear a Stooges record and a light bulb goes off in your head: I can do that. Just for the record, I never wanted to do that.

    One more thing, I find it interesting that your whole thing could have been rewritten with the band member names of the dead substituted for those of the Stooges, and it wouldn’t have made a shred of difference.

    Again, the Miles line: “We do what we have to do because this thing we love will die if we don’t: you (the Stooges, the Dead, take your pick) do what you do because you suck.

  12. This has not yet reached the point where I simply hurl insults at you, Plurbs. Your mild appreciation for the more conventional Raw Power is akin to my preference for Jefferson Starship’s “Runaway” over anything by Jefferson Airplane: true sign of one who doesn’t get it. It’s 4/20 of all days, and you just lost your chance at smoking my dirtweed out of a pipe made from spare plumbing pipe.

  13. I’ve gotta give credit where credit is due: that was funny, laugh out loud funny. I just can’t believe someone with your taste and brains would settle for so little. Teenage Moderator? I have no problem with that. It’s time to grow up.

    Know that I was super proud of you when reduced the real treasure in All Things Must Pass down to an EP. You need to do something like that now with your buddy who’s still making a career out of stomping on 8 ounce milk cartons in the cafeteria.

  14. BigSteve

    God I hate these early Stones soul and R&B covers. I’m not going to argue about it, but with very few exceptions the only early Stones tracks worth listening to are the originals. Give me the High Tides & Green Grass compilation, and then I’ll start listening with Between the Buttons (maybe Aftermath). Especially nowadays when anyone can listen to anything at any time, I can’t fathom why anyone would want to listen to the Stones version of Under the Boardwalk.

  15. It’s always entertaining to watch someone dig their own grave.

  16. BigSteve – In the end, EPG does come down pretty hard on Under the Boardwalk, calling it “a pale version of the real thing.” My Stones album collection began with “Now,” so I can’t swear that I’d ever heard “Boardwalk” before I gave the album a spin based on this post, but one reason to listen to it is the almost random attempt at doo-wop back up vocals.

  17. Hey Geo, what’s your take on Now? I’m with 2000 man, thinking its the best of the pre Aftermath LPs. I look forward to hear from you!

  18. I like England’s Newest Hitmakers the best of the early albums.

    I came to the early stuff relatively late in the game. I only knew the Brian Jones era songs that were on the original Hot Rocks album until long after I had settled on Ya-ya’s through Exile as the Greatest Run of Albums in Rock History, so the combination of tinny production and the urgent energy of that first album was a bit of a shock. Maybe Now would be my favorite of that era if I heard it before ENH but that first one has the sound of some guys who are making the most of what might be their only chance to do something they really love.

  19. Your assessment of ENH is dead on. There’s absolutely and positively an urgency there that’s a tad stronger than the other pre Aftermath releases. The overall tone is much more serious. I never really looked at that album in that way before. Thanks!

  20. I think this is going to turn the tide for you, EPG:


  21. Hi all! Just a heads up. The moderator and his buddies won’t be around for much of the latter part of the day. They decided to celebrate their beloved Iggy’s 73rd birthday by heading to the sticks in Mod’s Lexus to play mailbox baseball.

  22. That’s your new thing? Links as posts? You’ve been holding back, brother. You’ve been hanging with you know who. You know what I’m talking about. I’m surprised he hasn’t surfaced around these parts as of yet!

  23. BigSteve

    I think urgency is overrated.

  24. Again, it’s always entertaining to watch someone dig their own grave.

    Moderator, I’m talkin’ about my man Links Linkerson!

  25. Until you listen to the music, EPG, what sense is there in my posting anything more than links? Here’s one for you and your boy Brian Jones: https://youtu.be/6ibLc1QgIoU

  26. Here’s another from your kind-hearted friend: https://youtu.be/gCLiGS6gqwE

  27. You my find this surprising, but I welcome the clips! You’ve managed to dig up some pretty funny stuff. I’ll watch them later on should Lady Gergely pass out after we watch the ZZ Top documentary. By the way, we watched Echo in the Canyon last night. It was surprisingly pretty good! Nothing earth shattering, but it was a pleasant end to a tiring but highly productive day.

  28. BigSteve, it can be, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always a bad thing. Sometimes it can be a great thing.

  29. That same urgency can be hear on the Stones’ “I Wanna Be Your Man”, which I consider one of the best punk rock records of all time. If you haven’t heard it recently, please do so. After hearing it, you’ll know why I have little time for what the Stooges serve up.


    One more thing, Lady Gergely and I are dying to have an Alex’s pizza. Please let me know your thoughts on the safety of getting take out!

  30. The Stones’ take on that throwaway Beatles composition is fun enough, but to compare it with anything on Fun House tells me you followed Bill Clinton’s method of smoking pot. And that’s not to say that one needs to smoke pot to get the glory of Fun House. My close, personal friend sethro, who drums for our band and never inhaled, yet he knows the glory of bending at the knees and hunkering down with those pentatonic riffs. You know why? Because he’s fucking cool! Now that word is out about your dismissal of Fun House, I’d suggest you order from Alex’s under an assumed name. They are totally into that album, used to blast it all the time when we lived down the street from them. Great people, great pie. It should be safe. Put your slices back in the oven for a couple of minutes when you bring it home. Scrub your hands. Was it down with beer. Then enjoy the Stones’ kind-hearted, spirited take on Chuck Berry’s otherwise unremarkable “Come On.”

  31. My first, possibly imagined, experience of the Rolling Stones is that “Heart of Stone” got local radio play when it came out. I remember that Now! showed up in the house sometime very soon after my father, who ushered at the Philadelphia Convention Center, took along two of my older sisters to see them, in May of 1965.It’s interesting to see what a patchwork the album is, with about half of the songs coming from the second English release, “Mona” from the first album, and the balance a mix of singles, B-sides and newly released material. It still seems pretty seamless to me.

    It doesn’t have anything that is absolutely first rate Stones, such as “It’s All Over Now” on 12 X 5 or the single version of “Time Is On My Side,” but everything on there is solid. The album seems very groove oriented, even the uptempo songs like “You Can’t Catch Me” don’t reach the freneticism of early Stones stuff like “She Said Yeah” or “Route 66” from December’s Children.

    The highlight for me is “Down Home Girl.” The Alvin Robinson version is great, but Jagger’s ability to convey affectionate condescension raises it a notch above in my book.

  32. Man, moderator, what is it with you? You just refuse to remove that Fonzie jacket. Congratulations, you used to smoke a lot of dope! Who cares? That makes you no different than anyone else around here. And just for the record, cool has nothing to do with one’s ability to rub peanut butter all over one’s chest. Cool requires brains. You want the ultimate picture of cool? Watch Dylan in Don’t Look Back.

    Geo, you drive me out of my skull, but you hit the bullseye this time. And “Down Home Girl” is indeed the track that stands up, for the very reason you so aptly note. Beautiful!

  33. 2000 Man

    One reason to listen to The Stones’ Under the Boardwalk would be if you had a choice of that or My Girl. I’d suggest Under the Boardwalk every time.

    The great thing about Now! Is that it was recorded in the US, at Chess and RCA. It’s finally a Stones recording with serious balls. They made good choices for songs to cover and the couple of originals may not be classics, but they aren’t played to death and this is the kind of album you can play any time.

  34. Yeah, I’d go with “Boardwalk” as well. I know it’s a minor thing, but I really like that acoustic solo. It’s pretty simple, but it works well.

    I keep thinking about the point Geo made. Now is thrown together from a lot of different sources, but it never ever sounds that way. It just comes off as Now, because, as you say, all the tracks have serious balls.

    Great points all around.

    Geo, 2000 man, CDM, and anyone else who’s interested; what’s your opinion of Flowers (yet another thrown together thing that always worked well for me)?

  35. BigSteve

    The Stones version of I Wanna Be Your Man is good for a laugh. The song is kind of a trifle. The Stones’ version definitely has more character than the Beatles’ version, which is pretty nondescript. Thank god for Bill Wyman, who holds the whole thing together. I’d like it a lot better if Brian Jones was more competent on the slide guitar. It’s a cool riff he’s written, but he never quite hits it on the nose, and he’s mostly way too high in the mix. He does nail the solo though.

  36. BigSteve

    I love Flowers. I bought that one when it was new. The singles are obviously great, but I always really loved the ‘minor’ tracks, especially Ride On Baby and Out of Time.

  37. BigSteve

    And Take It Or Leave It.

  38. Big Steve, all that’s more than fair. I can’t pick away at any of that. And I love both “Ride on Baby” and “Take it Or Leave It.”, especially “Take it Or Leave it,”

  39. Be on the lookout for the Falcons, my friend. They are not amused by your dismissal of Fun House.

  40. Whatever. Watching…skip that… nodding off through most of the ZZ Top documentary. You actually made it through the whole thing?

  41. I did, but it involved some passive watching – much time to text with friends, make tea, etc.

  42. Watching that thing was like taking an elephant tranquilizer. Refresh my memory. What insight into the band was gained?

  43. What, the ZZ Top documentary? The insight I gained was that they weren’t as stupid as I was expecting them to be. And that Billy Gibbons is and has always been skinny. That’s not enough for you?

  44. You’re hurting right now. I feel for you. Know that I’m always there for you. I mean that. Lean on me, brother. Lean on me.

  45. Sorry – late to the Party.

    Mr Mod , Chickenfrank, Sethro and I were talking via Zoom last night and the topic of EPG’s dislike of the two great Stooges albums came up, and quite frankly, dominated the discussion. While not calling for an all-out intervention, a critical look at EPG’s proclaimed “bona fides” regarding the smoking of a certain plant was raised.

    I love Fun House! One of the albums I turn to first when I want to get “pumped up”

    Out of the early stones albums, I prefer “Out of our Heads”


  46. andyr, thank you for sharing the tenor of last night’s call. It did cast a pale on what was intended to be a joyous catch up among old friends. Today, I was ready to smash the Golden Calf and tell people of the Hall that they were not worthy of The Stooges, but your public and candid show of support gives me hope for a true reckoning over this issue. KTF!


  47. Hey Andy! When did you finally pick up Out of Our Heads? That’s so cool! You’re finding out that there are other great albums with great songs which aren’t on greatest hits albums! Pretty neat, right? When you get around to it, check out an album called Rubber Soul. It’s by the Beatles. It’s got a lot of solid stuff on it that’s not on the red and blue double LP compilations! There’s another good Beatles double album that has an all white cover. A lot of people call it the White album. You should check that one out too! It’s pretty good!

  48. 2000 Man

    I like Flowers a lot. Backstreet Girl and Sitting on a Fence in particular. I think it’s really solid.

  49. Yup, it’s incredible how great that album is, especially considering the fact that it was such a thrown together affair, like Now. When you’re that good, you can get away with that!

  50. No need to EPG but thanks for thinking of me. I got Rubber Soul and The Beatles back when I was 14 and went to London. Picked up all of the non-US releases at HMV. I also got the Parlaphone EP box set too a little later. Did I ever show you my version of Hey Jude album that is titled The Beatles Again? Borrowed it from my sister around 1971. But I really do appreciate your concern for me!

  51. And it is reassuring that after all these years its the same spiel. You didn’t bring up Hot Rocks II this time though. 😀

  52. Hi Andy! Always good to hear from you! I didn’t mention Hot Rocks II because that’s not really a greatest hits kind of thing. It’s hits that weren’t big hits and sides that might have been hits if they had been released as singles. You should check it out. “Dandelion” is on that thing. Actually, “Dandelion” is on the other Rolling Stones album you own, the one that’s shaped like a stop sign. I’m just describing it that way because you may have trouble remembering it by its title.

    Wow, I didn’t know you had all that other Beatles’ stuff! That’s cool! Really, really cool!

  53. I watched the ZZ Top documentary last night. I’ve always been on board with their 70’s stuff but I agree that there was not much new to learn from the documentary.

    One thing I noticed was how economical Gibbon’s guitar playing is. He barely moves his fingers. Perhaps that’s just how pros play and it makes sense, but when I play guitar, I’m like a neanderthal. Also, (and I think I already knew it but it’s striking to hear again), he uses .07 gauge strings. For non guitar players, .10 is medium, .09 is light. .07 is like a gossamer thread.

    And I watched for live stock onstage with a critical eye. They really make it seem like it happened but there are no wide shots. I’m not into conspiracy theories but given Gibbon’s propensity to be a bit stingy with the truth in interviews and when promoting the band, I remain open to all possibilities.

  54. Happiness Stan

    Great piece, EPG, thanks. Late getting to it as I’ve been working and doing family stuff and making sure everybody plays nicely, and wanted to set aside the time to read it and do it justice.

    It wasn’t even an album over here, but a load of EPs and single tracks if I remember rightly. I picked up the UK albums in my teens, but those EPs were elusive and as I was reading I realised I’ve either not even heard half the songs or forgotten them. Mrs H insisted we watch the Man in the High Castle, and reading about a Stones album that has never actually existed for me was a bit like jumping into an alternate reality.

    At about the time I was buying Stones albums, I also picked up a Stooges compilation. There were a lot of records I’d force myself to listen to over and over again because I thought I’d eventually get into then if I did, Metal Machine Music was one, a Doctor John album another and what I later found out was a not very widely liked John Cale album another. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t get into the Stooges best of. No Fun was ok, 1969 was all right for the first three minutes, but like everything else on there went on too long, the rest was as you describe and I thought it was me. I’ve never listened to any of their albums in their entirety, or ever really wanted to, although I picked up a copy of the single of Sick of You and used to really love that one song. I saw Iggy once and didn’t get it live either.

  55. I look back fondly on the days when Happiness Stan was one of my favorite Townspeople… 🙁 (JOKING.)

  56. My older brother loved Billy Gibbons. Hrundi, another Rock Town Haller who I’d love to see up here more often, always swore by him as well. What I enjoyed most about watching that thing was how much my brother was influenced by his playing. That never really clicked before.

    Here’s an mp3 of my brother playing his Telecaster, showing off his Gibbons inspired licks. Just hit the download button in the upper right hand corner.


    See what I mean?

    One more thing. A major factor that separates a great band from a good band is the personalities of the players, which has always been one of my major problems with a group like ZZ Top and especially the Band. A Band interview without Robbie Robertson on Levon Helm is like a Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey.

  57. God bless you, Mr. Happiness! I too thought it was all me, that I was the only one out there thinking, “This is what everyone’s making a fuss about?”

    As far as your thoughts on the Stones, the UK and US releases are markedly different across the board, which makes it difficult discussing the merits of the albums. It all depends on familiarity.

    For years, I’d read interviews with various musicians championing Aftermath as the Stones breakthrough release. I’m assuming that’s because it’s their first LP in which they wrote all the songs. That’s fine and all, but 11 minutes of the LP’s vinyl is wasted on “Goin’ Home.” Simply put, it’s a bad track, and it’s what you do when you run out of ideas; That inclusion, along with some weak originals like “Flight 505”, “High and Dry”, “Doncha Bother Me” , and “It’s Not Easy” ruin my enjoyment of both the UK and US versions.

    And all that blows because the highs are really high. On the UK LP, there’s “Out of Time”, “What to Do”, and “Take it Or Leave It”, along with the rest of the great stuff on both versions like “Under My Thumb” and “Stupid Girl.” The dead weight just kills the records.

    As far as I’m concerned their first coverless masterpiece with no reservations is Beggar’s Banquet. If I had to pick an album that gives Revolver a run for its money, that would be the one.

  58. Happiness Stan

    I’ve always thought of the Stones as a fantastic singles band, with a ton of great album tracks, there’s always something to ruin their albums for me somewhere, like as you say eleven minutes of Going Home. I struggle with Stupid Girl and Under My Thumb these days, I used to be a lot more forgiving of misogyny when it was coupled with a great riff, can’t do it any more.

    The only albums of theirs I’d ever return to regularly were the two sixties hits collections and Rolled Gold. I used to have a pile of tapes of the listenable album tracks, there is no shortage of them.

    After about twenty years of avoiding Beatles records because I’d simply heard them too many times, I dug out the red and blue albums and Revolver eighteen months ago when I was taking our daughter to Liverpool to look at the drama school (Paul McCartney’s old school as was) and instantly remembered what it was I used to love about them. It spurred me on to buy a copy of Revolution in the Head.

    A few months ago Mark Lewisohn came to the theatre where I volunteer and did his Hornsey Road talk, which was very entertaining. I’ve come to appreciate Abbey Road more than I used to and it was fascinating to hear tapes from the sessions with the obsessive background research he’s put in.

  59. Happiness Stan

    Come, Mr Mod, we used to disagree about loads of things, surely!

  60. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten into with my brother in law about the Stones’ misogyny. I’m still at the point where the good stuff hits like a bomb. When I hear it,I’m too overwhelmed for any kind of in depth analysis. It’s like meeting the devil at the cross roads. It’s just too good to say no.

  61. Perhaps we did, Happiness Stan. I’m not really upset with you. I’m not even upset with E. Plurisus Gergely. I am too filled with love to do anything but love you more for your current inability to want to smash a mailbox along with the opening drum fill of “Loose,” to levitate alongside with me when Steve Mackay enters on sax midway through “1970.” It’s all the supposed Stooges fans in the Hall who have raised my ire. I come back, after 4 years away from this place, to find them dry-humping the peanut butter-smeared chest of the Golden Iggy and playing air guitar along with the usurper, James Williamson!

    “Who is on the Mod’s side, come to me!” I proclaimed. Only Joshua, I mean, Andyr, stood beside me in righteousness. For this, the rest of you supposed Stooges lovers will drink bitter waters and be sentenced to a lifetime of belatedly coming to the conclusion that Iggy’s duet with the B-52’s’ Kate Pierson on “Candy” is “cute.”


  62. Oh, here’s an area where we disagree, Stan: the misogyny of “Under My Thumb.” I have always loved that song. It’s one of my Top 3 favorite Rolling Stones songs. I became away of the misogynistic charges in my college years, but it’s never bothered me. Not because I’m misogynistic, but because I hear it as a type of role-playing that realistically portrays a kind of deep-set misogyny that is in the world, that perhaps even I’ve felt at my worst moments. In movie terms – for me – it’s a portrayal of an type of ugliness that’s akin to the portrayal of ugly human emotions in Scorsese films like Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. I’m not saying Jagger or Scorsese are wonderful human beings in real life – I don’t know them at all – but I think they’re body of work tells me they’re too smart, too sensitive not to be acting out a part.

  63. You may not believe this, Moderator, but I feel for you. What you’re going through is even worse than overhearing one of your closest friends saying something like, “Look, I’m not into Kiss, but they put on a hell of a show.” I don’t want to start any trouble, but I could see Andy saying something like that.

  64. Mr. Gergely’s character assassination of andyr seems completely unwarranted, but so does Mr. Mod’s assault on the non-Stooges defenders. I am lukewarm on the Stooges. Somewhere along the way, I’ve picked up the three records and, yes, Raw Power, especially in its original shrill, white-noise, treble mix is clearly the least of the three. I do like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” because any recording with that unchanging drone note banging through the changes, my favorite Velvets trick, immediately gets an 89 out of 100 in my book and it definitely adds some points for the progression, hook, words and vocal. Of course, since its my opinion that Cale dropped that drone in there, that song doesn’t necessarily make the Stooges great.

    Funhouse, though, gets to the point of the Stooges. At their best, which Funhouse is, they have an undeniable, greasy swing. This kind of thing is not right up my alley, but I’ve come to appreciate it through playing with a big Stooges fan for years, occasionally indulging that side of his musical palette. Maybe even more so, by realizing that some music I’ve become fond of (all after 1983) owes a large debt to the Stooges. Spiritualized, who may not hold much sway with RTH, and, especially, the Original Sins, who probably hold a lot more with the corner of RTH that know of them, both lean on heavily on the Stooges in their sound. If it’s good enough for the good Brother JT, it’s good enough for me!

  65. I do have to admit that I prefer “Lust for Life” to any Stooges track. That one just kills me, overplayed or not.

    And Cindy was the cute B-52 girl, in my opinion.

  66. Spiritualized, Brother J.T, and the Original Sins, …hang in there, Moderator! More support is on the way!!!!

  67. Fuck! I forgot to mention Andy, which is shameful, because he’s like the 5th musketeer in the gang. If all goes well, you might even get the Philadelphia Record Exchange guys to help you out!


  69. Again, nothing is more entertaining than watching someone dig their own grave.

  70. BigSteve

    Any Stooges fan who hasn’t absorbed the 6-CD set of Fun House outtakes is a poser.

    I love Raw Power, but it’s hard to believe that the remixed versions that have been released actually sound worse than the original, which I wouldn’t have thought possible.

  71. No, I was saying that the new version of Raw Power sounds better…and I still don’t think it’s as good as Funhouse. That original Raw Power mix is just bizarre.

    I’m not sure I’d consider myself a Stooges “fan,” but I’d gladly kicking $20 toward a copy of that for EPG.

  72. “Suppose that we hit the body with tremendous, whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light…”

  73. BigSteve

    I was looking forward to Raw Power Redux, but I was very disappointed. I think how fucked up they were and how fucked up the mix was is just part of the deal. I suspect the original tapes are beyond the help of any remixing or remastering.

  74. Happiness Stan

    Mr M, I hear what you’re saying, I’m just not sure that – if any role playing, or irony was ever intended – that it’s dated well.

    It’s the same beef I have with Zep and the Stranglers, love the music, turned off by the lyrics. I hear where you’re coming from, and respect that it’s my buttons which are being pushed while yours aren’t.

    Perhaps it’s a cultural thing, I grew up with a largely invisible father and a bunch of strong women who called bs on the guys Jagger and Plant and Cornwell grew up with wolf whistling at them from building sites and demanding to see parts of their anatomy every time they walked down the street. It was the same power game, it was crappy then and still is today.

  75. Happiness Stan

    I’m not into X but they put on a great show would be a great thread. Since I’ve been volunteering at the theatre I’ve seen some great stuff by people of never have spent money on seeing, or even been prepared to spend two hours of my life watching out listening to.

    A few years ago I took the children to see the pantomime, slightly nervous about its star being Jimmy Osmond. I wasn’t prepared in any sense for his charisma and stage presence, even the memory of it leaves me questioning my fundamental beliefs and the nature of perception. Some years later I found a signed programme from the show at a boot sale and am now prepared to confess to the Hall that I parted with a not very large amount of money for it.

    I don’t think I’d want to see Kiss, but if they played our theatre I’d probably put myself forward to work it. The only one I drew the line at was UB40, having seen them twice over the last thirty five years I felt one could have enough of a good thing.

  76. It sounds like we grew up under similar conditions, Happiness Stan. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment.

  77. Is EPG still dragging me in the comments? Yawn……Someone needs to get a life!

  78. Hi Andy, I just picked up a record collection. Little River Band’s Greatest Hits is in there. I recall that being something you were looking for. I’ll post it today.

  79. EPG – Does Ms Gergs know about your obsession with me?

  80. She does. And just for the record, you know all this is in good fun. I don’t know what it is about you, but I love pissing you off.

    Just a random thought. I’m getting worried, really worried. Last time my favorite used record store guy came to my house to buy, he told me to hold off on Costello: “He’s becoming a hard sell.” Imagine such a thing!. I can understand someone not wanting Almost Blue and anything after Trust (Imperial Bedroom never really did a whole lot for me), but no interest in “This Year’s Model” or “Get Happy”? Apparently, it’s no longer cool to like Costello. This is not a good sign.

    Today, I listened to “This Year’s Girl” because there’s that Stones tie in. I remembered reading Costello ripped off the break from “Stupid Girl”. He does indeed rip it off, and what he does with it is very effective. Nobody wants to buy that? Why? What kind of god would allow something like that to happen?

  81. Was I the first person to identify the rip off of the break in “Stupid Girl” for use in “This Year’s Girl”? Perhaps. I noticed it in 1982. I remember pointing it out to friends over a listening party in my room.

    Listen, EPG, I don’t want to get us any more sidetracked than we’ve already gotten by the subtext of this piece, the stuff about the Stones. Here’s what I hope you can understand about The Stooges’ Fun House – and here’s what I hope others in need of peace, love, and understanding can get from this: The genius of Fun House is how it teaches the power of locking in on a certain set of rock fundamentals that the band first happened on for “No Fun” and “1969,” from the first album. It’s a form of “chunkdown” (that’s the technical term used at music schools and conservatories, like Berkeley). The chunkdown probably dates back to the work of Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters, in origin, but the Velvet Underground may have first made it a staple of their sound. Think of the insistent rhythm of “Waiting for My Man,” “Sister Ray,” and “What Goes On.” Unlike the Velvets, who also had a firm mastery of melody and unique lyrical topics, the Stooges had no particularly sophisticated tools. You’re way off base in saying they had no chops, because I think they had the sort of chops that mark the genius of a Ringo or George Harrison; that is, they had the sense to maximize within their limitations. Will that make Jeff Beck fans cream their jeans? Of course not, but like a humble pan of well-prepared pork chops, that is a valid form of chops.

    So, the Stooges took those self-aware chops and fully committed to the chunkdown, like no artist had ever done since Bo Diddley, another legendary innovator with a limited arsenal. Is Iggy’s outsider swagger a key element of the band’s greatness? Of course, but you’ve wisely disregarded probably all solo Iggy recordings except for “Lust for Life” (I’ll grant him maybe three other cool solo songs). You know why? Because he’s not backed by the original lineup of the Stooges, with Ron Asheton on guitar, not James Williamson (who pushed Ron over to bass, in place of the brain-damaged, I believe, Dave Alexander). Now, you still disregard the Stooges, but I won’t say you’ve “wisely disregarded” them. This gets back to the glory of their full commitment to the chunkdown. You complain that songs like “1970” and the title track are too long. They’re not in this world to serve as crafted songs, but as meditations. You may feel you’re above the tribe – and I can see you cringe at my mere use of the word “tribe,” but if you want a tribal experience, you’ve got to let yourself into the groove. The genius of James Brown’s long, repetitive stuff is not the craftsmanship of its bridges and harmonies but the commitment to that jumble of weird riffs. Each musician gets into his own space and focuses on brewing up his portion of the stew. It all falls into place.

    For musicians more dexterous than me and my mates, at 20 years old, under the spell of a bag of Thai stick, maybe we would have gone down the JBs tribal route and turned into something nightmarish, like Red Hot Chili Peppers. Instead, we’d already been cutting our teeth on Nuggets tunes like “Psychotic Reaction” and “Night Time.” The Stooges gave us a way into trimming off the dated nonsense from those garage-rock workouts and getting down to business on the essential bits. Kind of like what “Sister Ray” promised but went on for too long for even someone like me to want to listen to more than three times annually, the Stooges cut the bullshit AND raised a two middle fingers to hippified AM radio expectations. The best songs from the Stooges’ debut and all of Fun House showed us the benefit of committing to the chunkdown. Whenever I play music and get the chunkdown just so, as we do in the chunkdown on the E chord whenever we play The Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love,” the rest of the song, the rest of the world can go to hell. Sometimes, I need to lean on the chunkdown and get that illusion of bike wheel that is spinning so fast it looks like it’s spinning in reverse. No drugs are needed to reach that state, just a full-on commitment to the downbeat. Listen to “No Fun” with that in mind. I don’t expect you to then jump right into Fun House, but you should be able to enjoy the cool, outsider swagger of “No Fun” the way you can a Bo Diddley classic. You’ll be able to identify the customary 8-bar chunkdowns that bands allow themselves (eg, my example of “Ever Fallen in Love” or “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” ). I know, there’s only so much room in the world for unabashed 7 minutes of chunkdown, but whenever you get to side 1 of Fun House, you’ll hear with fresh ears how the chunkdown can breathe and become as freeing a groove as any groove that you may consider more sophisticated, like a well-done shuffle.

  82. Once again, we’ve got problems right away. This is sheer nonsense:

    “Unlike the Velvets, who also had a firm mastery of melody and unique lyrical topics, the Stooges had no particularly sophisticated tools. You’re way off base in saying they had no chops, because I think they had the sort of chops that mark the genius of a Ringo or George Harrison; that is, they had the sense to maximize within their limitations.”

    No, they absolutely and positively did not have those chops. How does one maximize one’s limitations when there’s nothing there to work with whatsoever? And I’m sick and tired of the bad mouthing that George and Ringo get. Good luck coming up with players with those kind of chops willing to use them for the sole purpose of elevating whatever song to its maximum potential.

    Bits? There are no real bits in Stooges songs because no one knows what they are and no one can play them. Hence, no one knows why they’re necessary.

    I’ll make your Stooges argument for you since you keep bumbling around because you’re too much of a wuss to come out and say it: “When I was young, me and my buddies could barely play, and that sucked. It didn’t suck so much after having our first Stooges experience. Here was a bunch of so-so in the head guys who looked super cool on the albums covers, even though they were kind of disturbed looking, knew maybe three chords and a couple of simple drum patterns, and saw that volume might might cover up a plethora of sins. Bang! IWe can do that!”

    Their only really contribution is that that mindset allowed a lot of “I can do thats” to start bands. And some of those bands progressed beyond the Stooges mindset, developed something within the ballpark of insight and chops, and went on to put out some great stuff, like your beloved Undertones, who are my beloved Undertones as well.

    The tide will turn. History will no longer treat that band as the geniuses they are said to be today. Eventually, Funhouse will be seen as A Lady Chatterly’s Lover kind of thing; insightfully bankrupt but necessary at the time, yet worthless today,

  83. All right, EPG, the gloves are coming off. I can’t even finish reading what you wrote. It’s so clear you haven’t even heard Fun House enough to pass judgment on anyone’s chops. Those guys have the essentials down of keeping the groove. They don’t overplay. They have arrangements. They react to each other. You may not like what it adds up to, but they know how to fucking play.

    Second, stop being such a baby over anyone saying that Ringo and George had limited chops. George, especially, had limited chops. That doesn’t mean they weren’t FANTASTIC musicians, because they had great arrangements to fit great songs – and they played within their limits. George didn’t even qualify for lead guitar in Delaney & Bonnie. He had to play second fiddle to your whipping boy Clapton.

    Third, you do not have the right to hop on my Undertones coattails. I know it’s the one olive branch you’ve offered me, but I’m not allowing it. I had to do some work on you to get you to see the light with those guys, and I doubt you’re fully onboard with Positive Touch. Are you? If so, ride my coattails. If not, you’re stuck on the Undertones’ kiddie rides with most people who say they like the Undertones. There’s no shame in that: 85% of the fun is in that section, but taking a ride on Positive Touch requires extra credibility.

    I’m cool with you not getting what I’ve tried to suggest you’re missing regarding Fun House, but don’t put words in my mouth. I know too much to be reduced to some analogy that makes me out to be an architect who was inspired by his childhood Erector Set. Or if that is an appropriate analogy, I’m the architect who’s still willing to understand all that his Erector Set contained.

    I love you, brother, but it’s time to get real or put on a few extra layers of underwear. I’ve got a paddle ready for you.

  84. Positive Touch is yet another or your five star insufferable snoozers. And know that I’ve had it as well with all that crap you’re still hanging on to. Please watch the following clip so you have a general idea of what to expect during tonight’s double date.


    See ya later tonight, buddy.

  85. “all that crap you’re still hanging on to…”

    pot, kettle.

  86. Good time last night, my brother. And you’re looking good too. I’m digging the apostolic like beard. Regarding the whole Stooges thing, let’s agree to disagree, and leave it at that.

    Something to think about today. What is your beef with the Sopranos. You stand alone in your view that’s its not worth watching. Why?

  87. I stand alongside Peter Bogdanovich’s character’s meta-analysis of the faults with The Sopranos. I’ll leave myself the right to change my mind some day.

  88. Which is what? If there is such a thing, please send me a link to it!

  89. Moderator, Lady Gergely is apparently working on something, and she can’t be bothered. Checking her phone, I see that the two of you have been in contact several times today. I don’t want this to get ugly. I’d appreciate a phone call asap.

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