Saturday, April 30, 2005

One-man Mud Appreciation Society

These blokes ruled the radio across the pond.
Mention Mud to an American, however, and all you hear is "who?"
I have been stomping in my platform shoes (oh, of course not really) all over the house these days, soaking in the glorious glam rock of the 1970s.
I have wanted to make a glam-rock mix for friends, but I couldn't make the mix without adding a little Mud. A "best-of" CD arrived the other day. I can't quit listening.
Singer Les Gray, drummer Dave Mount, bassist Ray Stiles and guitarist Rob Davis were quite possibly the least pretentious band of all time. Perhaps that's why very few people in America have ever heard of them.
Mud just wanted to have fun, and during their brief reign, they succeeded admirably.
They concocted a catchy form of glam rock that reimagined the 1950s with 1970s production values. Their songs serve as a soundtrack to a fun night out with friends or a fun night in with grandparents.
Here are SIX REASONS why I love Mud:
1. Diabolically successful songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman are known for penning Sweet's hits. However, "Dyna-Mite" and "Tiger Feet," two of the many songs they wrote for Mud, are catchier -- by such a large margin, it is REDONKULOUS.
2. When Mud discovered Gray could sound like Elvis, they mined that talent to produce songs such as "Rocket" and "Lonely This Christmas." They sound remarkably like lost songs by The King.
3. A memorable television appearance miming to "Lonely This Christmas" included Gray using a ventriloquist dummy for the song's speaking portion, because miming to speech was too difficult for him to attempt.
4. "Tiger Feet" stood like a rollicking colossus atop the UK singles chart for a full month in early 1974. "That's neat, that's neat, that's neat, that's neat I really love your Tiger Feet."
5. After the band's demise, Gray embarked on a solo career. He recorded an Elvis tribute under the pseudonym "Tulsa McLean." Sadly, Gray passed away in 2004.
6. Little did anyone know at the time, but Mud actually harbored a SECRET MUSICAL GENIUS in their ranks. Curly-haired and wide-collared guitarist Davis was actually a POP MUSIC SAVANT. His post-Mud career includes penning the UK chart-topping hits "Groovejet (If this Ain't Love)" by Spiller and "Can't Get You Out of My Head" by Kylie Minogue (incidentally, a song so catchy you cannot get it out of your head... thanks Rob).
Weighing the evidence and determining that Mud are one of the truly great, yet under-appreciated bands of all time (at least over here in the states), I have decided to form a Mud Appreciation Society. I will commence spreading the gospel in five... four... three... two... one...!
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Friday, April 29, 2005

'Scuse me while I kiss this guy

What did they just say?
Today's Friday Question seeks the funniest misheard lyric our readers have encountered. Entire Web sites have been devoted to misheard lyrics (also known as "mondegreens").
Here are some of those musical moments that make you think: What did they just say?
Amy G. -- "I worked as a Perkins waitress when Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' came out. One dopey busboy thought the words were 'Village Inn' instead of 'Billie Jean.' We spent a lot of time singing, 'Village Inn, has good pancakes...' a waitron's subliminal subterfuge in the dog-eat-dog world of breakfast restaurants. A guy I know thought 'big old jet airliner' was 'big old Chad at the lighthouse.' I have no explanation for that one. Personally, I still don't know the words to 'Blinded by the Light.' You know the part I'm talking about.
Jill H. -- "Listening to my sister scream at the top of her lungs in the camper: 'Take me down to the yellow aces' (instead of 'oasis,' from 'Friends in Low Places')."
Dave B. -- "'Play that f**king music white boy.' I always wondered my White Cherry could cuss on (radio station) D93, and no other band could."
Clete C. -- "For the longest time, I thought 'In-a-gadda-da-vida, baby' was 'Any gotta a weed-a, baby.'"
Diane H. -- "I am sure I've misheard plenty of lyrics in my time, but perhaps funnier is the fact that when I was about 10 and (inexplicably) had a magazine picture of them taped to my wall, I thought their name was 'Haulin' Oats.' It was much later that I realized it was Hall and Oates. In my defense, I did grow up on a farm, and people really do haul oats."
Scout S. -- "In high school, my best friend Tim and I would drive around town singing along to various records. One day it was the Clash. When the band sang, on 'Rock the Casbah,' 'shareef don't like it, thinks it's not kosher' my friend Tim sang, in all seriousness: 'Shareef don't like it, SIX O'CLOCK TOE SHOW!' and I looked at him and asked, did you just say 'six o'clock toe show?' and he said, 'yeah, of course I did, why?' as though it was the most obvious lyric ever written. Which it is, of course."
Ken B. -- "'Hold me closer, Tony Danza' ('Tiny Dancer') and 'Let's get Biblical' ('Physical')."
Jim S. -- "Here are a couple of mine: 'Everybody's playin' pool' instead of 'Everbody plays the fool,' Main Ingredient (1972) and 'Virgin!' instead of 'Urgent,' Foreigner (1981).
Erik H (me!) -- "When I was a slightly hard-of-hearing child, before I grew into a slightly hard-of-hearing adult, I could have sworn Jimi Hendrix was singing 'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy.' Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, it seemed entirely plausible that Hendrix had penned an ode to same-sex companionship, and I never said anything for fear of seeming intolerant (so that's how political correctness got started!) Still, I was relieved when somebody helpfully pointed out that Jimi just wanted to kiss the sky."

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

I took a page out of my rule book for you

Pop music lends itself to the pursuit of perfection.
Some (Brian Wilson) have been driven to the edge of madness pursuing perfect pop. The rest of us can just sit back and enjoy the fruits of their efforts.
I am hesitant to name a perfect pop song, although if pressed, I might have to agree with the late John Peel.
Ask me to name a perfect pop album, however, and I hardly hesitate: "Cupid & Psyche 85" by Scritti Politti.
Those with an aversion to synthesizers and androgyny should turn back now.
Have they left? Good.
Lushly and unabashedly romantic, "Cupid & Psyche 85" belongs on a high plateau somewhere. The songs glide along with an uncanny ease and Green Gartside's delicate voice remains nothing short of majestic on each and every track.
Ironic, then, that Scritti Politti began life as a rag-tag, post-punk band of post-art school squatters.
Gartside formed Scritti Politti in 1977 in Leeds. The next year, their debut single "Skank Bloc Bologna" arrived via Rough Trade. It is amazingly unlike later Scritti Politti efforts: It almost sounds like Green Gartside backed by The Fall or the Gang of Four. A bass carries the melody while a monotonously scratchy guitar nearly obliterates Gartside's vocals.
Gartside collapsed on an early tour of the post-punk version of Scritti Politti. He returned from his recuperation in a new guise and the 1981 single "The Sweetest Girl" reveals a growing interest in dub reggae and -- more to the point -- pop perfection.
The Rough Guide to Rock describes his 1985 effort, "Cupid & Psyche," as "sharp as a diamond" and true to form, it shines like a greatest hits package.
Most Americans probably remember "Perfect Way," a song good enough to be covered later by Miles Davis. (Miles later repaid Scritti Politti, providing a beautiful trumpet solo on "Oh Patti" from the 1988 album "Provision.")
My introduction to the songs of "Cupid & Psyche" occurred in the summer of 1984.
I was listening to KQAK, San Francisco's legendary (and lamentably deceased) alternative radio station "The Quake," when a distinctive, herky-jerky clanking kicked off "Wood Beez," the first single off the album. It sounded like nothing I had ever heard before. I was hooked.
Masterful songs like "Hypnotize," "The Word Girl" and "Absolute" fill out "Cupid & Psyche," a 20-year-old (gosh!), sparkling album that has yet to dim for me.
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Queries Answered, Answers Queried

Recently, Blog reader Brian C. wondered about the song playing on the current Land Rover television commercial.
According to Land Rover and Ace Records, the song is an updated version of the Richard Berry classic "Have Love Will Travel," performed by the legendary Sonics.
Back in the mid-60s, the Sonics were among the garage rock pioneers. Their song "Psycho" has influenced generations of punk rockers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Blog writer relives childhood... again

Sorry! I seem to be stuck in nostalgia mode.
It's just that I am listening to glam rock in preparation for a CD mix I plan to make to celebrate my birthday (did I mention it's May 3?) and these songs keep drawing me back to the past.
I am awaiting a package from Amazon, which will contain a pair of glam rock CDs to assist my efforts. One of the CDs is "Kimono My House," the 1974 masterpiece by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, a.k.a. Sparks.
This album was ridiculously (redonkulously?) influential, preceding the British new wave and new romantic movements by at least seven years.
I remember as a kid thinking Sparks were the dream group... funny, quirky and catchy as hell. Plus, Ron Mael looked weird with his Chaplinesque moustache and short hair. I looked weird, too. So perhaps there was some hope for me yet.
Well, I have been unable to remain patient for the Amazon package to arrive, so yesterday I dug around in the basement for an Island Records compilation tape I had in high school.
I miraculously found the tape and there it was -- "This Town Ain't Big Enough For the Both of Us" by Sparks. The song opened "Kimono My House" and catapulted Los Angeles-based Sparks to British fame.
I played that song five times in a row, every time attempting to sing along to Russell Mael's warbly, high-pitched vocals.
Thank goodness nobody else was around.

This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us:

Zoo time is she and you time

The mammals are your favourite type, and you want her tonight
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
You hear the thunder of stampeding rhinos, elephants and tacky tigers
This town ain't big enough for both of us
And it ain't me who's gonna leave
Flying, domestic flying
And when the stewardess is near do not show any fear
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
You are a khaki-coloured bombardier, it's Hiroshima that you're nearing
This town ain't big enough for both of us
And it ain't me who's gonna leave
Daily, except for Sunday
You dawdle in to the cafe where you meet her each day
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
As twenty cannibals have hold of you, they need their protein just like you do
This town ain't big enough for both of us
And it ain't me who's gonna leave
Shower, another shower
You've got to look your best for her and be clean everywhere
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
The rain is pouring on the foreign town, the bullets cannot cut you down
This town ain't big enough for both of us
And it ain't me who's gonna leave
Census, the latest census
There'll be more girls who live in town though not enough to go round
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
You know that:
This town isn't big enough, not big enough for both of us

This town isn't big enough, not big enough for both of us
And I ain't gonna leave

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Rime of the Ancient Glam Rocker

I plan on compiling a glam rock CD mix to help celebrate my birthday (a week from today -- plenty of good presents still available), so I have been immersing myself in English music circa 1971-74.
You can't really appreciate glam -- the stomping simplicity of 1950s rock melded to 1970s fuzz -- without listening to T. Rex.
T. Rex leader Marc Bolan (pictured above) essentially kicked off the glam movement with "Ride a White Swan" back in October 1970.
The Rough Guide to Rock, treading an established path, refers to the T. Rex sound as "strutting guitar boogie, breath-taking vocals and meaningless lyrics."
This assessment has been passed along from generations of music critics and fans, so that it now stands as empirical fact.
As I listened to the T. Rex album "The Slider" from 1972 last night, I wondered if the prevailing wisdom might be wrong.
What if Bolan's oblique lyrics actually pack as much meaning as a Coleridge poem, and we have simply been unable to accurately comprehend them all these years?
Each line below comes from either Marc Bolan (1947-77) or Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). Try to determine the author.
A. "Pleasant crescent moon fills my heart with pain."
B. "Where melodies round honey-dropping-flowers."
C. "Shallow are the actions of the children of men"
D. "His eyes were bored with galactic lore."
E. "The night's dismay saddened and stunned the coming day."
F. "Just like a boat you are sunk but somehow you float you do."
G. "I gave you hope, gave health and genius, and an ample scope."
H. "Get it on, bang a gong, get it on."
OK... I know that last one was the easy one!
I just put that line in to throw the others in such sharp relief. It is not so easy discerning the poet from the allegedly nonsense-spewing rock star!
For the record, B, E and G are Coleridge. The rest are Bolan.
Nonsense? Perhaps we just need to listen a little closer.
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Monday, April 25, 2005

"The Most Unique Thing That Ever Happened to Country Music"

Lefty Frizzell's career peak lasted less than 2-1/2 years.
That brief time -- beginning in 1950 -- proved influential on countless country musicians.
An influential artist himself, Merle Haggard called Frizzell "the most unique thing that ever happened to country music."
I listened to Frizzell on a portable CD player while embarking on a long walk last night. I have been listening to him again this morning as I prepare for work.
Listen to Frizzell's music -- simple, slower-tempo honky tonk -- and it is difficult to see what all the fuss is about.
Then he sings.
Vowels bend and stretch, as Frizzell seemingly takes lines and wraps them around melodies. Roy Orbison, George Jones, George Strait and Randy Travis have all paid homage to Frizzell and his vocal technique.
Frizzell could sing. He also had a way with words.
You know the song "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time?" Lefty wrote that.
"I Love You a Thousand Ways" is his composition. "Look What Thoughts Will Do," "How Long Will it Take (to Stop Loving You)" and "Shine Shave Shower (It's Saturday Night)" are Frizzell songs, too.
Then there is "Always Late (With Your Kisses)," arguably the pinnacle of Frizzell's brief career. He displays all of his greatest attributes in this 1951 classic.
A warbly steel guitar riff opens the tune, then Lefty croons: "Alwa-aaa-aays Laay-aaaay-aaaay-te with your kisses."
Heavy drinking, legal problems, contractual disputes and changing times curtailed Frizzell's popularity in 1953.
He returned to the charts with two more memorable (although, not self-penned) songs: "Long Black Veil" in 1959 (later covered to great effect by The Band) and "Saginaw Michigan" in 1963.
Frizzell co-wrote "That's The Way Love Goes" late in his career, but the heavy drinking caught up with him.
William Orville "Lefty" Frizzell passed away in 1975, felled by a stroke.
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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Why isn't this man in the country hall of fame?

It defies explanation.
Gram Parsons looms large on the musical landscape, as both a creator of beautiful music and as a pioneering prophet, brave (or foolish) enough to meld country and rock.
Don't blame his exclusion on the drug overdose, either. The Country Music Hall of Fame is littered with people who drank themselves into an early grave.
I worked today, and as I drove around I blared The Byrds' "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" on the car stereo. That 1968 album bewildered critics and confused fans. It peaked at No. 77 on the charts and then sank into obscurity... except for musicians.
The Eagles, R.E.M., Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Dwight Yoakam, Garth Brooks, Montgomery Gentry and Ryan Adams are just a handful of the artists bearing the indelible mark of this album's influence.
Later, Parsons refined his loose, country-rock sound with The Flying Burrito Brothers, profoundly influencing the Rolling Stones in the process.
Then he produced a pair of stunning solo efforts -- 1973's "GP" and 1974's "Grievous Angel." By that latter release, he had already died an inglorious death.
But not before discovering Emmylou Harris. If nothing else, Parsons deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame for rescuing Harris from the obscure life of a Washington, D.C.-area folk singer.

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Hippy hick influenced the hick hippies

He was too "hippy" for the hicks and too "hick" for the hippies.
Yet Gram Parsons' genius was to fuse the two sensibilities into a music that continues to resonate throughout America today.
Six songs stand as Parsons' most towering achievements:
1. "Luxury Liner" by the International Submarine Band. His first masterpiece, this tune grafted rock drumming onto a country song.
2. "Hickory Wind" by The Byrds. A gentle song about his southern roots.
3. "One Hundred Years from This Day" by The Byrds. Catch the version on the "legacy edition" of "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." It has Parsons' heartfelt vocals, kept off the original version because of contractual hassles. I never tire of this song.
4. "Lazy Days" by The Flying Burrito Brothers. A seriously good-time rockin' honky tonk song by the band with the hilariously good-time name.
5. "Return of the Grievous Angel" by Gram Parsons. God loves music. How else do you describe this duet between Parsons and Emmylou Harris.
6. "$1000 Wedding" by Gram Parsons. A haunting ode to the groom left stranded at the altar. Graceful.
Obviously there are more wonderful songs by Parsons. He ever made cover versions sound like they came straight from his heart. I cannot recommend Parsons highly enough.

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Friday, April 22, 2005

We're No. 33,463! We're No. 33,463! We're No. 33,463!

Hmm... As chants go, "We're No. 33,463!" does not exactly trip off the tongue.
However, YOUR FAVORITE BLOG (er... meaning this one...) is now the 33,463rd blog listed in Blogarama, one of the Web's largest blog directories.
To find us in Blogarama, simply type in "Route 1."
Another small step toward worldwide blog domination? Maybe. First, though, I need to get one of those big foam hands with 33,463 fingers.

Wind me up, put me down, start me off and watch me go!

Friday Question: What song from a commercial never fails to lodge itself in my head? You couldn't escape this commercial or this song... particularly while watching this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament.
The iPod silhouette doing a frenzied dance to an organ-driven slice of retro-garage rock. Classic.
It was "Jerk it Out" by the Caesars, and it was so catchy it was redonkulous.
I'm still singing along to it right now. As I am typing this... it is almost too catchy.
Did I mention they are SWEDISH?

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I (Heart) Friday Question

Let's get right to the Friday Question!
What song on a television commercial never fails to lodge itself in head?
Emily S. -- "Well, there are approximately 1 million songs in my head at any given time. However, the one that really sticks with me is the Justin Timberlake, Houston and Chingy song, 'I Like That,' used by McDonald's this past summer to promote its ring tones. It makes me want to dance at a club!"
Ann M. -- "The 'Zoom Zoom' Mazda commercial."
Inger H. -- "That new VW ad where the downstairs neighbor complains about the couple raucously dancing to 'Molly's Chambers' by Kings of Leon... I'm not that crazy about the song, but it sure is catchy."
Dave B. -- "My bologna has a first name, it's o-s-c-a-r, my bologna has a second name, it's m-e-y-e-r. Oh how I love to eat it every day and if you ask me why I'll say, Oscar Meyer has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a."
Kerstin H. -- "I think that 'Swiff It' song from the Swiffer commercial (a take off on Devo's 'Whip It'). It was hard (to choose) because I don't watch many commercials."
Dave K. -- "'Like a Rock' by Bob Seger... from the Chevy commercial."
Ellen B. -- "'Put the Lime in the Coke You Nut,' from the Coca-Cola commercial."
Jill H. -- "'I Feel Good' (by James Brown). It has been on a lot of commercials. Like when we were in California, with the Giants."
Madelin F. -- "That one from Kill Bill (on the Vonage commercial). The' 'Woo Hoo.' That one gets me."
Gary D. -- "The Cadillac commercial with 'Rock and Roll' by Led Zeppelin. Although I don't like songs from great, classic rock artists to end up in a commercial (save that for the newer, less talented artists who have few original thoughts on music creation, and the Beatles), this one hooks me. Now, when I see a Cadillac, I immediately think of Led Zeppelin and the great drumming in that song."
Rick T. -- "I am stuck on Bandaids 'caus Bandaids stuck on me."
Diane H. -- "'Picture Book' by the Kinks, used in the HP printer ad. I love, love, love it. 'Picture book/pictures of your mama/pictures of you papa/a long time ago.'"
(Editor's note: Friday Question asks the question, blog readers like you supply the answer.)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

All You Need to Know About T. Rex

Here is 9-year-old Kerstin modeling her artistic creation, "Marc Bolan."
Marc Bolan, of course, was the lead singer of British glam rock sensations T. Rex. I have been listening to T. Rex and other British bands from the 1970s to prepare for a glam rock CD mix I want to make.
Here is what Bolan fan Kerstin has to say about T. Rex:
"They can be fun to listen to because they're very creative. The music reminds me of summer. I like to dance around to them and some of the songs I like to sing to. I like the song 'Jeepster' because he was very creative and also I like the song 'Ride a White Swan.' It is like good, fun party music!"
There you have it... now, go out and get some T. Rex today. Don't take my word for it... take Kerstin's!
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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Teh redonkulous life

It is becoming much more difficult to be rad these days.
You can't even stay hip by spewing the latest slang.
Take the word "redonkulous," for example. It means "ridiculous in the extreme," and it would seem an ideal candidate for use by hipsters. One problem: The word has already been used on "The O.C." Great... once again, network television is co-opting the cool things.
Remember when Death Cab for Cutie were cool? Then they became staples on "The O.C." and suddenly... all vestiges of cool have evaporated. The Bellingham, Wash. band have even left little Barsuk Records for a major label... Atlantic Records.
I am so sorry. You cannot be called "indie-pop" if you record for Atlantic Records.
The very same thing is happening with off-the-hook slang like "redonkulous." It can't very well be considered "off-the-hook" after it is broadcast over the airwaves. That would be like kids in the late 70s thinking they were cool by saying "sit on it, Potsie."
If you feel the need to keep ahead of the "O.C." crowd, I suggest you dig deeper into the recesses of various sub-cultures to find your slang.
As a public service, the following are some examples of skater -- sorry, sk8er -- slang:
Diamondz = a perfectly executed trick.
Session = a time you go out and skate, hanging around time.
Betty = an extremely hot chick.
Bro = your friend.
B.G.P. = Background Prop. A person who invariably appears in the background of a photo. Also known as a B.G.L. (Background Loser).
Tricktionary = a bag of tricks so sick (sick is like "swell," only waaay better dude) they should be catalogued.
I asked young hipster Annika (pictured above, looking suitably off-the-hook) for a cool word I could start using. Her recommendation?
Add *THAT* to your tricktionary!
(Editor's note: The "teh" in the headline is not a typo... "teh" is hacker slang for "the." Use it liberally to help maintain your street cred!)
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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

You need alt+148 to write about this band

"You win some, lose some, all the same to me..."
I cut myself shaving this morning.
The wound was a real classic, with blood trickling down my face. Shocking. Even more shocking? The cut is up on my cheekbone... why was I even attempting to shave up there?
This random (and wholly unintentional) act of self-violence somehow got me in the mood to listen to some Motörhead.
I grabbed my "best-of" Motörhead CD as the girls and I left for their school.
They actually welcomed hearing the searing first track -- the seminal "Ace of Spades." The girls are always lobbying me for more hard rock in the car stereo.
With its "just can't give a toss" attitude, "Ace of Spades" seems perfectly nihilistic, especially on a day when you cut yourself shaving.
I have to do a fair amount of driving today, so be sure to look out for me. I will be the disfigured fellow headbanging to "The Chase is Better Than The Catch."
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Monday, April 18, 2005

Turn Every Day Into a Party!

Day off work. List of things I have done:
1. Went to the library. Checked out Daniel Clowes' brilliant graphic novel "Ghost World." Began reading it. Laughed out loud often.
2. While reading, I listened to classic dub reggae by the likes of Niney the Observer and Alvin "GG" Ranglin's All-Stars.
3. While reading and listening, I sipped some Red Stripe lager.
4. While reading, listening and sipping, I munched on some Chicken in a Biskit crackers, the strangest crackers ever developed in the entire history of industrial baking.
5. While reading, listening, sipping and munching, I glanced at the back of the Chicken in a Biskit box: "Turn Every Day Into a Party!"
6. "Turn Every Day Into a Party?'... I shuddered at the realization... my day has descended into some sort of geeky indie loser caricature.
You can probably hear me screaming from there, right?

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Sunday, April 17, 2005

No way... way!

Quick trivia on THE GREATEST YEAR EVER (aka 1966)...
Miss World? Reita Faria (Miss India)
Miss Universe? Margareta Arvidsson (Miss Sweden)

You scream and everybody comes -- a running

Were The Sweet a great band? Er... no.
Were The Sweet a good band who produced a clutch of great songs? Shi-yeah-yeah!
Unfortunately, The Sweet have been ruined for many Americans because "Little Willy" and "The Ballroom Blitz" inevitably show up at every wedding reception. Like it's some law or something.
That's really too bad.
A routine dish-washing episode turned into me dancing with abandon around the kitchen this morning -- to some of the catchiest tunes ever committed to vinyl -- courtesy of Brian Connolly, Mick Tucker, Andy Scott and Steve Priest, plus early songwriting svengalis Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Thanks lads.
"Blockbuster" opens with a siren and just gets more raucous from there.
"Teenage Rampage" is the greatest song for teenagers ever written by people more than twice their age.
"Action" is a song so ABSOLUTELY ROCKING that Def Leppard felt compelled to cover it.
Then there is "Fox on the Run." The Sweet's crowning glory.
I was in fifth or sixth grade in Concord, Calif. when "Fox on the Run" left its indelible mark on my psyche. The songs starts all warbly, then: "I-I-I don't wanna know your name..." The pounding drums and propulsive riffs push the song along like a strong wind at your back. Then comes that killer chorus.
It's the aural equivalent of the best chocolate bar you have ever had.
We actually had foxes back in those days. Feathered hair... denim with flowery designs... long lashes...
Oh course, they were all RIDICULOUSLY out of my league. But at least I could sing along to the song.
The memories came flooding back as I danced around the kitchen this morning. Thanks lads.
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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Stone-cold Classic No. 27

Is this the 27th best record of all time?
Er... perhaps I should rank it higher.
Q Magazine's "Ultimate Music Collection" issue calls "King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown" the "Pet Sounds" of dub reggae. Probably.
Augustus Pablo began life as a melodica player named Horace Swaby. King Tubby began life as a radio repairman named Osbourne Ruddock. On this 1976 collaboration, the pair created one of the most influential records of all time. More than that, though -- they also made an album that remains fresh and exciting to hear to this very day.
King Tubby "played" a mixing desk like a musical instrument. On the title track, released as a single in 1975, spectral vocals, melodica notes and a guitar riff fade in and out while a clattering drum lick keeps your head nodding and your toes tapping in time.
Dub takes previously recorded songs and chops them up, rearranges them and mixes them up. Sound like modern-day electronic dance music and hip hop? Those popular genres could not have existed without the pioneering work of Jamaica's dub originators.
On the track "Each One Dub," a melodica tune plays before a voice sings "Tomorrow may not be the same... same... same... same... same... same..."
Then you lose the voice in a hypnotic swirl of echo.
The best dub recordings remind me of the best jazz recordings.
The songs can serve as soothing background music. However, if you actively listen to the piece, you can fully appreciate the varied layers of intelligent composition.
I could listen to this type of music forever. Hmmm... so maybe a 27 ranking is a bit low.

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Wouldn't it be nice? Of course it would!

The only problem with this song is that it doesn't go on forever.
In fact, at about 2:22 or so "Wouldn't it be Nice" by the Beach Boys seems criminally short. Still, when I hear it, I always seem to feel the sun warming my face. The opening track on "Pet Sounds" -- and one of THE SONGS of the summer the year I was born (1966) -- is my answer to the Friday Question. It is one of my favorite songs I have always associated with warm weather. I could listen to Brian Wilson's mini-masterpiece endlessly.
A close second would be "Terraplane Blues" by Robert Johnson. The sweat seems to drip from this song -- provisionally about a car but really about sexual and romantic frustration. Johnson's singing and (frighteningly masterful) guitar playing sounds so languid at first, before becoming increasingly desperate -- almost like the air on a really, really hot day.
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TGI... Friday Question!

Sunny... 70 degrees... what a wonderful time to ask this Friday Question: Which of your favorite songs do you associate with warm weather?
Here's what you said:
Jill H. -- "Step On" by Happy Mondays -- "It reminds me of driving to the beach in California."
Madelin F. -- "Boys of Summer" by Don Henley -- "He's talking about a girl wearing her Wayfarers and the wind is in her hair. It takes me back to high school."
Dave B. -- "Raspberry Beret" by Prince -- "Senior year in high school... Swiss Valley county park... high school girlfriend at the time... no need to say more."
Matt K. -- "I Feel it Again" by Celestial Festival -- "That was the name of the band in 1991 when we spent the summer recording a 12-track album and drinking lots of beer and Jack Daniels."
Barb R. -- "Margaritaville" by Jimmy Buffett -- "It makes me think of fun in the sun down in Key West... Margaritas on the beach, parrots and parties."
Emily S. -- "Summertime" by Sublime -- "If I did drugs, I would do drugs to that song... but I don't."
Kerstin H. -- "So Far Away" by Root 'n' Jenny Jackson -- "It's my favorite reggae song."
Mark H. -- "Scarlet Begonias" by Grateful Dead -- "The lyrics paint this picture of this super hot babe with flowers in her hair."
Mary Rae B. -- "Appalachian Spring" by Aaron Copland -- "Not necessarily because 'spring' is in the title, but because of the mental picture of an awakening land created by the composer."
Diane H. -- "Hooch" by Everything -- "When I lived in Ames my friend Carrie and I would ride around with the windows rolled down and sing this one as we drove after work to Cafe Lovish, a bar that served pitchers of the best homemade sangria on their outdoor patio. When I hear the song now, I can almost taste the sangria."
Steve M. -- "Centerfield" by John Fogerty -- "I love baseball and this time of the year it's baseball, baseball, baseball!"
Rick T. -- "On a Highway Headin' South Somewhere to Dixie" by Porter Wagoner -- "It takes me back to when I lived in Tallahassee, Fla., spending the weekends on the beach in Panama City."
Craig R. -- "Summer in the City" by The Lovin' Spoonful -- "Growing up in Sioux City, Iowa, it was hotter than hell. (This song) was just part of summer."
Amy G. -- "Vacation" by The Go-Go's -- "That's summer to me."
Sandye V. -- "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles -- "I remember us in college playing this song over and over again with the snow melting."
Jim S. -- "Every Breath You Take" by The Police -- "That came out in the summer when I was in Idaho and Idaho is such a beautiful place to be in summertime."

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Spring inna Babylon

My recent obsession in reggae and the Dubuque area's (relatively) warmer weather converged this week in the form of "It's a Jam in the Streets: Spring inna Babylon," a CD mix I made.
I posted the mix on the Art of the Mix Web site last night and thus far the comments have been encouraging.
I am fascinated by Junior Murvin's song "Police and Thieves." The beautiful song -- later covered by The Clash -- served as the de facto soundtrack to the Notting Hill Carnival riot of 1976.
For my warm weather mix, I wanted to begin with some archetypal reggae party songs. Stuff like Tony Tribe's "Red Red Wine" (significantly better than UB40s cover), Althea and Donna's "Up Town Top Ranking," Toots and the Maytals' "Sweet and Dandy" and Michigan and Smiley's "Nice Up the Dance."
About midway through the mix, however, the mood of the songs turns increasingly grim, with Johnny Clarke's "None Shall Escape the Judgement" and Max Romeo's "War inna Babylon."
Lee "Scratch" Perry's "City Too Hot" follows the aforementioned "Police and Thieves."
My love of happy endings influences the conclusion of the mix, with Dr. Alimantado's "Born for a Purpose/Reason for Living" and Jimmy Cliff's "Wonderful World Beautiful People" finishing the jam in high style.
Perfect for those warm days ahead!
Which reminds me of a good Friday Question...
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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Cecil Bustamante Campbell

"Cecil Bustamante Campbell" is a nice enough name, but it doesn't pack as great a promotional punch as "Prince Buster."
The Prince is one of the most influential musicians and producers to come from Jamaica. His classics include "Hard Man Fe Dead" and "Judge Dread."
I have been researching reggae as I prepare to make a "warm weather" CD mix for this weekend (although it is currently rainy and c-c-c-c-cold here in Dubuque, so perhaps my timing is a bit off).
One aspect of Jamaica music I find so striking is the almost universal use of stage names. Bob Marley's real name was Robert Nesta Marley, but in this case, reggae's most famous name is the exception that proves the rule.
Arguably the second most famous reggae artist, Jimmy Cliff was really James Chambers and Toots Hibbert's real first name was Frederick.
Here, courtesy of the extensive Jammin Reggae Archives Web site, is a list of some other well-known reggae artists and their real names:
Augustus Pablo = Horace Swaby
Big Youth = Manley Augustus Buchanan
Bunny Wailer = Neville O'Reilly Livingston
Dr. Alimantado = J. Winston Thompson
Drumbago = Arkland Parks
Horace Andy = Horace Hinds
I Roy = Roy Reid
King Tubby = Osbourne Ruddock
Laurel Aitken = Oliver Stevens
Lee "Scratch" Perry = Rainford Hugh Perry
Max Romeo = Maxwell Smith
Michigan & Smiley = Anthony Fairclough & Errol Bennett
Peter Tosh = Winston Hubert McIntosh
Ras Michael = Michael George Henry
Scientist = Overton Brown
Shabba Ranks = Rexton Gordon
Sugar Minott = Lincoln Minott
U Roy = Ewart Beckford
Yellowman = Winston Foster
Now you can amaze your friends with a wealth of reggae knowledge! Jah Ras Tafari!

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Monday, April 11, 2005

I am the magnificent!!!

This song just might be the most influential 2:45 of all time. I work the night shift, so I have been running errands this morning and listening to classic reggae, preparing to craft a "warm weather" mix this weekend.
I find myself putting Dave & Ansel Collins' "Double Barrel" on repeat quite a bit today. Check the history: In May 1971 this unique song shot to the top of the British pop charts, where it usurped "Hot Love" by T.Rex.
"Double Barrel" only topped the charts for a couple weeks, but the influence of this tremendous single resonates to this day.
Against a dub-like, spartan piano figure backdrop, Dave "toasts" (a primitive, proto-rap from Jamaica) about his greatness/strength/whatever. One could argue modern dance music, hip-hop and Jamaican dub all owe incredible, almost incalculable, debts to this two-minute-and-45-second masterpiece.
His echoey words sound oddly familiar to us now, because we have been raised on diets of hip-hop music and electronic effects. In May 1971, however, most non-Jamaicans were hearing this type of music for the first time.
I am certainly going to include this track on my warm weather mix. "Double Barrel" represents a true delight -- an historic song that still sounds fresh today.
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Roots Train

When I wasn't enjoying the warmer-than-normal spring day, I spent yesterday immersed in Lloyd Bradley's "This is Reggae Music." Bradley operated a London sound system in the 1970s and now writes for publications ranging from the NME and MOJO to Black Music Magazine and The Guardian.
I want to make a warm-weather mix of reggae for this coming weekend, so I spent some time reading Bradley's book and listening to a bunch of stuff, including some of the fantastic 1970s sides produced by Lee "Scratch" Perry (pictured). Junior Murvin's "Police and Thieves" is the most celebrated of the tracks, mostly because of its 1976 runaway success in Britain. The song served as a soundtrack for the
Notting Hill Carnival riot from that year and I might anchor my warm-weather mix with it, too.
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Saturday, April 09, 2005


I know, I know... it is only April. Still, this is THE party album of the year.
LCD Soundsystem leader James Murphy mixes rock sensibilities with danceable beats as well as anybody. That's not what makes his self-titled debut the top party album of the year. Nope... it's his sense of humor. Album opener "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" sets the tone: You can't help but dance and laugh out loud along to this tune about the French techno masters setting up their PAs in Murphy's basement.
As you will surely learn, I absolutely adore The Fall. On the track "Movement," Murphy pays homage to the Manchester greats, coming at the listener like something from "Hex Enduction Hour" while ranting like Mark E. Smith himself.
Do my references make any sense?
Don't worry if they don't. This music makes you dance. That's all that really matters.
So... how do I know this is the party album of the year? Even though it is only April?
This album comes with a bonus disc containing Murphy's previous singles, including "Losing My Edge," the classic, side-splittingly funny ode to all those hipsters out there who think they are waaaay better than any other music fans.
In short... it's our anthem!

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Friday, April 08, 2005

Double Trouble

That's right... as Kerstin and Annika unhappily display, I have not one but TWO most embarrassing records in my collection. Peeking over Kerstin's shoulder, we see "The Sign" by Ace of Base. Then, just to the right of Annika's pained face we see a dubbed copy of "Chicago: The Very Best of... Only the Beginning."
Today's Friday Question asked for the most embarrassing records in music fans' collections. Here are mine!
When my grandparents emigrated to the United States in 1923, it practically ensured that I would grow up to be hopelessly biased toward all things Swedish.
I think Electrolux makes the best vacuum cleaners, Saab makes the best cars, Volvo makes the best dump trucks and Ericsson used to make the best cell phones, until Sony purchased the company (now, all-Finnish Nokia makes the best cell phones).
So, it stands to reason (misguided reasoning, but reasoning all the same) that Ace of Base makes the best Euro-disco-pop, right?
Er... wrong. "All That She Wants (is Another Baby)?" "Dancer in a Daydream?" "Voulez-Vous Danser?"
Oh dear. But "The Sign" is soooo catchy! Too bad...
Now on to Chicago.
I try to explain away this double-shot of American MOR by reasoning that "25 or 6 to 4" and "Saturday in the Park" are classic songs. Well, sure they are. If this record just had stuff like "Wishing You Were Here" on it, I would proudly show it off as a creative blend of balladry and jazz-influenced pop.
The problems begin with the inclusion of songs such as "If You Leave Me Now" and "You're the Inspiration." Sappy... stupid... dross...
Unless you happen to be spinning discs for a mid-1980s junior prom. Then this crap is sappy... stupid... dross... that really made the hipsters cringe at the prom.
Honestly, I can't listen to "Hard Habit to Break" without my liver function levels shooting through the roof. So what in the hell is this still doing in my record collection? "Baby, What a Big Surprise."

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Friday's Embarrassing Question

This week we asked music fans to reveal the most embarrassing record in their collection. Prepare to be baffled and bewildered by this week's Friday Question...

Mary B. -- "I have an Air Force Band CD... What would I be doing with that one?"
Jim S. -- "I have the Jane Fonda Workout album. Not exactly sure how it ended up in my collection. I guess I once thought she was hot, or something."
Angie A. -- "I still have a cassette tape of the song 'Loser' by Beck. When I was younger and watched videos on VH1, I saw the video for Loser and just loved the song. These two girls were in the video doing this weird dance, so my friend and I would dance just like them while listening to it."
Ben P. -- "I have Bon Jovi's 'Crossroads.' I got it in eighth grade or something."
Diane H. -- "Three words: Color Me Badd. You know they're bad because they put the extra 'd' on the end just to, ya know, make sure you notice."
Rick T. -- "I have comedy/party records from the late '60s. They are tame compared to today's comedy."
Madelin F. -- "I have Debbie Gibson's 'I Saw You Standing There,' the extended version."
Mike D. -- "This definitely falls into the guilty pleasure category, but amidst my heavy metal tapes is a homemade cassette of pre-disco Bee Gees tunes. Hey, even us rockers have a mellow side!"
Emily B. -- "Ace of Base."
Dave B. --
"Are my kids' CDs technically considered 'mine' because I paid for them? If I can claim them, I would have to say the 'Freaky Friday' soundtrack and 'Viva La Mickey' (are most embarrassing). They are Phat with a capital P."
Scout S. -- "A couple of Christmases ago, I received a copy of Neil Diamond's 'Hot August Nights 2.' That could potentially be embarrassing, but it's got a hot shit live version of 'Sweet Caroline,' so who could fault you for that? I'll tell you who: Someone who's dead inside.
Tom J. -- "The 'Dirty Dancing' soundtrack... don't ask me why."

Emily S. -- "I have the Shaquille O'Neal rap CD ("Shaq Diesel"). It was a gift."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Do I love these guys? Do I hate these guys?

Ask somebody who is hip to indie music about the coolest thing to ever come out of Louisville, Ky. Chances are, they won't mention the Kentucky Derby. Instead, if they are hip to indie music, they will probably talk about Slint (unless they are waaaay hip to indie music, and then they might rant and rave about Squirrel Bait).
Slint are one of those love-them-or-hate-them bands. Their music can seem so extreme to ears accustomed to pop.
Their two albums, Tweez from 1988 and Spiderland from 1991, contained mostly instrumental songs that were beautiful and hideous, delicate and ponderous -- sometimes all at once.
Those two albums helped spawn a sub-genre of indie rock called "post-rock," featuring bands such as Tortoise.
I recently swapped a Jamaican music mix CD with a guy in Ottawa, Ont. He in turn sent me a mix he made featuring Slint and some of their off-shoots and side projects. I have been listening to the mix the past couple days and honestly, I have not yet decided whether I am in the "love-them" camp or the "hate-them" camp.
That is one of the greatest things about music: There is plenty of room for discovery and plenty of room for disagreement.
Speaking of plenty of room for discovery -- tomorrow we will discover some of the dirty little secrets lurking in our friends' music collections! You won't want to miss the latest installment of the Friday Question!
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Love Rock Orgasm

Scout, the lead singer of soon-to-be-famous San Francisco band Firecracker, originally meant to include his best-ever gig experience in this past Friday's roundup of spectacular shows.
Unfortunately, his compelling memoir included the phrase "in a simultaneous love rock orgasm." While I happen to like that descriptive use of words, my e-mail filter system was a lot less enamored by it. Scout's e-mail sat in my e-mail quarantine area for several long, lonely days.
Until I liberated his e-mail today!
Now, in a slightly abridged form (but with the "love rock orgasm" bit included), I present to you, Scout's best-ever gig experience...
* * *
In 1993 I got to see the B-52's in Athens, Ga., at the 40 Watt Club. It was the first time they had been back in Athens (their hometown) in around 10 years. It was also the first time they had played with Cindy Wilson in several years, since she had left the band.
The 40 Watt, at that time, was an old furniture store that could legally hold around 400 people. The night of the B's return happened in the middle of a two-week heat wave that saw temperatures rising daily to around 110 degrees. There were around 700-800 people packed into the club.
When the band finally hit the stage, the place exploded. Sara Lee, the former Gang of Four bassist who had been playing with the B's for the last few years, quietly stepped to the front of the stage and, while the room fell hushed, played the bass line intro to "Rock Lobster." When the drums kicked in, I think the whole place erupted in a simultaneous love rock orgasm.
Every hipster in the room sang along to every song. "Dance This Mess Around." "Quiche Lorraine." "52 Girls." "Planet Claire." Hearing these songs played at full volume in a room no larger than your average corner store was exhilarating, no doubt about it.
The high point of the gig came, strangely enough, in the middle of that top-40 standard, "Love Shack." When the band paused, mid-song, waiting for Cindy's trademark part, the whole crowd surged forward in anticipation.
Cindy looked from side to side with a smirking grin on her face, letting the tension build.
Finally, she stepped to the mike and shouted: "Tin Roof!"
And 800 people shouted back as one:
The whole room erupted in cheering, the band kicked back into the song harder than ever, and I'm pretty sure there were several babies conceived in that instant.
It was, without doubt, the best rock show I ever saw.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young

Faron Young had it all.
That is why, despite the best efforts of the Louvin Brothers and Lefty Frizzell, Young remains my favorite country music performer.
He parlayed his penchant for memorable tunes by emerging songwriters such as Don Gibson ("Sweet Dreams") and Willie Nelson ("Hello Walls" and "Three Days") into a relentless succession of country music hits.
His movie-star good looks landed him roles in... well... movies. Duh.
He had friends in the right places -- fellow Shreveport, La. native Webb Pierce helped launch Young's recording career -- and he had business sense, too. At the height of his fame, Young founded "Music City News," a magazine devoted to the burgeoning Nashville music scene.
Young even plays a role in one of the greatest, unsubstantiated country music legends of all time: Sources say he traded his then-girlfriend Billie Jean Jones to Hank Williams for a song. If true, this swap worked out well for both country stars. Hank made Billie Jean wife No. 2 and the song, "Goin' Steady," rocketed up to No. 2 on the country charts.
Young also had the uncanny ability to spot talent. The so-called "Young Sheriff" boasted no fewer than three musical superstars in his 1950s backup band, The Country Deputies. Floyd Cramer played piano and guitar duties were shared by Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland and future genius Chet Atkins. No wonder his 1950s' hits never seem to age.
If Young was at all a flawed musical hero, it is because he only managed to complete the first two of the three tasks mentioned in his initial chart-topper, 1955's "Live Fast Love Hard Die Young."
He lived as fast and loved as hard as anybody in Nashville.
Then, instead of dying young, he watched as Nashville shifted away from his own evolving style. He left Capitol Records at the end of 1962 and switched to Mercury, where his hits included "Wine Me Up" and the classic "It's Four in the Morning." However, the hits were fewer in number and less frequently charting than his Capitol Records heyday. Country music passed him by.
Fearing he had been forgotten and disheartened by the music industry, Young committed suicide by gunshot and died on Dec. 10, 1996.

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

My country music starting XI

When we lived in southeastern Oregon, we met some real cowboys. How were they "real?" They didn't just become cowboys when they went to the bar on Saturday night. They became cowboys when they woke up, got on a horse, and herded cattle across miles of empty, sagebrush- and juniper-covered land. I gained a great appreciation of these authentic cowboys and their near-existential lives.
I feel the same about country music: I love "authentic" country music.
So, what makes country music authentic? Well, I know a lot of people who don't appreciate country music because the only "country" they know is the overly produced, overtly pop, safely conservative music on the radio.
Except for very few songs, I don't think rock or jazz fans are going to find much to like on a country music radio station.
So, as a public service, here are 11 song recommendations that just might open your hearts and minds to a wonderful world of authentic twang...
1. Rodney Crowell -- "Above and Beyond" (1988)
Try not to sing along to this Harlan Howard-penned classic (originally from the 1950s). It is impossible!
2. Waylon Jennings -- "I Ain't Living Long Like This" (1979)
My jazz-loving dad adored Waylon Jennings, I think because he appreciated the individuality of a performer who didn't give a damn about the dictates of the Nashville establishment. Here, Jennings sings an outlaw anthem by then-little known songsmith Rodney Crowell!
3. Steve Earle -- "My Old Friend the Blues" (1986)
An outlaw in the finest Waylon Jennings tradition, Steve Earle usually sings topical songs. Here, he sings a timeless song about sadness.
4. Johnny Cash and Anita Carter -- "Another Man Done Gone" (1963)
The only instruments on this haunting ballad -- two of the greatest voices in the annals of recorded music.
5. Buck Owens -- "Cryin' Time" (1964)
Too many people associate Buck Owens with corny jokes on "Hee Haw." Want to gauge Owens' songwriting genius? Well, Ray Charles covered this song. That ain't bad.
6. George Jones -- "Why Baby Why" (1955)
George Jones wrote this classic with Darrell Edwards. Webb Pierce got ahold of it and rode his cover version to the top of the country charts. Jones' version of his own song landed at No. 4 on the charts. You can almost never go wrong with George Jones.
7. The Byrds -- "You're Still on My Mind" (1968)
Gram Parsons might be the best thing that ever happened to country music: He was a hippy in love with the songs of George Jones -- like this song from The Byrds' revolutionary "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." Sadly, Parsons' proto-typical rock lifestyle (flashy clothes, copious drugs, early death in a motel room, friends burned his body in the desert) unfairly overshadows his musical achievements.
8. Old 97's -- "Barrier Reef" (1997)
Without Gram Parsons, there would be no movement. Here, singer/songwriter Rhett Miller revels in an amped-up country classicism. Bless him!
9. The Louvin Brothers -- "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" (1955)
Ira Louvin's impossible high tenor voice is the closest I have heard to a voice from heaven. Ironic, then, that Ira himself was filled with such hellfire.
10. Lefty Frizzell -- "Always Late (With Your Kisses)" (1951)
Possessing one of the most beautiful voices in music, Lefty Frizzell also wrote a litany of unfairly wonderful songs -- "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time" and "I Love You a Thousand Ways" are just two others from his incredible canon.
11. Ray Price -- "Heartache by the Number" (1959)
Eventually, Price became the embodiment of everything I hate about country music (awash in overtly pop, syrupy orchestration). Here, however, he croons another classic tune by Harlan Howard.
Tomorrow: I'll write about my favorite country music performer of all... The "Young Sheriff."
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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Do yourself a favor: Check out this band

Britain has been birthing loads of new bands recently. Here is my vote for the best of the lot. Sunderland quartet The Futureheads sound like a collision between The Jam and The Clash... until you hear them sing. The band borrow the vocal stylings of a cappella groups, crafting four-part arrangements unique to the current batch of new bands. Although the band include an a cappella tune on their self-titled debut album, the true apex of these complex vocal arrangements can be found on their inspiring cover of the Kate Bush song "Hounds of Love." Visit the band's Web site, click on "audio/video" and watch the video for "Hounds of Love." It's great if you love dogs. It's even greater if you love good music.
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Friday, April 01, 2005

My greatest gig experience... EVER!

My greatest gig ever? Easy. Midnight Oil at the Kaiser Center in Oakland, Calif., Nov. 3, 1988. It was during the Diesel and Dust tour and the Australians hit the stage against a simulated cattle station backdrop, complete with windmill and water tank. They opened with "Read About It" and closed with a cover of "(What's so Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding." The rest of the set list read like a "best of" the band's earliest, most powerful work... with one exception. They did not play "Power and the Passion," the first Oils song to appear in the United States, thanks to MTV and college radio stations. Lead singer Peter Garrett whirled like a dervish throughout the set, a set so memorable my sister (hundreds of gigs and counting) even named this concert as her best-ever experience.
See below for more great gigs!
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The Boss, 'NSync, even The Beatles

Welcome to Friday and today's Friday Question feature!
We asked music fans to name their best-ever concert experience. Here are some of the greatest gigs of all time...
Angie A. -- 'NSync at The Mark of the Quad Cities, Moline, Ill. in May 1999. "I got to go backstage to see them. I also got to stand up and ask a question, as well as stand right in front of them as I got their autographs.

Ken B. -- Bruce Springsteen in Milwaukee, during Ken's freshman year in college. "It was awesome. I wasn't even a big fan before this."
Mary P. -- The Beatles at Red Rocks, Colo., 1964. "I was young and impressionable and it was my first concert."
Clayton P. -- Ziggy Marley at Hancher Auditorium
Jim S. -- Barenaked Ladies in Madison, Wis., 2004. "I went with my two sons and the band was so much fun."
Gary D. -- The Rolling Stones at the UNI Dome, Cedar Falls, Iowa, 1981. "We were so close to the stage. We could see the fingers changing for each chord."
Matt K. -- Bob Dylan in Dubuque, Iowa, 1996. "There were dozens (of audience members) who were allowed to go on stage. It was crazy."

Ben P. -- Foo Fighters in Minneapolis, approximately 1997. "They just rocked. We were jumping around and having a great time."
Diane H. -- U2 at Cyclone Stadium, Ames, Iowa, 1992. "It was my first, and remains my only, stadium concert, and the sheer spectacle of it was fabulous. The guitar intro to 'Where the Streets Have No Name' gave me goose bumps."

Mark H. -- Grateful Dead in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the late 1980s. "It was just such an intimate show."
Dave B. -- The Replacements in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1988. "Absolutely."
Rick T. -- The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. "It was the third-to-last show at the old Ryman before it moved to Opryland. Marty Robbins was there that night.
Mike D. -- White Lion and Stryper at the Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, Oct. 29, 1988. "In the heyday of big hair and heavy metal, my bandmates and I attended a White Lion/Stryper concert. Our front balcony seats in the renovated 1927 theater gave us a bird's-eye view of what would turn out to be a great show. Being the final date of a tour, the hijinks were in full swing during the show. Members of Stryper came out on stage during White Lion's performance and sat down and ate sandwiches. Later, members of White Lion retaliated by shutting off the prerecorded backing vocals during a Stryper song."