News for October 2011
Not your typical Halloween track, but I’m sure it scared the heck out of folks when first released in 1965! Still pretty scary today, especially the notion that THEY are freaking out in Kansas! Frank Zappa and company were so far ahead of their peers (Beatles included) with the release of their debut album “Freak Out,” an album of pure genius.
Edited: October 31st, 2011
From Miles’ 1958 album “Porgy And Bess” comes this George Gershwin classic arranged by Gil Evans. Miles made several great albums with Gil Evans and orchestra including “Sketches Of Spain,” “Miles Ahead” and “Quiet Nights.” Players on this track include Philly Joe Jones on drums, Paul Chambers on bass and Cannonball Adderly on saxophone.
Edited: October 29th, 2011
Brand new Bosco Mann-penned single from soul sista no. 1, her funky drummer and the gang! While the song is only available as a 45 rpm single in America, it is also on a UK-only rarities album called “Soul Time.” Let’s hope that “Soul Time” is sooner than later on these shores!
Edited: October 28th, 2011
The lyrics to this song were written by Hank Williams and were left behind unrecorded in one of his “Lost Notebooks” of lyrics. The performance comes from Elvis Costello’s music interview TV show “Spectacle.” Norah’s studio version of this song can be found on the album “The Lost Notebooks Of Hank Williams.”
Edited: October 28th, 2011
The “Military Polonaise” was composed by Chopin when he was 28 years old and was his most popular melody. During the German invasion of Poland in 1939, this Polonaise was played on the radio daily as a national protest to inspire the Polish people. Nobody could play Chopin better than pianist Artur Rubinstein.
Edited: October 27th, 2011
Future standard? It’s possible with this tender track from Tom Waits’ outstanding new album “Bad As Me.” Waits is on the piano singing in a voice that hearkens back to earlier in his career. In concert he pretty much jettisoned his piano ballads over the years. There’s still plenty of his trademark funk ‘n’ grime on the new record, but it’s nice to have Waits back to his basics again.
Edited: October 26th, 2011
To think that Ellas Otha Bates (aka Bo Diddley) started out studying classical violin is kind of mind blowing when you consider his contribution to the annals of Rock history. Thank goodness someone gave him a guitar! The “Jerome” in this 1955 classic is Jerome Green who played maracas on numerous Chess records including many of Bo Diddley’s finest.
Edited: October 25th, 2011
Jerome Anthony Gourdine (aka Little Anthony) led The Imperials to the pop charts for three decades. Their run of hits began in the late 1950s with “Tears On My Pillow” to this top-ten gem from 1964 right on through to 1977 when Anthony left the group. The song became a pop standard with covers by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and many others.
Edited: October 24th, 2011
The first line of the liner notes written by Elvis Costello for the reissue of this album reads: “Congratulations! You’ve just purchased our worst album.” An accurate assessment due mostly to the then-trendy production by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley. However, it is a good collection of songs as evidenced by the demo versions released on the reissue.
Edited: October 23rd, 2011
They were the one and only white Irish Hip-Hop act on the scene in 1992 when this infectious track took over the airwaves. The song was produced by Muggs, who was the same mastermind behind the sound of Cypress Hill. After two failed follow-up albums, Everlast left the group to release the exceptional 1998 record “Whitey Ford Sings The Blues.”
Edited: October 21st, 2011
Beck Hanson is one of the most original voices of the 1990s. He exploded onto the scene with his hit “Loser” from the album “Mellow Gold” but he’d released several excellent albums and singles before. This performance comes from MTV’s “120 Minutes.” The interview with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth is hilarious and can be viewed here.
Edited: October 21st, 2011
From this year’s exceptional “Forever” album comes Chick Corea’s tribute to the great jazz pianist Bud Powell. The record was recorded in Japan in 2009 on a tour that saw the Return To Forever alum return to an acoustic trio format with stunning results.
Edited: October 20th, 2011
I don’t like The Doors. They were a great singles band, but when it came to albums, they were inconsistent and pretty much dreadful…and Jim Morrison was the epitome of bloated excess. That said, their 1967 debut album IS one of the greatest records of the 1960s. Here is the lead single in its original unedited “She get high” version.
Edited: October 19th, 2011
Stansfield first appeared on Coldcut’s dance floor classic “People Hold On” and followed it with her 1989 debut album, “Affection.” She wrote and scored several sophisticated Barry White-inspired disco hits off of the record and then seemingly disappeared. In reality, she did release several follow-up albums but failed to reach the heights of her debut.
Edited: October 18th, 2011
One of the key cuts from Deerhoof’s essential album “Deerhoof Vs. Evil” gets the cover treatment by Jeff Tweedy with an assist from his son Spencer on harmony vocals. Released a few weeks ago as a split 7″ single on the Polyvinyl label with a B-Side by Spencer Tweedy’s group The Racoonists. Dad lends his talent to their track too!
Edited: October 17th, 2011
Nobody…and I mean nobody sounds like Bjork! She’s the single most original artist we have today. An acquired taste? You bet she is, but if you’re so inclined she’s an amazing listen. This one comes from her brand new record “Biophilia.” If you’re up for the challenge, it will pay off with numerous awards!
Edited: October 15th, 2011
By 1982′s “Songs Of The Free” album, bassist Dave Allen left Gang Of Four for the greener pastures of Shriekback to be replaced by Sara Lee. This found remaining members Andy Gill and Jon King trading in their agit-Punk for a more dance-oriented sound creating a bona-fide Gay anthem in the process. After the initial shock, fans shut up and danced…
Edited: October 14th, 2011
This 1960 single written by The Man In Black himself recently turned up on the “Bootleg Series II – From Memphis To Hollywood,” a collection of rare singles, outtakes and demos. “Bootleg Series III” was just released this week focusing on live performances from the 1950s through the 1970s…can’t wait to turn my ears in that direction.
Edited: October 14th, 2011
Fans of Rose Royce reveled in the voice of Rose Norwalt whose pipes graced this deep soul track from the 1976 “Car Wash” Soundtrack, but her name was actually Gwen Dickey. The song was written by Norman Whitfield and was brought back to the charts in 1994 by Mary J. Blige. X-Factor contestant, Jaslyn Little, tore it up on TV a few weeks ago with this song.
Edited: October 13th, 2011
“Rehearsals For Retirement” was the first record Phil Ochs released after the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Ochs was a Yippie (Youth International Party) member and was instrumental in the organization of the protest and the party. This song, and indeed the whole album, reflects the sense of alienation Phil Ochs took home with him from Chicago.
Edited: October 12th, 2011
Most people believe that “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was their high-point, but my vote goes to 1967′s electric “Bookends.” The album displayed much growth from their previous platter, “Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme,” with songs like “America,” “Mrs. Robinson,” “Hazy Shade Of Winter,” “At The Zoo” and this marvelous piece of psychedelia.
Edited: October 11th, 2011
I’ve been spinning Malkmus’ latest record, “Mirror Traffic” incessantly since it appeared in August and it has become clear that it is perhaps the best record I’ve heard all year. Record producer Beck Hanson (aka Beck) focused The Jicks’ to create a collection of succinct songs. He really doesn’t do them justice in concert….go out and get this record!
Edited: October 9th, 2011
Here we have Jeff Tweedy going all David Cassidy on us in the vocal department on this song from their latest long player “The Whole Love.” This one was recorded live on David Letterman’s show last month. Plain and simple…Wilco are the best American band out there today!
Edited: October 8th, 2011
I saw Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks last night in concert and they did this 1972 classic as an encore. It was a great song choice done originally by a band most people know very little about. Looking Glass were a group of Rutgers University graduates from New Jersey. Most of their music was much harder-edged, hence they were never able to repeat the success of their sole hit.
Edited: October 7th, 2011
This causal strut from 1939 features elements of blues, swing, vaudeville and comedy…all hallmarks of this group who got their start at The Cotton Club in Harlem. The group featured trumpet great and arranger Sy Oliver and the saxophone on this track is courtesy of Willie Smith. Lunceford died while signing autographs in 1947.
Edited: October 6th, 2011
Of all the Phil Collins-led Genesis albums and solo records from the 1980s, the album “abacab” stands out as a truly stellar collection of songs that reinvented Genesis just before they were ready to sink into irrelevance. Most Genesis fans will disagree with me, but I’d put the album right up there with “Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” and “A Trick Of The Tale” silly video notwithstanding.
Edited: October 5th, 2011
The Kingston Trio recorded this song in 1959 and it was relegated to the B-side of one of their singles never to appear on one of their official albums. They picked up this Afro-Cuban gem after meeting Willy Bobo and Mongo Santamaria and hearing them performing it on their tour bus.
Edited: October 4th, 2011
Mick Jagger’s new group, Super Heavy, is neither super nor heavy. If you really want super heavy, start with this 1966 track from The Rolling Stones’ essential “Aftermath” album. Tough, rollicking, snide…and there’s nothing like Bill Wyman’s downward spiral of a bass line on the fade.
Edited: October 3rd, 2011
I never much cared for the Eagles back in the day…and I certainly have less respect for them today since their musical association is pure business and no joy. That said, this song has always been a favorite of mine and I feel it is still as powerful today as it was in 1976.
Edited: October 1st, 2011