News for May 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Graduation Day” by The Beach Boys
The Four Freshman took this song to the top twenty back in 1956 and the Wilson brothers were listening. And while The Beach Boys certainly were influenced by the Freshmen, the Freshmen were in turn influenced by vocal groups of the Big Band Era like The Pied Pipers and The Modernaires, as well as the close harmonies employed by numerous Barbershop Quartets that came before them. The song celebrates a rite of passage that many are embarking upon as we speak. I was torn between choosing this vocal group gem, or to let it all hang out and go with “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper.
Edited: May 31st, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “I Can’t Put My Finger On It” by Ween
I post this track with heavy heart as the news broke today that one of my all-time favorite bands have decided to pack it in for good. I’ve been a WEEN fan since the early 1990s and have seen Dean (Mickey Melchiondo) and Gene (Aaron Freeman) numerous times over the years. I could have seen this coming since Deaner has been focusing more on his fishing business while Aaron continued to perform solo shows over the past couple of years between Ween tours. Aaron released his first solo record last month called “Marvelous Clouds” consisting solely of songs written by 1960s easy listening “poet” Rod McKuen. Although the band has always released good records, their concerts over the years have grown a little tiresome due to their fan base taking their somewhat misogynistic lyrics seriously instead of as a joke like they were intended to be taken. This song comes from their 1994 album “Chocolate And Cheese.”
Edited: May 30th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Ram On” by Paul & Linda McCartney
“Ram” is one of my all-time favorite albums…pretty close to the top of the heap in my estimation. I just listened to the newly released vinyl mono mix of this record today for the first time. The mono mix hasn’t been in circulation since its original release as a radio station promo back in 1971. It has now been reissued as a limited edition 180 gram vinyl pressing to as part of McCartney’s ongoing “Archive Collection” re-releases. It’s like meeting a friend that you are totally comfortable and intimately familiar with only to realize that there are nuances to their personality you never knew anything about. The differences between the stereo and mono mixes of this record are minor, however if you’ve listened to it pretty consistently over the last 40 years (like I have), you can feel them without being able to put your finger on what they actually are. As for this song, it’s still one of my favorites by Sir Paul. Its title was a bit of a pun since Paul used to go by the pseudonym Paul Ramon (Ram On) when he stayed at hotels, etc. He began performing this song on stage for the first time during his 2010 tour.
Edited: May 29th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cops Of The World” by Phil Ochs
OK, so the cops did a pretty good job during the NATO Summit in Chicago last weekend. While crowd control was needed in a few instances, the police handled it by using their heads first and then their force. This song comes from an era when cops were considered pigs, and in some cities…in some circumstances, they still are. Phil Ochs had his fair share of run-ins with the police and was even arrested here in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention. This song was recorded in 1966 on his album “Phil Ochs In Concert.” While most of the album was recorded at concerts in Boston and New York City in 1965, some of the tracks are studio recordings with the audience dubbed in.
Edited: May 28th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Freeway Jam” by Jeff Beck
Nothing prepared rock fans for the transformation that took place in the mid-70s when Jeff Beck joined forces with producer George Martin on his albums “Blow By Blow” and “Wired.” Beck, of course, was well known as the blues-based British rocker from the Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck Group who dabbled in jazz, but cut his teeth on what is now considered classic rock. By 1975, Beck’s band consisted of Phil Chen on bass, Richard Bailey on drums and Max Middleton, the sole holdover from The Jeff Beck Group, on keyboards. The sound was full-on instrumental Fusion Jazz which was previously the domain of Miles Davis, Weather Report and Chick Corea with Return To Forever. Beck’s foray into Fusion culminated with several records pairing his guitar work with the keyboard mastery of Jan Hammer. “Freeway Jam” was written by Max Middleton and is from the album “Blow By Blow.” The album featured an assist from Stevie Wonder who played keyboards on the track “Thelonious.” Beck had previously performed guitar duties on Wonder’s “Talking Book” album.
Edited: May 28th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Quarantined” by Atlas Sound
Up until a few days ago, I had heard of Atlas Sound but never heard them. Andrew Freedman, a Facebook friend of mine whose father was a good concert buddy of mine in the 1970s, posted this on his page as one of his “Daily Music” posts. When I pushed play, I was promptly whisked away to another musical place…a place I want to return to again and again. Atlas Sound is the name Bradford Cox uses for his solo work when he is not recording with his band Deerhunter. The Atlas Sound material is far more psychedelic and stream of conscious than the more concrete material he records with Deerhunter. This song comes from the first Atlas Sound record from 2008 called “Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel.” I do believe I’m going to become a huge Atlas Sound and Deerhunter fan in the near future. Thanks Andrew!
Edited: May 26th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Outside Now” by Frank Zappa
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with Frank Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage” records. As usual, Zappa’s heart was in the right place when it came to issues like government control, censorship and organized religion, and he certainly could play guitar. But I never really got off on Zappa’s scatological and somewhat immature lyrical side. “Joe’s Garage” highlights the best and worst of what Zappa had to offer. For amazing guitar work and musically challenging material, you didn’t have to look much further than tracks like “Watermelon And Easter Hay,” “Packard Goose” and this one. Even though some of the lyrics are a little wanting, they work because the music is so good. Just one listen to this track proves out the fact that Zappa was one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Then there are songs on the record that are perverted and immature like “Crew Slut,” “Keep It Greasy” “Wet T Shirt Night” and “Catholic Girls” that offer little in the realm of enlightenment. Now, I do have a sense of humor and I get Zappa’s brand of satire, but unfortunately many who listen to this stuff take it seriously and that’s where things get a little sticky for me. Anyway, here’s a live version of “Outside Now” from Paris in 1980 featuring Ike Willis and Ray White on vocals and guitar, Tommy Mars on keyboards, Arthur Barrow on bass, David Logeman on drums and, of course, Frank on lead guitar.
Edited: May 25th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “L.A.” by Neil Young
A song from what has become the great lost Neil Young album, “Time Fades Away.” The album was recorded on the 1973 tour that followed Young’s biggest album “Harvest,” but as usual Young did not give in to fan expectations and performed mostly new rock’n’roll material on the tour that had little or no connection to the country sound of “Harvest.” He has said in interviews that “It was recorded on my biggest tour ever, 65 shows in 90 days. Money hassles among everyone concerned ruined this tour and record for me but I released it anyway so you folks could see what could happen if you lose it for a while.” Young was so dissatisfied with the murky sound of the record and what was going on with him and the band personally, that he never released it on CD. It has been completely out of print for many years, yet it contains some of his greatest songs including “Don’t Be Denied,” “Journey Through The Past,” the title track and this song.
Edited: May 24th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “A Pillow Of Winds” by Pink Floyd
This song’s title was inspired by the games of mahjongg that Roger Waters and Nick Mason would play with their wives during the recording of their 1971 sixth album called “Meddle.” We’re all familiar with the albums that followed this one — the brilliant “Dark Side,” “Wish” and “Animals”…and the colossal turd that is “The Wall.” Everything else after “The Wall” is completely and utterly expendable and disposable. Everything before “Meddle” was a mixed bag with the “Sid” period giving us some classic singles and interesting psychedelia on uneven records like “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn” and “A Saucerful Of Secrets,” a couple of soundtracks that are worth a cursory listen but probably worked better within the context of their films, a couple of compilations like the brilliant “Relics,” and the patchy “A Nice Pair” and “Ummagumma,” and then there’s “Meddle’s” predecessor “Atom Heart Mother,” which has its moments but ultimately was a warm-up for what was to follow. “Meddle” is a record that rightly gets overshadowed by the records that followed it even though it includes a clutch of classics like the side-long “Echoes,” “One Of These Days,” “Fearless” and this mellow masterwork featuring the vocals of David Gilmour.
Edited: May 23rd, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Chick’s Tune” by Blue Mitchell
Trumpeter, Blue Mitchell crossed the line between jazz, pop and rock numerous times during his brief career recording straight-ahead Jazz records as a leader or as a sideman with Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Jackie McLean, Charlie Rouse, Cannonball Adderly, Grant Green and many others. He also toured and did session work with the likes of John Mayall, Papa John Creach, Tony Bennett and Lena Horne. The Chick referred to in the title of this tune is none other than Chick Corea who was a member of Blue Mitchell’s Quintet from 1964 through 1969. This track comes from the 1964 album “The Thing To Do” which also features Al Foster on drums, Junior Cook on tenor sax and Gene Taylor on bass. The song was written by Chick Corea and was based on the melody of the standard “You Stepped Out Of A Dream.”
Edited: May 22nd, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Clink! Clink! Another Drink” by Spike Jones and his City Slickers
Spike Jones and His City Slickers were among the many performers showcased in “Soundies,” short musical films designed to be played in special jukeboxes. In “Clink! Clink! Another Drink” (1942), Del Porter leads the chorus and there’s a featured vocal by Mel Blanc, the voice of many legendary cartoon characters (including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweedy and Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, and Barney Rubble). (Note: The above description was cribbed from the YouTube posting for this song due to lack of time to write one myself) Enjoy!
Edited: May 21st, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Obvious” by Jane’s Addiction
I went to great lengths in yesterday’s Song Of The Day explaining why I think Perry Farrell’s Porno For Pyros outfit was far superior to Jane’s Addiction. Well, with all of that said, I still think Jane’s Addiction was a great vehicle for Farrell’s singular talents, and as a band they made a few essential records. The classic Jane’s lineup included Farrell with Dave Navarro on guitar, Eric Avery on bass and Porno bandmate Stephen Perkins on drums. The first time I saw the band was what turned out to be their farewell tour, the very first Lollapalooza festival which also featured Siouxsie & The Banshees, Nine Inch Nails, The Butthole Surfers, Ice T, Body Count, Fishbone, The Violent Femmes and Rollins Band. This one is from their third album, “Ritual de lo Habitual” which was their breakout record including the alternative radio hits “Stop” and “Been Caught Stealing.” The band reunited for a record called “Strays” in 2001 which featured the song “Superhero” which would later become the theme to the HBO series “Entourage.”
Edited: May 20th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman - “Tahitian Moon” by Porno For Pyros
Prince…Jack White… Jerry Garcia…Bruce Springsteen…David Byrne…Curt Cobain…Perry Farrell…all world-class performers with charisma to burn. The type of performer you can’t take your eyes off of when on stage. Some like Jerry Garcia didn’t have to do much but just show up and play to be the focal point of their band…but the others worked their tails off honing their stage craft and earning the well-deserved adulation they received. Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking that Perry Farrell doesn’t belong in that heady company, and my answer to you is that you never saw him front Porno For Pyros. Out of the ashes of Jane’s Addiction rose Porno For Pyros with Stephen Perkins (also from Jane’s) on drums, plus guitarist Peter DiStefano and bass player Martyn LeNoble. For some, Jane’s Addiction were the be-all and end-all of Farrell’s music career, but I’ve always found Porno For Pyros’ two albums to be far more interesting and musically satisfying than anything from Jane’s Addiction. This song comes from Porno’s second album “Good God’s Urge” released in 1996. By then they had established themselves with the bona-fide hit “Pets” that was a MTV staple and a highlight of the Woodstock ’94 festival. Of course, Farrell will always be linked with the festival he founded 21 years ago, Lollapalooza, which has found a home for the last seven or eight years here in Chicago where you can see him either fronting a band or spinning a DJ set most years.
Edited: May 19th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Harvey And Sheila” by Allan Sherman
Allan Sherman was the borscht-belt Bob Dylan for my parent’s generation. He was a brilliant writer and song satirist who pretty much brought the East Coast Jewish aesthetic to the top of the charts in the early 1960s. His first album, “My Son, The Folk Singer” was released in 1963 and was one of the fastest selling records of its time surpassing a million copies within a month of its release. Its two follow-ups were also released in 1963 and quickly went gold. His biggest hit of all came during the summer of 1963 in the form of “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh (A Letter From Camp)” which spawned a Grammy Award, a children’s book, a board game and a cartoon. This song is from Sherman’s second album, “My Son, The Celebrity” and along with Harry Belafonte’s “Calypso,” Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ “Whipped Cream (And Other Delights),” Barbra Streisand’s “My Name Is Barbara” and the Original Broadway Cast Recording of “Fiddler On The Roof,” it was standard issue in any early 1960s Jewish home. If you think of other records I left off of this list, feel free comment and create a list. Without Allan Sherman, there would be no Weird Al Yankovic today.
Edited: May 18th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “I Can’t Stand It” by Chris Whitley
Chris Whitley’s short, restless career encompassed folk, noise rock, jazz, country, mainstream rock and the blues. He was discovered by producer Daniel Lanois who helped him score a major label record deal with Columbia Records in 1988. His first album, “Living With The Law” was a mainstream rock affair with good songs that gave him radio exposure, but it wasn’t until his second album and third albums, “Din Of Ecstasy” and “Terra Incognita” that Whitley came into his own with great songs ensconced in noise. After being dropped by Columbia he began releasing records independently including his covers album “Perfect Day” where he was backed by Jazz musicians Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin & Wood) and Billy Martin. He also released some terrific acoustic records that are well worth seeking out. Not only was Whitley a great songwriter, he also had a knack for choosing interesting covers by artists like Bob Dylan, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Prince, The Clash, Nat King Cole, The Doors and many others. Here we have “I Can’t Stand It” one of his more inspired choices by The Velvet Underground from his album “War Crime Blues.” Whitley died of lung cancer in 2005. He leaves behind his daughter, Trixie who has recorded several records under the name Black Dub with Daniel Lanois.
Edited: May 17th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Watcher Of The Skies” by Genesis
The story of Genesis was a tale of two bands. One was led by Peter Gabriel and created some of the finest and most challenging progressive rock of the early seventies. Once Gabriel left after their 1974 magnum opus “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” drummer Phil Collins stepped up to front the band leading them in a more pop-oriented direction leaving chart-topping hits and multi-platinum albums in his wake. Fans of the Gabriel version of Genesis were not necessarily fans of the Collins-led band, yet if you listen to the first few Collins-led Genesis albums (“A Trick Of The Tail” and “Wind And Wuthering”) you realize the change in ownership was seamless resulting in very little difference in sound. It was only when the band became a trio following the departure of guitarist Steve Hackett, and Collins and company began going for the hits that this division in sound and direction arose. Frankly, some of my favorite Genesis albums are Collins-led including the aforementioned “Trick” from 1976 and “abacab” from 1982…and both Gabriel and Collins went on to release great solo records in their own right. This track is culled from the Gabriel-led “Foxtrot” album from 1972 and really highlights all that was great about early Genesis. The track rocks like nothing that came before it in their canon, yet the airy-fairy minstrel-in-the-garden lyrics that make prog-rock records so quaint and near-and-dear to fan’s hearts are still in place. Gabriel’s voice positively soars here, and if that isn’t enough, this record also includes the epic side-long “Supper’s Ready” a staple of early Genesis concerts.
Edited: May 16th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Me And My Shadow” by M. Ward
Whether with Zooey Deschanel in She & Him, or with Conor Oberst and Jim James in Monsters Of Folk, or solo like on this track, M. Ward has not made that world-class, hit-the-ball-out-of-the-park kind of record yet. There’s no question that all of his records are certainly worth a spin…and some songs like this one are indeed superb. But I just don’t feel Ward has reached his potential as a recording artist…yet. With each new release, he seems to be getting closer to this goal and I must admit that some of the songs on his latest record, “A Wasteland Companion,” are beginning to ingratiate themselves to me by getting stuck in my subconscious. In the meantime, I’ll keep on following his releases until that real stunner he’s totally capable of full of top-shelf songs like this one comes along.
Edited: May 15th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Delia’s Gone” by Johnny Cash
Stark, stately and positively harrowing is this murder ballad from Johnny Cash’s first Rick Rubin-produced “American Recordings” album from 1994. The song stems from the actual murder of Delia Green by Moses “Cooney” Houston which took place in Savannah, Georgia in 1900. Both the victim and the murderer were 14 years old and had been dating each other for a few months. One night Cooney was very drunk and began teasing Delia. Delia called Cooney a son of a bitch which held much wait back in those times and Cooney replied by pulling his gun out and shooting Delia. Cooney was sentenced to life in prison but served only twelve years before being pardoned in 1913. The song became a popular murder ballad first recorded by Blind Willie McTell where he blamed Delia’s demise on her flirting with gamblers. In subsequent recordings by Pete Seeger, The Kingston Trio, David Bromberg, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash the facts become a little more distorted. This version has Cooney tying Delia up and shooting her point blank with his sub-machine gun.
Edited: May 14th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Miriam” by Norah Jones
Like Johnny Cash’s cover of “Delia” from the first “Unchained ” album, Norah Jones has recorded (and in her case written) a song that sends chills down the spine with its cool sense of detachment and cold-blooded outcome. In the case of her latest album called “Little Broken Hearts,” Brian Burton who’s also known as Danger Mouse makes a good co-pilot while providing a good influence for the most part.
Edited: May 13th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Mother People” and “Motherly Love” by The Mothers Of Invention
It’s Mother’s Day and you should always listen to you MOTHERS! Have a Happy Mother’s Day!
Edited: May 12th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Disparate Youth” by Santigold
American born Santi White got her start as an A&R rep for Epic Records before joining the band Stiffed who released two punk rock records in the early two-thousands. In 2008 she went solo in a new direction as a singer, songwriter and dance music maven and scored with the hit “Creator” from her self-titled debut album. Many months touring supporting acts like Kanye West, Jay-Z, Bjork and M.I.A. led her to an afternoon Lollapalooza slot in 2009 where I caught her act and realized that she was much more than a product of some record company boardroom. Turns out she’s quite the performer who writes most of her material and seldom needs to lean on auto-tune to make her voice sound good. Several weeks ago she released her sophomore album “Master Of My Make Believe” with an assist from Karen O and Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs to much critical acclaim. She will again be featured at this year’s Lollapalooza Festival.
Edited: May 12th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Jericho” by Rufus Wainwright
As if it weren’t enough that Obama has finally come out supporting same-sex marriage…now Rufus Wainwright is back…and in full-on ’70s pop songsmith mode with his new Mark Ronson-produced album, “Out Of The Game.” This truly is a good day for America! For those who don’t know, Mark Ronson was the guiding force behind Amy Winehouse’s album “Back To Black,” and while Wainwright is his own artist, Ronson does move him back into the pure pop direction he’s turned away from over the last couple of years. Gone is the over-the-top Judy in drag of his “Carnegie Hall” album…also gone is the orchestral and operatic flair that set the two rococo “Want” albums apart from the rest of his discography. Although all of his releases have something worthwhile to offer, it is nice to hear an album that harks back to his most song-oriented records, “Release The Stars” from 2007 and “Poses” from 2001…especially after the dark, bummer that was his previous album “All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu.” Over the past decade, Wainwright has become one of the finest singer-songwriters on the planet and a true artist in every sense of the word.
Edited: May 10th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “It’s Too Late” Demo by Carole King
The makings of a hit record were all there on the demo. Superb, succinct lyrics that tell a story of heartbreak and disappointment with economy and little melodrama. You can hear all of the instrumentation that ended up on the final “Tapestry” version of the song in the piano accompaniment. Who could argue with her voice…perfect for this song…little drama…pretty matter-of-fact with a dose of resignation. This track is taken from a new Carole King release called “The Legendary Demos” featuring the early versions of songs like “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (The Monkees), “Take Good Care Of My Baby” (Bobby Vee), “Crying In The Rain” (The Everly Brothers), “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” (Aretha Franklin) and many tunes that she would take to the charts on her own. It’s a great look into King’s creative process and, especially on the early songs, makes one wonder why she wasn’t a solo hit maker way before 1970.
Edited: May 10th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “America!” by Bill Callahan
He’s the artist sometimes known as “Smog” who has spent most of his career releasing some very quirky records. As Smog, Callahan has released 14 lo-fi albums since 1990 laced with very repetitive, simplistic and challenging music featuring strange instrumental combinations, lots of dissonance and sparse lyrics if any at all. He has also released four albums under his own name that are more conventional in instrumentation but still pretty quirky. While he’s not from Chicago, he is afforded a hometown welcome whenever he plays here due to the fact that he’s recorded exclusively for Chicago’s own Drag City records since the beginning of his career. This clip is from one of the cooler Chicago venues, the intimate Lincoln Hall and it was recorded last July. You can find the studio version of this song on his 2011 album called “Apocalypse” which was one of last year’s very best releases.
Edited: May 8th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “MacArthur Park” by Richard Harris
Who knows what was going on in songwriter Jimmy Webb’s mind when he wrote the somewhat nonsensical lyrics to this song, but one thing for sure is that it is a classic brought to the upper regions of the charts not once but twice. Richard Harris was known primarily as an actor and not a singer which can be evidenced on any of his albums, some of which are quite the embarrassment. Some of his most popular acting roles included King Arthur in the musical “Camelot” and Albus Dumbledore in the first few Harry Potter films. The song was originally intended for The Association to record, but they rejected it. Harris’ version of the song was released in 1968 and reached the number ten slot on the charts. It was included on his 1968 album “A Tramp Shining,” which is a bona-fide easy listening classic with all of the songs penned by Jimmy Webb. The song was subsequently recorded by artists as diverse as Donna Summer (who took it to the top of the charts in 1978 with her Disco version), Waylon Jennings, Liza Minnelli, The 5th Dimension, Justin Hayward (of The Moody Blues), Ferrante & Teicher and numerous others.
Edited: May 8th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Keep On Truckin’” by Eddie Kendricks from the 1973 album “Eddie Kendricks”
Originally a member of The Primes (to the Supremes’ Primettes), Kendricks possessed one of the most soulful voices in the group that would later be renamed The Temptations. His angelic falsetto voice climbed the charts numerous times on such classics as “Just My Imagination,” “My Girl,” “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” “Get Ready” and dozens of others too numerous to mention here. He left the Tempts to go solo in 1971 topping the charts in 1973 with this classic that ushered in the era of Disco. This is the long album version of the song for maximum boogie pleasure!
Edited: May 6th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Row Jimmy” by Grateful Dead
While most Deadheads would agree that 1972 was a key year for the band due to the amount of then-new material added to the mix now considered standards, as evidenced on last year’s essential “Complete Europe ’72″ mammoth box set release. I too agree, but I really love the 1973-74 shows and the tracks from “Wake Of The Flood” and “From The Mars Hotel” that were entered into the band’s canon which brings us to this great Jerry track originally from “Wake.” Even though this is a 1978 version of the song, the reason I chose it is that I received my “Dave’s Picks Volume 2″ subscription CD in the mail today featuring a show from Dillon Stadium in Hartford, CT from July of 1974. Its arrival coincided with a 3-hour ride each way downstate to the University Of Illinois to see my daughter perform at Superstate with her High School Band. Timing is everything, so I took the opportunity to spin the show which has an interesting set list with nice early versions of the “Mars Hotel” songs played at much quicker tempos that the band ultimately settled upon and many then-current “Wake” tracks. The release is somewhat patchy which is of some concern because the folks at Rhino keep going to the well for releases and I’m beginning to wonder if they’ve begun to hit bottom for some of the key tour years for the Dead. Nevertheless, what was good on the set was great as long as you can put up with the numerous lyrical flubs and mistakes the band made on this show. I guess that’s part of the charm of these releases anyway…
Edited: May 5th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Long, Long, Long” by The Beatles
One of George Harrison’s most underrated songs and a highlight of “The White Album” for sure. The song was actually recorded by “The Threetles” since John Lennon was not present for any of the sessions. Lennon’s absence kind of illustrates the short shrift that Harrison’s songs were given during Beatle recording sessions, considering that songs like “Something,” “Not Guilty” and “Sour Milk Sea” were left off this album and “All Things Must Pass” “Isn’t It A Pity” and “Let It Down” were left off of “Let It Be” in favor of much weaker material like “Dig It,” “Maggie Mae” and “Good Night.” The rattling heard during the psychedelic meltdown at the end of the track was from a bottle of wine that was left on top of a speaker during the recording. Happy “mistakes” like this were often left in making the recording more interesting and more psychedelic. “Long, Long, Long” is one in a long line of Harrison love songs that can be directed at either his wife or the Lord.
Edited: May 4th, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “A Porter’s Love Song To A Chambermaid” by Fats Waller
He was a master stride pianist, world class composer responsible for such classics as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” and “Jitterbug Waltz,” to name but a few, and a larger than life comedic performer whose jivey way with a song sometimes overshadowed his sheer artistry. He recorded hundreds of records for Victor and was so in demand, that in 1926 Waller was kidnapped by four men and taken to an inn owned by Al Capone. With a gun to his back, he was pushed to the piano and told to play. He proceeded to play at Capone’s birthday party for three days straight after which a very drunk Waller left the inn thousands of dollars richer due to the tips that were showered upon him. Here we have a 1934 recording composed by James P. Johnson and Andy Razaf about a relationship between a porter and a chambermaid. They just don’t write songs like this anymore…
Edited: May 3rd, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “No Time To Think” by Bob Dylan
“Street Legal” is one of the most underrated records in Bob Dylan’s canon. When it came out in 1978, it had the tough task of following both “Desire” and “Blood On The Tracks,” two of Dylan’s most respected studio albums and comparatively speaking, it did not fare so well. It was then followed by the 1978 “Vegas” tour dubbed so because of the female vocalists he brought along and the garish outfits Dylan chose to wear on stage. In retrospect, the tour featured some of Dylan’s most impassioned vocals ever, and the record included some of his greatest songs including “Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power),” “Changing Of The Guard,” “New Pony” (recently covered by Jack White with Dead Weather), “Is Your Love In Vain?” and this amazing track. Dylan would secretly marry Carolyn Dennis, one of his background singers on the album and the tour in 1986.
Edited: May 2nd, 2012
Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Mean Man” by Detroit Cobras
You can draw a sonic line between The Bangles and Detroit Cobras when it comes to influences. Both groups draw upon the classic girl group sound of the 1960s, but add their own garage rock spin to the proceedings. Detroit Cobras are a garage rock band from, you guessed it, Detroit whose first few albums were comprised exclusively of covers. The band has had a revolving lineup over the years with Rachel Nagy and Mary Ramirez (on vocals and guitar respectively) the only two constants. This live cover of Betty Harris’ 1968 soul gem was originally from the Cobras’ 2005 album called “Baby.”
Edited: May 1st, 2012