Dear readers, This weekend, I am hard at work on budgets for our various magazines. I am dreaming and seeing figures and, quite frankly, Larry just needed a break. So, on my lovely walk through Fort Atkinson along the Rock River, I pulled together a few of my more obscure songs, with a bit of a story, combining the apocryphal with the anecdotal. I hope you enjoy:
1. Galveston-Glen Campbell. An anti war song if there ever was one. This song features former TV star Glen Campbell. I like the guitar, and the raw emotions and lyrics. Reminds me of Steve Earle before the rehab stuff. So you don’t feel weird listening to Glen Campbell, please realize that guy can cook on a classical guitar, and in the early sixties, he did session work with none other that Mr. Hendrix.
2. Intro/Sweet Jane–Lou Reed. Pressure can do alot to a lyricist. Before Reed did the Velvet Underground thing, he wrote songs for PIckwick Records. They threw him in a room with lots of coffee, snack food and a few other songwriters and said, ” Give us some Beach Boy songs.” Two days later, he came out with his opus, Heroin, one of the most viral songs about addiction of any kind. Esoterica about Intro/Sweet Jane-make sure you get the right one-my fave version is from Lou Reed Live on Capital Records, recorded 1974 with Steve Hunter on lead guitar and Prakash John on bass. Both serious studio musicians, Hunter played lead and rythm for Peter Gabriel on his first solo album, Modern Love. Also, on same album, listen to Satellite of Love. If you are really a geek, try getting a bootleg of Ultrasonic Studios, 1972, Interview with Lou Reed and band he called the Thunder Thighs (yes, dear readers, I have a copy).
3. Humble Pie, ” I Don’t Need No Doctor”--I loved this song in grade school. Peter Frampton and Steve Marriott were in this band that always sounded better Live than on a Studio Album. Just a great song, with screaming guitar and vocals.
4. “Kentucky Rain”-Elvis Presley, Classics. I grew up on Elvis, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, and I have never forgotten Elvis. Kentucky Rain is pretty Hollywooded up, but the lyrics are honest and Elvis was never better. ( In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, Return to Sender).
5.” What’s Going on” Marvin Gaye, come on, yes, he had a huge ego, but he had reason. Get your hands on his visit to Oakland, CA in 1980, after no live performances in five years and the man tore the place apart . ( You might find it on concert.tv.com).
6. Jah Cure, ” Ghetto Life” , I picked this up at the airport in Kingston a couple of years ago. Amazing singing, serious lyrics. Voice reminds one of a combination of Marvin Gaye and Tupac Shakur.
7. Gin Blossoms, ‘ Hey, Jealousy.” Snappy lyrics, strong lead guitar. Honest song about a several time looser, but pretty boy, and he is finally figuring out the hypocrisy. Did I say very competent, screaming solo? From album The Miserable Experience.
8. Rod Stewart, ” Mandolin Wind” ( Also “Cut Across Shorty”). Rod Stewart, pre Disco, was a sound and site to behold. I just found a You Tube video with Ron Wood, Keith Richards and Rod Stewart that is amazing in it virtuosity. The country rock scene, influenced by the Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, all can be heard here. Stewarts’ vocals, done with experience and thoughtfulness only someone who has been through a difficult season in a relationship.
9. Graham Parker, ” I want you back, ” . This is one of the few covers that really sticks it, gets the song right and as an adult male singing it, Parker and his band the Rumour, just blow the room apart. Basic Rock n roll, with Parker’s angst filled singing. If that is not enough, grab his book of short stories, Carp Fishing on Valium, still one of my all time favorites!
10. Cypress Hill, ” So You Wanne Be a Rock Star,” the kings of chronic, this centuries verion of the Grateful Dead, if you had 40 body piercings and same number of tatoos, these guys know their music. This song is honest, explicitly so, about the music scene, and the near Faustian deal many bands try only to fail. Must be listened to several times.
11. Michael Stanley Band, ” Let’s Get the Show on the Road,” 1976 Agoura Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio. Probably the best live album ever produced. MSB, like Ted Nugent, Bob Seeger, Head East, were the bands that should have been huge. I am waiting for the movie on this one. MSB’s guitar, also flute, had the clubs across the upper Midwest jumping. ” Let’s Get the show on the road” was one of the first anthem songs. Get the cd, listen to Calcutta Auction, Rosewood Bitters. Amazing band.
12. Isaac Hayes, ” Theme from Shaft,” Isaac Hayes is better known for his character on SouthPark, but the man did the Shaft theme record. The wah wah guitar here is done by the coolest session man in the business. All I know about guy is that he always wore a crocheted beret and as he was wailing on his guitar ( you must listen), his body did not move! Totally blew my mind in 1972.
13. Album, ” If I were a Carpenter,” come on kids, Babes in Toyland, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cracker doing ” Rainy Days and Mondays?” This album interprets the Carpenters in some fairly strange directions, but, in the end, you are kind of sad that Karen did not live to hear this stuff, she would have had a good laugh.
14. Pete Yorn, ” Burrito”, It’s a seven-eleven, do you want to take a walk outside, if you’re not waiting for that call, Moma said you only fall in love once…and with that song, Adam and I fell into total Yorn geekdom. One of my most favorite memories was when Adam heard that Yorn was playing at a record store in Madison. So, with 120 others, we got a half hour free concert plus a live recording of the songs. Pete Yorn has a range of vocals that could make anything sound good. His songs are about real life, broken love, and yet, one still believes in the love. Songsfor the morning after, is a great start for beginning Pete Yorn geeks.
15. G Love and His Special Sauce, ” My baby’s got Sauce”, G. Love is from the East Coast, Boston and Philly, I believe and his sound is beatnik meets Grand Master Flash meets Ice Cube, really early Ice Cube. Great rhyming, solid lyrics. This song is about the women he loves, who can more than deliver what he dishes out. Fun song, check this guy out.
Okay, back to work, hope you like these!