Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Music For Every Occasion

Cover Stars-Mimi & Richard Farina
boots of spanish leather from joan baez on Vimeo.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Ask Doctor Zhivago-SCTV 1981



The sketch above from 35 years ago seems relevant given recent events, couldn't find a good upload of the equally funny sketch Benny Hill Street Blues-but included one below anyway, its part of the same episode on the highly recommended SCTV Volume 2 DVD set-

I suppose you have to be of a certain age to understand some of this humor or at least the references, but part of the brilliance of SCTV was that they had their own characters as part of the fictional network that you had to familiarize yourself with like Bobby Bittman, so the more you watched the funnier the material became. They hardly ever went for a one note gag, and when they did like Benny Hill Street Blues it was a damn good one.

Friday, January 6, 2017

A Soundtrack Regained, Sort Of....Warhol's 1963 Road Trip



Deborah Davis's book The Trip recounts Andy Warhol's September 1963 road trip from New York to Los Angeles for his second Ferus Gallery show (Elvis and Liz) and for a promised "Hollywood party" courtesy of Dennis Hopper. Warhol made the journey in a black Ford Falcon station wagon driven in turns by Wynn Chamberlain and Taylor Mead, also along for the trip was Gerard Malanga, who occupied the roomy back of the wagon with Andy. Andy's star was ascending and he was just starting to move from painting to movie making, as well as making a transformation from his less studied "Raggedy Andy" persona to the soon to be iconic stripped shirt, leather jacket, boots and jeans Mid-60's monosyllabic Sphinx Andy. The book is a quick breezy read, and contains many digressions for context, or less charitably for padding as the actual details of the trip itself are probably more of a magazine piece than an actual book. I wish Davis would have attempted more of a novelistic approach to recreating the road trip itself as she did apparently have first hand source material from Malanga.  

Andy Warhol, Billy Al Bengston, and Dennis Hopper at Duchamp show 1963
                                        
Nevertheless I did enjoy the book (and many of the digressions) but what really set my imagination alight was a brief passage about how the four listened to top 40 radio during the entire journey. Below is a mix of many of the songs occupying the charts in September of 1963 that the four surely heard on their trip across the USA of 1963. This mix of charting records from September 1963 contradicts the traditional narrative that the early 60's pre-British Invasion was a dry period for music-what with Spector, Bacharach, Motown, Surf Music, R&B, Ray Charles, Brill Building Girl Groups and even the more commercial end of folk music there was an incredible variety of great music on the radio, it wasn't raw 50's rock n' roll, but it was great POP music. 

With the assassination of JFK only two months away and the arrival of the Beatles in four months America would be changed irrevocably, racing full amphetamine charged speed ahead into the turbulent and brilliant mid 1960's explosion of, well just about everything-admittedly another over-simplified narrative but hey nobody said those weren't fun to indulge in, and I gotta get mine. 

Enjoy!

1. Mickey's Monkey-The Miracles
2. Walk Right In- The Rooftop Singers
3. Sugar Shack-Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs
4. Up On The Roof- The Drifters
5. Telstar-The Tornados
6. Sally, Go Round The Roses- The Jaynetts
7. Then He Kissed Me- The Crystals
8. Deep Purple- April & Nino 
9. Blue Velvet- Bobby Vinton
10. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah- Bob B. Soxx & The Bluejeans
11. Surf City- Jan & Dean
12. Two Lovers- Mary Wells
13. Ruby Baby- Dion
14. My Boyfriend's Back- The Angels
15. You Are My Sunshine- Ray Charles
16. Rhythm of the Rain- The Cascades
17. Chains- The Cookies
18. Surfer Girl- The Beach Boys
19. The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget- The Raindrops
20. Heatwave- Martha & The Vandellas
21. If I Had A Hammer- Trini Lopez
22. The Lonely Surfer- Jack Nietzsche
23. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright- Peter, Paul & Mary
24. Don't Make Me Over- Dionne Warwick
25. Greenback Dollar-The Kingston Trio
26. Busted- Ray Charles
27. The End of The World- Skeeter Davis
28. Wipe Out- The Sufaris
Eight Elvises Silkscreen-1963
Andy becoming cool-1963

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Favorites or There's Garbage in Honey's Sack Again


A baker's dozen of my recent fave raves, in no particular order. All are highly recommended. Remember, music is the gift that keeps giving!

1. Undercover LP & attendant 12 inches, b-sides and remixes-The Rolling Stones
2. Oh No It's Devo- Devo
3. Astral Glamour- The Homosexuals
4. Dirty Pearl- Anita Lane
5. Beyond & Back- X
6. The Man Who Fell to Earth OST
7. Fishing With John OST
8. Black Gold- Chess/Cadet Records compilation
9. This Land Is Your Land- The Folk Years- Time Life Box Set
10. Live 81-82- The Birthday Party
11. Walking on The Edge/Dr. Dupree 7 inch- Wilko Johnson & the Solid Senders
12. B-Sides & Rarities- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
13. Way Down In The Jungle Room & An Afternoon In The Garden- Elvis Presley

Happy New Year and God help us all!




Monday, December 19, 2016

Don't Be Cruel- Billy Swan 1974



There's something that is sonically very ahead of its time in Billy Swan's slow cover of "Don't Be Cruel". I first heard it on an episode of Magic City.

 

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Little Is Alright- The Who's Athena

Theresa Russell and Art Garfunkel in Nicolas Roeg's 1980 Horror/Romance Bad Timing
I've always had a soft spot for the Who's 1982 single "Athena" risible though some may find it and the LP it was featured on It's Hard. It's a record and a single that I was old enough to remember the release of and corresponding tour and so it had a lot of impact on me at a young age -what with its video arcade album cover so emblematic of the time of it's release. Yadda, yadda not making excuses I still like 'em both and feel that this record and its predecessor Face Dances are underrated to this day.

It was interesting years later to find out "Athena" was about Pete Townshend's obsession with and rejection by actress Theresa Russell (original title of the song was Theresa, natch) who would soon marry her director Nicolas Roeg (another fave of mine) who used both Ms. Russell and the Who's "Who Are You" to devastating effect in his film Bad Timing. I remember the first time I saw it I rented an old Disney flick the next night to sort of cleanse the palate and soothe my troubled mind. 

I've threatened for a while to assemble a soundtrack for Bad Timing, as the music is interesting, varied and plays an integral part in the effect of this harrowing film that stays with you for longer than you may like.  I still might do it! In the meantime here's "Athena", as well as the demo version, "Theresa", and the trailer for Bad Timing along with some stills of the star and her many transformations throughout the film.

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More stills from Bad Timing below and the front and back cover of It's Hard









Saturday, December 3, 2016

Reaching For The Sky Just To Surrender



The weather finally turned cold here, rainy too, a good day to stay inside and watch McCabe & Mrs. Miller and listen to Leonard Cohen (RIP), Scott Walker and 80's Nick Cave.  Also highly recommended is Criterion's restored version of One Eyed Jacks which looks amazing and is a damn fine movie. And what a cast-Brando, Karl Malden, Ben Johnson, Timothy Carey and Slim Pickens!  The essay in the criterion set is complete bullshit, ignore it, its like the guy watched a completely different movie from what I saw.