Tag Archives: Tuneage

Musical palate cleanser, what’s your name, who’s your daddy edition

I went and saw The Zombies Saturday night at Variety Playhouse.  The group, both in its current configuration and also in the one that brings together the four surviving members of the original group, are touring in support of the fiftieth anniversary of the recording of their second album, Odessey and Oracle.

That album is one of the more ill-fated stories of pop music.  (Wikipedia has the back story here, if you’re interested.)  Aside from the “group makes great record, then promptly disbands” part of it, the album itself is a minor miracle, given keyboardist and musical leader Rod Argent’s tendency towards stylistic self-indulgence (something that was on display in a rather up-and-down first set Saturday) combined with the surprising decision to let the group produce the album itself.

Happily, though, the final product was a taut effort, with not a single wasted note on twelve songs clocking in at a tick over thirty-five minutes.  (If you’ve got the time and like late sixties British pop, give it a listen.)  The band performs the album live virtually note for note, which made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Anyway, the album may be obscure, but it was the source of the group’s monster hit, “Time of the Season”, which was recorded in 1967, released as a single six months later and became a chart success in 1969.  It sounded as great the other night as it did the first time I heard it on the radio.

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UPDATE:  Talk about your small world.

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Musical palate cleanser, go cat go edition

(Sixty one years ago today), Elvis Presley appeared on ABC-TV’s ‘The Milton Berle Show’ live from the flight deck of the USS Hancock in San Diego, California. He performed ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ ‘Shake Rattle And Roll’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’ It was estimated that one out of every four Americans saw the show.

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Musical palate cleanser, take ’em to the bridge edition

This is… inspired.

(h/t)

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Musical palate cleanser, Big Star tribute edition

Per Rolling Stone,

In April 2016, an all-star band featuring R.E.M.‘s Mike Mills, Wilco‘s Jeff Tweedy and Pat Sansone, and many more gathered onstage at Glendale, California’s Alex Theatre to perform Big Star‘s classic Third/Sister Lovers in its entirety.

A live album and concert film from that performance will be released April 21st as Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live … and More. Ahead of the concert film’s premiere at the SXSW Film Festival on March 16th, Rolling Stone presents the supergroup’s take on Big Star’s #1 Record classic “In the Street.”

A labor of love, and it shows.

By the way, Third/Sister Lovers is one of the strangest great albums I’ve ever listened to.  Alex Chilton had written a bunch of incredible songs, which he then proceeded to deconstruct out of some weird sense of disgust with the music industry and Big Star’s fate (not that it wasn’t understandable).  It literally got to the point where he was told by the producer to shut the record down after he pulled a drunk off the street to help record a song.

That notwithstanding, Third/Sister Lovers is also one of the most compelling albums I’ve ever listened to.  The paranoia and love wound together and expressed in “Nightime” give me chills every time I hear the song.

Yeah, I’ll have to see the movie.

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Musical palate cleanser, birthday edition

Someone emailed me with a MPC request to celebrate Elton John’s 70th birthday.  I confess I’ve never been much of a fan, but I’ve always had a warm place in my heart for this scene from Almost Famous, set to “Tiny Dancer”, so enjoy.

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Musical palate cleanser: Chuck Berry is dead, and I don’t feel so good myself.

He was 90, but, still, damn, just damn.

Chuck Berry, who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ’n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years, died on Saturday. He was 90.

The St. Charles County Police Department in Missouri confirmed his death on its Facebook page. Mr. Berry died at his home near Wentzville, Mo., about 45 miles west of St. Louis. The department said it responded to a medical emergency and he was declared dead after lifesaving measures were unsuccessful.

While Elvis Presley was rock’s first pop star and teenage heartthrob, Mr. Berry was its master theorist and conceptual genius, the songwriter who understood what the kids wanted before they knew themselves. With songs like “Johnny B. Goode” and “Roll Over Beethoven,” he gave his listeners more than they knew they were getting from jukebox entertainment.

His guitar lines wired the lean twang of country and the bite of the blues into phrases with both a streamlined trajectory and a long memory. And tucked into the lighthearted, telegraphic narratives that he sang with such clear enunciation was a sly defiance, upending convention to claim the pleasures of the moment.

Or to put it more succinctly,

“The big beat, cars and young love,” Mr. Chess outlined. “It was a trend, and we jumped on it.”

The coolest thing about Chuck Berry is this:

And Mr. Berry’s music has remained on tour extraterrestrially. “Johnny B. Goode” is on golden records within the Voyager I and II spacecraft, launched in 1977 and awaiting discovery.

That may not be immortality, but it ain’t bad.  Nor was Saturday Night Live’s take on it.

Meanwhile, back on earth, it’s hard to beat Ron Wood’s tribute on his passing.

Chuck Berry will be missed, but never forgotten.

Hail, Hail, rock ‘n roll.

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Musical palate cleanser, drunk love is the best love edition

In honor of Saint Paddy’s Day, here are the Dropkick Murphys with a live version of their ode to uninhibited male ego, “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced”.

Let’s face it, fellas.  We’ve all been there at least once in our lives.

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