Posts Tagged ‘MC5’

Weekend Playlist

23 November 2009

“The release date is just one day, but the record is forever.” ~ Bruce Springsteen

Townes Van Zandt | Flyin’ Shoes

Bar-Kays | Soul Finger

Ween | Chocolate & Cheese

Black Sabbath | Never Say Die!

Mylo | Destroy Rock & Roll

The Four Tops | Anthology

X | Under The Big Black Sun

Bruce Springsteen | Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Sweet | Desolation Boulevard

Jackie Wilson | My Way
[Album cover not pictured]

Nick Lowe | Pure Pop For Now People

Dead Can Dance | Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun

Lee Perry & The Upsetters | Double Seven

MC5 | Thunder Express

Neko Case | Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Robert Johnson | King Of The Delta Blues Singers

Mark Lanegan Band | Bubblegum

Outkast | Stankonia

PJ Harvey | Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea

The Meters | Funkify Your Life: The Anthology

INXS | Underneath The Colours

Sly & Robbie | Sly & Robbie Present Taxi

Paul K & The Weathermen | Love Is A Gas

Sonic Cool

26 August 2009

Sonic Cool by Joe S. Harrington

A few years back, someone created a cool diagram of the history of rock that was designed to look like the map for the London Underground subway. Sonic Cool, a 2002 book by Joe S. Harrington, functions much the same way – it’s a satisfying, thorough, point-to-point history of rock music. This dense, 500+ page tome connects the many dots between Elvis Presley and modern music, and while there are literally tons of books on the market that attempt to tell the story of Rock & Roll, Sonic Cool lays it all out as well as anything else written on the topic. In spite of my criticisms, this is a strong book that deserves serious recommendation.

First the good – Harrington writes in a breezy style, and he’s done a fine job of seamlessly connecting the many offshoots of rock history. He’s to be commended for not being afraid to back up and repeat certain points that are essential to multiple strains of Rock (The Stooges, MC5, and New York Dolls justifiably feature in many chapters). He also deserves a medal for his two sentence description of Rock & Roll, which alone trumps many volumes on the subject:

“The common denominator between both Blues and Country was the funky down-home quality that enabled one to let go of his/her emotions and not feel self-conscious about it. Elvis realized this, and it was through his realization that the synthesis of these two musical forms could finally take place (hence “Rock ‘n’ Roll”).”

Harrington’s no-holds-barred writing style is best exemplified by his entertaining description of Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson:

“A raving bearded satyr who looked like he hadn’t taken a bath in two months, his stage antics included leaping around the stage wearing a codpiece and honking on his massive flute. The most well known flautist in Rock, Anderson was also an outspoken detractor of other bands and a tireless promoter of himself. His air could be summed up in one word: pompous.”

But this book starts to run into trouble with the second half of its subtitle, The Life & Death Of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Because the history of rock has been written so many times, one can assume that Harrington was encouraged to put a unique twist on it: hence, in his opinion, rock “died” sometime around 2002. His reasons for this conclusion aren’t abundantly clear, but they seem to revolve around the rise of music videos, the triumph of style over substance in music, and the ascendence of Hip-Hop.

At any rate, he runs into the same problem as kooks who predict the end of the world – namely, what happens the day after the prediction, when the world is still turning, or rock is still going?? Much can be said about the troubles of the music industry, but nobody in their right mind thinks that rock is now dead. By wrapping his book around that conclusion, Harrington comes off as a doomsday crank, and dates his book in the worst possible way.

The same could be said about his tendency to project the worst bits of a musical genre on its audience. In particular, his ranting about Grunge and Generation X are the literary equivalent of foaming at the mouth. I’m squarely within the demographic of Gen X, and a lot of my fellow X’ers will probably be surprised to learn that we’re part of “a generation of self-loathing, doubt, and anxiety… a generation with low self esteem that aspired to nothingness.”

Even more reprehensible is Harrington’s conclusion, based on a woman’s comment that her grandmother owned a copy of Grandmaster Flash’s ‘The Message’, that “Granny was a former coke whore who chain-smoked and spat venom.” If that’s the lone borderline racist comment in this book, it’s certainly not the only time that Harrington draws a reckless, sweeping generalization that’s based on questionable musical profiling.

Harrington is an astute music critic, but he stumbles when he tries to connect the history of music to larger events. For instance, his assertion that “The defeat of [George] McGovern in ’72 left a big scar on the collective psyche of the baby boomers” is a laughably unnecessary reach (Vietnam, yes – Kennedy assassinations, yes – McGovern? Please…). Thankfully, Sonic Cool overcomes its obvious flaws because it’s mostly dedicated to unraveling the absurd, complex, entertaining history of Rock.

Buried Treasure: Thunder Express

29 May 2009

[Today: Motor City is still burning…]

MC5 | Thunder Express

MC5 is a band whose music has been completely overshadowed by its myths. From their involvement with the White Panther party to their refusal to edit the phrase “Kick out the jams motherfuckers!” on their debut album, they led with their politics and charted a loud, uncompromising, and ideological route to oblivion. Since their demise, they’ve acquired status as punk rock godfathers and become metaphorically linked to a state that has been decaying for decades from its auto industry out. By design, it’s nearly impossible to hear their music without any preconceived notions about what they stand for.

During a 1972 interview with Nick Kent, guitarist Wayne Kramer waxed philosophical about the group’s dedication to its sound, even in the face of commercial failure. “When you’re putting over an alien vibration on a high energy level you’ve got to be tough to that kind of backlash,” he said. “But it’s the only way for us, we can’t do anything else and it’s too late to stop now. We’re totally committed to our thing – it’s a highly emotional thing and in that respect it’s always a calculated risk.”

Thunder Express captures the group live in the studio in March of 1972, just months before they went kaput. The recording retains the primal fury of the Motor City Five’s live act, but the studio environment does wonders for their sound. Over seven tracks – including a blistering 10-minute version of ‘Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa’ – MC5 exhibit the kind of driving musicianship that one wouldn’t normally associate with them. Under these conditions, it’s easy to filter out the politics and spot the influence of Motown, Chuck Berry, and John Coltrane upon their music.

The album was recorded during a one-day session at Chateau d’Herouville, an 18th century castle that was converted into a recording studio in 1969. It would later host sessions for Pink Floyd’s Obscured By Clouds, Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, and David Bowie’s Low, as well as two of the Bee Gee’s songs for the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack. It was an unlikely location for Kramer, Rob Tyner, Fred “Sonic” Smith, Steve Moorhouse, and Denis Thompson to make one of their last stands, but Thunder Express is the sound of a band going out in a hail of brutal riffs, raw and uncompromising to the bitter end…

Listen: Motor City Is Burning

Listen: Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa

[Very special thanks to Jeff Marshall for passing this album my way…]

Masterpiece: Radios Appear

17 May 2009

[Today: Punk’s roots down under…]

Radio Birdman | Radios Appear

Formed in Sydney, Australia in 1974 by guitarist Deniz Tek and vocalist Rob Younger, Radio Birdman was reviled in its homeland with a furious energy that would have made Johnny Rotten proud. Tek grew up in Ann Arbor, MI as a fan of The Stooges and MC5, and fell under the spell of those bands’ brutal guitar assault. When he started Radio Birdman (the name is a twist on lyrics to the Stooges’ tune ‘1970’), he decided to follow their lead – not realizing that bands on two other continents were essentially doing the same thing and collectively cooking up punk rock.

Radio Birdman was (along with The Saints) one of the seminal Aussie punk bands, although their brand of punk differed slightly from what was brewing in the US and UK. Tek’s relentless, slashing guitar is pure punk but owes a heavy debt to surf music, which takes the edge off their sound and makes it quite palatable for modern ears. Radios Appear – their blistering 1977 debut – is one of the best albums of the 70s, and one of the most overlooked records of all-time.

Radios Appear doesn’t contain a bum note or a less-than-great song. It’s that rare perfect album, and will leave you scratching your head, wondering how this band didn’t make it big. ‘Aloha Steve & Danno’ is a musical tribute to Hawaii Five-O and includes the classic couplet “There’s an agent in the field/I wanna have him tailed/He’s staying at the Hilton/He should be staying in Jail.” ‘T.V. Eye’ (a bonus track from the Australian version of the album) is quite simply the greatest Stooges cover ever, and ‘Murder City Nights’ packs a wallop that many modern bands would give a left arm for. Some critics (the few who were paying attention) accused the band of race-baiting for the lyrics to ‘New Race’ and ‘Man With The Golden Helmet’, but those charges are laughably off base.

The band went to the UK in 1978 in an effort to increase their profile and find an audience that was down with their sound. But the UK wasn’t buying it either, and in 1980 they split up. Deniz Tek went on to play in a few different bands, fly F4s for the Marines, and work as an emergency room surgeon, but nothing he did subsequently was anywhere near as exciting as Radios Appear.

Listen: Aloha Steve & Danno

Listen: Murder City Nights

Buried Treasure: …For The Whole World To See

10 April 2009

[Today: Death comes calling…]

Death | ...For The Whole World To See

Death was a trio of brothers from Detroit who originally formed in 1971 as an R&B act. But David (guitar), Dannis (drums) and Bobby (bass/vocals) Hackney soon became enchanted with the primal sonic assault of local bands MC5 and The Stooges, and changed their sound accordingly. Bobby Hackney says that “Like many young African-American musicians, our primary influences were soul and funk music. This changed after seeing Iggy & The Stooges live. We started listening to more rock, stuff like Alice Cooper and Led Zeppelin… In 1974, we put together a demo tape with the most rocking name we could think of: DEATH.”

That demo caught the ear of Columbia Records boss Clive Davis, who was interested in turning it into an album, on the condition that the group change their name. When they refused, their songs started collecting dust, and the band went back to local obscurity. But with the recent release of the triumphantly titled …For The Whole World To See, Death’s music finally gets the push it deserved 35 years ago. Heavier than punk, but faster than the metal of the day, these songs call to mind Bad Brains or Living Colour a decade before the fact. ‘Keep On Knocking’ and ‘Politicians In My Eyes’ are hard-driving highlights, while ‘Freakin’ Out’ sounds like black Buzzcocks. It’s a short album – 7 songs in just over 26 minutes – but what it lacks in length is more than made up in power.

…For The Whole World To See is of interest because it was recorded before punk found an audience, making it an album ahead of its time. I’m not suggesting that this album is a fake, but its easily replicable sound and premise make me wonder when the reissue market will encounter its very own Milli Vanilli – a “long lost” group that makes a splash with an album that is actually a recently-recorded hoax. Death sounds so ahead of their time that you can’t help but wonder if the wool is being pulled over your eyes…

Listen: Keep On Knocking

Listen: Politicians In My Eyes


…For The Whole World To See is the 100th album to be designated as ‘Buried Treasure’ on this blog. Here are the rest, in order of appearance…

1) George Brigman | Jungle Rot [5/1/07]
2) Wynton Marsalis | Baroque Music For Trumpets [5/4/07]
3) Alabama 3 | Exile On Coldharbour Lane [5/10/07]
4) David Holmes | Let’s Get Killed [5/19/07]
5) Shorty Baker & Doc Cheatham | Shorty & Doc [5/29/07]
6) Buckethead | Colma [6/5/07]
7) The Peddlers | Suite London [6/13/07]
8) Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim | Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim [6/18/07]
9) Lee Oskar | Lee Oskar [6/26/07]
10) The Soft Boys | Underwater Moonlight [7/10/07]
11) Dead Or Alive | Youthquake [7/18/07]
12) Spirit | Spirit Of ’76 [7/24/07]
13) Osibisa | Heads [8/1/07]
14) Shelly Manne | “The Three” & “The Two” [8/10/07]
15) Ben Webster | Soulville [8/13/07]
16) Elvis Presley | Elvis Country “I’m 10,000 Years Old” [8/16/07]
17) Lee Hazlewood | Poet, Fool Or Bum/Back On The Street Again [8/17/07]
18) M. Ward | End Of Amnesia [8/22/07]
19) Machito | At The Crescendo [8/25/07]
20) Willie Colon | Cosa Nuestra [9/4/07]
21) Fred Neil | Bleecker & MacDougal [9/12/07]
22) The Remains | The Remains [9/24/07]
23) Neu! | Neu! 75 [10/3/07]
24) ZZ Top | Rio Grande Mud [10/9/07]
25) Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington | Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington [10/13/07]
26) Neil Diamond | Just For You [10/18/07]
27) Peter Gabriel | Passion [10/22/07]
28) Various Artists | Rat Music For Rat People, Volumes I, II, & III [10/29/07]
29) Otis Rush | Right Place, Wrong Time [11/3/07]
30) Screaming Lord Sutch | Lord Sutch And Heavy Friends [11/12/07]
31) The Benedictine Monks Of Santo Domingo De Silos | Chant [11/18/07]
32) Richard Betts | Highway Call [11/19/07]
33) Various Artists | Music For Dancefloors [11/25/07]
34) The Dream Syndicate | Live At Raji’s [11/29/07]
35) The Squirrels | The Not-So-Bright Side Of The Moon [12/4/07]
36) Gary Higgins | Red Hash [12/10/07]
37) Tommy Guerrero | Soul Food Taqueria [12/15/07]
38) Greg Brown | Slant 6 Mind [12/23/07]
39) John & Beverly Martyn | Stormbringer [1/3/08]
40) The Last Emperor | Palace Of The Pretender [1/7/08]
41) The Yardbirds | Roger The Engineer [1/11/08]
42) D.R. Hooker | The Truth [1/14/08]
43) Ben Webster | Atmosphere For Lovers And Thieves [1/19/08]
44) Joe Maphis | Fire On The Strings [1/23/08]
45) James Luther Dickinson | Free Beer Tomorrow [1/27/08]
46) The Standells | The Best Of The Standells [2/2/08]
47) Various Artists | The Concert For Bangladesh [2/8/08]
48) Tim Buckley | Greetings From L.A. [2/13/08]
49) Jimi Hendrix | Nine To The Universe [2/20/08]
50) Fred Eaglesmith | Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline [2/26/08]
51) Buried Treasure – The Cover Art [2/28/08]
52) Sam Prekop | Sam Prekop [3/2/08]
53) Ben Vaughn | Designs In Music [3/8/08]
54) Bunny Wailer | Tribute [3/15/08]
55) Nicky Siano | The Gallery [3/24/08]
56) Erik Truffaz | Out Of A Dream [3/29/08]
57) Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Soundmakers | Sound Time [4/9/08]
58) The BellRays | Let It Blast [4/19/08]
59) Mark Lanegan | Whiskey For The Holy Ghost [4/26/08]
60) Leon Russell | Leon Russell [5/2/08]
61) Crazy Horse | Crazy Horse [5/16/08]
62) Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band | Safe As Milk [5/21/08]
63) The Heartbreakers | L.A.M.F. [5/25/08]
64) David & David | Boomtown [6/2/08]
65) Hurricane | The Hurra [6/8/08]
66) Terry Allen | Human Remains [6/20/08]
67) Dino Valente | Dino Valente [6/23/08]
68) Artur Rubinstein | Mazurkas And Polonaises [6/27/08]
69) Various Artists | The King Kong Compilation [7/3/08]
70) Os Mutantes | Os Mutantes [7/10/08]
71) James Gang | Rides Again [7/18/08]
72) The Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken [7/27/08]
73) Duke Pearson | The Right Touch [8/7/08]
74) Sweet | Desolation Boulevard [8/14/08]
75) John Phillips | John, The Wolfking Of L.A. [8/30/08]
76) Ike Turner & The Kings Of Rhythm | A Black Man’s Soul [9/6/08]
77) Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry | Battle Of Armagideon [9/12/08]
78) Easy Star All-Stars | Dub Side Of The Moon [9/21/08]
79) The Flatlanders | More A Legend Than A Band [9/27/08]
80) Jackson C. Frank | Jackson C. Frank [10/7/08]
81) Red House Painters | Songs For A Blue Guitar [10/12/08]
82) Eric Burdon & War | The Black Man’s Burdon [10/21/08]
83) Bauhaus | Burning From The Inside [10/30/08]
84) Vangelis | Blade Runner Soundtrack [11/6/08]
85) Blue Mitchell | Blue’s Moods [11/30/08]
86) Dennis Coffey | Big City Funk [12/12/08]
87) Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence | Oar [12/16/08]
88) Lou Reed | American Poet [12/26/08]
89) J.K. & Co. | Suddenly One Summer [1/9/09]
90) J.J. Cale | Anyway The Wind Blows: The Anthology [1/15/09]
91) Funky 4+1 | That’s The Joint [1/22/09]
92) Fleetwood Mac | Then Play On [1/29/09]
93) The Rolling Stones | LiveR Than You’ll Ever Be [2/7/09]
94) The Stairs | Mexican R ‘n’ B [2/20/09]
95) Dr. John | The Sun, Moon & Herbs [3/1/09]
96) Slaid Cleaves | Broke Down [3/6/09]
97) Swamp Dogg | I’m Not Selling Out/I’m Buying In! [3/17/09]
98) Jackie Mittoo | The Keyboard King At Studio One [3/27/09]
99) Mark Alan | Crazy World Outside [4/2/08]
100) Death | …For The Whole World To See [4/10/08]

Weekend Playlist

15 September 2008

Here are some of the sounds that The P and I enjoyed during a lovely Northern California weekend:

The Mighty Imperials | Thunder Chicken

Various Artists | Verve Remixed 2

The Rolling Stones | Some Girls

Slade | Slayed?

Dave Alvin | King Of California

Traffic | Welcome To The Canteen

Finley Quaye | Maverick A Strike

Wynton Marsalis | Marsalis Standard Time

Jimmy Forrest | Most Much

Duke Ellington | Blues In Orbit

MC5 | Babes In Arms

Paul McCartney & Wings | Band On The Run

Stereo MCs | Supernatural

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers | Like Someone In Love

The Byrds | Untitled

Masterpiece: The Seeds

1 February 2008

[Today: A nasty relic from a pioneering pre-pre-punk combo…]

The Seeds - album

Lots of 60’s groups acted tough, but The Seeds were the real deal. The photo on the back jacket of their self-titled 1967 album shows four guys who look like they’d enjoy nothing more than jamming your teeth down your throat for you. The music inside does little to dispel that menacing first impression. The band doesn’t play well, but they assault their instruments with a primitive aggression that translates into simple sonic perfection. Meanwhile, lead singer Sky Saxon goes about his business with a sour sneer that makes Mick Jagger sound positively polite.

The Seeds are an important link in the history of rock because they proved that it was possible to make powerful music without relying on technical perfection. Many other bands reached the same conclusion around the same time (some of the best are anthologized on Lenny Kaye’s historic Nuggets compilation), but The Seeds were the most raw, aggressive, nasty ensemble to make great music not in spite, but because of their musical limitations.

‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ and ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ were actually hits, but it was fool’s gold – The Seeds were not destined to become a household name. However, their rough and ragged sound inspired the next generation of primitive rockers (The Stooges, MC5, New York Dolls) who would in turn play a huge roll in the birth of punk music. It’s probably not the legacy that the group set out in search of, but it’s a fine legacy just the same.

Listen: Pushin’ Too Hard

On The Fence: Kick Out The Jams

17 December 2007

[Today: Is the MC5’s debut a pre-punk touchstone, or just a noisy slab of racket?]

MC5 - album

THUMBS UP: MC5 were one of a handful of late-60’s groups who blasted away with an unbridled intensity that foreshadowed and influenced punk’s rise. The 5 were part of a larger commune of musicians – called Trans-Love Energies, and run by their manager John Sinclair – that included The Stooges and other Ann Arbor groups. Although the MC5 played high-voltage rock-n-roll, they aspired to the highest ideals of the 60’s counterculture, and put their money behind those ideals. Their music wasn’t just there to rock the house, it was literally meant to incite riot and inspire revolution. Kick Out The Jams isn’t pretty, but it has the power to knock down walls.

THUMBS DOWN: I like the MC5. I listen to them often. They rock. However, Kick Out The Jams is so unrelentingly ragged that it’s off-putting. A shame, because there’s a great batch of songs buried under all that sonic fuzz and lacerating distortion. It’s true that the 5 were all about raising a bold middle finger to the establishment. [What other group would dare release this kind of chaos as their debut??] But as much as I appreciate the White Panther spirit behind the record, it doesn’t make Rob Tyner’s Wayne Kramer’s brutally comedic falsetto on ‘Ramblin Rose’ any easier to sit through. It’s with good reason that the most memorable moment here is the spoken word intro, “Kick out the jams motherf*ckers!” – the rest of it is entirely forgettable.

[What’s your take on armed revolution, noisy feedback, and Ann Arbor, MI? The comment box below is standing by…]

Random Propaganda VI

16 July 2007

The P’s away on business, I’ve got a six pack of beer, and I just flipped on the cd changers (two Sony 400 disc changers hooked together on the ‘continuous play’ option). I’m going to try out a running diary of what I’m hearing. Let’s see what we get:

Albert King - album
6:40pm – Albert King * Born Under A Bad Sign – Excellent, we’re off to a good start with this one. I definitely think the changer gets on ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ streaks. Sometimes it’ll pick the absolute worst song off every album in constant succession, and other times it just gets on fire. I know this is assigning human emotions to a machine, but anyone with an iPod probably feels this way at some time or other.

Moby Grape - album
6:43pm – Moby Grape * Moby Grape – One of the real underrated bands of the 60’s, in my opinion. If not for several bad breaks, these guys would’ve been huge. Great harmonies, and they had like four songwriters in the group. Their debut is amazing – I need to devote some column inches to this one in the near future. [Also note the middle finger on the album cover…]

Nicky Siano - album
6:45pm – Nicky Siano * The Gallery – My friends, we’re officially on fire here. Nicky Siano was one of the DJs of the 70’s/80’s New York club scene. If I’m not mistaken, he was the DJ on the ones and twos when Bianca Jagger rode into Studio 54 naked on a white horse. I’ve probably messed up all the facts of the previous sentence (it was Mick on the horse, etc) but that’s the beauty of editing. Anyway, this album (a Soul Jazz compilation, and these people know what they’re doing) is one of those that will make people repeatedly ask “Who is this?”

MC5 - album
6:52pm – MC5 * Babes In Arms – A collection of outtakes. I’ve gotta admit – I like the Five, but don’t love ’em. They’ve always sounded a little too rough around the edges to my ears, and the album Kick Out The Jams is a disaster – especially as a debut album. HUGE cojones there, and that definitely earns them points, but still…

Showcase - album
6:56pm – Jackie Mittoo * Showcase – One of the real underrated talents in the Reggae scene. Mittoo is a first rate organ player who handled all kinds of material – from the typical Reggae fare to pop standards and funk jams. It sounds like an elevator in Kingston, and I mean that as an Irie compliment…

Smokey & Miho - album
6:59pm – Smokey & Miho * The Two EP’s – Beck’s sometime guitarist Smokey Hormel lays down exotic grooves while Miho sings in Japanese. A perfect mellow album for the changer.

Love Movement - album
7:01pm – A Tribe Called Quest * The Love Movement – One of the Tribe’s overlooked gems, this album from 1998 holds its own against their best work. Great track here – the ‘Scenario’ remix featuring Busta Rhymes – that sounds like 20 different MCs rapping in turn. And here’s our featured guest Busta – has this guy done anything to get famous besides having a dope name? Anyone got an album recco on this guy? Anyone? Bueller??

Ben Vaughn - album
7:09pm – Ben Vaughn * Presents Designs In Music – Ben Vaughn is a funny dude. The P and I heard his radio show as we were driving out to the desert for Coachella last year, and she noticed a write up on this album in the New Yorker later in the year. Most of this album sounds like the music for a TV sitcom in the 60’s or 70’s, when the characters would go to the park or have a day on the town. The track I’m hearing now features whistling. Good fun.

Bad Brains - album
7:15pm – Bad Brains * Black Dots – Bad Brains were way ahead of their time in the way they rammed Hardcore and Reggae together and made it sound like the most natural combo in the world. These guys also are the most awesome opening band I’ve ever seen in my life. They opened for the Beasties at the Oakland Coliseum in ’95 – one very hectic show.

Magic Time - album
7:17pm – Van Morrison * Magic Time – The last three songs highlight the one downside of the changer system – no control over sequencing. This is below-average Van, but I’ve been trying to give it a chance. I see Willie Colon or Zeph & Azeem hitting slot #389B pretty soon. Actual lyrics: “Carry on doctor/Carry on nurse/carry on ’til you get what you’re after/carry on ’til it can’t get much worse.” Now he’s chuckling. I feel like I’m being messed with here…

BDB - album
7:23pm – Badly Drawn Boy * One Plus One Is One – We have definitely cooled way off here. Why is this in my changer? If you can answer that, please leave a comment below. On the upside, BDB is encouraging me to find my holy grail (over flutes), so that’s a nice thought… and now we’ve got a choir. This song is threatening to spin off into a medley and I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that we’re just approaching some kind of kooky apex near the end. We’re fading out, erm ah no. More feedback and fading back in at the 6:40 mark… only for a volcanic eruption of feedback at the seven minute mark. Nothing more I’d rather do right now than listen to Badly Drawn Boy’s guitar rumble for a minute.

Candi Staton - album
7:31pm – Candi Staton * Anthology – A great soul belter, Candi is busy discussing the relative merits of old and young men. Since I’m sitting in the middle (37) I can enjoy both sides of this argument. Time for another beer. Anyone know what the ‘Camel Walk’ means? This is apparently what young men do.

Blues Brothers - album
7:33pm – The Blues Brothers * The Definitive Collection – Eugene, OR legend has it that the Blues Brothers were birthed during the filming of Animal House, when local blues legend Curtis Salgado played John Belushi a bunch of old Blues records. At any rate, this is definitely a guilty pleasure for me. Belushi’s a below-average singer, but he makes up for some of that with sheer presence, and their band was a first rate outfit featuring a number of established legends.

Lennon - album
7:36pm – John Lennon * Acoustic – A really good Lennon album, my friend Cordell pulled this off of iTunes and passed it along. ‘Working Class Hero’ is the track I’m hearing and this is a terrifically powerful song. Most of Lennon’s 70’s stuff is kind of beyond my ken (Shaved Fish excepted) but this album is like his Unplugged, and I think we can all agree that – had he lived – that would have been a great show.

7:41pm – iMix * Disc 2 – This is a compiliaton of favorite songs that I’ve pilfered from my work’s music server, but this is a really crappy Flaming Lips B-Side, so I’ve no idea how it wound up here. I’m punishing myself. La la la, la la la la – those are lyrics. I could put little quotes around that. We’re ice cold aqua blue here. I’m drowning – help me…

Marsalis - album
7:45pm – Wynton Marsalis * Baroque Music For Trumpets – A true palette-cleanser. This is Marsalis at his Classical finest, and an album I’ve loved since back in college. If there’s better music to study to, I haven’t found it. It is currently inspiring my brain to forget the Flaming Lips track I just endured for the sake of bloggery.

LOTD - box
7:49pm – Left Of The Dial (Box Set) * Disc 3 – This box set collects the best alternative/indie music of the 80’s. I’m currently riding an unidentifiable wave of thrash…

Run-DMC - album
7:50pm – Run DMC * Raising Hell – Hearing Run-DMC rapping about perfection is, well, perfect. I love Raising Hell – my all-time favorite Hip-Hop album for those of you scoring at home. My big bang moment with the genre was when my best friend Bobby rapped along word-for-word with the title track of this album. Heady stuff in 1986…

Tusk - album
7:53pm – Fleetwood Mac * Tusk – I’ve heard a lot about this as their ‘lost classic’ and it does much to deserve that billing. I’ve always loved the title track – it and Outkast’s ‘Morris Brown’ are the best songs to feature marching bands… ever. I’m giving the thumbs up to Tusk, but this one might be the future subject of an ‘On The Fence’ column.

Cee-Lo - album
7:56pm – Cee-Lo Green * …Is The Soul Machine – Anyone following Cee-Lo’s solo career couldn’t have been the least bit surprised by his success with Gnarls Barkley last year. All of the crazy cool eclecticism that was featured on that album was apparent much earlier – and especially on this gem. The man can rap like Ice Cube and sing like Al Green, and that’s some range.

Jr. Kimbrough - album
8:00pm – Junior Kimbrough * You Better Run: The Essential Junior Kimbrough – This one was on the verge of cracking my Blues list, but I just hadn’t had enough ear time with it to give it the nod. It’s amazing that Blues this down-n-dirty are still being made. This is the kind of music that I can really enjoy – raw, ragged, and full of piss & vinegar.

mojo - magazine
8:05pm – Various Artists * Mojo Presents… Mod Club Party – This is one of the ride-along CDs that come with Mojo magazine each month. In this edition they focus on ‘Mod’ music, which has always cracked me up. Everything I’ve read about the Mods makes them sound like well-dressed, amphetimined-to-the-gills, scooter fetishists who fought ‘The Rockers’ (I think I would have been one of these) at every opportunity. Yet the music on this compilation sounds like the score to a Benny Hill episode – which sort of makes perfect sense, I guess…

Lee Perry - album
8:09pm – Lee Perry * Voodooism – Lee Perry has dropped an incredibly diverse array of music on the world in the last 40 years. The man is a producer/musician/shamen of the first order, and almost every album he’s created is entirely enjoyable. For those of you in the Bay Area, he’s playing at The Independent in a few weeks, and this is a show not to be missed. The man is in his 60’s and he’s in better shape than you or I. Plus his mirrored clothing and coconut bong are fun…

8:13pm – The P is calling in, so this is probably as good a time as any to wrap this up. Thanks for playing along…