Archive for Tongue and Groove

No longer a young man

From earlier this month:

Rick Stevens, the former lead singer of Tower of Power, died Tuesday [5 September] after a battle with cancer. He was 77.

Stevens replaced Rufus Miller in the R&B band in 1969 and three years later, their album Bump City put Tower of Power in the national spotlight, including hit single “You’re Still a Young Man.”

In 1976, Stevens, who had left the band shortly after their big hit, was now addicted to drugs and shot three men to death during a deal gone wrong. He was sentenced to life in prison, where he kicked his addiction before being released on parole in 2012 after 36 years behind bars.

I heard about this, and thought: Some of the Tower of Power guys have been together for nearly 50 years now. Wouldn’t it have been great if Rick Stevens got to sing with them one more time?

He did, and it was:

And hey, the hippest threads and the bad boogaloo will never, ever die.


Fa-la-la-la-la, such folderol

Mention of the mostly forgotten Dunwich Records label today usually brings either puzzlement or H. P. Lovecraft references. (Before you ask: Dunwich’s in-house publishing unit was called Yuggoth Music, which should clear that up.) The label charted only four records, all of them by the Shadows of Knight, best known for a relatively sanitary cover of Them’s (Van Morrison’s) “Gloria.” But a lot of their vault stuff was interesting, including this weird little mashup of a Christmas carol and a Dave Brubeck hit:

Issued as Dunwich 144 in late November or early December of 1966, “Deck Five” never even got close to charting.

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Yes, Ketevan:

Cover art for Ketevan by Katie Melua

As it turns out, Katie Melua’s birth name was “Ketevan,” a perfectly reasonable name for a female of Georgian descent, and I don’t mean Macon. The last time she hit these pages, a couple of years ago, was due to a small controversy regarding her enormous hit “Nine Million Bicycles.” We’re bringing her back because it’s her birthday. (She’s thirty-three.)

Katie Melua joins the discussion

Katie Melua is all kinetic

Katie Melua on the couch

Ketevan, the album, came out in 2013; instead of the usual music video, the lead single, “I Will Be There,” written by her then-producer Mike Batt, came out with this full concert version.

Speaking of concerts — well, you must see this 2004 live set. She doesn’t come in until about 3:15, and this is arguably the most eccentric version of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins original:

(That’s Mike Batt on the piano; I suspect that he came up with this arrangement.)


The songs retain the name

These two tracks wound up next to each other on my ever-changing iTunes playlist:

My Guy and also My Guy

What’s odd here, but perhaps not that odd, is that the sort is alphabetical by artist. (Yes, Mary Wells is sorted as “Wells M.”) If you’re not familiar with Wendy and the Schoolgirls, well, I know next to nothing about them except that they put this out in 1957 on Golden Crest 502 b/w “Merry Go Round”; it did not chart.

For the triple play, we go to Warpaint’s ineffable “Billie Holiday” (2009), which won’t make any sense to you for the first couple of minutes.

And possibly later.

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As real as it may seem

People who have known me for a quarter-century or so tend not to forget the things I’ve said and done. The substitute receptionist — not the usual one, mind you, but the substitute — hailed me as I passed the desk with “You did know Debbie Gibson was on Dancing with the Stars, didn’t you?” Well, of course; as a Debhead of long standing, I have to keep up with these developments. The teen queen is now forty-seven? Well, of course; these things happen.

Debbie Gibson for Hallmark

Debbie Gibson in a swimsuit

Debbie Gibson up against the wall

And this is where it started, way back in 1986:

Deb’s partner on DWTS is Alan Bersten, a four-year veteran who was promoted to Professional this season.

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Still Sharp after all these years

The motivation here:

[Kenny] Gamble says he wrote the words to “Expressway to Your Heart” while on an actual expressway: the Schuylkill (“Sure-Kill”) Expressway through Philly. He had a date that night with Dee Dee Sharp (“Mashed Potato Time”), about whom I haven’t written nearly enough.

So let us address this deficiency. Sixteen-year-old Dione LaRue was working on a budding career as a background singer when Cameo-Parkway Records, arguably the biggest label in Philadelphia in 1962, brought her in to play off their biggest star, Chubby Checker, on yet another Twist record:

You’ll note that this was on Parkway, where Chubby ruled the world, and Dee Dee Sharp, as she was now known, was uncredited on the label. But the company hedged its bet and put out an actual Dee Dee single on Cameo:

“Slow Twistin'” and “Mashed Potato Time” hit the charts at the same time; Dee Dee alone outpointed Dee Dee and Chubby by one position: Number Two versus Number Three. (Jon Sheldon, with a writer credit on both, was actually label founder Kal Mann.) The genius of “Mashed Potato Time” is that everybody who was doing the song “looked for records they could do it to,” and verses followed quoting “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” “Please, Mr. Postman,” and “Dear Lady Twist.” Whether the “Postman” reference was intended to obscure the similarities between Dee Dee’s song and the Motown smash, it’s hard to say. Motown certainly thought it was.

Dee Dee Sharp shakes that thing

Dee Dee Sharp smiles for the camera

Dee Dee Sharp just kept on making records

In 1967, she and Kenny Gamble were wed — they split in 1980 — and after the expiration of her Cameo contract and a brief stint with Atco, she signed with Gamble-Huff’s Philadelphia International/TSOP operation. One track from the 1975 Happy ‘Bout the Whole Thing album made the R&B charts: a cover of 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love.” Yes, really:

Dee Dee Sharp is seventy-two today, and not officially retired yet.

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Sort of Crawley

Lisa Crawley is an Australian singer/songwriter/musician, mostly unknown here Up Over, who somehow got onto my radar, perhaps because she winds up in rather a lot of odd videos. Her most recent single is “Wedding Band”:

Although that video is not all that odd. Here’s “What Would I Give,” from 2013:

And from that same year, “Elizabeth”:

“Elizabeth” has since been blown up into a cabaret act, part of this year’s Melbourne Fringe. Just my luck to be on the other side of the world.

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A Major Dude tells us

The current state of the music industry is something like this:

Donald Fagen — who co-founded Steely Dan with Walter Becker — fondly remembers when people were willing to pay for music.

I certainly remember paying for a lot of it.

For a musical act to make money nowadays, Fagen says they have to hit the road.

“I really can’t make a living from recording anymore,” he says. “I don’t think any of the solo albums, the last three anyway, recouped their budgets. But, luckily, I’m really into playing live, and that’s how musicians make a living these days for the most part, unless you’re a half-naked teenager.”

Not that Steely Dan’s sophisticated soulful, jazz-flavored songs would be able to find a home on contemporary radio, which is dominated by pop starlets and rappers. But, then again, Steely Dan seemed out of place when it had Top 10 hits with songs such as “Do It Again,” “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “Hey Nineteen.”

Still, they were a permanent fixture in the Classic Rock firmament, though radio won’t make you any money, and streaming, God knows, brings in even less.

And this way, Fagen gets to pay the bills. Contrast this, though, with Danmate Walter Becker’s description of the way things were after, say, Pretzel Logic:

[I]n-demand touring musicians [Denny] Dias, [Jeff “Skunk”] Baxter and [Jim] Hodder all exited the quintet. “It was unfair of us to spend eight months writing and recording when Jeffrey Baxter and others in the group wanted to tour,” Becker told Rolling Stone in 1977. “We weren’t making very much money and everybody wanted to be out touring a lot. We didn’t. That was that.”

Still, Becker was up for a couple of shows this summer, in which Steely would be opening for the Eagles. He didn’t make it, due to unspecified health reasons, presumably the same ones that took his life this past weekend.

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One might even say “rebellious”

Thursday night, 10:52 pm. It’s approaching midnight Eastern, and I’ve just landed at the iTunes Store, hoping to score a copy of Rebecca Black’s new single “Heart Full of Scars,” which is scheduled to drop in eight minutes.

To my amazement, it’s already there. I fumble for the Buy button, and about fifty seconds later, it’s mine, all mine.

Now it must be admitted that I’d already heard it once; I had the upcoming EP (due two weeks from now) on preorder, and they allowed me a stream. I was somewhat surprised by the presence of an actual F-bomb. I probably should not have been: I know I swore like a sailor when I was twenty. And considering her subject matter — triumph over the naysayers who said Nay, as naysayers will, after the much-mocked release of “Friday” — well, I’d probably have to drop at least a buck twenty-nine in the cuss jar.

But the purchase came with something I didn’t expect: the cover art for that EP. Somebody worked maybe too hard on the title:

Cover art for RE/BL by Rebecca Black

That’s RE/BL: the slash is silent.

Of course, the selling point for the EP is that it’s an actual EP, a proper CD with five tracks on it and some sort of case. Very few of these are likely to be pressed; she’s never sold anything but downloads before, and her youngish audience may not be able to come up with the premium price.

I’m assuming the last two singles, “The Great Divide” and “Foolish,” will be on the disc. That means two new tracks. And no, I don’t think “Friday” will be on there as a bonus track.


Back from Never-Never Land

Okay, maybe not every genre, but this shows you just how protean “Enter Sandman” can be:

(If you’d rather, here’s a Beatlesque version.)

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Fire all of your guns at once

Once the song gets started, dial over here and join in with a new set of lyrics:

“True nature’s child,” indeed.


Another fable created

It’s Robyn Adele Anderson vs. System of a Down:

Close enough for jazz, am I right?


Same old reputation

By now you’ve heard the new Taylor Swift single. If you haven’t, here’s a genuinely creepy lyric video:

If you ask me, she’s splitting the difference between Tristan Prettyman (Cedar + Gold) and Beyoncé (Lemonade), but she has neither Queen Bey’s venom, snake imagery notwithstanding, or Tristan’s wistful ruefulness (or is that “rueful wistfulness”?) to show for it.

Then again, I didn’t much like the lead single off Tay’s previous album — “Shake It Off” from 1989 — but “Blank Space” won me over. So I’m not going to cancel my pre-order for reputation. Yet.


Never gonna give Foo up

I guess we could call this Rick Astley/Foo Fighters combination a RickGrohl:

From the Summer Sonic Festival in Tokyo, this past weekend. (There are some untoward words scattered through the audio, so don’t play this too loudly at work.)

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With a natural glow

Last week, our piece on British actress Dorothy Mackaill featured this clip from the 1931 drama Safe in Hell:

You probably spotted Mackaill at left in that frame. But who’s the beauty in the center?

Nina Mae McKinney has the moves

Nina Mae McKinney in high style

Nina Mae McKinney by the piano

Nina Mae McKinney (1912-1967) was a decidedly distinctive American actress, born in small-town South Carolina and hailed in Europe as “The Black Garbo,” which is high praise indeed. At home, she wasn’t quite so highly celebrated, for reasons mostly having to do with Jim Crow and his descendants, but she was respected for her work, and in that Safe in Hell clip she didn’t do that bogus ethnic Stephanie Fetchit voice that marred so many pictures with African-American women, which by all accounts was fine with director William A. Weilman.

Nina Mae decided to get out of Europe after the Third Reich strode into Poland, and while she did find work, it was mostly in B pictures; after the war, she moved to Greece.

And we must mention Hallelujah! Released in 1929, it was that rarest of motion-picture phenomena: a film with an all-black cast, a standard rather than substandard budget, the backing of a major studio — MGM, no less — and a name-brand director: King Vidor. Of course, Metro, concerned about the money, insisted on a slightly scurrilous and decidedly stereotypical story. But Vidor kept sneaking reality into the film, and it became a sizable hit; Vidor was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. Nina Mae’s character, a sharecropper turned Loose Woman, wasn’t any sort of role model, but oh, how she could dance!

Irving Berlin, the whitest songwriter of them all — see, for instance, the Drifters’ version of “White Christmas” — came up with “Swanee Shuffle,” and Curtis Mosby’s real-life band plays in this legendary dancehall scene.

And if you did the math and figured that Nina Mae was only sixteen at the time — well, forget it. It’s just math.

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No trends were set

The Trendsetters were a British band made up mostly of Royal Air Force members; at some point in 1964 they rebranded themselves as the Hedgehoppers, an RAF term for those who flew close to the ground. They’d achieved little success with either name until producer Jonathan King showed up with a song and a new name for the band. Say hello to Hedgehoppers Anonymous:

This was the version heard in the US, where “It’s Good News Week” managed #48 in Billboard. The British single, it turns out, was different. Instead of that sacred-cow reference, there was this:

It’s good news week
Families shake the need for gold
By stimulating birth control
We’re wanting less to eat

And you didn’t dare mention wicked, sinful birth control in the U. S. of A. in 1965. Some reports have Jimmy Page (!) playing guitar on this track; more likely, I think, it was “Big” Jim Sullivan.

The Hoppers, signed to Decca for five singles, managed one more semi-hit, “Don’t Push Me,” which barely Bubbled Under Billboard. King, who’d had one hit under his own name, the ethereal “Everyone’s Gone to the Moon,” was subsequently presented with a demo tape from a band called Anon. King liked what he heard, and cut three singles with Anon, whom he renamed “Genesis,” along with the album From Genesis to Revelation, which, according to Tony Banks, sold 649 copies — “and we knew all those people personally.” By then, the Hedgehoppers had broken up, and King kept moving on.

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A brand-new beat

Actually, this particular rhythm has been building in the streets since the 1960s, though not everyone heard the call. Still, if you can’t forget the Motor City, there’s a very good reason why.

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So sure about it

The single greatest song of the 1960s is still a topic for discussion half a century later, which I guess attests to its greatness:

Which is not an unreasonable thing to think:

When I was younger, I loved that song. I hoped that some day I would have someone in my life who would love me like that, where I was essentially the whole world to him, and to have that kind of meaning in someone’s life.

As I got a little older, and learned more about humanity, I realized how absolutely rare that kind of love is … and that it was probably something I’d never get to have (and with each year that passes, it becomes less likely).

I realized this morning (after a chain of clicking made me listen to it again) that it would be kind of exhausting for me now to have someone who depended on me so much that he could literally not imagine how he’d live without me there … and yeah, maybe that level of dependence is a little creepy, I don’t know, if you take it literally.

I get that the song is really late-teen/early-20s romanticism talking, but a grown-up person needs to depend on themselves and not be so welded to another person that they cannot envision life without them.

As it happens, I’ve already addressed this issue:

[A]s the Boys noted two songs later on Pet Sounds, “Love is here today and it’s gone tomorrow / It’s here and gone so fast.”

But lyricist Tony Asher knew what he was doing with that opening line. It’s that old perception-versus-reality thing again: you might want to question my devotion at some point, but ultimately “I’ll make you so sure about it.” And really, have you ever seen a couple this side of Darby and Joan who didn’t occasionally have their differences? “The couples cling and claw and drown in love’s debris,” noted Carly Simon (and/or Jacob Brackman) several years later. But still they cling.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a song from the Seventies answered a call from the Sixties. And despite their almost total absence from most of my own existence, I will always believe in hearts and flowers.


Always gentle on your mind

“Love in the real world is a mixture of the magical and the mundane, and the two never intersected more beautifully than in this Jim Webb classic.” — Me, after proposing a Valentine’s Day mixtape.

As Webb himself will tell you, it’s as much the singer as the song. And for “Wichita Lineman,” he got exactly the singer he needed:

Of course, Glen Campbell was so singular a singer that we tended to forget his virtuosity on the guitar: they’d didn’t let just anyone into the Wrecking Crew. And if you happened to flip over his 1977 cover of Allen Toussaint’s “Southern Nights,” you got to hear him try his hand at Gioacchino Rossini:

And then there was that time he sounded nothing like himself and still demanded your attention:

Now I ask you: who else from Arkansas ever did Italian overtures and musique concrète in the same lifetime?

It was, alas, a lifetime that ended in confusion and bewilderment. Two weeks ago, this heartbreakingly apt video appeared:

“Adiós” was recorded in 2015, a couple of years before the final curtain. Take a bow, sir.

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Working up a Szwed

It being 8/8, I figured I’d look for someone born on this date, and I wound up with Polish singer/actress Aleksandra Szwed, who turns twenty-seven today. She was born in Warsaw, but a significant branch of her family tree runs through Nigeria, a combination I’ve literally never seen before, and that closed the deal right there.

Aleksandra Szwed on the cover of Shape

Aleksandra Szwed rocks a tank

Aleksandra Szwed on the red carpet

I think I like the close-cropped ‘do.

Szwed appeared on the TV series Rodzina zastępcza (“Foster Family”) for the entirety of its eleven-year run. She’s also made a few records, none quite as insane as this one: “Powiedz, że nie kochasz” (“Say you do not love”):

Though you may already know this one in its original language: German.

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Your basic fast predator

Heart’s “Barracuda” gets run through the Pergelator:

A barracuda is a fast predator that lives in the sea. Has kind of a nasty reputation. Reading the lyrics (because half the time I can’t understand all the lyrics and the other half of the time I get half of the words wrong) doesn’t really get me anywhere. This story over on Ultimate Classic Rock explains that Ann Wilson was angry with some of the jerks she encountered in the music business, which sounds a whole lot like the Boss Hoss tune “Monkey Business.” The lyrics don’t really make that clear. Actually they don’t make much sense, but hey, poetic license, use your imagination.

I did. And I think the better tale of jerkdom encountered is “Little Queen,” on the same LP but not making the Top 40.

Away from the sellers, the papers said
Your crown was tight and heavy on your head
Still you danced and you sang, all night
The telephone rang
Music kept on playing from your pen.

About four and a half minutes into the song, Ann rhymes “little queen” with “magazine,” and if you ask me, thereby hangs a tale:

The group intended Magazine to be the official follow-up album to the debut Dreamboat Annie. However, a contract dispute with their label, Mushroom Records, resulted in the group signing with the newly formed Portrait Records, a division of CBS Records (now Sony/BMG).

The Mushroom contract called for two albums and the label took the position that they were owed a second one. On that basis, Mushroom attempted to prevent the release of Little Queen and any other work by Heart. They took the five unfinished tracks for Magazine and added a B-side and two live recordings. The first release of the album in early 1977 came with a disclaimer on the back cover.

The dispute dragged on and ended with the court deciding that Heart was free to sign with a new label, but added that Mushroom was indeed owed a second album. So, Heart went back to the studio to rerecord, remix, edit, and resequence the Magazine recordings in a marathon session over four days. A court-ordered guard stood nearby to prevent the master tapes from being erased.

Now who might this queen be? Should we ask Heart’s producer at the time, Mike Flicker?

Flicker left Mushroom during Heart’s dispute with [A&R guy Shelly] Siegel over Heart’s second album. Siegel moved to the L.A. office.

But really, there’s nothing much to be gained by actually pointing a finger at Siegel, who died in 1979 of an aneurysm, a genuinely nasty way to go.

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By decree of the remix queen

Note for reference: When Rebecca Black recorded “The Great Divide,” it came in two flavors: the original, and the right-on-its heels remix by Crash Cove. And it was the remix that eventually landed halfway up the Billboard dance club chart.

Inexplicably, “Foolish,” which if you ask me is a better song, made no chart noise. So here’s a remix, by Scheir and, yes, Crash Cove:

Says Brian Delaney of Rockdafuqout:

A stark contrast to the original, the two producers teamed up to bring a whole new feel to the track. Speeding it up a bit and leading with some beautifully melodic guitar riffs the track quickly builds into heavy synth work and a drop reminiscent of some of the Chainsmokers best work.

While the original has a nice vibe, this re-work hits way harder and brings dynamics that the original lacked. This will be in heavy rotation in my playlists.

And words of wisdom from the world’s oldest 20-year-old:

Where, indeed?

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Between here and Cloud Nine

“Skydiving” is the second single from the upcoming album Skin & Earth by Canadian musician Lights. The album is due out this fall, and there will be a complete comic — er, graphic novel to go with it. This song managed to transfix me for a whole seven minutes:

And some time during that second play, I realized where I’d heard it before.

No big deal. There are only so many chords, after all.


A duo of Trios

There’s a dispute now over which of two competing musical groups is the actual Kingston Trio:

The Kingston Trio may have debuted on the folk music scene in the 1950s but an iteration of the band is still touring — and a dispute over who exactly should be in that group has sparked a lawsuit.

On one side is Josh Reynolds, son of founding member Nick Reynolds, and his cousin Gerald “Mike” Marvin.

On the other side is original member Bob Shane, his wife Barbara Childress, musicians George Grove, William Zorn and Richard Dougherty and concert booker Nikki Gary.

Reynolds and Marvin last year entered into a 10-year licensing agreement with Shane and Childress to use the band’s trademark — but, less than a week after paying the $100,000 royalty fee, they found out Gary was booking gigs for Grove, Zorn and Dougherty to perform as The Kingston Trio.

Weirdly, Dougherty and Zorn also played in a latter-day incarnation of The Limeliters.

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The show must go on

She knew something was wrong: there was pedal action when the pedal wasn’t being used. What to do? Maybe a minor adjustment or two. Or, maybe not:

Much as I adore that famed young Chinese pianist and her technical excellence, I don’t think she’d have been able to deal with this situation with anywhere near as much aplomb.

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Drummer 101

On Dave Marsh’s infamous 1988 list of the 1001 greatest rock and soul records of all time, “Wipe Out” was #703, and the way he dealt with it in 1963 wasn’t far off from the way I dealt with it in 1963:

I saw the best minds of my generation laughing maniacally, drumming for hours on study hall desktops with fingers and pencils, eraser-end upwards, not giving a good goddamn whether this was the first version the Surfaris recorded, much less whether it was actually composed by somebody named Merrell Funkhauser, knowing only that this beat was the craziest sound they’d heard and desperately needing to participate, digging into the groove.

Actually, I think it was Merrell Fankhauser; but no, he didn’t write this. Neither did Morton Downey, Jr.

Still, if you’re young enough and you can stay on the beat, you’ve already tried this yourself:

Sina here is from Germany. She’s 18, looks maybe half that, and that’s her dad doing the guitar noises. And she has an album out, which I’ll talk about later.

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Vinyl Sucks

I have to admit, I never expected this:

Cover art for Better Than Nothing by Brad Sucks

Brad Sucks (no, “Sucks” is not his real name) has been a proponent of open-source music for a decade and a half; all his stuff is downloadable and remixable. He’s released three albums of original material over the years, and I never imagined there’d be a Greatest Hits set, especially a Greatest Hits set on vinyl, the least open-source medium of them all.

Side 1, Track 1 is “Making Me Nervous,” from 2003, arguably his most famous song. And here’s a fan-made video (of course) set to that song:

If you’re interested, the vinyl will be out in September. Details and ordering link are here.

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One might almost say “Like a Boss”

Let’s call it “Free Bird Syndrome”: you’re watching Musician A, and you ask him to play a song associated with Musician B. Some A’s, obviously, are better equipped to handle this than others.

Presented with a title, Bruce Springsteen laughed: “We haven’t played [this] since we were, I don’t know, sixteen.” He might even have been right, since the song dates to 1964, the year Springsteen turned 15.

And after a couple of minutes of trying to get the feel of it, the band was ready to go:

Of course, if you can’t play Chuck Berry, I seriously question whether you can play rock and roll in the first place.

(Via Newsner.)

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Let her dream

Skylark was a Canadian band that lasted just long enough to put out two albums and four singles, one of which hit the big time. And that one, I assure you, deserved to:

“Wildflower” was the second of those four singles; the third, “I’ll Have to Go Away,” made a run at the chart but didn’t quite make it. On long-play, “I’ll Have to Go Away” was prefaced by the instrumental “Suite for My Lady.” B. J. Cook sang the lead on this one; Donny Gerard was the voice on “Wildflower.” (Capitol, for some reason, felt compelled to explain the different vocal deployment on the picture sleeve of the single.) At the time, Cook was married to keyboardist/composer David Foster, who eventually became a big-name music producer.

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Beatniks and politics

If you’d told me in 1967 that the Strawberry Alarm Clock would still be a functioning band in 2017, I’d have whupped you with the yardstick for lunatics I used to keep handy for just such emergencies. The SAC had several problems, among them frequent personnel changes, and the fact that the lead singer on “Incense and Peppermints,” their biggest hit, wasn’t even a member of the band. Bassist George Bunnell explains:

One of those things where nobody thinks that at the moment, what you’re doing is going to be successful. The song wasn’t fitting anybody. Greg Munford happened to just be sitting there in the session, and Greg also had the same manager and producer. He was doing his own project simultaneously. They asked him to try it, and it was right in his wheelhouse. So he did it and it was exactly how you hear it. He was not in the band, and then the song started to have success. Then they asked Greg Munford if he wanted to be in the band and he didn’t. He had his own thing. The band went off and never had the lead singer of that song in the band. Completely stupid.

SAC was signed to Uni Records, a West Coast outpost which was expected to be hipper than mother Decca. (Which it was; their labelmates included Desmond Dekker, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John, and, um, Elton John.) They never again hit the Top 40, but they did produce some interesting singles. One of them was a B-side: “Pretty Song from Psych-Out,” which is exactly what it was: a pretty song (by group members Lee Freeman and Ed King) from Psych-Out, a 1968 American International drugsploitation film in which the band appeared and played three songs, none of which was the “Pretty Song.” (The version on the Psych-Out soundtrack album was performed by The Storybook.) I played this 45 to death:

“Pretty Song” was the flip of “Sit With the Guru” (!), which struggled to #65.

To start out the Seventies, the Clock toured the South; for one concert series, their opening act was, um, Lynyrd Skynyrd. (As SAC fragmented, Skynyrd asked Ed King to join them, which he did.)

We close with “Sit With the Guru,” live in 2012, because of course we do.

(Provoked, like so many of these, by Roger Green.)