Archive for Tongue and Groove

The injured party

Paranoia has been the underpinning of many pop songs, though curiously not Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” an almost-coherent Ozzy lament about being misunderstood. Del Shannon was as good as anyone at this sort of thing: “Stranger in Town” (1965) is his masterpiece of mindfark.

This subgenre, if subgenre it be, reached some sort of azimuth in the early Eighties, following the breakup of ABBA:

Going through her divorce from [Benny] Andersson, Frida had heard Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight,” and then “listened to the album (Face Value) non-stop for eight months.” As Collins himself put it in a TV interview: “Frida and I had something in common as far as our divorces were concerned. We were both the injured party.”

Which led to this epic:

Collins produced, played drums, and sang some background vocals, but you can hear the quaver in every bar of Frida’s anguished, overprocessed vocals. (The LP track, which stretches out the fade for an extra minute and a half, still provides you no time to decompress.) How Russ Ballard (ex-Argent) came to write something like this, I’ll never know; I do know that Agnetha Fältskog, the other A in ABBA — Frida’s full given name was Anni-Frid — tapped Ballard for “Can’t Shake Loose” a year later, and it’s similarly drenched in suspicion.

And if you flipped the single of “I Know There’s Something Going On,” you found this:

Dorothy Parker, who died in 1967, would never have gotten to hear it, but I’m inclined to think she’d have liked it — after asking what the fresh hell Frida and composer Per Gessle were thinking.

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Stargazing

Once in a while, it’s nice to pick up an old, and I do mean old song, and make it new for yourself. Fillyjonk reports on “When You Wish Upon a Star”:

I like the song. Most of us, I think, mainly associate it with Jiminy Cricket, but some years back I had an album of Disney songs redone/reimagined by various pop/rock/alt/country stars. Ringo Starr (with his “All-Starr Band”) did a version of “When You Wish …” It was a creditable version, or at any rate, I liked it.

Then there’s that Academy Award for Best Original Song (1940).

The version I’ve been listening to of late — since I have no discernible musical talent of my own, I’m not in a position to play it myself — is a sweet cover by a couple of youngsters associated with that pony stuff: Andrew “MandoPony” Stein, from out of the fandom, and Michelle Creber, the voice of Apple Bloom. I bought the single; the YouTube version contains a couple of promotional voiceovers that don’t quite wreck the mood.

Anyway, I like “When You Wish Upon a Star” because it’s such a hopeful song. For one thing, it presupposes the existence of a dream … that there is something you long for, something you want. And then it expresses confidence that that dream can be fulfilled. (And of course, not all dreams ARE, though I would argue that the ones that are, to not get too theological, in “accordance with how the world should work out,” are.)

But of course, though the song does talk of wishing on a star, as I have learned as an adult, if you have a dream, as much as the fulfillment of that dream is up to you, you have to WORK to make it happen.

True that. If you’re waiting for something to just drop in your lap — well, you’re wasting your time sitting.

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Attendance will be taken

Tuesday, May 19: Brady Theater, Tulsa

Wednesday, May 20: Hudson Performance Hall, Oklahoma City

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You’re hearing this

The Tulsa Sound, says Wikipedia, is “a musical style that originated in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a mix of rockabilly, country, rock ‘n’ roll, and blues sounds of the late 1950s and early 1960s.”

What's This I Hear cover artThere are occasional references to the Tulsa Sound in state publications, but this is the first compilation of recordings I’ve seen pop up. The prospectus:

From this vantage point, some 60 years later, and with so much water under the bridge, it’s hard to imagine just how much of a shockwave the emergence of Elvis Presley shot through the youth of America. This was no less true for the collection of young wannabe musicians who called Tulsa, Oklahoma, their home in the period of time the “Tupelo Tornado” twisted his way across the USA, leaving a trail of devastation and inspiration in his wake.

The “Tulsa Sound” would become one of the most influential strands of American Rock music in the 1970s, and beyond, and on this collection we take a detailed look at the early years of the artists that would go on to put Tulsa on the musical atlas. Featuring highlights from Tulsa pioneers like Clyde Stacy and David Gates, who would find fame as the lead-singer and chief songwriter for the massively popular Bread, this release also includes, for the first time, all 8 of the songs that the great JJ Cale recorded in his formative years in his hometown, before heading out to LA with other Tulsa friends, in search of glory.

Cale was recording as “Johnny Cale” in those days; by the time he’d signed to Liberty in the middle 1960s, he’d become JJ. (Birth name: John Weldon Cale.)

What’s This I Hear?, named for a pre-Bread song by David Gates, is due out from England’s Cherry Red label in February.

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That one moment in the sun

Then again, we’re talking Yuma, Arizona, which gets a lot of sun. Curtis Lee was born in Yuma in 1939; in the middle 1960s he joined his father’s construction business, took it over entirely in 1969, and ran it well into the 21st century. Cancer got him this last week at the age of 75.

Why are we talking about an Arizona homebuilder? Because of this:

This was Lee’s third single for Ray Peterson’s Dunes label. Lee wrote the song with Tommy Boyce, before Boyce and Bobby Hart were a name-brand songwriting duo; Phil Spector (!) produced. In the background were the Halos, a doo-wop group from the Bronx who sang on another famed Spector production, Gene Pitney’s stirring “Every Breath I Take.”

Spector also produced the follow-up, “Under the Moon of Love,” another Boyce/Lee collaboration, which just missed the Top 40. (And the B-side, “Beverly Jean,” is a gem.) Further recordings went nowhere, and Lee went back home to Yuma to, yes, build houses.

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Don’t sing with your mouth full

Last night, I was stocking up on $5 MP3 albums from Amazon — a couple of which, admittedly, could be had on CD for $4.99 — and this scurrilous tune was found in the downloads:

I have no idea how old this track is, though it has to be from before 2005; Dr. Demento has played it once. Composition is credited to “Kaniger,” so this must be Marty Kaniger and the other members of Big Daddy, who have a sort of ad hoc compilation called Cruisin’ Through the Rhino Years, stuff ostensibly recorded for that label, though obviously “It’s Hard to Say I Love You” came out on Muff-Tone (MT-069, of course). The B-side? Don’t ask.

Incidentally, this is hardly the first song on this particular topic, though arguably the most famous one in the post-78 rpm era was almost immediately banned once its subject heard it.

(You might not want to play these in the company of people who are easily offended.)

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Jimmy the Kid

How little was Jimmy Dickens? Officially, four foot eleven. He didn’t adopt the adjective, though, until he’d signed with Columbia in 1948 — he was then twenty-eight — and joined the Grand Ole Opry.

Pop audiences were scarcely aware of Dickens until 1965, when songwriter Neal Merritt, having seen too many segments of Carnac the Magnificent, penned a silly ditty called “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.” Dickens waxed it for Columbia, watched it go to #1 on the country chart and #15 pop, and was still singing it in 2008.

The next Dickens hit followed the old rule: just like the last one, but different. “When the Ship Hit the Sand” had the same tempo, the same style, and probably the same Grady Martin guitar work. The title might have been a trifle risqué for the period: “Ship” hove to at #27, and never cracked the Hot 100.

When Hank Locklin (1918-2009) died, Dickens became the oldest living member of the Opry. He was still inclined to poke fun at the rest of the world. From the Country Music Awards in 2009:

By this time, the little guy had shrunk to four foot nine. And he made a pretty good Justin Bieber, too. You can’t get away with stuff like this unless you have a big, big heart, the kind that will carry you all the way to age 94.

Addendum: The oldest surviving member of the Opry now appears to be Jean Shepard, who was invited to join the Opry in 1955; she turned 81 in November.

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Stuck on replay

My working definition of a classic-rock station was, and is, one that plays BTO’s “Takin’ Care of Business” unironically. This is just one of forty songs that, says Yeoman Lowbrow, have been ruined by American classic-rock radio:

Can any of you out there even remember how you felt when you first heard “Stairway to Heaven”? It’s been played so many times by classic rock stations that I can’t bear to hear it any more… I take that back. I no longer hate it; instead it has become almost a “non song” — no surprises, every note tired and stale.

Of course, it has the advantage of being eight minutes long, giving the DJ, assuming there is a DJ, a chance to go to the john, or to do, um, other things.

The tragedy is that this has happened to so many other brilliant songs which have been literally played to death over the decades. Sadly, it doesn’t have to be this way. Oftentimes, these artists have huge catalogs of songs to choose from, but the stations pick the same shit over and over. Why? Will people turn away if they hear a song they aren’t instantly familiar with?

I understand, you can’t just play obscure B-sides and expect big audiences. But would it kill these classic rock stations to slip in Steely Dan’s “Any Major Dude” instead of “Do It Again”?

Heck, I’d settle for “Bodhisattva.”

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Thirty days of juke

A suitable introduction:

It’s like those “#1 on your birthday” sites, except this gives you only ten songs for the whole month. But you can hear all ten of them by pushing the appropriate buttons. The list runs out at December 1989, and if the World Wide Web were in existence in 1989, this page would look like it was that old; but don’t let that stop you.

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Not to be confused with Ten Years After

Roger sent this along, and I couldn’t possibly resist putting it up here: an analysis of decade-specific words in song titles listed in Billboard.

Some of these may seem obvious: if you hear a song with “twist” or some variation thereof in the title, it’s almost certainly from the 1960s. I ran a search on the database on my desktop, and between 1960 and 1988, there were 54 chart items containing “twist” — but 46 of them were before 1965. More startling: “you” doesn’t place in the top five of any decade until the 1990s, and “love” is a factor only in the 1980s, a gentle rebuke to those who think we’ve had enough of silly love songs.

And if we’re going to play pronouns, in the 90s “you” lives cheek by jowl with “u,” and “u” persists into the new century while “you” drops below threshold, though “ya” makes a top-five appearance. After 2010, all those variations on “you” are gone — but “we” is preeminent. Sociologists ought to have a field day with that one.

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She still gotta be

Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be” was one of my favorite songs of 1994, and after it popped up in the shuffle, I played it a second time, and started wondering whatever happened to her: she definitely had the songwriting chops, and she was certifiably photogenic, so where the heck is she?

Des'ree

The answer, apparently, is “In Canada, without a recording contract”; Sony dropped her after her 2003 album Dream Soldier failed to make any waves.

Dream Soldier by Des'ree

One single was issued from Dream Soldier: “It’s Okay,” which barely charted in Britain and never made any headway in the States. It deserved better:

Most of her catalogue is on YouTube from, um, unofficial sources, though she did upload a video of her appearance at cd:uk, which was live in the same way American Bandstand was live. I’m guessing this was taped in 1999, after Ford used “You Gotta Be” in a commercial for the Focus, prompting Sony to reissue the single:

Despite dumping Des’ree, Sony subsequently issued an album called Endangered Species: The Best of Des’ree, which includes some alternate versions from the vault and a selection of live tracks.

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Meet a guy, pull up a chair

Joe Cocker, singing one of his own songs — well, his and bandmate Chris Stainton’s, anyway:

Then again, he quite famously got by with a little help from his friends.

Miss you already, Joe.

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Grammy approves

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the folks who bring you the Grammy Awards each year, makes up for that in December with inductions into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and this year’s selections are a diverse bunch indeed, though two of the singles nominated are in fact the same song.

The fifteen individual tracks:

  • “Big Girls Don’t Cry” — Four Seasons (1962)
  • “Dancing Queen” — ABBA (1976)
  • “Honky Tonkin'” — Hank Williams & His Drifting Cowboys (1947)
  • “I Fought the Law” — Bobby Fuller Four (1965)
  • “Jitterbug Waltz” — Fats Waller, His Rhythm and His Orchestra (1942)
  • “Le Freak” — Chic (1978)
  • “Rescue Me” — Fontella Bass (1965)
  • “San Antonio Rose” — Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (1939)
  • “School’s Out” — Alice Cooper (1972)
  • “Sixty Minute Man” — Dominoes (1951)
  • “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” — Fisk Jubilee Singers (1909)
  • “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” — Paul Robeson (1926)
  • “Tell it Like It Is” — Aaron Neville (1966)
  • “Try a Little Tenderness” — Otis Redding (1966)
  • “Walk on the Wild Side” — Lou Reed (1972)

Definitely appeals to my sense of eclecticism. In the case of “Swing Low,” the Jubilee Singers from Fisk University put out the first known recording of the song, which dates back to the 1840s; Robeson cut it twice, in 1926 for Victor, and during his British sojourn in 1939. And there are two different Otis Redding takes on “Try a Little Tenderness,” as noted here.

The newly anointed albums:

  • Autobahn — Kraftwerk (1974)
  • Blood on the Tracks — Bob Dylan (1975)
  • The Bridge — Sonny Rollins (1962)
  • Calypso — Harry Belafonte (1956)
  • Harvest — Neil Young (1972)
  • John Prine — John Prine (1971)
  • Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols — Sex Pistols (1977)
  • Nick of Time — Bonnie Raitt (1989)
  • The Shape of Jazz to Come — Ornette Coleman (1959)
  • Songs of Leonard Cohen — Leonard Cohen (1967)
  • Stand! — Sly and the Family Stone (1969)
  • Stardust — Willie Nelson (1978)

All of these are eminently defensible — even Calypso, which was just one of the genres Belafonte mastered — though I have been known to wonder if anyone has ever played Side Two of Autobahn.

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Basket cases

Some of us saw Green Day’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as being, well, so much dookie:

{American] Idiot combined the band’s new inability to take itself unseriously with a penchant for swiping lyrical images and music from everywhere under the sun to make a record just like the ones that had made the original punk bands throw up their hands in disgust at the music industry: Dumb, grandiose, and saturated with self-important artsy pretentiousness.

Hmmm … maybe they’re a good fit for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after all.

Of course, the real objection to this year’s list was that Stevie Ray Vaughan wasn’t already in.

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Wings of wonder

A fellow using the name “PinkiePieSwear” once put together a lovely little bit of electronica called “Flutterwonder,” with visuals sliced from various MLP episodes and a few words of Fluttershy’s sampled for the vocal. And it was, well, wondrous.

Then Ferexes put together a completely new animation for the song using Source Film Maker, relying on no original-series clips at all. And it was, well, just as wondrous:

The last thing I expected, though, was an acoustic — unplugged — version with the lyrics resung. (This is the first time I’ve ever actually understood the words.) Wondrousness is declared:

And this is the one thing I’ve always adored about Fluttershy: her almost-childlike sense of wonder. In fact, considering that she’s presumably the oldest of the Mane Six, this may be closer to envy.

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Don’t even think about downloading this

And if you manage to pull it off, let me know how you did it:

Trevor Jackson hasn’t released an album in 14 years, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy. On February 25, the creative director, artist, and sonic pioneer behind Playgroup is set to debut a 12-track full-length [album] in 12 separate physical file formats. Aptly entitled F O R M A T, the album is spread out, one song per 12″, 10″ and 7″ vinyl, CD, mini CD, cassette tape, USB stick, VHS tape, MiniDisc, Digital Audio Tape (DAT), 8-track tape, and reel-to-reel tape, respectively, each designed by Jackson and released by The Vinyl Factory. According to the press release, the album pays homage to music formats of the past, in celebration of “the artistry, design and individual experience of playing music via traditional methods.”

If Jackson really wants to stir the pot, he should offer a bonus track on a 78 — or on Betamax.

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Blasts from the past

The very last time I can remember calling up a radio station and asking “What the hell is that?” was for this very track, some time in 1990.

I’m not sure that stills of Mount Etna in mid-eruption are the ideal visual complement to Paul Speer’s guitar and Leroy Quintana’s keyboards, but it’s what we’ve got. (And the tune runs only to 5:10, so there’s two minutes more volcano without accompaniment.)

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Out to launch

Would you like to swing on a star?

And yes, those are real NASA interns.

Meghan Trainor can probably retire next spring.

(Via Miss Cellania. See also this earlier example of Johnson [Space Center] Style.)

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A folkie not to be forgotten

I don’t actually have a copy of this — believe me, I looked — but it seems like it’s been here all the time.

“Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind” was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in early 1964 and cut at that time, but was left in the can until the Metamorphosis compilation of 1975. Dick and Dee Dee (!), a supporting act for the Stones during their 1964 US tour, got first crack at a cover, but the one that got airplay, albeit minimal, was this version by Vashti Bunyan, released in May 1965 on Decca (UK) with production by Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham. Some pressings list her only as “Vashti,” as did the credits of at least one episode of the US TV series Shindig. “Some Things” somehow never got a US release, and, her career faltering, she moved to a commune in Scotland, eventually emerging long enough to cut an album, Just Another Diamond Day (Philips UK). Reviews were kind — you can find rather a lot of them on her Web site — but sales were awful, and she decided she wasn’t going to get mixed up in that sort of thing ever again.

By the turn of the century, Just Another Diamond Day was commanding $2000 bids on eBay, prompting Spinney Records to reissue it on vinyl and CD; Bunyan’s second career, as an off-center folkie, was under way. She would cut two more albums: Lookaftering (2005) and Heartleap (2014); the latter, she says, is her last.

How influential is Vashti Bunyan? Let’s ask Beck:

In which he sings Vashti’s “Winter Is Blue,” a late-60s track that preceded her departure to points north. (Her own take sounds like this.)

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All alone on the rack

Dave Schuler is asking: “What was the first record album you purchased with your own money?”

Cover art for Something New by the Beatles 1964The parental units weren’t about to fork over any coin of the realm for me to squander on vinyl — or styrene, as appropriate — so this is my first record album, period. Something New is one of those Frankenalbums Capitol persisted in issuing in those days, partly due to the fact that British LPs tended to have 13 or 14 tracks, while we Americans were dumb enough to settle for eleven. The track list includes eight songs from the UK A Hard Day’s Night album, though not the title track; two cuts from the British Long Tall Sally EP, and a German version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” The track ordering is not bad, actually, and for the most part, we were spared Capitol’s infamous mono-reprocessed-for-stereo mixing, though I wouldn’t have known that at the time, having bought the mono version on the basis that (1) I had a fairly crummy record player and (2) stereo would have been a buck extra. Something New peaked at #2 on the Billboard album chart and stayed there for nine weeks; what kept it out of first place was the United Artists issue of the soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night, another dog’s-breakfast compilation with eight actual Beatles tracks, plus four instrumentals presided over by George Martin.

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Never need to doubt it

Pitchfork once claimed that the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” was the single best song of the 1960s, which would be startling only if it weren’t true. Herewith, some minor factoids concerning the song:

  • Only one of the Beach Boys — Carl Wilson, who also sang lead — actually plays on the track: he’s on twelve-string guitar.
  • Paul McCartney said it was his favorite song, period.
  • There’s a vocal version of it in the videogame Bioshock Infinite.

The BBC “Impossible Orchestra” version, recorded as a charity one-off in October, has detractors, like this guy in the Independent:

With its message, that the BBC “owns” the entire musical waterfront and licence-fee payers would do well to remember that, it is the kind of propaganda film an autocratic regime sensing that its legitimacy is crumbling might produce.

By which I infer that he’d be just fine with it had it come out on Channel 4 or ITV.

But the hell with that noise. It’s a stirring rendition of a seriously beautiful song, and I don’t care how preposterous the presentation might be.

You’re excused if you didn’t recognize Pharrell without a hat.

(Previous “God Only Knows” discussion here.)

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Dreamy redefined

Somewhere, where romantic and whimsical collide, you’ll find this:

While the screen is taken up by Zooey and a very palpable nothingness, it would mean nothing without the music, and as I commented on YouTube: “If there’s ever a reason to make a movie about me (and there probably isn’t), I want M. Ward on the soundtrack.”

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We’ll show those hatches

Guitarist Jennifer Batten, fifty-seven today, has put out three solo albums, though she’s probably best known for her axe work on tour with Michael Jackson, supporting Bad, Dangerous and HIStory, and in MJ’s Super Bowl appearance in 1993. She’s a bit wild and unruly in appearance, though this can be toned down a notch:

Jennifer Batten at rest

Or, you know, not:

Jennifer Batten at work

One of Batten’s influences is Jeff Beck; she appeared on his Who Else! (1999) and You Had It Coming (2001) albums, and toured with him for three years. In this amateur video — the picture is good, the sound not so much — she takes on a Beck original from the Who Else! album, “Brush with the Blues”:

She can definitely wail.

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You can’t get rid of me that easily

Just renewed the hosting package with the surfer dudes: you’re stuck with me for another year.

As is often the case, about a quarter of the tab was picked up by kickbacks, since I get a smidgen of the take when someone signs up for services of their own and drops my name. I’ve had this account since the very end of 2001, and it was twice as pricey back then; I could knock off 10 percent if I prepaid two years in advance, but I never seem to remember that until the invoice shows up.

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Persistence is further rewarded

About a year ago, I finally picked up a clue about a record I once owned and largely forgot, and duly posted the research I’d done so far. The conclusion:

Wingate, it appeared, owned a piece of this independent-ish label called Volkano, with a K, which would issue four singles during its short lifespan, including one by a fellow named Bob Santa Maria. (It is suspected that Bob’s real last name was Seger.) The first issue on Volkano was “The Beginning of the End,” by Little John and Tony; “Tony” was Pete Saputo, also known as Anthony Raye — the more pseudonyms, the better, am I right? — and “John” was producer John Rhys, who co-wrote the song with longtime Detroit bassist Dennis Coffey. Coffey also arranged the record, and, most important from my point of view, still had a copy of it.

Now if I could just find a copy on YouTube — or, better yet, iTunes.

Well, looky here:

While this track definitely meets the description of “60s Garage USA,” the Tombstone Records compilation Die Today, per this listing on RYM, does not contain this track. It does, however, contain a track called “I Love Her So,” by Moby Dick and the Whalers, from legendary seaport Midwest City, Oklahoma.

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From the Department of Earworms

Obsessed with doomed romances as I am, I was inevitably drawn to Richard Donner’s film Ladyhawke, in which Matthew Broderick Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer play a couple living under a curse: “always together; eternally apart.” I wasn’t quite sure what New Zealand musician Phillipa Margaret “Pip” Brown was thinking when she adopted “Ladyhawke” as a stage name, but she does put out some cursedly listenable tunes, such as this 2008 number, which somehow did not chart in the States:

And I have to admit, I wonder what all those cars are doing at the end of the video.

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Give a little whistle

In case you were wondering, Irish funerals aren’t all “Danny Boy” these days:

Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” has been replaced by Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life” as the most popular song played at funerals, new research has found.

A study by The Co-operative Funeralcare showed that traditional hymns, football anthems and classic pop songs top the list of the “funeral music chart.”

As funeral music goes, the BBC’s theme from “Match of the Day” is pretty, um, perky. Then again, it is a legitimate football anthem, though I admit I’m waiting for someone to go out to the accompaniment of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Sports Song.”

David Collingwood, operations director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “We think we may be seeing a generational shift in attitudes towards funerals, and the choice of music being requested.

“Music plays such an important part in people’s lives that it now acts as the theme tune to their passing. Modern funerals are very much about personal choice, which can be reflected in the choice of music, dress, coffin, flowers, hearses or memorials.”

Which may explain why my brother departed to the strains of “Let It Be” — and why I won’t.

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Desperate for attention

This is about two steps below clutching at straws:

Yahoo Answers screenshot: Is it worth it to pay $6000 to get famous?

Why $6000, exactly?

I want to pay $6000 to Ark Music Factory (Just like what rebecca black did) so they can help me produce a song and release it on their channel and I will become famous. I am not very good at singing but I think this is a great way to become famous. However, my parents are poor and we are on food stamps but they will be willing to sacrifice everything for my music career.

Update: they will be willing to do it, even if they have to starve for a few days.

Not sure if trolling or simply out of touch with reality. I did point out that what happened to Rebecca Black will not necessarily happen for anyone else.

And anyone who’s on food stamps should know that six grand is more than a few days’ worth.

Addendum: Last I heard, Patrice Wilson, who produced “Friday,” was asking $6500 for his services.

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Just an illusion

“Motown at its most mystical,” Dave Marsh wrote a quarter-century ago:

Ruffin wakes up in a bottomless pit of orchestration, and recounts a bad dream about his travels in “this land of broken dreams,” which he says means lack of romantic love but which everybody who’s ever heard him understands to signify something a lot more disturbing and universal.

That would include yours truly:

[M]aybe it’s just what John Mellencamp ascribed to those two American kids, Jack and Diane: “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.” And, of course, if the thrill is gone, we’ve finished up Jimmy Ruffin’s record, and moved on to B. B. King’s.

Jimmy’s own record ground to a halt this week in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 78.

And because Gerard Van der Leun would have wanted it that way, here’s Joan Osborne’s Ruffin cover, eminently worthy in its own right.

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Chicks unfilleted

If you thought “What Does The Fox Say?” was a bit too, um, cerebral, here’s a Chinese video that makes approximately one zillionth as much sense:

(Via Incredible Things. They didn’t believe it either.)

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