Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Top 100 (Songs 50-41)

And the hits keep coming, and coming, and coming...(for the uninitiated, these songs represent a top 100 of songs that I recently "got into" as it were. Most of them I have heard before and failed to be swayed by their greatness, some are totally new to me).


50. Johnny Too Bad (3:11)-The Slickers, The Harder They Come (OST), (1972)-I have not yet written about my rather new affection for reggae music. Though it is not fair to be embarrassed by a rather new love affair, reggae has always been a problematic genre. Anyone who has ever spent any time, after say, 1990, in a college dormitory, has been exposed to Bob Marley’s Legend album which has kept legions of pot smoking youths enthralled for decades. Though I spent a fair amount of time watching dorky ska bands in high school, my knowledge of reggae was rather limited, and wholly tainted by the likes of corny bands like Big Mountain and UB40. I, like many others spent a fair amount of time pissing on the genre without ever knowing what was really there. I bought the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, at the Community Thrift Store on Seventeenth Street in San Francisco because it had Pressure Drop, which the Clash covered, and it kind of sat on the shelf, forever gathering dust. After hearing a dub song on a boom box at work and spying a King Tubby disc on the desk, I was hooked. I scoured my records for reggae, and the rest is, as they say, history.

49. Into Your Arms (2:45)-The Lemonheads, Come on Feel the Lemonheads, (1993)-My newfound good feelings that surround this song are very hard to characterize. Recently I read a review in the newspaper of a new Lemonheads record. I downloaded some old songs and listened. I remembered most of the old stuff, like It’s a Shame About Ray, and the Simon and Garfunkel cover, but most of it was not very good. This song reminded me of drinking Dr. Pepper and watching alternative nation on television so it made me feel good.

48. I'm Only What You Want Me To Be (2:46)-The Flamin' Groovies, Rock Juice, (1992)-The last Flamin’ Groovies album of original material is a pretty uneven affair with regrettable cover art, but with some major highlights, including a cover of Brian Hyland’s Sealed With a Kiss, and two Cyril Jordan originals, I’m Only What You Want Me to Be and Way Over my Head. Not on a par with their greatest albums, but still amazingly good for being produced so late in their (Cyril Jordan, George Alexander) careers.

47. I'm Not Sayin' (2:50)-Nico, I’m Not Sayin’ single on Immediate Records, (1965)-Recorded before Nico joined The Velvet Underground but after she was in La Dolce Vita and bore Alain Delon an unwanted son. Gordon Lightfoot wrote I’m Not Sayin’, and it was backed with The Last Mile. Jimmy Page produced and both him and Brian Jones handled the guitars.
  • Watch the video.

  • 46. I'd Rather You Leave Me (2:12)-The Choir, The Choir EP on Bomp Records, (1975; probably recorded in 1967)-The Choir was essentially The Raspberries in the sixties without Eric Carmen. The Cleveland, Ohio natives were originally called The Mods but after recording their first single in Chicago, they switched to The Choir. (FYI: When doing a google search on The Choir, add a band member’s name like Wally Bryson or Dave Smalley, otherwise you’ll end up with a million pages of a scary Christian group). Their first single, It’s Cold Outside is a minor garage classic collected on both the Pebbles and Nuggets comps. They never released a proper album, but most of their songs are collected on a Sundazed release from 1994 called Choir Practice.

    45. I.R.T. (2:12)-Snatch, I.R.T. single on Bomp Records, (1977)-.I.R.T. was originally meant as a demo, an off the cuff song about perverts riding on the New York subway built on a messy tangle of Dollsish punk guitars and tough-girl brassiness. Snatch was a duo (Judy Nylon and Patty Palladin)—a couple of American expatriate punks living in London who recorded their songs in Judy Nylon’s flat. Greg Shaw released their first single, and in 1980 Fetish Records released their only album Shopping for Clothes fleshed out with a pianist, and former New York Doll and Heartbreaker Jerry Nolan on drums.

    44. I Won't Hurt You (2:24)-West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Part One, (1966)-A beautiful lullaby of a pop song built around the percussive sound of a beating heart. They were kind of rich-kid psyche-posers from LA that embraced many genres. Some of their output is good, some is not, but they are not terribly well respected.

    43. Help You Ann (2:31)-The Lyres, Lyres on Fire, (1984)-Formed from the ashes of farfisa organ grinder Jeff Connolly’s first band DMZ, The Lyres were a Boston institution. Along with the Barracudas, The Lyres were one of the very best of the neo-garage bands that began to pop up in the late seventies and early eighties that eschewed contemporary punk, preferring a kind of garage-punk impressionism based on sixties acts such as ? and the Mysterians, The Seeds, The Outsiders, and The 13th Floor Elevators.

    42. I Know I'm Not Wrong (3:05)-Fleetwood Mac, Tusk, (1979)-Fleetwood Mac’s White Album, Tusk is a nervy and fractured double album which has the sound of a band coming apart at the seems. I have never been much of a fan of Fleetwood Mac (yet two of their songs are on this list, go figure?) but Tusk has a handful of songs that I find particularly appealing in a skewed pop sort of way, mainly the Lindsay Buckingham ones, like I Know I’m Not Wrong and the morose Save me a Place.

    41. I Feel Much Better (3:56)-The Small Faces, B-Side to Tin Soldier Single on Immediate Records, (1967)-The best band on Rollinig Stones Manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s label Immediate. The Small Faces were a powerhouse who were close to being on a par with The Kinks and were probably better than The Who (stayed together too long and produced too much crap). While not being one of their best songs, I Feel Much Better may be one of their strangest, from the chipmunk-voiced back up vocals, to its bracing and punchy proto-metal coda, it is an odd yet satisfying bit of B-Side fluff.
  • Watch the whimsical video for Get Yourself Together.

    Blogger stuckinthe80s said...

    Yes! I LOVE "Into Your Arms." That whole album is great!

    Thanks for extolling the greatness of The Lemonheads.

    3:04 PM  
    Anonymous felipe said...

    "save me a place" is my "for all this."

    7:53 AM  

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