Saturday, February 24, 2007

Top 100 (30-21)

I almost forgot I was still doing this.

30. Funny Little Frog (3:08)-Belle & Sebastian, The Life Pursuit, (2006)-The second and last of my songs that were actually released last year. I have had a kind of love/hate relationship with this band since, what seemed to me at the time, their first album came out—If You’re Feeling Sinister (their first album, Tigermilk had gone out of print). I don’t know how many people remember, but If You’re Feeling Sinister was a big deal, and sometimes if you are not in on the initial wave, you feel like a phony jumping on the band-wagon, and I couldn’t have that, so I kept Belle & Sebastian at arms length. Anyway to make a long story short, I purchased their third album for a pittance and liked the first track "It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career" (not so much now) and warmed up to them. I think their last two albums have been great, fairly grown-up and proper sounding pop albums; and I am glad that the Donovan/Nick Drake influence has been mostly chucked.

29. Eve of Destruction (1:22)-Johnny Thunders, Hurt Me, (1984)-And now, on to the second P.F. Sloan song. Johnny Thunders tears through this peacenik screed, which acts as a primer on many of the causes that had bounded the sixties counter-culture together: domestic racism, Vietnam, Middle East brutalities and Nuclear Armageddon. It seems a strange turn for the very un-taciturn Thunders: this is the guy who so successfully conflated Chuck Berry’s guitar aesthetics with heroin culture and wrote a called an album "Too Much Junkie Business."

28. Dub Magnificent (3:32)-King Tubby, The Roots of Dub, (1974)-More Reggae, or, maybe more to the point Jamaican music, and in this case, dub. For the uninitiated, dub is essentially instrumental reggae with lots of spacey and echoey delay. Tubby, born Osborne Ruddock, was a Kingston-area electronic repairman, who started out fixing sound system speakers that were set up on street corners that were damaged, oftentimes through the thuggish and competitive violence executed by rival sound system owners. As a disc-cutter at Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle Studio, Ruddock began to pull the vocals off tracks, highlighted the low-end bass and the drums with spidery echo, dropping other instrumental tracks in and out, and in the process he invented a new genre.

27. Drinkin' My Life Away (5:57)-Hasil Adkins, Drinkin' My Life Away (2003)-Adkins was a one-man hillbilly band that was beautifully naive enough, as a young boy, to think that the music he heard on the radio was all played by one person. A lot of his output is a bit tough to get through, and is only for the true believers. Adkins was not totally unlike a loonier Link Wray with some of the most creepy lyrics that I have ever heard. Drinkin’ My Life Away is played fairly straight, a bit out of tune and very long, but very sad. Of course he recorded it as an old man, just a few years before his death from complications after being run over by an all terrain vehicle.

26. Don't Talk About Us (2:35)-Someloves, B-Side to the It’s My Time Single on Citadel, (1986)-Marvelous guitar pop from that phenomenal Do the Pop collection of Australian punk. Like the Buzzcocks, but even more fun and without a hint of sexual politics.

25. Don't Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby) (2:47)-The Cookies, Don't Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby) Single on Dimension, (1964)-I could have done a little bit better research. This is one of two songs, just on this segment of the list written by Carole King. The Cookies have a strange history, that started in the fifties, before they were transformed into The Raelettes, by, yes, Ray Charles, and then into a wonderful Brill Building vocal trio in the early sixties, scoring a hit with Chains, and Don’t Say Nothing Bad (About my Baby).

24. Don't Let Go (3:29)-The Barracudas, Drop Out, (1981)-The Barracudas were a London-based power pop band (with a pronounced punk strain) that was founded by Canadian expatriate Jeremy Gluck. The Barracudas were one of the first bands to try their hands at true sixties revivalism, but to their credit they somewhat failed. With a band like the Chesterfield Kings, it is sometimes hard to differentiate between a song of theirs and a song that was actually recorded in the sixties. The Barracudas were too much a product of their time musically.

23. Didn't Tell the Man (2:56)-The Hitmen, Didn’t Tell the Man Single on WEA, (1979)-Yet another song from the Do the Pop compilation. If I haven’t said it yet, if you like New York Dollsesque punk or tough power pop you should get this double disc. You can probably get it cheap. This is probably the best song on the comp, very much like Radio Birdman (which is the case with almost every Australian punk band), but a bit softer.

22. Darling, Lets Have Another Baby (2:36)-Thee Headcoats, Brother Is Dead ... But Fly Is Gone! (1998)-I was originally very excited to find a P.F. Sloan connection early in this endeavor, but now the novelty has worn off. The most exciting of course was the Fleetwood Mac—Earl Vince and the Valiants ruse. Well, now that I know Billy Childish was in Mickey and the Milkshakes this makes two appearances. I use to live with a friend of mine and he liked this band, I got into Holly Golightly, but not this band so much, though I did like the cover they did of The Ramones song called "Pinhead." Anyway, I bought a bunch of their records this year and this may not be my favorite of the bunch, but it is close.

21. Crying In The Rain (1:53)-Carole King, Crying In The Rain Single on Atlantic Records, (1963)-I always thought, great songwriter but kind of a corny singer. I mean, I just remember listening to the big songs off Tapestry in the car as a little kid and now it just sounds real dated. Dated in the worse seventies kind of way. This sixties stuff is phenomenal though, especially this song, very stripped, so stripped that the great songwriting shows through, no piano-funk fluff to get lost in.


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