Friday, February 02, 2007

Top 100 (Songs 40-31)

I am almost, almost to the end.

40. I Cannot Find Her (2:33)-The Chesterfield Kings, Stop, (1985)-I am a sucker for desperate-sounding, jangly, acoustic twelve-string guitar ballads. The Chesterfield Kings though, are generally known for more Stonesy and aggressive garage songs, but on I Cannot Find Her, they let their sweet and sensitive lovelorn side shine through.
  • Chesterfield Kings 99th Floor Video.

  • 39. I Can Never Tell (2:44)-The Crawdaddys, 5X4 EP on Voxx Records, (1980)-Yet another entry from the Children of Nuggets compilation. The Crawdaddys were an L.A. area beat revival group who, like the Beatles, Stones and Yardbirds before them, were enamored with American Blues artists…they came along, about 15 years too late though. So instead of adulation they got a life of crushing obscurity

    38. I Adore Him (2:46)-The Angels, I Adore Him Single on Smash Records, (1963)-These Jersey girls delivered one of the archetypal girl-group songs when they released My Boyfriend’s Back in 1963. The former doo-wop group who had a hit in 1961 with Till, got tough when Patty Santiglia replaced Linda Jansen and they submitted to the Spector-lite songwriting-producing team of Feldman-Goldstein-Gottehrer. The Angels recorded My Boyfriend’s Back originally as a demo for the queens of tuff-girl pop The Shangri-La’s, but their managers decided to keep it for themselves and the rest is history. A friend of mine burned the Girl Groups Sounds Lost and Found (One Kiss can Lead to Another) box for me which compiles some fairly obscure (now) girl group songs, which is how I came across this lesser known gem from the same year.

    37. Hit That B*&!# (2:47)-The Monarchs, Heads Up 7” on Estrus Records (1995, recorded in 1993)-Over two and a half minutes of two-chord, minimal, caveman trash rock from a band that I would imagine not many people have ever heard of. I bought this single when I still actually thumbed through the new seven-inch records. I also used to have a record by another Estrus band called The Mortals, which was markedly worse. The Monarchs put out two other singles on Bulb Records, and an album on the German label Pin-up. All of which is sadly very hard to find.

    36. Greetings To The New Brunette (3:30)-Billy Bragg, Talking With the Taxman About Poetry (1986)-I once had an album of his called Workers Playtime because when I was about 16, I was obsessed with The Smiths and heard that Johnny Marr had played guitar on Billy Bragg records, so I ended up with that weird blend of socialist dogma, Woody Guthrieisms and bad eighties reverbed guitar. It was clear I was not ready for Billy Bragg. Years ago I bought those records he did of Woody Guthrie material with Wilco, which are marvelous, but I had never really bothered to listen to his own work. This year though I finally gave it a shot, and though Talking With the Taxman About Poetry still has unfortunate sounding guitar (Mr. Marr plays nicely, but it sounds very dated), it has many strong songs, including this romantic song of young proletarian love.

    35. Girl of My Dreams (4:09)-Bram Tchaikovsky, Strange Man, Changed Man, (1979)-Peter Bramall left The Motors—a kind of low-rent ELO type band that wrote some good songs: Dancing The Night Away, Airport, That’s What John Said—because of a lack of creative influence, and under his unfortunately ambitious nom-de-plume, Bram Tchaikovsky recorded a single Sarah Smiles, that led him to a solo career. Girl of My Dreams is bar none the best thing he ever did, because it is one of the best power pop songs ever. Barrowing heavily from Pete Townsend for the intro and chorus and sounding as perfect as anything The Flamin’ Groovies or Big Star did, Girl of My Dreams is a power pop classic.

    34. Girl After Girl (2:04)-The Fevers, Gaan Daar Waar De Meisjes Zijn, (2002)-The Fevers are a Dutch band that sound like The Real Kids and vaguely like The Ramones—a kind of half garage, half power pop band. Girl After Girl is an Elvis song, which is a bit startling to figure out, because it sounds like pitch perfect power pop, tailor made for a trio. I figured this out by doing research for the bit I wrote on Alex Chilton who also does this song (quite differently) on Like Flies on Sherbert.

    33. Get Yourself Together (3:05)-Caesars, Get Yourself Together single on Scepter, (1967)-I know practically nothing about this band. I was quite taken with the Small Faces song of the same title, and while trying to download it I ended up with this unknown soul gem. (I could not find a picture of any kind of this band).

    32. Gentle On My Mind (3:00)-Glen Campbell, Gentle on My Mind, (1967)-Gentle On My Mind, along with By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Galveston, form a holy trio of Campbell songs, only in the case of Gentle On My Mind, it was written by John Hartford and not Jimmy Webb. Sounding not unlike Harry Nilsson’s version of Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin’, Gentle On My Mind is the type of song that is most effecting while looking out the window of a moving car.

    31. G. F. S. (1:52)-Slant 6, Inzombia, (1995)-Wow, I had to go back to my formative years for this one. I hadn’t really listened to this record in a long while, but this year I kind of reacquainted myself with bands like Heavenly, Henry’s Dress and Slant 6. When I was twenty all my friends liked this band. I think I mostly thought they were pretty, or at least neat looking (though not on the cover of Inzombia so much) and they seemed to be kind of like empty-headed Dischord punk royalty, and along with The Nation of Ulysses and The Make-Up, I decided I did not want to like it anymore, so I put the records in a box in a closet and forgot about them. Well, in the case of those Ian Svenonius bands I probably was correct but upon my new acquaintance, I found Slant 6 infectious in a lean and poppy garage sort of way, without sounding at all cute or twee.


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