Peter Gabriel- ST (Car)

This album was $3.  I got it to play on a Saturday as I try to save the best albums for the weekend.  I originally had a Dean Martin album slated for today but recent events led me to this record.  I had the sample song in my head and realized I had this album in my unposted pile.

This was Peter Gabriel’s first solo album after leaving Genesis.  It was released in 1977 as a self titled album.  Gabriel’s first three albums were untitled so this one became Car, obviously.  Produced by Bob Erzin, the album also featured Tony Levin on bass as well as Steve Hunter and Robert Fripp on guitars. It contained his first single “Solsbury Hill” which was quite autobiographical in describing his departure from Genesis, in perhaps oversimplified terms.

And despite not liking to post popular songs from popular records, that is what I am doing as like Gabriel, I have been in a rut as of late.  Or perhaps another rut in a long series of ruts.  But before I feel too sorry for myself, ruts do present good opportunities to get out and try something new, like Gabriel did.  So here is “Solsbury Hill”.  

Great little album with other good songs such as “Modern Love” and “Here Comes The Flood”.  Satisfactory album.  As far as you humble narrator goes, well don’t feel too badly, I am more than positive that he will bounce back.

The Byrds- Mr Tambourine Man

Here comes Saturday which means quick post.  This was $5.  I got it at the first Hilton record show I went to.  Due to too huge a backlog, I do not go to record shows anymore.  So sad.  Anyway, I was on a Byrds kick when I got this. What I week it has been for spell check.

This was the seminal California band, the Byrds’ first album, based on the strength of the single, their rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Mr Tambourine Man”.  Featuring original members Mike and Gene Clark, David Crosby, Chris Hilman, and Jim McGuinn, It was released in 1965 and was the first real US challenge to the British Invasion at the time.

Good little album.  It features other Dylan songs “Spanish Harlem Incident”, “Chimes of Freedom”,  and “All I Really Want To Do”.  It also features folk classic “Bells of Rhymney” which incidentally, McGuinn performed earlier on Judy Collins album (featured on this blog).

Anyway, I went with Gene Clark’s “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”, which was covered on Tom Petty’s first solo album.  Petty was greatly influenced by the Byrds and I believe that is the reason he played a Rickenbacker,  McGuinn, himself was influenced by seeing George Harrison play on in A Hard Day’s Night.

Anyway, great little album.  Top Rated.

OST (Herman’s Hermits)- Hold On!

This was one dollar.  Or possibly 80 cents.  I think I got it on sale. I definitely remember that I got a spat of Herman’s Hermits’ records at the time. This comes around the same time that 24 Hour Party People has been playing on the TV.  Of course the Madchester scene in the movie was different from the Manchester of the Hermits but at some level, there is a correlation between the types of music emanating from the city north of London.

I have been to Manchester, once, for a day.  I went to see the Pogues.  I stayed in a pub-hotel, the Mitre, which was affordable yet pretty low on amenities.  The cab driver on the way to the hotel kept asking why I would stay at the Mitre.  Kept laboring the point.  Said I could have got a better deal at a newer hotel (for the record, I had a lovely stay at the Mitre).  Also for the record, I think the renovated  since then as this story took place in 2004.

So for 15 mins, the cab driver just kept berating me for staying at the hotel.  Other than walking around the city and checking out the Christmas market, I saw the Pogues play at what was at the time, the Manchester Evening News Arena, the now Manchester Arena and site of recent suicide bombing.  Can not remember which pubs I went to which is a shame, but it was up and early in the morning to take the train to London.

Well enough rambling about the city.  This was the soundtrack to the second Herman’s Hermits’ movie, Hold On! .  Released in 1966 and featuring a plot that centered around NASA, the movie was set (and filmed I believe) mostly in the US, featuring clips from recent American performances.  Greatly influenced by Help!, the film got mixed reviews but has received more acceptance over time.

The US record features 10 songs including one with actress Shelley Fabares, Donna Reed’s TV daughter,  on lead vocals.  Decent stuff.  Kind of falls in line with the rest of Herman’s catalog. The other albums I bought at the time from the group were better, but this is not bad.

For a sample, I went with “A Must To Avoid” which was released as a single that went to the UK top ten.  I also included the B side, a re-recording of an earlier hit for the group, George Formby’s “Leaning On  A Lamppost”.  If you have been reading this blog, you may recognize this song as I posted it some months earlier from a camp album.

Anyway, decent enough record.  Satisfactory.



Jerry Lee Lewis-Rockin’ Rhythm & Blues

Woo hoo!! Saturday.  Let’s fly thru this.  This was $2.  Too many good songs to pass up.  Also after 2-1/2 years of doing this blog, I still hate typing the word rhythm.  I mis-spell it every time. Anyway, you can not go wrong with ending the week with Jerry Lee Lewis.

This record, released by Sun in 1969 was a repackaging of songs recorded earlier with Sam Phillips.  At the time, The Killer was going thru his county period (which I felt was even better than his rock and roll days). He was very hot during this period and the new owner of Sun, Shelby Singleton, wanted to capitalize on this so they put out a series of compilation records like this.

A lot of good rock and roll/ rockabilly songs on here. Most of these songs weer made famous by others including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Ray Charles.  Also, I kind of do take offense for taking songwriting credits for “C.C. Rider”.  But other than that, every song is pretty much a classic.  So I went with “Little Queenie”.

Top Rated Record.

The Monkees- Headquarters

This was $2.  I liked the Monkees when I was young.  Still do to an extent. Why you may ask.  I may have answered that question on this site before but for the sake of this post, I will answer it again.  Because on the TV show, they always stuck together.  Mostly through the bad times.  And on the show, they were always one step away from making it.  Despite always falling just one step short, they stuck together.

This was a huge album for the band.  After fighting hard to write and perform their own music, the Monkees got their break with this album.  It is kind of funny how it played out.  Mike and Peter wanted to be musicians.  Mickey wanted to be a director.  All Davy wanted to do was make money and as shown in the made for TV movie about the band, he appeared frustrated with his bandmates’ ambitions.

But here this is, the Monkee’s third album, with music performed by the members, rather than the session musicians used on the previous two records (the main exception was Chip Douglas for provided bass among other things).  The Monkees also contributed a good chunk of song writing to this album although others such as Boyce and Hart are present as well.

It is Mike Nesmith’s influence that gives the album a country-folk-rock sound, but one particular exception is Mickey Dolenz’s “Randy Scouse Git”, which is a British slang that is quite unpleasant.

This was meant to be the Monkees’ crown achievement and they were rewarded with a #1 record spot upon its release in May of 1967.  However, as fate would have it, Sgt Peppers was released the following week, changing music as it was known at the time, knocking Headquarters to an eleven week run at the #2 spot,overshadowing the accomplishments of the made for TV band. IN a way, it was very fitting and followed the TV show’s plot lines; the band fought so hard to make this great little album, just to fall a tad short in the end to one of the most important albums of the 60’s.

Anyway, here this is.  For a sample, I was torn in several directions but ultimately went with the Nesmith penned/sung country flavored “You Just May Be The One”.

Great album.  Top rated.

The Dave Clark Five- I Like It Like That

This is the last post of the month, which by default gets the least love.  Trying just to get it done.  This was $3.00. Yes, I fully realize that today is the 150th birthday of Canada, yet, I picked out this record ahead of schedule without consulting my calendar.  So unless I change my mind between the time this is written and when you are reading this, well, sorry.

I had mentioned how I felt shortchanged by the DC5’s movie Catch Me If You Can (Having A Wild Weekend in the US), which payed again on TCM last night.  I mean, it was very well received and really good in the way it dealt with heavy themes as compared to other pop vehicles but the failure to include any footage of the band playing instruments that I can remember as well as casting the band members as other people other than the musicians they were kind of broke it for me.  As a side note, Dave Clark was the drummer of the band.  For someone who likes their albums, I am slightly embarrassed not to know that.

This was the 7th album released in the US as well as 7th in two years.  Coming out in 1965, pretty straight forward British Invasion rock and roll.  Showcasing their Tottenham Sound, the album is pretty good.  Really killing it with the boiler plate adverbs today.

For a sample. I went with the soulful ” I Need Love.”  Satisfactory record. And with that another month of Donkey Show is in the can.

Traffic- John Barleycorn Must Die

Here’s a really good one dollar record for a Saturday.  

This was the fourth album from the UK group Traffic but the first without guitarist Dave Mason.  In his departure, and after some side projects, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood, and Jim Capaldi put together this album which was released in 1970.  Critics were a bit hard on this album noting Mason’s absence, but it sold well both in the US and the UK , eventually going gold.  Most of the record is very jazz/blues oriented with the exception of the title track, which was a nod to the rising influence of bands like Fairport Convention on the UK scene. 

“John Barleycorn” (Round 164) is an English folk song dating back to the Age of James I.  The earliest copy is from the 1400’s.  There is also around 140 versions of the tune according to the back cover.  On the surface, it seems like a pretty nasty song.  Three men have decided that John Barleycorn must die.  He is mowed down and left in the sun to dry.  He is then cut down at his knees, rolled into a cart, smashed between stones ground up.  The songs concludes that many men can’t function without the death of John Barleycorn and that his blood is consumed by many from all walks of life.

Pretty gruesome until you realize that John Barleycorn is not actually a person and is instead barley and malt, the main ingredients in beer and whiskey.  The song in fact is a description of the harvest of these cereal crops and the production of alcohol.  It remains popular today and versions as shown above exist in both minor and major tones.

Anyway, I found Traffic’s version to be quite interesting.  Thus, here it is as the sample.  It should be noted that the rest of the record does not sound like this.

Good record. Satisfactory.

Bonzo Dog Band- Beast of the Bonzos

This was not marginally $5, but I had the clerk assign the extra amount to a $1.  I got this as I really wanted to feature this band on this blog as they have two tie ins to pop culture.

The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band (later shortened to the Bonzo Dog Band) was an English trad-jazz band formed by art students who were swept up in the early 60’s 1920’s sound spearheaded by the Temperance 7 and The Alberts.  As they started to move thier sound into rock, they got two big breaks.  First Paul McCartney asked them to appear in the Magical Mystery Tour where they performed “Death Cab For Cutie”.  This is where the band of the same name got said name (pop culture tie in #1).

Second, around the same time, they got a gig on the TV for the children’s show Do Not Adjust Your Set in which they were the resident band.  Along with David Jansen and Denise Coffey, the show also featured Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and the occasional cartoon by Terry Gilliam.  Two writers from The Frost Report, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, were fans and from there, Monty Python was born.  Bonzo’s Neil Innes also appeared on a few episodes as well as movies. (Pop Culture tie in #2).

This album is a collection of hits of sorts.  It has some of my favorite tunes which showcase the British wit and humor that is the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.  Pretty good little album which if there is any complaint, is too short. If you want to learn more about the band and its members, well here is a link.

“It May Be Rubbish- But by Golly, it’s British Rubbish”

For samples, I went with three.  First off, to start is the “Intro/Outro”.  It should be noted that this track actually does contain a snipet of Eric Clapton playing ukulele. Also, if you are curious, the first seven or so members are actually in the band. The band plays an abridged version the very beginning of this episode complete with members of the show.

Second, I went with what is probably one of my favorite tracks and one that throws back to the group’s original sound, “Hello Mabel”.

Finally, I am ending it with a distortion heavy ode to self-help ads and body building, “Mr Apollo”.

Great little record.

The Moody Blues- Days Of Future Passed

This was unbelievably only a dollar,  which is strange to me considering it was in pretty good shape.  I mean it was one of the biggest records of its period, at least the biggest one for the Moody Blues, I believe.  At the time of writing this, I am watching Game 7 of the Oilers-Ducks so I may be in and out of this post.

This was The Moody Blues’ second album. After not finding a lot of success as a R&B band, a few members shuffled and a new larger sound was formed with a more symphonic edge. Essentially, it was the beginning of prog rock. In order to capitalize on this sound as well as payback the debt the band owed the Decca on advances, the band agreed to make a record of Dvorak’s “Symphony No 9”.  It would be released on new subsidiary, Deram and used as a model to showcase the new Deram Studio Sound format.

The band was given creative control of the project but decided to abandon it for a different project, a pop record with orchestral interludes based on the concept of a day(Note”:  this story has been disputed). Anyway, the band recruited Peter Knight and the London Festival Orchestra to provide the interludes.  The result was this record, which was a huge success for the band.  “Nights in White Satin” also became a massive hit and was the only instance of interplay between the Blues and the orchestra.

Pretty good album.  Kind of dated concept now, but in 1967, I imagine it was pretty radical.  I liked the album.  I went with “Lunch Break: Peak Hour”, mainly because it is brief, but also because it is a good example of both Orchestra and band.

Good album. Satisfactory. Well, the Oilers, sadly enough did not make it.  I know to a reasonable person, just making it as far as the did was a big accomplishment, given their record in recent years. Well, I guess I was just expecting a Cup this year after the way they played.  Losing Game 5 hurt.  But, still, got to give credit to a good young team who will be a force to reckon with next year.

Lloyd Price-Come To Me/ Misery

Hey it is Saturday.  This was $5.  I got it a Vinyl Edge.  The clerk did not think it would be $5 or under when he was looking up the price but surprise , surprise.  He might have also shaved a buck off the price and applied it to a $2 record.  Hey that counts.

Lloyd Price was born in Kenner, Louisiana in 1933.   He is best known for “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and one of the more violent songs of early rock and roll as well as one of my favorites, “Stagger Lee”.  He is still alive and was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.  That is all I want to say on  a Saturday.

This was released sometime in the 1960’s on Guest Star recordings.  I am unsure if it was new material or a culmination of previously recorded tracks and quite frankly, I am too lazy to look into this any further.I am guessing it is the latter.

To make up for my shortcomings today, here are two samples, “Lonesome Valley” and “Come to Me”.  You are welcome.

Satisfactory Record