Music Notes: December 2008

December 7, 2008 at 10:27 pm (Uncategorized)

I’m posting the music notes early because the end of the month will be given over to “best of” lists.

1. Bruce Springsteen – Dream Baby Dream.                                                                     

OMG! The Boss covers Suicide! I’m not sure which is weirder: the cover or the fact that it works. When I was about 17, I was in the long-gone Records on Wheels in St. Catharines. I had enough money to buy one record and I was toying with picking up the first Lords of the New Church album. However, the bloody cover of the first Suicide album caught my eye. I asked the clerk, who at the time was the lead singer in Sixteen Again, but is now a professor of economics at McMaster University, and she  recommended Suicide. So I bought it. Ooh. Amazing. Not everyone thought so: check out the recording of a riot at one of their shows, “23 Minutes over Brussels.” Dream Baby Dream is actually on the second album, and it’s a lovely pop song. Springsteen actually does a good rendition/interpretation. Worth a listen.

2.  Goldblade featuring Poly Styrene – City of Christmas Ghosts

Lovable English punks and a lovely first generation punk. I’m not a big Goldblade fan (or a fan at all for that matter), but it was great to hear Polly again. I’m thinking of trading in my old X-Ray Spex CD for one of the double album versions now in circulation. You can go home again.

3.  Oxford American – Music issue

Oxford American is the magazine of southern writing. It’s a pretty cool magazine, but I almost never buy it. Except for the music issue. Every year, they put out an issue devoted to southern music. Not what you’d expect. Hey did you know that Richard Hell was from Kentucky? I’ve been buying it for a couple of years and still no Skynyrd. This year it’s a double CD. I love compilation sets because you always find something worth listening to. Only $10 too!

4. The Pretty Things

Love the early Stones? Fleetwood Mac? The Yardbirds? The Pretty Things? Somehow the latter never really made it in North America. Saddest of all is the fact that Pretty Things leader Phil May wrote the world’s first rock opera, “S.F. Sorrow.” One Pete Townshend was inspired to try his hand, and came up with “Tommy.” unfortunately for the Pretty Things, the Who had a better deal in North America and their’s came out first. :Later the Pretty things were accused of ripping off Tommy. Anyway, here’s a fairly cool video clip from the mid sixties. It loaded really slowly for me, but maybe you’ll have better luck.

5. 2 Many DJs – As Heard on Radio Soulwax part 2

A friend obtained this for me. Basically a dj mix set. Lots of samples and mash-ups by these boys who also record under the moniker Soulwax.  Check out the mash up of Destiny’s Child and 10cc’s “Dreadlock Holiday.” Also worth a mention, “No fun” with “Push it.”

6. TV Smith 

Tim “TV” Smith was once the lead singer of the Adverts, one of the smartest, and therefore unrecognized punk bands from the class of 77.  Their debut single “One Chord Wonders” summed up the punk ethic. The Adverts were most famous for their “Gary Gilmore’s Eyes” release, but they were so much more. “Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts” still holds up well. The second Adverts album, “Cast of Thousands” was either brilliant or a shambling mess, depending on who you speak to. In any event, the band split up afterwards.

TV Smith has had a long solo career, full of thoughtful catchy pop songs. New album, “In the Arms of my Enemy.”

 7. Ludella Black and the Masonics.

Once there was a wondrous thing called Thee Headcoats led by the ever prolific Billy Childish.  A punk rock garage that always seemed to have a new record out. Then, there came another wondrous thing, Thee Headcoatees. Same principle, but with girls. The marvellous Holly Golightly was a star attraction. Ditto Miss Black. The new album is a mixture of punk, garage, rockabilly and all good things. Available from Damaged Goods.

8. Captain Beefheart.

I first heard about Captain Beefheart in an interview with the Stranglers. It was years before I bought anything though, but a friend gave me a tape of “Safe as Milk.”  Very fine. I own “Trout Mask Replica” but I confess, I’ve never made it all the way through. Here’s a documentary on youtube narrated by the great John Peel.

9.  Soundtrack music.

One of the coolest things about the Sopranos was the use of music. No less than two fine CDs of music in the series have appeared. And the fact that the title song is from an English psychedelic country and western rap band speaks volumes.

Matthew Weiner, who created Mad Men, was a writer for the Sopranos and it shows. Not that Mad Men is a copy, but some of the multiple plot lines, and appetites appear. But also the marvellous use of music. Now, Mad Men is a period piece, but I had to smile when I heard the opening sounds of Telstar.  Let’s hear it for cool music on TV

10. And finally. Let’s all pause to mourn the loss of blues giant Odetta who died December 2 from heart disease.

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1 Comment

  1. bishi said,

    that Goldblade single is mint!

    I saw it on youtube, Poly looks adorable!

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