May 2009

Title: Little Green Bag

Artist: George Baker Selection

Album: Little Green Bag

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: It’s a song most film buffs now, thanks to Quentin Tarentino’s Reservoir Dogs. Before then, it made appearances on some 1970’s hit collections (which is where I got it first). George Baker was the stage name of a Dutch singer and his group made some light, frothy Euro-pop for the masses in the early 70’s. What this has, though, is that great bass line!

Riffage / Hookage: Well, there’s that bass line that everyone knows!

Cowbell?: Interesting drum work, but alas, no cowbell.

Words Of Wisdom: “Lookin’ for some happiness
But there is only loneliness to find
Jump to the left, turn to the right
Lookin’ upstairs, lookin’ behind, yeah!”

You know, the more I think about it, the more this song fits the movie, lyrically at least.

Mixology Report: Sure. It may have been better as a ‘surprise’ before the movie was released, but you know, that’s the way it goes.

For The Good Of The Order: They had another hit with another earworm of a song, but “Paloma Blanca” induces cringes for the most part. And then Slim Whitman covered it. Yeesh.

Here’s the original clip from the group. What a half-assed attempt at lip syncing…

Of course everyone knows this. Ok, maybe not EVERYONE. But still…

And you know there are skidillions of wedding parties that did parodies, but how about Reservoir Clowns??

(Sorry, imbedding video keeps crashing my browser. So I linked ’em. DEAL! Thanks!)


Title: Waiting Room

Artist: Fugazi

Album: Fugazi EP (Later on 13 Songs with the Margin Walker EP)

Year Released: 1988

What It Is: The beginning of US post punk? Well, it’s not hardcore, but the band definitely had a DIY punk rock ethos adopted by hardcore bands from the dawn of time, though not as nihilistic as what hardcore had come to be, like Black Flag. (As Walter Sobchak said to the Dude, “Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”) Two big names in the DC hardcore scene, Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat) and Guy Picciotto (Rites Of Spring, the first emo band so they say) came together to form Fugazi. This was their first recorded work, and it hit a big time nerve with the punk rock community.

Riffage / Hookage: A great bassline from Joe Lally kicks things off and MacKaye adds some classic power chords to the mix. This was before Picciotto decided to play guitar to add more texture to the sound.

Cowbell?: No, but Brendan Canty doesn’t mind the cymbals.

Words Of Wisdom:“My time is like water down a drain”

Mixology Report: Punk rock is always tough to throw into a mix because of its abrasive tendencies, though this one has enough classic rock moves in it to please some folks. So you can be subversive and give people what they need, like this. Sort of like wrapping your dog’s pills in bacon.

For The Good Of The Order: Currently, Fugazi are on hiatus. Will they come back and record and tour again? Who knows. I had a chance to see them when visiting my main man Moose in DC, but when we got off the Metro stop some people said the concert was rained out. So we went to a record store and then went back to his house. Silly us, the concert went on anyway. Morans!

I have a two-fer, because I wanted a live clip of Fugazi (in all of their skinny shirtless glory), but also wanted to illustrate the textures of the recording. So enjoy both, would ya?

Title: Tell Me When It’s Over

Artist: Dream Syndicate

Album: The Days Of Wine & Roses

Year Released : 1982

What It Is: You’ve heard of teen angst? This is college ennui. I used to joke this is the song that epitomizes worst thing you can hear while in a passionate ’embrace’. (I guess that’s not a joke.) But really, it’s more than that. Looking back into my 20’s – a lot of my life was sitting around waiting for something to happen (in small-town Indiana, and even in Indianapolis – that’s not hard.) Now, with two kidlets running around, there’s always something afoot, so there’s not ennui. Frustration, maybe, on why the oldest decides that minding is optional and the youngest thinks clothes are optional, but not ennui. No sir.

Riffage / Hookage:A hell of a guitar riff from Karl Precoda matches Steve Wynn’s weary voice. The chorus is hooky in a bored kinda way (and that’s a compliment!)


Words Of Wisdom: “Oh there must be some kind of answer
Yeah but the question was closed
Ah you got really imagination man
And I really don’t know
Cause I don’t wanna know, oh yeah”

Mixology Report: You betcha. Especially those who have a grounding in 80’s paisley underground / indie rock, and those who have a predilection for psychedelic-ish mopey tunes. (Not emo, mind you…)

For The Good Of The Order: This was the ‘leading light’ of the paisley underground movement (a loose collection of LA bands that also included The Three O’Clock, The Bangles (early), and Green On Red. Of course, the Bangles broke out after they abandoned their retro sound (sadly). A & M put a lot of marketing oomph behind them but Wynn and the band sometimes preferred to just jam and feedback for 20 minutes. Soon, the band imploded, leaving Wynn on his own (with a loyal drummer) to carry on the name, but not the tradition of what made them a great band. He really needed Precoda to balance him. Sigh.

Here’s a great find, excusing the quality of the video / audio. But it’s the original incarnation of Dream Syndicate when they were on tour for their second album.

Title: Owner Of A Lonely Heart

Artist: Yes

Album: 90125

Year Released: 1983

What It Is: The centerpiece Yes’ comeback shot complete with a legitimate hit single (something that eluded them (probably by choice) back in the day). Of course, the reason for the hit status was all of the production trickery by Trevor (ZING! Budadumadumdum) Horn. No, that’s not it…it’s….its’….

Riffage / Hookage: THE RIFF! Trevor Rabin creates one of the best riffs in rock history and Chris Squire picks up on it and runs with it through the song. Rabin’s weird guitar solo is cool too. But man, that riff. That RIFF! Oh, you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout, Willis. Dah-dahdah-dahdah. Dah-dahdah-dahdah-duhduh. Rabin should go into the R&R HOF just FOR this riff. I’m writin’ my congressman…

Cowbell?: Who cares? THE RIFF! (Oh, but Horn adds quite a few percussiony thing-a-ma-bobs throughout his madcap production.)

Words Of Wisdom: “Move yourself
You always live your life
Never thinking of the future
Prove yourself
You are the move you make
Take your chances win or lose

See yourself
You are the steps you take
You and you – and thats the only way

Shake – shake yourself
You’re every move you make
So the story goes”

Jon Anderson goes all Stuart Smalley on us.

Mixology Report: Especially for us old farts from the 80’s!

For The Good Of The Order: I am not shocked, nor stunned, by Steve Howe’s slagging of this song. Of course, Howe was busy twaddling around in Asia at this time (and making some piss-poor records while he was at it, except for a couple of songs on their first one). He really didn’t like playing with Rabin when they ‘joined up’. Of course, it’s because Rabin does have a pop sensibility and doesn’t like to split songs into 9 different disjointed pieces punctured by a meandering solo. Or something. Or other. (Mind you, I like me some early Yes too, but this band is FULL of megalomaniacal pricks, Howe being one of them…)

And now the video. The actor playing the poor chump should have gotten triple scale, especially for washing his face with maggots. I couldn’t find the first version, where you see the band, and they stop the song and then go to this version. At any rate, it’s an early MTV classic.

Title: The Crawl

Artist: The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Album: What’s The Word

Year Released: 1980

What It Is: A great cover of a mid-50’s blues song by Guitar Junior that the T-Birds dusted off. As usual, they’re very sincere about what they do and cover the song in a proper style. Which means, it’s a hell of a fun record!

Riffage / Hookage: There’s a great blues choogle by Jimmy Vaughan and Keith Ferguson and Vaughan has a very tasty solo. And I love Vaughan’s guitar part right before everyone goes “THE CRAWL!”

Cowbell?: No, the drums are barely there, keeping the beat in the background, which is just what this song needs.

Words Of Wisdom: Well, Jimmie got Jean
Bobbie got Tommy
I got Shirley
Everybody’s got a girl
They do the crawl
Aw, the crawl
Cats on the corner, everybody’s doin’ the crawl”

Wow, Bobbie got Tommy. Well, that’s modern thinking. Oh, it’s a girl’s name? Oh. I remember a Bobbi – who was hot in a ‘girl you don’t want to take home to Mom’ kinda way. But not a Bobbie. Still, though, it was a long shot that a 50’s bluesman would be THAT enlightened.

Mixology Report: You mix this. People dance.

For The Good Of The Order: Kim Wilson still has the T-Birds on the road, though they’ve gone through a boatload of personnel changes. Right now it’s Wilson and a hired gang of youngsters, but they’re still out there going strong.

As this vid shows!

Title: Are You Ready?

Artist: Pacific Gas & Electric

Album: Are You Ready?

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: A tremendous, yet fluky, hit combining soul, rock, funk and gospel (on the studio version, the Blackberries (Vanetta Fields, Clydie King, Merry Clayton, etc.) added backing vocals). It deserved to be a much bigger hit than #14 (and it only hit #49 on the Soul Chart, prompting me to go WTF?)

Riffage / Hookage:The chrous is a great hook, and Glen Schwartz  plays a mean guitar.

Cowbell?: Not here, but decent drumming.

Words Of Wisdom: “There’s rumors of war
Men dying and women crying
If you breathe air, you’ll die
Perhaps you wonder the reason why
But wait! Don’t you worry
A new day is dawning
We’ll catch the sun, and away we’ll fly…”

A little optimism was needed in 1970.

Mixology Report: Only those who abhor gospel would probably pooh-pooh this one, but it’s their loss!

For The Good Of The Order:Pacific Gas & Electric needed a “Behind The Music” episode. This was their third record, and they seemed to be gathering momentum. They had chops (Schwartz was in the James Gang before Joe Walsh and by all contemporary accounts Schwartz was perceived to be a huge loss for them at the time) and cred (they played at almost every festival BUT Woodstock) and then this huge hit. But it soon unraveled…
Schwartz had a freak-out on stage and announced he was converting to Christianity mid-concert. He left the group (first he joined the All Saved Freak Band, part of a cult The Church Of The Risen Christ, and then went back home to Ohio where for years he played with his brothers at a little club in Cleveland). Frank Cook, the drummer (ex-Canned Heat) and band manager, had a serious car wreck and couldn’t play anymore. Marshall soon left after that, with Brent Block moving to guitar. Finally, Block threw in the towel and so PG & E’s singer, Charlie Allen, had to recruit an entirely new band to tour behind this record. Then, the utility Pacific Gas & Electric ‘requested’ that they change their name. Is it any wonder that they totally lost momentum?

Here’s a video clip of the ‘new’ Pacific Gas & Electric. The guitarist is Ken Utterback, I believe, and he does a darn fine job. But not as good as Schwartz, sadly. Ron Woods is the new drummer and he’s pretty good too, and the happy bassist is Frank Petricca. Thank you Wikipedia!

Title: The Elements

Artist: Tom Lehrer

Album: An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer

Year Released: 1959

What It Is: To hell with Thomas Dolby! This IS Science! Actually, it is a bit dated, but it lists all 102 elements that were known and named in 1959.

Riffage / Hookage: Well, um…

Cowbell?: Um….

Words Of Wisdom: Go find a periodic table, science noob!

Mixology Report: Hah! Of course! For friends and fiends alike!

For The Good Of The Order: The elements that are now known and not named in the songs are as follows:  Lawrencium, Rutherfordium, Dubnium, Seaborgium, Bohrium, Hassium, Meitnerium, Darmstadtium, Roentgenium, Ununbium, Ununtrium, Ununquadium, Ununpentium, Ununhexium, and Ununoctium. Ununseptium (117) has not been discovered, but has a name waiting for it. Of course, discover of Ununseptium may drive the Earth into a black hole, so while it would be a great discovery, it also would be the last discovery ever. But what a way to go for that science geek genius.

Bone up on the table, peeps:

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