December 2009


Title: The Musical Box

Artist: Genesis

Album: Nursery Cryme

Year Released: 1971

What It Is: Well, it’s not Genesis’ debut, and it’s not the first incarnation of what many remember as GENESIS (Gabriel edition) (that would be The Knife) but it’s the first cut of the first album with Phil Collins and Steve Hackett. And it started a string of successful prog albums that were usually dominated by one or two epic songs. This is the best of those epics (though “Watcher Of The Skies” is right there too), I feel. There’s definitely some pop elements here that Gabriel and Collins would investigate later in their careers.

Riffage / Hookage: It’s a prog-rock epic, so there be riffs and hooks flying around. The problem is that since it’s an epic, you catch one and it’s gone. Sort of like a firefly. Well, it’s sort of like a firefly if you forget to put holes in the top of the jar.

Cowbell?: Collins hasn’t perfected his echo BOOOOOM sound yet, and concentrates on his basic kit.

Words Of Wisdom: Oh, there are words. Plenty of words. Heck, they need to fill 10 minutes! But here’s the climax:

“I’ve been waiting here for so long
And all this time has passed me by
It doesnt’t’t seem to matter now
You stand there with your fixed expression
Casting doubt on all I have to say.
Why don’t you touch me, touch me,
Why don’t you touch me, touch me,
Touch me now, now, now, now, now..”

Well, OK then Peter!

Mixology Report: The length hampers it, but the unwashed may appreciate the Genesis lesson.

Top Five Genius Results: Yes – Siberian Khatru
Peter Gabriel – No Self Control
ELP – Jerusalem
Jethro Tull – Cheap Day Return
Pink Floyd – Dogs

For The Good Of The Order: Oh, if I could have seen a Genesis concert circa-1973 or so, with Gabriel’s costume changes and the epic songs making true theater. But really, it may have best seen on some illicit substances. And just remember, you can become an insufferable balladeer by starting as a drummer of a band that played 15-minute songs and had an audience of 90% engineering students and Dr. Who fans from the UK.

Here’s a TV version, from Belgium I believe, without costumery, and a very hirsute Collins!

Here’s a 1973 concert. Phil shaved and Peter cut his hair in an interesting fashion! And that consummate showman, Steve Hackett, sits and looks at his guitar with great fervor! (Oh, and there’s some of that costume thing deal bit, too…)

Title: Apples & Oranges

Artist: Pink Floyd

Album: Single A-Side (found on “The Early Singles” released with a huge box set in the mid-90’s)

Year Released: 1967

What It Is: Weird, wacky, wild Syd Barrett Pink Floyd. They were still playing ‘the game’ and needed singles. “See Emily Play” was a huge hit, so after the first album they needed another single to keep going (so sayeth the record company). Syd produced this, with along with “Jugband Blues” (on the Saucerful Of Secrets album) may have been the last thing he ever did with Pink Floyd before he went totally
bonkers. It’s totally insane to think that this would be a hit, even in 1967. It does have some poppy elements, but it’s just…insane.

Riffage / Hookage: It’s got some hooks, yes, but it’s kind of formless in places. That formless structure adds to its beauty, I think!

Cowbell?: Nick Mason doesn’t hit cowbell but knew his way amongst the ancillary percussion instruments.

Words Of Wisdom:Got a flip-top pack of cigarettes in her pocket
Feeling good at the top
Shopping in sharp shoes
Walking in the sunshine town feeling very cool
But the butchers and the bakers in the supermarket stores
Getting everything she wants from the supermarket stores
Apples and oranges
Apples and oranges”

I believe this song is about observing a young lady going to market. Though, um, the meaning is meaningless, really, if you get my drift.

Mixology Report: Again, you need to be careful. The formlessness and randomness makes it not always compatible with other songs.

Top Five Genius Results: Syd Barrett – Octopus (der…)
Tomorrow – My White Bicycle
The Rolling Stones – Citadel
The Who – Armenia City In The Sky
Jefferson Airplane – Martha

For The Good Of The Order: After Syd left, they STILL tried to play the singles game, releasing “It Would Be So Nice” & “Point Me At The Sky” which are just meh and could have been released by almost any psychedelic UK group in that time frame. Then they just gave up and wrote albums.

Here’s a promo clip for this song, noted for the absence of Mr. Barrett.

Found this from American Bandstand. This song was on American Bandstand? What was Mr. Clark smoking?

I hope everyone has had / is having a Happy Merry and at the very least enjoyed some days off! We’re on our way to 15 inches of snow overall, but the Lord was kind enough to send it in waves so we could clear out some before the next blast.

Title: Roller Skating Child

Artist: The Beach Boys

Album: The Beach Boys Love You

Year Released: 1977

What It Is: A silly trifle of a tune with incredible Beach Boy harmonies. It’s really just a fun excuse of a song, and at this point, it was great that Brian was just writing again.

Riffage / Hookage: Brian Wilson hooks.

Cowbell?: No, but it’s got handclaps and a calliope. I think.

Words Of Wisdom: “And we’ll make sweet lovin’ when the sun goes down
We’ll even do more when your her mama’s not around
Well oh my oh gosh oh gee
She really send chills inside of me “

Ok, for one, the third line of the chorus is either ridiculous or brilliant. Or both! (I find myself saying that when I don’t want to curse in front of the kidlets)

But I want to concentrate on lines one and two. If they’re making sweet lovin’ when the sun goes down – and I assume this is with Mom’s approval (it being California in the 70’s, anything’s possible) – then what are they doing when Mom leaves the house? Does she have a bondage hood with a zipper? Do they cross dress? Play roles? Are there apparati? Answers, please?

Mixology Report: This is a song that could either get you a hearty laugh or a punch in the face. Mix wisely!

Top Five Genius Results: Dennis Wilson – Friday Night
The Hollies – Bus Stop
The Zombies – Care Of Cell 44
The Byrds – Set You Free This Time
The Rolling Stones – Rocks Off

Genius started well, but then, WTF?

For The Good Of The Order: Brian had seemingly (!) recovered from his first couple three breakdowns and was back in the songwriting saddle, kinda sorta. Even though Dennis and Carl had proven their stripes on earlier records, the powers-that-be (record company) knew Brian was their meal ticket. (It sure as hell wasn’t going to be any of Mike Love or Alan Jardine’s songs about TM!) But their last record, even though it was a hit, was tentative, and Brian wanted to put out this one as a solo album. But the band prevailed. Brian again retreated and the band commenced to make some awful albums at the end of the 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s. So basically this was the last decent Beach Boys album (of course, Wilson has carried on and at least has released some listenable stuff besides his live work on Pet Sounds and Smile).

Here’s a trib video:

Title: Gas Girl

Artist: The Bottle Rockets

Album: The Bottle Rockets

Year Released: 1993

What It Is: A love song to the ultimate service worker – the convenience store babe. And not one of those fancy Circle K’s or 7-11’s. No, a very basic service station where they sell gas, smokes, pop and stale candy bars. You know the type – and you know the girls!

Riffage / Hookage: A great country-fried riff (natural for the Bottle Rockets) kicks off the song. While it’s not ‘hooky’ per se, it’s memorable!

Cowbell?: Nah, but the drumming is solid!

Words Of Wisdom: “Pretty little gas girl I don’t even know your name, but I wanna find out!”

Definitely not a high-rent convenience store. I mean, even the Kwik-E-Mart has name tags (for everyone but Apu…)

Mixology Report: It’s a short, rockin’ tune so it’ll fit in nicely on many mixes!

Top Five Genius Results: Uncle Tupelo – Postcard
Son Volt – Straightface
Drive-By Truckers – Do It Yourself
Old 97’s – Four Leaf Clover
The Jayhawks – Two Angels

For The Good Of The Order: I was quite pleased when I realized the Bottle Rockets were still alive and kickin’. They were Uncle Tupelo’s rowdier, less couth cousins in the scene that formed in the St. Louis hinterlands, and released some mighty fine records. True success eluded them, but they’re still kickin’ it, as this live cut will tell!

Title: Paranoid (No, it’s not a cover!)

Artist: Grand Funk Railroad

Album: Grand Funk (also on Live Album) (note GFR’s clever album titles!)

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: Prototypical Grand Funk. Featuring “The wild, shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner, the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher and the competent drum work of Don Brewer”. Oh, and Farner’s wah-wah. And the fact there may be one overdub (Farner’s wah-wah) except for the sound affects, and Brewer seems to have forgotten that he has another drum besides his snare drum most of the time, and Schacher’s bass sounds like a out-of-tune rubber band at times, and the song may have been recorded in about 8 minutes, flat.

Riffage / Hookage: Farner’s wah-wah and guitar is fierce, and Schacher’s bass is bong-rattling for sure!

Cowbell?: As I said, Brewer hardly hits his toms, so why mess with cowbell here?

Words Of Wisdom: “Did you ever think it could be you, that’s just outside the door?
There’s just one way to find out if it’s true. so, what you waiting for?
Oh, get yourself together now, my friend, and step outside the pad.
If there’s no one waiting for you there, my friend, I think you should be glad.

Shirtless lyrics, indeed! The pot can make you paranoid…or sleepy…

Mixology Report: I prefer the live version. More wah-wah, less pointless sound effects! And you know, it’s all about the wah-wah for me!

Top Five Genius Results: The Pack – Got This Thing On The Move (early Grand Funk…)
Mountain – Never In My Life
James Gang – Stop
Uriah Heep – Circle Of Hands
Johnny Winter – Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

For The Good Of The Order: GFR was my brother’s fave band in high school. The critics hated them, but they hit my brother’s demo right on the money. Though I don’t think Rick was shirtless much of the 70’s. He, like me, wasn’t blessed with the best physique in the world.

Here’s some live audio from 1971!

Title: Charmer

Artist: Kings Of Leon

Album: Because Of The Times

Year Released: 2007

What It Is: Right now, my favorite song of the 00’s from what could be my favorite band from the 00’s. It’s real rock-and-roll in an autotune and lip-synch world. And I think the Followill’s can kick any candy-ass emo punk’s behind by just screaming at them like Caleb does in this song.

Riffage / Hookage: Tremendous bass part throughout and some rockin’ guitar work. There’s nuttin’ fancy ’bout this stuff, which makes it great.

Cowbell?: I don’t hear any, but the drumming is nice.

Words Of Wisdom: “SHE’S ALWAYS LOOKIN’ AT ME!”

Mixology Report: Mix it especially for those who need to have a big can of rock-n-roll whup ass opened on them!

Top Five Genius Results: Arctic Monkeys – Teddy Picker
Bloc Party – The Prayer
Vampire Weekend – Oxford Comma
Arcade Fire – Keep The Car Running
The Strokes – Juicebox

I guess Genius thinks that it has to be from the late 00’s to match this. Hmpf.

For The Good Of The Order: This was a band that I had to give a second and third chance to. Because of hype, I bought their first album, but it didn’t click. I missed their second one, and then I heard the single “On Call” for this one. It was that song and my friend Lauren who kept quoting this song to me that I then really went back and listened to their catalog. And then, of course, this song took the cake. YEEEEEOW!

Got some live vids. Enjoy!

And a studio treatment!

Maybe I booked too many travel days. Ah, well, all in pursuit of Platinum status.

Title: The Safety Dance

Artist: Men Without Hats

Album: Rhythm Of Youth

Year Released: 1982

What It Is: An all-time MTV classic. You’ve heard this. You’ve danced this. You love it, right?

Riffage / Hookage: The synth riff is an earwig. I hear echoes of it in other songs. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s pretty much a legendary synth riff.

Cowbell?: No, but there’s handclapping!

Words Of Wisdom: “Say, we can act if want to
If we don’t nobody will
And you can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile”

This song is some allegory of some sort, you know. I really haven’t spent too much time trying to figure out they lyrics.

Mixology Report: Perfect for all kinds of mixes, but make sure they’re lighthearted.

Top Five Genius Results: A Flock Of Seagulls – I Ran
Devo – Whip It
Modern English – I Melt With You
Gary Numan – Cars
Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now?

Wow, it’s an MTV highlight show!

For The Good Of The Order: We danced to this at our wedding. Yes, it’s true. I think our parents were amused, or non-plussed, or something!

The vid, of course!

And now, the literal version!

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