Saturday, July 2, 2011

45 Number One Hundred

Well, here we are. This last month or so, computer woes caused this project to skip like I was dancing next to the record player, but number 100 is finally spinning. In full disclosure, I pulled the last five records of this set over a month ago and slid them into the blog during moments of computer clarity. Fitting that this record was part of the final five 45s , and is in the coveted one hundredth slot.

Mr. Lowe is Mr. Pop. Nick has been a mainstay in my pop music life since the day I became enlightened enough to not rely on commercial radio to dictate my musical choices. The link above is to the original video to "Cruel To Be Kind," Nick's only commercially successful song. You'll notice Nick's Rockpile mates appearing in various roles throughout the video, as well as Nick's ex-wife Carlene Carter playing the role of bride. In this Youtube clip from the Letterman Show , Nick implies the video contains his and Carlene's actual wedding ceremony, but he is somewhat vague. Also in this clip he shares the disdain that I also have for bland bands like Journey, Styx, and REO.

I thought I knew this single inside and out, but was surprised to learn I never noticed it was co-written by Ian Gomm, Nick's Brinzley Schwarz band mate who had an American radio hit in the late seventies with the song "Hold On." Here is Ian doing his own rendition of Cruel To Be Kind from the Nick Lowe tribute album Lowe Profile .

I was amazed at the number of Nick Lowe Youtube selections spanning his entire career. I could watch and listen to Nick all day. Some favourite selections;

"Surrender to the Rhythm" with the band Brinsley Schwarz in 1973. Great archive a young Nick Lowe.

1978 performance of "Heart of the City"

Nick performing "I Live on a Battlefield" live at Daryl's House (yes, that Daryl), with Mr. Hall and T-Bone Wolk.

Nick from 2008 performing "People Change"

A glimpse of a current Nick performance in this 2010 mini concert from the NPR "Tiny Desk Concerts" series.

Nick is responsible for connecting me with my like-minded, musically kindred spirit, friend Dan. Dan was reporting on entertainment news for a local paper when I moved to this area in the 90s. I remember being amazed that he was writing about great music in what I saw as a musically challenged town. So I contacted him and told him so. I don't remember the details, but I am pretty sure the article that pushed me to contact him was his review of Nick's "The Impossible Bird " record (1994). Shortly after that, we ended up heading to Rochester, NY to see Nick. Since then Dan and I have shared many great musical experiences, and he has opened my ears to many great pop sounds. Another great thing about Dan is that in the middle ages of his life, he has followed his passion. He picked up his guitar, got out and played, and now has a band of his own. A great inspiration to do what you love. It's never too late.

So we have reached 100. It was nice to dig through the stacks and review old thoughts. Not as many 45s bought these days. Availability, time, and $$$, are all factors. But I still remain a singles guy. I used to love to make mix tapes. I really resisted an i-pod and going digital. While it will never take the place of my love for the sound and feel of vinyl, the visual of the picture sleeve and album cover, or the beauty of a jukebox, the i-pod has taken a significant place in my musical life, and the pop songs continue to ring out with new and old artists.

Time to take this project off the turntable. Thanks for hanging in there.

Friday, July 1, 2011

45 Number Ninety-Nine

Funny this song should come up as we get ready to close this project. It was a song that really got me going when I was kid. I remember always turning the radio up a little louder when it came on, and singing away. One of my earliest pop faves. I checked out several of the Outsiders' live performances that are available on YouTube, but the song didn't hold up. So I went with the spinning record.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

45 Number Ninety-Eight

The link is to John Fogerty's original version of the song. Dave's version is one of the few songs in this whole project that I couldn't find on You Tube. This was from Dave's great "Twangin" record, which included Dave's version of "Singing The Blues" and "Three Time Loser" .

Friday, June 24, 2011

45 Number Ninety-Seven

This is the B side. The benefit of being so crazy about an artist that you dig either side of them. Jackson was my first rockin' roll crush (definition below). I sang his songs for hours. Every song on the record. Not just a couple of them. When I have seen Jackson, it is has always been different than other shows. I have often felt it was what some people must feel when they are really moved in their church service. I hang on every word of every song, and get chills. I thought I was over it, but I got to tell you I felt it all again when I clicked on the above video from 1974 of just him and David Lindley performing the song. Over the years I have found that it isn't Jackson that I feel that strong connection to. It was at a John Prine Show that I most recently had a near church experience.

Rockin' Roll Crush- An intense feeling of connection to the music of a particular artist. You listen to not just the one or two hits on the album (or no hits as the case might be), but to every track. Over and over. Singing away. More than merely a fan, you obsess to own all recorded material from the artist. You write down the set list (or take right off the stage) of the multiple shows you have attended. You hang out behind the venue until the wee hours of the morning, just to say, "Hey." You love to turn the uninformed on to the greatness you have recognized. It is a true a sickness, that others often politely tolerate.

My other rockin' roll crushes;
NRBQ, Neil Young, T-Bone Burnett, Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds,
Ian Hunter, Marshall Crenshaw, John Hiatt, Warren Zevon, Jonathan Richman,
John Prine,Todd Snider,
and most recently The Avett Brothers and Rhett Miller (Old 97s).

Wait one more; Dar Williams.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

45 Number Ninety-Six


I am so glad this 45 came up, because now I can post this incredible cover of the song by The Folksmen . This from the comedic minds that brought us Spinal Tap. If you have never heard their cover of this song please click the link and turn your knob to eleven. You won't be disappointed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

45 Number Ninety-Five

Hello. After a forced computer hiatus, lets try to bring this baby home.

Don't you love the label on this one. Tears, stickers, DJ notes; this has been a well played 45. The first link above is to Roy in 1965. I love just looking at him. The hair, the glasses. I love that geek/rocker look. The second link is to the late 80s Orbison and Friends movie "Black and White Night." What a line up: Roy joined by Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Waits, T-Bone Burnett, and others (see photo on post of 45 number 56). The old rocker resurrected by the new old rockers. It's sad but it took this kind of thing to move me into the back catalogues of guys like Roy, and get beyond "Pretty Woman." I am thankful that artists I grew up with have linked me to their inspirations like Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Williams, and Johnny Cash. Again, not just "Maybe Baby" and "Johnny B. Goode," but "You're So Square, Baby I Don't Care" and "Around and Around" . By the way, I have been hearing great new interpretations of Buddy Holly songs on a new collection called "Rave On, Buddy Holly." Look at the artists on this track list:
01 The Black Keys: "Dearest" 02 Fiona Apple and Jon Brion: "Every Day" 03 Paul McCartney: "It's So Easy" 04 Florence and the Machine: "Not Fade Away" 05 Cee-Lo: "(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care" 06 Karen Elson: "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" 07 Julian Casablancas: "Rave On" 08 Jenny O.: "I'm Gonna Love You Too" 09 Justin Townes Earle: "Maybe Baby" 10 She & Him: "Oh Boy" 11 Nick Lowe: "Changing All Those Changes" 12 Patti Smith: "Words of Love" 13 My Morning Jacket: "True Love Ways" 14 Modest Mouse: "That'll Be the Day" 15 Kid Rock: "Well... All Right" 16 Detroit Cobras: "Heartbeat" 17 Lou Reed: "Peggy Sue" 18 John Doe: "Peggy Sue Got Married" 19 Graham Nash: "Raining in My Heart"

I liked Roy's Traveling Wilburys stuff, although I am generally not a fan of Jeff Lynne's productions (e.g. Edmund's Information album).
As you know, Dirty World is a favourite of mine. (Go listen to it this time.) I think my favourite Orbison song is "Ooby Dooby"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

45 Number Ninety-Four

I have to say Dwight brought me to appreciate real country music. I heard this and realized the connection to rockabilly music, which I was really digging at the time (early to mid 80s). After I heard this song I went digging back into the country music I had dismissed, like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. Thanks Dwight for bringing me to "Guitars, Cadillacs, and Hillbilly Music" .