Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can't Get Enough Melodrama in Music

Hound Dog: The Leiber and Stoller Autobiography,
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller with David Ritz,
Simon & Schuster, 2009.

When Jerry Leiber was a kid, he and his mom moved from Baltimore to L.A., where he learned to "dream big."  Here's a story from back then, told by Leiber himself:

          Our neighbourhood, Larchmont, was close to the famous gates that guard Paramount Studios.

          Once I saw a man in a pinstripe suit and fedora hat approaching the gates. He was looking up at the sky and mouthing words.

          "Is that man nuts?" I asked one of the guards for whom I fetched cigarettes.

          "You should be so nuts, kid.  That's Irving Berlin, the greatest songwriter in the world."

          "Can I tell him hello?"

          "Just make it short.  He's busy writing a song."

          I went up to him and said, "Mr. Berlin, may I shake your hand?"

          "Sure, put it there, pal."

The Snark playlist for TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010.
(Artist/SONG/Album, etc.)

Suicide -- GHOST RIDER -- Suicide (2002, Mute Reissue) [orig. 1977, Red Star Records]
Cindy & The Playmates -- NOW THAT SCHOOL IS THROUGH -- Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul (2007, Numero Group) [orig. 1974, Jaypee]

Spoonie Gee -- SPOONIE IS BACK -- The Sugar Hill Records Story (1999, Rhino/Wea) [orig. 1981, Sugar Hill Records]
Big Daddy A & The Merves -- THE ANSWERS ARE RIGHT HERE -- We Stole Your Wallet (1997, 1984 Records)
Abe Ellstein Orchestra, feat. Dave Tarras -- 2ND AVENUE SQUARE DANCE -- Dave Tarras: Yiddish-American Klezmer Music: 1925-56 (1992, Yazoo) [orig. 1950]
FM Belfast -- VHS -- How To Make Friends (2010, Kimi Records)
George Manury -- DEAR ARLENE -- George M (2010, Vstuff)

Willie Nelson & Wynton Marsalis -- NIGHT LIFE -- Two Men With The Blues (2008, Blue Note Records)
Platon Et Les Caves -- VIVRE AVEC TOI -- Time Machine: The History of Canadian 60s Garage Punk & Surf, 1985-95 (1996, Stomp)
Funky Porcini -- BRIGHT LITTLE THINGS -- On (2010, Ninja Tunes)
Tickled Pink -- REACH OUT (& GIVE ME YOUR HAND) -- Texas Funk: Black Gold From The Lone Star State (2005, Now-Again) [orig. 1972]
Trash Can Sinatras -- EARLIES -- I've Seen Everything (1993, Go! Discs)

Ron Leary -- EVERYDAY I THINK OF YOU -- Lapse E.P. (2010, Bootbrush)
Early B -- HISTORY OF JAMAICA -- Dancehall 2: The Rise of Jamaican Dancehall Culture (2009, Soul Jazz Records) [orig. 1982, Moa Anbessa International Records]
Papa San -- MONEY A FE CIRCLE -- Dancehall 2 (2009, Soul Jazz) [orig. 1986, Supreme Records]
High Mother -- MY CREATION -- From The Tank: 17 Unreleased Tracks from the Windsor Music Collective (2010, Sharktank Productions)
Chadio -- DROP 4 BIZKID -- Stolen Moments (2010, Neferiu)
Nomo -- NOVA -- Ghost Rock (2008, Ubiquity Records)
Wareika Hill Sounds -- AFRICA FREEDOM MARCH -- Wareika Hill Sounds (2007, Honest Jon's Records)
Barmy Army -- SHARP AS A NEEDLE (PT. 2) -- Barmy Army (12" single) (1988, On-U Sound)
The Coasters -- DOWN IN MEXICO -- Uncut Magazine: Radio Bob, Vol. 2 (2008, Uncut) [orig. 1956, Atlantic Records]

Del Barber -- LOVE SONGS FOR THE LAST 20 -- Love Songs For The Last 20 (2010, Broken Ground)

Thanks for listening!

That should be the right order of tunes... Nomo is the only band who may be in the wrong place. There was quite a bit of last minute playlist reshuffling today, like someone smacked the table in a game of dominos.

Oh no! Oh yes.

I like melodrama in everything, I guess.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blooming Catalpas...

George Manury's new CD cover.
Do you like it?

The Snark playlist for TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2010.
(Artist/SONG/Album, etc.)

West Street Mob -- BREAK DANCIN' (ELECTRIC BOOGIE) -- The Sugar Hill Records Story (1999, Rhino/Wea)
Annie -- I DON'T LIKE YOUR BAND -- Don't Stop (2009, Smalltown Supersound)

Trashcan Sinatras -- IN THE MUSIC -- In The Music (2010, Lo-Five Records)
George Manury -- SONNY MOON -- George M (2010, Vstuff)
The White Stripes -- THE BIG THREE KILLED MY BABY -- The White Stripes (2002, Third Man Records)
Big Daddy A & The Merves -- CHIPS & PORRIDGE -- We Stole Your Wallet (1997, 1984 Records)
k.d. lang -- SMOKE DREAMS -- Drag (1997, Warner)

Johnson Mkhalali -- JOYCE NO.2 -- The Indestructable Beat of Soweto (1985, Shanachie)
Danny Michel -- GOD KNOWS I'M GOOD -- Loving The Alien: Danny Michel Sings The Songs of David Bowie (2007, Maple)
For A Minor Reflection -- DANSI DANS -- Made In Iceland III (2010, Iceland Music)
The Wave Pictures -- TOO MANY QUESTIONS -- If You Leave It Alone (2010, Moshi Moshi)
John Holt -- TRIBAL WAR -- Well Charged (1996, Pressure Sounds) [orig. 1978, Channel One]

The Shangri-Las -- DRESSED IN BLACK -- Myrmidons of Melodrama (1994, Cherry Red) [orig. 1966, Red Bird]
Pete Williams -- BLACK -- from myspace (2009)
Patrick Ballantyne -- WHAT YOU CALL LOVE -- Patrick Ballantyne (2008)
Brie Neilson -- MOTORIZED VEHICLE -- Then We Learned To Dance (2009)
Tremor -- VIAJANTE (DJ DELAY DUB) -- DJ Delay Presents: Brass, Wires, & Bass (2010, Beaming Productions)
The Fall -- HOT CAKE -- Your Future, Our Clutter (2010, Domino)

The Glitch Mob -- ANIMUS VOX -- Drink The Sea (2010, Glass Air)

Thanks for listening!

I think George Manury's new E.P. is excellent.  He's one of the best singers we have here in Windsor.  Dang good songs!  And this is the kind of simple packaging I like for a CD -- a card stock envelope with good graphics.  It's got no spine, but both front and back covers are memorable.

... even the disc itself features a great letter...

I foolishly wish for do-overs on a couple mixes today... particularly The Shangri-Las.  There's Mary Weiss, emoting her broken-heart out, on a song I've been waiting weeks and weeks to play -- and I start up the perfect follow-up song too early.  My dj heart is broken now.  The girl-group gods are not smiling.
Betty Weiss, Mary Ann Ganser, Marge Ganser, Mary Weiss

(Two sets of sisters, one pair of Marys.  The Gansers are twins!)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"My Will-O'-Wisp Fate You Know..."

Facing and Title pages from the book Songs of Scotland
illustrated by Alasdair Gray, 
ed. by Wilma Paterson, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, 1996.

This Trash Can Sinatras song "I Hung My Harp Upon The Willows" about Robbie Burns and his friend Richard Brown is really, really good.  Very little googling is all it takes to unravel the story within the song, sung in the voice of Burns.

Here's the lyrics: 

I hung my harp upon the willows
When I first made this harbour town
My broken heart by fair Eliza
Still fresh and raw when I came to town

I learned a trade from Alexander
A scoundrel of the first degree
And within the year I was so despondent
The doctor fleeming well knew me

Oh Eglinton floating on the water
Oh Eglinton the rose was there for me
I hung my harp high upon the willows
Of Irvine town by the sea

On Hogmanay I burned the work down
I found myself without a crown
Oh but I had more than any silver
Cos I had a friend in Richard Brown

In Eglinton Wood we'd wander
On the Drukken Steps I would recite
Take your harp down from the willows
Said Richard Brown, and he was right

Oh Eglinton floating on the water
Oh Eglinton the road is there for me
I took my harp down from the willows
Richard Brown, I bow to thee

(Trash Can Sinatras, 2009)

So Robert Burns lived about ten miles from Irvine, which is where the Trash Can Sinatras came from originally, I guess. At 22 years of age, Burns is a young farmer looking to expand his expertise. He goes to Irvine to learn about processing the flax he grows from a man called Alexander Peacock.

Burns didn't like Peacock much, nor flax-dressing (still by hand in 1781), but he became fast friends with Captain Richard Brown, an up-and-coming sailor from Irvine, which is a port town, and a busy one in those days. Brown had exciting sea-faring stories. Burns was dabbling with poetry.

Eglinton Woods and the Drukken Steps are places in Irvine, famous partly for Burns and Brown having walked and talked there, it would seem. While rambling in Eglinton, Brown suggested to Burns that he should submit his verses for publication.

Here's an exerpt from Burns's 1787 letter reminding Brown about it:
... My will o’ wisp fate, you know: do you recollect a Sunday 
we spent in Eglinton Woods? You told me, on my repeating 
some verses to you that you wondered I could resist the 
temptation of sending verses of such merit to a magazine: 
’twas actually this that gave me an idea of my own pieces 
which encouraged me to endeavour at the character of a Poet.

Other historical bits connected to the song:  

Of course, there was an Eliza...

Flax-dressing depressed Burns and he became extremely ill with a fever, during which time Irvine's Dr. Fleming (fleeming?) attended him. The doctor's day-book was discovered in 1952, and the entries about Burns were found there. Dr. Fleming is in the song too, either as a typo or pun. (Snarks look gravely at puns, you know...)

Burns's flax processing work in Irvine came to a fiery end when Alexander Peacock's wife knocked over a candle during the Hogmanay celebrations on New Year's Day and the whole business went up in flames. The song contradicts this, and says that Burns "burned the work down" himself.


Thanks to the Irvine Burns Club website and burnsletters.wordpress.com for happy reading and to the Trash Can Sinatras for a great song, beautifully sung at The Magic Stick in Detroit on June 8, 2010. (Check out the "Oranges & Apples" video on their myspace page.  Seriously.) 

The Snark playlist for TUESDAY, JUNE 15TH, 2010.
(Artist/SONG/Album, etc.)

Tackhead -- THE GAME (feat. Brian Moore) -- The Game (You'll Never Walk Alone) 12" single (1987, 4th & Broadway)
The Gaturs -- GATUR BAIT -- New Orleans Funk (2008, Soul Jazz) [orig. 1970]

Trash Can Sinatras -- I HUNG MY HARP UPON THE WILLOWS -- In The Music (2010, Lo-Five Records)
Polska Roots -- JOINT VENTURE INNA VILLAGE (Activator Remix) -- Warsaw Village Band (2009, Eastblok)
U-J3RK5 -- U-J3RK5 WORK FOR POLICE -- Vancouver Complication (1979, Sudden Death Records)
Language-Arts -- COUGH DROP -- Where Were You In The Wild? (2009)
The Peels -- FUN -- Lux and Ivy's Favourites, Volume 10 (????)

The Desmonds -- BUREAUCRAT FROM HELL -- It Came From Canada #5 (1989, Og)
Viv Albertine -- IF LOVE -- Flesh E.P. (2010, Ecstatic Peace!)
Aztec Camera -- OBLIVIOUS -- High Land, Hard Rain (1983, Rough Trade Records)
The Kingstonians -- SINGER MAN -- History of Trojan Records, 1968-72 (2002, Sanctuary Records) [orig. 1970, Song Bird]
Tara Watts -- CHUBBY MAN SONG -- About Love (2009)
Ian King -- JOVIAL BROOM MAN -- Panic Grass & Fever Few (2010, Fledg'ling Records)

The Ripcordz -- LONG DARK TRAIN -- Dead or Alive in '92 (2006, Mayday) 
Willie Nelson -- DON'T BE ASHAMED OF YOUR AGE -- You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker (2006, Lost Highway)
The Budos Band -- AYNOTCHESH YERERFU -- Soulshaker, Vol. 3 (2006, Record Kicks)
The Tamlins -- BALTIMORE -- Darker Than Blue: Soul From Jamdown, 1973-80 (2001, Blood & Fire) [orig. 1983, Taxi]
The Offs -- HUNDRED DOLLAR LIMO (live) -- Can You Hear Me? Music From The Deaf Club (1980, Walking Dead Records)

Kassin + 2 -- HOMEM AO MAR -- Futurismo (2008, Luakabop)
Ron Leary -- LEGACY -- Dependent Arising (2010, Bootbrush Music)

Thanks for listening!

Thanks also goes to Martin for bringing in his vinyl of "The Game (You'll Never Walk Alone), featuring Brian Moore."

Now, one last thing -- I stumbled upon these teenage supernerds accidentally while clicking around the YouTubes.  Please watch the young hippies:  kid's playing drums with his hands!  They're so funny.  Also good!

From the book Songs of Scotland, ed. Wilma Paterson, 
designed and decorated by Alasdair Gray, 
Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, 1996.
(Alasdair Gray always says goodbye on the last page of the books he makes.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Never Say Jamais

ink drawing by sara jane french, 2007

The Snark playlist for TUESDAY, JUNE 8th, 2010
(Artist/SONG/Album, etc.)

Shonen Knife -- HOT CHOCOLATE -- Happy Hour (1998, Big Deal Records)
Balkan Beat Box -- SMARTRON -- Blue Eyed Black Boy (2010, Nat Geo Music)

Luxury Christ -- NAKED ANIMALS -- Buy Our Love (1993, Eleven37)
Disrupt -- MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III -- The Bass Has Left The Building (2009, Jahtari)
Iggy & The Stooges -- SEARCH & DESTROY (live) -- Raw Power, Legacy Edition (2010, Legacy) [originally recorded 1973, previously unrealeased]
Helene Smith -- TRUE LOVE DON'T GROW ON TREES -- Eccentric Soul: The Outskirts of Deep City (2007, Numero) [orig. 1967, Deep City]
Tunng -- HUSTLE -- ... And Then We Saw Land (2010, Thrill Jockey)
Porcelain Forehead -- IN OUR INACTION... -- Frog Boy Lives (1985/93?, No Exit)

Jimmy Prince -- LIVE & LET LIVE -- History of Country & Western Music (2007, Documents) [orig. 1950]
Cougarettes -- SPELL -- Milk Fangs (2010, Machette Records)
RAM -- LOVE IS THE ANSWER -- From Jamaica To Toronto: Soul, Funk, & Reggae 1967-74 (2006, Light In The Attic) [orig. 1972, Tuesday Records]
Gotan Project -- DE HOMBRE A HOMBRE -- Tango 3.0 (2010, XL Recordings)
The Fall -- COWBOY GEORGE -- Your Future, Our Clutter (2010, Domino)

Isaac Hayes -- PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS -- Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It? (2005, Stax) [orig. 1968]
Big Daddy A & The Merves -- WILL THERE EVER BE A RAINBOW? -- We Stole Your Wallet (1997, 1984 Records)
Dave (Barker) & Ansil Collins -- THE DRIVING INSTRUCTOR -- Dave & Ansil Collins in Toronto (1974, G-Clef)
Caetano Veloso -- A COR AMARELA -- Zii e Zie (2010, Nonesuch)
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion -- AFRO -- Extra Width (1993, Matador)

Chaz Jankel -- GET MYSELF TOGETHER -- A Bit On The Side (2008, Tunecore?)
Fat Freddys Drop -- BOONDIGGA -- Dr. Boondigga & The Big BW (2009, K7)

Thanks for listening!

ink drawing by sara jane french, 2007

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Presque Vu... Jamais Vu

Home Schooled:  The ABCs of Kid Soul on the Numero record label

The Snark playlist for TUESDAY, JUNE 1, 2010
(Artist/SONG/Album, etc.)

Smoove -- THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED -- Dead Man's Shirts (2004, Acid Jazz)
The Wave Pictures -- CANARY WHARF -- If You Leave It Alone (2010, Moshi Moshi)

Mel Tormé & The Cookies -- COMIN' HOME BABY -- Comin' Home Baby (1962, Atlantic)
David Byrne & Fatboy Slim, feat. Cyndi Lauper -- ELEVEN DAYS -- Here Lies Love (2010, Todomundo/Nonesuch)
The Subhumans -- DEATH TO THE SICKOIDS -- Vancouver Complication (1979, Sudden Death Records)
Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics -- CHA CHA -- Inspiration Information, Vol. 3 (2009, Strut Records)
Field Assembly -- DAYLIGHT -- Broadsides & Ephemera (2009)

Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band -- ZIG ZAG WANDERER -- Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggests: 1965-68 (2009, Rhino) [orig. 1967, Buddah]
Planit & The Dirty Sample, feat. Cam The Wizzard -- VISIONS, PT. 2 -- Two Blue Apes (2010, Neferiu)
The Locusts Have No King -- SONG 6 -- Come One, Come All E.P. (2010)
Love Trio In Dub -- GOTH DUB (DARK MIX) -- The Dark Mixes (2006, Nublu Records)
The Raincoats -- BALLOONACY -- The Kitchen Tapes (1996, ROIR) [orig. 1983, cassette only]

Eight Minutes -- HERE'S SOME DANCES -- Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul (2007, Numero) [orig. 1968?]
Trash Can Sinatras -- TWISTED & BENT -- A Happy Pocket (1996, Go! Discs)
The Black Seeds -- FIRE -- On The Sun (2004, Capitol Records)
St. Vincent's Latinaires -- BROASTED OR FRIED -- Broasted Or Fried: Latin Breakbeats, Basslines, & Boogaloo (2000, Harmless Records) [orig. 1972?]

Twilight Circus -- HORSIE -- Horsie (1999, M Records)
Snakefinger's Vestal Virgins -- SOPHIA'S PLAYFUL PIPES -- Night Of Desirable Objects (1987, Red Rhino Records)
Broken Social Scene -- WATER IN HELL -- Forgiveness Rock Record (2010, Arts & Crafts)
Fatt Matt & Big Moves -- FATT MATTLOCK -- Rusty Hooks (2010, Neferiu)

Citywide Vacuum -- DETAILS -- Pact (2007, Eleven37)

Thanks for listening!