Monthly Archives: September 2009

“Sum bitch has always bored me”

465 Highway 15 Barstow-Lake Elsinore 2004-06-28

Guy Clark – “L.A. Freeway” from Old No. 1 (1975)

T’other day, Glenn mentioned that he was playing this song with his sometime band.  I first heard it a few years ago and found it to be one the best ramblin’ tunes I’d ever heard.  I still feel that way (I also dig the spare Wurlitzer piano).  This whole album is terrific and showcases some of the very best lyrics in the genre (see “Instant Coffee Blues” in particular).

Buy it here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1970s, Country

“We get no second chance in this life”


There are some songs that, when I listen to them on my headphones while walking around in public, I start to feel really, really cool – like I know something that no one else does.  This song has such groove.  Try it out.

Songs: Ohia – “Captain Badass” from Axxess & Ace (1999)

Buy it here

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1990s, Rock

“and then my mind split open”

The Velvet Underground – “I Heard Her Call My Name” from White Light/White Heat (1968)

Last night, after drinking a wonderful Sazerac cocktail, I heard Yo La Tengo play Durham NC. The cavernous acoustics of the Carolina Theater didn’t help the sound, but the show still split my mind. One of YLT’s encores was a noisy version of the Velvets classic “I Heard Her Call My Name.”

Back in ’94, Yo La Tengo portrayed the Velvets in the film I Shot Andy Warhol. Watch a clip (but no YLT) here.

Catch Yo La Tengo live

Buy the Velvet Underground

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1960s, Experimental, Psychedelic, Rock

“My eyes filled with tears, and I must have aged ten years”

Willie Nelson – “I Couldn’t Believe It Was True” from Red Headed Stranger (1975)

What a beautiful song. Deceptively simple — or is that deceptively complex?

Has anyone seen the Red Headed Stranger movie? According to IMDB, Levon Helm was slated to appear, but literally shot himself in the foot prior to filming.

Anyway, let me know if it’s worth the trek to Western Washington.

Buy Willie

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, Country, Folk, Singer-Songwriter

Obama, Dylan, and Audience Confrontation

Hearing Rep. Joe Wilson (R – SC) shout out “You lie!” at the President last night reminded me of a similar confrontation between Bob Dylan and a hostile audience at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, England recorded on May 17, 1966.

Often mis-billed as the “Royal Albert Hall” Concert, the bootleg documents Dylan a week before his 25th birthday, enduring the tail-end of an ill-fated “World Tour.” Throughout Europe (and particularly in Britain) he had met with widespread distaste at his choice to tour with a full rock band (the Hawks here would later become The Band with the original and incomparable Levon Helm on drums. Sitting in here is Mickey Jones). Many fans who had deeply admired Dylan’s earlier folk music saw the electric set as crass if not an outright betrayal.  In a scene from Marty Scorcese’s excellent documentary “No Direction Home”, a prying fan hounds Dylan, asking to inspect his left fingertips for callouses, somehow indicating that he’d been playing acoustic guitar rather than electric or, God forbid, the piano.  Dylan bristles, “Left fingertips? I wouldn’t even show you my right hand.”

Dylan caught the same flack from an American audience of folkies at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival after playing in front of the very loud Paul Butterfield Blues Band.  It seems fans thought they were owed something from Dylan and so anything apart from their expectations was angrily dismissed as selling out.

So in May 1966 when Dylan sat down at the piano with the Hawks behind him and rolled out a rock-n-wailing version of “Ballad of a Thin Man” the sold-out crowd chafed madly.  Amidst the intense between-song grumbling, someone (probably not Billy Bragg) shouted out “Judas!” and was met with loud cheering and clapping of agreement.  And Dylan, not a quarter century old, couldn’t comprehend it: “I don’t believe you…you’re a liar!”  His only advice for the set closer “Like a Rolling Stone” is “Play it fucking loud!”

There’s no specific analogy to the altercation at the joint session of congress last night.  They just both seemed like similar moments of intense anxiety: one in politics and one in art.

Bob Dylan – “Ballad Of A Thin Man” and “Like A Rolling Stone” from The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: The “Royal Albert Hall” Concert (1966)

Buy the concert recording

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1960s

Beatles Blitz

As most of the world knows, the entire Beatles catalog will be re-released next week Wednesday to coincide with the release of the Beatles Rock Band vidya game. The game, I must admit, looks pretty fucking sweet especially for those of us who like to sing harmonies:

Check out the full song list.

I pre-ordered a few of the albums already to fill in gaps in my collection or to replace damaged discs.  It’s gonna take all my self-control to not go out and buy a PS3 just to play this game.

What do you think?  Is all of this a crass attempt by Apple Records, the remaining Beatles, and the estates of the dead ones to make millions and millions of dollars?  Or, is it simply a way to turn a whole new generation on to the greatest, most influential pop music of all time?

Posted by Jordy


Filed under 1960s, 2000s, Pop, Rock

Poll: Original versus Cover

New Order – “Love Vigilantes” from Low-Life [1985]

Iron & Wine – “Love Vigilantes” from Around the Well [2009]

Submitted for your approval:  two versions of the same song.  The original, by New Order, and the cover, by Iron & Wine.  Both have their merits, but this is a fight to the finish (is there any other kind of fight?).  Which version of the song is better?  This is completely subjective.  I like both versions of the song for different reasons.  I appreciate New Order for coming up with the song and writing such great lyrics, but I feel the Iron & Wine version is more evocative and truly does justice to the lyrics.  But now, instead of bloviating, I am going to make my voice heard in the poll, and so should you.  It takes two clicks.

Posted by Adam


Filed under 1980s, 2000s, Acoustic, Folk