Category Archives: Uncategorized

Another Long-awaited Harmonica Favorite

butterfield

Paul Butterfield Blues Band – “All These Blues” from East/West (1966)

Well I’ve been away, folks, but I’m back.  This “real life” thing sometimes gets in the way of blogging.  I hope you all understand, and I hope you’ll stick with us.

Anyway, this is another standout track featuring the harmonica.  The Butterfield Blues Band is perhaps best known as Bob Dylan’s backing band (sans Butterfield himself) at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, which was Dylan’s first performance using electric instruments.

I love Butterfield’s beefy, amplified harp sound.  My only qualm with this album is that there’s not enough harmonica.

Buy Butterfield

Posted by Adam

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“There ain’t no black in the Union Jack”

manics

Manic Street Preachers – “Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit’sworldwouldfallapart” from
The Holy Bible (1994)

Manic Street Preachers – “4st 7lb” from The Holy Bible (1994)

The Manic Street Preachers are one of the more provocative bands around, or at least they were in 1994 (I don’t know their more recent work). I bought this album based on its title and the titles of the songs, and ended up with the band’s magnum opus. The two songs here are standouts. The lyrics are nuts, not to mention incomprehensible when listening to the songs (read them here and here). It is also impossible to figure out how the lyrics fit with the music when reading them without listening to the song at the same time.

Most of the lyrics were written by Ritchey James Edwards (second from left in the above photo) who disappeared mysteriously shortly after the album was completed. According to this, Mr. Edwards’ family has decided to change Ritchey’s legal status from “missing” to “presumed dead.”

The title “Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit’sworldwouldfallapart” is correct as written, even with the grammatically incorrect apostrophe and the lack of spaces.

Buy the Manics

Posted by Adam

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“The U.S.A. be on their way/prosperity bound.”

Wilco – “Christ For President” from Mermaid Avenue [1998]

On this election day, the choice is clear.

Contribute to the election fund

Posted by Phil

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Worst Song Ever: Part Four

(To be cross-filed under the possibly new Department of the Unforgivable.)

Red House Painters – “Trailways” from Songs for a Blue Guitar [1996]

Red House Painters – “I Feel The Rain Fall” from Songs for a Blue Guitar [1996]

To truly understand the abject horror of “I Feel The Rain Fall,” you should first listen to “Trailways,” the immediately preceding track on Songs For A Blue Guitar.

Let’s be honest. “I Feel The Rain Fall” is not a good song. In fact, I think it’s a terrible song. I think it’s one of the stupidest things Mark Kozelek has ever put on tape. I think it insults my intelligence, what with its campy back-and-forth guitars and little snare drum part, feigning a musical connection with old-time C&W and gospel music. Mark Kozelek, you are a sad bastard who writes great sad-bastard songs like “Trailways.” Please stick to your strengths.

The real problem is that “Trailways” is a highlight in the RHP catalog. A masterpiece of understatement, with elliptical personal lyrics that hint at specifics but never really give you the whole story. With dueling e-bows. A transcendent song, followed by a seventh-grade pastiche of a genre in which the student has never been remotely adept. Why, why, why would you follow up such a brilliant demonstration of loss with such a clunker?

Still, it’s a good record. Buy it, ok?

Posted by Phil

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Worst Song Ever: Part Three

The Kinks – “Phenomenal Cat” from The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society [1968]

The Kinks truly deserve the high praise that they have recieved on this blog.  They are a really great band.  And Village Green… is a stellar album.  Except for this song, which is just awful.  Seriously, what is this  “Fum fum diddle-um di” stuff?  Are we in the Merry Old Land of Oz?  No.

The volume in the 33&1/3 series devoted to this album says that “Phenomenal Cat” and “Wicked Annabella” (also appearing on Village Green…) are the Kinks’ attempts at psychedelia, which was the predominant force in British music at the time.  I’m glad Ray Davies and Co. stayed out of the psychedelic movement, because this attempt is really, really bad.  The book also posits that “Phenomenal Cat” could be an attempt at satire.  If this song is an attempt at satire, it fails.  If it is an attempt at making a crappy song, it succeeds admirably.

Seriously, though, you should still buy the album.

Posted by Adam

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Filed under 1960s, Rock, Uncategorized, Worst Songs Ever