11:43 a.m. - March 28, 2007
1. Iron Butterfly Theme – Iron Butterfly. You know, listening to this (and if you want to, it’s my MySpace tune right now) you only needed three guesses on who this was and the first two don’t count. Even though that three members left after this (from their first record, Heavy) the sound is definitely Iron Butterfly, even with that weird guitar effect that sounded like a charging rhino that was also featured about ¾ of the way through the long-ass song everyone knows. The bigger point is that this is their ‘theme’. You know, I want a theme? A Smed theme! Someone get on that! However, if this is their theme, why was it the LAST cut on the album? Shouldn’t the theme be the FIRST song? Oh, I’m thinking too much about an album released in 1968 that didn’t even make the top 75 on the charts. Yet, I think that’s my job around here, isn’t it?
2. She’d Rather Be With Me – The Turtles. Many people only know two or three songs from them, and this is one of those, but they were an adventurous group that could write pop songs on a whim, but had a somewhat sly and subversive streak in them. That was proven when a lot of the band joined Frank Zappa soon after the Turtles demise.
3. Monkey – Low. I’m way late on the Low train, but I’m very intrigued by them. It’s all dark, foreboding, and mysterious. That low, low, organ drone makes the song heavy duty, heavier than anything Iron Butterfly could have dreamed of.
4. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) – The Temptations. I was way short of classic Temps in my collection, and I had to rectify that. It was a need. Liz thinks, of course, it was a want, but this is tunes we’re talking about. Wants are needs. My Maslow Hierarchy for tunes is down there on the bottom: breathing, food, water, tunes, etc.
5. Those Fabulous Sixties – National Lampoon. I was quite elated when I found the classic National Lampoon greatest hits album on iTunes. This is not only a dead-on parody of Bob Dylan in the 70s and the compilation albums that were just starting to creep up during that time (where they would edit the songs without mercy). “The spangled dwarf in his bow tie / the infantry that don’t ask why…”
6. Love On Your Side – The Thompson Twins. Oh, SHUT UP! I love the bass line. OK?
7. Sweet Cherry Wine – Tommy James & The Shondells. You know, love is the only thing that matters anyhow. I wish I could teach some people that around the world, both in this country and in others. Tommy was a pop-auteur, but he also had a social conscious, if not a little naïve. I don’t think Cherry Boone’s Farm would get all of the world’s problems solved, but you know, it couldn’t hurt to try.
8. Rock Of All Ages – Badfinger. I was impatient, and I ordered a CD of Badfinger since a lot of their catalog was tied up in the Apple Records / Apple Computer set-to. This is a pretty hard rockin’ tune from them. It definitely sounds like something Paul McCartney would do to prove that he was a rocker, too.
9. Unconscious Power – Iron Butterfly. Yep, you can definitely tell this is the Butterfly too. I believe this was the “A” side of their first single, and it’s very much a period piece with heavy organ (of course) and a loping bass line.
10. Everything She Wants – Wham! Do I have to explain myself again? Sorry, I won’t. But I tell you this, I still don’t know what Andrew Ridgley did, besides look pretty, drive cars, and marry someone from Bananarama.
11. Seasick – The Jesus Lizard. I think everyone needs to listen to the Jesus Lizard just to remind ones self that there are people crazier than they are out there. Also, I think everyone needs to have an album named Goat in their collection.
12. Killing Floor – The Electric Flag. This was a great idea – a jazz / rock / blues combo with stinging guitars and horns. Unfortunately, while the concept was good and the execution was tight, it just didn’t come all together. Michael Bloomfield proved he was a genius, but I don’t think the horns added that much. They did have a nice time at Monterrey, though.
13. Murderer – Low. From their great new record Drums And Guns, it’s not the most upbeat song in the world. OK, it’s not upbeat at all. But it’s got some serious atmosphere and mood, and that’s exactly what I needed on this rainy Wednesday.
14. The Talking Drum – King Crimson. I may have overcompensated a tad bit when I bought seven King Crimson releases in the past four months, but I don’t care. They were great, and they deserved to be heard. This is from The Nightwatch, a live concert recording that actually provided the basic tracks for several songs on Starless And Bible Black. If you love this era of King Crimson, seek it out! David Cross’ violin is exceptional on this cut, I believe, and Fripp counters him well with the Mellotron and then wigs out on the guitar, like normal.
15. Mary-Ann – The Ohio Express. You know, bubblegum music just concentrated on the singles. This is pleasant enough, but not really exceptional. I only bought this compilation to get the great song “Cowboy Convention”, and will it show up on this list? Only the iPod knows for sure.
16. ABC – The Jackson Five. Yes, Michael was the star vocalist, but I think the stars were the Motown session players that graced the track with their magic.
17. Rodeo In Joliet – The Jesus Lizard. I swear, my iPod has been repeating groups in close proximity during shuffle mode for some time now. Hmmm…should I kick it? Nah. I don’t think the song has anything to do with the title, nor the play the title was derived from.
18. Turn Down Day – The Cyrkle. Ah, “Red Rubber Ball” was a pleasant piece of period pop from the pen of Paul Simon, and the donated it to the Cyrkle. This was the follow up, and is also a period piece. A sitar, the line “I dig it” in the chorus, and Beatle harmonies. It’s a nice song, nothing earthshaking, but you could hum it while getting groceries.
19. Favorite – Neko Case. Oh, man. That voice. Yet again, I marvel at her voice. This is from her appearance on Austin City Limits, which is a show I really should TiVo.
20. Jolene – Dolly Parton. All of the alterna-hipsters have covered this, so I had to find out what the deal was, and you know, Dolly could write a tune or two and really was a lot better than what I gave her credit for. I just remember her as Porter Waggoner’s eye candy and advertising for Breeze Detergent, where you could get some cheap-ass towels in each box. Then she made 9 to 5 and there…you…go.
21. Highway Song – Blackfoot. Yeah, it’s rather much sub-rate Lynyrd Skynyrd, on the same level as Molly Hatchet, but sometimes you need that. This is no “Train Train”, but what is? What’s really odd is that Strikes, the album that contains this one and “Train Train” put those two songs at the end of side two, and not opening the sides like most groups do, or at least closing each side. Hmmm…
22. I’d Die Babe – Badfinger. Yet another repeated group. I swear I have more in this playlist than ten bands or so. Anyway, this is another good song by a good group, etc.
I think this repeating of groups has irritated me a bit – so I need a break. Take it away, Mr. Ross:
23. Dominoes – Robby Nevil. There, that’s better. A great piece of synth-dance-pop from the 80’s that will make you chair dance a bit.
24. I Think We’re Alone Now – Tommy James And The Shondells. Ah, well, it’s a repeated group but it’s a groovy song. I do think that it’s a rite of passage that every era have someone that covers this song, and Ritchie Cordell thanks you, everyone! I counted 22 versions, by artists such as Lene Lovich, Snuff, Tiffany, The Click Five, The Rubinoos, and Screeching Weasel.
25. End Of The Line – Roxy Music. Ah, you see, The Secret does work. I wanted this song to end this list, and I got what I wanted by just wishing for it. (No, I swear I didn’t go to the menu on my iPod…oh, OK, I did. So what?) I love the sound of this, with Eddie Jobson’s violin and John Wetton’s very deep and powerful bass adding elements to the stately crooning of Bryan Ferry. The harmonies are chilling to the spine. For once, Ferry doesn’t sound like he’s ready to strike in the boudoir, but of course this is a song about love that’s lost. And the lyrics are poignant, I think:
Think I’ll walk out in the rain
Reached the point of no return
Were you ever lonely?
Done my share of winning
Think I’ll walk out in the storm
Now’s the time to take a dive
If you ever miss me
PS – Mr. Ferry. Mr. Bryan Ferry. If you want your royalties for this posting of your lyrics, contact me, OK? I’m telling everyone to buy Siren, so you’d get more money that way anyway.