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12:04 p.m. - May 25, 2007
When In Doubt, Write About Tunes!
When in doubt, I write about tunes. And why should this be any different, eh?

(More later on the ‘irony’ thing deal bit – c’est la vie, and all that rot.)

Because I am obsessed with interested in maintaining accuracy in my iTunes, I attempt to put the proper album for each song I have. Many times, that’s a no-brainer, but for some songs I’ve received on compilations or mix CDs, it’s a challenge, especially if the artist is older and / or relatively obscure.

But that’s what makes it fun.

I created a playlist called “Need Albums” and periodically I’ll play it and then go on the internet (mainly to allmusic) to try to find the actual first release on an album for that song by that artist. If the first release was a compilation, then I don’t change it (unless I need to put an album in there), otherwise, I DO change it to what the original album was.

Why? Because I’m Smed!

So, here are 25 songs that I just found albums for. Enjoy, and get it on:

1. Complicated Games – Moonshine Willy. Ah, this was an easy one. This was off of a Bloodshot Records compilation of singles and b-sides from their artists. Moonshine Willy was a neo-alt-country band and sometimes they covered new wave songs in a country fashion. This was a version of an XTC song, and they’ve also covered “Don’t You Want Me” by the Human League in a bluegrass fashion, and I MUST own that.

2. Love Strike – Crazy Elephant. I have a lot of obscure bubblegum songs in my collection, and this is one of them. This was a total studio concoction by the same bunch that gave us The Ohio Express and the 1910 Fruitgum Company, and the amalgamation had a big hit with “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’” back in the bubblegum heyday. This is from the one self-titled record credited to Crazy Elephant released in 1969. This could have been a minor follow up, or just album filler, but it’s not dreck. It’s just that no one really heard it because the market for bubblegum albums was pretty slim.

3. A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke. See, even my iPod is playing the foreshadowing / irony / commentary game. (But I’m not defecting from this provider, at least not until 2008 when Gold runs out) This was the B-side to his final single, and it’s eerily prophetic, since he was killed 11 days before this came out under some mysterious circumstances.

4. Dancing In The Streets – Martha & The Vandellas. Motown didn’t really concentrate much on albums back in the 60’s. Ok, heck, no one really did except those fussy English groups and the stoners in America. It was all about the singles, and was there really a better single than this when it was out? Nope.But this was on the Dance Party album which had three big singles, some b-sides, and leftovers that Motown collected into an album. That’s how they did it back then!

5. Baby I’m You – Barbara Lewis. I guess the iPod thinks I need some classic soul this morning. I’ll take it! Originally from Detroit, she migrated to New York to cut some fine singles. Van McCoy wrote this (he did more than “The Hustle”, you know) and Atlantic Records crack production team made it magic. It was the lead cut of an album of the same title (standard modus operandi) and hit #11 in the pop charts and #5 on the R & B charts in 1965.

6. Baby Come Back – Player. Ah, the 70’s. Disco. Wah-wah guitars. Open collared shirts. One hit wonders. How laid back is this? It’s so laid back, it’s bending back on itself. This was from a self-titled album, and illustrates something I’ve noticed. If an album is named after the one single, or is named after the group that has just one single, then there’s a reason that only one single really hit it. I probably need to state that more eloquently, but I need more decaf and a shave.

7. You’re Driving Me Insane – The Missing Links. I have a collection of garage band and psychedelic singles from the UK, Europe, and other points. The Missing Links were from Australia (we love you, amen!) and released some singles, an EP, and an album (self-titled, of course). This is pretty standard 60’s garage punk with loud guitars, a farfisa, and vocals that aren’t really sung, per se, but howled over the din. Good stuff!

8. Mellow Yellow – Donovan. Ah, Donovan. He had some good stuff, but man was he a derivative little twerp. “Sunshine Superman” was his peak, and other stuff was decent, but do NOT listen to “Hurdy Gurdy Man” if you’re having some discomfort in your intestines. This, of course, was from an album named after the single, which says to me that Epic records was afraid that the hippie kids that dug the eeee-lec-trical banana couldn’t have the brain cells to remember anything but the name of the single.

9. Battersea – Hooverphonic. In my big push to put EVERYTHING on my iPod, I put a lot of mix CDs that I’ve received on there. And this is a cut from one of them, and I don’t remember who from, and I don’t remember why I didn’t put it on there to begin with, because I dig it with the mellow strings having a counterpoint to the fast beat and the disembodied ethereal female vocalist holding court. They’re Belgian and the album is “Blue Wonder Power Milk”, in case you’re scoring at home, or even if you’re by yourself.

10. Mother Focus – Focus. Also part of my project was to find songs that I had removed from the iPod but had captured on a backup hard drive. This was one of them. When I decided to get serious about putting album titles on ALL of the songs, this was already shunted off to the backup drive. There’s some nice piano, keyboard, percussion and guitar work here and in the background, I hear yodeling. Of course, it’s Focus. This is funkier than Focus normally is, which is a good thing.

11. Maybelline – Chuck Berry. Albums were a novelty in the 50’s, but some entrepreneurs, like Leonard Chess, realized there was a market for putting singles on an album after the single hit it big. I’m torn, since this is from Chuck Berry Is On Top but the song was four years old when it found its way to an album. But you know, it’s the first album release and that album isn’t just greatest hits, so I’ll credit it that way.

12. Careless Whisper – Rufus Wainwright & Ben Folds. Wow, this took some digging, and I’m not surprised that it’s not ‘really’ been released. There’s an mP3 of this recording from a show in June of 2004 on the internet, and it found its way here. Heh.

13. We Are Each Other – The Beautiful South. Their singles compilation, Carry On Up The Charts was a big giant super spectacular smash sensation in the UK in the mid 90’s. Formed from the ashes of the Housemartins, the Beautiful South deserved to be heard in the States, but we were all grungy then. The album this is from 0898 has a veritable plethora of great sunny (and not-so-sunny) pop tunes.

14. Runaway – Del Shannon. When you listen to this song, you just FEEL the pain and angst in his voice, and by all accounts that pain and angst was a real thing inside of Mr. Shannon. I had thought that Runaway With Del Shannon was a compilation album, but I guess it was his actual first record. Ah, well, I got to hear it again, which is always cool!

15. The Prisoner – Squeeze. In my panic when I filled up my hard drive a while ago, I had deleted some songs that were recently mixed for me. I had already found the albums and all that. Now, I’m back to square one with ‘em. But have no fear, they are easy to find. This is from Babylon And On which had legit hits but was just a shell of classic early 80’s Squeeze.

16. Hideaway – Todd Rundgren. Todd has put out a lot of great stuff, but a lot of dross as well. He actually thought he was a genius. He was, but when you start to think that you become self-indulgent. Songs like this, though, reveal gifts that cut through a lot of the BS, well, until the spoken piece. Todd, just ick. The album this is from, though, is one of my favorite titles of all time - The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect.

17. When I Look To The Sky – Train. I wasn’t a big fan of Train when they came out, based upon the stuff I heard on the radio. It’s still not always my cup of tea, and a lot of their stuff has a ‘been there / done that’ sense to me, but you know, once in a while it’s OK. So yeah. Thanks for sending this along!

18. Under The Weather – KT Tunstall. This was another one that was buried on a mix CD that I never transferred over to my iPod for some reasons. Was I delusional, or what? Anyway, she’s done some pretty decent stuff and isn’t some pop tart.

19. Seven Swans – Sufjan Stevens. Ah, the hype machine. Perhaps I am too rough on uber-hyped alternative “Gods”. I don’t think he’s all that and a box o’ Krispy Kremes, and if that gets me kicked out of the alterna-club, fine! I mean, it’s good, but I’m not having to bolt to the men’s room it’s so good.

20. Bad Girl – The Zakary Thaks. Then there are bands like this. They only released about a half-dozen singles in their lifetime in the mid 60’s, and along with some unreleased stuff that was it. They never really made it out of Corpus Christi, and the lead singer was all of 15 when they were first ‘making it’. However, this is good to great stuff with an energy and drive that’s timeless.

21. Disappointed – The Wannadies. Why, oh, why, does popular music always seem formulaic, when great power-pop like this lays off to the side. Oh, OK, if this stuff was popular people would say it’s formulaic as well, but a good formula’s still good, dig. They’re Swedish, even, and that should have given them points! Finding an album this was on was a challenge, but thanks to Google, I nailed it. (It was originally a vinyl-only b-side but I got it on a mix CD and needed to find it a home!)

22. Whole Day Off – Oingo Boingo. The studio version is from Nothing To Fear, but their anthology had this live. On the live version, I miss the marimba-like instruments that permeate the verses. I hope to get a live version from about 10 years earlier than this one, because that’s when they were in their prime!

23. Hey Princess – Popsicle. Another power pop band that was obscure and died a quiet death, but definitely had their moments. Of course, I never heard about them until someone mixed it for me. This same person sent me a CD that just had band names, but no track names. I actually DID name all of the tunes, and it was fun to see if I could track ‘em all down!

24. Quick Joey Small (Run, Joey, Run) – The Kasenetz – Katz Singing Orchestral Circus. Yep, another bubblegum tune. The producers of The Ohio Express (Messers Kasenetz and Katz) thought it would be cool if they got “all of their groups together”, which really meant another vehicle for Joey Levine of the Ohio Express and the other singers, etc. under a name. They had an event as well where they were all ‘on stage’. What fun! This was one of my first 45s for my close and play.

25. Witch Doctor – David Seville. You do realize that this was the precursor to Alvin & The Chipmunks, right?

Well, there you go. Have a great weekend, everybody!

 

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