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9:39 p.m. - January 22, 2008
Smed's Top 200: #169 - #181. Enjoy. This Means You.
There’s nothing like sitting in one of those regional commuter jets in the window seat when the person next to you is rather, well, large, and you barely have any room to breathe, much less read. Yes, I was afraid if I went into my briefcase to get my book, I would disturb the big galoot next to me. (Hey, galoot passes the spell check in Word. Well raise my rent!)

There was time to listen to tunes, and to think and react and reflect. I have some things cooking, but now, let’s just do more of Smed’s Top 200, shall we? I think the wireless here in the Comfort Suites agree that that is the best possible course of action. Right?

Right!

This grouping has more odd, shy songs that you lucky mixters have.

181. Wintertime’s A-Comin’ Martha Raye – Permanent Green Light. Say what? Yep. Michael Quercio’s second band, after the Three O’Clock faded away, featured a lot of hummingly good pop-rock tunes and not a lot of notice anywhere. It was hard to be power-poppy during the grunge era, I guess. Anyway, I’m still at a loss as for why Michael decided to warn “The Big Mouth” that winter was nigh. Believe me, winter IS nigh. Brrr…

Martha Raye? Oh, some of us may remember her from the Polident commercials that we saw while Mom monopolized the TV when we were kids, but here’s a compendium of some slapstick clips. She was kind of a babe, way back in the day. And funny. But still, Martha, it’s winter. And this is obscure enough not to have any video record of. Sadly.

180. She Reconsidered – Arson Garden. I have to support my peeps, you know. And Arson Garden was definitely my peeps back in the day in Indy. A band that I actually followed, and they were actually signed to a major label for about 10 minutes or so.

This tune was off of a local Indianapolis release that was pretty darn good called Wisteria. No record of it, but there is ONE video I saw for their major label record and it’s from one of the better songs on that, and here it is! Unfortunately, they’re probably still paying for it with any (hah) royalties (hah) they have to date. (Hah!)

179. Train From Kansas City – Neko Case. Ah, Neko. Not only is she a great songwriter, and a heck of a singer, but she knows how to find great cover songs too. This is an old Shangri-Las cover that she put on a live album, and it’s tremendous.

Here is a fan-shot live video. Unfortunately, it’s sideways. So turn your monitor or your laptop.

178. Slack Mother****** - Superchunk. This was the ‘single of the year’ way back when, and it kicked off the career of one of my favorite ever bands. They were a lot nosier then, and sometimes you can’t make out all of the words, but the sentiment from what you can hear is clear.

“Yeah, I’m working / but I’m not workin’ for you / NOOOO! / You’re a Slack Mother******”.

My man Moose has been to approximately 298 Superchunk shows. I have never been. And now seeing this, I wish to Kill Moose (and squirrel too, while I’m at it…)

BTW – this hotel wireless STANKS when trying to watch You Tube videos. Stink, stank, stunk.

177. Lies – The Knickerbockers. Americans were are verrry gullible. Many folks were bamboozled back in 1965 by this tune, thinking it was the Beatles. Now, sure it’s very Beatle-esque, but a discerning ear would have heard that it wasn’t the Fab Four. But of course, on transistor radios, you couldn’t be discerning. And one look at them, you can tell that there from the Queens or Jersey or wherever. The singer looks like Joe Pesci with a yellow pompadour toupee.

I found two clips of them lip synching. One has the band amid a frenzy of fruggers and watusiers and the the other just has them on stage. I still don’t know why the singer has a saxophone. The song doesn’t have a sax.

176. But It’s Alright – J. J. Jackson. Often times, I mix songs to give others a musical lesson. This is one of them. Great soul songs were bountiful in the 60’s and many of them are not on AM radio and can be found only by digging on compilations, or paying attention to hipster doofuses like me.

This is NOT the VJ, but a real soul singer from the 60’s. Yes, it’s one of the infamous still photo videos, but you get to hear the song, and that’s the important thing!

175. Dead Pop Stars – Altered Images. Ah, Claire Grogan. That Scottish minx stole my heart back in the day when I saw some videos on MTV. This was their first single, and not on an album in the US. It established them in the UK and then they became the flavor of the month.

Here’s a clip of them and you can see Claire in all of her glory! Yum!

The lyrics are great, too. “And now i've had my 15 minutes / i'm just another memory /an embarassing part of your youth / don't leave me dying here”. Many of the poor American Idols that were just unceremoniously dumped can relate.

174. Amie – The Pure Prairie League. Now a tune that EVERYONE can sing along to. And everyone will. Yes, even you. Sing. Damnit! SING!!!!!

There, that’s better.

I was wondering why this just had the You Tube Still Photo treatment, but then I realized the tangled history of this song. They recorded the album, and the singer and songwriter of the song had to leave, and then two years later, it became popular. Of course, then, the voice behind the song wasn’t there. But who cares, really? It’s faceless, and wonderful!

173. Say Those Magic Words – The Birds. No, not the American group. This was the English group of Birds, and they had Ron Wood in it. They also were in The Deadly Bees for you MST3K fans.

I found this on a compilation, and it’s a damn fine tune. I’ve mixed it a lot, and you should seek it out, or be nice to me. Heh.

172. Love Action (I Believe In Love) – The Human League. MTV fooled me on this one. I saw the video a skidillion times on that channel in HS, and LOVED the video. I swore it was a US hit, but when I mixed it for people, no one knew it.

I had the reference books and all that, and still I didn’t check. It wasn’t a US single. It was a HUGE British hit, but not so in the US. Drat. Anyway, it’s a hell of a tune, and a great video. And I’ve always thought a neo-funk-punk band could do this song without keyboards and still rip it up!

171. We Could Just Die – The Permanent Green Light. I hope the inclusion of TWO Permanent Green Light tunes on my top 200 justifies my love of them. Especially since that band released just one album and an EP in two years and faded away before 1995. So dig it, kiddies!

170. The Train From Kansas City – The Shangri-Las. Well, what do you know. I loved Neko’s version of it so much, I found the original. And I mixed it tons as well. It was a B-side back when B-sides were cool!

They actually have it on You Tube. Yes, it’s one of the videos where they just show the album cover, but you get to hear the tune, ya know! Just remember, this was a B-side! A B-SIDE!

169. Flowers On The Wall – The Statler Brothers. I thought this song was cool even before Quentin Tarantino did. Just ask Moose. I bugged him imitating the bass singer. Just ask him.

Instead of the “dude playing the record” video I saw, I found a very clever homemade video for it. At least I think it’s clever. Well, again, you get to hear the tune. What do you want, wicker??

So there’s another installment of Smed’s Top 200. Tune in next time for a wanton woman or two, a mass of cowbell, a weird time signature, and words like ruse and foist. Peace, out!

 

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