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6:19 p.m. - June 23, 2007
Back Again, For A Brief Time, With Summer Mix #17
Ah, I’m back, only to leave again. Tomorrow, I’m the liturgist for our pastor’s last Sunday at church, and then I must ZOOOOM to the airport so I can fly to Richmond for two days of interviews.

The interviews I had this past week were good, though housing costs caused a few people in our household to go into premature catatonia (with no serenade nor fire brigade either). However, being creative that can work if we move somewhere within shouting distance.

So it’s nice to be here, but I’m going again. Sigh.

What does Smed do to entertain you? Well, talk about a mix. And you’d better read this even though you’re not into tunes. A few of the lines I had been keeping in my head since Thursday.

This is the Summer Time Mix #17. Why don’t I go in order? Why should I? What is order, anyway? This is in order, and it’s rather random, too. I felt random this summer.

1. Gloria – Patti Smith. She’s been called a lot of things, like “poet priestess of punk rock”. Some of her stuff, like most poets that rock, is a bit clunky, ponderous and pretentious, but when it all coalesces it’s really vital. This is vital. “Jesus died for someone’s sins…but not mine” is one of the most famous opening lines in rock and roll. No, it really is.

2. Let’s Go Trippin’ – Dick Dale & His Del-Tones. See? Random, isn’t it? I really like that echoey effect on some of the guitar sounds that they use. This isn’t as famous as “Misirlou” but only because no hot director picked it for the theme song of a classic pop-culture movie. But this is where surf-rock started, folks.

3. Fire Engine – The 13th Floor Elevators. You wanna talk about crazy? Roky Erickson, he’s crazy! No, he really is. There are a lot of stories about him. But the consensus is that he first went crazy in a mental institution in Texas (oh, now that’s irony, peeps). He committed himself to avoid jail time on drug charges. For a while he was living at home with Mom and had six TVs and radios going on at once, full volume, to drown out the voices in his head. Anyway, Erickson was the leader of this infamous Texas band of misfits that made some great psychedelic stuff in the 60’s. They had an ‘electric jug’ player (no kidding) and ate LSD like it was sweet tarts.

4. Temporary Secretary – Paul McCartney. If he wasn’t named Paul McCartney a lot of his solo stuff wouldn’t have seen the light of day, or been as popular. Sure, in every record he had a few good ones, but had more misses than hits in a lot of albums. This is from McCartney II, which was randomly odd and not good. But this song is quirkily endearing.

5. Baby Lemonade – Syd Barrett. Speaking of quirkily endearing…Syd Barrett is that in spades. He’s another tragic figure – his mind lost on drugs after making big time hay with the early Pink Floyd sound. His two solo albums are really fragmented pieces of a deranged mind with some great melodies mixed in.

6. Shadow Dancing – Andy Gibb. Music is a cruel business. One day you’re the top chef at Picholine, and the next day you’re cooking the Belgian Waffles at the Sheraton breakfast buffet in Towson. (Yeah, I saved that line up, but it fits Andy Gibb’s career, doesn’t it?)

7. Spanish Harlem – Ben E. King. You young folks need to go back and listen to as much old soul as you can, you hear me?? And stay the heck off of my lawn!

8. Almost Ready – Dinosaur Jr. I swear, they could have released this song in 1992 and it would have fit perfectly in their repertoire of the time. That’s praise, not damnation, since many times reconstituted bands are lame, limp, and lousy.

9. Hey Grandma – Moby Grape. And now back to the acid casualty portion of our program, and also introducing the backlash band that was really good category. In an infamous bit of idiocy, Columbia Records released FIVE singles at once and then the band got into a scrape about some groupies. Then, Skip Spence went deranged and spent time in Bellvue Hospital. They could have been contenders, but it wasn’t meant to be.

10. Down And Out – Genesis. Can you rock in 5/4 time? Well, Genesis is trying here (on the verses, the chorus is 4/4) and it works for the most part, though I think they’re showing off, too. This is from their first album as a trio, and they were still committed to being a ‘prog-rock’ band most of the time. I do need some help here, because some say this is in 5/8 instead of 5/4, and I can see why it would be confusing because the main thrust is four quarter notes and then a triplet. But I need an expert to verify.

11. Love The One You’re With – Stephen Stills. “Hey, honey, Stephen Stills said it was OK. You what? My golf clubs? In the woodchipper? And you gave my suits to random hobos?”

12. Love Is Alright Tonight – Rick Springfield. This is the song from which his comeback albums’ title (Working Class Dog for those of you who have no memories, or are young) was taken, and it’s a pretty snappy piece of 80’s pop rock sung in a pleasant enough manner. Yes, I said comeback, because he had some hits AND a Saturday morning cartoon in the 70’s before he went on General Hospital. If you win a bar trivia contest, thank me.

13. I’m Mandy, Fly Me – 10cc. They had a lot more hits in the UK than in the US. This is a clever bit of arty prog rock, however, you probably should listen to it on an airplane since it’s about a stewardess saving someone during an plane crash. Do you remember those, “I’m XXXX, Fly Me?” commercials? Yeah, they got away with ‘em!

14. If You Leave Me Now – Chicago. Shut up. Just shut up. (Smed sings to himself, tries to hit Peter Cetera’s falsetto notes. Liz wakes up from a nap. There is chaos.)

15. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo – A Tribe Called Quest. Again, I said it was pretty darn random. I gotta get it, I got-got to get it! That was quite a trip, driving from Brooklyn to El Segundo. I wonder if they wanted to visit the vineyards that Fred Sanford raved about? (Note: there are no vineyards in El Segundo.)

16. Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth – The Dandy Warhols. Is heroin passé? I don’t know, that drug has a long shelf life, it seems. It’s out, and then it’s in again. Anyway, I just absolutely can’t see the allure to heroin, especially since needles are involved for the most part. Oh, that and the addiction. And the overdoses. And the death. Other than that…

17. Weapon Of Choice – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I have always been a bit lukewarm about them, but I’m getting to like their new stuff more and more. This is pretty darn nifty, and I have nothing else pithy or witty to say, so I’ll move along…

18. Sheila – Tommy Roe. OK, this is such a blatant cop of “Peggy Sue” it’s almost criminal. But better a cop of a classic song than say, a cop of some lame Limp Bizkit song. (OK, no one from Limp Bizkit was born when this was a hit, but still, work with me here…) As for Mr. Roe, he was the Rasputin of popsters. His career refused to die for about 10 years through all kinds of changing styles and substances.

19. Complicated Games – XTC. The closing track to Drums And Wires is an XTC classic. Jerky, quirky, yet intelligent and musically inventive. It rather much wraps up everything that XTC fans love about the band, and also highlights why they’ll never be much more than a cult artist, not that there is anything wrong with that career path. It’s steady work, ya know?

20. Please Mr. Postman – The Marvelettes. Does anyone remember the Carpenters’ version of this song? Sigh…it’s like they used some “Soul Sucker XT-10000” and got all of the soul out of the song. You can find that in the grocery store next to “Orange Plus”.

21. Bend Me, Shape Me – The American Breed. When you’re body gets to be my age, bending and shaping is pretty tough to do. How about I just try to get into downward facing dog and we’ll call it a day, OK?

22. Got To Get You Off My Mind – Solomon Burke. You, yes you, sitting there at the computer. You have the ability to download tunes, right? Well, go buy this? Don’t steal it. Buy it! He needs the royalties. Yes, it’s that good. You’ll thank me for it.

Well, don’t wait up for me. I gots to get going on my next trip. Hopefully, this will all end soon and we all can have piece of mind. (Oh, please!)


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