Monday, June 18, 2007


Here's how I spent my 90 eMusic downloads for the month of June.

* Dial "M" For Motherfucker by Pussy Galore. Jon Spencer is an obscene maniac. That's why I like him. This 1989 album came shortly before Spencer would form his Blues Explosion. In Dial M could be considered the fuse that led to that Explosion -- tasty guitar slop riffs, crazy caveman drums and no bass. The vocals, mainly by Spencer are buried, but the joy is naked.

*Sun Spots, vol. 2: Oddities and Obscurities by Various artists. You normally think of Sun Records as the wellspring of rockabilly. But before Elvis and Jerry Lee, Sun mainly dealt with blues and R&B artists from the Memphis area. Some well-known blues and R&B names are here -- Honeyboy Edwards, Sleepy John Estes, Little Milton and Ike Turner, performing with his first wife (or at least an early wife, Bonnie). There's also some cool hardcore hillbilly, gospel and rockabilly, mostly by folks you've never heard of. (Malcom Yelvington did a pretty good "Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee.") . The Killer's spirit is all over the place, even though there's not any songs of his. There's a song by a young Linda Gail Lewis, There's one of those tacky cut-and-paste fake "interview" novelty songs, "The Return of Jerry Lee" in which questions about Jerry Lee's infamous trip to London and his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin are answered by clips of the singer's tunes and there's that famous religious discussion between Sam Phillips and Jerry Lee in Sun Studios. "HOW CAN THE DEVIL SAVE SOULS? WHAT ARE YOU TALKIN' ABOUT?"

*The Original Rockabilly Album by Ray Campi. Speaking of cool rockabilly, I recently saw a good little documentary on Netflix called Rebel Beat: The Story of L.A. Rockabilly. One of the featured artists was Campi, who inspired me to download this album.

I can't find much info about this album except that it was released in 2002 on a label called Magnum Force and earlier in England. The recordings sound pretty ancient, rough and raw, like rockabilly ought to be. According to one source all these songs were recorded in 1957 -- except obviously the spoken introduction to the first song "Catepillar," which was Campi's first rockabilly record, where Campi talks about the old days.

There's some familiar songs -- Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me" and Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" -- but my favorite is a lo-fi wonder called "My Screamin' Screamin' Mimi."

* Pop A Paris: Rock N Roll Mini Skirts - Compilation 1 . The French have a saying:

"Ooo la la!"

That's a good way of describing the music from this album, a collection of rock and pop from the great nation of France in the swingin' a-go-go '60s. These mostly are covers of rock and pop hits from the U.S. and England. My favorites are Marie Laforet's "Marie Douceur Marie Colere," which you'll recognize as "Paint it Black," and "Ces Bottes Sont Faites Pour Marcher" a version of Nancy Sinatra's biggest hit by someone called Eileen.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention, there's a song here by Brigitte Bardot! It's a mod-a-go-go ditty called "Tu Veux Ou Tu Veux Pas." I still like "Boots" and "Paint it Black" better.

* Live at Maxwell's by The Reigning Sound . This is a raw 40-minute set n which the band plays on desite the fact that guitarist Greg Cartwright keeps breaking strings. (thinking back to my own performing days, I can sympathize.) By the last song he's down to three strings.

Most the songs are relentless rockers. But the group slows down for a sweet version of Sam Cooke's "I Need You Now." That's not the only soul cover they do. The album starts off with a ragged, savage take on Sam & Dave's "You Got Me Hummin'."

*A Hawk And A Hacksaw And The Hun Hangár Ensemble . This is an 8-song CD that H&H recorded with a group of Hungarian folk musicians, who add instruments including brass, woodwinds and Hungarian bagpipes.

My favorite song here is called "Zozobra," a quick-stepping duet with Jeremy Barnes (on accordion and percussion) and Balázs Unger on cymbalom, an instrument that sounds like a hammer dulcimer.

If you buy the actual CD, I understand, it comes with a DVD about A Hawk and Hacksaw.

* Several tracks from Greatest Hits of the National Lampoon. There's some great parodies of '60s and '70s rock stars, which I hadn't heard since my college days, by the likes of Christopher Guest, Gilda Radner, Tony Hendra and Chevy Case. No Beatles fan should be without Hendra's primal-scream Lennon spoof "Magical Misery Tour."

* "Gendhing and Ladrang Galagothang" a 20-minute track of gamelon music from The Sultan's Pleasure, Javanese Gamelan And Vocal Music From The Palace Of Yogyakarta. I guess you could say this is Java's version of The Gong Show.

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