Wednesday, January 23, 2013

eMusic January

Here's a month's worth of downloads on my eMusic account.

* Daddy Rockin' Strong: A Tribute to Nolan Strong & The Diablos.  Never heard of Nolan Strong or The Diablos? Don't feel bad. I didn't either. I downloaded this because it has songs by The Dirtbombs, The Reigning Sound, The A-Bones, Andre Williams,  Lenny Kaye and many more greats.

And I wasn't disappointed.

A little historical backtracking here. After enjoying the various interpretations of songs by this mystery man, I learned that Strong, who died in 1977, was a Detroit doo-wop and R&B lord, who was on Fortune Records, the same label as Williams and the late Nathaniel Mayer.

 Strong was known mainly for a minor hit called "The Wind." This is one of those spooky quasi-mystical doo-wop ballads where the singer seemingly pours out his soul from some distant, barren edge of reality.

Mark Sultan covers it here as the opening number. He gives it a dramatic instrumental intro before slowing down to a crawl and delivering the song in a sad falsetto.

The Dirtbombs take on "Daddy Rockin' Strong," which basically is a fairly faithful rewrite of "Daddy Rolling Stone." This version is a tough garage-band take that makes me look forward to some new material from The Dirtbombs.

The Reigning Sound does a fine job on "Mind Over Matter." This one reminds me of Bob Seger's  classic "Ramblin', Gamblin' Man." Meawhile, The Hentchmen's take on "Mambo of Love" is nothing short of a hoot. Is this the birth of punk mambo?

Kaye, Patti Smith's longtime guitarist, does a slow, soulful and reverent interpretation of "I Wanna Know." Williams, backed by The A-Bones practically loves to death the song "The Way You Dog Me Around."

Honestly, there isn't a bad cut on this tribute. Hopefully someone will make available some of Strong's own music sometime soon.

* Crash the Party by Benny Joy. This is just the first of the multi-volume retrospective of this Florida rockabilly who never made it to the same stratosphere as Elvis, Jerry Lee and Gene Vincent.

But this joyful noise sounds like he had a lot of fun trying.

This 15-song set includes some of Joy's best-known songs -- "Spin the Bottle," "Crash the Party," and "Button Nose," (which seems based around the basic "Peter Gunn" riff). There are several demos of Joy alone with his guitar, and some soulful ballads like "I Remember Darling" and "We'll Meet Again."

Several teenage lust tunes here will take you straight to Riverdale High circa 1959. I'm talking about "Miss Bobbie Sox," "Steady With Betty" and especially "In Study Hall," which contains the immortal rhyme, "Her eyes were blue / Her hair was pretty too."

* Slaughterhouse by Ty Segall Band. This is one of three (!) albums the prolific Californian released this year. I like Slaughterhouse best because it’s the noisiest and the most relentlessly rocked out, though there’s enough melody to keep it interesting. It’s a wild and thrilling show from the first cut, and blah blah blah ...

Sound familiar? I wrote a little more about this album in Terrell's Tuneup not long ago.  Indeed, this was one of my top 10 albums of 2012. Check that out HERE. (And seriously, it gets better with each listen.)

* "I Can't Get No Nookie" and "I Am the Japanese Sandman" from The Complete Deity Recordings by The Masked Marauders. No that's not Mick Jagger growling "I Can't Get No Nookie" here. And none of The Beatles really took part in "Japanese Sandman." This entire album, originally released in 1969, is based on a joke review by Greil Marcus (using the nom de spoof T.M. Christian) in Rolling Stone about a supposed bootleg of a supposed "supergroup" session that included Bob Dylan and various Beatles and Stones. Amazingly, many readers took the review serious. Marcus and Rolling Stone crony Landon Winner couldn't resist recruiting a Berkeley band,  Cleanliness and Godliness Skiffle Band (which sounds more fake than "The Masked Marauders") to record some of the songs mentioned in the review. Most people just forgot about this silly lark, but whispers of the fabled supergroup apparently survived into the new millennium. The Masked Marauders actually got the Snopes treatment in 2007.

* And, (tipping my hand that the downloads listed my January eMusic post weren't really downloaded in January)  ... several Christmas songs! It seems like forever ago, but I nabbed "Christmas Tree on Fire" by Holly Golightly and "City of Christmas Ghosts" by Poly Styrene & Goldblade (both from A Damaged Christmas Gift for You) and "Papa Ain't No Santa Claus, Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree" by Butterbeans & Susie and "Santa's Helper" by Joe Poovey (both from a compilation called Papa Ain't No Santa Claus, Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree). I used all of these on the 2012 Big Enchilada Christmas Special.

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