Archive for the Lost Classics! Category

Lost Classics!: Di$co Time!

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , on November 3, 2012 by 30daysout

Would Gene Simmons and KISS go disco? You bet! (Photo by Keith Leroux for KISSOnline)

A few years ago, while riffling through my closet, I came across my old pea green leisure suit. In one pocket was a ticket stub to a Bee Gees concert, circa 1979 in the Houston Summit. (Yes, that was the one with the guest dancer appearance by one Mr. John Travolta, in town filming Urban Cowboy). Horrified at this perfect polyester time capsule, I bundled it up and gave it as a Christmas white elephant gift at the office party.

I bet there are some pretty famous people who can’t get rid of their disco mistakes so easily. Remember the Beach Boys’ disco cash-in from 1979, “Here Comes The Night”? So do we, unfortunately. How about the Electric Light Orchestra hiding behind an Olivia Newton-John vocal for the horrid “Xanadu” (1980)? Or Paul McCartney’s “Goodnight Tonight” (1979)? Truly frightening.

Unbelieveable, really.

Even artists you wouldn’t expect to do disco, people with a lot artistic integrity, did some booty-shaking tracks back in the day. They may have tried to disguise it, but a disco by another color still smells … well, you know. How about Bruce Springsteen’s “Cover Me” (1984) – a bit late in the game but you can’t deny that driving backbeat. The Eagles doing “One Of These Nights” (1975) might have been a little early in the curve so you can give them the benefit of the doubt, but had it come out a few years later it would be disco. And what about “The Magnificient Seven” by the Clash (1981)? Hmmm.

Then there are the Rolling Stones. How many disco songs did they actually do? Aside from “Miss You” (1978), there’s “Emotional Rescue” (1980) and probably “Beast of Burden” (1978). And the less said about “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” by KISS (1979), the better.

So do you have a leisure suit in the closet? Break it out, dust off your old dance moves and let’s shake some tail on this Saturday night to your favorite rock acts gettin’ down with some disco!

MP3: “One Of These Nights” (live) by the Eagles

MP3: “Cover Me” by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

MP3: “Goodnight Tonight” by Paul McCartney & Wings

MP3: “Here Comes The Night” (1979 version) by the Beach Boys

MP3: “Xanadu” by Olivia Newton-John & the Electric Light Orchestra

MP3: “The Magnificent Seven” by The Clash

MP3: “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” (2009 version) by KISS

MP3: “Discotheque” by U2

MP3: “Emotional Rescue” by the Rolling Stones

MP3: “Shakedown Street” by the Grateful Dead

MP3: “Run Like Hell” by Pink Floyd

And why not?

MP3: “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” by Rod Stewart

MP3: “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees

WTF: More Crazy Covers

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2012 by 30daysout

Francoise Hardy

For the sake of an attention-grabbing headline, we call these “crazy covers” and for the most part they’re not crazy at all.

Back in the day it was fairly common practice for even the biggest artists to do covers, because they were cheap and easy to license. And besides – when the songwriters of the day were Lennon-McCartney, Jagger-Richards, Ray Davies and this cat named Dylan, why not toss in a cover?

So here we have a handful of cover versions, mainly of tunes from the 1960s when the giants listed above still ruled the world. Each cover version sheds a new light on each song, in their own initimable way.

A few of these are kind of sneaky: Clarence Clemons is of course “covering” a song he originally played on as part of the E Street Band. Neil Diamond and Carole King are here “covering” songs that they actually wrote, but were made famous by others.

MP3: “Who’ll Be The Next In Line” by Francoise Hardy (covering The Kinks)

MP3: “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” by Mae West (covering Bob Dylan)

MP3: “Save The Last Dance For Me” by Ike & Tina Turner (covering The Drifters)

MP3: “It’s All Too Much” by My Darling Clementine (covering The Beatles)

MP3: “Cracklin’ Rosie” by Shane McGowan & The Popes (covering Neil Diamond)

MP3: “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” by Buck Owens (covering Bob Dylan)

MP3: “The Rains Came” by the Sir Douglas Quintet (covering Big Sambo)

MP3: “Foxey Lady” by Cee Lo Green (covering Jimi Hendrix)

MP3: “Woodstock” by America (covering Joni Mitchell)

MP3: “I’m A Believer” by Neil Diamond (covering The Monkees)

MP3: “I Can’t Turn You Loose” by Edgar Winter’s White Trash (covering Otis Redding)

MP3: “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by Alex Chilton (covering The Rolling Stones)

MP3: “Small Things” by Clarence Clemons (covering Bruce Springsteen)

MP3: “I’m Into Something Good” by Brian Wilson and Carole King (covering Herman’s Hermits)

Video Du Jour (Part Trois): Bob Dylan

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , on March 7, 2012 by 30daysout

From the premiere of “The Johnny Cash Show” on ABC-TV in 1969. The show’s first-episode guests were Joni Mitchell, Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw – and Bob Dylan.

Video Du Jour: Bo Diddley

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , on March 7, 2012 by 30daysout

Why Bo Diddley, you may ask? Why not? I may reply. Any time’s as good as another for Bo Diddley, and this rockin’ version of “Road Runner” is from 1965 and the TV show “Shindig.” They used to have stuff like this on TV all the time.

Video Du Jour: Johnny Cash

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags on February 24, 2012 by 30daysout

Sorry we haven’t posted anything this week – we’ve been listening to that new Springsteen record. So to make it up to you, here’s “Help Me,” from the great Johnny Cash in 2006.

It Came From Halloween – The Misfits

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by 30daysout

Shouldn’t let a Halloween go by without paying tribute to the Misfits.  The creators of horror punk movement, the Misfits came out of the swamps of New Jersey in 1977 and are still goin’ strong, more or less.  Less singer/songwriter Glenn Danzig, who wrote many of their early songs; less Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein and Michale Graves, who played on the Misfits’ major-label album American Psycho; and without Marky Ramone, who played drums for the Misfits for a while.

The Misfits today are led by bassist/singer Jerry Only, immediately identifiable by his “devillock” hairstyle, guitarist Dez Cadena and drummer Robo (both formerly of punk titans Black Flag).  We’re gonna go see the Misfits in November when they roll through Houston, you should see them too when they come to your town.

MP3: “Twilight Of The Dead” by the Misfits

MP3: “Astro Zombies” by the Misfits

MP3: “Night Of The Living Dead” by the Misfits

MP3: “Die, Die My Darling” by the Misfits

MP3: “Horror Hotel” by the Misfits

MP3: “From Hell They Came” by the Misfits

MP3: “On A Wicked Night” by Danzig

MP3: “Dawn Of The Dead” by Michale Graves

MP3: “Halloween II” by the Misfits

MP3: “The Devil’s Rain” by the Misfits

Video: “Dig Up Her Bones” by the Misfits

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Misfits official website

It Came From Halloween – Scary Rock and Roll!

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by 30daysout

Alice Cooper and friend

Face it – rock and roll isn’t that scary.  Unless you’re an uptight parent, or some kind of preacher.  Rock music about Halloween, and the stuff that comes with Halloween, is goofy and funny, but it isn’t frightening.  Although I must admit, I got a bit of a fright the first time I saw Adam Lambert perform … but thankfully that’s not rock and roll.  Or is it?  Bwahahahaha!

Back in the day, there was Alice Cooper.  He had an act that involved boa constrictors, decapitating baby dolls with a guillotine (or something) and an electric chair.  Alice also had Top 40 hits – “I’m Eighteen,” “School’s Out” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy” among them.  Successful, certainly; entertaining, probably.  But scary?  No.

Before Alice, back in the 1950s, there was Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.  He jumped in and out of a coffin during his stage act, performed fake voodoo rituals and had some pretty crazy music.  But his snake wasn’t even real.  After Alice, you can take your pick among the punk rockers of the late 1970s: they were kind of disturbing, but honestly not scary.  And from the 1990s, you had Marilyn Manson – the less said about him the better.

So by default, I guess Alice Cooper is the scariest guy in rock and roll.  Unless you count Adam Lambert …

MP3: “Black Juju” by Alice Cooper

MP3: “Feast of the Mau Mau” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

MP3: “Excitable Boy” (live) by Warren Zevon

MP3: “Frankenstein” (live) by Edgar Winter

MP3: “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult

MP3: “Skeletons In The Closet” by Alice Cooper

MP3: “Skull Ring” by Iggy Pop w/the Stooges

MP3: “Screamin’ Ball (At Dracula Hall)” by the Duponts

MP3: “Haunted House” by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons

MP3: “The Blob” by the Five Blobs

MP3: “This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

MP3: “Bo Meets The Monster” by Bo Diddley

MP3: “Witch Queen of New Orleans” by Redbone

MP3: “Hallowed Be My Name” by Alice Cooper

MP3: “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath

MP3: “Monster Motion” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett

MP3: “Out Of Limits” by the Challengers

MP3: “Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley

MP3: “Here Comes The Bride (The Bride of Frankenstein)” by Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark

MP3: “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Deep South: R. L. Burnside

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags on October 13, 2011 by 30daysout

R.L. Burnside at Houston's Continental Club, 2000.

Bluesman R.L. Burnside is definitely an acquired taste: when he was alive and stompin’, R.L. was as raw and rowdy as the Mississippi juke joints he played in most of his life. But he remains one of America’s purest bluesmen, one who ought to be ranked alongside greats like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

Burnside played music since the 1960s, but nobody really paid attention until 30 years later. Certainly it was the album A Ass Pocket of Whiskey (1996), recorded with white-boy blues revisionist Jon Spencer and his Blues Explosion, that made R. L. go nationwide. The music on Ass Pocket is hilariously profane and unpolished to the point that calling it “lo-fi” might be a stretch. With Spencer howling in the background, Burnside yells the blues like one bad mother***er, which incidentally is a word he uses often on this album.

When we finally got to see R. L. play live, on a cool winter night in 2000, he didn’t drop the “mf” bomb once. By that time, one supposes, R. L. was trying to clean up his act. He told a few stories between songs, but they weren’t as wildly nasty as the “toasts” he committed to tape for Ass Pocket. Many people’s favorite was “The Criminal Inside Me,” which begins as a “Signifying Monkey” kind of story then spins wildly out of control as Spencer and R. L. scream at each other. Classic!

But live as on record, R. L. could play the blues. He had with him a great slide guitar player Kenny Brown, and his grandson Cedric Burnside was a monster on the drums. I couldn’t tell you the titles of most of the tunes R. L. played that night; most were just obscure blues tunes he most likely pulled out of his ass pocket on the spur of the moment. He used his trademark saying “Well well well” sparingly, drawing a huge cheer whenever he did so.

R. L. got limited mainstream success; his remixed song “It’s Bad You Know” appeared on “The Sopranos” in 1999 or so and his 2001 live album Burnside on Burnside was critically acclaimed and a modest hit.

Even as R. L. got more popular, he was in the twilight of his life. After a heart attack in 2001 he tried to stop drinking but found he couldn’t play as well. His health problems limited his touring, and finally R. L. died in 2005 at the age of 78.

MP3: “The Criminal Inside Me”

MP3: “Tojo Told Hitler”

MP3: “Boogie Chillen”

MP3: “Snake Drive”

MP3: “Georgia Women”

MP3: “Chain Of Fools”

R. L. Burnside page at Fat Possum Records

Deep South: Jeannie C. Riley and Joe South

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , on September 19, 2011 by 30daysout

Jeannie C. Riley

I once read an article that called singer Jeannie C. Riley a “corn-pone Nancy Sinatra.” Funny, but that’s not far off the mark. Riley, a Texas gal, hit it big in 1968 with the anthem-of-sorts “Harper Valley P.T.A.” That made her the first woman to top the Billboard Top 100 charts and the country charts at the same time.

She followed up that smash with a number of other successful tunes, like “The Girl Most Likely” and “The Back Side of Dallas.” Often seen on TV wearing a miniskirt, Riley sold a pre-fab countrypolitan sex appeal just a few steps ahead of the corn-pone cheesecake of “Hee Haw.” (Sorry.) Although that image was kind of groundbreaking for Nashville at the time, it pretty much locked her and stunted her artistic growth.

Riley was admired as a strong-willed individual, probably for the in-your-face rebelliousness and self-righteousness of “Harper Valley” and “Generation Gap.” But she more likely a producer’s plaything – after all, most of her tunes were penned by Nashville pros (Tom T. Hall wrote “Harper Valley P.T.A.”) and her albums each had a handful of more traditional songs calculated to balance out Riley’s more progressive numbers.

On 1970’s The Generation Gap, perhaps Riley’s finest, for each “Generation Gap,” the sassy “To The Other Woman” and even the weirdly psychedelic “Words, Names, Faces,” there are a handful of tunes more typical of conventional country music. On that album Riley even launches a version of Merle Haggard’s right-wing classic “Okie From Muskogee,” making for a perfectly schizoid experience.

Jeannie C. Riley kept performing into the 1980s, even though she became a born-again Christian. Sometime in the 1990s she suffered clinical depression and pretty much dropped out of the spotlight.

MP3: “Generation Gap”

MP3: “Fine Feathered Friends”

MP3: “Words, Names, Faces”

MP3: “To The Other Woman”

YouTube: “Harper Valley P.T.A.”

One of the best tunes on Riley’s The Generation Gap was a song by singer/songwriter Joe South, “Games People Play.” South was best known as a session guitarist (he played on Tommy Roe’s “Sheila,” Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.

South was inspired by the social upheaval of the day for “Games People Play,” which became his biggest hit in 1969. He wrote another socially aware number, “Walk A Mile In My Shoes,” which was covered by Elvis Presley; a soulful “Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home,” covered by Brook Benton; “Hush” for Deep Purple; “Down in The Boondocks” for Billy Joe Royal; and perhaps biggest of all, the smash “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden,” for Lynn Anderson.

Joe South

Joe was a prolific album artist as well, he had a bright career in front of him as the 1970s dawned. But in 1971 South’s brother Tommy, who backed Joe on drums, committed suicide and it drove Joe into a deep depression.  At the peak of his career South basically quit the music business; although he still lives outside Atlanta and continues to write music, he rarely performs.

MP3: “Games People Play”

MP3: “Drown In My Own Tears”

MP3: “Revolution of Love”

MP3: “Hush” by Deep Purple

MP3 “Walk A Mile In My Shoes” (live) by Elvis Presley

YouTube: “Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home” by Joe South

New series: Deep South – Roy Head

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , on September 12, 2011 by 30daysout

We’re going to give our “Your Sister’s (Record) Rack” series a rest for the time being. But we’re starting a new weekly series, “Deep South,” which focuses on artists who came up and in many cases performed almost exclusively in the southern United States.

Why the South? Well, tell me if you can think of any other places that have produced music like New Orleans, and Memphis, and Nashville, and Austin. The list goes on and on. In this series we hope to spin a few records that originated from those places, and connect the dots by visiting smaller areas in between.

Today let’s begin in our home base of Houston, Texas, with Roy Head. Roy is best known for his 1965 hit “Treat Her Right,” which is perhaps one of the best examples of that curious genre known as “blue-eyed soul.”

“Treat Her Right” was cut in Houston’s own Gold Star studios, with legendary producer Huey Meaux at the dials. The song reached No. 2 on the pop charts, and has been covered in ensuing years by the likes of Jimmy Page, Bruce Springsteen and many others.

Roy cut this hit and many follow-ups with his band the Traits, which formed in 1958 when most of the members were still teenagers. Head would leave the band behind in the 1970s for a solo career. He would cut rockabilly, lots of soul and even some psychedelic stuff before he settled into a country genre but he never repeated the success he had in 1965 with “Treat Her Right.”

Head still lives and works in the Houston area and he is a fixture on the Ponderosa Stomp, the annual roots music festival held each spring in New Orleans. Roy’s son Jason “Sundance” Head was a contestant on Season 6 of “American Idol.”

MP3: “Treat Her Right”

MP3: “Apple Of My Eye”

MP3: “Treat Me Right”

MP3: “Boogie Chillun”

MP3: “Just A Little Bit”

Roy Head at the Ponderosa Stomp