ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING
1. "Vamos" -- The Pixies (Come On Pilgrim)
Twangy guitars. Black Francis talking in Spanish, yowling, and growling. Ambiguous but sexual lyrics. Ah yes, the ingredients were all there, even at the git' go.
Vamos a jugar por la playa. Sounds like a plan to me.
2. "Struttin' With Some Barbeque" -- Louis Armstrong with his Hot Five (Hot 5s & 7s, Vol 3).
And speaking of good plans, how can one help but strut when eating good barbeque?
This just sounds old, because it is. Guitar (or is it banjo) drives the rhythm, and of course Satchmo brings the hot sauce. And I love the way the clarinet weaves in and around the melody in early 20th century jazz. Just a fun sound.
3. "Dead" -- The Pixies (Doolittle)
Didn't I have this song a few weeks ago? No, that was "Monkey Gone To Heaven." Ok.
Another song off Doolittle, though. And amazingly, another of the few songs I'm not crazy about on that amazing album. Nothing wrong with this one, but not among my favorites.
4. "Prove Yourself" -- Radiohead (Pablo Honey)
Transitioning, Thom Yorke croons, "I'm better off dead" early on in this one.
Pablo Honey gets slagged in the musical press too much I think. It's no Bends or Ok Computer, of course, but it's not a bad album in my opinion, and this is a decent song. Once again, as with Come On Pilgrim, all the ingredients are here, if not combined as magically as you'd find in a few years.
5. "Behavior Control Technician" -- Fishbone (The Reality of My Surroundings)
Wow, that's a lot of noise for 7:10 am. Yikes. But, in fairness, this isn't a bad effort off an album that I never listen to anymore. I was really into the 'Bone back in the early 90s. Fun, rowdy music. Amazing concerts. A weird amalgam of political and smarmily sexual lyrics that appealed to me as a young guy.
I see what I liked, even though it no longer gets me going. No apologies, even though I won't be putting them back to the top of the list anytime soon (read: Never).
6. "Holiday Song" -- The Pixies (Come On Pilgrim)
And Ipod weirdness (read: annoyingness) continues. I know random means "random." I know that 1-2-3-4-5 is just as likely as 4-1-5-3-2, but after 4 weeks I'm starting to think "shuffle" is more like "cut."
Anyhow, a cool song off Come On Pilgrim.
7. "What Goes On" -- The Feelies (Only Life)
Yes! I fucking love The Feelies. My number one nominee for "underrated" artist. Great musicians, great songs, a very unique sound. A Feelies song sounds like . . . a Feelies song. No mistaking it.
This Velvet Underground cover perfectly illustrates the obvious influence Lou Reed and VU had on the Feelies. Yet, that said, there's no mistaking that particular Mercer/Million thing.
Incidentally, I heard this album at a friend's beach house in the summer of '91, and no matter where I am when I hear it, I'm instantly brought back there. And good memories come with that, let me tell you. Nice.
8. "Heaven on their Minds" -- Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar)
One of about three "Original Cast Recordings" I own. Anyone who owns this one doesn't need to me to explain how great it is.
And those who don't will never be convinced to even give it a chance. Hey, that's how it goes.
This is a good song, too. With its "groovy" guitar, fat organ riffs, shuffling piano rhythms, and funky bass line, this brings the 70's sound I need to balance a growing-but-not-yet-mature Lloyd Webber pompousness. The lyrics aren't bad either.
9. "Stairway To The Stars" -- Ella Fitzgerald (Something To Live For)
Sing it to me, Ella. Her voice was so pretty on certain early songs. Like this one. Mmmmm.
I like Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday more than Ella (one's sweeter, the other more bitter, and I tend to like my tastes intense), but Fitzgerald clearly owes nothing to anyone. Hard to think of anyone with more mastery of her instrument. In this case, her voice.
10. "One More Cup Of Coffee" -- Bob Dylan (Desire)
Ahhhh, this is a good one. Such a sad song. So filled with regret, with a sense of whatever's been lost. The violin brings the heavy emotions. And Emmylou Harris's backup singing manages to lighten the sound without taking away from the overall sense of loss.
Plus, I'm a total sucker for duets or harmonies between men and women. I love the contrast. And in Dylan & Harris, there's little contrast lacking.
11. "When I Come Around" -- Green Day (Dookie)
Whoa. Rough transition. But that shouldn't take away from the fact that this is a good tune. I really have no use at all for Green Day from the mid 90s through the mid-00s. Just does nothing for me. But Dookie and American Idiot make sure the bread kicks ass, even if the sandwich ingredients are for shit.
This song, on its own, might not have made me take notice 13 years ago, but after buying the album for "Longview," I was pleased to discover an album filled with a variety of solid songs. This was one of them.
So, not a bad Dozen . . . Minus One today. Once again, a little weirdness with the 3 Pixies songs (including two off the same album), but no clunkers, which is a first. And, Bob made his first appearance. If the odds & probabilities work out as you'd expect, this won't be his last time showing up.