Monday, October 7, 2013

Music 10-07-13

Ever since my days as a lonely teenager, before the internet made it all so much easier, I've loved to research and hunt out music, comics, movies, books. I would learn about new artists by reading every article and review I could find and following every incidental fact and reference like they were a my own private treasure map. One of the pleasures of this sort of search is coming across the various connections and coincidences that can create common ground between different bands (or movies or whatever else). For instance, when I was living in Spain without much to do except listen to music, do homework, shoot the shit with my roommates, and listen to music, I found a used copy of the out of print and obscure Billy Nichols album Would You Believe.

I had never heard of it, but a sticker on the front assured me it was a lost Pet Sounds (which was and is my favorite album, natch) plus it also had a green and yellow cover. I bought and loved the thing and later found out the backing band on the album was Small Faces, another band I had recently gotten into.

I've been obsessing over the various online garage sales my favorite record label, Sundazed has been having. On a hunch, I purchased the album Western Union, by a band I had never heard of the "Five Americans. The album was produced by an old rockabilly guy Dale Hawkins.

I f*cking love that song "Western Union." I play it all the time and when it comes on try and get Clementine to dance with me. The whole album is superb, full of originals plus a few choice covers. It's fairly bubblegum, but has a garage rock edge, interesting arrangements, and rad vocals. One of the band members played organ, which you don't hear enough in '60s pop outside of the Doors.

Simultaneously, while my order was getting shipped to me, I raided the dollar CD section of one of my favorite local stores. I bought Chronicle 1  by Creedence Clearwater Revival, featuring their early hit "Suzie Q" written by the same Dale Hawkins. Both albums also featured excellent covers of "I Put a Spell on You" by Screaming Jay Hawkins (no relation to Dale), one of my all time favorite songs.

I was once interviewed about our comic book store (it was never published) and asked my top favorite songs. Limiting myself to one song from each artists, I came up with 1. Surf's Up by the Beach Boys, 2. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright by Bob Dylan, 3. Transmission by Joy Division and 4. I Put a Spell on You by Screamin' Jay.

The Sundazed garage sale is still going on. I just ordered two more Five Americans albums, plus Solomon Burke, Davie Allan & the Arrows, and the Gestures. It's amazing and thrilling how rich our musical culture is. I am not one of those curmudgeons that think modern music stinks, but we certainly do have a wealth of great rock and pop music from the '50s on, much of which it's impossible to top.

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