Ghosts of Record Stores Past and Present

Much of my youth was spent hunting for and playing vinyl. I have created this site to remember many of the stores I've visited. Don't try and visit them without calling first, as many of them are no longer with us. If I've posted a picture of a store that you want me to delete please let me know and I'll take it down. To see a particular store just open the photo album with its name on it or click on the green (open) or red (closed) marker in the map below. Expanding the map will reveal more stores in the same city.

The site also contains links to interesting articles and information on record shops and record collecting and fine musical suggestions and playlists for your listening pleasure (with You Tube links so you can check them out for yourself). The Playlists can be found by scrolling to a separate section of the index under the heading musical resources. And our latest addition, Song of the Day, a glimpse at what's playing on my stereo today, appears there as well.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fats Waller - Your Feets Too Big

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is by the immortal Fats Waller - Your Feets Too Big.
Two versions of the song are featured below - the first is the original 1939 recording, set to a cartoon.  And the second, a live version from 1941.  Waller was both an accomplished jazz pianist, who played stride style, and a comedic performer of immense girth.  Here, he is performing a light song written by Fred Fisher and Ada Benson that closes with Waller's immortal catch phrase - One Never Knows, Do One.  Waller died very young of pneumonia on a cross-country train trip at 39.

And here is another version, performed live by Fats Waller in 1941.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Lou Reed - Dirty Boulevard

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is Lou Reed - Dirty Boulevard.  Long past his tour with the Velvet Underground, Reed rises again here as he (mostly) talks and (sometimes) sings his way through this bleak ode to New York's poor.  A simple three chord progression, this one is mostly about the words, over a stripped down backing  with a soulful embellishment at the end.  From 1988's New York, this one fared well on the modern radio charts.  It has a backing vocal by none other than Dion (Dimucci).

"No one here dreams of being a doctor or a lawyer or anything
They dream of dealing on the dirty boulevard"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Free - All Right Now

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is by Free - All Right Now.  A massive hit in 1970, this one is no secret - just in the mood for some good rock n roll.  Great bass line, great lead guitar, great vocal.  Sorry for the video, but couldn't find anything better with the right version of this hit.  Paul Rodgers, the lead singer, went on the form bad company.  Unfortunately, Paul Kossoff, the guitarist, died way before his time at 25.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Housemartins - Happy Hour

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is from England's Housemartins - Happy Hour. From 1986's London 0 Hull 4 (a football score for those in the US who have no clue, like me),  Its alternative, described as jangle pop with a soul vocal.  Upbeat and catchy.  The video is quite good, but you'll have to wait a little before the song starts. The band gave birth to Beautiful South and Fatboy Slim.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Howard Tate - Ain't Nobody Home

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day features a trio of tunes from Howard Tate.  The first two, Ain't Nobody Home and Get It While You Can, are from his 1966 album Get It While You Can.  The third, 8 Days On The Road, is from 1972's Howard Tate.

Soul, sounding a lot like Otis Redding. Howard Tate shows just how hard the music business is.  His first album in particular, where he teamed with writer/producer Jerry Ragovoy (he wrote Time Is On My Side by the Rolling Stones), is chock full of great soul that should have launched a long and successful career.  Ain't Nobody Home was a minor Rnb hit, but the album went nowhere, as did two subsequent attempts.

But its here for you now.  If you like soul, these are damn fine records, and there is more where that came from.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Alt-J - Tessellate

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is by Alt-J  Tessellate.  British alternative band, this song, from 2012's An Awesome Wave, features Thom Yorke like vocals over a electronic piano, bass, and hip hop beat, starting with a bell like keyboard intro.  To my ear, a sound similar to Autour de Lucie.  Tessellation is a math term, meaning an image created when a shape is repeated over and over again covering a plane without any gaps or overlaps (think M.C. Escher). This is not the 'official video', but a tribute I liked better.  Are triangles your favorite shape?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Song of the Day

Little Eva - Let's Turkey Trot

Today's Song of the Day is by Little Eva - Let's Turkey Trot.  It's Thanksgiving, and in honor of Turkey Trotters everywhere, I give you this little girl group ditty from the Sixties to fire you up before you begin the run.  Remember, its worth an extra helping of turkey and pumpkin pie at your feast.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Portable Music Players

Portable Music Players

In honor of the passing of the beloved iPod Classic and its robust 160 gb hard drive, I thought I'd post pictures of all the portable music players I've bought over the years to ease the pain.  My very first was a portable Craig 212 reel to reel tape recorder, that I used to tape singles off the AM radio played by Cousin Brucie.  I think the tapes were something like 20 minutes long.  Of course, there are the portable record players, which typically played 45s/singles, maybe 3 to 5 minutes long.  We bought a Rio Diamond too (18 song capacity I believe) but we couldn't find it at press time.  Boy I'm going to miss the classic.  P.S.  All of the devices are pictured in a slide show, below.  If you don't see it, try using Google Chrome.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Happy Mondays - Step On

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is by the Happy Mondays - Step On.  From 1990's Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches, this is the definition of the Madchester sound, from the same Manchester England scene that gave us the Stone Roses.  This track, alternative rave dance music, with a heavy bottom, was a cover of John Kongos/Christos Demetriou tune "He's Gonna Step On You Again", and rose to No. 5 in the UK in 1990.  This is quite a cool video.  Is it just me, or is anybody Happy on Mondays?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Thing, Brooklyn New York

The Thing - Brooklyn New York

Open record store. - 1001 Manhattan Ave. Brooklyn New York 11222

Recently I had a chance to spend an old fashion day searching for records in Brooklyn.  There are plenty of record stores alive and well in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.  Indeed, there were more stores to visit then I had time for in a single day.  The confluence of cheaper rent and proximity to a community interested in buying vinyl leads to great selection and opportunity.

Here is my first post about the stores I visited.  I start with The Thing.  I heard of it, but had never before experienced it.  As the sign says, more used vinyl than anywhere else in NYC.  No man could look at it all in a day (or two or three .... ).  Prices can't be beat - 50 cents a single, $2 an album. There is only one catch - there is absolutely, positively no organization.  So let the crate digging begin. David Johansen, who oversees the proceedings from his perch over the gateway to records, would be proud.

Oh, its a second hand shop for some of the upstairs.

The Thing Thrift Shop and Record Store Brooklyn New York Store Front

You can't truly appreciate just how many records there are without a video - a number of people have obliged - here's one - titled Josh Goes Diggin' @ the Thing - Brooklyn New York from Josh Lamont.

Here's a link to a May 7, 2006 article on the Thing in the New York Times by Nathaniel Rich titled Vinyl Underground   It's old, but he estimates that they have 130,000 records in there.  What do you think?

Next up on my Brooklyn trip -  Earwax.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Aimee Mann - Save Me

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is Aimee Mann - Save Me.  From the soundtrack of 1999's Magnolia, it is accompanied here by a great video, shot by the director of the film after the closing of various shoots for the movie.  The video features the movie's cast, in the movie's sets, with the addition of Mann singing Save Me.  Quite cool.

It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song (it would have won if I voted), I would call it adult alternative pop, its a great song featuring a rubbery bass that would fit right in on a Beatle's record.

Magnolia's soundtrack features a number of Mann songs, including her cover of One, and Wise Up, both worthy of repeated listens.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bobby 'Boris' Pickett - Monster Mash

Song of the Day

Its Halloween, so there can only be one song of the day - it's Monster Mash by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt Kicker 5.  Actually a number one hit in 1962, that's Leon Russell in the backing group. Doo wop, before Little Shop of Horrors (as a musical), with Bobby doing his best Boris Karloff imitation.  Hey baby, care for a jolt from my electrode?

Want some more?  How about Science Fiction Double Feature from the Rocky Horror Picture Show?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Julieta Venegas - Casa Abandonada

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is from Julieta Venegas - Casa Abandonada (Abandoned House).  From 2000's Bueninvento, I found this record on a list of top 10 Latin rock records from Rolling Stone magazine.  Here, Venegas is a alternative rocker, before she moved more main stream later in her career, to great success. Below are two versions of this song - the first is a live version from 2009, where she accompanies herself only on piano - she makes some mistakes, but personally I like this version better than that on her album, where she plays the accordion, instead of the piano.  Either way, a great alternative  song.  She hails from Mexico.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Elastica - Stutter

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is from Elastica - Stutter.  Originally released in 1993, this could have been released 15 years earlier and fit right on the charts.  Britpop with heavy punk (think Buzzcocks/Wire) and New Wave influences, this is about a guy who, ahem, can't perform, from his lovers point of view. From their 1995 self-titled debut.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Three Dog Night - One

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is Three Dog Night - One.  From 1969's Suitable for Framing, Three Dog Night is a dirty pleasure - disrespected when I was growing up because they didn't write their own songs, they featured three lead singers, each of whom lead the band with a number one hit.  Here, they cover Harry Nilsson's One, with Chuck Negron taking the lead.  They had a knack for finding excellent material by others, and producing chart topping versions.

This song has also been covered more recently by Aimee Mann, who's version appears in the Soundtrack for the movie Magnolia.  The song begins with Harry Nilsson saying ok Mr. Mix, from another song he wrote.

And of course, Harry Nilsson's version, for fun.

All versions are provided, below.  Which is better?  You be the judge.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Leo Kottke - Louise

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is Leo Kottke - Louise.  From 1972's Greenhouse, Kottke is the master of the 12 string guitar, and he does not disappoint here.  While his deep baritone is an acquired taste, he uses it to great effect here on the Paul Siebel song of the sad Louise, a moving saga of a wasted life.
On this video, Kottke plays it by himself, a folk song by a truly accomplished player.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mississippi Records, Portland Oregon

Mississippi Records, Portland Oregon
  Open - 5202 N. Albina Ave. Portland Oregon  97217

Made a trip to Portland Oregon this summer, and visited a number of record stores.  Thought Mississippi Records was the best.  A small shop, but a lot of great records (and plenty of traffic in the store). Good selection, many genres and, most important for the discerning record collector, cheap prices. They also sell vintage equipment, and have a record label.  And you can give a listen before you buy.

Portland is a very friendly record store town, with a number of good ones to choose from.  Portland's stores also have chipped in to provide a handy guide to all the local stores.

Have to thank The Vinyl Record Collector Blog, who did a great post on Portland record stores which I used as a helpful guide to my own local tour.  You'll find a link to their article on Portland's record stores, below.

This record store was also listed in a post on Buzz Feed - 27 Breathtaking Record Stores You Have To Shop Before You Die as well as a recent article in USA Today on the Ten Best Record Stores In The USA.  Heady company.

Found some really good records, as you will see below.  Most happy with the copy of Elliot Smith's Either/Or - haven't seen one before or since.

An article informs that Mississippi Records got its name because it was originally on Mississippi Avenue when it was opened.  It isn't now.

Another good store I visited on my trip was The Vinyl Resting Place.

Mississippi Records Record Store Portland Oregon Store Front

Vinyl Record Collector's Blog wrote this most helpful article about Portland's record stores.  Their recommendations were spot on.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gomez - Girlshapedlovedrug

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is Gomez - Girlshapedlovedrug.  Sunny alternative pop from 2005's How We Operate, Gomez is a British band (ok, some members now live in the US) which does not feature anyone named Gomez.  Go figure.  But the song is light, airy, and cheerful.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is the Libertines - Can't Stand Me Now.  From 2004's The Libertines, the band was fronted by Carl Barat and Pete Doherty, and one never knew how long they could stay together.  Two albums worth seems to be the right answer at this point.  This was their most successful single, reaching no. 2 in the UK, and produced by Mick Jones of Clash fame.  Its indie rock, with influences of punk and garage - the guitars are not polished, nor are the harmonies - but the two sing well together, and this song describes their touch and go relationship.  We can only hope for a third go.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is the Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter.  Written largely by Keith Richards, it features one of his best guitar riff intros, which is quite a feat given the many great intros he has written.  The chick vocal is by Merry Clayton, who tells quite a story about the recording session.

This is from 1969's Let It Bleed, and to me has always symbolized the end of the 60's - gone are the tight harmonies of mid 60's AM pop, the love power of 1967, and the psychedelia that followed,  It is replaced by dark images of the Vietnam war, and assassinations.  One of my all time favorite Stones' songs, it has always been number one on my personal Stones playlist.

The video below is very interesting, featuring a number of disturbing images from the late 60s set against the song.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Song of the Day

The Band - Unfaithful Servant

Today's song of the day is one of my favorite songs by The Band - Unfaithful Servant.  From 1969's classic album, the Band, it is a sad ballad sung by Rick Danko, featuring a great guitar solo from its songwriter Robbie Robertson, and a nice horn chart.  The album generally featured songs about the South, circa the Civil War, as is this one, which tells a tale of an affair between the Unfaithful Servant and his mistress.  The Band was a great, if too short lived group, that featured three separate lead vocalists.  Nowhere are they better represented then on this album, which contains any number of great songs.  The version here is the studio version - they also released an excellent live version of this song on Rock of Ages.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Paragons - Got To Get Away

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is one of my all-time favorite reggae/rocksteady songs, the Paragons - Got To Get Away aka Man Next Door.  From 1968, this is not Bob Marley reggae, but slightly earlier, with tight harmonies, and a great melody over a grooving bottom bass line.  This is also the band that gave you the original Tide is High, long before it became at hit with Blondie.  This song too has been covered to great effect by others.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is the Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You.  From 2000's 13 Tales from Urban Bohemia (a really good album) this is alternative rock, with plenty of echoes from elsewhere, particularly the Rolling Stones (hear the whoo whoo whoo and several of the guitar lines).  This version of the song's video is censored.  As you guessed, the band's name is a play on 60s counterculture icon Andy Warhol.  The song has been featured in both a number of movies and tv shows.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Curtis Mayfield - Superfly

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is Curtis Mayfield - Superfly.  From the 1972 blaxplotation film of the same name, it is Curtis Mayfield with his high thin falsetto laying down the funk.  In the film, the star - Ron O'Neal - plays Priest, a coke dealer looking for one last big score to leave the business.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hospitality - Betty Wang

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is by Brooklyn based Hospitality - Betty Wang.  From their 2012 debut album, this is upbeat indie pop led by female vocalist Amber Papini, who wrote this song.  The song is about someone Papini met at work - Betty Wang - who's birth name - Su Chia - is the chorus I spent way too much time trying to figure out (flu shot?  two shots?). 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Los Mads - Rock n' Roll Woman

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is by Los Mads - Rock n' Roll Woman.  A cult band from Peru, this is a cover of Buffalo Springfield's / Stephen Stills Rock n' Roll Woman.  Sung in English, they've slowed it way down from the original, psychedicized it, and stretched it way out.  Kept the heavy reverb and added a fat rubbery bass guitar - quite a nice cover.  Like many, the band almost, but not quite made it.  Apparently discovered by the Rolling Stone's Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, but broke up before they broke through.  But they left this ace song behind.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Elliott Smith - Cupid's Trick

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is from Elliott Smith - Cupid's Trick.  From 1997's Either/Or, this is a bit more rockin' Alternative than usual from Elliott Smith, a great and under appreciated artist who died way to young.  He plays all the instruments on this one, and his thin-reed voice leads the proceedings.  Not as much here, but in many other songs, seems like a descendent of Nick Drake, a folk legend of the late 60s who also died tragically young.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Beck - Song Reader

Song of the Day

The great Beck (Hansen) in 2012 published a book of sheet music, containing 20 new (and great) songs.  Rather than put them on his own album, he gave them to the world first to have a go at interpreting them.  He has done some live shows of the material, with others, but he's given all an opportunity to put their mark on these songs.  Imagine getting a John Lennon/Paul McCartney song before they did it.

Here are some great versions of the songs on the album - some by Beck himself.

Beck - Title of this Song

Great version - accompanied by cool video of awesome skateboarders bombing downhill.  Any one know who is singing?

Beck - Do We? We Do

Beck and friends performing Do We?  We Do - in London in 2013.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Specials - A Message To You Rudy

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is from the Specials - A Message To You Rudy.  One of a number of great ska songs from this 2 Tone ska revival group, this one was originally written by Dandy Livingstone in 1967 and sported a slightly different title (Rudy, A Message To You).  Great trombone solo and rocksteady beat, this video features the band as it presented to the public when it was first formed - repelete with 60's mod style 'rude boy' outfits - including porkpie hats. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is my favorite Richard Thompson song - Richard Thompson - 1952 Vincent Black Lightning.  This is a live version that shows the true guitar virtuosity of Thompson, and showcases both his singing and songwriting ability.  A great folk song that tells the tragic love story about two lovers and a motorcycle - the Vincent Black Lightning.  The song first appeared on his Rumor and Sigh album in 1991.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Song of the Day

Beatles - Taxman

It's April 15, so there can only be one Song of the Day, the Beatles - Taxman.  From the superb Revolver album in 1966, this was one of the first George Harrison songs I really liked.  A good guitar riff, with George singing lead.  The lyrics make reference to a British super tax of that day, where certain incomes were taxed at 95%.  Aren't politicians grand?

Hope you've already filed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tunes - Voorhees New Jersey

Tunes  -  Voorhees New Jersey
Open - 910 County Rte. 561, Voorhees Township,  NJ 08043

After a wedding in New Jersey, went to check out the local record store scene.  Found Tunes, which is a chain of about 6 stores.  This one had a decent selection of records, reasonably priced.  Picked up some good records, Willie Nile's first record, a Mother Earth, and Art Blakey and the Messenger's Mosaic on Blue Note.  Happy hunting.

Tunes Record Store Voorhees New Jersey

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Heard It Thru The Grapevine

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is one of my favorite Soul songs, Heard it Thru the Grapevine.  Here, we feature the version by Creedence Clearwater Revival - Heard It Thru The Grapevine.  First we give you the full version that appears on the album Cosmo's Factory (1970), where the song clocks in at a full 11 minutes.  Below, we have a nice video of the band performing an abbreviated version of the song.

Here's the shortened version with a video of Creedence performing the song.

Of course, there are many excellent versions of this song from the Motown factory, including versions both by Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight and the Pips.

Gladys Knight and the Pips

Marvin Gaye

Can't go wrong with any of them.  And to think, when they originally penned this song, the boys at Motown didn't hear a No. 1.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Song of the Day

Maniac - Michael Sembello (Flashdance

This song is a guilty pleasure.  You shouldn't like it.  Your friends shouldn't know you like it.  You shouldn't be seen playing it.  But you like it anyhow.  Maniac - Michael Sembello (Flashdance)

Don't worry, by You Tube's current count - so do 11 million others.  So go ahead, give it a listen.  You know you want to.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rocky Horror Picture Show - Science Fiction Double Feature

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is from the camp classic Rocky Horror Picture Show - Science Fiction Double Feature  This is the intro song to the movie - which plays while moving lips sing against a black backdrop.  A camp classic, this film first hit the screen in 1975, and tells the tale of the mad scientist Dr. Frank-n-furter (Tim Curry), a transvestite from Transylvania who is building a man, and Brad and Janet (a young Susan Surandon) who's car break down leads them to his house.  It also features a cameo by Meat Loaf, who sings a rocker before his untimely demise.  Oh, and don't forget the pelvic thrust.  It really drives you insane.

The lyrics of this song (by Richard O'Brien) make reference to a slew of B movie sci-fi classics from the 50s (which the movie sends-up).  Here, a clever videographer has pieced together those films, and more, in a video that accompanies the song.  I always loved the Blob - remember how it gets killed?

Want more?  Here's a link to Rocky Music, The Musical World of Rocky Horror, a webpage that delves even more deeply into the Sci-Fi behind the song.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Paul McCartney - Dear Boy

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is Paul McCartney - Dear Boy.  From Ram in 1971, this is piano pop that sounds almost like choral music, with soaring harmonies, and a coda that sounds like classical music.  I remember when Ram came out how disappointed I was.  I wanted another Beatles' album, and this was not what I was looking for.  Over the years, however, as I gave it a fresh listen, without my expectations, I came to realize just how good it was.  This is one of my favorite cuts.  I'll leave to others to interpret the lyrics, and their meaning - praise for Linda or an attack on John.  You be the judge.  But to do so you'll have to listen for yourself.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild   From 1968, this song is credited with the birth of heavy metal ("heavy metal thunder") and features a snarling vocal, and swirling organ.  It was written by Mars Bonfire, who was not in the band.  Its well known for its appearance in Easy Rider (1969), which added a motorcycle to the song, and cemented the song's tie to bikers everywhere.  Rolling Stone magazine rated it 124th best song of all time. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bruthers - Bad Way To Go

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is a slab of killer 60s garage from the Bruthers - Bad Way To Go.  From 1966, this is prototypical 60s garage with a killer organ break and snarling vocals that failed to make any impact on its release.  This was the lone single from the Bruthers, who actually were four brothers (Delia) from New York.  One - Joe Delia - went on to a career in music, including as the musical director for Buster Poindexter.  But  I digress.  This is a favorite of anyone who loves 60s garage.

Image result for bruthers bad way to go

For fun a photo of the Bruthers.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Flight of the Conchords - Carol Brown

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is from the comedy program Flight of the Conchords - Carol Brown  From the New Zealand comedy duo of Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement, this song is a clever homage to Paul Simon's 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover (there must be 50 ways lovers have left me).  But this is not just a joke, the song holds up too.  I'd call it alternative/indie pop.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs - Lil' Red Riding Hood

Song of the Day

Today's Song of the Day is by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs - Lil' Red Riding Hood.  Led by Domingo "Sam the Sham" Samudio, the song rose to No. 2 in August 1966.  The group reputedly took its name from a joke about Domingo's singing ability - ie Sam the Sham.  But to sing this song, all you need to know is how to howl.  You know how to howl, don't you?

For fun, here too is Foul Owl On The Prowl by Boomer and Travis.  Apparently, for the great movie In the Heat of the Night they wanted to license Sam the Sham's song, but couldn't.  Failing that, they substituted Foul Owl On the Prowl.  You decide, which is better?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Willie Mabon - The Seventh Son

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is Willie Mabon - The Seventh Son.  Released in 1955 on Chess, this Willie Dixon penned tune was first released as a single by Willie Mabon, a Chicago blues man and piano player who here is accompanied here by a nice horn section in lieu of guitar.  It shoulda been a hit for him, but wasn't.  It was for Johnny Rivers who took it to number 7.  For your listening pleasure.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Louie Louie - Various Artists

Song(s) of the Day

Certain songs are covered over and over by different artists - some over different time periods and music genres.  Built to last, numerous artists try their hand, hoping to leave their mark.  One of those is the early rock n' roll classic Louie Louie.  Today, I thought I'd give you a series of videos by some of the many who have given it a go.  There's a garage rock version, a reggae version, a punk version, a doo-wopish version, a rap version, a version by a new wave band, a ballad version (with strings!) and several just plain rock n roll versions.  Let me know which is your favorite.

Kingsmen - Louie Louie
Richard Berry and the Pharaohs - Louie Louie
Toots and the Maytals - Louie Louie
The Clash - Louie Louie
Blondie - Louie Louie
Fat Boys - Louie Louie
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Louie Louie
Black Flag - Louie Louie
Rockin Robin Roberts - Louie Louie
Otis Day with the Dexter Lake Club Band - Louie Louie
Paul Revere and the Raiders - Louie Louie
Julie London - Louie Louie

Monday, February 24, 2014

Song of the Day

Johnny Rivers - Secret Agent Man

Today's song of the day is Johnny Rivers - Secret Agent Man.  From 1966, this song, written by P.F.Sloan and Steve Barri, was originally (as a much shorter version) used as the theme of a British spy series - called Danger Man in England, and subsequently Secret Agent in the States - starring Patrick McGoohan.  It reached number three in the US, and has the guitar sound typical of 60s garage rock.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pixies - Monkey Gone To Heaven

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is by the kings of alternative rock - Pixies - Monkey Gone To Heaven  From 1989's Doolittle, this to me has always been the best Pixies' song - featuring the original lineup with both Black Francis and Kim Deal.  Great bass, great guitar, both singing.  This album has been well praised by the critics, listed as number 226 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 best albums of all time, among others, as well as by alternative musicians, who routinely cite the Pixies as an important influence.  The album has a number of great songs, including Debaser and Gouge Away.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Song of the Day

Jose Gonzalez - Killing For Love

Today's song of the day is Jose Gonzalez - Killing For Love .  Don't be confused by his name - his parents are from Argentina, but he was born in Sweden.  This is acoustic indie pop, with a classical influenced guitar, congos, and light harmony, in a minor/sad key.  All Music reports he sounds, among others, like Nick Drake and Elliot Smith, which makes sense to me, as I had already put them all together on a playlist, and like them all.  From the 2005 album Veneer, which features a number of additionally excellent songs, including Crosses.

This is a live version - still quite good - which apparently appeared on TV.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Little Walter - My Babe

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is by the Chicago Blues Harpist Little Walter - My Babe  From 1955, Little Walter was one of the greats, crafting a sound on harmonica that was truly visionary.  His first hit was Juke, a harp instrumental of the first caliber, which was followed by many others.  Here, his doing a Willie Dixon tune, itself based on a traditional gospel song This Train (is bound for glory).  Little Walter spent much of his career working along side Muddy Waters, which produced some excellent results.  Unfortunately, he died way too young, at 38, apparently after losing a fight.   I have also included a video of Little Walter performing Jump live with Hound Dog Taylor.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Young Aristocracy - Don't Lie

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is a premo 60's garage song by the Young Aristocracy - Don't Lie  Not much is known about this group, from Tulsa Oklahoma, but this is why you crate dig, to find songs like this.  Great vocals, perfectly cheesy organ, 5 star garage.  And I do have the original single.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

R.E.M. - Driver 8

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is my favorite R.E.M. song,   R.E.M. - Driver 8.  From 1985's Fables of the Reconstruction, they were one of the first successful alternative bands, rising from college radio with ringing guitars (called by some Southern jangle) and vocals buried in the mix.  Here, the vocals are coming forward, but the ringing guitars are still there.  Per Wikipedia, the song is about the Southern Crescent, a passenger train operated by the Southern Railroad.  the band was from Athens Ga., the home of the B-52s, among others.

Apparently, I can't embed the video version I wanted (you can see it via the link above) and so I give you this version instead.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is from Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog.  Before Elvis got his hands on it, this song was a No. 1 hit for Big Mama, spending 7 weeks at the top of the R&B charts in 1953.  Per Wikipedia, the guitar is by Pete Lewis of Johnny Otis' band.  The song is part of the birth of rock and roll, with Big Mama belting the song in a blues style, but the riffs somewhat like Dale Hawkins' Suzy Q.  She might not be much to look at, but boy could she wail.  We give you two versions - the record itself, and a live version of Big Mama with Buddy Guy on guitar. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Us3 - Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is Us3 - Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)  A marriage between Jazz and rap/hip-hop, this is from 1993's Hand on the Torch.  The jazz is Herbie Hancock's Cantaloupe Island, originally on Blue Note.  Diggy-diggy bop.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Song of the Day

Queen/David Bowie - Under Pressure

Today's song of the day is the classic collaboration between Queen and David Bowie - Under Pressure  Reaching number 1 in England in 1981, this song was co-written by Queen and Bowie, with the vocals shared by Freddy Mecury and David Bowie.  A classic, with its classic bass line intro.  To me, more like a show tune than rock.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Violent Femmes - Blister In The Sun

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is the Violent Femmes - Blister In The Sun.  From 1983's debut album, the Violent Femmes, this is acoustic punk, written while (most of) the guys were in or just out of a Milwaukee high school.  The video features excerpts from the 1997 classic Grosse Point Blank, starring John Cusak as a hitman on a job who returns to his home town for his high school reunion.  The movie also stars Minnie Driver, and Alan Arkin, and features a great sound track.

Here is a link to a September 2013 interview with the band that appeared in the Village Voice.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Shirley Bassey and the Propellerheads - History Repeating

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is by Shirley Bassey/Propellerheads - History Repeating From 1997, this is big beat and jazz meets James Bond - in the form of Dame Shirley Bassey.  Then 60 (and looking quite good, as you will see in the video), her voice is well-known, including but by no means limited to, her rendition of Goldfinger for the Bond movie of the same name.  The Propellerheads - half her age - wrote the song specifically for her  - and it fits quite well.

According to song facts - "Veteran Welsh singer Shirley Bassey ...  she was asked to participate after Propellerhead Alex Gifford wrote the song with her in mind. She explained in the Miami New Times, November 19, 1998: "He said he was asleep, and he thought about me, and these words came out. And I asked, what's a 35-year-old man doing thinking about a grandmother? I couldn't imagine!" The Propellerheads sent a demo to Bassey, who loved it but thought it might be more appropriate for Tina Turner, but the Propellerheads persuaded her to record it, arguing they wrote it specifically for her."

Monday, February 3, 2014

Tommy Tutone - 867-5309 (Jenny)

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is Tommy Tutone - 867-5309 (Jenny).  Perfect power pop from a classic one hit wonder.  Don't go looking for another, because there ain't none, but quite a tasty morsel. The number, according to the band's lead singer, was the Buffalo Chief of Police's daughter's phone number. Care to give her a call?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Neutral Milk Hotel - Two Headed Boy

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is from Neutral Milk Hotel - Two Headed Boy  From 1998's In An Aeroplane Over The Sea, this is indie pop with surreal lyrics - a truly great album from Jeff Magnum, this album was critically hailed as a major work, but then Magnum couldn't or wouldn't repeat. Rumoured to have had a nervous breakdown, he has recently been touring and hopefully will send us some more music.  This is said to have been inspired by the diary of holocaust victim Anne Frank, which explains some of the bleak lyrical references.  Highly recommended.  And produced by Rob Schneider, of Apples in Stereo and the Elephant 6 collective.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Song of the Day

Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky

Today's song of the day is one of the greatest one-hit wonders of all time - Norman Greenbaum - Spirit In The Sky  From 1969, the song features heavy fuzzed out guitar over a gospel ode to God.  According to Wikipedia, the lead on the original was not actually played by Greenbaum, but instead by Russell Dashiell, who came up with the interesting fade in/out sound by switching between his guitar's pickups, with one on and one off.  Recently feature in the movie The End. There is also a cool YouTube video that will teach you how to play the guitar parts, if you're so inclined.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Rainbow Music

Rainbow Music East Village New York City
   130 1st Ave.  East Village, New York 10009 - still open, but not for long (when I originally posted this in January 2014).
   and now, not long has passed.  Closed

Rainbow Music Record Store East Village New York City Store Front

Its quite an experience.  Records, cds, tapes are stacked from floor to ceiling, and cover the entire floor, with the exception of a single aisle running from the entrance to the rear of the store.  No discernible order to any of the stock, the owner Bill Kasper - who goes by the nickname the Birdman -  advises he won't be there long, as the landlord has visions of bigger and more profitable things.  Give him a visit before he goes - right down the block from Kim's.

Here's a  link to the blog Messy Nessy - The Last Little Music Shop In East Village an August 23, 2013 story about the store and its owner. 

A documentary filmmaker - Jessie Auritt, made a short film of the store and its owner.  You can watch it on the Messy Nessy blog post, linked above.

And here's a September 2015 story from the Times East Villages Birdman Abandoning His Nest Of Cds And Cassettes reporting on the Rainbow Music's imminent closing.

Song of the Day

Sly & the Family Stone - Hot Fun In The Summertime/ I Want To Take Your Higher

Today's song of the day is a live medly by Sly & the Family Stone - Hot Fun In The Summertime/ I Want To Take Your Higher  From 1969, when the group was full of voices that could sing and play, and Sly was inventive - bringing funk, psychedelic guitars, horns, and a great big beat to the masses - along with all those voices.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years From Home

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is British psychedelia from the Rolling Stones - 2000 Light Years From Home  The you tube video is perfect, with the band performing the track on tape with some great psychedelic effects.  From 1967's Their Satanic Majesties Request - the one with the 3d cover if you've seen the original.  Brian Jones is still with the band.  The song has some great effects, but still the Rolling Stone beat to drive it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sugarcult - Los Angeles

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is a change of pace - something a little harder Sugarcult - Los Angeles  From 2006's Lights Out, this is punk-pop song with a bit of grit - more punk then pop, but still enough pop to satisfy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin - Spirit In The Dark

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is a smokin' live version of Spirit In The Dark by Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin  Taken from Aretha's double album Live At The Fillmore, this is part of Aretha's performance of that song at this concert.  If you want to see the whole 25 minute version, which also features Aretha doing the song first by herself, you can see that here.  Soul doesn't get much better than this.  The band is crack.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Litter - Action Woman

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is the incomparable Litter - Action Woman  The definition of 60s punk, snarling vocals, snarling fuzz leaden lead guitar, from Minneapolis.  Originally released in 1967 on their Distortions lp.  Good luck finding that on ebay.

Play It Again, Bethlehem, Pa.

Play It Again, Bethlehem, Pa.  
Closed (and it was not open on Sunday and Monday) - 129 W. 4th Street, Bethlehem, Pa.  18015

When my son went to Lehigh, and I visited in January 2014, the store was open and full of records. Unfortunately, its 30 plus year run is ending this August, 2016.  Here is an article Record Run Ends As Play It Again Closes in Bethlehem that appeared on July 20, 2016 in Lehigh Valley Live interviewing the store's owner Joe Hanna, discussing both the store's history and its closing.

Play It Again Record Store Bethlehem Pa. Store Front

Monday, January 20, 2014

Song of the Day

Shins - New Slang

Today's song of the day is the Shins - New Slang  No secret here, this is the official video, so excuse the ad.  Led by James Mercer, this is from 2001's Oh Inverted World.  Indie pop by a band well known and loved.  The band, and album, have many good songs, so if you like this one, give some more a listen too.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

David Lindley - Quarter of a Man

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is David Lindley - Quarter of a Man .  From 1981's El-Rayo X, this is Jackson Browne's sideman first solo album.  This song is reggae, and quite good reggae at that.  The album too is quite good, featuring another very good reggae song, She Took Off My Romeos, and a rocker Mercury Blues with great slide guitar.  Dig the cover, particularly the alien shadow.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Belle and Sebastian - Like Dylan In The Movies

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is from Belle and Sebastian - Like Dylan In The Movies .  Perfect indie pop from a Scotish band that started out as a school project.  Led by Stuart Murdoch, this song is from the perfect album If You're Feeling Sinister from 1996.  I could have picked any number of songs from this album (Stars of Track and Field, Mayfly), but the video for this was perfect, especially for a band that does not feature itself on the cover of its albums - just remember its not Dylan singing this song.  I've read Mr. Murdoch favors Love, always a good place to start.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs Tears

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is Billy Bragg - Levi Stubbs Tears  From Talking With the Taxman About Poetry from 1986.  A great story with a sad ending, played over a single guitar and a perfect trumpet ending.  This is a live version from 1991.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison - Gloria

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is a live version of Gloria - John Lee Hooker and Van Morrison .  Live from the Beacon Theatre in 1989, its hard to decide who gets top billing for this collaboration - but we'll go with age before beauty.  A 60s garage rock classic from Van Morrison's days with Them, this is reworked by Hooker into a typical Hooker vamp.  Classic.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Song of the Day

Los Lobos - Don't Worry Baby

Today's song of the day is from Los Lobos - Don't Worry Baby .  From 1984's How Will The Wolf Survive, this is a straight ahead rock n' roll stomp with two excellent lead guitars each offering a quality solo.  They sound here alot like the Fabulous Thunderbirds.  The band (Latino) learned to play in the bars of East LA, and this is bar band music at its finest.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Chob - We're Pretty Quick

Song of the Day

For today's Song of the Day we're going back to the garage to unearth the Chob - We're Pretty Quick .  Everything you want in a 60s garage punk song, snarling lead vocals, Farfisa organ, snaking thin reverb drenched lead.  From New Mexico 1966, produced by Lindy Blaskey who both produced some other fine garage singles (Burgundy Run - Stop) and recorded some himself (You Ain't Tuff (Baby)).  The original single is worth a pretty penny (or quite a few pretty pennies) as it is no. 139 on the G45 list of rare 60s garage singles.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Feelies - Fa Ce La

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is the Feelies - Fa Ce La .  From 1980's Crazy Rhythms, this was the first single off the album.  If you don't know the album, or the group, you should.  With a heavy Velvet Underground influence, rhythms are king, with the drone strum, and Anton Fier's drums, and a good interplay been Mercer and Million's guitars.   Many favorites here, and the band reunited in 2011 to put out a new (and good) album - Here Before - favorite song there is Time is Right.  Many fine choices on Crazy Rhythms, including the first cut - The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness, and a fine cover of the Beatles Everybody's Got Something To Hide (except for me and my monkey).  Originally from New Jersey, always one of my personal favorites.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

David Bromberg - Sharon

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day is by David Bromberg -  Sharon .  A shaggy dog story about a girl who walks, and talks and crawls on her belly like a reptile - oh Sharon, what do you do to these men?  You know the same rowdy crowd that was here last nite is back again.  From 1972's Demon in Disguise, on this track he's backed by most of the Grateful Dead.  I guess I'd call it folk/blues.