Attention, Lost Groovers everywhere:
Your assignment today is to gather together in one medium-sized concert facility, for one evening only, one dozen of the world’s most popular entertainers. Age, style, size, corporate affiliation and particularly musical pigeonhole is to be strictly of no concern whatsoever. Each act just has to have had a heck of a lot of their songs downloaded, perhaps maybe even sold, over the past calendar year or so.
Then, with a bare minimum of rehearsal or directorial guidelines of any sort – and an equally bare-boned budget to boot – a two-hour concert has to sequenced, scored, choreographed and executed upon a single stage utilizing all these chosen singers, dancers and accompanists, the entire proceedings recorded and video’d completely live, music and vocals, without re-takes, and the resultant miles of tape then edited, printed, promoted and distributed for public viewing into theatres.
Oh. And this all has to be completed within the period of a mere fourteen days, from show-date to release-date, by the way.
Finished laughing? Of course in a 21st century scheme of things such an endeavor would scarcely get past the imagining stage I agree, quickly dismissed out-of-hand (not to mention out-of-mind) as completely unfeasible; one legal, logistical – not to mention ego-tistical – nightmare of gargantuan proportions.
But, in that strange and distant galaxy known as The Sixties, where anything seemed possible, everything was tried at least once, and “no” was a word only uttered when speaking to people over thirty, undertakings of such grand socio-musical import were thought no more impractical than, say, making orange juice out of freeze-dried crystals then flying with them all the way to the moon and back.
What is hard to believe, however, is that one such concert event filmed inside the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on the night of October 29, 1964 in front of a few hundred local high school students should not only survive to be released on DVD, but that its one hundred and twelve monochrome minutes remain as utterly entertaining, and downright engrossing, all these forty-five years later.
The TAMI Show: Collector’s Edition, now finally available from our friends over at Shout! Factory is, you see, simply so, so much more than merely Monterey Pop without the lysergic, Woodstock without the mudslides or, yes, Altamont minus pool cues and homicide victims. True, one could consider this film as “just” the single most frantically paced, ultra-high-decibel time capsule of an extraordinary era ever preserved on disc. Or even, as Quentin Tarantino most assuredly claims, “in the top three of all rock movies.”
I will go all that one further, however: The TAMI Show (as in Teenage Awards Music International, by the way) is absolutely essential viewing to anyone and everyone who consider themselves fans, followers, and/or students of popular music.
Allow me to elaborate. The dozen acts, co-hosts Jan and Dean sing whilst skateboarding across the opening credits, did indeed come “From All Over The World.” Not to mention everywhere across the musical map as well: Kicked off by “the guy who started it all” as Jan (no relation) Berry announces, Chuck Berry duck-walks us all the way from St. Louis to New York City, where the about-to-be- renovated Brill Building sound is sung most proudly and loudly by none other than Lesley Gore (whose proto-feminist lyrics and attitude herein should have all you brand new Runaways fans repositioning the birth of grrrl-rock once and for all).
The magnificent Motor City is then represented by Smokey Robinson – pay particular attention to his Miracles’ dance-steps during “Mickey’s Monkey” – along with superstars-in-waiting Marvin Gaye (who performs two songs soon to be recorded by a waiting-in-the-wings Rolling Stones) and The Supremes (poised to leave behind forever their branding as “those no-hit Supremes” with an historic string of global million-sellers). Meanwhile, England swings Santa Monica via Billy J. Kramer with his Dakotas plus Gerry and the Pacemakers (…four of impresario Brian Epstein’s other clients unfortunately occupied overseas at this point in time, putting finishing touches onto Beatles For Sale it seems).
Why, even what we now know and love as that runt of the musical litter, Garage Rock, is represented by none other than the aptly-named Barbarians and their, I kid you not, one-handed drummist Victor “Moulty” Moulton. Plus special note must here be made of The Beach Boys’ four-song set, propelled practically through the roof by their drummer Dennis, as this particular footage was removed from most every existing print of The TAMI Show soon after release and has only now been fully reinstated in all its harmony-drenched, sun-kissed, Surf City splendor.
And then! As impossible to pin down geographically – not to mention musically or even vocally – as he remained for the rest of his career comes the one, the only, the hardest- working James Brown.
Now it’s been said before, but I’ll just have to say it again (and again and again): His performance in The TAMI Show remains one of the most jaw-dropping, above-kinetic, gut-and-thigh-ripping performances ever executed. EVER. Anytime, any place, by any one. Everything you may have heard about this man and these particular eighteen minutes (e.g., “the single greatest rock ‘n’ roll performance ever captured on film”: Rick Rubin) is absolutely, one-thousand-per-cent true. Just look at it yourself if you don’t believe me …or everyone else who has ever seen it.
Somehow, those newly-rolling, original Stones – with Brian Jones and even Bill Wyman’s vocal mic present – arose to the task of following Butane James that fateful night, and their performance closed the event, and the film, with a mixture of pure, simply pimply beat ‘n’ soul which wins over even many of the pole-axed teens who’d just survived James Brown’s set.
Finally, cue the entire cast and assembled dancers (watch closely for a very young Teri Garr!) back onstage to frug a mighty big storm up around Jagger and Richard(s) and, scarcely two hours after it all began, the curtain drops.
So, just another night of music, mayhem, and undeniable magic out in L.A. during the fall of ’64, right? But what novice director Steve Binder and his crew captured, and what today is immaculately preserved upon The TAMI Show DVD, is busting-full of rich musical (I repeat: James Brown) and cinematic (Diana Ross’ eyes literally filling the screen during “Where Did Our Love Go”) moments which have been oft-shot by everyone from Pennebaker to Scorcese since, but never truly duplicated. For what TAMI managed to mount and maintain all those years ago irrefutably remains the highest of bars for concert events, and films thereof, to reach even today.
It may, sorrowfully, have taken nearly half a century to make it into our homes, but this film has not returned anew one single frame, nor scream, too soon.
You have never seen, nor heard, ANYTHING quite like this before.....
“No more Beatles! No more Stones! We just want the Viletones!” went the cry of true teen angst ‘round my Toronto neighborhood circa the Summer of Hate, 1977. And, memories of my favorite punk-rock combo from a misspent youth notwithstanding, I do find myself feeling very much the same these thirty-three-and-a-third revolutions later as big Beatle box sets and Rolling Stone re-issues continue to dominate our collective, sonic rear-view.
Of course I can still thrill to a remastered (mono!) “She Loves You” as much as the next boomer, and glimpsing Hendrix backstage inside that Get Yer Ya-Ya’s anniversary bundle will always raise a grin or two. But surely, surely there must have been something going on during those scant weeks between 1963 and 1969 when Lennon, McCartney, Jagger and/or Richard compositions weren’t sitting atop the world’s hit parades.
Well, finally, someone – namely those utterly fab folk over at Reelin’ In The Years – have seen fit to shed light upon some of the other mop-tops whose sounds and styles filled our six-transistors and Sunday evening Ed Sullivan shows. Yes, the first four editions of what’s promised to be an entire British Invasion series of DVD’s are, you bet, here at last, spotlighting Dusty Springfield, Herman’s Hermits, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Small Faces.
And what audio/visual treats these discs are! Meticulously researched and packaged, expertly restored and annotated and whenever possible hosted by many of the actual participants themselves, the songs and stories flow in never less than quick, LOUD frenzies so perfectly reminiscent of those once-Swinging Sixties themselves.
So, wherever to start then? How about Gerry Marsden fondly recalling the very birth of the Liverpool Sound in the kind of detailed – sometimes most candidly so – way no Beatles Anthology would ever dare to. Or a self-admittedly “numb” Dusty Springfield deplaning into Australia only to be accused of being “kooky” and a spokesperson for “the hippie philosophy”?
Elsewhere, not at all coincidentally perhaps, we discover the hitherto-unknown connection between comedian/philosopher Lord Buckley’s spiritual Nazz and the Small Faces’ ritual Methedrine, plus learn that it was in fact Peter Noone’s seemingly innocent rhythm section who schooled Keith Moon in the fine art of Holiday Inn “redecorating”: why, watch closely and you’ll even spot actual Super 8 footage of pool-side, long underwear-festooned Who/Hermits hi-jinks deep within the Bonus Footage!
Such meaty beaty Bacchanalian moments aside however, this is one British Invasion which truly concentrates, as all such documentaries should but seldom do, on the MUSIC. And there are literally hours of vintage performance clips filling these discs, immaculately reproduced and shown complete and uncut, with nary a single word of needless graphic or narration dubbed over the guitar solos for once. Plus, not just the usual stream of oft-recycled Shindig and Sullivan snips either: The producers have obviously gone to incredible lengths to scour the globe in search of seldom, if ever seen footage of, for example, Herman’s Hermits on Norwegian television or Gerry’s Pacemakers in Liverpool’s Cavern shooting their very own Ferry Cross The Mersey (…now, when does THAT film finally appear on DVD?!!)
Interestingly though, from the wealth of treasures spread across these discs, I was most pleasantly shocked to witness downright incendiary footage of the Small Faces’ Marquee Club debut, March of 1966. While for all the world looking, dressing, and acting like little more than a Cockney Monkees with cooler hair, trapped from the get-go inside these lads was apparently a solid, fighting-tough beat ‘n’ soul combo whose only Caucasian rivals at the time would have been those Young Rascals themselves. Who knew? (and then stay closely tuned for an extensive Colour Me Pop performance of their masterwork Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake complete with “Happiness” Stanley Unwin’s narration, I kid you not).
“None of us knew how good and how ahead of our time we were,” Small Face Kenney Jones admits herein, and that statement could rightfully serve as the modus operandi behind this entire series. Because, you see, The British Invasion, for the very first time ever, delves so very deeply into the hitherto-unexplored “second tier” of mid-Sixties U.K. talent, and in doing so paints most vividly an indelible picture of the era’s myriad musical and social upheavals. And in a way you just won’t get from any existing thumbnail study or PBS pledge special, needless to say.
Dusty Springfield: Once Upon a Time, Herman’s Hermits: Listen People, Gerry and the Pacemakers: It’s Gonna Be All Right and Small Faces: All Or Nothing are available separately or, even better, housed together with two and a half full hours of additional Bonus Disc interview and performance footage as a five-DVD collector’s set. Either way you take them, each deserve to be seen and heard repeatedly by any Merseybeating fan or serious student of rock ‘n’ roll …or even for someone who just needs to know the correct way to toss a cherry bomb down a Holiday Inn toilet.
It’s all here.
Still in a most list-ful mood, but this round-up certainly wasn’t a very easy one to compile, I’ll have everyone know. The pickin’s were extremely, uh, thin, to say the very least.
Nevertheless (or should I say Nevermind)…..
Number One: Mark Johnson - 12 in a room (1992)
Powerful pop most firmly rooted within the Brill Building anteroom.
Two: Cowsills - Global (1998)
America’s once-and-forever First Family of Song leave no Partridge unspurned.
Three: Brian Wilson - Sweet Insanity (1991)
Just to make sure the Nineties weren’t ALL Pet Sounds re-issues.
Four: Dave Rave Group - Valentino’s Pirates (1992)
Wherein the former Soviet Union signs its first Western act, then promptly dissolves.
Five: Johnny Cash - American Recordings (1994)
Rick Rubin produces a Johnny we thought only Sam Phillips could.
Six: Tiny Tim - Rock (1993)
Includes possibly definitive readings of “Eve of Destruction” and “Rebel Yell,” I kid you not.
Seven: Puffy - Jet CD (1998)
Oh-so-effortlessly crosses ABBA, Sabbath, and Who’s Next …and all by way of Jellyfish.
Eight: Monkees - Justus (1996)
Those Prefabs go out on a very high note (which, I’ll have you know, they played ALL BY THEMSELVES).
Nine: Shane Faubert - San Blass (1993)
Former head Cheepskate most definitely goes for baroque.
Ten: NRBQ - You Gotta Be Loose (1998)
Proof very positive: The greatest live r-n-r band In The World.
Eleven: Evaporators - I Gotta Rash (1998)
Before Ali G, Baba Booey, and most definitely Tenacious D.
Twelve: Neil Young - Arc (1991)
Truly too cool – not to mention loud – for (many) words.
Thirteen: Go-Nuts - The World’s Greatest Super Hero Snak Rock And Gorilla Entertainment Revue (1997)
For once, the title says it all.
Fourteen: High Llamas - Gideon Gaye (1994)
More than filling that cavernous sonic gap between SMiLE and the XTC reunion.
Fifteen: Blue Shadows - Lucky To Me (1995)
Hank Williams visits The Cavern by way of Big Pink.
Sixteen: Mojo Nixon - Gadzooks!!! (1997)
Includes “Bring Me The Head of David Geffen” …and then some.
Seventeen: James Richard Oliver -
The Mud, The Blood and The Beer (1998)
alt. Country with a capital “Oh!”
Eighteen: Chesterfield Kings -
Surfin’ Rampage (1997)
Upstate New York’s finest give their Stones cloning a rest whilst hanging all ten.
Nineteen: Jandek - Twelfth Apostle (1993)
So many Jandek albums; so little space.
Despite an alarming amount of critical mass to (and by) the contrary, there truly was much, much more worth hearing this decade just past than those big Big Star, Beatle, Bob Dylan and even Neil Young box sets.
So then, strictly alphabetically speaking as always, here’s what I spent much of January 1, 2000 through December 31, 2009 listening very closely to…..
Apartment - Sparkle Bicycle
Waikiki Record (2008)
Tatsuya Namai’s radiant pop of the Daniel Johnston-meets-Shonen Knife variety.
Alex Brennan - The Last Smile Of The Pied Piper
Hopefully Mr. Brennan will be duly hired to give the Beach Boys’ catalog that Beatles Love treatment when the time inevitably arrives.
Lindsey Buckingham - Under The Skin
Reprise Records (2006)
Once insane, always insane.
Candypants - Candypants
Sympathy For The Record Industry (2000)
Ronnie Spector fronts Elvis’ Attractions …and THEN some!
Casper and the Cookies - The Optimist’s Club
Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records (2006)
What Jason NeSmith and Kay Stanton did on their holidays in New York City.
Cheap Trick - Rockford
Big3 Records (2006)
Remarkably sounding better – and louder – than ever.
Dennis Diken with Bell Sound - Late Music
Cryptovision Records (2009)
The album Brian Wilson has been trying to make since at least 1986.
Johnny Dowd - Wire Flowers: More Songs from the Wrong Side of Memphis
Munich Records (2003)
A sonic sequel to one of the Nineties’ undeniably greatest albums …and artists.
Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Sony/BMG Music Entertainment (2006)
Edges out Christmas In The Heart by a mere Santa whisker.
Electric Prunes - Feedback
Proving you can have your re-heated soufflé and eat it, too.
Tom Jones - Mr. Jones
V2 Music (2003)
Wherein Atomic Jones meets Wyclef Jean …by way of “Black Betty” !
Bill Lloyd - Back To Even
New Boss Sounds (2004)
Fifteen more examples of most potently powerful pop, Nashville-style.
Lolas - Like The Sun
Jam Recordings (2007)
Tim Boykin and his ever-bright l-o-l-a Lolas honestly do make the kind of records you still think Paul McCartney does.
Jack Pedler - Jack Pedler
Race Records (2001)
The sound of the hardest-working drummer in Canada loading all six strings.
The Playmates - Sad Refrain
K.O.G.A. Records (2002)
Forever more than happy to play the Stones against their countrywomen Puffy (AmiYumi)’s Beatles.
Raquel’s Boys - Music For The Girl You Love
Jam Recordings (2004)
Just as if Bobby Fuller and those once Flamin’ Groovies were never ever extinguished.
Jason Ringenberg - A Day At The Farm with Farmer Jason
Yep Roc Records (2003)
The definitive alternative to alternative country.
Simply Saucer - Cyborgs Revisited
Sonic Unyon Recording Company (2003)
The nice, nice noise that simply continues to keep on giving.
Frank Lee Sprague - Merseybeat
Wichita Falls Records (2005)
Exactly as if Brian Epstein had never entered The Cavern.
Tan Sleeve - White Lie Castle
Cheft Worldwide (2000)
Wherein George Harrison and even F. Zappa receive the Bacharach and David by way of Todd Rundgren treatment.
Teenage Head - Teenage Head with Marky Ramone
Sonic Unyon Recording Company (2008)
Canada’s Ramones finally reunited with their very-long-lost brudder.
Bring On the Twenty-Oh-Teens !!!
Being eight years old in the Toronto suburbs of 1963, I was at the perfect age – and in the perfect place – to, yes, Meet the Beatles. Because by the time “those four youngsters from Liverpool” hit the Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 64, my friends and I had already spent the past six months familiarizing ourselves with John, Paul, George and Ringo’s initial A-sides via Ontario’s mighty 1050 CHUM-AM Radio.
In other words then, the British Beat had no reason to invade Canada. It was invited.
Unlike with our big neighbors to the immediate south you see, each of the Beatles’ earliest discs garnered automatic release on Capitol Records of Canada, beginning right at the beginning with “Love Me Do” in February of ’63 (the version with Ringo on drums, by the way!), and the Canadian Beatle Discography boasts many other rare slices of vintage vinyl totally unique to the genre, and as a result extremely collectable.
For example, the Canadian Beatlemania! album not only sported an identical cover and track line-up, but was released the very same week With the Beatles was in the UK (making it the first Beatle album released anywhere within North America), and its twelve-inch Capitol Canada follow-up, the Twist and Shout album – # 1 on the Canadian charts for ten weeks in early ’64 – was in fact the very first “big record” I ever had the pleasure to have owned.
And what a remarkable record it was: Fourteen action-packed tracks featuring all four – “count ‘em”! – of the band’s first UK 45 top-sides, plus a generous helping of Cavern-baked covers from their homeland debut album Please Please Me. Being too young then to know, and still too young to care if nary a Beatle wrote each and every note or lyric herein, Carole King’s “Chains” stacked so easily around Len/Mac’s similarly George Harri-sung “Do You Want To Know A Secret,” Bacharach and David’s “Baby, It’s You” seamlessly followed John and Paul’s “P.S. I Love You” on T & S Side 2, and the magnificent Arthur Alexander’s “Anna (Go to Him),” which kicked off this entire collection, continues to this day to hold more than its own against any Beatle composition you or even I could mention.
And while Lennon’s wholly larynx-bursting “Twist and Shout” completed the first Beatle album in Great Britain, the ever-inventive Canadian Capitol chose to close its namesake long-player with none other than – wait for it – “She Loves You.” Take that, Sir George Martin! (and tell Dave Dexter, Jr. the news.)
Meanwhile in the seven-inch division, “Please Please Me” actually hit the CFGP Top Forty in Grande Prairie, Alberta in April of ’63, while two of Capitol Canada’s most unique couplings, “All My Loving”/”This Boy” and “Roll Over Beethoven”/”Please Mister Postman,” sold sufficient (smuggled) copies to reach even the American Hot One Hundred a year later. Also, the U.S. Tollie label “Twist and Shout”/”There’s a Place” 45, which soared to Billboard # 2 in April of 1964, was an identically-formed Canadian Capitol Top Ten much, much earlier.
Plus, may I just add that every single one of the above-mentioned original deep-grooved, meticulously mastered Canadian (mono!) pressings put their U.S. counterparts – not to mention even the latest CD incarnations, truth to tell – to total, unequivocal sonic shame. Really!
The moral of this absolutely Fab story then? Good music IS good music, and shall forever remain so, regardless of the size, format, packaging, advertising budget or even country-of-origin of the item in hand.
And of course, any discussion of Lost Grooves that doesn’t contain multiple uses of the word “Beatle” is a discussion I just must immediately bow out from.
P.S., and in closing: Is it only me, or is the Beatles Rock Band animation a tad cheesier than even that of the old Beatles cartoon series?
Believe it or not, the very first "real" concert I was ever allowed to attend as a wee Canadian tyke was The Jimi Hendrix Experience at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, May 3, 1969.
I'd already been a fervent fan for a couple of years, having spent most of my Grade 8 art class making swirly sketches of Jimi in charcoal. Plus the Are You Experienced? album was right up there – almost – with Monkees Headquarters on my 1967 Most-Played List.
Fast-forwarding, Christmastime '68 was spent, between runs down the local tobogganing hill, digging all eight vinyl sides of The White Album AND Electric Ladyland and, most likely as a direct result, my gym-class rhythm section and I were just starting to assemble our very own semi-power trio when word filtered along the groupvine that the Experience were planning to stop by our very neighborhood in a few months as part of their possibly-Farewell World Tour.
In a word then? WOW.
My most-trusted pal Ric scored two tickets in the Gardens' nosebleed section and I fibbed to my parents that we were off to a hootenanny (!) for the evening. Yet no sooner had we approached the venue that word began a'buzzin' that our hero had just been busted for carrying a batch of non- pharmaceutical mood enhancers into Toronto Airport. Hmmm…
Undaunted, we climbed skyward to our seats, sat on sonic needles and pins-ah through both opening acts (the pretty cool Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys, whose big hit "Good Old Rock n Roll" my little band was already struggling to learn, followed by none other than, uh, Fat Mattress) til the one and only Jimi Himself sauntered on stage, miraculously only a few minutes late.
Now considering all the man had already been through that day I guess it was no real surprise the evening's set consisted of mainly down-cast tunes a la "Red House," though Jimi did graciously treat the teenage throng with a quick encore full of that fabled, fiery Foxey Purpleness of yore.
And then, suddenly, he was gone. Experience and all.
James Marshall Hendrix returned to town briefly that December however, just long enough to be completely exonerated of all narco-charges ("Canada has just given me the greatest Christmas present ever!" he exclaimed to the Toronto Daily Star), but I suppose one could question if, or why, that life lesson ultimately went unheeded. And I suppose it does say something that out of all the delicately detailed minutiae forever etched upon my grey matter concerning that momentous concert forty long, long Toronto May’s ago, I can still most vividly recall EXACTLY what Jimi was wearing (all Harlem-Asbury chic all the way!), what I was wearing even (don't ask), the appropriately brilliant weather, the commuter train Ric and I snuck on after we told our parental units we'd just be folking around ...hell, I even remember the proto-Bowzer moves Cat Mother & Co. deployed whilst performing their one hit wonder!
But do I recall a single sliver of the sounds and/or stylings of the Noel Redding-fronted Fat Mattress performance of that same, utterly magical night? No sir, I do not. Which reminds me: Mr. Redding himself passed onward and upward to that great big Gardens in the sky six years ago May 11th.
And the moral, perhaps, to this all? Well, I still find myself revisiting Electric Ladyland on almost as regular a basis as I do the Monkees’ Headquarters. So you see some things, I guess, shall never change.
TEN REASONS WHY
1. THE CHIRPING CRICKETS
Buddy Holly, alongside rhythm guitarist Niki Sullivan, bassist Joe B. Mauldin, and drummist-extraordinaire Jerry Allison, formed the immaculately suited, fully self-contained singing/songwriting template upon which some of the greatest pop-rock bands since, from those Beatles most obviously on down, were inextricably linked at the hip.
2. BUDDY’S BUDDY
When no less than that up-coming King of Western Bop Elvis Presley first blew into Lubbock, Texas on tour in 1955, homeboy Buddy Holly was not only right there in the front row cheering him on, but afterwards appointed himself the Hillbilly Cat’s exclusive host, guide and confidant for the ensuing sixteen hours. Duly inspired, Buddy immediately revamped his burgeoning Crickets from an alt.-bluegrass combo into Lubbock’s very own Elvis, Scotty and Bill …so successfully so, in fact, that several months later, when Elvis triumphantly returned to town, Buddy Holly had graduated from mere tour guide status to that of official on-stage opening act.
3. LEARNING THE GAME
After somehow failing to impress the usually infallible Owen Bradley with “That’ll Be The Day” at a 1956 demo session (“the worst song I ever heard” was his verdict), Buddy determinedly drove one thousand miles from Nashville to the Clovis, New Mexico studios of Norman Petty, where over the next eighteen months they turned a simple two-track facility into an audio workshop/lab from which came not only the look and attitude, but the very sounds of the 1960’s to come. Despite his so obviously prescient George Martin ways though, Petty must be docked serious points for screwing Buddy royally over songwriting credits, royalties, and even concert proceeds until the Holly estate could eventually be forever wrenched from his Machiavellian claws.
4. LISTEN TO ME
It may have lasted only twenty-five days, but when Buddy and his Crickets toured the United Kingdom in the spring of 1958, those watching closely and taking serious notes for future use were, amongst thousands of others, John Lennon and Paul McCartney (whose first-ever recording was a near note-perfect “That’ll Be The Day” shortly afterwards), Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (the former already proud owner of the Chirping Crickets album), Graham Nash and Allan Clarke (who soon grew their two-man Everlys act into the full, named-in-guess-who’s-honor Hollies), and pioneering British record producer Joe Meek …who subsequently became so obsessed over Holly that he not only killed his landlady, but himself on the eighth anniversary of Buddy’s own tragic demise.
5. NOT FADE AWAY
It did indeed take a Buddy Holly composition to first put The Rolling Stones securely into the American hit parade with, at the very height of Beatlemania, Lennon/McCartney’s “I Wanna Be Your Man” unceremoniously relegated to the single’s B-side! And speaking of whom…
6. WORDS OF LOVE
Buddy wrote the best song on the Beatles VI album; and, come to think of it, maybe even on Beatles For Sale.
7. FOOL’S PARADISE
Buddy’s wealth of songs have proven so adaptable, durable and downright sturdy as to withstand covers from the likes of Rush (who also debuted on seven-inch vinyl with “Not Fade Away” I kid you not), the Grateful Dead, The Knack and even Linda Ronstadt. Not to mention “It’s So Easy“ (-Off oven cleaner) and “Oh Boy” becoming “Oh, Buick!” television jingles at the behest of Holly’s supposedly sympathetic post-Petty publishing magnate Sir Paul McC. Quite highly recommended nevertheless is the 1977 McCartney-produced Holly Days, um, tribute album by then-Wing Denny Laine.
8. MAYBE BABY
Years before he was to become the serial tragic clown of television reality programming, that perennially short-pant-legged dust storm known as Gary Busey deservedly nabbed an Oscar nomination for his title role in 1978’s Buddy Holly Story. Now while its script may have taken inexcusable Hollywood shortcuts in recounting our hero’s life and music, at least Gary, alongside co-stars Don Stroud and Charles Martin Smith, became pretty damn garage-worthy Crickets all over the film’s soundtrack, performing as close to live whenever possible before the unforgiving cameras.
9. CRYING, WAITING, HOPING
Weeks before his last-ever tour, a newly married Holly sang several song sketches into a tape recorder in his Greenwich Village apartment for what turned out to be posterity. Having already hinted at still non-categorizable sounds-to-come with tracks like “Everyday” and “Well… All Right,” Buddy’s last recordings leap even further into the unknown with covers of Ray Charles (!), Bing Crosby (!!), plus Holly’s own final compositions. Exquisite guitar-and-voice-only recordings, they are far more than simply “unplugged.” They are sublime, heartbreaking, and totally unique. As with most things Holly.
10. STANDING IN THE DOORWAY
"And I just want to say that when I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him. And he looked at me. And I just have some sort of feeling that he was -- I don't know how or why -- but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way."
— Bob Dylan, 1998 Grammy Awards acceptance speech for Album of the Year Time Out Of Mind.
If any of the following remarkable sounds
got lost from your grooves last year,
by all means
hesitate no longer
in lending both ears repeatedly
1. APARTMENT Sparkle Bicycle
2. SCOTTY CAMPBELL AND HIS WARDENAIRES
Smokin’ and Drinkin’
(Black Sparrow Records)
3. JOHNNY DOWD A Drunkard’s Masterpiece
4. GARFIELDS BIRTHDAY Let Them Eat Cake
(Pink Hedgehog Records)
5. THE GRIP WEEDS Infinite Soul
(Wicked Cool Record Co.)
6. JOE SOKO Floss Like A Beast
(Fuzzy Planet Productions)
7. THE SPONGETONES Always Carry On
(Loaded Goat Records)
8. FRANK LEE SPRAGUE Fulton Chateau
(Wichita Falls Records)
9. THE SQUIRES OF THE SUBTERRAIN
Feel The Sun
(Rocket Racket Records)
10. TEENAGE HEAD Teenage Head With Marky Ramone
(Sonic Unyon Recording Company)
for even more info,
you should Click Right Here !!
Several weeks ago, a random gathering of some of the best musicians from Canada’s greatest musical berg (that’s Hamilton, Ontario, by the way) threw themselves onstage as part of the city’s annual Locke Street Festival. Spearheaded by the one and only Tom Wilson, said ad-hoc combo was busy rocking and rolling things all the way up that street as the sun slid down when suddenly, a most familiar figure was spotted nearby. The lead singer of the one, the only, Teenage Head.
As would later be reported in the press, "I asked Frankie, 'Frankie, fuck man, you've got to come up here and sing,'" Wilson says. "He said, 'You got to give me a hundred bucks.' So I reached into my pocket and I only had fifty, so I asked Dave Rave for the other half. I said, 'Dave, fifty bucks for Frankie.'
"And this was the kind of love they had for Frankie. Dave didn't ask me, 'What for? What does Frankie need fifty bucks for?' He was just pulling it out of his pocket. And Frankie got up and did ‘Let's Shake’."
It turned out to be the last-ever public appearance of Frank Kerr, much better known – and most rightfully so – as Frankie Venom, who along with his high school pals about thirty-three years ago decided to form a band in between spins of Dolls, Stooges and, yes, Flamin’ Groovies records. Remarkably, that little band that could went on to garner two gold and one platinum twelve-inchers of their very own; in fact, their latest, now available from the fine folk over at Sonic Unyon Recordings, actually features Marky Ramone on the drums. Terrifically high praise indeed.
In a scar-studded career that admittedly held more bumps than most bands’, Teenage Head never turned (or toned) things down, never towed anyone’s line, and never ever made a bad record or gave a bad show that I, or anyone else for that matter, should care to recall. And whether slithering across the heat pipes of Toronto’s legendary Crash and Burn club, opening for the Pretenders, Talking Heads and Elvis Costello in front of fifty-thousand at Canada’s Heatwave festival – or belting ‘Let’s Shake’ for and with some old friends on Locke Street on a warm late eve – Frankie Venom was every single inch the Head above all others.
He succumbed to throat cancer on October 15, 2008, aged fifty-two. Your record collection will never be the same.
Whilst continuing to faithfully remain
Lost In The Groove
all summer long,
your resident Pig has consented
to scribble monthly,
right over there at
Medleyville Dot US
If you’re ever wondering
why Bob was Judas,
when Simply Saucer turned Half Human,
who That Lucky Old Sun is still shining upon,
where you should buy Your First Punk Rock Record,
and even How much those Rolling Stones just got out of
the Universal Music Group,
(plus Pat Boone to boot),
feel more than free to get Lost
in that Medleyville Groove,
as autumn falls all around us
(…making sure to tell ‘em
Gary Pig Gold sentcha,
of course !! )