Monday, December 27, 2010

Song of the Week: "I Don't Need No Doctor", Ray Charles

We don't need to explain who Ray Charles is. We don't need to create a schematic to prove his importance on the American and European music landscape. We don't need to give you a backstory to make you more interested in his output. We don't need to because he is simply, one of, if not thee most respected and beloved musicians in the last 100 years. That's all Ray Charles is.

Today's SoTW, I Don't Need No Doctor, is from 1966. A commercial flop that only reached #72, the song often gets left off of compilations. But with the strong back beat and the great Raelettes kicking it harder than a sexually frustrated mule, the song is one of Ray's better numbers. Enjoy.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Song of the Week: "I'm Gonna Dress In Black", Them

Listen - Them perform I'm Gonna Dress In Black.

Ahhh, it's Them. I must say, it has been a while since I had Them on the turntable. Too long. So how sweet it was when, just the other week, I pulled out some of my US label Parrot Records-stamped Them 45's, a few O'Dell's IPA beers, and had a grand old time playing records at ear splitting volumes.

Understandably, Them is often recognized for only two things: 1) being the first band of the 5'4" musical giant that is Van Morrison, and; 2) being the originators of the garage band standard, Gloria, a Van Morrison penned flip-side to the stellar cover of Baby Please Don't Go. But Them were much more than that. The Belfast boys put out two excellent records and a healthy amount of solid 45's. Them albums sounded different than most of their "British Invasion" brethren. Certainly part of it is their Irish homeland influence, but most of it can be traced to the multi-instrumental ability of their frontman and predominant song composer, Van Morrison. He brought Irish folk, American folk, American Jazz, American blues and rock-n-roll influences, and mixed them all together in a wonderful little stew. Only Manfred Mann albums had as much diversity as did the two albums by Them.

Today's SoTW comes from Them's first album, the excellent 1965 release, The Angry Young Them. The song seems to be neither a cover nor an original, but rather a song brought to the group. Perhaps by sometime Them producer and songwriter, Bert Berns. (See an old post on a bitching Garnett Mimms song he produced, As Long As I Have You). The song for the week is I'm Gonna Dress In Black. Thematically and musically, it has a certain feel similar to The House of the Rising Son as performed by The Animals. The organ dominant song features some of the most unexpected chord progressions, mixing up minor and major chords nicely, you're likely to hear out of song from this era. Van Morrison is, as always, exceptional on the song. You can really feel the Ray Charles influence in his performance. But it is really the organist who shines on this. Who that organist is, we just can't say. You see, Them was really a revolving cast of musicians with only bassist Alan Henderson and Van Morrison remaining constant. Additionally, it is very evident that studio musicians were employed generously on Them recordings. Question me on that? Just watch a live performance of Them and you'll hear a great difference in ability from stage to record. Whomever the musicians were, the song is killer.

Enjoy, today's SoTW, I'm Gonna Dress In Black. And enjoy the two vids below. The first is a live performance of the Bert Berns produced/composed Here Comes the Night, the latter a lip-synch version of Van Morrison's composition, Gloria.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Song of the Week: Dillard and Clark Expedition -- Polly

We present to you today a beautiful song that we have previously been reluctant to post on this site. We were hesitant because the song is so nuanced and so mellow, that we have feared the click-happy listener won't take the time to get it. But bollocks to the click happy world. This is a great song that you need to hear!

The song is Polly by the Dillard And Clark Expedition, a proto-alt country band that featured the former Byrds frontman, Gene Clark. We think so much of his work that he is only the third artist to get a repeat posting. [In fact, for a detailed history of Gene Clark, we strongly encourage you to read the article from two years ago about his song, Out On The Side, which can be accessed by clicking here.]

Polly is from the Dillard And Clark Expedition's second, and final, album, Through The Morning, Through The Night. It's one of the two songs from the 1969 album, along with the stellar title track, that was later covered by the Robert Plant, Alison Krauss collaboration album entitled Raising Sand. An excellent album produced by T-Bone Burnett, whom we suspect of bringing the songs to the table. With all due respect to the Plant/Krauss cover of this rare gem, I much prefer the Gene Clark version. Where Plant's performance is dark and brooding and heightens the sense of a stalker as our protagonist, Clark sings the song with a sense of loss and sadness that speaks nicely to a protagonist filled with the lament of "what could have been?".

If the wild bird could speak, he'd tell of places you have been
He's been in my dreams and he knows all the ways of the wind.
Polly come home again. Spread your wings to the wind.
I felt much of the pain as it begins.

The violin work of Byron Berline adds to that sense of sadness of loss and matches the acoustic guitar arpeggios at 1:22 and again at the end of the song, ever so nicely. We hope you take time to sit back and listen to this one without obstruction.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Song of the Week: Q65 - I Got Nightmares

Here at On The Flip-Side we've sung the praises of 60s Dutch Beat, also known as Nederbiet. We've hit on the most musically talented of the bunch, Cuby + The Blizards, and we've hit on the most popular of the scene, The Outsiders. But we haven't touched on the coolest of that scene. But today is the day.

Q65 was formed in the Hague in 1965 and started releasing odd and stunningly cool singles on Decca Records beginning in 1966. In that same year they released their first album, Revolution. It's a very intriguing album that mixes great original compositions (some of which demonstrate a real unique approach to composing) and very respectable covers of American blues and soul songs such as Spoonful and Get Out Of My Life Woman. But as is always the case with the European bands, the originals are where one gets value for the price of admission. It is there that the English as a second language lyrics get most amusing, and the deft guitar work of Joop Roelofs and Frank Nuyens are at their best.

One of the many super cool, head scratching originals the boys put together is I Got Nightmares. The tom-tom, maraca heavy song features a simple, but compelling guitar riff with beautifully out-of-nowhere stops and the totally unexpected giggling and yawning. What is up with that?! Vocalist Willem Beiler sings in his trademark speaking style with some curious lyrics sung in English. Not all of which I can make out through the thick accent. Okay, most of it I can't understand.

Enjoy Q65 performing their original composition from '66, I Got Nightmares.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Original Song Project: Morgan Young - Ride That Stingray!

Here is a song I wrote about a friend's tale of running away from home when he was a young lad. I've embellished with some of my own memories and a little reminiscing about the feel of 21 pounds of steel thunder between the legs and the smell of freedom that is the open road.

I, of course, am talking about the moment we all got our first Schwinn Stingray, cruised the neighborhood with the other ruffians and tried desperately to shake our Born To Be Mild reality.

I'm using a 1967 Gibson EB2D bass, a Gibson J200 acoustic, a Fender Tele and big steaming pile of false rockabilly bravado. Some photos for this post came from the blog, The Selvedge Yard.

I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Song of the Week: "High & Lonesome" Jimmy Reed

Jimmy Reed originally hailed from Mississippi, and after a stint in the US Navy during WWII, found himself, like so many other Mississippi men of a certain age and socio-economic status, migrating north to look for work. Reed landed in Gary, Indiana where he cut his teeth in clubs and on radio shows playing with the likes of John Brim, Elmore James, and Eddie Taylor. Like each of those men, Reed failed to satisfactorily impress Chess Records executive Lejzor Czyz (now renamed Leonard Chess).

Chess Records' loss was Vee Jay Records' gain as Jimmy Reed took his catchy, stripped down approach to writing and performing the blues and strung together certifiable hit after certifiable hit that would become industry standards once the Brit invasion hit. Songs like Big Boss Man, Baby What You Want Me To Do, Bright Lights Big City, Ain't That Loving You Baby and Honest I Do would become the bedrock of the song list for bands from both sides of the pond, like The Animals, The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, The Shadows of Knight, Link Wray and countless other bands looking to find that nexus of danceable, catchy and gritty. In short, Jimmy Reed defined that nexus perhaps better than any of his contemporaries.

Today we listen to Jimmy Reed's first recording ever. Before the hits started rolling in, before he got a contract with Vee Jay Records, and before alcoholism would turn the tap of hits off. The song is High & Lonesome and it was recorded in Chicago in 1953 for Chance Records. It's primal and the number of measures varies with his whim. And it is damn good.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Busker Days: "Misty", Lili Dubois

Listen: Lili Dubois plays Misty

The busker vibe has changed lately here at Montgomery and N. Berkeley BART stations. Haven't seen some of the reliables lately, such as Earl the gospel singer or The Human Condition, the blue grassy americana band. At Montgomery station one guy on a classical guitar plays at the pedestrian tunnel most days, and that's all it takes, one guy getting there early and staking the territory. Needless to say, I've tossed him a buck or two. I did see Marko Harps recently and of course Jesse has been around some lately. Last week I saw Brian, the guitarist of Zack and Brian, playing with Nate Harris, the bassist of The Human Condition, together with a fiddle player, all doing a nice acoustic set. This morning I had the good pleasure to meet and record an older fellow named John Cunningham playing some jazz and blues on the clarinet. That was the first clarinet I've seen about. I guess it's just pretty unpredictable.

A week ago Tuesday I came out of the N. Berkeley station to the seductive sounds of a bluesy steel guitar. The sounds were mellow, if a little choppy. I was waiting for a ride that never showed and the music set the scene. I recognized the player from farmer's markets and asked her, Lili Dubois, if I could record one of the instrumental songs she was playing, an Erroll Garner standard. Listen to her take on Erroll Garner's Misty. Enjoy.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Song of the Week: "Circles", Les Fleur De Lys

Listen - Les Fleur De Lys perform Circles

Today's SoTW focuses on a handful of boys from Southampton, England who went by the very un-English monicker of the Les Fleur De Lys. They only recorded a handful of singles, but had a real gem in their second release for Andrew Loog-Oldham's Immediate Records. It features the guitar work of session man, Jimmy Page and was written by The Who's Pete Townshend. I am speaking, of course, of 1966's Circles.

The Who recorded Townshend's Circles for their Ready Steady Who EP which followed closely on the heels of their debut album, My Generation. In America, it appeared on their debut album, The Who Sings My Generation. As you should know by now, this Flipster is quite a huge fan of The Who. So, when we say that this version is better than the original, we hope you'll listen.

Les Fleur De Lys had a revolving cast of characters with only the drummer staying the constant. But whatever line-up, and with whatever session men they had on this (some members have claimed Page was not on this session, but we think it sure sounds like him), this mod group made a real gem of a single.


Monday, November 1, 2010

The Lionhearted -- Honey In Your Hips

Okay, you garage rock freaks. Here is one you haven't heard before. It is an unreleased track by a garage rock band out of California in the mid 80s. The band is The Lionhearted and they are covering the very early Yardbirds track, Honey In Your Hips. We're told that this was recorded in "dad's garage" and fueled by copious amounts of RC Cola and Animal Crackers. How's that for authentic?

Let us know what you think.

The hipster flipsters.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Song of The Week: The Dynamics -- Misery

Please see the comments below to learn more information about this song from the guitarist who performed on this number, Chris Bramlett.

What a nice little gem we have for you today. Even if you are a big-time music collector, I bet most of you are not familiar with this song. But, it might, just might, sound familiar. That's because this song, Misery, was the subject of some pretty blatant plagiarism by Pete Meadon. He being the one-time manager of The Who.

Back in 1964, Pete Meadon briefly changed the name of The Who to the High Numbers in an effort to get them bigger with the mod movement in London (being a High Number meant that you were of some importance in the gang). In June, Meadon and Chris Parmeinter took the band into the studio to cut some self-funded tracks that would have a very limited 1000-run pressing on Fontana Records. The lads recorded 4 tracks that day: Eddie Holland's Leavin' Here, Bo Diddley's Here 'Tis, and Zoot Suit and I'm The Face. The latter two songs were credited to Meadon who, in another effort to get in with the mod movement, wrote lyrics which spoke to the mod experience. I'm the Face is a not so subtle rip-off of the oft-covered Slim Harpo number, Got Love If You Want It. Zoot Suit, a not so subtle rip-off of today's song of the week. It is unlikely that Pete Townshend even plays on Zoot Suit, but rather that a studio musician brought in by Meadon and/or Fontana plays the jazzy guitar riffs. To be blunt, the sound, style and quality of performance are not Townshend at all. In Dave Marsh's book, Before I Get Old: The Story of The Who, Marsh refers to Townshend's style and makes no mention of a studio musician. However, on the liner notes of Odds and Sods, Townshend says of the studio musicians on these High Numbers tracks: "Superb jazz guitar solo from somebody I don't recognize, fast piano from some pilled-up lunatic who probably made more in session fees that day than we did from the ensuing year's work." In Pete's new auto biography, he says he played on the session but that the work shows his style was not fully formed yet. You decide. 

But that is not our SoTW, Misery is. In 1963 a Detroit band called The Dynamics sauntered into the studio to record this nice cross-genre song. This is just one of those great songs that surprises me. The catchy guitar riff never seems to fit the rest of the song -- in a VERY good way. The singer's temporary falsetto always catches me off guard and the sax solo is a surprise considering how dominant the guitar is in the rest of the song. And then there's the exit vocals. "No-no!" How frickin' cool.

Enjoy your misery.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Song of The Week: "Endless Sleep," Nick Lowe

Listen - Nick Lowe performs Endless Sleep.

Here is a gentle, beautifully restrained song that is as somber as the winter solstice night is long. And we're talking a Greenland winter solstice night! This song, Endless Sleep, is from Nick Lowe's debut album, 1978's Jesus of Cool (poorly renamed Pure Pop For New People for the puritanic US Market).

It's a busy day for me, and, let's be honest, the song says everything that needs to be said. Thus, no more words. Enjoy over a beer in the dark of night. Blue light and incense optional.

The flipsters.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Song of The Week: "Milk Cow Blues," Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran would have been 72 yesterday. Of course, he died in 1960 at the very young age of 21 near Bath, England when the car he was riding in crashed. Cochran was thrown from the car and died of head injuries the next day. His tour mate, Gene Vincent, survived, though badly injured.

Today's SOTW, Milk Cow Blues, was recorded live in England in February of 1960, using local musicians (as the UK would not allow him to bring American musicians to the country). Cochran's legendary guitar skills are on great display here.

The video of C'mon Everybody was recorded in '59. Enjoy

Monday, September 27, 2010

Song of the Week: The Misunderstood - Who Do You Love?

[Editors note: This post has been revised to correct some misinformation in the original post. Clarification on a few points were given by Steve Whiting, bassist for The Misunderstood. He has provided a wealth of information in the comment section below. We Flipsters hope you'll take time to read his illuminating comments.]

If ever a band was appropriately named, it was London, England's, no, I mean Riverside California's The Misunderstood. The band only put out enough singles that you could count them on one hand. And they were only released in the UK. But what singles they are!

The Misunderstood hailed from Riverside, California where they plugged away in southern California clubs with great anonymity. That's when British radio host, John Peel happened into an outdoor performance at the Riverside Mall at which our heroes-of-the-week were performing. (Discerning readers of On The Flip-Side may recall that John Peel has a direct connection to one of our favorite self-penned articles...which can be found here). Peel knew that something great lurked just beneath the surface and convinced the boys to make the trip to London where he would represent them. In a must read of Ugly Things magazine that chronicles, with great detail, the misunderstood story of The Misunderstood, the music fan is left with that all too familiar lament of "what could have been?". Poverty, broken promises, the Vietnam draft, work permit issues, drug use and a general haze of bad luck, left The Misunderstood failing to live up to their true potential.

Not long after the boys landed in the UK, rhythm guitarist, Greg Treadway, heard the potential door knock of the draft and, coupled with the memory of a girlfriend left behind, headed back to the US. Into the void steps British guitarist, Tony Hill. Hill and the Yanks only record 7 songs together. Four of them produced as singles for Fontana Records. Those were: Children of the Sun/I Unseen and I Can Take You To The Sun/Who Do You Love? It is no understatement that all output in London are of thee highest quality. Each song is better than the last one to which you just listened and each demonstrates great songwriting ability, musicianship and singing. Our song of the week is the startlingly original cover of Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love?

The Misunderstood's massive re-imagining of Who Do You Love opens with a descending riff played by bassist Steve Whiting while lead guitarist Glenn Campbell (no, not that Glen Campbell) plays a gentle ambient riff on his pedal steel. He is then joined by guitarist Tony Hill just before the band explodes into the first verse. Campbell's virtuosity on the pedal steel is at play throughout the entire song, but nowhere better than when the band dials it down during the musical interlude and Campbell's slide guitar work interfaces beautifully with Hill's chordal fills. As he did on all songs the band recorded, bassist Steve Whiting drops some amazing bass lines that give the song a beautifully articulated bottom (regular readers know that here at Flip-Side's Rocky Mountain HQ, we love well articulated bottoms!). Drummer Rick Moe controls the band's manic energy that vacillates between the tranquil and the violent. And then, not to be outdone, there was the growl of singer Rick Brown who had the chops to front a band of such dynamic quality. If you ever get a chance to hear him belt it out in Find The Hidden Door, then you know what I'm talking about. The highlight of the song, for this flipster, is at the end of the verse directly following the music break [at 1:44]. That's when Rick Brown and Glen Campbell "duet" on the line, "Now tell me, who do you love?". Those three seconds of vocals and slide guitar float together in the dark, open void of the song like a ship sailing off the end of the world.

In the end, it was the end. The band dispersed into the sunset, riding their own ways. Glen Campbell went back to Riverside where he kept busy in the music biz. Others found their way towards spiritual quests high in the Tibetan mountains. Others found themselves in the Navy stationed in Alaska (presumably he could see Russia from his front door). All in all, they went about life.

For a great, must read article on the band, I strongly suggest you take a look at Mike Stax's definitive work in Ugly Things #21 from 2003 and even plunk down a few dollars on The Misunderstood's Lost Acetates CD or LP available from UT.

Last, it kills me that this band gets tagged as a British band (I'm talking to you Rhino Records!). This band is from California, with a great musician in Tony Hill hailing from the UK. Just clearing up some misunderstandings of The Misunderstood (with a little help from Steve Whiting and Mike Stax).


Monday, September 20, 2010

Song of the Week: "Someday, One Day" Dale Hawkins

Listen - Dale Hawkins performs Someday, One Day

Dale Hawkins is best known for three things: 1) he wrote and recorded the ubiquitous Susie-Q, 2) his lead guitarists included the mega pickers, James Burton and Roy Buchanan, 3) he is the cousin of Ronnie Hawkins whose band, The Hawks, soon left Ronnie Hawkins to back a kid named Bob Dylan and then would change their name to The Band and make a good record or two on their own.

Today's SOTW is a little song that comes just two short years after the Louisiana rockabilly star scored big with Susie-Q in 1956 with a 17-year old James Burton laying down one of the most familiar guitar riffs ever. But by the time Hawkins traveled north to Chicago to record his composition, Someday One Day, Burton had moved on to back TV star Ricky Nelson. Into the void stepped another young guitarist, Roy Buchanan.

Someday, One Day is a dreamy little song that takes its time nicely. Backing vocals from band members Mark Mathis and Dean Mathis and beautiful vocal interplay with singer Margaret Lewis make for a wonderful bed for the wistful song. And then there are the guitars. Buchanan plays the lead through a Leslie Speaker (a swirling speaker designed for organs), giving the guitar that distinctive drips and drops of water sound. The song vacillates between the gentle longing rumba and the gritty rumba music breaks.

This little song is pretty far off the radar, even for rockabilly fans. I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Song of the Week: "The Family Gardener", Jeff Tweedy

Listen - Jeff Tweedy performs The Family Gardener

I love this song. And this little whimsical performance most of all. It was recorded in a small room somewhere in the Pacific Northwest with some guy who I am familiar with. It came as an extra download on the DVD of Sunken Treasure Live in the Pacific Northwest. Jeff Tweedy first performed this as part of the collective, The Minus 5. But their version of Tweedy's The Family Gardener is, in my opinion, over produced. Here Tweedy's guitar is brought to the fore and we can hear the quizzical words interplay with the instrument nicely. Again, I don't know who the other guy is (the one in the right channel), but I like his harmony.

Below is an abstract from the DVD with Family Gardener and Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Busker Days: Jesse Morris - Six Pack

Some of you will recall that my very first busker recording was of Jesse Morris. He performed Cocaine Blues and after I played it back for Flipside Central and West it was decided that I should move ahead with recording and publishing local street musicians for our audience. Now although I've come across many buskers since that day (and let you all hear a good many of them) Jesse stands out as one of my favorites. And although I've seen him from time to time, I've not had the opportunity to hear him since those first days.

That all changed a week ago Tuesday. He was back and clearly many commuters were as happy as I was to see him. As promised I put forth a listener request to Jesse, Fang's The Money Will Roll Right In. Not only was Jesse very familiar with this tune but he had recently opened up for Fang at a local benefit concert. He did an excellent punk turn rockabilly version of the song for the benefit of all lucky to be making their evening journey elsewhere at that moment.

Today, however, let's hear another song he played, Black Flag's Six Pack.

Jesse can be seen around town with his band the Man Cougars doing their blend of country and punk. More of Jesse Morris and the Man Cougars can be heard at their MySpace site.

Copyrighted photo courtesy of Bill Cendak. You can see more of his photos here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Song of the Week: "Spanish Bombs", The Clash

Listen - The Clash perform Spanish Bombs

Today's SOTW comes from one of, if not thee, greatest albums ever recorded: London Calling. The song is the Joe Strummer composed Spanish Bombs, a song about the Spanish Civil War. As I listened to this album (yet again) over the weekend, I couldn't help but to be struck by the diversity of subjects covered in the lyrics and evident in the music composition. From Spanish Bombs to Wrong 'em Boyo to The Right Profile, Mick Jones and Strummer (mostly Strummer, in this writer's opinion) made one of those massive growth spurts as a writer. The kind that is so gigantic that one has to slap their head and just sit back and say "wow". The two front men had shown great songwriting on their first two albums, the angry The Clash and the spotty Give 'Em Enough Rope, but nothing that even comes close to the variety and complexity of their third album, London Calling.

On Spanish Bombs Joe Strummer fronts the song with his gravely voice, singing of the republican freedom fighters who fought against the fascist forces of Franco:

Spanish songs in Andalucia, the shooting sites in the days of '39. Oh please, leave the ventana open, Federico Lorca, dead and gone.

Mick Jones sings beautiful harmonies and interjects with interplay, often in Spanish.

Brilliant song, brilliant album.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Song of the Week: "Done Somebody Wrong", Elmore James

Listen - Elmore James performs Done Somebody Wrong

Elmore James is the man. It doesn't take much more than that to describe James and his great, great recordings. Back in about 1983 or 1984, I was preaching the gospel of the Yardbirds like an itinerant preacher possessed by the big man himself. Then a kid from school named Justin Hibbard came up to me in the halls of our high school. He looked like the crazed preacher I looked like. "Have you ever heard of Elmore James?", he asked. "It's where The Yardbirds got everything. I was going through my dad's record collection and found a record of Elmore James and John Brim. It's great."

These were fighting words, but his invitation to come by after school to hear the record he was carrying down from the musical Mount Sinai eased my anger. He was right. On every count. In fact, today's SOTW, is one of those songs from which The Yardbirds, shall we say, "found inspiration." The song is Done Somebody Wrong and it features the patented Elmore James kick ass slide guitar for which he is so famous. In fact, his fame as a slide guitarist can sometimes irk me. Not because he wasn't a great guitarist. Nope. It's more that James is such a huge figure in post war blues slide guitar -- defining the new electric tone and the new electrified attack -- that listeners too often miss his extremely great voice. His gravel voice matches the tone of his electrified Kay hollow body flat top guitar beautifully. Just the way Elmore James says "Oh Yeah" makes me happy. As he finishes his sentence, his guitar responds. Together they fill out a song as nicely as Bettie Page filled out a sweater. Listen as Elmore fills in grunts and moans to match his guitar in the last verse, and then again in the outro lead. Two instruments harmonizing perfectly in concert. I particularly like it as he finishes the first sentence and throws in an "uh" to match his guitar dropping down.

My mother told me these days would surely come, but I wouldn't listen to her said I got to have some fun, uh. Mmm, I must of did somebody wrong. Ehh, It's all my fault I must have did somebody wrong.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Original Song Project: "Vague Memories", The Itinerants

Hello again flip-side. We are back. We are The Itinerants. Remember? You remember us maybe from the last song you published for us last year on your web page? That song was God's Crooked Smile, a song about a Godless killer who sinned and is now looking at a reckoning. We were real pleased with the words we got back from that song. Thanks.

Here is a new song that my brother, Jeremiah McCloskey, wrote and does the singing on. The song is called Vague Memories and is about our growing up in the hills in Omanik Maod, Georgia where we now have our Pentecostal church that we are real proud of. This song was recorded in the church and has the same music players as the last song. Jeremiah plays acoustic guitar and harmonica. I play some other stuff and Mrs. Kay plays bass. Our drummer didn't show up this day.

I hope your listeners might find their way to our church and join us for a song on a Sunday. One showed up not long after our last song was published. But he smoked so we had to ask him to leave. So if you show up this time, don't smoke. Or don't drink none neither.

With respect and God's love, Hollerin' Hank!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Song of the Week: "Nothing's Changed", Chris Isaak

Listen - Chris Isaak performs Nothing's Changed

Sometimes I have thought I was born in the wrong year. So many of my musical, design and fashion sensibilities seem to have often been stuck in a different time. Maybe a different place too. I should have been standing on the Sunset Strip the first time Arthur Lee and Love performed at the Whiskey. Or maybe I should have been at the Crawdaddy Club in london when the Yardbirds took over a residency from the Rolling Stones. Sometimes those feelings can make for a sad and lonely Mr. Flip. Like when I awoke from a wondrous dream in which I had been at the Monterey Pop Festival only to realize, that, no, I was still in a small apartment in Providence, Rhode Island and Candlebox had a hit on the radio. Then, every once in a blue moon you meet someone for the first time that you think might just feel the same way as you do. You'll never have a friendship with them, and may never see them again, but at least their is someone else out there that thinks like you.

That was what happened the other night when a generous friend of mine introduced me to Chris Isaak. I had long followed Isaak's music (I hadn't realized how long until I really sat down to think about it) and had seen him perform live a few times. It was, however, the first chance I had to make his acquaintance. I'm not going to make too much of our cursory time together (other than to say that it was awkward when he asked for my autograph on his chest and wanted to take his picture with feels so invasive to always have to do that!). But I will say, that I got that feeling of someone else who also felt as if they are of a different time. Chris Isaak exudes it in his dress, his mannerisms and his music. But, and this is a big but, his music is not so rooted in the past that it becomes a song of the past in the instant that it is born. Instead, Isaak seems to walk that beautiful and difficult line that divides tipping his pompadour to the music of Elvis, Roy Orbison and Conway Twitty and putting out fresh, original music. It's not so time out of place as it is timeless. Not everyone can do it.

Today's SOTW comes from Isaak's 1989 breakout album, Heart Shaped World. The album was recorded with the extremely lyrical guitarist, James Wilsey, who would soon leave the band, drummer Kenny Dale Johnson and bassist Rowland Salley. The latter two are still with Isaak, which says a lot about all of the men and the music. The song is the gentle and beautifully restrained Nothing's Changed. The title of which seems rather symbolic of the theme of today's article.

Enjoy Chris Isaak & Silvertone performing Nothing's Changed.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Song of the Week: "Golden Clouds", Flamin' Groovies

Listen - The Flamin' Groovies perform Golden Clouds.

San Francisco's Flamin' Groovies are one of those bands you have probably heard of, but never quite sure if you have heard them. Their albums were spotty, showing signs of brilliance right next to signs of "well, that was an interesting". Then their was the whole issue of being hard to peg in time. Some of their 70's albums sound very bluesy. Others sound like 60's power pop. Others sound like early punk. And then you add on that they had two different singers through the 70's and the Flamin Groovies brand becomes very hard to identify.

I first started poking around the periphery of the Groovies' record catalogue in the 80's. Flip-Side's Western Front Commander, Jack Hayden, and I used to take in many shows of groups like the Long Ryders, the Morlocks, and the Seahags in and around San Francisco. The Flamin Groovies' lead guitarist, Cyril Jordan was a regular at those shows, and, as he did with the Long Ryders one night at the long closed Keystone in Berkeley, he would occasionally jump on stage to perform a song. That night at the Keystone Jordon performed with the Long Ryders doing songs like the 1976 classic, Shake Some Action. Cyril Jordon later came up to me, Jack Hayden and a gal that was with us named Emily Owen and introduced himself. He was digging on our spot-on 60's look. He was a very unassuming man and high in energy. All that fueled me to look deeper at the Groovies.

My favorite song of theirs was immediately, and has remained, a song off of their self recorded debut 10"EP, Sneakers. It was recorded at San Francisco's Coast Records, the same place the Beau Brummels had churned out hits with Sly Stone at the board. The song is Golden Clouds and it opens with a buzz saw of fuzz guitar and then gives way to a bouncing Hofner bass and a beautiful warbly Telecaster playing a little Byrds like riff. Jordon's fuzz guitar remains but now recedes deep into the background. That is, until it gets to the multiple blistering leads. Frontman, Roy Loney sings with a cool understatement and gets some nice harmony support. It's just a damn cool song that I can listen to over and over again. I hope you dig it as much as we do here at Flip-Side's Rocky Mountain offices.

Have a groovie week.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Song of the Week: "Six Little Puppies and Twelve Shaggy Hounds", John Lee Hooker

Listen - John Lee Hooker performs Six Little Puppies And Twelve Shaggy Dogs.

Everybody loves John Lee Hooker. The dude had style for days.

I had the chance to see him live on three separate occasions and I can tell you the first performance of his I saw had a huge influence on this impressionable 15 year old flipper. Hooker was around '66 years of age on my virgin foray into the deep, dark growling blues in a live setting. I knew the manager of the venue, The Palms in Davis California, and was escorted back stage after the show. There I saw Hooker seated in the middle of the room on a rusty fold out chair sipping from a beer can. People filtered in with my group and one woman snapped a photo. Hooker snapped back: "You didn't ask to take my picture and I didn't say you could." The shutterbug pushed the camera back into her purse and retreated back into the the plank wood walls that gave away the venue's original purpose as a barn. The person who had escorted me and my older friends back to the room signaled to us to be quiet around the surly figure seated with legs wide apart in the middle of the room. The bassist for the band looked my friend over and said something along the line of "it's time to finish our business", and with that an envelope was passed. Most all the gawkers had left the room and Hooker looked up like a bulldog at the bassist who opened the envelope, looked in and gave Hooker an affirmative nod of the head. Hooker said something about getting a beer in this town and my friend suggested the only bar likely to still be open, The Paragon. Directions began to be given to the bassist and Hooker barked out again, "damn, we're never going to find it like that."

Suddenly I find myself and my friend climbing into the fourth row of Hooker's white Ford Econoline Van and heading off to the bar across the street from the record store at which I worked, Barney's Records. I followed the whole gang into the bar. I was way underage. Hooker and three of his bandmates took a table in the empty bar. Others in his band sat at the next table. My friends and I sat across the aisle in the narrow bar and I stared at John Lee Hooker with awe and fear as he drank from a bottle of Miller High Life.

Hooker had been on the road for about 52 years at this point. He had played many barns, music halls from Germany to California and Juke Joints along Highway 61. He had played festivals and he had played more than one house party. Today's song of the week is from one of those nights. It was recorded in 1949 in a house in Detroit, Michigan. The song is the sublimely titled Six Little Puppies and Twelve Shaggy Dogs. It takes a little bit of time to get going -- like Hooker himself -- but once he gets going it's a song with a great minor chord groove that is as hypnotic as the man himself.

I never did say a single word to Hooker. He never even acknowledged my presence. It was still damn cool.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Busker Days: Rasul, "Autumn Leaves"

Listen here to the saxophone of Rasul Grayson. He's 21 years old and hails from San Francisco. He also plays guitar in a local jazz trio, JNG. It was the first time I'd seen him when I made this recording of him playing alto saxophone at the Montgomery Station northwest entrance. Here's his take on the jazz standard Autumn Leaves. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Song of the Week: "Levitation", 13th Floor Elevators

The bad ass boys from Austin, Texas who started off the flip-side are back with Levitation. I don't feel the need to sing the praises of the 13th Floor Elevators, so I'll just say, cool photo I had never seen before and great song I've heard 100,000 times before.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Song of the Week: "Bouncin' With Red", Piano Red

Listen - Piano Red performs Bouncin' With Red.

We are late. Yes, we know that we are supposed to publish our SOTW on Monday AM, bright and early. But Mr. Flip-Side just had one of those days. This one isn't much better. But the little voices that flitter through our heads late at night said, "Flipster" (the voices like to call me flipster), "you have at least three adoring fans out there who are just waiting for that SOTW that helps them get through a day like a cup of joe in the morning." The voices are right. We have betrayed you and we are here today to make it up to all three of you.

Without further wait, the flipsters present to you, the adoring public, our SOTW. It comes from Atlanta, Georgia and was recorded in the Spring of 1951 by the song's composer, Piano Red. The song is the instrumental, Bouncin' with Red, and we think you'll agree, it is one fun rollicking number that predates the dawn of the term Rock-n-Roll by a good 3 years.

Piano Red was also known as Dr. Feelgood (not to be confused with the excellent London based band from the 70's of the same name whom, coincidentally got some love from us about a year ago in a video diary) but was born as Willie Lee Perryman in Georgia in 1911. There is more, but we are real busy so we are going to let Piano Red do the talking with his 88 keys pounding out Bouncin' With Red. Enjoy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Song of the Week: "Bring It To Jerome", Bo Diddley

Listen - Bo Diddley performs Bring It To Jerome.

"Look it here purty baby, this mess I won't stand. All the other women, say you got another man." Those are the words spoken by the terribly wronged Jerome Green. "Who?" you may ask? Well, how dare you not know. Jerome Green is only the fiercest maraca player since Carmen Miranda shook hers for all the public to see back in the 1940s. Jerome Green was, as you may have guessed by now, the maraca player for rock-n-roll steam engine, Bo Diddley. You can see Jerome in the above picture with a fistful of maracas and a face that shows the requisite 'tude to bring it hard on them chica-chica-boom-boom machines we call maracas.

Today's SOTW, aptly titled, Bring it To Jerome, was written by Jerome and he and Bo serve double duty on the vocals. It was the flip-side of the Bo Diddley penned hit Pretty Thing and was released on Checker Records in 1956. It's a damn perfect song -- as all those early Bo Diddley numbers were.

We'll keep the words short today. Just click the song link, grab a fist full of maraca and bring it on home in front of your mirror in your living room. Don't know how to bring it like Jerome? Then check the video below to get some Jerome Green teaching.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Song of the Week: Blind Willie McTell - God Don't Like It

Man, I love this song. It is by Georgia born, itinerant bluesman, Blind Willie McTell and features the vocal stylings of Mr. McTell's wife, Kate McTell (formerly Ruthy Day). God Don't Like It was recorded by the two abstainers in the city of Chicago in 1935.

The youthful voiced Blind Willie McTell is perhaps most famous for his original composition Statesboro Blues which was covered/rewritten and made famous by fellow Georgians, The Allman Brothers. McTell recorded under many different names and in any number of locations, and with any variety of different instrument. The only thing consistent about his recordings, is the innate quality to his craftsmanship. God Don't Like It was certainly part of Blind Willie McTell's traveling minstrel show repertoire. It tells the very clear story of abstinence from all liquor and for all people (you hear me you lecherous preacher?). Why? Because God don't like it like that, and Kate and Willie don't either.
Then some of our children are naked, and the mothers never go. But the fathers make the mighty bitey row for the women of the shine and the shows. God don't like it, and I don't either. It's them that's gonna change.
Now I could swear I've heard the White Stripes, whom have been featured on these pages in recent months, cover this song. But I can't seem to find it anywhere. If they didn't cover it, they certainly should. This would be perfect for Meg and Jack to riff back and forth. I know they covered Blind Willie McTell's extremely great song, Your Southern Can Is Mine.

If you have a recording of The White Stripes doing God Don't Like It, please let us know in the comments section below.