Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Song of the Week: Elvis Presley - A Big Hunk O' Love

A Big Hunk O' Love is notable as Elvis' only recording while serving in the Army. It was recorded in 1958 at Bradley's Barn in Nashville, Tennessee and released in '59. It is also notable for being the first recording to NOT employ Scotty Moore or Bill Black. The lead guitarist is Bradley's Barn session man, Hank Garland who also appears on much of The Johnny Burnette Trio's work as well as work done for George Jones and Johnny Horton. Chet Atkins is also rumored to be playing baritone guitar on the number.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Song of the Week: The Bootleggers (w/Emmylou Harris) - Cosmonaut

From the 2012 film, Lawless, we have here a lovely little song called Cosmonaut. The song was written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (of The Bad Seeds fame. The Australian 80s era band, not the 60s Texas band). It should be noted that Nick Cave also wrote the screenplay for the film. The song is credited to The Bootleggers, which I believe to be a collective for this movie project, and features the wispy and gentle vocals of Miss Emmylou Harris. She's received a lot of love from us in the past and she makes her 3rd appearance here at On The Flip-Side. She can be found on this Gram Parsons post and on this The Band post. That may be a record. Go figure.

I hope you enjoy this gentle ramble.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Original Song Project: Morgan Young - The Jamestown Hop

This song has lyrics, but I've never been satisfied with the vocal performances I've put forth on them. It's now been gathering digital dust for a year and I don't think I'll ever return to trying to do more with it. So, here it is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Song of the Week: We The People - You Burn Me Up & Down

The reality is that most of the garage bands who existed in the 60s were nothing more than that, a garage band. Most never got past the garage or maybe a sock hop. A few won a Battle of the Bands competition in their local town or even played their high school dance. Far fewer were lucky enough to cut a solitary 45rpm disc which they could shill at their local malt shop. A few, a very, very few, got signed to a real label and cut more than one single.

Our focus today is one of those rare bands that fall in the latter category. We The People hailed from Orlando, Florida and they were formed in 1965 when members of competing bands merged to form a local "super-group garage band", if you will. That formation brought together Wayne Proctor and Tom Talton who kicked out some very nice songs. Today's SoTW was composed by Talton and appeared as the flip-side (of course it was the flip-side!) of their third single. The song is You Burn Me Up & Down and it's a very unique number with a wonderful slide guitar riff to open the song. Gravely vocals and quizzical and suggestive lyrics make this one of the genre's greatest songs ever. The band went on to cut three decent singles for RCA records before the typical story of Vietnam, college, and rifts led to the band disintegrating. If you get a chance, dig into We The People's seven single discography. Mirror Of Your Mind, When I Arrive, and Follow Me Back To Louisville are all stellar. As is You Burn Me Up & Down and the way cool song, In The Past, which, of course, was covered by The Chocolate Watchband on their album, Inner Mystique.

Enjoy and let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Song of the Week: Jimi Hendrix - Have You Ever Been To Electric Ladyland?

Jimi Hendrix would have been 70 years old today. So much has been written about him that he has become more of a mythological figure than a real musician. That's a shame, because he was a real, fallible human being and a damn fine musician. I'll spare the words today and instead let his musicianship do the talking. Today's SoTW is the very mellow, soul inflected (Curtis Mayfield inflected), Have You Ever Been To Electric Ladyland?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Song of the Week: Willie Nelson - Sad Songs and Waltzes

Sad songs and waltzes aren't selling this year. A simple, yet poignant declaration of a man's depression and frustration. A declaration from a man who wants to sing to the whole world about his cheating, leaving lover. But he has no way to say it other than to put it into a sad little waltz. And they just ain't selling this year.

It's a good thing that I'm not a star/you don't know how lucky you are
Though my record may say it/no one will play it
Because sad songs and waltzes aren't selling this year

This is the type of song that has no noticeable artifact of its recording that would clue the listener in on the recording date. This could have been recorded in the late 50s or the 60s and I would have believed it. But this song was actually recorded in New York in 1973 with Doug Sahm of the Sir Douglas Quintet (a two time SotW spotlighter for A Nice Song and I Don't Want) providing the band for Willie.  Leon Russel was apparently kicking around the studio as well. Enjoy. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Song of the Week: Ryan Adams - To Be Young

From Ryan Adams' debut album, Heartbreaker, we present here, To Be Young. The song was co-written and performed with David Rawlings, of Gillian Welch fame. What a funky little bridge this song has. 

Vinyl Frontier

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Song of the Week: The Beastie Boys - Live at P.J.'s

Showing chops. Blending style. Growing up musically. Here we glimpse the former punk band turned goofy white boy rap band turned conscious do-gooder band, The Beastie Boys, as they put their big boy pants on for perhaps the first time. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Song of the Week: The Zombies - Walking In The Sun

For our second foray into the world of The Zombies, we focus on a song that didn't see the light of day when The Zombies actually existed as a real band. The song is Walking In The Sun and it was apparently written in '64, recorded in '65 and then never released. After the Zombies had disbanded in frustration over the lack of interest in their high quality product, they found themselves in an unusual position. That being, The Zombies had a posthumous hit in Time Of The Season. Suddenly the record company wanted another album. The thought was to throw some songs together which Rod Argent was working on and mix and match with whatever else was in the vaults. It was to be called Zombies R.I.P. That album never happened, but thankfully, some of those songs, of which Walking In The Sun is one, made their way onto poorly packaged compilations. Enjoy here the high quality stereo mix with overdubs as it appeared on the must-have box set, Zombie Heaven

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Video Diary: The Who - My Generation

And another happy birthday. This time to the legendary bassist for The Who, John Entwistle. John would have been 68 today.

Song of the Week: The Beatles - Dear Prudence

Happy Birthday to John Lennon who would have been 72 today. Without argument, he was the greatest pop song writer of the latter half of the 20th Century. And yet, remarkably, this is the first time in the three years existence of this blog that John Lennon or The Beatles have received any love from us.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Song of the Week: The Lively Ones - Surf Rider

From 1963, The Lively Ones perform Surf Rider. The Lively Ones were a SoCal band that recorded for Del-Fi Records, Dick Dale's label. A fact that I did not know until I started to write this, Surf Rider was actually written by The Ventures' Nokie Edwards, one of my all time favorite guitarists. Helps explain why this song is so dang perfect. The hep cats among us may recognize this song as the outro number to Pulp Fiction. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Song of the Week: Dwight Yoakam - This Drinkin' Will Kill Me

Feeling the rockabilly and honky tonk thing hitting me this week. Here we have Dwight Yoakam doing an acoustic version of his song, This Drinkin' Will Kill Me, which appeared on his second album.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Song of the Week: Onie Wheeler - Jump Right Out of This Jukebox

Onie Wheeler and his Ozark Boys hailed from southern Missouri. In 1957 Onie cut one single for Sam Phillips' much heralded Sun Records and toured with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Jump Right Out of This Jukebox was the Flip-Side of his lone Sun Records single. It's just a classic honky tonk number that would sound downright perfect in any honky tonk or rockabilly club today. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Song of the Week: The Who - Little Billy

Sometime after the nice little band from Shepherd's Bush released the brilliant, The Who Sell Out, a mockery of advertising and the music industry, someone from the American Cancer Society thought it might be a good idea to have a rock-n-roll band speak up against cigarette use. Maybe even record a quick little jingle like the four limeys had done to link their songs together on the aforementioned Sell Out album. Pete Townshend accepted and wrote a full length song. But Pete's sardonic whit was too much for the American Cancer Society. As a result, The Who's recording of their original, anti-smoking morality tale, Little Billy, didn't see the light of day until it was released on the eponymous time-filler of an album, Odds and Sods. The song, like the unreleased Glow Girl, written and recorded about the same time, is a beautiful transition between Sell Out and the lyrical and musical themes which would dominate their impending breakout, Tommy

Little Billy plays on many of the same themes of childhood shame, embarrassment, harassment, bullying  and revenge which colored much of Townshend's work of the 1960s. Preceding songs like I'm A Boy, Happy Jack, Pictures of Lily and A Quick One While He's Away all dealt with the tender issues which would become the center piece of Tommy. Here Billy is a fat, unpopular child who is mocked by the kids who "smoked cigarettes just to prove they were cool." Pete and Roger share vocal duties masterfully.

Now Billy and his classmates are middle-aged/with children of their own
Their smoking games are reality now/and cancer's seed is sown
Ha, ha, ha, ha
Ha, ha, ha, ha
Little Billy didn't mind
Most of them smoke maybe 40 a day/a habit Billy doesn't share
One by one they're passing away/leaving orphan's to Billy's care.
Get the feeling Pete was bullied as a kid?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Song of the Week: Minor Threat - Betray

Damn! Did you blink? I mean back in '83. Back then, did you blink? Then you may have missed what happened back then. Washington, DC's Minor Threat put out their one and only album. And it was a real gem. Sure, they had an EP that preceded it and one brilliant single that followed, but that was it. They disbanded. Gone. Where the Fugazi they went, I don't know. 

I was working at a record store called Barney's Records in Davis, California. Just a wee teen, a sophomore in High School, I was. Each employee was asked by management (read: Dave Webb) to create a top 5 albums of the year list. Minor Threat's lone output, Out Of Step, topped my list of Best Albums that year. It bested REM's Murmur and even the Violent Femmes' self titled debut. I'm not sure I would rank them like I did back then, but, you know, hindsight and all. Back to Out Of Step. The rawness, the power, the ability to go 1000 miles an hour and still retain a melody, the sincerity and earnestness of the lyrics and the musical performances hit me hard. It still does. And it scares the heck out of my kids as we drive down the streets blaring this album at ungodly volumes. 

The opening salvo on that album is today's SoTW. The song is Betray and it tells the story of a friendship gone wrong. Two close friends who went their separate ways. The gossip of the day was that the song was aimed at Henry Rollins who left Washington, DC, left his job at an ice cream store (at which he worked with Minor Threat frontman, Ian Mackaye) and headed off to be frontman of California's Black Flag. (By the way, I believe that is Mr. Henry Rollins skanking with the band in the picture below.) I don't really know if Betray was aimed at Rollins or not. Regardless of who the muse was, Betray beautifully demonstrates Minor Threat's musical ability. A punk song with a real chorus and even a time/tempo change at 2:01. Sit back and enjoy the run. 

For you 60's garage fans, seek out Minor Threat's covers of The Standells' Sometime Good Guys Don't Wear White and their excellent, excellent, excellent version of The Monkees' Stepping Stone

Thee End!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Busker Days: Craig Ventresco "Hoosier Sweatheart / There Ain't No Land Like Dixieland To Me"

I've been on a bit of a hiatus from keeping you all informed on the SF busker scene (from the perspective of my microcosm, of course).  I have to admit that the death of Jesse Morris, a great musician and a real good guy, is part of the reason - his absence is palpable.  Sure, having all of my field recording equipment stolen doesn't help.  Eager to get back in the game, I thought I'd dig into my archives and see what's what.

While digging around, what immediately caught my attention (and excited my ears) was the other recording I did of Craig Ventresco back in early 2011 down in Montgomery BART station.  (You can hear the first recording here.)  Today's tune is another ragtime medley, this time two songs from the early 1900s.  It starts off with Hoosier Sweatheart by Goodwin - Ashe - Baskette, published in 1927, and careens off into There Ain't No Land Like Dixieland To Me by popular songwriter Walter Donaldson (1893-1947), also published in 1927.

Enjoy Craig and the sounds of his lovely Fraulini guitar....

Monday, August 20, 2012

Song of the Week: Jessica Lea Mayfield - Our Hearts Are Wrong

Languid. From Jessica Lea Mayfield's sophomore release, Tell Me, we have Our Hearts Are Wrong. The song, as is the whole album, was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Song Of The Week: Phil and The Frantics - Say That You Will

Here we have the flip-side to yesterday's post. I couldn't not post this excellent song after talking about what a killer two-sided single this record made. Say That You Will is filled with quirkiness. Every aspect of the song: the saxophone, the chuncka-chunka incessant lead work and the funky little stutter stop organ breaks -- first heard at :25 -- are just wickedly quirky. Everything, EVERYTHING, about this record is excellent. So, which song do you like better? Say That You Will or the flip, Till You Get What You Want? Let us know below. Oh, say that you will.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Video Diary: Jack White - Sixteen Saltines

Part four of four of our Red Rocks love fest. Jack White headlined a kick ass show last night at Red Rocks. This song, Sixteen Saltines, was the first song of the amazing encore which also included Hardest Button to Button, Seven Nation Army and Goodnight Irene. One of the best shows I've ever seen.

Video Diary: Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three - La La Blues

Part three of Red Rocks video diary. Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three performed last night in support of the headlining act, Jack White.

Video Diary: Alabama Shakes - Hang Loose

Part two of the Red Rocks addition. The Alabama Shakes opened for Neil Young at Red Rocks.

Video Diary: Neil Young - Needle and the Damage Done

Here is the first in my Red Rocks collection. Neil Young performed their two nights ago.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vinyl Frontier: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe's death was 50 years ago. Gotta love the fact that her image endures so many years later.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Video Diary: Richard & The Young Lions - Open Up Your Door

From Newark, New Jersey, we have Richard & The Young Lions. The Young Lions were Richard Tepp, Bob Freedman, Marc lees, Norm Cohen, Ricky Rackin and Jerry Raff. Here they are on a Detroit based show from '66. The group of longhairs put out three nice singles. Open Up Your Door with the flip-side of Once Upon Your Smile was their debut and even came with a nice picture sleeve (see below). Both sides are stellar. The follow up was the less brilliant, Nasty/Lost and Found. And then their third and final release was the excellent You Can Make It/To Have and To Hold. The A-side of their swan song remains my favorite of the six cuts the band ever produced. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Song of the Week: Kempy and The Guardians - Love For A Price

From Oak Cliff, Texas, we present to you today Kempy and The Guardians. The Guardians actually recorded this number, Love For A Price, twice. Both in the fine year of 1966. The first version appeared on the Lucky Sounds Label. In this flipper's opinion it is a fairly anemic version with not much of a lead. Unhappy with their output, the band tried again at a different studio that was more amenable to their sound and under a different label, Romunda Records. Teen guitarist, Dean Brown added the lead on the spot. Here is Dean Brown as interviewed for the website "Beyond The Beat Generation":
"I played on both versions of Love For A Price/Never. At the time of the second recording I had become a big fan of bands like The Yardbirds who had perfected that 'Fuzz Sound'. In addition to my '57 Tele, I played through a Fender Bassman with distortion via my Gibson Maestro Fuzztone."
The other members of the band, in addition to Dean Brown, included: Gary Kempy Rawlings on vocals, Larry Samford on bass, Gary Seals on guitar, and Alan Roth on drums.

Enjoy Kempy and The Guardians' second attempt at Love For A Price.