Archive for July, 2011

Five Songs, Part 40 (The Amy Episode)

July 28, 2011

I’ve deliberately stayed away from most things Amy Winehouse the past week, save for the obligatory Facebook post last Saturday notifying friends of her demise. But let’s face it — I’ve loved her music since I first heard “Back to Black” in 2007 (and subsequently cursed Universal for not having the balls to release her debut album, “Frank,” here in the States when it first came out). And the album became the gateway to me discovering the band that backed her — The Dap-Kings, and, of course, Sharon Jones.

And, well, how could someone enjoy this terminally damaged talent (for her talent, not the terminal part) and not have her music stuck in their head all week? Thus, I gave in to my better musical angels and, well, here goes: the Amy Edition of Five Songs. And not one “Rehab” in the bunch.

In addition to my three favorite Amy songs not called “Rehab” (and actually, “Tears Dry on Their Own” is my favorite), I tossed in two interesting twists I hadn’t been aware of: a great mashup I stumbled into of “You Know That I’m No Good” and Linda Ronstadt’s ’75 hit version of “You’re No Good”; and Ronnie Spector’s love of her. You can hear Ronnie’s previously unreleased studio version of “Back to Black” accompanying her tribute to Winehouse on rollingstone.com; the version here is from B.B. King’s in Manhattan last December.

I didn’t know Ronnie was such a big fan, but it makes sense: “Every time I looked at her, it was like I was looking at myself,” she wrote. “She had my beehive, my eyeliner, my attitude. She had such a great soul in her voice and her lyrics were so amazing that I couldn’t help but sing one of her songs. I was so happy to see an artist like Amy, because she reminded me of my youth. And she loved girl groups. Damn it! I thought she would carry on.”

And it made for a poignant artist-artist connection. As Ronnie recalled in her piece: “Amy came to my show in London about six months ago, and she was so shy. She was hiding behind somebody, but I could see the hairstyle, and I knew she was there. That was all I needed. When I sang ‘Back to Black,’ I could see the tears in her eyes, and there were tears in mine.”

And thus, a Five Songs I wish I was posting for much better reasons.

Tears Dry on Their Own — Amy Winehouse

Fuck Me Pumps — Amy Winehouse

Me and Mr. Jones — Amy Winehouse

You Know That You’re No Good — Amy Winehouse/Linda Ronstadt mashup

Back to Black (live) — Ronnie Spector

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Five Songs, Part 39

July 22, 2011

Well, this week’s Five Songs has two concessions not just to summer, but to the heat wave facing my friends and family back East. And no, no “Heat Wave” — one’s from Jonathan Richman, the other from Wavves. Also on board: an early-’60s cover by The Iguanas, sung by the young Iggy Pop before he lost his shirt. Dig …

(Let’s Make This) Precious — Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Jezebel — The Teddy Boys

Ice Cream Man — Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers

Twist and Shout — The Iguanas

Super Soaker — Wavves

Five Songs, Part 38

July 15, 2011

Five Songs this week take me to some really far-out-daddio recesses of my brain. Say, like, a song I haven’t heard on the radio since early childhood, a couple of songs that were among my faves in high school but hadn’t heard in a long time, and a modern garage gem I hadn’t played in years. And I see Joe “King” Carrasco is back to doing some shows with the original Crowns. (I met Joe at Film Fest New Haven in 2000 and had pizza with him at Sally’s.) Anyway, enjoy your weekend:

The Mechanical Man — Bent Bolt & the Nuts

Show Biz Kids — Steely Dan

Hot Sun — Joe “King” Carrasco

Caledonia — Robin Trower

Remind Me — The Mono Men

Five Songs, Part 37

July 8, 2011

This week’s Five Songs starts with the sad news that Grass Roots singer Rob Grill is in really bad shape. He suffered a serious head injury in a recent fall, which led to two strokes, and he’s now in a coma. Anyway, while he’s still alive for the moment, his most famous musical words resonate just a little louder.

Let’s Live for Today — The Grass Roots

Words — The Monkees

Gimme Shelter — The Sisters of Mercy

Sex Bomb (“Generic Flipper” LP version) — Flipper

Come Go With Me — The Para-Monts

Five Songs, Part 36

July 1, 2011

So … there is a strong chance, I realize, that no one will be reading Five Songs, since, tho the majority of you who have jobs, it’s now something called the Fourth of July holiday. Of course, in my part of the world, every day’s a holiday — just another day, just another weekend, only with a lot fewer people around.

But like everything else I do with my life, I’ll go through the motions here, if at least to preserve some sort of routine, some sort of normality, some degree of sanity.

On a somber note, as I was calling up songs, I did some clicking on “Hey Sah-Lo-Ney,” which Detroit Cobras fans might recognize from their re-recorded version under the title “Hey Sailor.” And I found out that Mickey Lee Lane (Schriber), who wrote and originally recorded the tune, passed away March 18 at 70. But he left one hell of a song.

Anyway, here goes. Enjoy it, whoever’s out there:

Georgie, Don’t You Know — Outrageous Cherry

Coney Island Baby — The Excellents

Gimme a Little Sign — Brenton Wood

Hey Sah-Lo-Ney — Mickey Lee Lane

Fourth of July — X