Archive for November, 2011

Five Songs, Part 55

November 25, 2011

Five Songs for this week — and I won’t hit you with any holiday stuff ’til next week — includes one you might never have heard unless you’re a doo-wop fiend.

Back in the early ’80s, when the doo-wop revival was at its peak, CBS had a short-lived label called Ambient Sound, featuring several revived ’50s/’60s vocal groups, including The Capris, The Mystics, The Jive Five and Randy & the Rainbows. And in this week’s list is The Mystics’ recording of a song written for them by Joey Ramone.

But first, some other bits of coolness to get you going again after you digest your dinner from yesterday. Enjoy the rest of this Thanksgiving weekend …

It Won’t Be Wrong — The Byrds

Come Spy With Me — The Miracles

Shake Some Action — Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents

Sweet City Woman — The Stampeders

Doreen Is Never Boring — The Mystics


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25 Songs for Norton’s 25th (and then some)

November 20, 2011

Well, this was supposed to have come out on 11/11/11, but steady work (not complaining about that, mind you) and the urgent search for a car precluded me doing pretty much anything else — including finishing off this tribute.

I can tell you that there are some people last weekend for whom the double-sticks weren’t the day’s lucky number. It was 25. As in a quarter-century of tear-em-down musical madness foisted upon the world — with a few extras years tacked on before that for bad behavior — by the fine folks at the coolest archival record label in the universe: Norton Records.

This was to have come out last weekend in the midst of the social event of the decade — the sold-out-for-months, four-night 25th-anniversary celebration at the Bell House in Brooklyn. Lots of great musicians showed up.

Anyway, I figured I’d honor this momentous occasion in my own special way. So here you go: 25 songs for 25 years — with triple awarded for damages.

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A little presidential parlor game

November 8, 2011

I should preface this with a lawyer-like disclaimer: My opinions are truly my own and are not the opinions of any employer past, present or future …

Okay, the 2012 presidential election takes place 52 weeks from today. And since shit is being stirred on both sides of the political debate — Occupy on one side, the surreal circus that is the Republican Debate Tour on the other — it’s time to address a question that’s been bothering me for a long while now.

And maybe it starts some healthy debate. And maybe it starts something bigger.

It’s no secret that many of us to the left of the radical right are disappointed, disillusioned and/or pissed off at the man currently in the White House. The man who had the audacity to make so many people hope, then tossed them aside once he took office in order to follow a course of appeasement — with the wrong people.

And there are a lot of other things about him that I won’t get into now, both for brevity’s sake and for risk of veering off-course.

So now he’s coming back to us — taking his too-little, too-late-for-many job bill show on the road, trying to “energize the base,” as they so call it in D.C., with that smug, arrogant, look-down-his-nose pose of his, and speaking eloquently and slickly (with the aid of a teleprompter), because that’s what he does best. And he won’t do much else.

Why? Because all he and his handlers have to do, really, is point at the Republican side show and say, “Do you want our guy or these clowns?”

Any why’s that? Because people have been cowed into thinking they don’t have any other choice.

I’ve had too many friends tell me, both in conversation and on Facebook posts, “Well, who do you want to run for president?” As if we don’t have any other choice. Maybe they’re still haunted by visions of Ralph Nader; maybe they believe the two-party system is mandated by the Constitution. or something outlandish like that.

I’ll tell you what I tell everyone: 310 million people in this country and this is the best we can do?

This is really the best we can do? Two people who are gonna be in the pockets of Wall Street, who will say whatever it takes to win, then do what Wall Street damn well pleases?

Bullshit.

So here’s the parlor game:

Pretend that you have no choice but to vote for someone else for president. Pretend Obama’s a lame duck, or he’s decided to step down to take part-ownership of Da Bulls or something. You have to pick a new president.

Okay — who’s the best person, or persons, for the job?

Think of a name or two. Could be a Democrat; could be an independent,  Republican, Libertarian, Green, whatever. Doesn’t matter. Just someone who hasn’t been announced as a candidate up to this point who you think would give us the leadership and strength we need to get out of one hell of a mess.

You don’t have to articulate your reasoning beyond a sentence or two — besides, every candidate is gonna be run through the Central Scrutinizer at some point, so all the laundry, clean and dirty, will eventually be wrung out. The whole point of this parlor game is to get some names out in the Webosphere — to get the country thinking that we don’t have to settle for the status quo. Hell, most of us have been screwed by the status quo every way to Sunday.

In short, do you want a say in choosing the next president at an extremely crucial time in our history — or are you just gonna lazily leave the choice up to them? Whatever them is?

So get your thinking caps on. And please share this with your friends — play the parlor game with your circles and see what happens. Let’s see if we can actually find a good president among the 310 million people in this damned country. Here goes …

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Five Songs, Part 54

November 4, 2011

Well, I have to start Five Songs this week with one of the most beautiful songs ever written, in honor of the finally! at last! release of an album that was started not long before I started kindergarten. That would be The Beach Boys’ “SMiLE.” Its release Tuesday, combined with the deluxe box set’s arrival on my doorstep that morning, made it a very merry early Christmas.

I’ll be spieling about it once I finish plowing through the five CDs of shards of sounds, but in the meanwhile, enjoy your weekend. And to my friends back home, may it be a lot warmer and a lot less snowy than last weekend:

Surf’s Up — The Beach Boys

Work That Dream — November Group

Ukiah — The Doobie Brothers

Don’t Monkey With Tarzan — The Pygmies

Keep Your Hands Off My Baby — Little Eva