A Neil Young Story

One day, Neil Young was home, working on writing some new songs. After a productive morning, a rumbling in his stomach told him it was time to break for lunch. Young decided to reward his own efforts by making and then devouring the perfect sandwich.

In his kitchen, Young began to assemble the ingredients for his perfect sandwich: bread, a variety of cold cuts, spinach leaves, pickles, olives, and slices of provolone and Swiss cheese. As he searched for a condiment, he realized with dismay that his last remaining jar of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise was empty.

That would not do at all.

Rather than compromise his vision of the perfect sandwich, Young grabbed his jacket, wallet, and car keys, and headed out to the grocery store to pick up a fresh jar of Hellmann’s.

Now, on any given day, it was a quick trip to the grocery store, maybe 15 minutes round trip, if even that. But on this day, Young ran into a construction detour, with no easy alternate route. The detour took him miles out of his way, adding at least twenty minutes to his journey. 

After finally following the detour almost all the way back to his familiar grocery store route, Young made a wrong turn, and didn’t realize it until he’d driven an extra ten minutes in the wrong direction. Cursing colorfully, Young corrected his error, backtracked, and finally arrived at the grocery store. What was usually a 15-minute round trip had already taken almost 40 minutes. Circling to find a parking space in the store’s crowded lot added another five minutes.

A crowded parking lot meant a crowded store. A small group of fans recognized Young on his way inside, and–seeking to combat his persistent image as a curmudgeon–Young paused long enough to sign autographs and pose for selfies. He then excused himself, navigated the throngs of other shoppers, and made his way to the part of the store where, on previous visits, he had always grabbed his jars of Hellmann’s right off the shelf. Alas, the store had revamped its merchandising plan, so Young had to ask for help in finding his target. His 15-minute round trip had begun just over an hour ago.

When Young arrived at the shelf where jars of Hellmann’s were supposed to be awaiting eager customers, the shelf was empty. Restocking was in process, and within another ten minutes, Young had his chosen condiment–two jars of it–in hand. He checked out with no further incident.

Traffic was slow on the return trip. Flashing lights warned of a fender-bender up ahead–no one was hurt, thank God–and the bumper-to-bumper parade of vehicles crawled on slowly. By the time Young made it back home, it had been more than two hours since the discovery of an empty Hellmann’s jar had sent him on what was supposed to be a 15-minute trek.

Young shrugged it all off. He went to the kitchen, made the perfect sandwich he’d envisioned, and enjoyed every bite of it.

His hunger satisfied, Young returned to his songwriting. He reflected on his day and its unexpected complications. He picked up his guitar, and began a new song:

Long mayo run
Long mayo run
Long mayo run….
Thank you. We’re here every day.

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Fans of pop music will want to check out Waterloo Sunset–Benefit For This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, a new pop compilation benefiting SPARK! Syracuse, the home of This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & CarlTIR’N’RR Allstars–Steve StoeckelBruce GordonJoel TinnelStacy CarsonEytan MirskyTeresa CowlesDan PavelichIrene Peña, Keith Klingensmith, and Rich Firestone–offer a fantastic new version of The Kinks’ classic “Waterloo Sunset.” That’s supplemented by eleven more tracks (plus a hidden bonus track), including previously-unreleased gems from The Click BeetlesEytan MirskyPop Co-OpIrene PeñaMichael Slawter (covering The Posies), and The Anderson Council (covering XTC), a new remix of “Infinite Soul” by The Grip Weeds, and familiar TIRnRR Fave Raves by Vegas With RandolphGretchen’s WheelThe Armoires, and Pacific Soul Ltd. Oh, and that mystery bonus track? It’s exquisite. You need this. You’re buying it from Futureman.

(And you can still get our 2017 compilation This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4, on CD from Kool Kat Musik and as a download from Futureman Records.)

Hey, Carl’s writin’ a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) will contain 100 essays (and then some) about 100 tracks, plus two bonus instrumentals, each one of ’em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (Volume 1).

Pop Sunday

New Column By Beverly Paterson!

The Clock Watchers / The Clock Watchers (Gear Fab Records 2020)

Those not familiar with the background of The Clock Watchers will be forgiven thinking they were one of those obscure sixties bands heard on compilation albums like “Pebbles”, “Green Crystal Ties” or “Teenage Shutdown.” But the truth is, these guys existed a few decades after the musical era they mined. 1992 and 1993 saw the Northwest Pacific band cutting a cache of songs, which appeared on a self-titled album in 1999 distributed by the Gear Fab label. The Colorado based imprint  has not only recently revived the collection on compact disc, but attached a slew of previously unreleased material to the package.

Ron Kleim – who has played with notable bands such as The Surf Trio and Marble Orchard – held the role of songwriter, singer and organist of The Clock Watchers. The other members of the band were bassist Don Beckner and Jayson Breeton on drums, vocals, bass and guitar. 

Dining on a diet of jingly jangly chords, squealing Farfisa figures, choppy drum beats and gnawing breaks, The Clock Watchers mainly operated under the dual influences of West Coast folk pop and reedy garage rock. Moody vocals, coupled with aching melodies ringing with expression, add a sense of longing and loneliness to the catchy tunes that call to mind certain aspects of The Rising Storm, The Beau Brummels, The E-Types and The Gestures. 

Providing just the right measure of raw energy and snappy hook lines, “Drop In The Bucket,” “The Girl With Tears In Her Eyes,” “You Can Run,” “This Could Be Love,” “Mad Girl,” “Dirty Shame,” “When I Dream” and “Hey Little Girl” recreate the sound, style and spirit of 1965 to utter perfection. 

A taunting edge marks the aggressive thrust of “I’d Rather Laugh” and the comparably tough and toxic “No Tears For You” is spiked with the crying pitch of a bluesy harp. “Free Soul,” “Gone For Good” and “Shadows” further appropriate a rough and rugged finish, while “Goodbye” crackles with twanging country aspirations.

Powered by a bouncy kick, “Kiss Of Death” races and rolls with surf inspired rhythms before concluding to a round of trippy sitar riffs, and “It’s Your Life” is threaded with zoomy space age guitars reminiscent of the kind of stuff The Byrds were doing during their psychedelic phase. 

Comprised of twenty-two songs, The Clock Watchers makes for a consistently enjoyable listen. Period- piece lyrics, a swinging vibe and vintage equipment are the winning ingredients behind the amazing authenticity of The Clock Watchers. Here’s a band that really knew how to compose and perform the music they adored, and how nice it is their efforts have been rescued from the vaults. Perhaps now that The Clock Watchers has been reissued, the band will be motivated to reunite and record more groovy nuggets.


Richard Turgeon / The Journey (2020)

Shortly after his third and most recent album, Go Deep, was released last August, Richard Turgeon wasted nary a second working on new material. Since then, the San Francisco based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has unfolded a series of singles, which are available in digital download mode, and are scheduled to appear on his forthcoming album.

Turgeon’s latest single, “The Journey,” addresses the sensitive subject of supporting and encouraging a loved one grappling with challenging changes and situations in their life. 

Ebbing and flowing with captivating curves, the track is firmly grounded in folk rock soil. Drafts of stinging guitars, fizzing with sweeping melodies, lend “The Journey” a tone modeled on the likes of Neil Young, Tom Petty and Teenage Fanclub. But Turgeon’s smart tunesmith tactics, partnered with his robust vocals that have the ability and inflection to communicate clearly, rise  above the copycat category.

Turgeon is truly one of the finest contemporary artists composing and playing roots styled pop rock. The quality of his output remains amazingly high, with “The Journey” clocking in as yet another stone cold clarification of his worth.