THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1): No progress, but an update anyway!

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns.

Our favorite records don’t live in isolation. Each one has a story to tell.

Anyone who’s endured any time at all on this blog is aware of my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). Yeah, I’ve been working on this thing for years. I finished a complete draft of the book in January, and I’ve shared it with a potential publisher for review. No promise of progress there, but it does remain a work in progress.

In 2018, when I began trying to turn my GREM! concept into a book, it was intended to be my first book. Yep, after decades of freelancing for magazines, writing notes, short stories, blog posts, and stuff for other writers’ books, it was high time for a book I could call my own. GREM! can no longer be my first book, because I have a different book contracted and planned for a tentative 2022 publication. But still, I hope it will be a book.

The draft of GREM! that I shared with a publisher in early April followed my previously-posted blueprint, covering 175 songs and totaling a little under 144,000 words. Since then, I have also completed a slightly shorter alternate version, spotlighting 155 songs instead of 175, with a new word count just north of 131,000. At this moment, I prefer the shorter version. 

Unless, y’know, the publisher loves the longer version. I’m flexible. (And I have three even shorter versions prepped in case I need them. Um…that’s a secret. Shhhh. Don’t tell anybody.)

For now, here’s the proposed Table of Contents for that 155-song version. TA-DA! But before you dive in to experience its splendor, it’s worth repeating this caveat from one of the book’s introductory chapters:

“This specific disclaimer is worth highlighting in bold and all-caps: THIS IS NOT INTENDED AS AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF THE BEST RECORDS EVER MADE! Jesus, no! The chapters in this book cover a number of popular and personal favorites, but it’s nowhere near comprehensive, and it’s not meant to be. It’s a discussion and a celebration of pop’s infinite promise–nothing more, nothing less.”

Ready? Let’s GO!

FOREWORD

DISCLAIMERS AND DECLARATIONS (A User’s Guide To The Greatest Record Ever Made!)

A Fistful Of 45s

OVERTURE THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?

1. BADFINGER: Baby Blue

2. CHUCK BERRY: Promised Land

3. DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You

4. THE SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen

5. ELVIS PRESLEY: Heartbreak Hotel

6. WILLIE MAE “BIG MAMA” THORNTON: Hound Dog

7. PATTI SMITH: Gloria

8. LITTLE RICHARD: The Girl Can’t Help It

9. NEIL DIAMOND: Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show

10. CRAZY ELEPHANT: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’ 

11. WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour
12. THE HOLLIES: I Can’t Let Go

13. MELANIE WITH THE EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)

14. SAM COOKE: Chain Gang

15. PETULA CLARK: Downtown

16. ARTHUR ALEXANDER: Soldier Of Love

17. TRANSLATOR: Everywhere That I’m Not

18. LESLEY GORE: You Don’t Own Me

19. THE SHANGRI-LAS: Leader Of The Pack
20. THE SHIRELLES: Will You Love Me Tomorrow

21. THE RAMONES: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

22. AMY RIGBY: Dancing With Joey Ramone

23. PINK FLOYD: Wish You Were Here

24. GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia

25.THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR: I Fought The Law

26. MERLE HAGGARD: Mama Tried

27. THE TEMPTATIONS: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone

28. BUDDY HOLLY: Peggy Sue/Everyday

29. ROBERTA FLACK: Killing Me Softly With His Song

30. JOHNNY NASH: I Can See Clearly Now

31. ELTON JOHN: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

32. RUFUS: Tell Me Something Good

33. SUZI QUATRO: I May Be Too Young

34. ALICE COOPER: School’s Out

35. THE RARE BREED/THE OHIO EXPRESS: Beg, Borrow And Steal

36. OTIS REDDING: (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay

37. ARETHA FRANKLIN: Respect

INTERLUDE A Girl Known Somewhere: The Monkees Play Their Own Instruments

38. THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)

39. PRINCE: When You Were Mine

40. THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS: You’re Gonna Miss Me

41. THE ROLLING STONES: Get Off Of My Cloud

42. PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS: Just Like Me

43. BOB DYLAN: Like A Rolling Stone

44. THE KINGSMEN: Louie, Louie

45. BARON DAEMON AND THE VAMPIRES: The Transylvania Twist

46. THE MARVELETTES: I’ll Keep Holding On

47. THE WHO: I Can’t Explain

48. TODD RUNDGREN: Couldn’t I Just Tell You

49. SHOES: Tomorrow Night

50. THE FLASHCUBES: No Promise

51. TELEVISION: Elevation

52. DONNA SUMMER: I Feel Love

53. SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES: The Tears Of A Clown

54. THE DIXIE CUPS: Iko Iko

55. MILLIE SMALL: My Boy Lollipop

56. THE EASYBEATS: Friday On My Mind

57. IKE AND TINA TURNER: River Deep Mountain High

58. THE RONETTES: Be My Baby

59. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes

60. KISS: Shout It Out Loud

61. THE LEFT BANKE: Walk Away, Renee

62. THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Rock And Roll Love Letter

63. THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies

64. THE WONDERS: That Thing You Do!

INTERLUDE The Tottenham Sound Of…The Beatles?!

65. THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: Any Way You Want It

66. JAMES BROWN: Please, Please, Please

67. GRAND FUNK: We’re An American Band

68. THE FIRST CLASS: Beach Baby

69. THE ISLEY BROTHERS: Summer Breeze

70. THE RUBINOOS: I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend

71. THE PANDORAS: It’s About Time

72. THE MUFFS: Saying Goodbye

73. BIG STAR: September Gurls

74. THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET: Take Five

75. THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: All For Swinging You Around

ENTR’ACTE THE BEATLES: Yesterday

76. YOKO ONO: Kiss Kiss Kiss

77. THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS: Time Has Come Today

78. MARVIN GAYE: I Heard It Through The Grapevine

79. SAMMY AMBROSE: This Diamond Ring

80. PAUL COLLINS/THE BREAKAWAYS: Walking Out On Love

81. LINDA RONSTADT: You’re No Good

82. P. P. ARNOLD: The First Cut Is The Deepest

83. THE MYNAH BIRDS: I Got You (In My Soul)

INTERLUDE The Rick James Riff (It’s Such A Freaky Scene)

84. BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY: Piece Of My Heart

85. THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES: Shake Some Action

86. THE CARPENTERS: Only Yesterday

87. MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

88. THE 5TH DIMENSION: Medley: Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In (The Flesh Failures)

89. THE JACKSON FIVE: I’ll Be There

90. SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: Everybody Is A Star

91. THE BANGLES: Live

92. HEADGIRL/MÖTOR HEADGIRL SCHOOL: Please Don’t Touch

93. THE FLIRTATIONS: Nothing But A Heartache

94. THE SPINNERS: I’ll Be Around

95. TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS: American Girl
96. THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY: I Woke Up In Love This Morning

97. DAVID RUFFIN: I Want You Back

98. LED ZEPPELIN: Communication Breakdown

99. FREDDIE AND THE DREAMERS: Do The Freddie

100. THE BANDWAGON: Breakin’ Down The Walls Of Heartache

101. DON HENLEY: The Boys Of Summer

102. BEN E. KING: Stand By Me

103. GENE PITNEY: Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa

104. THE SPONGETONES: (My Girl) Maryanne

105. THE TRAMMPS: Disco Inferno

106. HAROLD MELVIN AND THE BLUE NOTES: Don’t Leave Me This Way

107. GRANDMASTER AND MELLE MEL: White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)

108. THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: I’ll Be Your Mirror

109. DEL SHANNON: Runaway

110. THE EVERLY BROTHERS: Gone, Gone, Gone

111. THE COCKTAIL SLIPPERS: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

112. SAM AND DAVE: Soul Man

113. T. REX: 20th Century Boy

114. HEART: Kick It Out

115. THE RUNAWAYS: Cherry Bomb

116. THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset

117. HOLLY GOLIGHTLY: Time Will Tell

118. THE SMITHEREENS: Behind The Wall Of Sleep

119. THE COWSILLS: She Said To Me

120. ELVIS COSTELLO AND THE ATTRACTIONS: (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?

121. THE FOUR TOPS: Reach Out I’ll Be There

INTERLUDE Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll

122. THE BOB SEGER SYSTEM: 2 + 2 = ?
123. THE JIVE FIVE: What Time Is It?

124. LULU: To Sir, With Love [Museum Outings Montage]
125. FREDA PAYNE: Band Of Gold

126. THE CONTOURS: Do You Love Me

127. THE GO-GO’S: We Got The Beat

128. WHAM!: Freedom

129. THE SUPREMES: You Keep Me Hangin’ On 

130. THE BEACH BOYS: God Only Knows

131. JOAN ARMATRADING: Me Myself I

132. THE SELECTER: On My Radio

133. TRACEY ULLMAN: They Don’t Know

134. MANNIX: Highway Lines

135. THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway

136. THE FIVE STAIRSTEPS: O-o-h Child

137. SOLOMON BURKE: Everybody Needs Somebody To Love

138. THE COASTERS: Yakety Yak

139. CHEAP TRICK: Surrender

140. TEGAN AND SARA: Walking With A Ghost

141. DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

142. THE O’JAYS: Put Your Hands Together

143. THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

144. RITA MORENO, GEORGE CHAKIRIS, SHARKS & GIRLS: America

145. EDDIE AND THE HOT RODS: Do Anything You Wanna Do

146. JOAN JETT: Bad Reputation

147. STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)

148. MARYKATE O’NEIL: I’m Ready For My Luck To Turn Around

149. EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year’s Gonna Be Our Year

150. THE JAYHAWKS: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

An Infinite Number

INTERLUDE Underrating The Beatles

ENCORE! THE BEATLES: Rain

ENCORE!! THE T-BONES: No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)

Cruisin’ Music

CODA THE RAMONES: Blitzkrieg Bop

AFTERWORD

Well, I like it! I hope someone else will like it, too. And the edit serves the bonus purpose of giving me a start on a hypothetical The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 2), while retaining the overall narrative of Volume 1.


Before I close here and get back to polishing this pipe dream, I want to repeat some basic supplemental material that’s appeared here previously:

You can see links to each of my 34 GREM! video blogs here.

You can read the book’s foreword, introduction, and first few chapters here. (These are earlier drafts, so some changes have been implemented since these were posted. Still gives you the gist of what I’m doing.)

Here are a few other sample chapters (also in earlier drafts):

BADFINGER: Baby Blue

PATTI SMITH: Gloria

GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia

JOHNNY NASH: I Can See Clearly Now

THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes

MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

CAST OF WEST SIDE STORY: America

STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)

EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year’s Gonna Be Our Year

I believe very, very strongly in this book. I think a few of you just might dig it, too. The work continues. Into the infinite!

If you like what you see here on Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon, or by visiting CC’s Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

Fake THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO Playlist: The Songs Of BOPPIN’ (LIKE THE HIP FOLKS DO)

I’ve written about a number of albums over the years (especially when I was freelancing for Goldmine), but I’ve always been a single-song guy. Each of the tracks in today’s fake playlist is an individual song that was the focus of a post right here at Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do). Most of them came from my Greatest Record Ever Made! series, though some were originally posted in some other series instead. The curious can follow links to read my original post about each song. Ready to bop? We’ve got some songs for you.

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl–y’know, the real one–airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read all about this show’s long and weird history here: Boppin’ The Whole Friggin’ Planet (The History Of THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO). TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS are always welcome.

The many fine This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin’ pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:


Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset–Benefit For This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio:  CD or download

PS: SEND MONEY!!!! We need tech upgrades like Elvis needs boats. Spark Syracuse is supported by listeners like you. Tax-deductible donations are welcome at 
http://sparksyracuse.org/support/

You can follow Carl’s daily blog Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) at 
https://carlcafarelli.blogspot.com/

Fake TIRnRR Playlist: The Songs Of Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do)

THE MONKEES: I Never Thought It Peculiar

THE RAMONES: Babysitter

BADFINGER: Baby Blue

GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS: Midnight Train To Georgia

THE BARBARIANS: Take It Or Leave It

THE GO-GO’S: Surfing And Spying

WHAM!: Freedom

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You

WILSON PICKETT: In The Midnight Hour

NICK LOWE: So It Goes

WANDA JACKSON: Let’s Have A Party

LITTLE RICHARD: The Girl Can’t Help It

MANNIX: Highway Lines

JOHNNY NASH: I Can See Clearly Now

YOKO ONO: Kiss Kiss Kiss

ELTON JOHN: Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

HEART: Kick It Out

CHUCK BERRY: Promised Land

THE BEATLES: Tell Me Why

THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: Any Way You Want It

MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

PATTI SMITH: Gloria

THE MONKEES: The Girl I Knew Somewhere

LOVE: 7 And 7 Is

BIG STAR: September Gurls

DAVID BOWIE: Life On Mars?

THE RASPBERRIES: I Wanna Be With You

SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES: The Tears Of A Clown

CRAZY ELEPHANT: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’

MELANIE WITH THE EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)

STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)

THE BUZZCOCKS: Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)

THE SEARCHERS: Hearts In Her Eyes

THE FLASHCUBES: No Promise

THE RAMONES: I Don’t Want To Grow Up

FIRST AID KIT: America

THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

THE SMITHEREENS: Behind The Wall Of Sleep

THE WONDERS: That Thing You Do!

THE CASTAWAYS: Liar, Liar

LESLEY GORE: You Don’t Own Me

THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)

THE WHO: I Can’t Explain

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: Girls In Their Summer Clothes

GRAND FUNK: We’re An American Band

FREDDIE & THE DREAMERS: Do The Freddie

THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway

THE ROLLING STONES: Happy

THE BEATLES: Thank You, Girl

THE RARE BREED: Beg, Borrow And Steal

THE JAYHAWKS: I’m Gonna Make You Love Me

THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies

THE LEFT BANKE: Walk Away, Renee

KISS: Shout It Out Loud

THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Rock And Roll Love Letter

THE KINKS: You Really Got Me

EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year’s Gonna Be Our Year

All Of Thus

All Of Thus

All Of Thus (Gear Fab)

https://guerssenrecords.bandcamp.com/album/all-of-thus

If you have never heard of All Of Thus before, you are not alone. Based in Victor, New York, the band cut just one album during their stint, which did not receive a speck of commercial promotion or attention. Simply dubbed “All Of Thus,” the album was released in 1968 on the Century label. Only 265 copies of the album were pressed, and ultimately gained the status of a serious collector’s item. Now revived onto compact disc, the rare pearl further offers the history of All Of Thus, authored by Mike Stax of Ugly Things magazine. 

Although the jacket sleeve of “All Of Thus” apes “Meet The Beatles” in a roundabout way, the band was a far cry from Fab Four imitators. Comprised of lead singer, songwriter and guitarist John Johnston, bassist and vocalist Don Corbit, keyboardist and vocalist Jerry  Huekensfield and drummer Barry Dagleish, All Of Thus exposed a preference for the psychedelic folk rock philosophy of The Byrds and early Love, filtered through a raggedy garage-pop edge. Raw and natural energy, as opposed to style and technique, furnishes “All Of Thus” with an enjoyable charm and innocence. The members of All Of Thus were still in high school when the album was recorded, and their youthful enthusiasm is contagious.

Jingly jangly applications are placed at a premium on the melodic kick of “She Think She Knows,” as well as “Artifical Lies,” which is executed at a bit of a slower meter and adds washes of whirring organ drills and social commentary to the track. Then there’s a cover of Pete Seeger’sBells Of Rhymney,” featuring a different arrangement than the initial version, not to mention a new set of lyrics. In the end, however, the giddy rendition mirrors the noted take by The Byrds, with its escalating and hypnotic harmonies that carry a hymn-like timbre.  

Routed by a rebellious sneer, hippy dippy prose and rolling and tumbling piano excursions, the gripping “Rely” is pricked with a stinging acid-tinted guitar solo, and “Bye Bye Baby” is a dance floor friendly nugget, marked by shaking grooves, shouting vocals and herky jerky riffs. A punchy garage rock vibe fuels the weirdly hooky “Last Night,” and the moody atmospherics of “Kind Of A Dream” produces a strong Zombies influence. Speaking of The Zombies, “All Of Thus” contains a brash and wild remake of the British band’s “It’s All Right With Me,” that includes some real cool surf rock drumming in the mix. A haunting interpretation of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’sWalk On By” strolls in as another inspired interpretation tucked on the album. 

Catchy singing, projecting a sense of power and confidence, chaperoned by unusual tempos and  instrumentation, reward  “All Of Thus” with an organic uniqueness to be appreciated and celebrated. 

What’s Not On Your iPod?

What’s not on your iPod?

My friend Dave Murray has posed this question a few times. It would be a good subject for a poll of music fans, a chance to explore what seemingly essential artists one would elect personally to just skip entirely. I’d think the discussion should be limited to the plausible; you wouldn’t expect a 58-year-old rockin’ pop fan like me to have much–if any–current Top 40, country, metal, or hip hop in my listening queue, so that’s not what we’re talking about. It’s also not about an iPod specifically, nor any other portable music player. It can be about the music in your head, the stuff you’d listen to when you call the shots and you make the playlist. For the sake of expedience, let’s call that your iPod.

So. What’s not on your iPod?

Dave and I have bounced the question back and forth for a good long time. For me, a lot of my expected pop bogeymen are on my iPod. I’ve got Bob Seger (I like “Get Out Of Denver,” “Heavy Music,” and “Hollywood Nights”). I’ve got The Eagles (“Take It Easy” and “Already Gone”). I’ve got Styx (I love both “Lorelei” and “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye”). I even have the hated REO Speedwagon (“Tough Guys”). I don’t have a lot of Dylan or Springsteen, but they’re there. The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd, too. Amidst my preferred mix of BeatlesKinksRamonesFlashcubesMonkeesChuck Berry, power pop, Motown, British Invasion, soul, bubblegum, surf, punk…well, it’s all part of my preferred mix, up to and including Phil OchsPercy Faith,and Grandmaster Flash. It’s all pop music, anyway.

What’s not on my iPod? Well….

As I was listening to the radio the other day, the local airwaves reminded me of a popular classic rock act whose music always prompts me to change the station, every time. And that act is Lynyrd Skynyrd.

It’s not that I hate Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lynyrd Skynyrd is in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and it’s a group that deserves to be in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. I’m not hostile. I’m not exactly indifferent, but it’s music that I just don’t care to listen to. Ever. I understand its appeal. The audience for that appeal does not appeal to me.

There are, of course, many other acts whose records are likewise alien to the rich ‘n’ fertile playground of my iPod. There’s no Frank Sinatra or Stevie Ray Vaughan. There’s no Van Halen, though it’s theoretically possible I would consider adding “Dance The Night Away” or “Runnin’ With The Devil” someday. There’s for damned sure no Dave Matthews Band; that one’s probably a given. And I’d take a truncheon to the damned thing if it tried to play Kid Rock, whom I loathe. But, among worthy acts that just ain’t my cuppa, Lynyrd Skynyrd tops the list of what’s not on my iPod. Turn it up? Turn it off. Your iPod may vary. What’s not on your iPod?

TIP THE BLOGGER: CC’s Tip Jar!

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin’ pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins’ BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. 

Fake THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO Playlist: Songs THE FLASHCUBES Like

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl is simply too large a concept to be neatly contained within a mere three-hour weekly time slot. Hence these occasional fake TIRnRR playlists, detailing shows we’re never really going to do…but could.

The recent release of the Flashcubes‘ 1979 live set Flashcubes On Fire, has reinforced my ongoing state of giddy Cubic buzz. So here’s a fake playlist gathering a bunch of songs the ‘Cubes covered at least once (or more), whether in live shows or in studio or demo sessions. It is not a comprehensive list, but it makes a damned compelling playlist.

You can read my liner notes for Flashcubes On Fire here, you can buy the album here, and you can link to a whole bunch of my Flashcubes writing through here. Like the Beatles before them, the Flashcubes were and remain true fans of rockin’ pop music, and that love of pop with power informed everything they did, and everything they continue to do today. 

We can expect more recordings of covers performed by the Flashcubes in the very near future; in the mean time, we open this imaginary playlist with a Flashcubes original (as heard on Flashcubes On Fire), a song celebrating the act of rock ‘n’ roll fandom, and then we dive into a selection of tunes the ‘Cubes fancied enough to perform. On stage. In the studio. In the basement with a TEAC 3340. These are some records the Flashcubes like.

I like ’em, too.

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl–y’know, the real one–airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read all about this show’s long and weird history here: Boppin’ The Whole Friggin’ Planet (The History Of THIS IS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL RADIO). TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS are always welcome.

The many fine This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin’ pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:


Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset–Benefit For This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio:  CD or download

PS: SEND MONEY!!!! We need tech upgrades like Elvis needs boats. Spark Syracuse is supported by listeners like you. Tax-deductible donations are welcome at 
http://sparksyracuse.org/support/

You can follow Carl’s daily blog Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) at 
https://carlcafarelli.blogspot.com/

Fake TIRnRR Playlist: Songs THE FLASHCUBES Like

THE FLASHCUBES: Face In The Crowd

OASIS: Rock And Roll Star

THE SUPREMES: Stop! In The Name Of Love

THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Wouldn’t You Like It

PAUL COLLINS’ BEAT: All Over The World

TELEVISION: Elevation

THE KINKS: I Need You

THE DWIGHT TWILLEY BAND: Alone In My Room

PEZBAND: Baby It’s Cold Outside

THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES: Shake Some Action

ARTHUR ALEXANDER: Soldier Of Love

THE SEX PISTOLS: Pretty Vacant

THE RUTLES: I Must Be In Love

THE HOLLIES: Have You Ever Loved Somebody

THE OHMS: License To Kill

THE MONKEES: She

THE RASPBERRIES: I Wanna Be With You

THE dB’S: Neverland

CHRIS SPEDDING: Boogie City

BADFINGER: No Matter What

THE WHO: I Can’t Explain

THE RAMONES: I Just Want To Have Something To Do

HERMAN’S HERMITS: A Must To Avoid

BIG STAR: September Gurls

THE NEW YORK DOLLS: Personality Crisis

THE MOVE: Forever

THE YARDBIRDS: Heart Full Of Soul

EDDIE COCHRAN: Somethin’ Else

APRIL WINE: Tonight Is A Wonderful Time

THE BOB SEGER SYSTEM: Get Out Of Denver

1.4.5.: She Couldn’t Say No

SCREEN TEST: Sound Of The Radio

STEVE CARR: I Want To Touch You In The Dark

WRECKLESS ERIC: Take The Cash (K.A.S.H.)

THE SEARCHERS: Needles And Pins

LARRY WILLIAMS: Dizzy Miss Lizzy

THE BEATLES: Thank You, Girl

SHAUN CASSIDY: Hey Deanie

THE TROGGS: Wild Thing

NICK LOWE: Heart Of The City

THE BREAKAWAYS: Walking Out On Love

THE POSIES: Flavor Of The Month

SHOES: Tomorrow Night

WIZZARD: Ball Park Incident

XTC: Earn Enough For Us

THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Lies

THE JAM: In The City

THE KINGSMEN: Louie Louie

CHRIS SPEDDING: Hey Miss Betty

THE BEATLES: I’m Down

THE BEATLES: Hold Me Tight

THE RASPBERRIES: Tonight

BADFINGER: Baby Blue

THE RAMONES: I Wanna Be Sedated

THE WHO: The Kids Are Alright

THE KINKS: You Really Got Me

THE SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen

EDDIE & THE HOT RODS: Do Anything You Wanna Do

DICK DALE & HIS DEL-TONES: Rawhide

Jeremy / Brighter Day

Jeremy

Brighter Day (Jam)

https://www.jamrecordings.com/catalog.php?inventory_id=3118

Not only is it a given for Jeremy Morris to release a new album every few months, but the peerless quality of his work is to be further counted on. Therefore, it truly goes without saying, the Portage, Michigan-based singer, songwriter and multi-diversified instrumentalist’s current concoction, “Brighter Day” contains such perennial prizes. 

A number of Jeremy’s friends were brought on board to participate in the project. Among these notable compadres are Tim Boykin of the Lolas, Herb Eimerman (solo artist, the Britannicas, the Nerk Twins, Hot Mama Silver) and Randy Massey (solo artist, Hot Mama Silver), while drummer Dave Dietrich – who has played with Jeremy since the late eighties – also appears on the disc.

Piled high with electrifying guitars, attended by Jeremy’s trademark Beatles meets Byrds vocals, ringing chords and a snappy and sturdy arrangement, the title track of the album pitches earnest optimism in both sound and verse. The lion’s share of the set is steeped in a similar sonic mold, so be prepared to be  swept away by a tidal wave of rocking power pop thrills.

A sinister tone, pin-sharp hooks and penetrating riffs illustrate the fiercely catchy “Devil In Disguise,” which profiles the actions and intentions of a seriously wicked fellow. Segments of hard and heavy guitar flourishes, bordering on metallic, link arms with piping hot pop melodies on cuts like “Bury The Hatchet,” “Love You Anyway” and “Hand Biter,” where “Meant To Be” dips a dash of space-age psychedelic seasonings into the stew.

The dual spirit of Bo Diddley and Buddy Holly surfaces on the thumping shuffle of “New Happy Helmet,” and “Now You See Me” and “Drink It Up” twinkle and chime with tuneful energy. A sassy and swaggering groove, tempered by softer and sparkly textures, characterizes “You Must Believe,” and the inisisent stride and jingling crunch of “Waiting For My Ship” proposes a surefire radio-instructed vibe. 

Other pick hits presented on “Brighter Day” are the brash garage rock grit of “Out Of My Cave” and a pair of precious piano-directed ballads – “Can’t Make You Stay” and “Love That Lasts Forever” – which really push the point home when it comes to expressing emotional attachments. The album additionally features a quartet of cool cover versions, including 20/20’s classic “Yellow Pills,” Cheap Trick’s bold and punchy “Take Me Back,” the harmoniously syncopated rhythms of the Move/Electric Light Orchestra’s “Do Ya” and Rick Nelson’s “Thank You Lord,” an invigorating country flavored gospel hymn. 

As previously mentioned, you can always rely on Jeremy to deliver the goods, and this fantastic record confirms his mettle. Bottled tight with inspired singing, exciting instrumentation and an authentic attitude, “Brighter Day” pops and rocks in all the right places at all the right moments. 

My 1960’s

My favorite decade of music has always been the 1960s. Even as a teenager in the ’70s, soakin’ up the wonders of AM radio (from Badfinger to The Isley Brothers to Alice Cooper) and then FM (from Graham Parker to Nick Lowe to The Sex Pistols), my true allegiance remained steadfast and true: The Beatles. Nothing could ever change that.

Although I was, technically, alive for all but the first sixteen (and much of the seventeenth) days of the ’60s, a lot of my awareness and appreciation of the decade’s music came well after the fact. I’ve been examining some of these stories on this blog, recognizing the dialectic and dialogue that reaches across the eras of one’s own life. I became a fan of ’50s hits by Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly when I heard them in the early ’70s; I didn’t discover The Velvet Underground, or Love, or even Otis Redding until the ’80s.

But I do remember some stuff from the ’60s, contemporaneous to the ’60s. I remember “The Twist” by Chubby Checker–my Aunt Anna had the 45–and “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by The Four Seasons, and “Save Your Heart For Me” by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. I remember my friend Willie singing Jan and Dean‘s “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena” in my friend Steve’s back yard. Gene Pitney‘s legend loomed large in the Cafarelli household, with “Town Without Pity” and “Half Heaven Half Heartache” and “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” Lesley Gore‘s “California Nights.” Nancy Sinatra‘s “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’.” The Rolling Stones‘ “Get Off Of My Cloud.” Tiny Tim, too.

One presumes I must have heard The KinksJames BrownPaul Revere and the RaidersThe Righteous Brothers, and so many more, but I don’t recall any of these prior to rediscovering them in subsequent decades. I knew of Chad and Jeremy, but I don’t think I knew any of their songs at the time. There was an ad for We’re Only In It For The Money by The Mothers Of Invention in the pages of Marvel Comics, but I didn’t have the merest clue who Frank Zappa was. I saw Herman’s Hermits in an awful movie called Hold On!, and while I’m sure I knew some of the Hermits’ biggest hits, I didn’t remember any of their songs in that film prior to buying a used copy of the soundtrack LP in the late ’70s.

Here are a few others that I do remember:

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE: “Somebody To Love”
THE T-BONES: “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In)”
THE BEACH BOYS: “Surfer Girl”
THE ARCHIES: “Sugar, Sugar”
THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR: “I Fought The Law”
THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: “Bits And Pieces”
THE CASTAWAYS: “Liar, Liar”
THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS: “Monday, Monday”
THE TURTLES: “Happy Together”
THE FIVE AMERICANS: “Western Union”
THE AMERICAN BREED: “Bend Me, Shape Me”
TOMMY JAMES AND THE SHONDELLS: “Hanky Panky”
BILLY JOE ROYAL: “Down In The Boondocks”
ANDY WILLIAMS: “A Fool Never Learns”
EYDIE GORME: “Blame It On The Bossa Nova”
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: “Wishin’ And Hopin'”
TWINKLE: “Terry”
FREDDY CANNON: “Teen Queen Of The Week”
BEN COLDER: “Ring Of Smoke”
JEANNIE C. RILEY: “Harper Valley PTA”
THE SURFARIS: “Wipeout”
THE FIFTH DIMENSION: “Up, Up And Away” and “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In”

I also knew a few of The Monkees‘ records–“She,” “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow),” “Gonna Buy Me A Dog,” “I’m A Believer,” “Last Train To Clarksville”–and I certainly knew a bunch of Beatles tunes, from “All My Loving” through “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I’ll Follow The Sun.” That cumulative pop frenzy is why I still regard Beatles ’65 and Beatles VI as my all-time favorite albums. But really, all of this stuff would come to mean even more to me as I looked back upon it in later years.

Is it nostalgia that makes me prefer ’60s music to all that came afterwards? Yes, of course, but not quite in the usual sense of personal nostalgia for the cherished playthings of childhood. Although I have some contemporaneous memories of rock ‘n’ roll during The Great Society, I can’t truly associate (The Association!) all that much of the era’s music with specific warm ‘n’ fuzzies from my preteen timeline. There is, I guess, that prevailing image of Beatlemania, that lingering sense that pop music was ruled by The Beatles, and always would be; seeing A Hard Day’s Night at the drive-in when you’re four years old can have that kind of effect on your development, and then seeing The Monkees on TV can reinforce that, move it from the realm of shiny passing fancy into the bedrock foundation of faith and certainty. I may not remember all of the nuances and shades, nor even all of the broad strokes of the ’60s with the crystal clarity of a reliable eyewitness, but I was there in just enough of its giddy heyday to retain that glow of affection, and to maintain that sense of familiarity and wonder. I remember what I remember; I embrace what I later encountered as a result of those memories.

Oh, and I remember some Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. I remember this one album cover in particular….

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby!

Categories
Got Any Singles?

The Incurables, Bryan Adams, The Pozers and Kelli Welli

The Incurables / Stop The World

https://bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ukraine-benefit-single-stop-the-world

Detroit’s The Incurables have released a benefit single, lending aid to United Help Ukraine. A zesty power pop fist-pumper, it’s a track that you’ll always feel energized by. Earnest vocals and punchy guitars propel this one into the stratosphere. Excellent work for a worthy cause. Hats off to these lads!

Bryan Adams / So Happy It Hurts

https://www.amazon.com/Happy-Hurts-Deluxe-Bryan-Adams

Nobody does a driving pop song better than Bryan Adams. So Happy It Hurts comes from the album of the same name, and it’s a doozy. Big drums, big guitars and a “Woah Woah” refrain. Adams must be loving life these days, because the gruff-voiced Canadian sounds downright happy. This, is a hit song, folks.

The Pozers / The Only Girl

https://thepozers.bandcamp.com/

The Pozers bring us a nifty bit of Beatles-inspired pop, with The Only Girl. Complete with a bouncy Carnaby Street groove and boyish vocals, it’s one of those tracks that’s just begging to be on summer mixtapes (kids, ask the old folks).  Their album, Crybaby Bridge, arrived in the mail yesterday, so expect a full review down the line. I like what I hear!!

Kelli Welli / Rainbow Love Song

https://www.kelliwellikids.com/

Boy, if ever we needed a song about love and inclusion, it’s now. Kelli Welli’s Rainbow Love Song, begins with soaring harmonies that instantly heal the weary soul. From her brilliantly-titled release, Robots Don’t Tell Jokes, it’s a great way to get acquainted with her. Although the target audience here is children, older ears will also appreciate the sentiment!

By Dan Pavelich

Anton Barbeau / Power Pop!!!

Anton Barbeau

Power Pop!!! (Big Stir)

https://bigstirrecords.bandcamp.com/album/power-pop

According to the definition printed on the back sleeve of Anton Barbeau’s latest album, power pop is “a guitar-based form of self-limiting pop music created primarily by/for unrequited men who wish The Beatles had never invited Dylan up to their hotel room.” And while Anton has certainly fathered a fair share of tunes grounded in the genre, he has always avoided restricting himself to a solitary style. So, therefore, calling the album “Power Pop!!!” Is merely a stroke of the singer, songwriter and multi-faceted instrumentalist’s sardonic wit. 

After thirty-plus years of making music and recording an equal amount of discs to match, Anton – who originally comes from Sacramento, California but currently lives in Berlin, Germany – still has plenty of petrol to spare. In fact, “Power Pop!!!” is possibly the musical mad scientist’s best album to date, as the collection seamlessly reinforces his remarkable shapeshifting techniques for composing and playing strangely addictive songs.

The first cut on the album, “Entrez-Vous Dans Les Maisons” punches in at just a little over a minute in length and is a piano instrumental featuring an ominous church type timbre. Then there’s “The Sound” that namechecks The Byrds, The Beatles and XTC, and climaxes to a squall of fizzy psychedelic loopings. Fired by a super speedy clip, “Hillbilly Village” blows in as a demented country-salted ditty, and “Free” is a tight and bright trance-inducing hip hop/electro-pop number. 

On the vigorous title track of the album, Anton proclaims, “Put down your guns, you culture cops, there ain’t no crime like power pop” and “the kids get high on power pop,” where “Running On The Edge Of The Knife” is an action-packed rocker, smirking with mischief and menace. A tribute to one of Anton’s main inspirations, “Julian Cope” dials in as wiggy pop piece, and the swift and bubbly jitters of “Never Crying Wolf Boy” five-fingers a couple of kicks and tricks from The Cars.

The ghost of Buddy Holly and a lady who doesn’t realize she is a cartoon character are referenced on “The Drugs,” which offers some sweet and gentle piano work and baroque pop orchestration before turning a corner, and letting loose a barking rap admirably emulative of Bob Dylan. On a far more traditional plane, “Whisper In The Wind” and “Rain, Rain” are lovely synth pop sentiments, glowing with hypnotic hooks, feathery harmonies and catchy and insistent rhythms. 

Anton’s British-inflected vocals and phrasing – reflecting a melding of John Lennon, David Bowie and of course Julian Cope – are perfectly tailored for the peculiar poetry and inventive sonic operations he so enthusiastically binges on. Cloaked in novel arrangements, off-center melodies and wonky ruffles, “Power Pop!!!” presents a wealth of interesting and exhilarating moves celebrating various art rock fashions, rather than the tongue-in-cheek moniker of the album. Good for Anton, forever following his muse and unraveling riches in the process. 

Pop With POWER!

This piece was commissioned by John M. Borack and S.W. Lauden for Big Stir magazine # 6, a special edition asking that musical question, IS THIS POWER POP? The magazine is still available and highly recommended, and I was damned proud to participate. Here’s my contribution to the discussion.

Pop With POWER!

By Carl Cafarelli

“After all, power pop means pop with POWER! Not some whimpering simp in a Beatles haircut.”

–Gary Sperrazza!, Bomp! magazine

It was a straightforward sequence of events. I broke up with a girl just before my 18th birthday. Just after my 18th birthday, I saw my first power pop band.

That band was the Flashcubes, soon to be called Syracuse’s own power pop powerhouse, and quickly perched alongside the Beatles and the Ramones in the trinity of my all-time Fave Raves. When I saw them in January of 1978, few (if any) were calling them “power pop,” a phrase which was just beginning to work its way into the lexicon. The Flashcubes were a punk band. A punk band that covered the Kinks, the Who, the Searchers, the Hollies, and the Yardbirds, sure, but still a punk band.

And they were absolutely power pop. Loud, proud, and hook-laden. Pop with power.

Many deny any relationship between punk and power pop. Yeah, punk’s angry clatter is certainly a breed apart from Badfinger. But within punk’s first wave, groups like the Ramones, Generation X, Eddie and the Hot Rods, the Buzzcocks, and the Jam were applying battered hearts to tattered sleeves, running AM radio influences through a primal DIY aesthetic. Some pop fans require jangle and harmonies as power pop prequisites, and dismiss, say, “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” for its lack of either. But man, it ain’t power pop if it doesn’t have power.

My idea of power pop came from writers Greg Shaw and Gary Sperrazza!, via the power pop issue of Bomp! Magazine in 1978. The phrase predates them; “power pop” was coined by Pete Townshend in 1966, describing what the Who were playing, what the Small Faces were playing, what the Beach Boys had played prior to getting all sober and mature with Pet Sounds. Shaw and Sperrazza! saw the sound of the early Who as the Ur-Example of power pop. Bomp! put forth a simple power pop equation: the punk energy of the Sex Pistols plus the catchy pop of Shaun Cassidy equals the power pop of the Who.

I concur.

(And, whether we start power pop’s shot clock with the Beatles [my choice] or with the Who [Bomp!‘s pick], it’s clear that the style existed in the ’60s. I reject the notion that it was created in the ’70s as an attempt to recapture the excitement of the British Invasion. The latter view reduces power pop to mere revival, no more vital than freakin’ Sha Na Na. Power pop is not a revival. Revivals are well-behaved. Power pop explodes.)

Bomp!‘s power pop issue also extolled the unassailable cred of the Ramones as power pop touchstones. The Ramones wed the promise of AM radio with the 1-2-3-4! ferocity of velocity, pure pop for punk people. When I was corresponding with Shaw in the ’90s, he still maintained that no discussion of power pop could have any meaning if it didn’t include “Rockaway Beach.”

The discussion has continued, long after Shaw and Sperrazza! have departed. As power pop fans, we are passionate and confident in our individual, often contrasting points of view. That’s okay. We’re friends here. Friends can disagree and remain friends. (Except for the guy who called me a ninny for regarding the Ramones as power pop. That guy can take a hike.) Squeeze and Marshall Crenshaw don’t fit within my idea of power pop; I love ’em just the same. You don’t agree that the Ramones are power pop? I won’t let my conviction that you’re wrong prevent you from buying me a beer. Cheers!

My own POV can shift over time. But I have a pretty good idea of how I define power pop, and it goes back to that Bomp! equation: Punk + Pop = Power Pop. Still, there are shades and subtleties to consider. And how many power pop acts are really 100% power pop all of the time? Raspberries did the country-flavored “Last Dance.” Big Star did “The India Song.” The Ramones did “Warthog.” The Who did…well, the Who did a lot of stuff, didn’t they? On the other hand, Styx is certainly not a power pop band, no way, no how…except with “Kiss Your Ass Goodbye,” which is as power pop as anything ever. Musician Marty Ross recently suggested that power pop is an approach rather than a genre. Bomp! said otherwise, but I think Marty’s right on this count. Hey, this means we can have it all!

Do the definitions matter? Yes. And no. Yeah, we should have recognized parameters, common ground to understand what the hell we’re going on about when discussing power pop favorites (or ska favorites, rockabilly favorites, et al.). Power pop’s just a label, a tool to help identify sounds that may appeal to us. Recommended If You Like Cheap Trick. Or, as AM radio told me when it turned me on to Badfinger, “These guys sound like the Beatles.”

My favorite music had a name. I didn’t know that name until I was in college.

“Power pop’” is a misunderstood genre, and there will never be a true consensus on its meaning and parameters. It’s my favorite music. It’s not my only favorite music–I adore so many sounds that fall outside my strict definition of power pop, even many that fall outside a broader, nebulous approximation–but it’s my primary boppin’ raison d’être. My awareness of power pop, my understanding of its meaning, began in 1978 with an incredible magazine called Bomp!

I wrote the above a few years back, introducing a reminiscence about how important Bomp! was to me, particularly in developing my understanding of power pop. Bomp! is still my go-to reference in that regard. Greg Shaw’s equation still holds. Gary Sperrazza!’s statement still rings true: “Power pop means pop with POWER!”

Pop with power. Whimpering simps need not apply. No matter what kind of haircut they have.

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon, or by visiting CC’s Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl