THE EVERLASTING FIRST: Quick Takes For H

Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock ‘n’ roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it’s the subsequent visits–the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time–that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.

HELLCAT

I was reading The Avengers regularly in 1975-76, when writer Steve Englehart brought the character of Patsy Walker into the mix. I don’t think I’d read any issues of Marvel‘s Patsy Walker teen humor comic book in the ’60s, nor had I seen Patsy’s more serious appearances as a supporting character in The Beast (starring in Amazing Adventures). I had seen Marvel’s short-lived Claws Of The Cat book, so I recognized the costume Walker donned in The Avengers # 144, which was Patsy Walker’s first appearance as Hellcat. Decades later, I was several episodes into Marvel’s Jessica Jones TV series on Netflix before I realized that the character “Trish Walker” was Patsy Walker, albeit without the Hellcat identity.

THE HOLLIES

“Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” was yet another of my many favorite songs on the radio in the early ’70s. I didn’t remember any of The Hollies’ ’60s hits from when I was younger, but I sure loved this song. My interest in The Hollies expanded as I began to explore more oldies radio, and I picked up a copy of The Very Best Of The Hollies outta the cut-out bin at Gerber Music in Penn Can Mall. Granted, it didn’t include “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress,” but it did have “Bus Stop,””Look Through Any Window,””Stop, Stop, Stop,””I Can’t Let Go,” and “On A Carousel,” among others, so I was in Heaven. I also picked up the soundtrack to the David Essex movie Stardust out of the dingy basement at Record Revolution in Cleveland Heights, and that contained The Hollies’ “Carrie Anne.” And, after all these years, I still don’t care about The Hollies’ 1974 hit “The Air That I Breathe.”

HOLLY & THE ITALIANS

In 1981, Creem magazine described Holly & the Italians’ debut album The Right To Be Italian as something like Lesley Gore or The Angels backed by Leave Home-era Ramones. Well, was sold! I first heard Holly & the Italians on a CBS Records various-artists collection called Exposed II, which included “Rock Against Romance” and the group’s signature tune, “Tell That Girl To Shut Up.” A Holly & the Italians flexi-disc was also included with one of my subscription copies of Trouser Press magazine, and I bought a copy of The Right To Be Italian (with a water-damaged cover) from a record store in New York. The Right To Be Italian remains one of my all-time Top 25 albums.

HOT WHEELS

I was a big fan of Mattel‘s Hot Wheels cars–my first Hot Wheels car was Splittin Image–and I liked the 1969 cartoon TV series on ABC. DC Comics licensed the rights to adapt the TV series, and these were some really well-done comics, with stunning artwork from Alex Toth and (in its final issue) Neal Adams.  DC’s Hot Wheels comic ran for only six issues, and the daunting prospect of trying to navigate the Sargasso Sea of licensing complications will likely prevent it from ever being reprinted.

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THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: Elevation

This chapter is in some potential drafts of my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1), but is more likely to be pushed back to an even-more-theoretical This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 2.

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

TELEVISION: “Elevation”

Written by Tom Verlaine

Produced by Andy Johns and Tom Verlaine

From the album Marquee Moon, Elektra Records, 1977
Vertigo.

For the disaffected and dissatisfied in 1977, no track expressed the feeling of rock music in dizzying free fall with greater menace and implied ennui as “Elevation” by Television

A large part of growing up manifests in staking one’s own claim on fresh vistas. We don’t necessarily crave a complete break from the past, from the frontiers settled by older siblings or preceding generations. But we want some real estate to call our own. 

From Television’s debut album Marquee Moon, the track “Elevation” just fascinated me when I was 17. Fall of 1977, freshman in college, trying to finally hear all these punk or new wave or whaddayacallit bands I’d read so much about in the pages of Phonograph Record Magazine. I asked the campus radio station for help, and was rewarded with the sounds of the Ramones,Blondiethe Dictatorsthe Advertsthe JamWillie Alexander and the Boom Boom Bandthe Runaways, and oh yeah!, Television. I could never get enough of this jagged, loping, serpentine noise, so mesmerizing, so different, so gratifyingly dizzying in its willful application of elevation going to my head. And staying there. Marquee Moon was among my earliest LP purchases in this broad category of NEW MUSIC circa ’77 and ’78. It would not be the last. 

Oh, no. Not even close to the last.

Years later, I read something that compared Television to the Grateful Dead, keying on the group’s essential musicality in contrast with the three-chord image of much of their CBGB‘s contemporaries. That comparison would have horrified me in the ’70s, and I doubt many Deadheads would have agreed with it either. Minus the determined DIY stance of original Television bassist Richard Hell, though, the members of Television–guitarists Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, drummer Billy Ficca, and Hell’s four-string replacement Fred Smith–could be jazzier, more inclined to improvise, while still maintaining a Bowery edge. Television might not have jammed like Bob Weir and Jerry Garcia, but their sound was in some ways closer to the Dead than it was to the Ramones or Blondie, or even to Talking Heads.

Television split after their second album, 1978’s Adventure, and did an eponymous reunion album in 1992. Marquee Moon was their signature work, an acknowledged classic in rock ‘n’ roll’s storied history of fresh vistas claimed, frontiers settled. A song on that album begged (or warned), “Elevation, don’t go to my head.” The plea is for naught. The head surrenders. The body falls. 

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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

UNFINISHED AND ABANDONED: Pop Compilation CD’s

Unfinished And Abandoned digs deeeeep into my unpublished archives, and exhumes projects that I started (sometimes barely started) but abandoned, unfinished. I am such a quitter.

Some years back, after I’d written the liner notes to Rhino’s compilation Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The ’90s (a compilation which I did not assemble), an independent record label contacted me about putting together some pop compilation CDs.  The intent was to create compilations that would be commercial, aesthetically viable, and economical (i.e., the tracks could be licensed cheaply, ideally avoiding major labels).  Nothing ever came of any of this; I did my part, so I guess it’s not exactly something that I abandoned.  Here are the notes I submitted for these proposed compilation CDs.

POP SAMPLER (which is in dire need of a catchier title).  The vague parameters I had in mind were mid-to-late ’70s/early ’80s pop and power pop, though I fudged it on several tracks.

1.  DWIGHT TWILLEY:  “I’m On Fire [unreleased live version]”  This is an unconfirmed possibility, but Twilley’s office has indicated that such a track might be available.  (Tracks by the original Dwight Twilley Band, featuring the late, great Phil Seymour, would apparently not be available due to the usual legal yada yada yada.)  This is certainly worth further investigation.  

2.  BIG STAR:  “In The Streets” (aka “That ’70s Song”)  Cheap Trick is covering this as the new theme song for TV’s That ’70s Show.  We might be able to use Big Star’s studio rehearsal version, found on Norton’s recent Nobody Can Dance CD.  Failing that, perhaps we could use the live version from Big Star’s Live CD on Rykodisc (though the Norton track is far better).

3.  BADFINGER:  “Baby Blue”  Live version from Rykodisc’s Day After Day CD.

4.  THE ROMANTICS:  “Little White Lies”  The Romantics’ debut indie single from 1978, still owned by the band and never reissued.  It kicks, too.  (The single’s B-side, “I Can’t Tell You Anything,” is also worth considering.)

5.  THE PLIMSOULS:  “A Million Miles Away”  Single on the Shaky City label, originally distributed by Bomp!  This could probably be licensed from Plimsouls guitarist Eddie Munoz or perhaps through Bomp!

6.  THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES:  “Shake Some Action [U.K. single version, 1976]”  This is a completely different version of the song, recorded a year later than the familiar title track of the group’s first LP for Sire.  This has never been issued in the U.S., and it may or may not belong to Sire–it was originally a demo for Capitol, actually, but Capitol passed on it, and Sire did eventually release it as a single.  I’m listing it here in hope that it’s available for us, but I’m resigned to the probability that we ain’t gonna get it. 

                                    –OR–

            “Shake Some Action” (live version from Live at the Whiskey A-Go-Go ’79 album, issued by Lolita in France, 1985)

                                    –OR–

            “You Tore Me Down”  The first single released by Bomp!

7.  THE FLASHCUBES:  “No Promise”  My favorite power pop band (so their inclusion on this CD would basically be my tip, I guess), with their best-ever recreation of the Raspberries sound.  There are two versions of this available, one of which was included on the group’s Bright Lights CD.  I’d opt for the earlier version instead, but either one’s great.

8.  THE RAMONES:  “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”  Pre-Sire demo side, presumably available from Marty Thau.

9.  BLOTTO:  “I Wanna See The Monkees (I Wanna Be A Lifeguard)” Alternate version of the group’s best-known tune, with different lyrics, done for NYC radio (WNEW, I think?).  I wouldn’t place any firm wager on a clean copy of this still existing, but it’s worth a shot.  Could also use “I Wanna Be A Lifeguard” and/or “When The Second Feature Starts,” though I see both of them as better choices for a New Wave Summer CD.

10.  THE NERVES:  “Hanging On The Telephone” (indie EP track, 1977).  Song later covered by Blondie, written by The Nerves’ Jack Lee.  The other Nerves were Peter Case (later of The Plimsouls) and Paul Collins (later of Paul Collins’ Beat).  Rhino licensed this from Jack Lee for the Come Out And Play power pop anthology in 1993.

11.  SHOES:  “Tomorrow Night”  1978 Bomp! single.

12.  MARSHALL CRENSHAW:  “Something’s Gonna Happen”  1981 12″ single for Alan Betrock’s Shake label.

13.  20/20:  “Giving It All”  Bomp! single.

14.  THE SMITHEREENS:  “Got Me A Girl” (from Girls About Town EP, 1980).  From the group’s self-released debut EP.

15.  THE dB’S:  “Black And White”  This was originally a 1980 single on Shake, and was subsequently used on the group’s first album–not sure if the single and LP tracks are identical. 

16.  THE BARRACUDAS:  “I Wish It Could Be 1965 Again” From the 1981 Voxx LP Drop Out With The Barracudas.

17.  THE MOSQUITOS:  “That Was Then, This Is Now”  Title track from the Mosquitos’ 1985 Valhalla EP, and the original version of the tune redone to Top 20 success by the reunited Monkees in 1986. 

18.  PAUL COLLINS:  “Walking Out On Love”  This was credited to The Breakaways (which also featured Peter Case, Collins’ ex-partner in The Nerves who went on to form The Plimsouls) when Bomp! exhumed it for its Roots Of Powerpop CD.  It was credited to Paul Collins solo when first issued in ’79 on Bomp!’s Waves, Volume One anthology, and was subsequently redone by Collins’ next group, The Beat, for their debut LP.  And that’s probably more information than you actually need. 

19.  PEZBAND:  “Stop!  Wait A Minute”  (from 1978 Laughing In The Dark LP on Passport).  Rhino licensed this from band member Mike Gorman for Come Out And Play.  Gorman is currently a member of Off Broadway, who recently released a live album on the NMG label outta Phoenix.

20.  THE REAL KIDS:  “All Kindsa Gir” (Sponge single, 1977; re-recorded for Red Star LP, 1978).  Either version’s cool.

21.  THE SCRUFFS:  “Teenage Girls” .  Originally a 1978 single on the Power Play label, this was more recently the title track of a Scruffs CD issued by Northern Heights.  

22.  ROY LONEY AND THE PHANTOM MOVERS:  “Steppiní Around”  Former Flamin’ Groovies frontman, from his 1989 The Scientific Bombs Away!! LP on Norton.

23.  THE POPPEES:  “If She Cries”  1975 Bomp! single.

24.  THE SPONGETONES:  “(My Girl) Maryanne” (from 1984 Torn Apart EP on Ripete).  This was reissued by Shoes’ label Black Vinyl on the Beat And Torn CD just a few years back

25.  THE RAVES:  “Every Little Bit Hurts” Recorded early ’80s, eventually released on the Past Perfect Tense CD.  Very Beatley! 

OTHER POSSIBILITIES:

CHEAP TRICK.  I suppose this is # 1 on our wish list, but they spent the bulk of their career on Epic, so there might not be much that’s suitable for our needs.  They’re basically independent now, though, and they’re still a killer live group, so perhaps there’s a recent live version of “Surrender,” “I Want You To Want Me,” or “Dream Police” that we could snag.  Ken Sharp might know….THE KNACK.  I’ve been e-mailing some folks regarding the possibility of a live “Good Girls Don’t” or (if we must) “My Sharona,” but have gotten no response.  

THE RASPBERRIES  The group’s pre-Capitol demos exist, and are said to be pretty good (though they don’t include any of the group’s best-known tunes).  I’ve gotten nowhere in my attempts to find out more about these; again, maybe Ken Sharp has some ideas.THE BAY CITY ROLLERS Real long-shot, especially since the recently-reunited group is getting set to wage legal war on Arista and their former manager.  However, there was a Japanese-only release in the mid-’80s called Live In Japan, and that may be available from the band itself. 

THE RUBINOOS  I think Disney owns Beserkley now, so we’ll probably forget about licensing studio tracks.  Live tracks, maybe?  I can contact Tommy Dunbar’s wife for further inquiries.

NEW WAVE SUMMER 

1. BLOTTO:  “I Wanna Be A Lifeguard”  From 1980 indie EP. 

2. BLOTTO:  “When The Second Feature Starts”  1981 single.

3. THE B-52’s:  “Rock Lobster”  Original 45 version, though I haven’t heard it in years and don’t remember the label.  Yeah, a fat lotta help I am….

4. DAVE EDMUNDS:  “London’s A Lonely Town” You may know the story on this Tradewinds cover better than I do–I’ve never actually heard it, only heard of it.  I think this surfaced on one of the original Pebbles albums, and never elsewhere. 

5. CHRIS STAMEY AND THE dB’S:  “The Summer Sun”  Rhino licensed this from Stamey for the Come Out And Play sampler.

6. KYLE VINCENT AND TOMMY DUNBAR, FEATURING SCOTT McCARL:  “On The Beach”  Stretching things a bit to call this “new wave,” but I’ll settle for pop guy Vincent joining forces with The Rubinoos’ Tommy Dunbar and The Raspberries’ Scott McCarl on a Raspberries cover.  Originally recorded for a Raspberries tribute (and, incredibly, not used on that trib), this has only appeared on Pop Under The Surface, Volume Two, a pop sampler from Sweden’s Yesterday Girl label.  Kyle’s fans are vocal and loyal, and their support would be A Good Thing.

7. THE ROMANTICS:  “Let’s Swing”  Originally issued on a Bomp! sampler album called Waves, reissued by Bomp! on a cash-in Romantics mini-LP or something shortly after the group’s first album was released.  It hasn’t been heard from since.

8. THE BARRACUDAS:  “Surfers Are Back”  From the Bomp! album Drop Out With The Barracudas.  Alternate track:  “Summer Fun,” a British hit single from the same album.

9. THE BARRACUDAS:  “His Last Summer”  Also from Drop Out With The Barracudas.

10. THE B-GIRLS:  “Fun At The Beach”  Bomp! single.

11. THE TEARJERKERS:  “Syracuse Summer”  Terrific application of the Brian Wilson treatment in tribute to the mercurial climate of Central New York.  Written by The Flashcubes’ Gary Frenay. 

12. EUCLID BEACH BAND:  “There’s No Surf In Cleveland”  Eric Carmen-produced gem, released on the Cleveland International label.  I have a feeling Sony owns this, but it’s not definite.

13. THE RAMONES:  “Surfin’ Safari”  Released only on the Japanese version of their Acid Eatersalbum.  Available?  Well…I’d bet not.  It’d be a shame to do a New Wave Summer set without including The Ramones–“Rockaway Beach” and “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” are obvious choices here–but it may be beyond practical control. 

14. THE LAST:  “Every Summer Day” From their debut LP on Bomp!

15. THE FLASHCUBES:  “Muscle Beach”  From the group’s Bright Lights anthology.  Actually not one of their best numbers, but still energetic as hell and good for our purposes.

16. THE SMITHEREENS:  “Girl Don’t Tell Me”  Beach Boys cover from The Smithereens’ debut indie EP, Girls About Town.  Never reissued.

17. RODNEY AND THE BRUNETTES:  “Little GTO”  Bomp! single, with L.A. DJ Rodney Bingenheimer backed by Blondie.

18. THE SEX PISTOLS:  “Holidays In The Sun” (demo)

19. BLONDIE:  “In The Sun” Is there a pre-Private Stock/Chrysalis version of this?!

20. THE FLESHTONES:  “B.Y.O.B.”  From ROIR/Red Starí’ Blast Off! album.

21. THE DICTATORS:  “I Live For Cars And Girls”  If the studio take can’t be had, is there a live version available?  (“California Sun” would also be good.)

22. THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES:  “Sealed With A Kiss” (from 1992 Rock Juice album on Michael Goldberg’s National Records label, which was affiliated with Heyday

23. THE RATTLERS (WITH JOEY RAMONE):  “On The Beach”  Hey, a Ramone makes it in!  1979 single on the Ratso label–Rattlers frontman Mickey Leigh is Joey’s brother.  This was re-recorded (without Joey) for the group’s 1985 Rattled LP, and the subsequent CD reissue includes the single’s B-side but not the original version of the A-side.  There might even have been a legal problem with using Joey’s vocals–which would, of course, suck.  

2016 POSTSCRIPT: As noted, nothing ever came of any of this.  I was also hired by BMG to compile a Buddah Records bubblegum compilation, a project which was also stillborn (though at least I got paid for that one).  Ultimately, it turned out that if I wanted to put together a pop compilation CD, I’d have to take more direct action.  The first This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio compilation was issued commercially in 2004.

VHS Rewind

I still own a working VCR. True, my intrepid old Proscan hasn’t had much work to do the past few years (or past couple of decades), but it remains functional. I’ve kept it hooked up to my TV, just in case I ever want to play an old tape, or copy an old tape to DVD-R.  Neither prospect occurs all that often. Nonetheless, my VCR stands poised, ready to answer the call if needed.

The VCR isn’t the only piece of outdated tech I own, of course. I have an eight-track player (stored in the garage), a cassette player (connected to the stereo, very rarely used), an 8mm camcorder (retained for the library of home videos of my daughter when she was little), and a mini disc deck and a few portable MD players (the portables plopped in a desk drawer, but the deck an integral part of my stereo, and in frequent use for prepping tracks for the radio show until the pandemic changed all of that). I guess the CD and DVD players are now considered antiquated (as the turntable was considered passé for a very long time); it’s true that I’m now more likely to play CDs on my computer (via an external drive) and DVDs in my blu-ray player, but CDs and DVDs (and blu-ray) are themselves still current tech to me.

It’s funny that I seem to have a slightly more nostalgic attachment to VCRs than I have to cassettes, even though cassettes played a much, much larger role in my life. But I have no specific current interest in the act of listening to cassettes.  In contrast, I had a random notion about a month ago of pulling out some old VHS tapes, just to see if the Proscan could still play them.

That said, I didn’t pursue the notion until my wife did some housecleaning and uncovered some old tapes made at her preschool job in the late ’80s, when she was a new teacher there. She was curious to see the tapes. 

My intrepid Proscan to the rescue!

I discovered that I’d discarded the VCR’s remote control somewhere along the way. We operated the player manually for that night’s viewing, and I bought a new universal remote the next day.

Now, finally set to follow through with my original whim to watch some old VHS tapes, I pulled out a couple of homemade rock video compilations I slapped together…well, a very long time ago. These tapes consist of individual videos I recorded off cable, primarily from MTV, and then dubbed onto a fresh tape. Video quality? Not my primary concern. I just wanted to preserve some stuff for my viewing, minus the extraneous distractions of other videos that didn’t interest me.

So far, I’ve watched two of these tapes, neither in its entirety, just fast-forwarding (thanks to my new remote) and checking out the contents. The tapes include a home video of me lip-syncing and guitar-miming to my karaoke performance of “Johnny B. Goode,” the Monkees explaining the rules for tabulating results of voting on The American Music Awards, and various artifacts from MTV, Late Night With David LettermanSaturday Night LiveNashville Now, and The Pat Sajak Show

Who’s on these tapes? Well! We have the RamonesBen E. KingJoan Jett and the BlackheartsTom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Axl RoseTommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers (an American Music Awards clip that includes an audience shot of a visibly bored and/or annoyed Whitney Houston), the Long Rydersthe Moody Bluesthe Buddy System (great, forgotten MTV Basement Tapes winner “Go Back To Hollywood”), Iggy PopDumptruckthe EasybeatsMarshall Crenshawthe TurtlesJohn Lennonthe BeatlesDeep PurpleChubby CheckerFelix Cavaliere (frolicking with the cast of St. Elsewhere while lip-syncing his hit recording [with the Young Rascals] of “Good Lovin'”), Bruce SpringsteenDave EdmundsDon DixonToo Much JoySoul Asylumthe BanglesJohnny Riversthe CynicsSyd Strawthe Way MovesDionHindu Love Godsthe SmithereensIndigo GirlsRoachfordLiving ColourR.E.M.Toni BasilLou Reed and John CaleXTCLilac Timethe Darling Budsthe Georgia SatellitesGraham ParkerLords of the New ChurchMidnight Oil, and Tommy James and the Shondells, among others. 

Oh, and one of the tapes opens with the Monkees’ “Christmas Medley” from 1986, reuniting Micky DolenzDavy Jones, and Peter Tork with their erstwhile prime mate Michael Nesmith

SPOILER ALERT: Father Christmas secretly wears a wool hat!

Yeah, I could have probably found most or all of this stuff on YouTube, sure. But it was a more satisfying experience in the moment to dive into these videos I slapped together for myself those decades ago. I think I’ll watch a few more of these. I may even delve deeper into my VHS archives, and investigate further. All thanks to my intrepid Proscan. Time to rewind. You rock, dear old Proscan. You rock.

(And, back in ’88, I rocked, too. I have video to prove it.)

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

VIRTUAL TICKET STUB GALLERY Snapshots: Opening Acts, Part 1

Virtual Ticket Sub Gallery is my ongoing series of concert memories, detailing my recollections of specific rock ‘n’ roll shows I’ve seen, and all of my attendant memories of the artists, their careers, my (presumably) relevant circumstances, and what it all meant to me.

Today’s post is a sidebar to Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery, briefly discussing a few of the opening acts I saw at these shows. Some of them have already been covered in previous posts, some will still be covered in future posts, and some I may never really see a reason to mention further. I wasn’t usually at the venue to see them, after all. But sometimes their presence enhanced the evening.

I’ll return to this subject of opening acts in future post. This will not be a comprehensive list of opening acts I’ve seen…!

URIAH HEEP

My first concert was KISS with Uriah Heep at the Onondaga County War Memorial on December 16th, 1976. My friend Dave Murray (author of House Training Your VCR) was also there, but it was a big crowd, so we didn’t actually meet for another twenty-four years. (We met the week Stevie Ray Vaughn died in a plane crash; the first thing he ever said to me was, “Man, shame about Stevie Ray Vaughn,” prompting me to reply, “That’s what he gets for booking a flight on La Bamba Airlines.”) Dave recalls Uriah Heep’s 1976 opening set as interminable. It’s not like he was much of a KISS fan to begin with, so he wasn’t chompin’ at the bit waitin’ for these British bludgeonmeisters to get off stage awready and make room for the main attraction; he just thought they were boring. He was probably right, but I felt compelled to air-bludgeon along with them. They were technically my first live rock band experience, unless you count the teen band that played “House Of The Rising Sun” at a middle school assembly when I was 12. But, um…when does KISS start?

THE WINTERS BROTHERS BAND

Pfui. The Winters Brothers Band opened for the equally pfui-worthy Charlie Daniels Band on October 1st, 1977 at Brockport my freshman year in college. Matters weren’t helped by my initial (mistaken) belief that these Winters brothers would be Johnny Winters and Edgar Winters rather than a Southern rock combo, but that was nobody’s fault but mine. I think I won a ticket from campus radio station WBSU, so at least this didn’t cost me anything more than the wasted time I will never recover. I’m sure both bands were fine for those who like this stuff, but I’ve developed such an antipathy for Southern rock that the pfuis fly freely. I confess that I was a big fan of Charlie Daniels’ “Uneasy Rider” as a thirteen-year-old in ’73, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still trying to figure a way to expunge this show from my Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery permanent record.

WILLIE ALEXANDER & THE BOOM BOOM BAND

I felt like the only one in Brockport who hated Charlie Daniels. By contrast, I also felt like the only one in Brockport who liked Willie Alexander & the Boom Boom Band when they opened for Elvis Costello & the Attractions in the Student Union ballroom in February of 1978. Even my companions hated Alexander, dismissing him as a bad copy of Lou Reed. Me? I was just grateful to hear live music that wasn’t Charlie freakin’ Daniels. And I adored the Boom Boom Band’s heavy (but cool!) cover of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”

THE FLASHCUBES

One of my all-time favorite groups, but you knew that already. They shouldn’t be here, but I sure did see them put on some terrific opening sets for a lot of other acts. I had already seen the ‘Cubes a couple of times before they opened for The Ramones and The Runaways during Easter break in ’78, but that show remains a vibrant, indelible memory. I saw The Flashcubes open for The Joe Jackson  BandThe FastArtful Dodger, and David Johansen, as well as for The Ramones again, and each time was magic.

CHARLIE

British band Charlie opened for The Kinks at Syracuse’s Landmark Theater in May of 1978, and that show should be the subject of a full-length Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery someday. My friend Tom Bushnell liked Charlie, but I was, at best, indifferent to them. This was years before I met my future This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio co-host Dana Bonn, but he was there, and he later quoted something he’d read about Charlie, something to the effect that they couldn’t decide whether they wanted to be Yes or if they wanted to be Cheap Trick. I only remember two of Charlie’s songs. “Watchin’ TV” was a rather pedestrian put-down of American television, almost a more self-satisfied, smirking (and certainly much smoother) cousin of The Clash‘s “I’m So Bored With The USA.” But “She Loves To Be In Love” was a pretty pop tune indeed, and it’s on my iPod, so I must be okay with it. We’ll revisit the subject of The Kinks and Charlie in a future blog post.

THE MOST

I was furious when guitarist Paul Armstrong was dismissed from The Flashcubes in 1979. I stopped going to ‘Cubes shows, and transferred my allegiance to Paul’s new group The Most, which was fronted by his diminutive girlfriend Dian Zain. I loved The Most in all their varying incarnations, each mixing pop and punk and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll; they were kinda like Debbie Harry playing with both The Heartbreakers and the Heartbreakers, as in both Johnny Thunders and Tom Petty. Amends were made eventually, and my devotion to The Flashcubes was restored, but The Most remain an underrated, underappreciated act in the history of Syracuse music. The Most’s live debut was an opening slot for The Records at Stage East in East Syracuse in late summer ’79, and of course I was there.

THE NECESSARIES

The Necessaries were a bar band that snagged a gig opening for The Pretenders‘ first US tour in 1980, and I caught the Syracuse show at Uncle Sam’s on Erie Boulevard.  The Necessaries included Ernie Brooks (formerly of The Modern Lovers), but my interest was sparked by the guy who’d recently joined them on guitar: Chris Spedding! I knew Spedding by reputation and second-hand song exposure only; I’d read about his “Pogo Dancing” single with The Vibrators while perusing my cherished tabloid issues of Phonograph Record Magazine back in high school, and both The Flashcubes and The Most had included Spedding covers in some of their live sets. I think I knew that he’d worked with The Sex Pistols, and I may have heard the story of him turning down an opportunity to join The Rolling Stones. I did not know The Wombles. But I was disappointed that The Necessaries didn’t include any of Spedding’s material in their live set. After The Necessaries had finished, but before Chrissie Hynde took the stage to prove just how great her Pretenders were, I spotted Spedding having a drink alone at a table; discarding my usual shyness, I went over to chat with him briefly. I complimented the band’s performance–they had been good, after all–but asked him if they ever did any of his stuff, like “Motorbikin'” or “Boogie City.” “No,” he replied politely, “this band is The Necessaries,” and he stated there was no reason for them to ever do any of his solo material; he was just the guitarist. A missed opportunity, I say, but Spedding was charming and modest. He autographed a flyer for The Dead Ducks (the closest thing I could find for him to sign), and I thanked him. Still wished I coulda heard him do “Boogie City” though.

That’s enough for today. We’ll return eventually, with tales of opening sets by The ReplacementsSheila EExileWang ChungMary Lou Lord, and “Weird” Al Yankovic. Please take your seats. And let’s hear it for our opening acts.

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.

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

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: Uncle John’s Band

This appeared previously here at Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) in October of 2018. It has been slightly adjusted to reflect how it will appear in my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1).

An infinite number of rockin’ pop tracks can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

THE GRATEFUL DEAD: Uncle John’s Band

Written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter

Produced by Bob Matthews. Betty Cantor, and Grateful Dead

From the album Workingman’s Dead, Warner Brothers Records, 1970


It’s the same story the crow told me
It’s the only one he knows
Like the summer sun you come
And like the wind you go
Ain’t no time to hate
Barely time to wait
Oh, but what I want to know is
Where does the time go?

OCTOBER 21, 2018
We try to hold on. We try to cling to things we cherish. We can’t hold on. We shouldn’t. We can’t.

When I was a teenaged college student matriculatin’ my way through the late ’70s, I actively loathed the Grateful Dead. To this power-poppin’ punk rocker, the Dead’s music, image, and interminably jamming vibe were anathema. Gimme the Ramones. Gimme the Sex Pistolsthe Buzzcocksthe Flashcubes. Gimme British Invasion. Gimme the Monkees. Gimme something short ‘n’ sharp, fast ‘n’ catchy, and play it loud. Gimme some truth. The Grateful Dead? No. Thanks anyway, but no.


Nonetheless, somewhere in this time frame, I heard the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band.” Maybe not for the first time–it was, after all, released way back in 1970, the lead-off track on the Workingman’s Dead album, and some radio station somewhere must have played it within my sovereign air space–but maybe for the first time that mattered. I still found time to hate the Grateful Dead. I made an exception for “Uncle John’s Band.”

Why? There was something…inviting about the track. I dunno. Something comforting, something pretty, something intrinsically appealing on a deeper level. Something that mattered. By the early ’80s, I quipped that “Uncle John’s Band” was a great track, and that I just wished it was by the Hollies instead of the Dead. I think I said the same thing about Van Halen‘s “Dance The Night Away” and “Lorelei” by Styx, in each case ripping off something I’d once read in Phonograph Record Magazine about “Cherry Baby” by Starz. Collectively, these were the beginnings of my eventual conviction that even a band you despise might be capable of putting out one track you adore.

I grew up. I’m sure I have that in writing somewhere. I graduated from college in 1980, got married in 1984, and became father to a newborn baby girl in 1995. Now, that baby girl is herself a college graduate, herself deep into the process of growing up. And today, she’s moving out of our house. She’ll be close by–not even ten minutes away–and she’ll still carpool to work with her mother during the week. I’m sure I’ll see her often. It’s a good thing, a great thing. A necessary thing. Our pride in our daughter far outshines the fragile nature of our emotions. It is a moment to celebrate. My eyes sting just the same. Where does the time go?

She and her boyfriend are moving into the house where I lived from 1960 until 1980, birth to graduation. My mother’s house. Mom doesn’t live there anymore. Dad passed away in 2012, and my sister (who lives in England) bought the house to keep it in the family as the inevitable marched its odious way in our direction. The inevitable happened faster than anticipated, as my mother fell at home in December of 2017. It soon became apparent that she could no longer live on her own, and she relocated permanently to a nursing home facility by the end of 2017. Ain’t no time to hate. Barely time to wait.

I see Mom every day after work. I check in, I chat, I see if there’s anything she needs, anything I can do for her. I get her audio books, even though her hearing is diminished. I make sure her TV is working, even though she’s now legally blind. I get her to the few doctor’s appointments that aren’t handled on the premises. I check her mail. I handle her accounts. I make sure she’s adequately stocked with whatever is appropriate to keep her as comfortable and content as we can. And then I go home for supper. I am Sisyphus. And like the summer sun I come, and like the wind I go.

I started to develop a little bit of appreciation for the Grateful Dead in the ’80s. Perhaps to my horror, I discovered that I loved their 1987 MTV hit “Touch Of Grey,” and I felt compelled to purchase both their then-current LP In The Dark and the greatest-hits set Skeletons In The Closet. The ’67 psychedelic rocker “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)” became another fave rave, much later joined by another debut album track called “Cream Puff War,” plus “Can’t Come Down,” an earlier track dating from when the Dead were billed as the Warlocks. Cool stuff, all of this.

“Uncle John’s Band” remained the kingpin. Such a mystically comforting track, even as we feel time slipping away, the sands within its hourglass dropping at a rate too rapid to comprehend. Come hear Uncle John’s band playing to the tide/Come with me or go alone, he’s come to take his children home. Magnificent sadness, magnificent glory. In spite of the obvious fact that it really doesn’t sound anything like the Kinks, it is somehow a peer to the peerless music of my favorite Kinks album, The Village Green Preservation Society. At 18 or 19, I never envisioned myself speaking glowingly of the Grateful Dead alongside the Kinks. At 18 or 19, I never envisioned the melancholy ache of the question: Where does the time go?
Tomorrow, I’m going to help my daughter install some smoke detectors in her new abode. I’ll see my Mom tonight, like every night. I’ll eat supper with my wife in a house that will seem emptier than it did just a moment ago. I will hold her close. We first met forty years ago this weekend. My roommate at the time was into the Grateful Dead, and he vowed to make a Deadhead out of me. It never happened, except in the ways that it did. 

Well the first days are the hardest days. Life has never looked like Easy Street. There has always been danger at our door. Another singing group tried to tell us that all we’d need was love. We also need to be strong. We need to hold on. Our walls are built of cannonballs. And we’ve got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide. We’re grateful. We ain’t dead yet.

POSTSCRIPT: Mom left us on December 9th, 2021. Time is the enemy. Yet it’s an enemy we’re grateful to have for as long as we have it.

“Uncle John’s Band” written by Jerome J. Garcia and Robert Hunter

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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.

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

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

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?

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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. 

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Boppin'

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: Rockaway Beach (On The Beach)

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as the take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

This entry originally appeared as part of a larger post, and is not currently intended for my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1).

GENERAL JOHNSON AND JOEY RAMONE: Rockaway Beach (On The Beach)

Written by Ramones and General Johnson

Produced by Ben Wolff and Andy Dean

Single, Forward Records, 1994

I first heard about this beach-music team-up of Joey Ramone and former Chairmen of the Board singer General Johnson when Joey Ramone called to tell me about in 1994. Yes, I am cooler than you are. (I should probably let that illusion stand in place, but Joey’s call to me was just a follow-up to a Goldmine interview we’d done within the previous week, as he wanted to make sure I was aware of a number of projects he was doing outside the Ramones‘ aegis. He never called again. My claim to being cooler than you are is, y’know, suspect at best.)

But: back to the record! It’s an ongoing testimony to the greatness of Ramones songs that they can thrive in different interpretations. The Swedish girl-pop group Shebang did a girl-pop bubblegum version of “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker.” Ronnie Spector covered “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” and “She Talks To Rainbows.” KISS did “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” with more kitchen-sink Phil Spector than the Spector-produced original. The Nutley Brass and the Ramonetures did entire albums of Ramones covers, in the respective styles of elevator music and surf instrumentals. It all worked. These Blitzkrieg bops remain more versatile and universal than anyone realized at the time.

Remaking the power-pop bubblepunk of “Rockaway Beach” as a soulful slow-groove Carolina beach shag would seem a preposterous notion…until you hear it. Whoa! Grab a blanket, grab your honey, and snuggle by the fire as the sun descends. It’s not hard, not far to reach. Hitch a ride, baby.

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