Tag Archives: Beach Boys

Albums I listen to when the shit hits the fan.

I’m playing this Saturday night at a place in Carrboro called Steel String Brewery. I start at 8. Please come by if you can.

The Free Design hailed from Delevan, New York, and sang at Richard Nixon’s 1968 Inauguration Ball. I love them. Their first 7 albums were on Enoch Light’s  Project 3 Label. The albums were always varied and fun, united by Chris Dedrick’s stunning writing and vocal arrangements. You might call it sunshine pop. To me, they were superior to, say, The Carpenters, in every way. My favorite record by them was their 7th, 1971’s “One By One”. It doesn’t even have it’s own Wikipedia page at this time, so perhaps I will start one. Here’s the title track, one that feels even more prescient given the fact that Chris Dedrick died in 2010 of cancer. I listen to this album when the shit hits the fan.

Sadly, Tears For Fears often gets lumped into that slagheap of lesser artists from the late 80’s. However, they were much more than that. And this album is as deep and rich as anything from that time. Maybe it’s the feeling of familiarity and the ubiquitous nature of their previous singles that made people take them for granted, to this day. I think it was pretty ballsy to dedicate almost half the album to works that featured an undiscovered club singer named Oleta Adams at a time when they themselves were red hot and hardly needed to extend their palette. This album is art to me, and when things get rough, “Badman’s Song” always brings me back. Featuring Pino Palladino and Manu Catche. Brilliant.

I have personal reasons for loving Lou Christie, but even if I did not, this album would be among my favorites. Other 60’s singers had tried and failed to expand their audience with reinventions that went against type. But I don’t see “Paint America Love” as a reinvention so much as a striking evolution in writing and performing. This is the guy that sang “Lightning Strikes”, and he’s still touring today, but when the fur flies in my heart, I like to hear these songs.

If you ignore the history and stuff (if you can), I believe this to be their most varied and accomplished piece of work. Epic in scale and execution, and even though some folks thought a single album would have been wiser, that’s a silly argument now. “With The Beatles” would have been better if it was reduced to just one side. Etc. etc. I like the fact that there’s so much music, and different music. Different voices. The ultimate summation of everything they had ever learned, achieved and shared. I love them deeply as you know, but this is the one I have on repeat. I never get tired of it.

By the way, a “glass onion” is a monacle.

There’s no better record from beginning to end than this. I, myself, of course, am thrown back to my Reuben’s Backstage days when Phil Messina, the owner, would put this on the eight-track house stereo as the evening wound down and I was trying to find a ride home.  I know I’m nothing compared to him, but I do try to emulate him when I do my own music, in regards to making tracks cross-fade, and alternating styles.

Dennis Wilson wrote “Slip On Through” and a couple more great tunes on this, their best record to my ears from beginning to end. Not as revolutionary as Pet Sounds, I know. I just like it more. The first album they did where they were a band.  I never get tired of this, and “Our Sweet Love” is a real highlight of the pop music of that era. The weirdness that preceded and followed…

I like pretty much all their albums, but this one is a little more aggressive and relate-able to me. This song in particular reminds me of some recent developments. Sad. To me, it goes: The Beatles to Stevie Wonder to XTC to Radiohead. What’s next? Nothing.

There’s four songs on this album, all of ’em pretty long. Too long to hold your passive interest, but I love this album. Renaissance was formed by Keith Relf of The Yardbirds along with his sister Jane. I know you’re more acquainted if at all with the version that recorded this album. The one with Annie Haslam. Later on they signed to the I.R.S. label, owned by Miles Copeland. Like many progressive bands, they tried vainly to change styles to keep their audience in the 80’s. This album is their best. One of my classical music expert friends pointed out the familiar (stolen?) themes that they incorporated into their magnum opus “Song off Scheherazade” but I don’t think it lessens the effect. Oh what the hell. If you have 24 minutes, listen to this. It’s wonderful.

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Possibly I know not much.

“My president,” Mustaine began, before pausing to pantomime gagging, “is trying to pass a gun ban, so he’s staging all of these murders, like the Fast and Furious thing down at the border, you know, Aurora, Colorado, all the people that were killed there. And now the beautiful people at the Sikh temple.” – Dave Mustaine

“There are hundreds of millions of gun owners in this country, and not one of them will have an accident today. The only misuse of guns comes in environments where there are drugs, alcohol, bad parents, and undisciplined children. Period.” – Ted Nugent

It happened to Elvis, and it happened to Lennon. It’s simple. Musicians and actors who have experienced some modicum of success simply stop hearing the phrase “Please shut up, you’re making a fool of yourself” enough in their lives. Because of their fame, all the people around them refuse to risk their place in the hierarchy, and so they tend to voice agreement, lest they lose their place at the trough. That’s the only explanation there could be. If you think about it, it’s a clever kind of hell.

 

Louie C K is trying to make me insane. He has used three women on my “let me touch them—I want to touch them” list. Tonight, Maria Thayer played the part of “rental car lady”. Previously, he used Parker Posey and Maria Bamford. As Brian Wilson knew Phil Spector was trying to freak him out through the media and the message therein*, it has become clear to me that Louie C K is trying to fuck with me.

Goddammit. Goddammit. Goddammit.

* From the Wikipedia: Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson saw the movie Seconds (Frankenheimer) during its initial release, between sessions for Smile. Under the influence of drugs, the early stages of schizotypal behavior, and pressure to complete Smile, Wilson found Seconds an especially intense experience, that affected him personally (beginning with his arriving late; the first dialogue he heard onscreen was “Come in, Mr. Wilson”, taking him by surprise). His state of mind shifted over the next months, between fantasies of escaping his own life in a similar way, and thoughts that perhaps rival producer Phil Spectorhad somehow convinced Columbia Pictures (sic) to make the movie “to mess with my mind”. Wilson later abandoned the Smile sessions, and did not see another movie in a theater until E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982. His experience was later recounted in The Beach Boys by Byron Preiss, Look! Listen! Vibrate! Smile! by Domenic Priore, and Wilson’s own Wouldn’t It Be Nice: My Own Story (written with Todd Gold).

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Here Comes The Night

1967

1979 single version

1979 complete “Disco Single”

The disco version was co-produced by a fellow listed as “Curt Becher” but better known as Curt Boettcher, who was a member of one of the great sunshine pop albums of all time, The Millennium.

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