Saturday, 18 June 2011

Velvet Underground - I´m Waiting For The Man

I am waiting for my man twenty-six dollars in my hand up to Lexington, 125 feel sick & dirty, more dead than alive

The origins of “Alternative Music” and the rise of Punk – Part II

“I’m Waiting for My Man”, The Velvet Underground (1967)

Back in New York another very significant artist to contribute to what would become alternate music, was Lou Reed. To think this song came out when I was in grade school is almost creepy. The guy is talking about a heroin deal in Harlem. I was likely making batman puppets, bringing my guinea pig in for show-and-tell, or writing my first poem for Mrs. T.  Who knew?

 Seemingly from a normal Brooklyn Jewish family, Lou Reed learned to play guitar listening to the R&B and doo-wop on the radio. Having received ‘electroconvulsive” shock therapy in his teens to ‘cure’ his homosexuality, things took a different turn for Reed. The appearance of ‘normal’ would continue for a while as Reed completed a B.A. from Syracuse University College of Arts and Science in 1964, where he met John Cale (who is most famous for his song “Cocaine”).

The Velvet Underground who was based on the lower East-side in New York would catch the attention of Andy Warhol who led the visual art movement in the 1960’s. Now considered by some to be the pioneers of Goth rock, glam rock, and maybe even punk rock,  VU’s, 1967’s “The Velvet Underground & Nico” has been called the most prophetic rock album ever made (Rolling Stone).

Friday, 17 June 2011

New York Dolls - Jet Boy

Whoso fly up in th' sky Faster than any boy could ever describe Whos got that love so deep And everything alive

The origins of “Alternative Music” and the rise of Punk  Part I

“Jet Boy”, New York Dolls (1973)  

Often cited as a major influence on the punk, (as I stated in my previous blog) and later new wave movement in the U.K., the New York Dolls are not all that well know in the mainstream of music. As I embark on one of my longest blogs ever, bear with me as this build-up is important in understanding the influence and impact this strange band had. 

As I said, there were a lot of things going on in the U.K. to stem the backlash of Punk and then new wave against the establishment. The American influence was there, but I am not convinced it was the ‘cause’ per se of Punk. What was happening was that you had a complacent record industry cranking out mega-bands; you had Vietnam War vets returning to a poor economy, often disliked by the hippies who now also lacked a cause. The U.S. government was having its own problems, wallowing in the corruption of Watergate, broke from the long war, and floundering in the face of an economy falling apart.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Tonight I am actually listening to good ol' fashioned vinyl...

Stampeders - Carryin' On

Don Henley - Building the Perfect Beast

Heart - Little Queen

Grand Funk - Shinin' On

XTC-Making Plans For Nigel

We're only making plans for Nigel We only want what's best for him We're only making plans for Nigel Nigel just needs this helping hand

70's Pick of the Week

Making Plans for Nigel, XTC (1979)

This is one of my all-time favourite new wave songs for sure! It was also XTC’s most successful single, written by bassist Collin Moulding. With its driving, almost industrial sound, I played this song to death. XTC is British of course; if the name Nigel didn’t tip you off. There is something dark about the satirical lyrics offset by the repetitive backbeat and the little “Wheeew” background singer. The upbeat tempo is completely opposite to the concern for the predetermined destiny of the poor Nigel’s of the world. Be happy dammit! His future was as good as sealed with “the company” in this case, British Steel – a bit controversial in the U.K. “Nigel is not outspoken”, but “he must be happy in his work”.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Stevie Ray Vaughan - Couldn't Stand The Weather

Changes come before we can go. Learn to see them before we're too old. Don't just take me for tryin' to be heavy, understand, it's time to get ready for the storm

Quick Hit

“Couldn’t Stand the Weather”, Stevie Ray Vaughan (1984)

On August 26, 1990 he had just played guitar with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Robert Cray. He got in a helicopter that took him up from the ‘Alpine Music Theatre’ in Wisconsin. The helicopter crashed and that was the immediate, stunning death of one of the best blues guitarists ever.

He had only sobered up a few years before from very serious drug and alcohol addiction – he lived through that – but then his card was punched, his time was up.

The Rain in Spain Falls Where?

Quiz Time

It’s raining its pouring – raindrops are falling on my head. Oh I hear laughter in the rain walking hand in hand with the one I love. I Listen to the mandolin rain, listen to the music on the lake, it’s raining again, oh no will my heart ever mend. Here comes the rain again falling on my head like a new emotion, but rainy days and Mondays always get me down. I love a rainy night as red rain is falling down all over me but I only want to see you standing in the purple rain...It never rains in Southern California, boy don’t they warn you, it pours, man it pours...Who’ll stop the rain? I’ve seen fire, and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days I thought would never end, but somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you really dare to dream come true! So never mind the darkness we still can find a way 'cause nothin' lasts forever even cold November rain.

Can anyone tell me all the rain songs here and who they are by?


Sunday, 12 June 2011

4 Non Blondes - What's Up

And I try, oh my god do I try I try all the time, in this institution. And I pray, oh my god do I pray I pray every single day for a revolution

Songs Everybody Should Know

“What’s Up”, 4 Non Blondes, 1993  

45 (or so) years of my life just trying to get up that great big hill of hope, for my destination.

Christa Hillhouse invited Linda Perry to join her band in 1989 after she saw Perry at a solo performance and was blown away. Their first practice as a band was postponed. They were supposed to meet at 6:00 pm, but at 5:00 pm the ‘Loma Preita’ earthquake hit San Francisco on October 17, 1989. But that didn’t stop them, and that is a good thing...