Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 106: SONG # 136

DAY 106: Songs by the Best Band from Austria

This is the totally free category (#16), that in the original 30 days song challenge had been dedicated to a song I once loved but now hate. But instead of writing about and posting some Austro-Pop songs from my youth that I do not like any more, I have decided to post three extremely fine songs by a band I still think to be underrated. As one commentator on UTUBE wrote:
"This is a killer band. Shame on austrian music listeners, radio stations, bookers, musiczines they didnt break through yet."
Thinking of music from Austria, what comes to your mind? Mozart, the Opera, the New Year's Concert, Joe Zawinul, Vienna Art Orchestra, Falco? There is a load of highest quality musicianship in our lovely country, but we do not have to offer too much in the genres of rock music or alternative music or pop music or however you will call that, but we have: TYLER. When I read that they have been an opening act for Christina Stuermer, I get a bit confused, because surely it should be the other way round. They deserve to be as big as Radiohead, in my humble opinion. Listen to their records (and: buy them!!), go to their gigs (they are a great live act, because in contradistinction to many bands that have big names, they all know how to play their instruments). These young men are real musicians: Lukas Hillebrand, Alex Pohn, Peter Schönbauer. Here is their homepage and here are three songs done by them:

First song, from their 2005 album "Don't Play" is called "beautiful", and it is:

From their second album "Favourite Sin" the opening track with the same title (in a live version from Vienna's u4 club) and "Future":

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 105: SONG # 135

DAY 105: A Song That Describes You

In the nearly 52 years of my life I had to learn a load of rather hard lessons. The hardest one has been to learn that I'm no good. There are two sides to that coin: the one is my individual image of myself as a person. I can live with that. The other side is the image that other people hold of me. I cannot live with that. Not that I would not be able to cope with the fact that some people think I was no good. They are right. But why are they offended or even hurt by that simple fact? Just take me as I am, no good, that's all. The trouble starts with not accepting that simple fact: I am no good. Accusations begin. In that vein, we can point to a classic soul song about a man that is no good. It was written by Clint Ballard, first recorded by Dee Dee Warwick and was a hit for Betty Everett in the first place. Here is her version:

Later on, it has been recorded by many artists, among them a merseyside-version by the Swinging Blue Jeans, a cover done by Van Halen and a rendering of the song by Elvis Costello. The longlasting impact stems from Linda Ronstadt's re-make in the early 70ies - nice (probably best) version, but look at the clothes they wear, their hairdo, simply: all - and the excitement shown, f.e., by the drummer..., the whole performance being introduced by José Feliciano (!!):

I could indulge into Nietzsche's critique of morality here and talk about being beyond good and evil. On reading his "Ecce Homo", it turns out, that he simply admitted, like Amy Winehouse did - both with a small but important change of perspective - "I told you I was trouble, you know that I'm no good". What a song, may she rest in peace, among those intellectually honest souls that are capable of admitting: "I'm no good"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 104: SONG # 134

DAY 134: Cover Versions I Like

I've mixed up the categories: on Day 102/song #132 I have substituted "A Song Nobody Would Expect You to Love" with "A Song I Am not Surprised to Love"; song 132 relates to song 12 among the original categories and this is "a song from a band you hate"; the expecation-thing is song #14, so it would be 134.
Be that as it may, I have decided before to change all "hate"-categories and initially have substituted "band you hate" with "cover-version you like". Indeed it would be interesting to read or write (at least) an essay on the phenomenon of cover-versions in popular culture. Here, I will simply post three performances, two done live, one in the studio, by Living Colour, the answwer to the question. "can the black man play hard rock?". No band I do not like involved. Originally, I was searching for Living Colour's cover of the Talking Heads song "Memories Can't Wait" (from "Fear of Music"). On this search I came upon their version of the White Stripe's best known song, "Seven Nation Army", done live in Montreux.

In my humble opinion, Doug Wimbish, member of Tackhead together with Skip McDonald and Keith LeBlanc - the three were also responsible for the music on many recordings of hip-hop pioneers Sugarhill Gang - is one of the best players of the electric bass on the planet, and Vernon Reid is a hell of a guitarist. This can be heard clearly in the live Version of "Memories Can't Wait", done in Montreux 2004, too, although the mix is not satisfying on that one:

The studio version from their first album "Vivid" (when Doug Wimbish was not yet a member of the band, with original bassist Muzz Skillings) is a classic track for me and may be the most convinving performance on that first LC album:

Friday, August 19, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 103: SONG # 133

Day 133: A song about a nightmare

I call this "a song about a nightmare" with some irony; the "nightmare-theory" seems to be Slavoj Žižek's interpretation of the video to the song. The song is Karma Police by Radiohead. It is from 1997 and when I first heard it, I immediately understood what the fuzz about this band was all about. Simply one of the very great songs of the last decades, methinks.

Here is the video and there are the lyrics:

Karma police, arrest this man
He talks in maths
He buzzes like a fridge
He's like a detuned radio

Karma police, arrest this girl
Her Hitler hairdo is
Making me feel ill
And we have crashed her party

This is what you get
This is what you get
This is what you get when you mess with us

Karma police
I've given all I can
It's not enough
I've given all I can
But we're still on the payroll

This is what you get
This is what you get
This is what you get when you mess with us

And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
Phew, for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

For for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
Phew, for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

Here is Slavoy Žižek explaining the song, the nightmares and the movies (in less tha 3 minutes)

And finally, here is a live version from Letterman's

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 102: SONG # 132

Day 102: A Song I am not Surprised to Love

In the original "30 Days Song Challenge", song of day 12 shoul have been "A Song Nobody Would Expect You to Love". As it is a very hard task to find some song that fits in here AND at the same time is appreciated by the few readers of this blog, I dug a Be-Bop tune. Nobody can say in earnest, that this is not GREAT music, although some might not like it (because of preferring straight eights, for instance, or getting nervous when trying to listen to up-tempo jazz tunes or some other reasons). This here track is taken from the 1963 album "Something Old, Something New" by Dizzy Gillespie, an album on which Lalo Schifrin gets the credits for having arranged the music. The song is called Be-Bop; try to whistle or hum the lines of the trumpet and/or the saxophone...

Musicians are:

Dizzy Gillespie - trumpet
James Moody - flute, saxophones
Kenny Barron - piano
Chris White - double bass
Rudy Collins - drums

Saturday, August 13, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 101: SONG # 131

Day 101: A Song From Your Favourite Band

One of my all time favourite rock bands is Thin White Rope, great in the genres "swampy" and "desert". I do not have any idea, what became of Guy Kyser after the band dissolved in 1992, but I do know, that the two tracks "Up to Midnight" and "Hunter's Moon" (from their last studio album "The Ruby Sea", 1991) will forever be on my playlist. They should be listened to in a row, as there is no pause between them on the album. Unfortunately, the two guys that did uploads of the songs to Utube (THXXX!!!!) did cut off the second or the first track respectively. I think, the songs are extremely well fitting to the feeling of a warm summer night [sorry for the lower sound quality of Hunter's Moon):

And, as bonus tracks, two cover-versions done by TWR, from their EP "Squatter's Rights", first one of Lee Hazelwoods classic "Some Velvet Morning", second one of the Jazz-Standard "Caravan":

Friday, August 12, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 100: SONG # 130

DAY 100- A Tribute to Irving Berlin

Day 100 should be dedicated to one very special musician. I think the one who wrote that song, that also fits neatly into the category "Song that makes you fall asleep", deserves to be regarded as such. Russian Lullaby is one of the many songs written by Irving Berlin that belong to the standard tunes of 20th century music. Being the child of Russian immigrants of jewish descent (his father having been a kantor - or chazan), there might be some biographical connotations to be found in that composition. I will start this here post with an old instrumental version done by the GREAT Mary Lou Williams and Bill Coleman:

Still from the Swing era, with a new main instrument and vocals added: listen to the wonderful guitar playing of the Argentinian Jazz-Pioneer Oscar Alemán when rendering that song:

In an interview, David Grisman said, that Oscar Alemán was as good a jazz guitar player as Django Reinhardt in the style that Django made famous and that he could even "out-swing" Django, and that its was Oscar Alemán that Jerry Garcia learned "Russian Lullaby" from:
"He was definitely a key player and widely overlooked because he moved back to Argentina during the war, and stayed there, and made a lot of incredible records in Argentina, swing records, with a similar group to Django's. And Jerry Garcia actually turned me on to him -- he's where Jerry learned 'Russian Lullaby' from."
Here is the version of the song as done by David & Jerry, their collaborations are my favourite recordings featuring Jerry, be it with "Old and in the Way" or the duets of the two.

The (almost: a-capella) version by Ella Fitzgerald has been sampled by some boys who do electronic stuff, an d also by Damian Marley on his "Road to Zion" ft. Nas. I do like that kind of usage of the "Ella-Sample", so here is Ella's Version followed by the Damian Marley track:

And finally, for something completely different, the version of the song done by John Coltrane in a very fast jazz tempo, from "Soultrane":

Coltrane is said to have reacted to the question "Why don't you come up with a standard tune" by playing it in that way and, being asked: "what was that tune?" to have answered: "Rushin' Lullaby".

Thursday, August 11, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 99: SONG # 129

DAY 99: A Song That You Can Dance To

Love Potion #9 is a song as old as me; as many other great tunes it was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It has been interpreted by many musicians (including the notorious White Stripes) in a wide variety of styles, the best-known version maybe being that of the Searchers (not featured here). What follows, is a collection of recordings of the song from 1959-1993 (altough the latter one sounds like having been recorded in 1963 or so), starting with the "original version" by the Clovers from 1959:

The version I like most has been recorded in 1971 by the Rhythm & Blues Aces The Coasters:

There is an instrumental version done by the legendary Ventures. Not bad:

Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass have done an instrumental version in the same year (1965), albeit in a different style, big points 4 being cool:

Reminiscent of Merseyside and the Hamburg-Beatles-Sound, the Version by The Kaisers from 1993 really rocks:

Finally, a version by Enoch Light and his Orchestra, as featured on Discotheque Dance Dance Dance Volume 2 (1965), from the beginning of the Disco-Era, no comment on that one :-)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 98: SONG # 128

Day 98: A Song You Know All the Words to

there is no song; I have posted 3 versiosn of a song here; all of them have been deleted from UTUBE beacause of somebody's rights to music; the song featured was a song by an artist who could make a living on the royalties of one of the songs he has written; so wtf?

Monday, August 8, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 97: SONG # 127

Day 97: Songs that Remind Me of My College Days

Still in search for the lost time, I came upon my college days and Tom Waits came to my mind. When looking for that songs, I realised, that I was still a student at age 26 (at least, I finished my first thesis at age 27). Back in those times, when one could study along and along (no Bologna-process) and afterwards look whether there would be something like an opportunity to make some career in some field, we used to divide our days and nights between editing a student's magazine, spending time in a Viennese Kaffehaus (chez Josef), attending gigs by almost every alternative band in the world and having some parties. Whenever I hear a Tom Waits song from Rain Dogs or Swordfish Trombone, I get the feeling back. So, here are a few songs from the A-side (back in those days, albums did have TWO sides with music on them). No need to explain, who Tom Waits is. The songs are my favourite ones from Rain Dogs (at least from that series of songs on side 1), the music also reminds me of a wonderful winter's week with the posse in a little hut in the woods (I know, there was a lot of quarreling, too).

Jockey Full of Bourbon:

Tango Till They're Sore (let me fall out of the window with confetti in my hair), no better song about the feeling at sunrise after a night of drinking in some place not your own:

BIG BLACK MARIAH, this songs also reminds me of a girl named Maria I used to call the Big Black mariah in those days.

Diamonds and Gold:

And as a bonus track, a cover version of Diamonds an Gold by two very nice girls:

Enjoy your college days!

Friday, August 5, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 96: SONG # 126

Day 96: A song written in remembrance of a certain event

"River in the Pines" is a traditional country ballad. It was written in remembrance of the dangers of lumbering on the Chippewa river in Wisconsin. The song revolves around a young woman named Mary who lost her husband Charlie in an accident . It has been made known to a wider public by Joan Baez who has recorded a version of it on her album "Farewell Angelina". I do not include her version here, but two other, maybe lesser known ones. The first is by The Willard Grant Conspiracy, the opening track of their album Regard the End, in a beautiful live version from Rockpalast:

Second one is done in a different style, nevertheless it is as straight to the heart as Mr. Fisher's rendering. The version by The Deep Dark Woods, a Canadian Band, labelled as "Alternative Country" (to me. this sounds like good old country rock).

Both versions feature the shortend lyrics as they appear on Joan Baez' record. Here is the full text of the poem (taken from: Ballads and Songs of the Shantey-Boy by Franz Rickaby (1926 Harvard University Press) collected from William Bartlett of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the oldest version of the song:

Oh Mary was a maiden when the birds began to sing.
She was fairer than the blooming rose so early in the spring.
Her thoughts were gay and happy in the morning gay and fine,
For her lover was a river-boy from the River in the Pines.

Now Charlie got married to this Mary in the spring,
When the trees were budding early and the birds began to sing.
"Now darling I must leave you in the happiness of love,
And make some V's and X's for you, my darling dove.
And early in the autumn when the fruit is in the wine,
I'll return to you, my darling, from the River in the Pines.

'T was early in the morning in Wisconsin's dreary clime
When he rode the fatal rapids for that last and fatal time.
The found his body lying on the rocky shores below,
Where the silent water ripples and the whispering cedars blow.

The woodsmen gathered round him on the bright and cloudless morn,
And with sad and tearful eyes they viewed his cold and lifeless form.
"I would send a message to her, but I fear she would repine."
Spoke a friend of Charlie Williams from the River in the Pines.

When Mary heard these tidings from that river far away,
It was in the early springtime, in the early month of May.
At first she seemed uncertain and no more her eyes did shine,
But her saddened thoughts still wandered to that River in the Pines.

Not long ago I visited there, not many years ago;
It was a Southern city where strange faces come and go.
I spied a gray-haired maiden, both very old and gray,
And my thoughts turned back again once more to that river far away.

She smiled though when she saw me, though she looked old and gray.
"I am waiting for my Charlie boy," these words to me did say.
"And early in the autumn, when the fruit is in the wine,
I'll return to meet my Charlie from the River in the Pines."

Now every raft of lumber that comes down the Chippewa,
There's a lonely grave that's visited by drivers on their way.
They plant wild flowers upon it in the morning fair and fine;
'T is the grave of Charlie Williams from the River in the Pines.

There exist other version of the lyrics, f.e. to be found in Lumbering Songs from the Northern Woods by Edith Fowke (1970 American Folklore Society). Thank you, guys from Mudcat Café for the info on that. Yet another version of the lyrics can be found in an essay on another tragic accident on the Chippewa River (Tragedy at Little Falls) that happend in 1905. Here, the song is credited to William W. Bartlett. I cannot decide, whether the author got all the facts right, but I could look through all the essays featured on JSTOR that deal with the history of the area.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

1000 SONGS - DAY 95: SONG # 125

DAY 95: A song that reminds of....

This reminds me of nearly everything. F.e., the Beatles. Probably the most influential band up to date. Everybody talking about Sgt. Peppers or the White Album. While I find the latter really interesting, I always have found Sgt. Peppers to be a bit over-estimated by the wider public (at least they should have left out "Within Without You"). In my humblest of all humble opinions, Abbey Road is a real masterpiece, and I always did love the "Medley" on the "B-Side" so much. A probable reason for that predilection could be, that I had a wonderful (though, due to the intake of psychedelic drugs, somewhat confused) summer at age 18 or so in the flat of my BIG brother (the rather conservative one in our family; they went on vacation, his wife and him), and Abbey Road was one of the records they kept. So it reminds me of that summer, of my sister in law (her record), when she was so young and sexy and of a time without obligations but to keep in mind not to fully devastate that flat of my brother (he was 32 then). It also reminds me of a short-lived, but intense relationship with a girl called Angie. Wonder where she is and what she's doing now. And it reminds me of some nice people I do know now who are big big big fans of The Beatles. At least, there are no explanations required in this here post, concerning "Beatles", "Abbey Road" or "Sgt. Peppers", just the tracklist below (and even that, everyone will know). Choose"Watch on Youtube" to hear the full medley starting with "You Never Give Me Your Money")

You Never Give Me Your Money
Sun King
Mean Mr. Mustard
Polythene Pam
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
Golden Slumbers
Carry That Weight
The End
Her Majesty