Ronnie Dawson – Rockin’ Bones

I’m always looking for more rockabilly artists that I haven’t heard.  This one came from Phil from…Notes from the Cactus Patch.

I started to listen to his music and it was good…vocals, guitar, everything. The rhythm to this song is worth a listen.

Ronnie appeared on American Bandstand twice and later in the 1990s… twice on the Conan O’Brien show. He had regional success but even after Bandstand in 1960 could not break nationally.

He was from Dallas Texas and was nicknamed “The Blonde Bomber.” His father Pinkie showed him how to play the mandolin, drums, and bass guitar. Dawson attended Southwestern Bible Institute in Waxahachie but was expelled. After that, he appeared regularly on the Big D Jamboree Radio Show in Dallas in 1958 as Ronnie Dee and the D Men.  Dawson was known to be highly energetic on stage. Many thought he got it from Elvis but he said no, he learned it from the dynamic Pentecostal revivals he attended.

The Jack Rhodes song “Action Packed” was Dawson’s first release in 1958 on the Backbeat label. After that came the 1959 Rockin’ Bones and this time it was on the Rockin’ Records label. It was issued under Ronnie’s own name with “The Blond Bomber” added. Though Ronnie toured nationally with Gene Vincent and appeared on TV, his records gained no more than regional airplay.

He also played off and on with The Light Crust Doughboys who are a Western Swing Band and Ronnie became a good country artist. You talk about longevity? The Light Crust Doughboys have been playing since 1931…they just celebrated their 90th anniversary as different versions have played through the years.

He made several singles in the early sixties with Dick Clark’s Swan Records. He also did some session work. He played on Paul & Paula’s “Hey Paula. After Elvis died rockabilly started to make a comeback. The Cramps covered Rockin’ Bones.

In the 1980s Ronnie was just beginning. A fifties revival was happening in the UK and he became popular there. This led Dawson to tour Britain for the first time in 1986. He was blown away by the audience’s reception. Dawson sounded purer than most of his peers from the 1950s and he put on a more energetic show.

He recorded new material for No Hit Records, the label of British rockabilly fan Barry Koumis, which was leased in the USA to Crystal Clear Records. No Hit Records also reissued his recordings from the 1950s and early 1960s on a 16-track LP called “Rockin’ Bones” and an extended 2-CD version of which was released by Crystal Clear in 1996.

Ronnie Dawson:  “At that point in my life, I was so ready to get out of Dallas. I was really ready to go, and I just blew up when I got over there. … I couldn’t believe it. All these people started embracing me. I was in heaven. I didn’t want to go home.”

He was inducted into Rockabilly Hall of Fame, 1998.

Ronnie was still performing until the early 2000s when health problems started.  He passed away in Dallas on September 30, 2003, at the age of 64.

Rockin’ Bones

Roll on, rock on, raw bones
Well, there’s still a lot of rhythm in these
Rockin’ bones
I wanna leave a happy memory when I go
I wanna leave something to let the whole world know
That the rock in roll daddy has a done passed on
But my bones will keep a-rockin’ long after I’ve gone

Roll on, rock on, raw bones
Well, there’s still a lot of rhythm in these
Rockin’ bones

Well, when I die don’t you bury me at all
Just nail my bones up on the wall
Beneath these bones let these words be seen
This is the b***** gears of a boppin’ machine

Roll on, rock on, raw bones
Well, there’s still a lot of rhythm in these
Rockin’ bones
I ain’t a worried about tomorrow, just a-thinkin’ ’bout tonight
My bones are gettin’ restless, gonna do it up right
A few more times around the hardwood floor
Before we turn off the lights and close the door

Roll on, rock on, raw bones
Well, there’s still a lot of rhythm in these
Rockin’ bones

https://www.musicianguide.com/biographies/1608004077/Ronnie-Dawson.html

https://tims.blackcat.nl/messages/ronnie_dawson.htm

http://www.rockabilly.net/articles/dawson.shtml

B-52’s – Love Shack

Love or hate this band…the one thing you have to give them is orginality. I can’t listen to them for hours but a song every now and then is great.

Kate Pierson has sai, the actual Love Shack is where she lived in the ’70s… a five-room cabin with a tin roof in Athens, Georgia. The band would sometimes work up songs there, including “Rock Lobster.” It really was set way back in the middle of a field (off of Jefferson River Road), with no plumbing or running water. The shack was later renovated, but in 2004 it burned down.

The band drew inspiration from the club in the movie The Color Purple, and also from a real club outside of Athens, Georgia, called the Hawaiian Ha-Le, where they would hang out.

The line, “The love shack is a little old place where we can get together” originally showed up just once in the song, but producer Don Was convinced the band to repeat that line and it became the hook. Kate Pierson credits Don Was with turning this song into a hit.

It was on the 1989 album Cosmic Thing. The album was a huge hit…because of this song and Roam.

The album peaked at #4 in the Billboard Album Charts, #8 in Canada, #1 in New Zealand, and #8 in the UK.

The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100, #5 in Canada, #1 in New Zealand, and #2 in the UK.

This was a global hit, but not in Japan, where a band with the name of an American bomber would  not a good fit to say the least. The band was named after a hairstyle Pierson and Wilson wore, but there was no way to get that message across.

Cindy Wilson: “When you’re jamming, everybody is conjuring up their own images. Sometimes we’re all singing at the same time and later you go back and you hear what you’re doing. I personally was thinking about this bar that was out in the country [the Hawaiian Ha-Le]. It was a really cool place – a run-down love shack kind of thing, but it was a disco. It was a really interesting place.”

Love Shack

If you see a faded sign at the side of the road that says
Fifteen miles to the, love shack, love shack yeah
I’m headin’ down the Atlanta highway
Lookin’ for the love getaway
Headed for the love getaway, love getaway
I got me a car, it’s as big as a whale
And we’re headin’ on down to the love shack
I got me a Chrysler, it seats about twenty
So hurry up and bring your jukebox money

The love shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love shack baby
A love shack baby
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack

Sign says, woo, stay away fools
‘Cause love rules at the love shack
Well it’s set way back in the middle of a field
Just a funky old shack and I gotta get back
Glitter on the mattress
Glitter on the highway
Glitter on the front porch
Glitter on the hallway

The love shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love shack, baby
Love shack, baby
Love shack, that’s where it’s at
Love shack, that’s where it’s at

Huggin’ and a-kissin’, dancin’ and a-lovin’
Wearin’ next to nothing ’cause it’s hot as an oven
The whole shack shimmies
Yeah the whole shack shimmies
The whole shack shimmies when everybody’s movin’ around
And around and around and around
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby
Folks linin’ up outside just to get down
Everybody’s movin’, everybody’s groovin’ baby
Funky little shack
Funky little shack

Hop in my Chrysler, it’s as big as a whale
And it’s about to set sail
I got me a car, it seats about twenty, so come on
And bring your jukebox money

The love shack is a little old place where
We can get together
Love shack baby
A love shack baby
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack
Love shack, baby love shack (oh baby that’s where it’s at)
Love shack, baby love shack (baby that’s where it’s at)

Bang bang bang on the door baby!
Knock a little louder baby!
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
I can’t hear you
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
Knock a little louder sugar!
Bang bang bang on the door baby!
I can’t hear you

Bang bang bang on the door baby, knock a little louder
Bang bang on the door baby, bang bang!
On the door baby, bang bang!
On the door, bang bang!
On the door baby, bang bang!

You’re what?
Tin roof
Rusted!

Love shack, baby love shack!
Love shack, baby love shack!
Love shack, baby love shack!
Love shack, baby love shack!

George Harrison – All Those Years Ago

I remember this George Harrison song well in 1981. This song was tribute to John Lennon, who was shot and killed the year before. The song had a bouncy melody and it was originally wrote for Ringo. After Lennon was murdered George re-wrote the lyrics to show is feelings for John.

Ringo did end up playing on the track with Paul and Linda McCartney, and Denny Laine from McCartney’s band Wings. Long time Beatle producer George Martin produced this for Harrison. Geoff Emerick, one of The Beatles sound engineers, also had a hand in this tune.

This appeared on the album Somewhere In England. I bought the single and then the album. The album peaked at #11 in the Billboard Album Charts, #13 in the UK, and #14 in Canada. The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard Album Charts, #13 in the UK, and #3 in Canada in 1981.

Al Kooper: “George was in the kitchen, white as a sheet, real shook up. We all had breakfast. He took calls from Paul and Yoko, which actually seemed to help his spirit, and then we went into the studio and started the day’s work. Ray and I kept George’s wine glass full all day…”

All Those Years Ago

I’m shouting all about love
While they treated you like a dog
When you were the one who had made it so clear
All those years ago

I’m talking all about how to give
They don’t act with much honesty
But you point the way to the truth when you say
All you need is love

Living with good and bad
I always looked up to you
Now we’re left cold and sad
By someone the devil’s best friend
Someone who offended all

We’re living in a bad dream
They’ve forgotten all about mankind
And you were the one they backed up to the wall
All those years ago
You were the one who imagined it all
All those years ago

All those years ago
All those years ago

Deep in the darkest night
I send out a prayer to you
Now in the world of light
Where the spirit free of lies
And all else that we despised

They’ve forgotten all about God
He’s the only reason we exist
Yet you were the one that they said was so weird
All those years ago
You said it all though not many had ears
All those years ago
You had control of our smiles and our tears
All those years ago

All those years ago

All those years ago

All those years ago

Blasters – Dark Night

The guitar intro to this song is worth the price of admission.

Some rockabilly bands, or roots rock bands, sound like they came in on a nostalgia wave from the 1950s. There is nothing wrong with that but…not the Blasters. They sounded contemporary in the 80s even in the middle of a period where production was at its height. Their music still sounds timely now…years after it was released.

Just the intro to this song sends shiver up my spine. This song was on the Hard Line album released in 1985. This album featured Stan Lynch from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on a few tracks and Blasters fan John Mellencamp wrote and co-produced a track (Colored Lights) also.  Hard Line was the Blasters’ final studio album with their original lineup.

Dave Alvin wrote all the songs on the album except the Mellencamp song. He left the band in 1986 for a solo career. He has played in some other bands like X and with The Flesh Eaters. Now he occasionally will rejoin The Blasters on reunion tours with the original lineup.

The song has gained recognition for its appearances in several films and tv shows with its most famous being in the 1996 vampire movie From Dusk Till Dawn of which it is the main theme.

The song was also used in an episode of Miami Vice in 1985.

Dark Night

Hot air hangs like a dead man
From a white oak tree
People sitting on porches
Thinking how things used to be
Dark night
It’s a dark night
Dark night
It’s a dark night

The neighborhood was changing
Strangers moving in
A new boy fell for a local girl
When she made eyes at him

She was young and pretty
No stranger to other men
But windows were being locked at night
Old lines were drawn again

I thought these things
Didn’t matter anymore
I thought all that blood
Had been shed long ago
Dark night
It’s a dark night

He took her to the outskirts
And pledged his love to her
They thought it was their secret
But someone knew where they were

He held her so close
He asked about her dreams
When a bullet from a passing car
Made the young girl scream

I thought these things
Didn’t happen anymore
I thought all that blood
Had been shed long ago

Dark night
It’s a dark night
Dark night
It’s a dark night

Heaven and Hell – by Don Felder and Wendy Holden…Book

Let me start this out by being completely truthful. I am not an Eagles fan whatsoever but I like biographies and I do respect the band as musicians and songwriters. This is a good book for Eagles fans and rock fans in general. It covers a lot of history of the Eagles and rock in the 60s and 70s.

Felder by far was the most versatile of the band. He was offereded a teaching job at Berklee College of Music in Boston before he even joined the Eagles.

What made me want to read this book was…the documentary on the Eagles released in 2013 (I also love rock documentaries). One of the reasons they made the documentary was because of this book! Don Henley and Glenn Frey were livid about Heaven and Hell and wanted to tell their side. The funny thing is… they ended up proving Don Felder right on most of what he wrote.

It’s a good book…I liked it because it helped document an important time in rock music…the sixties and seventies. The book is interesting for more reasons than the Eagles. Florida in the 1960s was a hotspot for future rock and roll stars. Don Felder, Tom Petty, Allman Brothers, Stephen Stills, and Lynyrd Skynyrd just to name a few were all playing clubs on both coasts of Florida.

Don Felder grew up in Gainesville Florida and worked at a music store. He gave young Tommy his first guitar lessons…that Tommy would be Tom Petty. He played in a band with Stephen Stills in high school. He then met future Eagle Bernie Leadon and they started to play in bands together. Felder was taught slide guitar by no other than Duane Allman! They played many of the clubs that the Allman Joys did.

It’s worth reading just for his pre-Eagle days.

When the Eagles first formed, their goal was to divide the writing and singing equally. That way, they reasoned, nobody would become a star or feel like a sideman. That had happened in their previous bands, and they didn’t create the Eagles to go through all that again. After a while that plan went out the window and the problems started.

You learn about the dynamics of the Eagles and how everything changed after Hotel California. Henley and Frey took over the band and called the shots. The problem was Felder was a full member (owner) in the band unlike Timothy B Schmit and Joe Walsh who were just paid employees then and now. When Felder would sugggest something or would want to know where the money was going…he was ignored or pushed off to Irving Azoff the manager by Henley and Frey.

He also covers the problems that Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner had with Frey and Henley….and the close friendship that he had with Joe Walsh.

This is not a gossip book. Felder doesn’t use the book just to slam Frey and Henley. Felder has faults and we see them in this book. He does seem to try to be even handed. As I’ve mentioned before…one look at the Eagles documentary and most of what he says will be verified. He covers their career…up until he was let go.

It’s an enjoyable book and I would recommend it. As I said, I’m not an Eagles fan but I enjoyed it.

The Pretenders – 2000 Miles

Good morning everyone and I hope you have a great Christmas.

The guitar in this song is haunting…

This song is actually Hynde’s tribute to guitarist and founding band member James Honeyman-Scott, who died of a drug overdose in 1982 at the age of 25.

“2000 Miles” was released as a single in December of 1983 and appeared as the 10th track of The Pretenders’ Learning to Crawl album. The single was popular in the UK, where it peaked at #15 on the UK Singles Chart. Learning to Crawl peaked at #5 in the  Billboard 200 albums chart.

In 2014, while finishing up her album Stockholm, Hynde collaborated with Bjorn Yttling on an updated version of “2000 Miles. It was released as a Christmas single in the UK that December.

2000 Miles

He’s gone two thousand miles
It’s very far
The snow is falling down
Gets colder day by day
I miss you The children will sing
He’ll be back at Christmas timeIn these frozen and silent nights
Sometimes in a dream you appear
Outside under the purple sky
Diamonds in the snow sparkle
Our hearts were singing
It felt like Christmas timeTwo thousand miles
Is very far through the snow
I’ll think of you
Wherever you go

He’s gone two thousand miles
It’s very far
The snow is falling down
Gets colder day by day
I miss you

I can hear people singing
It must be Christmas time
I hear people singing
It must be Christmas time

Billy Squier – Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You

This Christmas song doesn’t get played a bunch here. I’ve always liked it since is was released. It was written by Billy Squier and was the B side to the single “My Kinda Lover.”

In 1981 MTV made it’s debut and Billy Squier’s career was going strong with the 1981 release of the Don’t Say No album. MTV at the beginning had a more family atmosphere. The crowd in this sing-a-long included technicians, the secretaries, the executives, the production assistants.

MTV helped countless careers. It made some careers larger than they would have been and some had careers beccause of MTV. It changed everything for a while.

Billy had a great career going on until the Rock Me Tonite video with the pink tank top…then it all fell apart in 1984.

The video was filmed at the Teletronics MTV studio.

 VJ Nina Blackwood: “It was taped at our original Teletronics Studio on West 33rd Street and featured our original studio crew, who we all loved and were very close to, along with all the people from the MTV offices,” “Everybody traipsed down to the studio from 44th Street & 6th Ave for the taping. Billy Squier’s career was on fire at this time, and since he lived in NYC, he was a frequent guest at the studio, so it was appropriate that he was chosen for the video.”

“Pretty much what you see on camera is an accurate representation of the celebratory and fun feeling that was happening,” Blackwood said. “It was like one big happy family, which sums up the entire vibe of the early days of MTV. One of a kind experience. When I watch all of these early MTV Christmas videos, the overwhelming sensation I come away with is that of joyous love.”

Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You

Christmas is the time to say “I love you”
Share the joys of laughter and good cheer
Christmas is the time to say “I love you”
And a feeling that will last all through the year

On the corner carolers are singing
There’s a touch of magic in the air
From grownup to minor no one could be finer
Times are hard but no one seems to care
Christmas Eve and all the world is watching
Santa guides his reindeer through the dark
From rooftop to chimney, from Harlem to Bimini
They will find a way into your heart

Christmas is the time to say “I love you”
Share the joys of laughter and good cheer
Christmas is the time to say “I love you”
And a feeling that will last all through the year

Just outside the window snow is falling
But here beside the fire we share the glow
Of moonlight and brandy, sweet talk and candy
Sentiments that everyone should know
Memories of the year that lays behind us
Wishes for the year that’s yet to come
And it stands to reason that good friends in season
Make you feel that life has just begun

Christmas is the time to say “I love you”
Share the joys of laughter and good cheer
Christmas is the time to say “I love you”
And a feeling that will last all through the year

So when spirits grow lighter
And hopes are shinin’ brighter
Then you know that Christmas time is here

Bruce Springsteen – Merry Christmas Baby

There has been many versions of this song but this one is the one I listen to the most. The dynamics in this version is great.

This Dec 31st, 1980 performance of Merry Christmas Baby was recorded at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, during The River Tour. The song was played in its E Street Band arrangement. It was released in November 1986 as the B-side to WAR. This was the lead single from the Live/1975-85 box set.

Although Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley covered “Merry Christmas Baby” before Bruce did, it sounds like he based  his version on Otis Redding’s 1968 version.

Lou Baxter wrote this song but it was called “Merry Christmas Blues” and Charles Brown took it home to work it out. He rewrote it with the new title. Baxter wanted Charles Brown to record it the way Charles rewrote it and it became a big hit with Brown singing with Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers.

Then the music business struck again…The company promised Charles he would have a co-writer credit but of course, it didn’t happen and Johnny Moore had his name listed on the song instead. Charles never got paid royalties for the song. It was originally released in 1947 and peaked at #3 in the Charts.

Moore died, largely unknown, in the 1960s. Brown, meanwhile, became renowned as a pioneer of the laid-back, piano-driven style of West Coast blues and was recognized as an early influence on Ray Charles; he had a renaissance in the 1990s, touring with Bonnie Raitt.

Charles Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 but died before the induction.

It was also on a complication album A Very Special Christmas of various artists released in 1987.

Merry Christmas Baby

Bring it down, band!

Now, I just came here tonight to say…
I just wanna say…
I just wanna say…

Merry Christmas baby, you surely treat me nice
Come on, merry Christmas baby, you surely treat me nice
I feel just like I’m living, living in paradise

Now listen
Now you see, I feel real good tonight
And I got music on the radio
And I feel real good tonight
And I got music on the radio
And the boys in the band are playing pretty good!
Now, I feel just like I wanna kiss you
Underneath my mistletoe

But now listen
Santa came down chimney, half past three
With lots of nice little presents for my baby and me
Merry Christmas baby, you surely treat me nice
And I feel like I’m living, just living in paradise
Come on boys!

Well now, Santa came down chimney, half past three
With lots of nice little presents for my baby and me
Merry Christmas baby, you surely treat me nice
I feel like I’m living, I’m living in paradise

And I just came down to say
Merry Christmas baby
I just wanna say, merry Christmas baby
I just wanna say, merry Christmas baby
I just wanna say, merry Christmas baby
And happy New Year, too!
Oh yeah!
Play it boys, go!
Merry Christmas
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-happy New Year
Ohhhh!

Oh yeah!
Merry Christmas baby!

Mike Nesmith (1942-2021) and the Monkees influence

I had something else planned to post but I found out that Mike Nesmith passed away. Nesmith was a big inspiration to me. There is no question…Nesmith would have made it without the Monkees…he was a talented writer, actor, producer, novelist and a very good Texas guitar player.  He wrote some great country rock songs, Elephant Parts, and even a hit for Linda Ronstadt’s band The Stone Poneys…Different Drum.

While watching the reruns of the Monkees I bugged my mom to buy me a green wool hat with buttons but you can’t buy them off the shelf. She got me a green stocking cap…it wasn’t the same but I was happy.  When the Monkees are mentioned some people cringe but they still have a place in my 5-year-old heart…plus how many bands can say that Jimi Hendrix opened up for them? Although that might be the worst pairing ever.

I’m not saying they deserve to be remembered with the best bands ever. Not at all but they do need to be recognized for their influence on a couple of generations. They influenced a lot of kids to form bands…mostly because of their weekly prime-time television show and ensuing hit singles. In the 80s they had a big comeback with a tour and massive airplay on MTV… I got to see them then…without Nesmith though.

They were a lot of fun. I thought WOW… I must be in a band one day. Little did I know that being in a band was not living in a cool place at the beach and having adventures at every turn…not to mention everyone getting along…it just doesn’t happen that way…but it is a special feeling being in a band with an us against them attitude and a great growing experience.

After I went through the Monkees faze I discovered the Beatles, The Who, Stones, Kinks…anything British but I still have a soft spot for some of the old Monkees songs.

The Monkees basically took A Hard Days Night movie humor and made a television show around a life of a mid-sixties rock band. Kids wanted to form bands after seeing them romp around the screen with girls…who wouldn’t want that gig? Michael Stipe from REM has said  he was influenced by them.

They were not allowed to play on their first couple of albums…only sing…The Monkees were put together by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider for Screen Gems with two real musicians in the band…Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork… Micky Dolenz (he did sing in cover bands before The Monkees) and Davy Jones could sing and act…. and Mickey quickly learned drums.

When news came out that they didn’t play on their albums they were roundly criticized in the 1960s. They fought Don Kershner who controlled what they sang…. and won… The funny thing is many sixties pop bands didn’t play on their records and the Monkees actually started to play their own instruments on their third album (Headquarters)  and writing some songs for every album afterward.

In the second season of their tv show they started to gain more control. Some of those last episodes are very pot influenced…especially the episode called “The Frodis Caper”… It is surreal and broke the fourth wall…the second season is worth a watch…all of them are fun but the 1st season is more formulaic.

I still like many songs by them…anything written by Michael Nesmith (famous also for Elephant Parts), Pleasant Valley Sunday, Randy Scouse Git, Steppin Stone and Saturday’s Child.

All in all, they ended up singing and playing on some of the best-known sixties pop-rock hits.

I’ll just add one more thing…he Monkees belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

….

December 8, 1980…Lennon

Damn this date. Every Dec 8th I can’t help but think of where I was at when I heard.  Get Back only heightened the anger and confusion over what happened.

It’s odd to think the Beatles had only been broken up for 10 years when this happened…to a 13 year old at the time…that was a lifetime but in reality it’s nothing.

Since second grade, I’d been listening to the Beatles. While a lot of kids I knew listened and talked about modern music …I just couldn’t relate as much. By the time I was ten I had read every book about The Beatles I could get my hands on. In a small middle TN town…it wasn’t too many. I was after their generation but I knew the importance of what they did…plus just great music. The more I got into them the more I learned about the Who, Stones, and the Kinks. I wanted to get my hands on every book about the music of the 1960s. Just listening to the music wasn’t enough…I wanted to know the history.

I spent that Monday night playing albums in my room. Monday night I didn’t turn the radio on…I’m glad I didn’t…The next morning I got up to go to school and the CBS morning news was on. The sound was turned down but the news was showing Beatle video clips. I was wondering why they were showing them but didn’t think much of it.

Curious, I walked over to the television and turned it up and found out that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I was very angry and shocked. The bus ride to school was quiet, at school, it was quiet as well. Some teachers were affected because John was their generation. Some of my friends were shocked but some really didn’t get the significance at the time and some didn’t care. A few but not many kids acted almost gleeful which pissed me off…It was obvious their parents were talking through them.

I went out and bought the White Album, Abbey Road and Double Fantasy in late December of 1980…I can’t believe I didn’t have the two Beatle albums already…now whenever I hear any song from those albums they remind me of the winter of 80-81. I remember the call-in shows on the radio then…pre-internet… people calling to share their feelings for John or hatred for the killer.

The next few weeks I saw footage of the Beatles on specials that I had never seen before. Famous and non-famous people pouring their heart out over the grief. Planned tributes from bands and everyone asking the same question…why?

My young mind could not process why a person would want to do this to a musician. A politician yea…I could see that…not that it’s right but this? A musician? Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and JFK were before my time.  By the mid-1970s John had pretty much dropped out of sight…John and Yoko released Double Fantasy on November 17, 1980, and suddenly they were everywhere…Less than a month later John was murdered. The catchwords were Catcher in the Rye, Hawaii, handgun and insane. The next day we were duly informed on who killed John in the First, Middle, and Last name format they assign to murderers.

I didn’t want to know his name, his career, his wife’s name, his childhood…I just wanted to know why… he says now…”attention”

I noticed a change happened after that Monday night. John Lennon was instantly turned into a saint, something he would have said was preposterous. Paul suddenly became the square and the uncool one and George and Ringo turned into just mere sidemen. Death has a way of elevating you in life. After the Anthology came out in the 90s that started to change back a little.

I called my dad a few days after it happened and he said that people were more concerned that The Beatles would never play again than the fact a man, father, and husband was shot and killed. He was right and I was among those people until he said that. Dad was never a fan but he made his point.

Below is a video of James Taylor telling on how he met the killer a day before Lennon was murdered.

Eddy Dixon – Relentless

My thanks to Cincinnati Babyhead (CB to be short) turned me on to this song. The guitar hooked me right away. The song has turned into a cult favorite.

Relentless came from the 1981 cult movie soundtrack Loveless staring Willem Dafoe. Eddy is not an easy guy to pin down to say the least. He has been an actor playing “Rock a Billy Guy” in the 1988 David Lynch TV Mini Series The French As Seen By… and the 1990 film Wild At Heart playing Rex. Dixon has also has been a musician playing rockabilly in New York clubs. He has been called a pioneer of the 1970s rockabilly movement in New York City.

Eddy has also performed out as Eddy Dixon and the the Dixonettes.

In the sixties Eddy was an art student who worked on some John Waters films. Later on he was friends with Willem Dafoe and he introduced Eddy to David Lynch. Eddy really ran the gamut working with Waters and Lynch.

I’ll let Eddy take over from here.

Eddy Dixon on music: 1957. I was 7 years old and my best friend’s parents bought him a Fender Stratocaster. I would hang out at his house and started playing it and it just progressed from there. I went through the Dylan era and the folk era and the British Invasion era. I was playing in bands through the 60s with crazy names like The In Sex, then I got way heavy into country music towards the end of the 60s. Then in the 70s I moved to New York and started my own rockabilly band. I left Baltimore with 50 bucks, a trashbag full of clothes and a $20 guitar. I started doing all the showcases down on Bleeker Street and started hooking up with the real players, turned professional and started playing Max’s Kansas City and CBGBs.

Eddy Dixon on acting: I started off with John Waters back when I was a teenager in the late 60s. I did 5 John Waters films. He’s great – he’s very professional and knows what he wants. When I started, he was starting out and we were all art students in Baltimore living in a block in Bolton Hill. It was the most exclusive neighborhood in Baltimore at the turn of the century, but by this point everything was all run down. There were huge townhouses, gorgeous – 20-foot ceilings, marble fireplaces, mirrors from the floors to the ceilings – and they just sectioned them off and were renting them to the students. Some law firm bought up the whole block and kicked us all out. So we moved down to the docks, where we rented this 27-room double house with a courtyard – the whole deal for about $100 a month. One day my brother brought John Waters down – I think he met him at a party. So every Sunday we would pile into the Volkswagen, go out into the woods and film and that’s how it all started. My brother to this day still does all his sets. I did a Superfly sequel – I don’t know if it ever came out or not. The working title was ‘Don’t Call Me Boy’ and when they finished it they called it ‘The Hitter’. I did Run DMC’s movie – I played a cop in that.

Webb Wilder – Meet Your New Landlord

I first heard Webb Wilder in the late eighties with songs Poolside and Human Canon Ball. He looked and sounded different right away.

Webb Wilder looks like he dropped out of a 50’s black and white detective show. By 1991 I was walking through a street fair in Nashville and there he was playing with his band. He had just released an album called Doodad that got some local and national airplay. His music is a mixture of rock/country/rockabilly/punk and anything else he can throw in…including the kitchen sink.

He has described his music as “Swampadelic”, “Service-station attendant music”, “Uneasy listening”, “Psychobilly”…they all fit.

I purchased the Doodad album and this song is what I zero’d in on. The hit off the album was Tough It out which peaked at #16 on the Mainstream Charts.  It included guest appearances by Al Kooper and Sonny Landreth.

The guitar riff is instantly catchy and the first verse was about losing your house/land in a poker game. A great story telling song.

Wilder got some MTV exposure with Human Canon Ball and a lot of local play with a song caled Poolside. He is a fantastic performer to catch live. He has been an actor, disc jokey, and a great artist…a true original.

The two videos are the same version…some were getting video not found.

Meet Your New Landlord

Neon lights don’t never dim
In the kind of bars that never close
In a back room game T. Jim yells
“Saint Gabriel, I’m gonna steal the show.”
He slapped his cards down on the table
Said, “Boys, i got me a winning hand.”
But the sight that made old T. Jim tremble
Was the king that took his land

Mister, meet your new landlord
Heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

With a ticket burning in his hand
And the tip still ringing in his ear
Big Pete bet his whole life savings
As the race was drawing near

A shot was fired
The gates flew open
The years streaked right before his eyes
Too bad they were riding on a saddle
From the moment of ill advice

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

Other names and other places
Different rules but it’s all the same
Cause if that bug ever b***s you
The scar will bear you shame
Hey listen, son, you know you’re in trouble
When you wake up one morning in a daze
And as you peer into the mirror
The face leaning over says

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Got plenty of room down on the floor

Mister, meet your new landlord
I heard you knockin’ upon my door
Mister, meet your new landlord
Plenty of room down on the floor

Hey, mister, meet your new landlord
Whooo

John Fogerty – Vanz Kant Danz

This song is referring to Saul Zaentz, Fogerty’s former boss at Fantasy Records. Both took turns suing each other as Zaentz sued Fogerty for plagiarizing himself on The Old Man Down the Road and also for defamation for the song Vanz Kant Danz, which was originally titled Zanz Kant Danz, but was altered as part of the settlement. Fogerty counter-sued for reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and in a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, he won…sometimes there IS justice in the world.

Saul Zaentz took CCR’s money and built an empire with it.  He owned the worldwide film, stage, and merchandise rights to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He financed the Lord of the Rings animation in 1978 and many other films.

The contract CCR signed with Zaentz was one sided. Zaentz promised the band he would renegotiate when the band had a hit…he refused of course when that day happened. Fogerty has said that he brought in the ultimate crooked band manager Allen Klein to break the contract. Klein who could famously manipulate contracts told Fogerty that the contract was iron clad.

The video for this was the first ever filmed entirely in “Claymation.” It was produced at Will Vinton Studio, named for the inventor of the clay animation technique. The video didn’t garner a lot of attention at the time because the song wasn’t a hit…it did get some airplay on MTV at the time.

From Songfacts

The song is about an unnamed street dancer and his sidekick, a pig trained to pick people’s pockets as they watch the dancer do his stuff. The pig, originally named Zanz as a dig at Saul Zaentz, “Can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money – watch him or he’ll rob you blind.” When Zaentz threatened Fogerty with yet another lawsuit, Fogerty changed the pig’s name to Vanz.

Another song from the Centerfield album, “Mr. Greed,” is also thought to be a musical salvo by Fogerty in his long-running feud with Zaentz, which lasted until 2004 when Fantasy Records was bought out by Concord Records, who restored Fogerty’s rights to his CCR material.

Vanz Kant Danz

Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind

Out in the street the crowd is gatherin’
Pushed down by the heat of the building, they’re wantin’ to dance
Makin’ their way up the street, a boy with a pig and a radio
Little Billy can work on the crowd, put ’em into a trance
For the little pig Vanz

Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind

You’re watchin’ ’em dance, not a care in the world
So Billy and Vanz get busy, they’re makin’ their move
The little pig knows what to do
He’s silent and quick, just like Oliver Twist
Before it’s over, your pocket is clean
A four-legged thief paid a visit on you

Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind

Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind

Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind
Vanz can’t dance, but he’ll steal your money
Watch him or he’ll rob you blind

REM – (Don’t Go Back To) Rockville

This is one of the first songs I remember hearing from R.E.M. A buddy of mine had the Reckoning album and wore it out. It is up in the top ten of my favorite REM songs.

This song is about Ingrid Schorr, a girl the band knew at the University of Georgia whose hometown was Rockville, Maryland. She got a lot of attention on campus as classmates lamented her departure.

Don’t Go Back To Rockville is a R.E.M. song that bass player Mike Mills wrote most of the lyrics but as always with R.E.M. credited to the entire band. Mills exaggerated in the song and he wasn’t a boyfriend to Ingrid…only good friends but he saw a good song in the story.

The orginal version of the song was really fast like a Ramones kind of punk rock song. They slowed it down to a country tinged feel as a nod to their manager Bertis Downs, who really loved the song.

This was the second single from the album Reckoning released in 1984. The song didn’t chart but the album peaked at #27 in the Billboard Album Charts, #23 in New Zealand, and #91 in the UK.

Mike Mills:  “There was a girl Ingrid Schorr. We were seeing each other and we really liked each other, but we were not boyfriend and girlfriend. She was going back to Rockville for the summer. And I thought that ‘going back to Rockville’ just screamed song, right there. As I wrote it, it turned into what if we were in love and she was leaving and never coming back. And that’s how it turned into ‘(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville.’ It just morphed as it went along.”

Mike Mills:  “I remember sitting at the kitchen table on Little Oconee Street in Athens, (Georgia),” Mills explains. “There’s a turnaround in the song that’s inspired by part of a Simon & Garfunkel song (“Mrs. Robinson”) that I heard, and I started building the song around that. Sometimes the first line is the hardest line and once I got that first line (‘Looking at your watch a third time/Waiting in the station for a bus’), the rest of it flowed naturally.”

From Songfacts

The band had already been playing this song in a much faster, punk-like style for a long time and didn’t even consider it for the Reckoning album until their legal advisor, Bertis Downs, begged them to “at least do one take of it for me … please!?!?”

Drummer Bill Berry remembers tweaking the song to mess with Downs: “To playfully suggest to him that the song wasn’t in contention, we recorded a much slower version than he was accustomed to hearing and we sprinkled it with a Nashville twang to drive the point home. It started out silly, but when Mike added piano, the tune took on new light. Thanks, Bert!” 

Don’t Go Back To Rockville

Looking at your watch a third time
Waiting in the station for the bus
Going to a place that’s far
So far away and if that’s not enough
Going where nobody says hello
They don’t talk to anybody they don’t know

You’ll wind up in some factory
That’s full time filth and nowhere left to go
Walk home to an empty house
Sit around all by yourself
I know it might sound strange but I believe
You’ll be coming back before too long

Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
And waste another year

At night I drink myself to sleep and pretend
I don’t care if you’re not here with me
‘Cause it’s so much easier to handle
All my problems if I’m too far out to sea
But something better happen soon
Or it’s gonna be too late to bring you back

Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
And waste another year

It’s not as though I really need you
If you were here I’d only bleed you
But everybody else in town only wants to bring you down and
That’s not how it ought to be
I know it might sound strange, but I believe
You’ll be coming back before too long

Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
And waste another year

Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
Don’t go back to Rockville
And waste another year

Green On Red – Death And Angels

These guys were in the Paisley Underground movement in the 1980s. They should be a classic band but they never broke through to the masses.

The Paisley Underground Scene had many different types of bands. The sound they all had was not united. Bands like Green on Red more of a country-ish/stones rock and roll,  Rain Parade more of a Beatles type, The Bangles were more of a pop/rock band. The scene had about any thing you would want except major hits…The Bangles are the ones that really broke through.

Death and Angels

In the event (In the event)
Of sudden disaster (sudden disaster)
Just look into a face (look into a face)
That matters

Death and angels (death and angels)
On the ground (on the ground)
Death and angels (death and angels)
I swear
Fly around (fly around)

(ahh ahh)
In the case of a sudden (ahh ahh)
Point of view (ahh ahh)
(ahh ahh)
Just listen to your heart (ahh ahh)
I swear
(ahh ahh)
That’s what’s true (ahh ahh)

Death and angels (ahh ahh)
On the ground (ahh ahh)
I swear
Death and angels (death and angels)
Flying (fly around)

Seems so dark and lonely
Seems …
Feels so cool
Oh no —
The lack of compassion
(in the world) in our world