Graham Parker – Howlin’ Wind

CB and I have been talking and when that happens… some cool music is discussed. This is an artist I should have checked out long long ago.

Graham Parker is someone I’ve heard of …but never actually heard. I’ve lived with this album for a week or so. What I’ve heard is some smooth groove music that Parker contrasts with his intense lyrics. I hear a little punk influence in the lyrics and voice. If I had to compare him with someone…it would be Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson but with a touch of Van Morrison and The Band sprinkled in on this album.

A little more about Graham Parker…after that, I’ll get on about the album. This is an extremely condensed beginning for Graham up until the debut album.

Graham Parker and the Rumour

Graham Parker was born in East London in 1950 and was the right age to catch The Beatles when they hit. He and his friends had a band that adopted the haircuts, sweaters, and boots but they never really learned how to play their instruments. He did a guitar and started learning it. Later on, when he was around 15 he started to listen to soul music, Motown, ska, and especially Otis Redding.

He started to improve on guitar and played bars and clubs. He even appeared on a television show in Gibraltar and played a few of his own songs. After that, he was asked to join a psychedelic band named Pegasus. He soon tired of that music and started to concentrate on R&B songs like The Midnight Hour. He then met the manager of Brinsley Schwarz. With ex-members of Brinsley Schwarz and ex-member Nick Lowe producing them…they made his debut album Howlin’ Wind. His band had a name at this point…The Rumour.

The Rumour would be Graham’s backing band for years. They also recorded their own albums separately and did three in all. They broke up in 1980 and then reformed and started to back Parker up again in 2011 and remain his backup band to this day.

The album is great. There is not a bad song on it. The second side rocks a little more than the first so it evens it out. I hear rock, reggae, rockabilly, R&B, Soul, rock, and a touch of jazz in spots. His voice is so damn convincing…you automatically take notice as he sneers his way through it. He can get raspy and then stay smooth. There is a variety on this album…he was not stuck on one style…he spread it about and his debut album is balanced and wonderful. It was a perfect marriage between Parker and The Rumour. Also, I have to give Nick Lowe some credit. He keeps it sparse…no studio tricks just straight-ahead music.

I’ve mentioned Van Morrison and I have to say Springsteen also. If you like those artists…you should like this Graham Parker album. Don’t get me wrong…he doesn’t copy them…he has his own original thing going on but it has some of the feel of those artists. I’ve listened to this album at home, in the car, and at work. It kept getting better as I was going through it.

Give this album a shot.

  1. “White Honey” – 3:33
  2. “Nothin’s Gonna Pull Us Apart” – 3:21
  3. “Silly Thing” – 2:51
  4. “Gypsy Blood” – 4:37
  5. “Between You and Me” – 2:25
  6. “Back to Schooldays” – 2:54
  7. “Soul Shoes” – 3:13
  8. “Lady Doctor” – 2:5
  9. “You’ve Got to Be Kidding” – 3:30
  10. “Howlin’ Wind” – 3:58
  11. “Not If It Pleases Me” – 3:12
  12. “Don’t Ask Me Questions” – 5:38

Graham Parker: “When I’m writing, I don’t write angry or think angry, so I appreciate that you noticed this, and thank you, sadly, all critics see or hear is anger. Not me, though. ‘With a little humor, always with a little humor.’” 

Graham Parker: “I’ve always tried to be playful, starting with Howlin’ Wind, not dumb, not goofy, but playful. I’m a fan of humor. People have always thought I was pissed off, but really, I was just joking around. They don’t get it or they’re not hearing me. I have always loved to tickle people.”

Originally released in 1976, from the album ‘Howlin’ Wind’. This remix was released as a single in 1978 from the album ‘The Parkerilla’.


Band – King Harvest  (Has Surely Come) ….Canadian Week

Power Pop Friday will be back next week. Thank you for tuning in this week as we talked about these great Canadian artists…I’ve had a blast with them. There is one band that I didn’t get to cover because I ran out of days…well actually more…but Blue Rodeo will be coming up soon on a Friday. 

The Band is my favorite Canadian export. Well, I will say Canadian although one member…Levon Helm was from Arkansas but the rest are Canadians. CB mentioned this song not long ago so I used it after listening to it again. It is quite a complex song. I can’t believe I’ve never posted it but better late than never.

The Band was so rootsy… They had it all – rawness, competence, sublimity, experience, originality, and roots. The five different instruments were not five different instruments…they were one. In the liner notes to one of their greatest hits it states… the music is unusually complex, making use of odd verse patterns and tricky rhythmic suspensions and modifying the natural sounds of instruments for various calculated effects. But because of the way the record sounds, none of this calls attention to itself…it sounds effortless.

Robertson said he’d been immersed in the novels of John Steinbeck at this time. I’ve read where The Grapes of Wrath is a big influence on this song. Rock critic Greil Marcus has written that King Harvest might be the finest song that Robertson has ever written. The song is told from the point of view of a poverty-stricken farmer- detailing everything that has happened to his farm- then a union organizer appears and makes promises that things will soon improve.

Richard Manuel is the singer of King Harvest. King Harvest is a great finishing track to one of the greatest albums ever made. The album was their second album called The Band (The Brown Album). The album peaked at #2 in Canada, #9 on the Billboard 100 in 1970. This is their highest-charting album in their home country.

The song is credited solely to guitarist Robbie Robertson, although drummer-singer Levon Helm claimed that “King Harvest” was a group effort. It’s been covered by Blue Rodeo, Bruce Hornsby, and many more.

Robbie Robertson: “It’s just a kind of character study in a time period. At the beginning, when the unions came in, they were a saving grace, a way of fighting the big money people, and they affected everybody from the people that worked in the big cities all the way around to the farm people. It’s ironic now, because now so much of it is like gangsters, assassinations, power, greed, insanity. I just thought it was incredible how it started and how it ended up.”

Robbie Robertson: In the story to me, it’s another piece I remember from my youth, that people looking forward, people out there in the country somewhere, in a place … we all know it, may have been there, may have not … but there’s a lot of people that the idea of come Autumn, come Fall, that’s when life begins. It is not the Springtime where we kinda think it begins. It is the Fall, because the harvests come in.

Levon Helm: Some of the lyrics came out of a discussion we had one night about the times we’d seen and all had in common. It was an expression of feeling that came from five people. The group wanted to do one song that took in everything we could muster about life at that moment in time. It was the last thing we cut in California, and it was that magical feeling of ‘King Harvest’ that pulled us through. It was like, there, that’s The Band.

King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

Corn in the fields
Listen to the rice when the wind blows ‘cross the water
King Harvest has surely come

I work for the union ’cause she’s so good to me
And I’m bound to come out on top
That’s where she said I should be
I will hear every word the boss may say
For he’s the one who hands me down my pay
Looks like this time I’m gonna get to stay
I’m a union man, now, all the way

The smell of the leaves
From the magnolia trees in the meadow
King Harvest has surely come

Dry summer, then comes fall
Which I depend on most of all
Hey, rainmaker, can’t you hear the call?
Please let these crops grow tall

Long enough I’ve been up on Skid Row
And it’s plain to see, I’ve nothing to show
I’m glad to pay those union dues
Just don’t judge me by my shoes

Scarecrow and a yellow moon
And pretty soon a carnival on the edge of town
King Harvest has surely come

Last year, this time, wasn’t no joke
My whole barn went up in smoke
Our horse Jethro, well he went mad
And I can’t remember things bein’ that bad

Then there comes a man with a paper and a pen
Tellin’ us our hard times are about to end
And then, if they don’t give us what we like
He said, “men, that’s when you gotta go on strike”

Corn in the fields
Listen to the rice when the wind blows ‘cross the water
King Harvest has surely come

Joni Mitchell – Help Me ….Canadian Week

I remember hearing this song on WMAK-AM in the seventies on my sister’s Vega radio. The car that she carried a case of oil in the hatchback because it burned it more than gas.

This song was on the great album Court and Spark. Joni tried using LA’s best session players for this but it didn’t work like she wanted. She then used jazz musicians to back her on this album. Joni’s songs can be complicated because Graham Nash once said that she played in so many different open chord tunings…that she made some of them up. The jazz band she used was The L.A. Express, led by saxophonist Tom Scott.

Joni Mitchell not only wrote her own songs but was also her own producer. That is not very common with female or male artists on the whole. This song was Mitchell’s biggest hit that she had. That surprised me…I would have thought it would have been Big Yellow Taxi. I always compared her voice to a slide whistle we had as kids. That’s not a put-down…but she can cover the gambit with her voice from low to extremely high.

Joni Mitchell - A Chronology of Appearances

Who did she write this song about? Some say it was Jackson Browne who she had just broken up with and some say it’s Glenn Fry. Whoever it’s about she left it open enough so that anyone can relate to it. The song peaked at #6 in Canada and #7 on the Billboard 100.

Prince, who was a huge fan of Mitchell, even mentioned it on “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” from his 1987 album, Sign ‘O’ the Times.

She said, “Sound like a real man to meMind if I turn on the radio?”“Oh, my favorite song, ” she saidAnd it was Joni singing: “Help me, I think I’m falling”

Joni Mitchell: “A throwaway song, but a good radio record.”  “My record companies always had a tendency to take my fastest songs on album for singles, thinking they’d stand out because they did on the LPs. Meantime, I’d feel that the radio is crying for one of my ballads.”

Help Me

Help me
I think I’m falling
In love again
When I get that crazy feeling, I know
I’m in trouble again
I’m in trouble

‘Cause you’re a rambler and a gambler
And a sweet-taIking-ladies man
And you love your lovin’
But not like you love your freedom

Help me
I think I’m falling
In love too fast
It’s got me hoping for the future
And worrying about the past
‘Cause I’ve seen some hot hot blazes
Come down to smoke and ash
We love our lovin’

But not like we love our freedom
Didn’t it feel good
We were sitting there talking
Or lying there not talking
Didn’t it feel good
You dance with the lady
With the hole in her stocking

Didn’t it feel good
Didn’t it feel good
Help me
I think I’m falling
In love with you

Are you going to let me go there by myself
That’s such a lonely thing to do
Both of us flirting around
Flirting and flirting

Hurting too
We love our lovin’
But not like we love our freedom

Rush – Closer To The Heart ….Canadian Week

There are some bands that I would not want to meet in real life. There are other bands that seem like the nicest people in the world and Rush is one of them. With Rush’s music…I normally like sloppy bands…and I mean that in the best way. The Stones, Who, Zeppelin, and Beatles were all sloppy in some ways. With Rush…no sloppiness is allowed…everything is on point.

I would love to meet the two surviving members of Rush. I’ve never been a huge fan but I’ve watched their documentary (Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage) over and over again. I would encourage all of you to watch it. Even if you are not a fan…you WILL like these guys on a personal basis.

I have a great respect for their musical ability. A trio is not easy to play in…I’ve been the bass player in a couple and you have to work to keep it all together. All three of them are/were massively talented. Neil Peart is in the top 5 Rock Drummers of all time without a doubt. Geddy Lee, the same with bass and Alex doesn’t get as much attention as the other two but he is great as well.

I do like their radio hits like Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Working Man, Red Barchetta, and a few others. One thing about some of Rush’s lyrics…I think…hmmm will I be tested on this when I’m finished? I listened to many of their albums with a cousin of mine. I liked Moving Pictures, Permanent Waves, Hemispheres, and some of A Farewell to Kings.

Closer To The Heart has a chorus that is extremely universal. Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson says this song is the ultimate Rush song. It was on their album A Farewell To Kings released in 1977. It was written by Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, and for the first time… an outside writer…Peter Talbot.

The song peaked at #76 on the Billboard 100, #36 in the UK, and #44 in Canada in 1977-78.

In 1981 a live version peaked at #21 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts.

Geddy Lee: I remember when we had to bring it back into the set for the Rio shows, as there was such a demand to hear it and we’d stopped playing it for a while. It’s always resonated with people for some reason, and it was a hit as far as we’ve ever had a hit. It got us on the radio, the kinds of radio that would never normally associate with us, so it was as close as we ever came to a pop song, especially at that point. Over here in the UK it had that effect, and in the US too.

Closer To The Heart

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Yes, closer to the heart

Philosophers and plowmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Yes closer to the heart, yeah, oh

Whoa, whoa
You can be the captain
And I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
Well closer to the heart, yeah
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
I said closer to the heart
Well closer to the heart, yeah
Closer to your heart
Closer to your heart, whoa

Tragically Hip – New Orleans is Sinking ….Canadian Week

I’m just now really listening to this band and I’m liking a lot of what I’m hearing. This song takes on a new meaning after Katrina but this song was released in 1989. Whenever I post something about a band that I don’t know much about…I usually go with their most popular song to start off. I posted Ahead By A Century, and people responded. I like this one more…it has some thump to it.

I liked this one with a first listen. I love the relentless guitar riff that starts this off.  The song seems to be recalling a past experience in the city, and the lyrics describe a sense of nostalgia and appreciation for everything New Orleans has to offer…including its spirit. The song is lamenting the changing times, and expressing his desire to remain connected to its rich history and traditions.

The song was on their debut album Up To Here released in 1989. The album did well in Canada peaking at #9 and #170 on the Billboard 100. They released 13 studio albums and this is the worse showing of all the albums on the Canadian charts. Nine of their albums peaked at #1, two of them at #2, and one of them at #3. The song peaked at #1 on the Canadian RPM magazine Charts, #70 on the Canadian Singles Charts, and #30 on the Billboard Main Rock Charts in 1989. The song was credited to the band.

To show the disparity between the band’s fortunes in America and Canada. I read that a fan was traveling through upstate New York and passed a small roadside club that said “Tonight: The Tragically Hip” and he turned around and saw them in the small club. In Canada at the time were filling stadiums and now they got a chance to see them close up. A difference a few miles can make.

The Tragically Hip is an institution in Canada, and still something of a cult band everywhere else…and I love cult bands such as Big Star and The Replacements.

Deke told me about the live album The Tragically Hip Live At The Rox May 3, 91 and it is great…a great sound and the band was really tight that night. No video of them but it’s worth a listen to the video below this.

New Orleans Is Sinking

Bourbon blues on the street, loose and complete
Under skies all smoky blue-green
I can’t forsake a Dixie dead-shake
So we danced the sidewalk clean
My memory is muddy, what’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking man, and I don’t wanna swim

Colonel Tom, what’s wrong? What’s going on?
Can’t tie yourself up for a deal
He said “hey north you’re south shut your big mouth,
You gotta do what you feel is real”
Ain’t got no picture postcards, ain’t got no souvenirs
My baby, she don’t know me when I’m thinking ’bout those years

Pale as a light bulb hanging on a wire
Sucking up to someone just to stoke the fire
Picking out the highlights of the scenery
Saw a little cloud that looked a little like me

I have my hands in the river
My feet back up on the banks
Looked up to the Lord above
And said, hey man thanks
Sometimes I feel so good I gotta scream
She said Gordie baby I know exactly what you mean
She said, she said, I swear to God she said

My memory is muddy, what’s this river that I’m in?
New Orleans is sinking man and I don’t wanna swim

Neil Young – Sugar Mountain ….Canadian Week

Today through Friday I will feature nothing but Canadian artists. It will be some left off because I could go on forever. Oh NO…where to put Justin Beiber? Nah, I’ll skip him… I will feature at least 2 artists I’ve never blogged on before and both are huge…and worlds apart. 

Canada Flag

I thought I would start off this Monday with no other than Uncle Neil. Young had no trouble coming up with verses to this song. He has said…he came up with 126 verses and the trouble came with editing it down. His was first released as the B-side of Young’s first single as a solo artist, “The Loner.” He used it as a B-side on a few other singles, but did not put it on an album until his 1977 Greatest Hits compilation Decade.

Young wrote this song in a room at the Fort William’s Victoria Hotel in Ontario. He wrote the song on his 19th birthday on November 12, 1964. The song is about lost childhood but he had a firm grasp on being an adult going by the song.

Joni Mitchell has said that what prompted him to write this was that Neil really soon, could no longer visit an under-21 club that he favored. That is not to say that the said club would be “Sugar Mountain” itself. But being barred from the venue, according to Mitchell, would have been one of the factors that made the singer realize that some of the joys of childhood simply cannot be innocently replicated as we get older.

Speaking of Joni Mitchell. She wrote an “answer” song to this one called The Circle Game. Sugar Mountain is also on his Sugar Mountain – Live at Canterbury House 1968 released in 2008.

Neil Young on his new friend (which he doesn’t name)  at this time: “Mainly, he was the funniest person I’d met in years. He didn’t have another gig until next weekend, so he stayed in Thunder Bay and we played and he took us to see Buffalo. We lived on A&W cheeseburgers and root beer. Very Canadian.”

Neil Young:  “At first I wrote 126 verses to it. Now, you can imagine that I had a lot of trouble figuring out what four verses to use… I was underneath the stairs… Anyway, this verse that I wrote… It was the worst verse of the 126 that I wrote. So, I decided to put it in the song, to just to give everybody a frame of reference as to, you know, what can happen. What I’m trying to say here, by stopping in the middle of the song, and explaining this to you, is that… I think it’s one of the lamest verses I ever wrote. And it takes a lotta nerve for me to get up here and sing it in front of you people. But, if when I’m finished singing, you sing the chorus ‘Sugar Mountain’ super loud, I’ll just forget about it right away and we can continue.”

Neil Young: “I do ‘Sugar Mountain’ really for the people more than I do it for myself. I think I owe it to them, cos it seems to really make them feel happy, so that’s why I do that. They pay a lotta money to come and see me and I lay a lotta things on ’em that they’ve never heard before, and I think I owe it to them to do things they can really identify with. It’s such a friendly song, and the older I get and the older my audience gets the more relevant it becomes, especially since they’ve been singing it for 20 years. It really means a lot to them, so I like to give ’em the chance to enjoy that moment.”

Sugar Mountain

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon
You’re leaving there too soon

It’s so noisy at the fair
But all your friends are there
And the candy floss you had
And your mother and your dad

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon
You’re leaving there too soon

There’s a girl just down the aisle
Oh to turn and see her smile
You can hear the words she wrote
As you read the hidden note

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon
You’re leaving there too soon

Now you’re underneath the stairs
And you’re giving back some glares
To the people who you met
And it’s your first cigarette

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon
You’re leaving there too soon

Now you say you’re leaving home
‘Cause you want to be alone

Ain’t it funny how you feel
When you’re finding out it’s real

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon
You’re leaving there too soon

Oh, to live on sugar mountain
With the barkers and the colored balloons
You can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon

Gordon Lightfoot – Early Morning Rain …. Canadian Week

Robbie Robertson“a cultural treasure of the Canadian nation.”

From now until Friday it’s going to be Canadian Week…with all Canadian artists. Two of which I’ve never posted on before and one at the very end…were all Canadian except a certain southern drummer. I hope you will join me this week whether you are Canadian or not…there will be some great artists.

I grew up with Lightfoot’s songs. He was one of the very few respected artists my sister liked so I was hearing his songs when I was around 5 or 6. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is still a go-to song for me. From Sundown to If You Could Read My Mind and all the ones in between. This particular song is such a perfectly written number. I first heard this by Elvis Presley when I was a kid.

Gordon Lightfoot - Early Morning Rain

Bob Dylan covered this song on his Self Portrait album and it helped Gordon’s career. So many have covered this song. Here is a link to the second-hand songs website if you want to see them all.  Elvis Presley, Dylan, Jerry Reed, Steve Forbert, Jerry Lee Lewis, Peter Paul and Mary, and a TON more. You know you have written a great song when you have those quality artists covering it.

It didn’t chart for Lightfoot but other artists took the song to the charts. According to Wiki… Ian and Sylvia #1 on the Canada AC Charts in 1965, Peter, Paul, and Mary #39 in Canada and #91 on the Billboard 100, George Hamilton IV #9 on the Billboard Country Charts in 1971, Oliver #28 in the Billboard AC Charts in 1971, Paul Weller #40 in the UK in 2005… even the Grateful Dead covered this song.

Gordon died on May 1, 2023. The music world lost a huge legend with Gordon Lightfoot. It’s hard to put into words how great of a songwriter the man was.

Gordon Lightfoot on Bob Dylan recording this song:  “I was totally blown away that he would record one of my songs in the first place. It helped my career – I’d not had a hit single myself at that point. His cover was a linchpin in that whole process because it made people in the industry aware that I was producing good songs.”

Robbie Robertson“a cultural treasure of the Canadian nation.”

Bob Dylan: “I can’t think of any Gordon Lightfoot song I don’t like. Every time I hear a song of his, it’s like I wish it would last forever. “

Bob Dylan: Lightfoot died “without ever having made a bad song”

Early Morning Rain

In the early mornin’ rain
With a dollar in my hand
With an aching in my heart
And my pockets full of sand
I’m a long ways from home
And I missed my loved one so
In the early mornin’ rain
With no place to go

Out on runway number nine
Big seven o seven set to go
Well I’m stuck here on the grass
With a pain that ever grows
Where the liquor tasted good
And all the women all were fast
There, there she goes my friend
She’s rolling down at last

Hear the mighty engines roar
See the silver wing on high
She’s away and westward bound
For above the clouds she’ll fly
Where the mornin’ rain don’t fall
And the sun always shines
She’ll be flying over my home
In about three hours time

This ol’ airport’s got me down
It’s no damn good to me
And I’m stuck here on the ground
As cold and drunk as I can be
Can’t jump a jet plane
Like you can a freight train
So I best be on my way
In the early mornin’ rain
Can’t jump a jet plane
Like you can a freight train
So I best be on my way
In the early mornin’ rain

Allman Brothers – It’s Not My Cross To Bear

In 1969 Duane Allman hand-picked the members he wanted in his band. The first member he picked was drummer Johnny Lee Johnson…better known as Jaimoe or Jai Johanny Johanson. He then looked at a band called “The 2nd Coming” and he got members guitarist Dickey Betts and bassist Berry Oakley out of that band and continued. He also picked another drummer named Butch Trucks out of the band The 31st of February.

Duane wanted the best band possible. People were confused that he wanted two drummers and a guitar player who could play almost better than him. He didn’t care about that as much at all…as long as it sounded good. Dickey Betts was not the easiest person to get along with but he respected Duane so much that they never had any problems. They spurred each other live to go further.

They needed a singer and Duane automatically thought of this brother Gregg. Gregg was living in LA at this point with Jackson Browne sharing an apartment. He told Gregg to come to Macon Georgia with this band. Gregg came armed with songs and walked into the door. He heard the band and didn’t know if he was good enough to do it. The big brother Duane jumped on Gregg and told him not to embarrass him and get behind the keyboards and do his thing. Gregg as always listened to Duane and of course, he fit perfectly. Duane knew exactly what he was doing.

On a side note…the band had a keyboard player named Reese Wynans. Reese knew his stint with the band was done with Gregg joining. They already had two guitarists and two drummers…they didn’t need another keyboard player with Gregg joining. Duane helped him get some studio work and hooked him up with other musicians. Reese’s career was only starting. Later on, Reese joined Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in 1985, playing keyboards on Soul to Soul and In Step. He performed live with the group until Stevie’s death in 1990.

Allman Brothers - It's Not My Cross To Bear B

He moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1992, Reese has played keyboards for a number of country artists including Brooks & Dunn, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, and Hank Williams Jr. He has also played for blues artists Buddy Guy, John Mayall, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Colin James, Ana Popovic, Dudley Taft, Eli Cook, and Los Lonely Boys. I personally met Reese at my guitar tech’s business… a great guy. 

The Allman Brothers toured relentlessly through 1969-1971 playing at clubs and also doing free shows in the park in what town they were at…the same thing that The Grateful Dead did also. Money wasn’t the thing…they built a grass roots following and they were probably more popular in New York than anywhere else.

This song was on their debut album The Allman Brothers Band released in 1969. The album was hailed by critics but it didn’t sell but 35,000 copies at the time. When you look at the album now…it’s full of songs that would be their bedrock for years. Whipping Post, Dreams, and Trouble No More to name but a few.

Gregg Allman was the main songwriter in the band at first. Dicky Betts would soon start writing more around the second album. Allman wrote this about a girlfriend and wrote a song called Blackhearted Woman about that same girlfriend. They recorded the album in two weeks total…played it and mixed it.

They would release their second album the following year. That album did a little better but it still didn’t take off despite having many songs (Midnight Rider, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, and more) that would make them famous later. It was in 1971 when they released At Fillmore East that all the years of touring paid off. It was a massive hit peaking at #13 and they were set up for a great career. Up until then, the record company had been advancing them money since 1969 and that album paid everything off. They finally had money coming in and the ability to get what they wanted.

Then on October 29, 1971, Duane Allman was killed on a motorcycle in Macon Georgia. They thought about breaking up but they stayed together and had a huge career with albums Eat A Peach (which Duane is on a few tracks) and the massive Brothers and Sisters. Around a year later…their bassist Berry Oakley died on a motorcycle within a few blocks of where Duane crashed.

When punk came in the late seventies they struggled because no one wanted blues jams anymore even if the musicianship was top notch and it was. That is something about the punk and New Wave movement I didn’t like. Some bands like this who were musically superior got swept away for a while.

Classic radio started to get popular and all of these bands that were ignored during punk and new wave were sought after again. In the late eighties, Gregg had a huge hit with I’m No Angel and the band reformed and played until Oct. 28, 2014 when they officially retired as a band.

I truly think they had more talent in that band than most of their peers. I have to add that I think Gregg could be the best white blues singer of his era.

It’s Not My Cross To Bear

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I have not come, yeah
To testify
About our bad, bad misfortune
And I ain’t here a wond’rin’ why
But I’ll live on and I’ll be strong
‘Cause it just ain’t my cross to bear

I sat down and wrote you a long letter
It was just the other day
Said, sure as the sunrise, baby
Tomorrow I’ll be up and on my way
But I’ll live on
And I’ll be strong
‘Cause it just ain’t my cross to bear
Oh no

Oh, but I’ll live on and I’ll be strong
‘Cause it just ain’t my cross to bear
Yes now baby

But in the end, baby
Long towards the end of your road
Don’t reach out for me, babe
‘Cause I’m not gonna carry your load
But I’ll live on and I’ll be strong
‘Cause it just ain’t my cross to bear
Yeah, yeah
Yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah

Steve Earle – Someday

Power Pop Friday will be back in two weeks. 

Ever since I heard him in the mid to late 80s I liked Steve Earle. He opened up for Bob Dylan in 1988 and he was fantastic. His music was between country, folk, and rock. You can’t really put Earle in a box…and you shouldn’t. I’ve read reviewers compare him to Randy Newman, Bruce Springsteen, and Waylon Jennings in the same review. That is a great span of artists.

The song is about escaping the town you are living in. I knew a lot of people who wanted to escape the small town I grew up in. The song reminds me a little of The River by Bruce Springsteen in content. It’s a song that many people will be able to relate to.

The song was from his debut album Guitar Town. I remember he was being played on country radio and WKDF…Nashville’s number-one rock station back in the 80s. The album is ranked 489 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 500 albums. They called it a rocker’s version of country. The album peaked at #1 on the Billboard Country Charts, #89 on the Billboard Album Charts, and #82 in Canada.

Four singles were pulled off of that album. Hillbilly Highway, Guitar Town, Someday, and Goodbye’s All We Got Left. All were in the top 40 in the Billboard Country Charts and two of them were top 10. Someday peaked at #28 on the Billboard Country Charts and #31 on the Canada Country Charts.

His next album Exit-0 is one that pushed him closer to the rock genre. His third album Copperhead Road broke him in the rock genre. Earle himself calls his music the world’s first blend of heavy metal and bluegrass…according to Wiki…Rolling Stone magazine called his music “Power Twang.”


There ain’t a lot that you can do in this town
You drive down to the lake and then you turn back around
You go to school and you learn to read and write
So you can walk into the county bank and sign away your life

I work at the fillin’ station on the interstate
Pumpin’ gasoline and countin’ out of state plates
They ask me how far into Memphis son, and where’s the nearest beer
And they don’t even know that there’s a town around here

Someday I’m finally gonna let go
‘Cause I know there’s a better way
And I want to know what’s over that rainbow
I’m gonna get out of here someday

Now my brother went to college cause he played football
I’m still hangin’ round cause I’m a little bit small
I got me a 67 Chevy, she’s low and sleek and black
Someday I’ll put her on that interstate and never look back

Beatles – Good Morning Good Morning

Somebody needs to know the time, glad that I’m here
Watching the skirts you start to flirt now you’re in gear

I was 10 when I bought Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band…10 years after it was released. It came with the same cutouts as it did in 1967. I remember taking hours and looking over the album cover. You would find faces you didn’t see before and I remember spotting Stuart Sutcliffe, the former Beatles bassist and the man who was most responsible for coming up with the band’s name.

Here is Stuart (left) on the cover and the picture they took it from. 

Stuart Sutcliffe on Sgt Pepper

The Cutout page that came with Sgt Pepper. 

Sgt Pepper Cutouts

The song started out with a rooster crowing and ends with a chicken clucking. Good Morning Good Morning was inspired by a Corn Flake commercial. Lennon would always leave the TV on and sometimes with the volume turned down. He saw an ad for Corn Flakes and the song came to him. “Good Morning Good Morning…the best to you each morning.” I’ll have the video at the bottom of the post.

As a youngster, I enjoyed this song and Lovely Rita. The only song that was hard for me to grasp on the album was Within You Without You…because it was so different. In time, it became one of my favorites on the album.

I love the horns in this song and McCartneys stinging guitar solo in this one. Ringo’s drumming also stands out on this track…the sound and the playing are outstanding. His cymbols sound like a steam engine with the compression they ran on them.

This song is one of the most technically challenging songs they wrote. It was highly aggressive and complex, with a loud french horn, animal noises, pounding drums, strong vocals, and a large amount of intricate strumming guitars. The time signature to this song is all over the place…3/4, 5/4, 4/4, 12/8… but the song doesn’t sound forced or disjointed. This track is an example of how great Ringo is as a drummer. This and his work on A Day In The Life. He had to play in many different styles because John, Paul, and George wrote so many different styles of songs.

One of the most interesting things about the song is the end of it. Various animal sounds are put together but they had a purpose. The animal sounds were dubbed in from a sound effects disc. They were arranged in order of creatures capable of eating or chasing the one before, at Lennon’s request. And at the very end…was a very cool effect. A clucking chicken suddenly turns into a guitar lick when it melts into Sgt Pepper’s Reprise.

Six brass players were involved in this session, three saxophonists, two trombonists, and one French horn player. George Martin was excellent at mixing horns with Beatle songs. Got To Get You Into My Life is another example of that. They are not regulated to the background like other songs. They are upfront and have a fat sound to them.

This song was also the first song The Beatles ever licensed, while they were together, to be used in a show. It was in the last Monkees episode (“The Frodis Caper”) which was totally surreal…not like the formula driven episodes of the first season. It was kinda like The Simpsons meet Green Acres.

John Lennon: “I often sit at the piano, working at songs, with the telly on low in the background, if I’m a bit low and not getting much done, then the words on the telly come through. That’s when I heard ‘Good morning, good morning.’ It was a corn flakes advertisement. I was never proud of it. I just knocked it off to do a song.”

Paul McCartney: “John was feeling trapped in suburbia and was going through some problems with Cynthia, it was about his boring life at the time. There’s a reference in the lyrics to ‘nothing to do’ and ‘meet the wife’; there was an afternoon TV soap called ‘Meet The Wife’ that John watched, he was that bored, but I think he was also starting to get alarm bells and so ‘Good morning, good morning.’”

Micky Dolenz (drummer for the Monkees): “And I’ll never forget it.  John Lennon looks up at me and says, ‘Hey Monkee Man!…You want to hear what we’re working on?’…And he points up to George Martin and I remember this so clearly…He’s wearing a three-piece suit…and he pushes a button on a four-track tape recorder and I hear the tracks to ‘Good Morning Good Morning.’…And then we sit around and then I remember some guy with a white coat and tie came in with tea…’Tea time, eh!’ And we sat around a little table and had really God-awful tea. And then everybody sat around and then we were chatting – ‘What’s it like, The Monkees?,’ me again trying to be so cool. And then I think it was John that went, ‘Right lads, down in the mines.’ And they went back to work.” .

Sgt Pepper

Just in case you wanted to know who was who on the cover. 

Sgt Pepper Cover who is who

This is the commercial that inspired John Lennon

I couldn’t find a version of Good Morning Good Morning going into the Sgt Pepper Reprise. You have to listen to the end of Good Morning and the beginning of the Reprise to hear it. The album of course plays them together…there is no space between the songs. 

Good Morning Good Morning

Nothing to do to save his life call his wife in
Nothing to say but what a day how’s your boy been
Nothing to do it’s up to you
I’ve got nothing to say but it’s okay
Good morning, good morning

Going to work don’t want to go feeling low down
Heading for home you start to roam then you’re in town
Everybody knows there’s nothing doing
Everything is closed it’s like a ruin
Everyone you see is half asleep
And you’re on your own you’re in the street
Good morning, good morning

After a while you start to smile now you feel cool
Then you decide to take a walk by the old school
Nothing has changed it’s still the same
I’ve got nothing to say but it’s okay
Good morning, good morning

People running round it’s five o’clock
Everywhere in town is getting dark
Everyone you see is full of life
It’s time for tea and meet the wife
Somebody needs to know the time, glad that I’m here
Watching the skirts you start to flirt now you’re in gear
Go to a show you hope she goes
I’ve got nothing to say but it’s okay
Good morning, good morning

cat, dogs barking, horses, sheep, lions, elephants, a fox being chased by dogs with hunters’ horns being blown, then a cow and finally a hen.

Natalie Imbruglia – Torn ….Under The Covers Tuesday

I really liked this song in the 90s as VH1 would play Natalie’s video almost non-stop through a certain period.

I had no idea that this song was a cover song. Natalie Imbruglia is an Australian actress who was on the Aussie soap opera Neighbours from 1992-1994  Imbruglia was making the leap from soap opera actress to singer and recorded Torn as her debut single. The song was a phenomenon and shot the then-22-year-old to worldwide fame. I always thought she wrote this song.


It was actually written by Los Angeles musicians Anne Preven, Scott Cutler, and producer Phil Thornalley in 1993 – and later released by their band Ednaswap. It had been covered twice before Imbruglia recorded it. It has more of a rock edge to it and I like it a lot.

Anne Preven said the demo they did of the song was more like the pop version done by Imbruglia. She said they didn’t want to be labeled as a pop band when Nirvana and harder bands were popular at the time.

The Imbruglia version peaked at #42 on the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #2 in the UK, #5 in New Zealand…. and #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay, #1 Adult Contemporary, and #1 on Mainstream Top 40 Billboard Charts. in 1997-98. I am shocked it didn’t peak higher on the Billboard 100…well there is a reason for that.

The song was released only as a radio promo single, however, as Imbruglia’s label withheld the availability of a single in the hope that consumers would instead purchase her album. Songs that were not available for purchase as singles were ineligible for the Hot 100 until December 5, 1998, when Billboard revised the policy, allowing songs not available at retail to appear on the chart with airplay factored into the ranking. Torn was at the end of its run at this point, but still managed to make the chart at #42 that week before dropping off two weeks later.

At first, no American label wanted to release the song. That is until it started to get popular in other countries.

Anne Preven: We didn’t want to be a little pop-act, so we were overly self-conscious about it. And in retrospect, now that I’m older and I can see, I think… God we’re such idiots. [But] I don’t regret it now at all. The song changed both Scott’s and my life in terms of everything. It showed us we should stick to songwriting and not waste too much time in the band. And that all worked out great for us.

Producer and co-writer Phil Thornalley: We didn’t think anything of Natalie’s version… we thought it was just another European cover. And we really didn’t give it another thought, until, all of a sudden, we get a call saying it’s number one in the UK. For Scott and me it was obviously a mixed bag. We were thrilled to have a hit. But it was also bittersweet because it wasn’t our band.

Scott Cutler: Natalie’s version was very much the version we wrote. It was just a couple beats per minute faster. And a little bit higher, I think. In the moment I thought it was little light. I love it now – when I hear it I get it. Seeing the video I remember thinking, ‘Oh she’s really got it made. She just looked cool – she had the jumper on, there was just something about the video. I got the video.

Scott Cutler on the money it brought in: It’s just some phenomenal amount of money. For one song… It comes in spits and spurts, but it starts out slow and then one day you get a check for like $300,000 or some crazy number. And you think it’s a mistake. Like, I have a check here for $297,000? [You think] someone added one zero too many and some day they’re going to come ask for their money back. And then it starts doing this crazy thing for about a year or two. And then it just becomes this yearly thing where every year you get a check every quarter and it stays up in a decent number – it’s not ending.

Even now…years after the song was released…the songwriters receive around $150,000 a year each from Natalie Imbruglia’s version.

Here is the version that Imbruglia heard

Here was the rock version released by Ednaswap


I thought I saw a man brought to life
He was warm, he came around like he was dignified
He showed me what it was to cry
Well, you couldn’t be that man I adored
You don’t seem to know, or seem to care what your heart is for
But I don’t know him anymore

There’s nothin’ where he used to lie
The conversation has run dry
That’s what’s goin’ on

Nothing’s fine, I’m torn
I’m all out of faith
This is how I feel
I’m cold and I am shamed
Lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed
Into something real
I’m wide awake and I can see
The perfect sky is torn
You’re a little late
I’m already torn

So I guess the fortune teller’s right
Should’ve seen just what was there and not some holy light
But you crawled beneath my veins and now

I don’t care, I had no luck
I don’t miss it all that much
There’s just so many things

That I can touch, I’m torn
I’m all out of faith
This is how I feel
I’m cold and I am shamed
Lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed
Into something real
I’m wide awake and I can see
The perfect sky is torn
You’re a little late
I’m already torn

There’s nothing where he used to lie
My inspiration has run dry
And that’s what’s goin’ on

Nothing’s right, I’m torn
I’m all out of faith
This is how I feel
I’m cold and I am shamed
Lying naked on the floor
Illusion never changed
Into something real
I’m wide awake and I can see
The perfect sky is torn
I’m all out of faith
This is how I feel
I’m cold and I’m ashamed
Bound and broken on the floor
You’re a little late
I’m already torn

John Denver – Sunshine On My Shoulders

The post starts with John Denver and ends with Frank Zappa and Dee Snider from Twisted Sister…

John Denver’s reputation went down after the 70s and really unfairly. He was noted as square and sometimes rejected by his musical peers. That is sad to me because he was a great songwriter, guitarist, and singer. He didn’t get much street cred until…you will see at the bottom.

During the “We Are The World” filming featuring dozens of pop stars, Willie Nelson cracked, “If a bomb hit this building, John Denver would be No. 1 again.” Everybody laughed – and sneered. And the image of Michael Jackson, Kenny Rogers and others mocking Denver is a sad one. It showed just how low he’d fallen on the barometer of pop music.

Denver was an easy target for critics and peers. Robert Christgau dubbed him “the blandest pop singer in history,” and compared him to James Taylor…  “If James is a wimp, John is a simp, and that’s even worse.” I don’t think all the criticism was fair. Some of his music was really good to great like Rocky Mountain High, Sunshine on My Shoulders, and Take Me Home Country Roads.

Denver was a huge star in the early to mid-seventies.  I’m not a huge fan by any means but he did have a few songs I liked. He was a songwriter, musician, activist, and actor, and he sold millions of records (over 33 million). He was never known to be cool or hip but he was John Denver and he did things his way.

Lyn Helton
9/23/1971, NOV 8 1971 Dies of Cancer – Mrs. Lyn Helton, 20 the mother who tape-recorded her thoughts on death as cancer was taking her life, died Sunday at Denver’s Children’s Hospital. Credit: Denver Post (Denver Post via Getty Images)

Denver wrote this song in Minnesota on a rainy spring day. It first appeared on John Denver’s 1971 album Poems, Prayers & Promises. This song got a big boost when it was used in a November 1973 made-for-TV movie called Sunshine, a tale about a woman dying of cancer who recorded tape messages for her child in her final days. It was based on a true story of Lyn Helton who would listen to John Denver’s music.

The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada in 1973. It was included in his Greatest Hits album that year.


The PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) was a group founded by Tipper Gore that was designed to provide censorship and/or warning of offensive material in regard to music albums that had things that parents would find offensive such as profanity, obscene images, lyrics, descriptions of sexual and/or violent matters, etc.

In 1985, several hearings were held to discuss the possibility of certain albums being required to have a ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker placed on the cover. Many musicians were understandably against this action, and some of those musicians were even invited to come and speak their minds about this issue. Three stand out in particular. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Frank Zappa, and maybe most notably, John Denver.

Frank and Dee spoke out against it of course and they were afraid of John Denver being in favor of it…and Congress was counting on it. Well, that didn’t happen. John gave arguably the sharpest testimony out of anyone who testified. He was eloquent and blunt. The looks on the faces of Congress say it all. Inviting John Denver to testify backfired for Congress.

John Denver on the TV Movie: “It was the true story of Lyn Helton, an incredibly courageous lady who chose to live her short life to the fullest even though she knew she would die of a rare bone cancer in a matter of months. It seems that in the last year of her life she found some happiness in my music. I was most honored to have my songs used as part of that television show.”

John Denver: “On one level it was about the virtues of love. On another, more deeply felt level, it reached for something the whole world could embrace.”

Dee Snider of Twisted Sister talks about John Denver. It should start at the place Dee talks about Frank and John.

Sunshine On My Shoulders

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happySunshine in my eyes can make me crySunshine on the water looks so lovelySunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a day that I could give youI’d give to you a day just like todayIf I had a song that I could sing for youI’d sing a song to make you feel this way

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happySunshine in my eyes can make me crySunshine on the water looks so lovelySunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a tale that I could tell youI’d tell a tale sure to make you smileIf I had a wish that I could wish for youI’d make a wish for sunshine all the while

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happySunshine in my eyes can make me crySunshine on the water looks so lovelySunshine almost always makes me highSunshine almost all the time makes me highSunshine almost always

Kinks – Autumn Almanac

This is a very sophisticated complex pop song…the melody and the way everything connects just fit so perfectly. This was released as a non-album single in between 1967’s Something Else by the Kinks and 1968’s The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society.

I love hearing this song around Autumn. Out of all the seasons, Fall is my favorite season of all. Like spring…it doesn’t last long enough. With Fall comes the relief of 95+ temps and 90 percent humidity here.

Waterloo Sunset' came to Ray Davies in a dream —

Ray has said the words were influenced by his Dad’s old drinking buddy named Charlie. Remember me saying that it was a complex song? It has around 19 different chords in it…songs written around this time had around oh… 3 to 5 chords. Comparing it to another Kinks song Dedicated Follower of Fashion… which had around 5 chords.

The best way I’ve heard this song described is by Andy Partridge (I have the entire long quote at the bottom) of XTC…he said it was like a miniature movie, basically, that unravels itself as you are listening to it...that is a perfect way of describing it.

The song was released in 1967 and it peaked at #3 in the UK, #13 in Canada, and #17 in New Zealand. At that time The Kinks were Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, and Mick Avory on drums. On this recording, the in-demand session man Nicky Hopkins played the Mellotron.

Ray Davies: “The words were inspired by Charlie, my dad’s old drinking mate, who cleaned up my garden for me, sweeping up the leaves. I wrote it in early autumn, yeah, as the leaves were turning color.”

Andy Partridge of XTC on the song: It’s a miniature movie, basically, that unravels itself as you are listening to it, and it has all these little movements or scenes. And they all seem to take place in the kind of mythical cozy London that the Ealing studios always had in their films, like The Lavender Hill Mob. The song just keeps turning and changing; you see a new facet every few seconds. But there’s nothing unsettling about the fact that there are so many parts. Normally that would just be the death of a song, it would just scramble peoples brains.

The lyrics are very everyday. There’s no “calling occupants of interplanetary craft” in it. All the language in it is what you’d say over a cup of tea. It’s like a roller-coaster, but it’s not a high-speed chromium-plated space-age roller-coaster – it’s this slow creaking wooden baroque kind of roller-coaster. There are some lovely moments in it, like that sections that starts “Friday evening…..” It starts off in this mournful minor thing, and you think, “Oh dear, Friday evening, the end of something,” and then suddenly: “People get together” – it clicks into major, and becomes very optimistic. It just lifts your heart up another rung. And there’s something very plain and uplifting about [from the chorus] “yes, yes, yes,” this repetition of the affirmative.

The woodiness of “Autumn Almanac” is really appealing. Everything sounds like sticks and branches and planks. The whole song is wallpapered in dead leaves, as far as I’m concerned. The [the Kinks] touched on this same sort of thing later on, in “Shangri-La” and “Lavender Hill,” but it was more mannered, a bit more ponderous.

Damn, I wish I’d written this song. I’ll probably spend my life trying to. It’s such a huge ghost; my entire songwriting career has been trying to exorcise it.

Dave Davies: “I was playing through ‘Autumn Almanac’ [recently] and it’s a phenomenal recording. You can understand why it has lasted so long.”

Autumn Almanac

From the dew-soaked hedge creeps a crawly caterpillar
When the dawn begins to crack
It’s all part of my autumn almanac
Breeze blows leaves of a musty-colored yellow
So I sweep them in my sack
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

Friday evenings, people get together
Hiding from the weather
Tea and toasted, buttered currant buns
Can’t compensate for lack of sun
Because the summer’s all gone

La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Oh, my poor rheumatic back
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac
La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Oh, my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac

I like my football on a Saturday
Roast beef on Sundays, all right
I go to Blackpool for my holidays
Sit in the open sunlight

This is my street, and I’m never gonna leave it
And I’m always gonna to stay here
If I live to be ninety-nine
‘Cause all the people I meet
Seem to come from my street
And I can’t get away
Because it’s calling me (come on home)
Hear it calling me (come on home)

La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Oh, my autumn Armagnac
Yes, yes, yes, it’s my autumn almanac
La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
Oh, my autumn almanac
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes

Bop-bop-boom-bop-bop-boom-bop-bop-boom-bop-bop-boom (whoa!)

Yes, yes

Big Star – Mod Lang …. Power Pop Friday

A song by the band Big Star. This song was on Radio City and released in 1974…their second album and follow-up to their debut…Big Star #1 Record.  Although Chris Bell had quit the band after the release of #1 Record.

After the failure of their first album, singer/songwriter guitar player Chris Bell quit Big Star. Alex Chilton didn’t know if Big Star was going to make another album. He continued making demos because he could always do a solo album. The two other members, drummer Jody Stephens and bass player Andy Hummel weren’t sure either what was going to happen. They had talked about ending the band.

Worn Frets

Their record company Ardent was under the Stax umbrella. They sent out invitations to all of the major rock journalists of the day in 1973. They invited them to Memphis to see Ardent’s roster of bands but most of all Big Star. The rock writers loved Big Star. Many legendary writers were there including Lester Bangs. They played at Lafayette’s Music Room.

Radio City is not as polished as their debut album but it’s just as good and many say better. Chilton remained the constant variable that made the band’s music soar. His September Gurls is among the band’s finest songs and one of the prototypical power pop songs.

This song was the B side to one of their most famous songs, September Gurls. They released 3 studio albums in the seventies. All three are in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time. For a band that never charted a record that isn’t too bad. When their albums were finally discovered by later bands, they influenced many artists such as The Replacements, REM, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Sloan, Matthew Sweet, KISS, Wilco, Gin Blossoms, and many more. They influenced alternative rock of the 80s and 90s and continue to this day.

Big Star did returned in 1993 with a new lineup when guitarist Jon Auer and bassist Ken Stringfellow joined Chilton and Stephens. Auer and Stringfellow remained members of the Posies. In 2005 the reformed band released their last album called In Space.

Whenever I write about this band, I always have to stop myself from gushing about them. Was it the mystique of them? Was it the coolness factor of liking a band that not many people know? No, and no. It’s about the music. Mystique and coolness wear off and all you are left with is the music…We are fortunate to have 3 albums by the original Big Star to enjoy.

Drummer Jody Stephens“All of a sudden I’m playing with these guys that can write songs that are as engaging to me as the people I’d grown up listening to, so I felt incredibly lucky.” 

Alex Chilton: “I really loved the mid-’60s British pop music, all two and a half minutes long, really appealing songs. So I’ve always aspired to that same format, that’s what I like.”

Mod Lang

I can’t be satisfied
What you want me to do?
And so I moan
Had to leave my home

Love my girl, oh yeah
She got to save my soul
I want a witness, I want to testify

How long can this go on?
How long can this go on?

All night long I was howling
I was a barking dog
A-how, a-how

I can’t be satisfied
What you want me to do?
I want a witness, I want to testify
How long can this go on?
How long can this go on?

All night long I was howling
I was a barking dog
I want a witness, I want to testify

Janis Joplin – Piece Of My Heart ….Under The Covers Tuesday

Erma Franklin, Aretha’s sister, was the first to record this song. She did a fantastic job and Janis Joplin came later and did what is probably the definitive version of it.

Jerry Ragovoy and Bert Berns wrote this song. Aretha Franklin’s younger sister Erma sang the original version and put it on the R&B charts in 1967. It peaked at #63 on the Billboard 100, #10 on the Billboard R&B Charts, #3 on the Canada Adult Contemporary Charts, and #9 in the UK in 1967.

Big Brother and the Holding Company covered it and it peaked at #12 on the Billboard 100 and #9 in Canada a year later in 1968. For Erma Franklin, it was her biggest hit. She went on to sing backup on some of Aretha’s songs and ran a childcare agency called Boysville. Erma died of cancer in 2002 at age 64.

I like Erma’s version of it. It’s a very soulful version of the song. I’m surprised it didn’t do better on the charts. I have to wonder if Aretha would have covered it first…would it have been more of a hit since she was so popular and had more of a presence on the charts?

A great song by one of my favorite artists…Janis Joplin. I could listen to her sing the phone book and be happy….but some songs I really like are…Down On Me, Summertime, Piece of My Heart, Ball and Chain, Try (Just a little bit Harder), Maybe, Little Girl Blue, Cry Baby, Me and Bobby McGee, Mercedes Benz, and anything live she did with either band…She could sing the blues and she lived them…

I covered this song back around 5 years ago but I wanted to get this in for a Tuesday cover.

Piece Of My Heart

Didn’t I make you feel
Like you were the only man?
Didn’t I give you everything that a woman possibly can?
(Ohhhh ohhh ohhhhh)

But with all the love I give you
It’s never enough
But I’m gonna show you, baby
That a woman can be tough
So come on
Come on
Come on
Come on
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby
(Break it!)
Break another little bit of my heart now, honey
(Have a)
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby
(You know you got it if it makes you feel good)

You’re out on the streets (looking good)
And you know deep down in your heart that it ain’t right
And ohhhhh you never never hear me when I cry at night

I tell myself
That I can’t stand the pain
But when you hold me in your arms
I’ll say it again
So come on
Come on
Come on
Come on

And take it
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby
(Break it!)
Break another little bit of my heart now, baby
You can
(Have a)
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby
(You know you got it if it makes you feel good)

Hey heyyyyy!
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby
(Break it!)
Break another little bit of my heart now, honey
(Have a)
Have another little piece of my heart now, baby
Come on
(Take it!)
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby