Pinkees – Danger Games ….Power Pop Friday

Aphoristical brought this song up to me a year or so ago and I have been waiting to write about it ever since.

Danger Games is a good dose of power pop and it reminds me a little of Squeeze. This song spent a total of 9 weeks on the UK charts peaking at #8 in 1982. The Pinkees career hit the skids amid a dispute between their label Creole Records and then High Street record store giant Our Price.

Guitarist Andy Price said: “People said our record had been hyped into the charts, after that nobody would touch us, Radio One refused to play our follow-up single ‘Holding Me Tight’, and the Pinkees sort of fizzled out.”

The Pinkees have a second life now. Jay Reynolds, son of Pinkees drummer Paul Reynolds, is a Grammy Award winner mixer and he asked his dad why his old band’s songs were not on Spotify.

Creole Records has gone through many ownership changes but now they are owned by BMG’s Sanctuary Records. A deal was made…now their album has been remixed by Jay Reynolds and released again. The Pinkees are not together anymore but Andy Price and Paul Reynolds are in a band together doing cover songs. They never did any Pinkee covers but they might now since their album was released again to the world.

Danger Games

Two lovers part
It’s just the start
Before too long they’ll be at war
Nobody phones their both alone
Just like they were before
Out on a limb more more suffering
It’s just a game that lovers play
Two broken hearts when love departs
It getting worse each day

It loves who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart away

Love people say can, can change the way
They feel its just to late to try
Lights up a fag calls are a drag
A tear drops from her eye
She’s out in the car he’s drunk in the bar
They lead there lives in separate ways
We’re all the same we play the game

It happens every day
Its love who love
Danger game we play It drags you down
Throws your heart away

It love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It’s love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart
It’s love who love danger game we play
It drags you down throws your heart away

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Simple Man

This song was on their debut album (Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-erd ) but if it were up to their producer (Al Kooper) it wouldn’t have been recorded.

Kooper didn’t like how the song was sounding and wasn’t crazy about it in the first place. He kept on saying he didn’t want it on the album.

At the studio, Van Zant told him to go somewhere and not come back for a while. He then proceeded to walk Kooper outside and to his car…he opened the door and then waved Kooper goodbye.

They recorded the song while he was away and it stayed on the album. Kooper later overdubbed an organ on the song.  It’s a huge favorite with fans and has been featured in movies and commercials. It’s one of those album songs that has gotten more popular as the years go by.

Van Zant’s grandmother passed away around the same time, so Gary Rossington and Van Zant got together at Van Zant’s apartment to share memories of their grandparents. As they talked, the stories they passed back and forth suddenly began to form into a song. Rossington came up with a chord progression, and Van Zant wrote the lyrics based on advice the women had given them over the years. They wrote it in about an hour.

Rossington was raised by his mother, and Van Zant was like a father figure in his life, even though he was just a few years older than him. Van Zant taught the guitarist how to drive a car or the other things that youngsters needed to learn in their teenage years.

The song was not released as a single but it finally charted in 2021 on Billboard US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs.

Ed King: I really enjoyed working with Al Kooper. I believe, had it not been for Al, no one would’ve heard of Skynyrd. He was the visionary behind the band and how it should be presented to the world. We didn’t always agree with Al, but I certainly enjoyed his presence.
When we drove up to Atlanta to record “Simple Man,” we played the song for Al in the studio. He hadn’t heard it. He didn’t care for it and said “You’re not putting that song on the album.” Ronnie asked Al to step outside. He escorted Al to his Bentley and opened the car door. Al stepped in. Ronnie shut the door and stuck his head in thru the open window. “When we’re done recording it, we’ll call you.”
Al came back a few hours later, added the organ part and it was a keeper. I don’t think any band before or since, making its debut album, could get away with doing that to the record producer. There was a healthy respect happening there…and that is a really funny story that reflects that.

Gary Rossington: “We just put down in a song what our mama or grandma had said to us, they really wrote it, we just played it.”

Al Kooper: Early on I begged Skynyrd to change their name. It looked on paper like it was pronounced “Lie-nerd Sky-nerd.” It didn’t make any sense at first glance, and it certainly didn’t conjure up what their music was about. I tried everything, but to no avail. They would not budge. So, I decided if I was stuck with it, I’d make the best of it.
They were also always getting in fistfights. If they couldn’t find anyone to fight, they’d fight each other. I decided to paint a rough-house image for them. I designed a skull head and spelled their name out in a bones typeface. 

Simple Man

Mama told me when I was young
“Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you some sunny day”

“Oh, take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
You’ll find a woman and you’ll find love
And don’t forget, son, there is someone up above”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Oh yes, I will

“Boy, don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you, my son, is to be satisfied”

“And be a simple kind of man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me, son, if you can”

Baby, be a simple, really simple man
Oh, be something you love and understand
Baby, be a simple, kind of simple man

Merry Go Round – Live

This song was written by one of my favorite power pop artists… Emitt Rhoads. It’s some mid-sixties bliss. The song is catchy and will stick with you.

In 1967 this pop band called The Merry-Go-Round was formed in Los Angeles. It featured singer-songwriter Emitt Rhodes, drummer Joel Larson, lead guitarist Gary Kato, and Bill Rinehart on bass. The band released just one album in the spring of ’67 called The Merry-Go-Round. This song was their debut release. Rhodes disbanded The Merry-Go-Round in 1969 and began working on solo material.

Emitt Rhodes’s first album was self-titled called Rhodes. Billboard magazine called him “one of the finest artists on the music scene today” and later called his first album one of the “best albums of the decade.” Emitt Rhodes reached #29 on the Billboard 200 Album charts. A single called “Fresh as a Daisy” climbed to #54 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After several more album releases, Rhodes became a recording engineer and record producer for Electra Records. Emitt Rhodes died in his sleep at the age of 70 in Hawthorne, California, in July 2020.

The Bangles recorded this song for their debut album All Over the Place in 1984.

Live

Oh you’re the kind of girl who’s got theirself wound up in a ball
Oh – you think you live – but how can ya
Locked up in four walls

If you gotta go you better live your life before you pass away
Don’t waste a day
All your life’s been spent locked in your room
You never had a chance to roam – away from home

So – You’re gonna go – Go today – Don’t waste any time
For in life a day – Is worth a million – Soon you will find

If you gotta go you better live your life before you pass away
Don’t waste a day
All your life’s been spent locked in your room
You never had a chance to roam – away from home

Live Live Live Live
Live Live Live Live

Now – Do what you want – Go where you want
It’s all up to you
For in life the rule – Is just to do
What you want to do

If you gotta go you better live your life before you pass away
Don’t waste a day
All your life’s been spent locked in your room
You never had a chance to roam – away from home

If – You don’t know now – What life’s about
Go on now and live
And if – You don’t know how – It’s not so hard
Just let go and live

If you gotta go you better live your life before you pass away
Don’t waste a day
All your life’s been spent locked in your room
You never had a chance to roam – away from home

Live Live Live Live

Bob Dylan – Sweetheart Like You

This song was on the Infidels album. That is my favorite Dylan album of the 80s by far. I wore it out when I bought it. Great album. Songs like Jokerman, Neighborhood Bully, Union Sundown, and many more. 

A photograph of Dylan's face, wearing sunglasses and a short beard

I liked the song straight off. It did remind me of the old line that has been used over and over again in bars and clubs ALL over the world. 

Sometimes it’s hard to post Dylan’s music because of the varied meanings of his songs…so I don’t even try to decipher them. I will say this though…the melody and lyrics flow perfectly. Dylan isn’t known much for ballads but this is a great one. 

The first time I heard this song was watching a video of it. That led me to get the album. It was Dylan’s first music video in the MTV era and it pulled me in to buy the album. The video for the song featured Carla Olson, Steve Ripley, drummer Charlie Quintana, and Clydie King. In the clip, Olson mimes former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor’s guitar part and solo. 

Dylan recorded this song with an all-star cast. Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler and the Stones’ Mick Taylor on guitar, Alan Clark on keyboards, Robbie Shakespeare on bass, and Sly Dunbar on drums.

Dylan’s previous album Shot of Love was released in 1981 and wrapped up a trilogy of Christian-based albums. Infidels was thought to be his return to secular music but he kept biblical imagery in this song.  Lines such as “They say in your father’s house, there’s many a mansions” which is a reference to John 14:2 –  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

The album peaked at #20 in the Billboard Album Charts, #14 in Canada, #4 in New Zealand, and #9 in the UK in 1983. Sweetheart Like You peaked at #55 on the Billboard 100 in 1984. 

British engineer Ian Taylor talks about Bob: “He was very specific about how the solo should start, it wasn’t about the sound he wanted, but the first few notes. He wanted the guitar solo at the end, the last thing you hear. So he wanted it to embellish the spirit of the song.” 

Joni Mitchell considers Sweetheart Like You one of her favorite Bob Dylan songs ” for its Damon Runyon style of storytelling” and she recorded it on her “Artist’s Choice: Joni Mitchell—music that matters to her” compilation released through Starbucks in 2005.

Chrissie Hynde also recorded the song on her  Standing in the Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan album. 

Sweetheart Like You

Well the pressure’s down, the boss ain’t here
He’s gone North, for a while
They say that vanity got the best of him
But he sure left here in style
By the way, that’s a cute hat
And that smile’s so hard to resist
But what’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

You know, I once knew a woman who looked like you
She wanted a whole man, not just a half
She used to call me sweet daddy when I was only a child
You kind of remind me of her when you laugh
In order to deal in this game, got to make the queen disappear
It’s done with a flick of the wrist
What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

You know a woman like you should be at home
That’s where you belong
Taking care for somebody nice
Who don’t know how to do you wrong
Just how much abuse will you be able to take?
Well, there’s no way to tell by that first kiss
What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

You know you can make a name for yourself
You can hear them tires squeal
You could be known as the most beautiful woman
Who ever crawled across cut glass to make a deal.

You know, news of you has come down the line
Even before ya came in the door
They say in your father’s house, there’s many a mansions
Each one of them got a fireproof floor
Snap out of it baby, people are jealous of you
They smile to your face, but behind your back they hiss
What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

Got to be an important person to be in here, honey
Got to have done some evil deed
Got to have your own harem when you come in the door
Got to play your harp until your lips bleed.
They say that patriotism is the last refuge
To which a scoundrel clings
Steal a little and they throw you in jail
Steal a lot and they make you king
There’s only one step down from here, baby
It’s called the land of permanent bliss
What’s a sweetheart like you doing in a dump like this?

J Geils Band – Centerfold

If high school would have been more like the video to this song…Max would not have skipped school or been late.

Personally, I like their 70s blues/rock music more but I can’t say I don’t like the Freeze-Frame album. When it came out it was all over the place and I loved it…and still do. One of my memories of that time is pep rallies in high school and the cheerleaders (the reason we went) did a routine around ‘Freeze Frame’at the time…hmmm… too bad it wasn’t this song.

This song is commercial but still retains the essence of the band. Peter Wolf blows through this song and he makes you believe it. He was/is one of the best frontmen in rock and roll. I like the story the song presents. After having a crush on a sweet, innocent girl in his homeroom in high school…he sees her in a “girly” magazine later on but instead of being excited he is disappointed because his memory has been sold.

This was the third album for EMI and the record company made a great choice of picking this song as the lead single. It was #1 for six weeks and carried the album with it. The title cut peaked at #4. The video was directed by Paul Justman, brother of the song’s writer Seth. Paul also directed the band’s videos for “Land of 1,000 Dances” and “Freeze-Frame.”

The video…there was a rumor going around at the time that Martha Quinn, VJ for MTV, was in the video. It was not her of course but she had a hairstyle like Quinn plus it was a slight resemblance. You can see her around:56 in the video… Martha Quinn: “That’s not me. When I had my other haircut, I looked just like her. Except she’s enormous.”

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #3 in the UK, and #5 in New Zealand in 1981.  The album Freeze Frame peaked at #1 on the Billboard Album Charts, #1 in Canada, #12 in the UK, and #14 in New Zealand.

It was great to see this hard-working band finally get some massive success but it didn’t last long. Peter Wolf would leave the band in 1983 or the band left without him.

Peter Wolf:  “I did not leave the band, but the majority of the band wanted to move in another direction. They wanted to continue in a pop-techno way, [and] it wasn’t my thing.”

Centerfold

Does she walk? Does she talk?
Does she come complete?
My homeroom homeroom angel
Always pulled me from my seat

She was pure like snowflakes
No one could ever stain
The memory of my angel
Could never cause me pain

Years go by I’m lookin’ through a girly magazine
And there’s my homeroom angel on the pages in-between

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centerfold
Angel is the centerfold

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
Angel is the centerfold

Slipped me notes under the desk
While I was thinkin’ about her dress
I was shy I turned away
Before she caught my eye

I was shakin’ in my shoes
Whenever she flashed those baby-blues
Something had a hold on me
When angel passed close by

Those soft and fuzzy sweaters
Too magical to touch
To see her in that negligee
Is really just too much

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centerfold
Angel is the centerfold

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
Angel is the centerfold

It’s okay I understand
This ain’t no never-never land
I hope that when this issue’s gone
I’ll see you when your clothes are on

Take you car, yes we will
We’ll take your car and drive it
We’ll take it to a motel room
And take ’em off in private

A part of me has just been ripped
The pages from my mind are stripped
Oh no, I can’t deny it
Oh yeah, I guess I gotta buy it

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centerfold
Angel is the centerfold

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My Angel in the centerfold

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centerfold
Angel is the centerfold

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
Angel is the centerfold

Merie Earle and Burt Mustin

I grew up watching these two elder character actors. I did a post on Burt Mustin earlier but I always liked Merie Earle also. I’m going to cover both in this one. If you are a child of the 60s, 70s, and 80s you probably know these two. I first remembered Merie on the Waltons as a character named Maude but she was on a lot of things.

To my immense disappointment…Burt and Merie never appeared together on screen from what I can find. They were in some of the same tv programs but not the same episode.

Merie Earl was one of the cutest older ladies I’ve ever seen. She didn’t start acting till she was 77 years young. She was born Goldie Merie Ireland on May 13, 1889. She grew up in Columbus Ohio. She got married in 1909 and moved to New York because of her husband’s job as an engineer.

After her husband retired they moved to California to be near their daughter. Her husband Lawrence Nathan Earls passed away in 1954. Marie was later discovered by an agent while performing in a play at a Methodist church. In 1967 she started to do print ads for Polaroid. In 1967 she took the jump to motion pictures. Her first film role was in  Fitzwilly starring Dick Van Dyke.

She went on to perform on television and TV movies in the 60s, 70s, and yes into the 80s! She was on tv shows such as Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, All In The Family, Alice, Whiz Kids, etc.  Merie worked until she passed away in 1984 at the age of 95. What an incredible woman…Burt Mustin had more credits but he was a bit younger than Merie. She had no formal training and she said she was sometimes snubbed in auditions.

Merie Earle on going to auditions: “They’re old-timers in show business, so they just kind of snort and recite all their Broadway credits and film credits and things like that, that doesn’t bother me, though, and sometimes I even beat them out for the parts. But if I don’t, that doesn’t bother me too much either. It doesn’t take much money for me to live, anyway.”

On her acting style… “Oh dear, I guess I don’t have any acting style, All I try to do is just to be myself.”

Merie Earle2

What a life Burt Mustin lived. He didn’t start acting until he was 67 and he appeared in over 150 film and television productions. I first remembered him as Gus in Leave it to Beaver, Judd in The Andy Griffith Show, Bonanza, The Monkees, Gomer Pyle…the list is too long. He was also at the first World Series in 1903 to root on his hometown team, The Pittsburgh Pirates playing against the Boston Red Sox.

Burt was born on February 8, 1884, in Pittsburgh. After graduating from the Pennsylvania Military College in 1903 with a degree in engineering, Mustin became a car salesman. It was a rather new profession.  He also worked for the Better Business Bureau, Mustin dabbled in amateur acting and singing. He belonged to the Barbershop Harmony Society and popped up in productions by the Pittsburgh Opera.

Mustin and his wife eventually retired to Arizona. In Tucson, the retiree took in a role in a local production of the play Detective Story. William Wyler — who would go on to direct Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday and Funny Girl — happened to catch the show and offered Mustin a role in his screen adaptation of Detective Story.

Thus, Burt Mustin made his screen debut at the age of 67 in 1951 and acted until he died in 1977 at the age of 92.

Below is Burt… on the Johnny Carson show talking about being at the first World Series.

Rolling Stones – It’s All Over Now

To show how little things change. I found my high school journal. We all had to write a journal and our English teacher would read it.  This was my first entry.  Tuesday, September 6, 1983: On Sunday I played music with a couple of my friends. I play bass and my friends play guitar and drums. We play rock, mostly like The Beatles, Who, and The Rolling Stones etc… I’ll leave the rest of the page out.

This is one of the first songs I learned on guitar. It’s a great song for beginners. This one was not written by the Stones but they do a good cover. This was before they started to write more of their songs.

I like the Brian Jones era of the Stones and I try to post as many songs as possible from that period. Besides his bizarre death, Brian gets forgotten. George Harrison and Brian Jones became friends because they had a lot in common. They were in a similar situation in their respective bands. The big difference was George had more of a support system than Brian did in his band. John and Paul had a monopoly on songwriting but they would help George and he was given a chance to grow as a songwriter within the group. The Stones didn’t work that way…it was basically the Mick and Keith show in songwriting.

Brian could be his own worst enemy and had a hard time handling fame but he was a very talented musician. Probably the best musician in the band.

New York disc jockey Murray the K gave The Stones a copy of The Valentinos’ version of this song and suggested they record it. Bobby Womack wrote this song and hated the Stones version of it. He changed his mind when the royalty checks came in and he tried to get them more songs.

They recorded this during their first US tour at Chess Studios in Chicago. During these sessions, they also recorded “Time Is On My Side.” The song peaked at #24 on the Billboard 100 and #26 in Canada in 1964.

Keith Richards:  “We cut that in Chess Studios the first time in Chicago. The year before we were playing bars in England, you know. And then we’re walking into Chess Studios which was where all of these records that had been made that were so important to us. Now and again in life you get this feeling that you’ve died and gone to heaven. Luckily, neither was true. American studios at that time were so much more together than in England. I mean, they had some good stuff in England but they didn’t have knowledge of how to record it. We were lucky. There were a couple of guys like Glyn Johns in England who had a rough idea of recording. But the way you’d get a sound in an American studio in those days was the difference between day and night, compared to working in England or Europe. I mean these cats, in America, they’d done it already. So to work in Chess was our first taste of American record.”

It’s All Over Now

Well, baby used to stay out all night long
She made me cry, she done me wrong
She hurt my eyes open, that’s no lie
Tables turn and now her turn to cry

Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now
Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now

Well, she used to run around with every man in town
She spent all my money, playing her high class game
She put me out, it was a pity how I cried
Tables turn and now her turn to cry

Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now
Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now

Well, I used to wake in the morning, get my breakfast in bed
When I’d gotten worried she’d ease my aching head
But now she’s here and there, with every man in town
Still trying to take me for that same old clown

Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now
Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now

Because I used to love her, but it’s all over now

Jasper Mall

I watched a documentary on a shopping mall in Alabama that is dying. It’s not a unique story at all. The malls I grew up with are starting to fade away. It’s a sad thing to me.

I came of age in the 1980s and in America, the place to be was the Shopping Mall. We would cruise around, walk around it, and go to the shops inside. No reason and very little money…just hanging out with friends or trying to meet girls. We had to travel to Nashville to see them but we had around 4-5 good size ones that we would visit. Is it the Malls I miss or just being young and cruising around? Probably a little of both.

This mall they are focusing on is in Jasper Alabama and it’s incredibly sad. Knowing these were once vibrant places but Amazon and other online sites have made them obsolete…not to mention the jobs that went with them. As I got older I didn’t really like going in them anymore but I still got a feeling of nostalgia when I think of one.

I would recommend this documentary…it’s not exciting by any means but an interesting story that shows how real people were affected by its dwindling popularity. They try to revive it with different things and to their credit…it’s still open. It was made in 2018 and wiki said they picked that mall because it hadn’t been remodeled since 1981 when it opened.

If you have time to kill and want to watch something different…you could do worse.

Bob Seger – Trying To Live My Life Without You

I was at “A Sound Day” reading Dave’s blog and he talked about Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s live album Nine Tonight that this song came off. I had forgotten about this song completely until Dave brought it up. So I give all credit for this post to Dave. It was like finding a long-lost pair of jeans you liked and missed. This song is not one they wear out on the radio as much.

Do you notice what song released around the same time sounds like this? Looks like the Eagles may have heard this version or the original and written the song The Long Run. Rock Critic Dave Marsh called The Long Run a complete ripoff of the 1972 R&B record “Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You” and after listening to them…I do agree they are very similar. 

Otis Clay was a soul singer in the 60s and had his biggest hit with this song in 1972. He never could seem to break through…he had a good soul voice. He continued to make music until 2015 and he passed away in 2016.

This one was written by Eugene Frank Williams which Clay recorded a version in 1972 that only peaked at #102 on Billboard and #24 on the Soul Charts. Less than ten years later Bob Seger would take the song to a much higher place.

The song was on Seger’s Nine Tonight live album released in 1981. The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard Album Charts, #6 in Canada, #24 in the UK, and #37 in New Zealand in 1981.

The song was a hit…it peaked at #5 on the Billboard 100 and #11 in Canada.

Trying To Live My Life Without You

… All right, you guys feel funky tonight, ah yeahthis is an old Memphis song, old Memphis songI used to smokeFive packs of cigarettes a dayIt was the hardest thingTo put them awayI drink four or five bottles of wineI kept a glassIn my hand all the timeBreaking those habits was hard to doBut nothing compared to the changesYou put me throughTrying to live my life without you babeIt’s the hardest thing I’ll ever doTrying to forget the love we once sharedIt’s the hardest thing I’ll ever haveAll right, I saidI had the worst reputation in townFor chasing all the women aroundI thought changing my way of livingWas hard to doBut it’s nothing compared to the changesThat you put me throughI’ve done everything I’ve tried to doBut it’s gonna take a miracleTo get me over youTrying to live my life without you babeIt’s the hardest thing I’ll ever doTrying to forget the love we once sharedIt’s the hardest thing I’ll ever haveAll right, I saidI had the worst reputation in townFor chasing all the women aroundI thought changing my way of livingWas hard to doBut it’s nothing compared to the changesThat you put me throughI’ve done everything I’ve tried to doBut it’s gonna take a miracleTo get me over you

Chris Bell – I Don’t Know ….Power Pop Friday

This one is a rocking song by Chris Bell. Chris was one  the founding members of Big Star. Alex Chilton would get more publicity…mostly because of him singing for the successful Box Tops. In the pop world, it’s tragic that Big Star wasn’t heard by the masses. They could have become huge but it’s something that we will never know.

The sound that Big Star had largely originated from founding member Chris Bell. Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the first album and they modeled themselves after Lennon and McCartney. Their first album was praised by practically everyone but not distributed…people wanted the album but the album was not in the stores for people to buy. Chris left the band not long after that failure.

He kept recording in Memphis with different musicians. In the late seventies, there were rumors that Big Star would reform and tour Europe where they were getting known but it never come to pass. In the fall of 1978, Bell got a call from Car Records and they wanted to release a single with a song called  I am the Cosmos with You and Your Sister as the B side.  It was the only solo release Chris would see in his lifetime. Unfortunately, Chris didn’t get to enjoy it long. He died in a car wreck on December 27, 1978. He was only 27 years old.

Big Star’s and Chris Bell’s recognition started to rise through the eighties with bands like The Replacements, REM, and more singing their praises. The first glimmer of international recognition for Chris alone came in 1992 after Rykodisc released the first edition of his I Am The Cosmos LP. It compiled not only the tracks he recorded at Ardent Studios, but also his 1974-5 sessions at Shoe Productions in Memphis, George Martin’s AIR Studios in London, and Château D’Hérouville in France.

If anyone of you are interested in Big Star I would recommend this documentary (Nothing Can Hurt Me Now) and this book about Chris Bell.

I Don’t Know

Whatever it is you’re thinking
Sit down and let’s give it a try
You know that I’ll always listen
But sometimes I’m wondering why
You don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
Baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Once in a while you’re lonely
Tell me if needed a friend
I’m wondering what is the matter
But you say that you can’t explain
But you don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
But baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going through
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Do you want me
I want you
You don’t want me,
I want you
Don’t you know I’m losing sleep at night
Sleep at night
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you
Whatever it is you’re thinking
Sit down and let’s give it a try
You know that I’ll always listen
But sometimes I’m wondering why
You don’t lie to me
And I wouldn’t lie to you, oh no
But baby I’m feeling lost
I don’t know what I’m going to do
You don’t know what you’re putting me through
I gotta get away from you

Beatles – In My Life

What other band in the world would not release this song as a single? That alone shows that they had quality as well as quantity. It was on Rubber Soul released in 1965. I always considered Revolver and Rubber Soul sister and brother albums. Rubber Soul was released first and Revolver could have been the continuation of Rubber Soul or the wilder older brother/sister.

This song is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. We have a short journey through John Lennon’s life up to that point. This song is as close to perfection as you can get.

Lennon said that a reporter asked him ” why don’t you put some of the way you write in the book in the songs?’ or ‘Why don’t you put something about your childhood into the songs?” and that spurred him on to write this personal song.

Pete Pete Shotton, who was a close childhood friend of John, has related how John once told him that the lyric about the friends who were “dead” and “living” was about Stuart Sutcliffe, a close friend and former Beatle who died of a brain tumor in April of 1962, and Pete himself as the “living” friend.

John was picky with Beatle songs. There were some he claimed not to like but this one was one of the songs he was most proud of.

Before his death, Lennon gave an extensive interview with Playboy magazine and the interviewer went down a list of Lennon and McCartney songs. Lennon gave his feelings about each song and who wrote what. McCartney, later on, agreed with most of all John’s memories on who wrote what…except on a couple of songs. John and Paul seem to disagree on two songs in particular: “Eleanor Rigby” and this song.

John claims he wrote everything except the middle eight, which he attributed to Paul. Paul has said that he wrote most of the melody and helped with the lyrics. I tend to believe Paul on this but I’m amazed that they both seemed to agree on most of the other songs. John could write some beautiful melodies but this one sounds like Paul had a lot to do with it.

In the studio, something seemed to be missing so George Martin slowed down the tape and recorded an Elizabethan piano solo. Not that Ringo Starr needs any defending…but people seem to downgrade him because he wasn’t like Keith Moon or John Bonham. No Ringo played for the song…this song is a great example. If he would have been busy it would have ruined it. Ringo played this one perfectly as he did with most other Beatles songs.

This was voted the best song of all time by a panel of songwriters in a 2000 Mojo magazine poll.

Paul McCartney on writing the song: “So I recall writing the whole melody. And it actually does sound very like me, if you analyze it. I was obviously working to (John’s) lyrics. The melody’s structure is very me. So my recollection is saying to John, ‘Just go and have a cup of tea or something. Let me be with this for ten minutes on my own and I’ll do it.’ And with the inspiration of Smokey and The Miracles, I tried to keep it melodic but a bit bluesy, with the minors and little harmonies, and then my recollection is going back up into the room and saying, ‘Got it, great! Good tune, I think. What d’you think?’ John said, ‘Nice,’ and we continued working with it from then, using that melody and filling out the rest of the verses. As usual, for these co-written things, he often just had the first verse, which was always enough: it was the direction, it was the signpost and it was the inspiration for the whole song. I hate the word but it was the template.”

“We wrote it, and in my memory we tagged on the introduction, which I think I thought up. I was imaging the intro of a Miracles record, and to my mind the phrases on guitar are very much Smokey and The Miracles. So it was John’s original inspiration, I think my melody, I think my guitar riff. I don’t want to be categorical about this. But that’s my recollection. We then finished it off and it was a fine song which John sang.”

John Lennon: “’In My Life’ was, I think, my first real, major piece of work. Up until then it had all been glib and throw-away. I had one mind that wrote books and another that churned out things about ‘I love you’ and ‘you love me,’ because that’s how Paul and I did it…It was the first song that I wrote that was really, consciously, about my life…a remembrance of friends and lovers of the past.”

John Lennon:  “I wrote that in Kenwood (his home at the time). I used to write upstairs where I had about ten Brunell tape recorders all linked up, I still have them, I’d mastered them over the period of a year or two – I could never make a rock and roll record but I could make some far out stuff on it. I wrote it upstairs, that was one where I wrote the lyrics first and then sang it.” He added that was usually the case with songs such as this one and “Across the Universe” and “some of the ones that stand out a bit.”

In My Life

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

In my life I love you more

Builders and the Butchers – Black Dresses

This song has a small mid-sixties Dylan sound. My cousin texted me a link to this song because he thought I would like it…and I do. I’ve been listening to them and they are raw… which is a plus for me.

Primary

This song is off their 2007 self-titled debut album. The band set up in the studio and recorded it basically live to get the same feel as their concerts. Their influences include Americana, gospel, country, folk, rock, southern gothic, rockabilly, and more. The band has released 7 studio albums and their latest was Hell & Highwater in 2022.

The band formed on Halloween 2005 in Portland Oregon. They began after many bands in that area broke up and they came together and something clicked. Although they started in Portland their members are from Alaska as there is a huge Alaska population in Portland.  Lead singer and songwriter Ryan Sollee said: “For the last dozen years there’s been a huge influx of people from Alaska to Portland, it has all the opportunities of a big city, but it’s affordable to live and there’s a community of bands and other musicians to play with.”

They may be from Alaska but they have a southern feel about them. Whether playing bar gigs for 50 people or opening arena shows, the band has said they strive to connect with the audience, and for the audience to connect with one another, every time they take the stage. They have a great reputation around the Pacific Northwest as a rowdy and exciting live band.

NPR: “A kind of white-knuckle Americana… shot through with nervy, hellfire-and-brimstone intensity. [The Spark carries on] the group’s tradition of tightly wound roots music that never feels tethered to a single era.” 

Black Dresses

Little sister, there’s blood on the tracks
And a lit cigarette, but you’re not comin’ back
To a town that was built on black gold and iron ore

And the kettle got hot, and it boiled, and it steamed
And you can’t run away from the worst of your dreams
They’ll string you up when you’re tryin’ to fall fast asleep

She wore black dresses (black dresses)
And she never cried in the morning
She’s got a bottle in paper
So she can forget her name
She wore black dresses (black dresses)
And she never smiled in the morning
She’s got a bottle in paper
So she can forget her name

Well, her home town was built by a few greedy men
And people tell me she was descended from them
She’s been playin’ in the darkness ever since she was a kid

And she doesn’t mourn for her man’s come and gone
She’s worn the color of black all along
And she was born with a stone where there shoulda been a heart

And she wore black dresses (black dresses)
And she never cried in the morning
She’s got a bottle in paper
So she can forget her name
She wore black dresses (black dresses)
And she never smiled in the morning
She’s got a bottle in paper
So she can forget her name

Did you ever meet a girl who was born the victim of a name?
I know, ’cause I’m a boy who was born the victim of a name
Did you ever meet a girl who was born the victim of a name?
I know, ’cause I’m a boy who was born the victim of a name

Little sister, there’s blood on the tracks
And a lit cigarette, but you’re not comin’ back
To a town that was built on black gold and iron ore

She wore black dresses (black dresses)
And she never cried in the morning
She’s got a bottle in paper
So she can forget her name
She wore black dresses (black dresses)
And she never smiled in the morning
She’s got a bottle in paper
So she can forget her name

She’s got a bottle in paper
So she can forget her name
She’s got a bottle in paper
So she can forget her name

Steppenwolf – Rock Me

This song was their 3rd top ten hit of 1968-1969. The song was on their album At Your Birthday Party released in 1969.

steppenwolf - At your Birthday Party

The song peaked at #10 on the Billboard 100 and #4 in Canada in 1969. This song was originally the B side to Jupiter’s Child but later on, they were reversed. This song followed the top ten hits of Born To Be Wild and Magic Carpet Ride. John Kays voice is one of those voices that you can pick out from a crowd. Like Neil Young, John Fogerty, Van Morrison, and other unique singers. 

I usually don’t research the meaning of a lot of songs but this one is interesting. The different meanings people get out of this one. Some say it’s a young woman looking for one good man, others say it’s about Mother Nature, and others say it’s about America at the time it was written. 

John Kay’s songwriting gets overlooked…he is a fine songwriter with usually a message. He wrote Rock Me, which benefitted from being in the 1968 feature film Candy, a period piece of permissiveness featuring Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, and even Ringo Starr.

John Kay: The recording sessions for “At Your Birthday Party” started to show the wear and tear of the road on all of us. In addition, some band members for the first time, tried their hand at songwriting and I had run out of tunes to contribute. This album nevertheless includes some of my favorite Steppenwolf tracks such as “Happy Birthday”, “Jupiter’s Child” and “Rock Me”. Nick St. Nicholas (who had replaced our original bassist Rushton Moreve) had an idea for a song titled “It’s Never Too Late”, which triggered me to work out the rest of the song. That one is an all time favorite of mine. Gabriel Mekler (our Producer) had his hands full trying to be fair to all band members and stay neutral to allow us to work out the difficulties on our own. The fact that the song “Rock Me” (which had been written for the soundtrack of the motion picture “Candy”) had already been a hit single before it was included in the “Birthday album” may have reduced the impact of the album because the initial sales of the LP were not what we had hoped for, although over the years, it became quite popular with many of our fans.

Rock Me

She asked me maybeI would share her sorrowFor all the men that tried to treat her wrong

Though just a babyA waiting her tomorrowIt’s rock me baby, rock me babyAll night long

She needs an answer to her confusionSomeone to guide her with tendernessBut if she’s asking for a solutionAll that she getsYou know it’s something like this

I don’t know where we come fromI don’t know where we’re going toBut if all of this should have a reasonWe would be the last to knowSo let’s just hope there is a promised landHang on till then as best you can

Everybody’s ills you know itFills her with compassionThat’s why she tries to save the world aloneShe helps the needy in her own fashionAnd tries to give them all her own

She needs an answer for her confusionSomeone to guide her with tendernessBut when she’s asking for a solutionAll that she gets you know it’s something like this

I don’t know where we come fromI don’t know where we’re going toBut if all of this should have a reasonWe would be the last to knowSo let’s just hope there is a promised landHang on till then as best you can

Rock me baby, rock me baby all night longRock me baby, rock me baby all night longRock me baby, rock me baby all night longRock me baby, rock me baby all night longRock me baby, rock me baby all night longRock me baby, rock me baby all night longRock me baby, rock me baby all night long

Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane – My Baby Gives It Away

I have often wondered why this album wasn’t more popular. It features The Who’s Pete Townshend and The Small Faces/Faces Ronnie Lane who then was leading his own band, Slim Chance. The album is full of great songs and is worth a listen. The guest musicians include Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts, John Entwistle, Ian Stewart, John “Rabbit” Bundrick, and more.

In October of 1976, the Who closed a North American tour in Toronto, a show that would be the last with Keith Moon before a paying audience. The band took a break to pursue individual projects. Ronnie Lane had wanted Townshend to produce his album but he then wanted Townshend to collaborate writing on the songs. Townshend declined because he had never written with anyone before but they did manage to write the title track, Rough Mix, together.

The album ended up with Townsend songs and Lane songs. They did do a cover of a Don Williams song called Till All The Rivers Run Dry. Rough Mix didn’t draw a lot of attention at the time but is now considered a lost gem. Townshend has said in his book that there was a big argument where he shoved Ronnie Lane. He said it felt like he didn’t know his own strength because Lane felt like he was made out of paper. Later Pete found out about Lane’s multiple sclerosis.

Lane was already showing the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis (tremors, slurred speech), which others sometimes interpreted as a sign he was drunk. He didn’t tell Townshend, or very many others, about his medical diagnosis.

Townshend’s liner notes eventually read, “Ron and Pete play various acoustic & electric guitars, mandolins & bass guitars, banjos, ukuleles & very involved mind games.”

The album peaked at #44 in the Billboard Album Charts, #70 in Canada, and #45 in the UK in 1977.

Pete Townshend: The recording of Rough Mix with Ronnie is now a blur, but I remember some special moments. I played live guitar with a large string orchestra for the first time, my father-in-law Ted Astley arranging and conducting on ‘Street in the City’. I was surprised at the respect given me by the orchestral musicians. Playing with Charlie Watts on ‘My Baby Gives It Away’ was also very cool, making me aware that his jazz-influenced style was essential to the Stones’ success, the hi-hat always trailing the beat a little to create that vital swing.

Meeting John Bundrick (Rabbit) was also an important event in my life as a musician. He wandered into the Rough Mix studio one day looking for session work. Here was a Hammond player who had worked with Bob Marley, and could play as well as Billy Preston. Offstage he could be reckless and impulsive, drinking too much, asking for drugs and telling crazy stories, but musicians of his calibre didn’t come around very often.

My Baby Gives It Away

My baby wakes in the deep of the nightShe doesn’t need itBut she says it’s all rightMy baby digs it, just a Rollin’ away

My baby gives it up every dayMy baby gives it, she gives it awayMy baby gives it up every dayMy baby She just gives it away

When you’re alone in some city hotelYou can get company by ringing a bellYou might go pick up a girlOn the street

But my baby gives it up totally freeMy baby’s counting’ on, ’cause you aloneMy baby’s brother never break a your armMy baby ha, ha, I love her

She’s cheepOoh yeahMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy baby

You better buy yourself an new pair of shoesAnd walk for a lifetime on that bad newsYou better buy an electric guitarThere’s no better way to beat the blues, I beat ’em

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

She give it way, every day, every wayMy baby just gives it away

My baby’s momma is a singular girlShe brought up her daughter and brought her up wellI’m breathing no more‘Cause she took it away

My baby gives it up every dayMy baby gives itShe gives it awayMy baby gives it up every day

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy babyMy babyMy baby

My babyMy baby

How I love her, yeahMy baby, my baby, she just gives it awayMy baby, my baby, she just gives it awayMy baby, my baby, gives it away

Let me tell you, my baby, she just give it awayMy baby, every dayMy baby gives it up every dayMy baby give itJust gives it away

Swingin’ Neckbreakers – You

This is some good old feet-stomping garage band music. This is my favorite song right now…it sticks with you. The band is from Trenton, New Jersey and they started to record some demos in 1992. The band consisted of brothers Tom and John Jorgensen and  Don “Shaggy” Snook.

John Jorgensen played drums, Snook played guitar, and Tom Jorgensen played bass and was the lead singer. The Neckbreakers released their first album in 1993 called Live For Buzz. This song was their lead track. If you like melodic raw rock and roll…I would recommend listening to this album. This song was on a Sopranos episode in season 4, episode 2.

Their reputation as a great live band spread and they started to fill up places in their area. In 1994 they took off on a tour of Europe. The group was especially well received in France, where one radio station even declared a Swingin’ Neckbreakers Week.

From Allmusic: The Neckbreakers’ second album Shake Break came out the next year on Telstar. After Don Snook’s departure from the band in 1996, Jeffery Lee Jefferson eventually filled in on guitar and debuted on the 1997 album Kick Your AssReturn of Rock and Live Live Live were released in 2000.

They released a total of 5 albums between 1993 and 2000.

“You” in the Sopranos

Could not find the lyrics