I will not print the lyrics here, but this song from vaudeville and delta blues singer Lucille Bogan deserves a careful listen. You might laugh, you might blush, might be best not to play it for the kids.
‘Shave ‘Em Dry’ is just one of the many debauched tunes Lucille recorded in the later years of her career, such as ‘Sloppy Drunk Blues,’ ‘Tricks Ain’t Walkin’ No More’ and ‘Mr. Screw Worm In Trouble.’ Yep. ‘Mr. Screw Worm In Trouble.’ They knew how to party back then, too, you know.
Indeed it does have shades of ‘Brazil.’ I re-listened to the Antonio Carlos Jobim version from 1970, from the album Stone Flower, and was reminded what a modern pleasure it is. Jobim, too, calls the album one of his favorites, and his most modern-sounding. No beach guitars or coffeeshop horns in this Brazil. Just electronics and percussion for the most part: Jobim on an amazingly toned Rhodes piano, João Palma hitting a samba beat, and a soft bass swimming beneath it all.
Been listening to a ton of electronic beats lately, in particular the sweet bloops and buzzes and bleeps of LA-born-and-raised Jennifer Lee, aka Tokimonsta. She describes herself as a formerly “unfocused pupil of classical piano” who “has come to use this background to create vast textural soundscapes by utilizing live instruments, percussion, digital manipulation, and dusty vinyl.”
The soundscape I hear on this song is what you’d hear if you sunk underwater and landed on a reef—the click-click of crabs and trapped bubbles escaping rocks; a distant gurgle at shore; a gull shrieking at the surface. Her songs sound very much alive, and there’s a lot to hold onto as you listen.
One of the tracks on that compilation is Yumi Arai’s funky groove ‘Anata Dake No Mono,’ which was spicy enough to encourage me to hunt down the 1974 album it appeared on, Misslim. The album has excellent arrangement by Masataka Matsutoya, Arai’s soon-to-be hubby, and keyboardist for the session group Tin Pan Alley (of which exotica/electronica star Haroumi Hosono was also a member).
This particular number has a great breezy feel, Laurel Canyon sounds for the Tokyo set. The harmonies will make you swoon—at least they have that effect on me. And if you know Puffy AmiYumi they won’t sound unfamiliar—Yumi Arai laid the foundations for J-Pop in the mid 70s with tracks like 1975’s ‘Rouge no Dengon’ (Lipstick Message).
When I’m trying to dig up info on lesser-known artists for whom little to no biographical information is available, I love scouring back issues of Billboard Magazine for leads. The entire archives are digitized now, each and every page ripe for perusing, over at Google Books.
At any rate, I have nothing to add to the already well documented personal and professional life of Mr Waits, but I did want to share this terrific advertisement I stumbled on once, for his 1975 piano jazz/comedy hour double album Nighthawks at the Diner. It’s from the November 15, 1975 issue, and the ad lifts lines from the tune Nighthawk Postcards (From Easy Street)… which is coming right up.
I had no idea Lorca was also a pianist. But here he is serenading us, along with Argentine flamenco dancer La Argentinita.
This traditionalzéjel dates to the 15th century, and tells a love story between the singer and three Moorish girls who’ve converted to Christianity after the Reconquista (when the Christian kingdoms in Spain and Portugal reconquered lands held by the Moors.) The Christians had fought for over seven centuries to take hold of the Iberian peninsula, until only the Nasrid Dynasty in the Al-Andalus (Andalucia) province remained. It fell in 1492.
This Van Dyke Parks Daytrotter session is just lovely. His arranging is incredible. Here, he’s joined by Clare & The Reasons on ‘He Needs Me,’ a sweet little ballad Harry Nilsson wrote for Robert Altman’s 1980 adaptation of Popeye.
Tommy Hoehn never hit the big time, but he was somewhat of a local star in Memphis, singing backup vocals on Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers, and lending his talents to The Scruffs, another local band.
‘Love You’ was the b-side to his biggest hit, ‘Blow Yourself Up,’ and features not only terrific rock’n’roll piano plinking from Tommy, but some blazing guitar lines from Big Star’s Chris Bell and achingly sweet vocals. Which makes for a track that’s just as good on the 17th listen as the first. Or hell… it actually sounds better with every go-round.
If pop has grammatical rules, which, when closely followed, result in pop perfection, then this is the style guide.
The acoustic, country-tinged tunes on Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed have always been my favorite Stones, so when Captains Dead posted this compilation of acoustic Stones studio outtakes last week, I jumped on it.
‘No Expectations’ is the cream of the crop, presented here in raw form, without the drums, Hammond or piano trills featured on the Banquet version. No studio gadgetry here, no overdubs either. To record the song, they simply set up open mics in the studio between band members and played live.
The result is an incredible open sound, where you can hear every rattle and hum of Brian Jones’ tear-jerking slide lead. And Keith backs things up on guitar, playing with the open tuning he later used for ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ (also featured on this comp). Go grab it!