Tuesday, June 28, 2016

40 Year Itch : Gonna Take a Freight Train

Are You Ready for the Country sounds like Waylon Jennings' attempt to crossover from his outlaw roots to something rock fans would buy. Both his Marshall Tucker Band cover, "Can't You See", and the Neil Young title track were Top 10 country hits. Graham Nash contributed background vocals to "Precious Memories" and "Old Friend" is a tribute to Buddy Holly. Jennings played with Holly on the  1959 Winter Dance Party Tour and gave up the seat on the ill fated plane that crashed into a Iowa cornfield killing Holly, Ritchie Valens and everyone else on board. Jennings killed himself the old fashioned way, by smoking six packs of cigarettes a day.

Monday, June 27, 2016

40 Year Itch : UK Top 10 June 27, 1976

  For 16 straight days, beginning at the end of June, the mercury soared over 30C (86F) at Heathrow Airport, kicking off the UK's hottest summer ever. Some parts of the country went without rainfall for 45 days. People were urged to take baths in no more than five inches of water, inspiring sales of a bumper sticker that read "Save water, bathe with a friend". There was even talk of importing water from Norway.
   On the UK charts, The Real Thing spent three weeks at #1 with the lightweight soul sounds of  "You To Me Are Everything". At #2,  ITV'S New Faces winner Our Kid, a Liverpool boy band,  made music fans look back on the days when the Osmonds ruled the charts with nostalgia.

1. The Real Thing : You To Me Are Everything
2. Our Kid : You Just Might See Me Cry

3. Candi Staton : Young Hearts Run Free
4. Bryan Ferry : Let's Stick Together
5. Rod Stewart : Tonight's the Night

6. Gallagher and Lyle : Heart On My Sleeve
7. The Shangri-Las : Leader of the Pack
8. Thin Lizzy : The Boys Are Back in Town

9. The Wurzels : Combine Harvester
10. Wings : Silly Love Songs

Sunday, June 26, 2016

40 Year Itch : Dancin' on The Sands of Time

On June 26, 1976 The Isley Brothers has the #1 R and B album in the US with Harvest For the World, featuring the super funky "People of Today", recorded with the T.O.N.T.O. super synthesizer and a talk box. Like most of the Isley Brothers recordings with the younger brothers and Chris Jasper, this album is a terrific soundtrack for the summertime.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

40 Year Itch : Daddy Rolling Stone

On 1976's Red Card,  former Family man Roger Chapman and his new band out rock The Who, Steve Marriott and every other group that's covered Otis Blackwell's "Daddy Rolling Stone". 

Friday, June 24, 2016

40 year Itch : A Lonely Night

On Black and Blue, Mick Jagger sing about spending a lonely night at the Memory Motel with a woman with a peachy kind of girl who had hazel eyes,  a slightly curved nose, slightly curved teeth and a mind of her own. We may never know for sure whom he is singing about but we do know there really is a Memory Motel on Montauk, Long Island, not far from Andy Warhol's place where Jagger spent some of the Summer of 1975 rehearsing for the US tour.
 Owner Estgher Agtas told Rolling Stone the Stones "were all over the place, walking around" that Summer. 
  How did she feel, having her 19-unit resort motel immortalized in song? "It's very nice. I just wish they'd send me some royalties".

Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol, 1975

Thursday, June 23, 2016

40 Year Itch : Slum Street Soccer

Inspired by his 1975 tour of Africa where he met Fela Kuti, Jorge Ben's Africa Brasil somehow manages to combine the best of African rhythms and American funk with Brazilian samba.  The standout track, "Ponta de Lança Africano (Umbabarauma)", is about a mythical African soccer star, playing in the slums.  Like a lot of people, I first hear the song on the David Byrne compilation Brazil Classics : Beleza Tropical, a great place for anyone to start their Brazilian collection. The lyrics of Umbabarauma hardy conceal some kind of mysterious intelligence:

Jump, jump, fall, get up, go up and get down 
Run, kick, find a hole, thrill and give thanks 
See how the whole city empties out 
On this beautiful afternoon to watch you play 

Jorge Ben revisits his 1972 song "Taj Mahal" on Africa Brasil. This is the song Rod Stewart admitted to "unconsciously plagiarizing " for his 1979 smash "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?".

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

40 Year Itch : Be Not Bellbottom Bummer

It was a brief note in the June 19. 1976 issue of Rolling Stone:

Ten years ago, Jonathan Richman strummed his guitar in clubs around Boston, where he once opened for the J Geils Band. From there, he founded the Modern Lovers, a cultishly popular rock group with Velvet Underground undertones. Warners signed them and John Cale produced some tracks including "Pablo Picasso",  with lines like "Some people try to pick up girls and get called assholes/ This never happened to Pablo Picasso". The album was not released.

But now Beserkley Records, who've gained access to the tapes, are offering The Modern Lovers on a mail-order basis ( $4.49, Home of the Hits, Box 589V, Berkeley, California 94701). Meantime, Richman, a shiny-cheeked  Jerry Mathers lookalike who disdains drugs and once wrote in a questionnaire, " We all have the power of a flaming Nova Star within us," has recorded a new album for Beserkley.

From rock critic dean Robert Christagau:

The Modern Lovers [Home of the Hits, 1976] These legendary sessions, produced by John Cale for Warners in the early '70s but never released, still sound ahead of their time. Jonathan Richman's gift is to make explicit that love for "the modern world" that is the truth of so much of the best rock and roll: by cutting through the vaguely protesty ambience of so-called rock culture he opens the way for a worldliness that is specific, realistic, and genuinely critical. Not that he tries to achieve this himself--he's much too childlike. Sometimes his unmusicianship adds a catch to a three-chord melody and his off-key singing unlocks doors you didn't know were there. But other times he sounds like his allowance is too big, as worldly as Holden Caulfield with no '50s for excuse--the first rock hero who could use a spanking. A