Thursday, January 14, 2021

Ring In The New With Stinky Le Pew


New year, new concept in the inexhaustible series of series that is Stinky's Homemade Records! Today we have The US Festival -- not the giant concerts from the early 80's, but a Whitmanesque collection of musical compositions in which artists celebrate themselves and sing themselves!

That's Whitman the poet, not the box of chocolates -- although our judges will accept the Whitman Sampler as an answer. It's a suitable metaphor for this tasty concoction of musical treats. Indeed, life is sometimes like a box of chocolates: full of crunchy frogs and spring surprises!

As with the concerts bankrolled by Steve Wozniak (where classic rockers and hippies rubbed shoulders with New Wave, metal, and country musicians), Stinky has compiled a diverse mix of rock, rockabilly, R&B, C&W, punk and more. From the Monkees Theme to the Meatmen Stomp and the Stray Cat Strut, there's something for everyone in Songs About US!

PS - I gotta give a shout to Nothin' Sez Somethin', where Nathan has embarked upon an epic exploration of the Shimmy Disc catalog. Bongwater, B.A.L.L., GWAR, King Missile and others are already rockin' the dancefloor, so shimmy on over there! It probably goes without saying that this year marks the 34th anniversary of The 20th Anniversary Of The Summer Of Love. Thank goodness Friday the 13th came on a Wednesday this month...

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Ring Out The Old With Rough Trade

One more trio of Rough Trade singles compilations to end the year. Volume 31 starts with four songs from a young Lucinda Williams, followed by four from James and four from Miracle Legion (with members of The Sugarcubes as guests on "Johnny's Dilemma"). The Assassins shared members with The Mabuses. The set ends with My Jealous God (RT 228).

Vol. 32 includes A.R.K. (aka A.R. Kane), Sandie Shaw, Lucinda Williams' sparkling "Passionate Kisses", The Band Of Holy Joy, and a mini-album (RTM 235) by Two Nice Girls (who cover Donna Summer, The Carpenters, Sonic Youth and the "Speed Racer" theme song).

Vol. 33 opens with little known bands Helter Skelter (my rip) and This Picture, followed by more My Jealous God and A.R. Kane, The Butthole Surfers covering Donovan, and Sudden Sway's Yves St. Raisa remixes. That brings us almost to the end of the singles discography.

A fond farewell to two of my favorite music blogs. Dr. Drunk planned his departure after completing an alphabetical survey of his extensive punk collection. AJ at Téama Ó Chártaí Breataine had no such plans; a hard drive failure decimated his music collection. Readers have encouraged AJ to continue his blog, but he hasn't responded yet. Best wishes for the New Year to music bloggers and readers everywhere.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Wild Seeds Explode: Live In DC

The Unassailable Stinky Le Pew caps off Stink Week with another Homemade Live Album, this one from The Wild Seeds, an Austin band led by Michael Hall (who was featured in Stinky's recent compilation of music writers turned music makers).

Michael Hall's solo albums are reviewed here by Trouser Press honcho Ira Robbins (himself a music critic turned musician turned novelist).

Michael Hall also participated in an Austin singer-songwriter-supergroup called The Setters with Alejandro Escovedo and Walter Salas-Humara. The trio performed songs written by each member (including Michael Hall's brilliant "Let's Take Some Drugs And Drive Around", which Salas-Humara also recorded with his group The Silos).

This live set from 1987 features Wild Seeds originals from their albums Brave, Clean + Reverent and Mud, Lies & Shame, as well as the EP Life Is Grand. Covers include a raucous "Roadrunner", "Cinnamon Girl" and the closer, "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting". Sounds like it was a wild night out at The Roxy in Washington, DC. These live Homemade Albums make me miss live music all the more.


Monday, December 28, 2020

Wondering Where The Dragons Are

 

Stinky writes, "I saw Bruce Cockburn unexpectedly when I went to see Warren Zevon, and he was the opening act, touring in support of his best album (in my opinion), Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws.  At the very least it's got the best NAME of all his albums.  

"Here's a live track by track recreation of the album with one studio track (to preserve the track order) included, because Cockburn (pronounced CO-burn) never plays 'Northern Lights' live."

Dancing In The Dragon's Jaws was released in 1979, like the two Joe Jackson albums featured yesterday. It includes the single "Wondering Where The Lions Are".

One of the bonus tracks on today's Homemade Album is Bruce Cockburn's version of "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" from Life Of Brian

Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it

Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true

You'll see it's all a show

Keep 'em laughing as you go!

Just remember that the last laugh is on you...

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sharp Looking Man

 

Stink Week rolls on, with two Homemade Albums featuring live versions of all the songs from Joe Jackson's first two albums. 

You might remember that Joe was briefly marketed as an Angry Young Man of the New Wave before the more mature jazz-pop stylings of songs like "Stepping Out" and "You Can't Get What You Want".

Look Sharp and I'm The Man were recorded within a few months of each other; both albums were released in 1979. "Is She Really Going Out With Him" was Joe's first hit single. 

He had a terrific band on these albums, with Graham Maby (one of the great unsung rock bassists), Gary Sanford on guitar, and drummer Dave Houghton. This quartet reunited in 2003 for the album Volume 4. These Homemade Albums draw from years of live performances, and both albums include bonus tracks. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Do I Have To Count It Off?

 

Here's a counterpart to yesterday's post: songs that feature counting. Almost 30 of them!

More than a few of the selections for this particular compilation were my suggestion, so I share a co-production credit. But the concept, the execution, and the artwork are Stinky's.

There are 1-2-3's and 3-2-1's. There's Rock Around The Clock and Twenty Flight Rock. There's hip hop, and Iggy Pop.  

There are also a number of songs with the word "Count" in the title -- six of them, by my count.  Incalculably clever! 

Friday, December 25, 2020

He Spells His Name S-T-I-N-K-Y

 

If you hung around the Twilight Zone a couple of years ago, you might remember Stinky compilations like "Hey, Check Out My Cheesy Organ!"

One of my favorites was called "Do I Need To Spell It Out?" It featured songs like "Respect" and "D-I-V-O-R-C-E".

Today we have a brand new Volume 2 as well as the first volume. The new one starts with The Wild Seeds and ends with You Am I, my favorite band from the Southern Hemisphere. In between, we are treated to "W-O-M-A-N", "B-A-B-Y" and "W-I-F-E" -- but no "Mannish Boy"? 

I sent Stinky a few more suggestions;  please add a comment if you have any ideas for Volume 3!