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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Friday, March 31, 2017

LOVE AT FIRST SPIN: Mr. Tambourine Man

Love At First Spin looks back at albums that I immediately loved, from start to finish, the first time I heard them. The concept was suggested by Steve Stoeckel, and was detailed here.

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THE BYRDS: Mr. Tambourine Man (Columbia, 1965)

Would pop journalists even know the word "jangly" if not for The Byrds? One presumes so. I mean, The Beatles were known to jangle occasionally before The Byrds hit big, and there's certainly plenty of jangle to be savored in the synchronized guitars of "Needles And Pins" and "When You Walk In The Room" by The Searchers. But, with the irresistible twelve-string ring of The Byrds' take on Bashful Bobby Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," these jet-settin' former Beefeaters became synonymous with the idea of jangly pop music. Listen to that jingle jangle.

The Byrds were one of the many great '60s acts I discovered after the fact, when I was a teenager in the '70s. Their music was probably at least somewhere within the fringe of my consciousness when I was younger, but I didn't really take any notice until, I think, around 1975 or so. That's when my so-called attention was caught by a TV commercial--you know the type, hawking some presumably-essential assortment of classic hit records, each the original song by the original artist, slapped together just for you on this unbelievable bargain-priced set of LPs or eight-tracks, for a limited time, so order now, man, NOW! I specifically recall the commercial included snippets of "Kicks" by Paul Revere & the Raiders (which would ultimately be a seismic event for me, too) and "Turn! Turn! Turn!" by The Byrds.


I didn't buy the TV record. I don't think I've ever purchased a TV record, at least not until I bought a series of Time-Warner Classic Rock CDs in the late '80s and early '90s. I am gullible, but selectively gullible. Nonetheless, that TV commercial was my gateway to The Byrds.



From there, I proceeded through rock history books and oldies radio shows to learn about The Byrds. I had some favorites: "Mr. Tambourine Man,"and "Turn! Turn! Turn!," of course, but especially "Eight Miles High" and "So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star." I was still learning. My first avian jangle purchase was the "Eight Miles High" 45, plucked from the overflowing rack of singles at Syracuse's Walt's Record Shop on North Salina Street. My first Byrds LP was Fifth Dimension, which I probably bought at The Record Grove when I was a freshman at Brockport College in the fall of 1977. I'm not positive, but I think I bought a used (and battered) copy of the Turn! Turn! Turn! LP (perhaps at Syracuse's Desert Shore Records, when it was still located in Eastwood) before purchasing my copy of The Byrds' debut album, Mr.Tambourine Man at The Record Grove.

Although I'd learned a little bit more about The Byrds by this point--and by "a little bit" I mean that I'd heard and enjoyed the track "Chestnut Mare" on Brockport's campus radio station, WBSU--I was still a neophyte awaiting flight. The title track on Mr. Tambourine Man was the only song I knew beforehand. Things were about to change, on first spin.

Jangle. If the word didn't exist in the rock 'n' roll writer's lexicon before 1965, the hypnotic chime of guitars in the first few seconds of "Mr. Tambourine Man" suddenly makes the word necessary, and eternal. The soaring harmony of the chorus sends the song into the stratosphere, like a gift from above, before you've even had time to sit down after setting the needle to the groove. Maybe you shouldn't even bother sitting down right now. What's the point? The music is going to move you forward no matter what you do.

So, obviously, "Mr. Tambourine Man" is The Greatest Record Ever Made. Matchless. Nonpareil. Impossible to equal, let alone surpass. The sine qua non of pop music. And how do you follow that?

Well, apparently you follow it with an even better song.



"I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" is amazing, and one of rock 'n' roll all-time greatest kiss-offs: "I'll feel a whole lot better...when you're GONE!" Don't let the door hit ya, ya worthless crumb. Its riff is prototypical folk-rock, lifted in part from "Needles And Pins," and later modified by The Beatles for "If I Needed Someone," a song which would not exist if "I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better" didn't first provide the elements to pilfer and inspire. This is Gene Clark's finest moment, and that's saying something.

Dylan's "Spanish Harlem Incident" allows us to catch our breath while still remaining fully engaged. "You Won't Have To Cry" nicks so blatantly from The Beatles' early clues to the new direction that you'd swear The Byrds found it by turning left at Greenland; but it's pleasant and agreeable thievery, further justifying the smile that's been widening upon your appreciative head as the album plays on.

Side One closes with the ferocious one-two gut punch of "Here Without You" and "The Bells Of Rhymney." The desperate loneliness of "Here Without You" hits you in waves of longing and regret; the mining disaster of "The Bells Of Rhymney" lifts up its mourning with the now-familiar jangle, a pure, pristine pop sound that reminds us of redemption, deliverance, in the face of horrible tragedy.

(Decades later, following a devastating personal loss, I played "Here Without You" on the birthday of a departed loved one. I sobbed to myself, inconsolable, throughout its spin.)

Another Dylan song, "All I Want To Do," kicks off Side Two with freewheelin' abandon, leading into the yearningly romantic swoon of "I Knew I'd Want You" and the cantankerous swagger of "It's No Use." Jackie DeShannon's "Don't Doubt Yourself, Babe" (a life-affirming ditty best summed up as "I'm okay, you're oh, baby!") runs best-foot-first into Bob Dylan's last stand (for now), the clarion call "Chimes Of Freedom." We feel important. We feel deep. Our toes are tapping, sure, but they're tapping meaningfully. The album closes with a house call from Dr. Strangelove, as the traditional British "We'll Meet Again" stiffens our upper lip for that long day's journey into night. Let the dark armies come as they may; The Byrds have established a resistance.

Cool 1965: David Crosby, Chris Hillman, Gene Clark, Michael Clarke, Jim McGuinn
It's silly to think of The Byrds as underground, even in 1965. This is pop music, unabashedly so, yet still deeper than the market required, more accomplished than the teen mags expected, unassailably cool in ways that defy analysis. "Cool" is an intangible, an ephemeral, an imprecise ideal that can't quite be defined or quantified. In 1965, cool was embodied by The Byrds.

The Byrds weren't considered cool for long. The Rolling Stones--surlier, more sinister bad boys!--usurped that title in short order. Four of the five original Byrds left the nest as seasons turned, turned, turned: Gene Clark was gone in 1966, David Crosby and Michael Clarke followed in '67, and Chris Hillman departed right around the time Richard Nixon rose to the top of the charts. Jim McGuinn--later known as Roger McGuinn--was the only member to remain in all of the varying incarnations of The Byrds, and the group finally ended in '73 (following a one-off reunion album by the original quintet). For too many people, The Byrds became a mere footnote in the chronicle of Crosby's path to the more celebrated Crosby, Stills & Nash. While I like CSN, I can't forget the fact that CSN broke up three great groups--The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies--to make one good group.

I had a ticket to see McGuinn, Clark & Hillman in 1978 or '79, when this Byrdly trio visited Brockport. But I didn't like their new stuff, figured they probably wouldn't perform any Byrds songs, and sold my ticket instead. Aside from passing on a chance to see James Brown in the mid '80s, this was the stupidest missed opportunity on my concert-goin' resume. 

Over time, I acquired nearly all of The Byrds' albums, via CD reissues if nothing else. I still like the early stuff the best, Mr. Tambourine Man through Younger Than Yesterday. I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now. Cyril Jordan of The Flamin' Groovies once said that no one ever released another subsequent album as great as Mr. Tambourine Man. When I interviewed Cyril for Goldmine in the early '90s, I asked him if he still thought that was true; "Still true!" was his simple response. Still true. Still jangling. And still a love at first spin.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

WHAT IF? SO WHAT? The 1979 Fantasy And Science Fiction Journal, Parts 10 and 11

Continuing entries from the journal I kept for Dr. Calvin Rich's Fantasy And Science Fiction class as a senior at Brockport in the Fall of 1979.



# 10: 10/17/79

What if parallel worlds collided? Imagine the two opposite extremes of alternate universes--the universe never-to-be-born, and the universe never-to-live-again--being drawn magnetically together, just as all opposites attract. All realities in between--realities including the past, present, future, possible, impossible, imagined, experienced--would then be crushed together, intruding upon each other's spacial dimension. Jesse James could stand face-to-face with The Village People in the midst of World War VI. Hansel and Gretel might have a shoot-out with the P.L.O. A Kennedy-Carter debate might be suddenly interrupted by Dr. Frank N. Furter (of The Rocky Horror Picture Show), swishing and singing, "Pleased to meet you...!"

As the magnetic attraction increases and the pressure of compression grows, all realities will eventually meet, mingle, and be crushed together. Finally, the two opposites will join and destroy each other, leaving only emptiness, a non-universe, a black hole in space, assuring that nothing can ever be again.

DR. RICH'S COMMENT: Must this necessarily follow?

# 11: 10/21/1979



I'm feeling a trifle sentimental today; Brenda and I began dating each other exactly one year ago, so it's only fitting that I should set down some sort of romantic (in the popular sense) fantasy....

Imagine that a man and a woman are in love, deeply in love. But, like Romeo and Juliet, their families and societies are violently opposed to any union of the two, and keep the couple separated. No contact between them is allowed. Their very love itself is forbidden. What, then, are two young, star-crossed lovers to do?

Assuming that their love is strong, it should then, theoretically, be more than equal to any obstacles men may place in its path. Thus, the lovers' minds and consciousnesses become acutely attuned to one another; although they may be separated by miles and men, their souls--the essential inner spirit which is part of all hnau--may remain forever intertwined. The mental yearning for each other may overcome the restrictions of their corporeal forms, as the lovers re-unite and merge forever in the "psychic stratosphere" (to borrow a phrase from the pop group Blondie). Forceful separation is impossible; as long as love remains strong, the lovers remain psychically linked.

The concept here is of love--an abstract, intangible thing--as a more concrete, magical wonder capable of transcending all opposition, of moving worlds and altering the decrees of fate and history; love as an irresistible force against which there can be no immovable object.

(Happy Anniversary, Brenda)

DR. RICH'S COMMENT: You will delight in John Donne!

2017 POSTSCRIPT: Awwwww...! But let's start with the first entry.

The collision of parallel worlds, like all of my previous entries about parallel worlds, is heavily influenced by DC Comics' parallel universe stories of Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Three, Earth-X, Earth-S (for Shazam), et al. This particular entry's mingling of realities, presages DC's mid '80s Crisis On Infinite Earths, but it wasn't all that different from images seen in the pages of Justice League Of America, and in the one hundredth issue of DC's Showcase. I daresay DC never had Frank N. Furter interrupt a political debate, though. I like the mashups I chose to represent this concept.

The second entry was written by a young man in love. In our first year as a couple, Brenda and I had already faced some complications and turbulence. Almost 40 years later, we still standin'. It's not quite true that love conquers all, but I wouldn't advise placing a bet against it.



WHEN WHAT IF? SO WHAT? RETURNS: It's just a jump to the left.



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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

GROOVE GRATITUDE (A Gift Of Music)



In my continuing effort to fill this space with an engaging blog post each day, I'm starting a new series called Groove Gratitude (A Gift Of Music). Groove Gratitude will look back on music I received as a gift at some point, and will encompass LPs and CDs (plus cassettes and 45s, if I think of any that qualify). Continuing the personal nature of much of Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), entries in Groove Gratitude will discuss the selected album itself, perhaps touch on its history and its place in the artist's own story, and place it in the context of its specific relevance to me (i.e., who gave it to me, the circumstances surrounding the gift, and what it meant to me, then and now).

This new series was inspired indirectly by my friend Ronnie Dark (host of The Wax Museum with Ronnie Dark on WVOA in Syracuse), who recently posted on Facebook about The Beatles, aka The White Album. Ronnie thinks The White Album is The Beatles' least-interesting work; he doesn't hate it, but doesn't think it's up to the standards set by any and all of the Beatles releases that preceded it. A lot of folks have similarly criticized The White Album over the years; I believe even producer George Martin--who sure knew a thing or two about The Beatles' music--felt it should have been a single album, rather than a (presumably bloated) 2-LP set.

So Ronnie's on pretty solid ground, and among good company, with his opinion of The White Album. Paul Armstrong of The Flashcubes responded that, its faults notwithstanding, he'd rather listen to The White Album than Sgt. Pepper; I responded that I like both of those albums, but would still prefer Beatles VI to either of 'em.

But the exchange got me thinking. I used to love The White Album. Then I didn't love The White Album. What do I think of it now? And this, in turn, prompted me to remember receiving the album as a graduation gift from three girls I knew in high school. And that led me to thinking about all the many, varied records I received as gifts over the span of decades...

...And the idea for a new Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks) series was born.

The inaugural entry in Groove Gratitude will address The White Album, and it will initially be a private post for Boppin' subscribers only. It will not be available publicly until at least June. If you want to read it before that time, you can become a patron of Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) for as little as $2 a month; patrons receive one bonus private blog post each month. Past private posts have included my introduction for a book I may someday finishing writing (about The Ramones), a Greatest Record Ever Made about "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks, a Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery about seeing The Monkees in 2012, and a super-secret update on a sort-of-secret project I've been working on. None of these has yet been made available to the public, but they're all available right now to patrons of Boppin'. You can become a patron via Patreon: Fund me, baby!

There will, of course, be plenty of public Groove Gratitude entries, too, and more of all of my other series: The Everlasting First, Rescued From The Budget Bin!, Love At First Spin, Comic Book Retroview, The Greatest Record Ever Made, Batman's Degrees Of Separation, What If? So What?, The Notebook Notions, Virtual Ticket Stub Gallery, and Lights! Camera! REACTION! There will also be "Count Me In," the previously-promised post about rock 'n' roll's all-time greatest count-ins, and still more stuff that I haven't even imagined yet. A daily blog eats up ideas in a very short time. Luckily, I have a lot of ideas. Whether you're a paid patron or a casual visitor, I thank you for being one of those boppin' hip folks.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Words In Books (The Fifth Sentence On The 56th Page)




I love books. I accumulate them faster than I can read them, but that's okay; very few books have fixed expiration dates. I continue to buy them and read them as whim dictates; books borrowed from the library are always top o' the queue, because those do have expiration dates. I go through periods where the only things I'm reading are comic books and on-line commentaries, and other periods where it's one book after another. I love reading. I love books.

Recently, my pal Jeanne Chu posted this on Facebook, copied (I presume) from another source:

It's National Book Week. The rules are, grab the closest book to you, turn to page 56, post the 5th sentence as your status. Don't mention the title. 

Now. There are four tall stacks of books piled on top of the filing cabinet near my desk, another shorter stack atop the same cabinet, a full book case behind my chair, a row of DC Comics Archives hardcover collections beneath the shelves of encyclopedias, and still more books crammed onto two more shelves nearby. The book closest to me? Er...lessee. That stack has a comic book trade paperback collection on top, that has a pop encyclopedia, that has some CDs on top of the books, and that one has a paperback novel based on a largely-forgotten TV series. I picked one, found the page, counted down to the fifth sentence, and listed as my Facebook status:

"'But--Mr. Vincent,' the woman's strained voice came back."

Hmmm. Hardly Shakespeare, nor even Spillane, but that's where the exercise took me.

But when it comes to pop culture obsession, as with Lay's Potato Chips, I never stop with just one. Here are a bunch more fifth sentences from the 56th page of a few of the books here in my home office. In each case, I skipped any partial sentences at the top of the page, and started counting with the first complete sentence:

"'Before this goes any further,' he said, 'you should know that I might not be coming back, myself."

"I have no choice...give me the address."

"Smith."

"What a name for a rock writer: Bang! Bang!"

"He had a powerful stage presence, an amazing voice and, we soon discovered, like Van, a knack at writing songs that were a cut above."

"She sat down on the edge of the bed, and looked at him carefully."

"'I'm Veronica Mars."

"Captain Smythe from The Awkward Squad, the factory owner's dim-witted, public-school-educated son, spoke in a ridiculous voice, like the Queen if she'd been born simple."

"His drumming is not up to snuff, and he fails the audition."

"So did Townshend and Daltrey."

"I needed that money."

"'Now let's get back to the festivities.'"

"As the interview with John Broome--and its Afterword--will reveal, such is far from the case."

"It was Detective Sergeant McGrath and he looked as though he meant business."

"The piece was titled 'Psychotic Reactions And Carburetor Dung: A Tale Of These Times,' and that name of course would later be given to a well-known anthology of Lester's writings."

"Byrnes liked to brag that 'UBC is a young network, but we don't put up with ageism,' though he neglected to mention that he could get away with paying older pros like Phillips half, or less, of what the big boys had."

"'Solve the mystery of the hand-outs.'"

"I got signatures of the first two Batman-suspects, but neither of them match Batman's handwriting!"

"There it lay and flamed."

"'I want you to meet Bobo.'"

"Startled at his wife's sharp interruption, York turned to look."

"She conceived it, birthed it, and named it Jubilant."

"Like Kelly, and Daley, Kennelly was born in Bridgeport."

"The man was plainly a hardened revolutionary who had been planning revolt against the Romans for years and had slowly been building up enough followers to make the attempt successful."

"Turning it to read the three initials, E.D.W., she shivered with anticipation."

"It's not on."

"Talk Hall is very histerical with old things wot are fakes and King Anne never slept there I tell you."

"He was tireless."

"'Well, the buttonhole job oughtta be a cinch for a mayonnaise champion,' I said."

"Then Doc's real appearance is never described in the super-sagas, and the discrepant descriptions by Dent and the other Savage writers might be explained."

"'Why don't you go on home, Scout?'"

"Sent from another planet, landed near the lake of shadows."

"As it struck, the beast voiced a horrifying scream of pain and rage; then it charged."

"'I hear him,' she cried."

"(There's another gn--and gno help either, I bet.)"

Okay. Just to spread this pure pulp love around, I grabbed a few more paperbacks from the many, many more stashed in my garage:

"Nothing could ever rob us of the pleasure of seeing Von Bork's face when he recognised us."

"Occasionally he thought he was sterile, with an inclination to be pleased rather than concerned if it was true,"

"My taste didn't run to exotic French cuisine, but the change could be different and I made a one o'clock date to meet him there."

"That would be okay."

"His face seemed bleach-white, but I could not for the soul of me make out his features or find even his eyes."

"Spade watched them burn while she put away his hat and coat."

"He tore the wheel round right-handed, and there was another shot that missed high."

And there you have it: a mix of fiction and non-fiction, comics and prose, the amputated works of Dashiell Hammet, Bill FingerPhilip Jose Farmer, Paul Zindel, Eando Binder, Harper Lee, Ian Fleming, John M. BorackMax Allan Collins, Mike RoykoPhilip Wylie, Fritz Leiber, Dave DiMartino, Mickey Spillane, Dave Wallis, Michael Moorcock, Ken Sharp, Donald Westlake, Richard Bissell, Aldous Huxley, Nick Hornby, Harlan Ellison, Lee Falk, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Elliott S. Maggin, Rob Thomas, Jim DeRogatis, Edmond Hamilton, T. Mike Childs, Mike W. BarrG. Wayman Jones, Steve Englehart, and John Lennon, the milieus of Tarzan and Batman and The Black Bat and James Bond, Sam Spade, Doc Savage, Veronica Mars, The Spectre, and even the above-mentioned TV tie-in novel, The Invaders by Keith Laumer. I just picked that one up last week.

I have a reserve request in at the library for Sara Paretsky's new V.I. Warshawski novel; there's a new Sue Grafton due out in the summer, I think. But maybe I'll read this Lester Bangs biography while I'm waiting, or that book about The Monkees and their movie Head, or I could see what The Man From U.N.C.L.E. has been up to. Or Operator 5. Or Jim Boeheim. Or...or...or....

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Monday, March 27, 2017

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 866: Let's Be The Beatles!



For this week's extra-fab edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl, we welcomed back the one 'n' only Bruce Gordon for another installment of Let's Be The Beatles! Bruce believes that the popularity and influence of The Beatles was so vast and pervasive that each and every track the group released in the '60s inspired at least one imitation by another act. These are aren't covers of Beatles songs, but attempts to re-write Beatles songs and pass 'em off as (forgive the expression) Something New--attempts, in effect, to be The Beatles. Nifty concept, right? And it makes for compelling radio. 


For Volume 4 of Let's Be The Beatles, Bruce set his sights on the impact of Beatles For Sale, which I regard as the most underrated album in The Beatles' canon. Its American two-for counterparts, Beatles '65 and Beatles VI, were enormously important to me as a young rockin' pop fan, and my affection for them hasn't dimmed a bit over the ensuing decades. In fact, that period of Beatles music starting just before Beatles For Sale (i.e., A Hard Day's Night) through Revolver--mid 1964 through 1966--remains my all-time favorite run of pop music by anyone. So it was a thrill to witness Bruce put a mirror up to Beatles For Sale, and let those reflections sing for themselves. Sort of.

(Plus, it's always a pleasure to see Bruce anyway. We've been fans of his own nonpareil pop music as Mr. Encrypto since the beginning, and his current work as a member of Pop Co-Op has already produced your favorite album of 2017, Four State Solution. Bruce, in the words of The American Beatles: Gabba Gabba, we accept you, we accept you, one of us! We look forward to Bruce's eventual return to Syracuse for more Let's Be The Beatles!)

This week's show will be available for download soon. In the mean time, you can already grab Bruce's most recent previous TIRnRR/Let's Be The Beatles at http://westcottradio.org/archive/rock_n_roll_radio_2017-03-12.mp3, and you can read up on the concept at http://www.silentbugler.com/Lets_Be_The_Beatles/Contents.htm. But for now? Look below! This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like on a Sunday night in Syracuse this week.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl streams live on Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, exclusively at www.westcottradio.org

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 


TIRnRR # 866: Let's Be The Beatles Vol. 4: Beatles Fire Sale 3/26/17 

THE BEATLES:  No Reply (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
--
THE SPONGETONES: Now You're Gone (Black Vinyl, Beat and Torn)
THE RASPBERRIES: Nobody Knows (Capitol Japan, Fresh Raspberries)
THE RED BUTTON: Hopes Up (Grimble, She's About To Cross My Mind)
STEREOLAB: Pack Yr Romantic Mind (Elektra, Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements)
THE BEATLES: I'm a Loser (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE MERRY GO ROUND: A Clown's No Good (Rev-Ola, Listen, Listen: The Definitive Collection)
LOS SHAKERS: Hear My Words (EMI, Shakers For You)
COTTON MATHER: Candy Lilac (Star Apple Kingdom, Death of the Cool)
--
THE BEATLES: Baby's in Black (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: I Am On My Own (Epic, I Like It Like That)
THE MERRY GO ROUND: Gonna Fight the War (Rev-Ola, Listen, Listen: The Definitive Collection)
BUCK OWENS: Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass (Omnivore, Buck 'Em!)
THE BEATLES: Rock And Roll Music (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE SPONGETONES: Here I Go Again (Black Vinyl, Beat and Torn)
LIVERPOOL ECHO: Another Night Alone (Rev-Ola, Liverpool Echo)
--
THE BEATLES: I'll Follow the Sun (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE KINKS: So Long (Castle Music, Kinda Kinks)
THE DAVE CLARK FIVE: ‘Til The Right One Comes Along (Epic, Weekend in London)
THE BEE GEES: Follow The Wind (Festival, Brilliant From Birth)
THE FIVE AMERICANS: Now That It’s Over (Sundazed, Western Union)
THE ZOMBIES: A Love That Never Was (Big Beat, Zombie Heaven)
THE SPONGETONES: Always Carry On (Black Vinyl, Oh Yeah!)
THE MOVE: This Time Tomorrow (Repertoire, Looking On bonus track)
--
THE BEATLES: Mr. Moonlight (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE MOJOS: Forever (See For Miles, Liverpool 1963-1964 Volume 2)
THE REDCOATS: Love Unreturned (Dionysus, Meet the Redcoats - Finally!)
THE BEATLES: Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE EASYBEATS: Today (Albert, Volume 3)
BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD: Leave (Atco, Buffalo Springfield)
--
THE BEATLES: Eight Days a Week (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
UTOPIA: That's Not Right (Rhino, Deface the Music)
HUSKER DÜ: Hate Paper Doll (SST, Flip Your Wig)
BADFINGER: I’ll Be The One (Capitol, No Dice bonus track)
THE ROLLING STONES: I’m Free (London, Out of Our Heads)
--
THE BEATLES: Words of Love (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
CHAD & JEREMY: A Summer Song (World Artists, Summer's Gone)
THE TROGGS: I Don’t Know Why (Repertoire, Cellophane bonus track)
STEVE & THE BOARD: Rosemarie (Ascension, …And the Giggle Eyed Goo)
THE EASYBEATS: Too Much (Albert, It's 2 Easy)
THE BEE GEES: Cherry Red (Festival, Brilliant From Birth)
GARY LEWIS & THE PLAYBOYS: 3 Cheers (Liberty, Rhythm of the Rain/Hayride)
--
THE BEATLES: Honey Don't (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE RASPBERRIES: Goin' Nowhere Tonight (Capitol Japan, Fresh Raspberries)
THE MERSEYBEATS: It Would Take A Long, Long Time (Bear Family, I Think of You - The Complete Recordings)
THE BEATLES: Every Little Thing (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE HOLLIES: Take Your Time (EMI, Would You Believe?)
THE MERRY GO ROUND: Had to Run Around (Rev-Ola, Listen, Listen: The Definitive Collection)
--
THE BEATLES: I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE TWILIGHTS: If She Finds Out (Raven, The Way They Played)
THE CRYAN' SHAMES: Bits and Pieces (Sundazed, Synthesis bonus track)
THE MASCOTS: Droopy Drops (Rock-in-Beat, Ellpee)
PINKERTON'S ASSORTED COLOURS: On A Street Car (Castle Music, Flight Recorder: From Pinkerton's Assorted Colours to The Flying Machine)
THE SHAKERS: Won't You Please (Audio Fidelity, Break It All)
CRAZY HORSE: Outside Lookin’ In (Reprise, At Crooked Lake)
--
THE BEATLES: What You're Doing (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
THE DOVERS: What Am I Gonna Do (Rhino, Nuggets Vol. 4)
NRBQ: That's Alright (Rounder, All Hopped Up)
REVOLVER: Where You Goin' (PVC, Radio Tokyo Tapes Vol. 3)
THE BEATLES: Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby (Apple, Beatles For Sale)
LOS WALKERS: Take My Hands and Tell Me (Electro Harmonix, Walking Up Con Los Walkers)
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THE BEAU BRUMMELS: Woman (Sundazed, Volume 2)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tonight On THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO



Bruce Gordon returns for another fab-packed edition of Let's Be The Beatles! This week, Bruce will explore the impact and influence of Beatles For Sale, with a fine assortment of tracks from various artists, not quite covering The Beatles, but copying them. Some thefts are mere thefts, but some thefts are glorious. Let's Be The Beatles: Beatles For Sale! Who will buy this wonderful evening? Sunday night, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org



Hey! Wanna know more about the Let's Be The Beatles concept? Read all about it here.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lights! Camera! REACTION! My Life At The Movies, Part 1



I've been trying to remember what could have been the first movies I ever saw. This was the early '60s, long before there was any such thing as home video, so we're talking about trips to the movie theater or drive-in. I suppose it's possible I could have seen a movie on TV, but it's not likely. My TV watching was exclusively devoted to cartoons, maybe some sitcoms, and kid's shows like Shenanigans, our local institution Magic Toy Shop, and The Baron And His Buddies, the latter starring Mike Price as Syracuse's own inimitable local TV vampire, Baron Daemon.



So , let's say we're looking around 1964, when I was four years old, or maybe even as early as three-year-old Carl in '63. I remember occasional trips to The North Drive-In in nearby Cicero, piled into the car with family to see cartoons and a feature. There was a playground at the drive-in, right in front of the screen, for little ones like me to cavort 'n' frolic before the pictures started. I also remember wearing my pajamas in the car; the adults had a reasonable expectation that the kid would fall asleep long before the final credits rolled, so best be prepared to lift the li'l tyke outta the car and plop him in bed at evening's end.

Although I remember all of the above, and I specifically remember seeing a Pixie And Dixie And Mr. Jinks cartoon at the drive-in, the earliest drive-in feature film I can specifically remember is The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night. But I am certain that was not my first movie.


I think I have the answer narrowed down to four likely choices, though there could have been another forgotten trip to the cinema that predates all of them. But I know I saw the 1963 Disney animated film The Sword In The Stone, and I know I saw Don Knotts in the 1964 live action/animation hybrid The Incredible Mr. Limpet. Simple chronology suggests The Sword In The Stone would have been first, but it's also possible I saw that film on second run, so who knows?



And it's for damned sure I saw the 1964 blockbuster Mary Poppins at the movies, maybe at the drive-in (predating A Hard Day's Night). Everyone saw Mary Poppins in 1964!



The fourth, vaguely-remembered flick in this group has been difficult to identify. I recall being in a movie theater--possibly in downtown Syracuse--when I was quite young; I remember a talking snake; and I remember a woman on screen, laughing. That's it. My only other recollection is of us leaving the theater as this woman laughed; I would guess that the scene on screen rattled precious little me, leading to a decision that it was time for us to go. Bye bye, snake. By bye, laughing lady.



A little internet sleuthing leads me to believe this film was probably 7 Faces Of Dr. Lao, a 1964 fantasy film directed by George Pal and starring Tony Randall. I've never seen the film in its entirety--nor at all since we presumably made our hasty retreat from the movie house in 1964--but while the description and YouTube clips of the movie don't precisely match my hazy memory, they're close enough for me to call it. The intrepid Tony Randall played the title role, and a talking snake, and a laughing, creepy Medusa, among other parts. Eerie ookiness achieved--7 Faces Of Dr. Lao was one of the first movies I ever saw.


(One other movie worth mentioning in this context is Cinderfella, a 1960 Jerry Lewis flick. I was born in 1960, so I'll go out on a limb here and conclude that I probably don't remember seeing Cinderfella on its first run. But maybe a second [or third] run, at the drive-in? That would make sense. Let's call it a kookie quintet of feature films, all mixed together in a photo-finish tie for the coveted title of Carl's First Movie.)

I'm not a movie buff. I've always liked movies, but I don't go to see an awful lot of them, nor do I catch up with many films on home video or on demand. I've never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey. I've never The Godfather. I've never seen a Hitchcock film, other than seeing part of The Birds once on TV. I don't say any of this for shock value, nor to be smug or iconoclastic or dismissive of the art of film. I'm not proud of the movies I've missed, but I'm also not specifically motivated to correct these omissions in my film-seein' resume.

This sporadic series of Lights! Camera! REACTION! will look at some of the films I have seen, examine my history as a filmgoer, and just generally chat about my life at the movies. Grab some popcorn, and shhhh! The lights are dimming. I'm ready for my close-up.

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