About Me

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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.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

TIRnRR # 4, Track By Track: Ray Paul, "I Need Your Love Tonight"

This is part of a series of short pieces discussing each of the 29 tracks on our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4The CD can be ordered at Kool Kat Musik.

4. RAY PAUL: "I Need Your Love Tonight"


Folks often equate pure pop music with a presumed innocence, a longing for true love manifested in holding hands while walking along the sand. But much of power pop is built upon a big brass bedrock of urgent, earthy desire. The Raspberries. The Knack. Even seemingly pristine pleas like The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" can use images of wedded bliss and everlasting love to (partially) cloak an earnest intent to shake the sheets. Wouldn't it be nice? Oh, yes....

Ray Paul knows his pop music. He knows its history, and he knows how it's done. And he knows that even an everlasting love has to start with the spark of one single night.

We've been corresponding with Ray since the earliest days of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, when Ray was living in Southern California, running a fab record label called Permanent Press. I recall receiving a message from Ray about TIRnRR, raving about our show, lamenting that even though he lived in the biggest media hub in the world, there was no one out there doing anything like what Dana and I were doing for three hours on the radio every week.

We were fans of Ray, as well; Permanent Press was a solid label, releasing both new and archival essentials from the likes of Badfinger, The Carpet Frogs, The Breetles, Walter Clevenger, and, of course, Ray Paul himself. In 2000, Ray's CD The Charles Beat collected his work from the late '70s and early '80s alongside a new collaboration with Emitt Rhodes. The Charles Beat included Ray's 1981 single "How Do You Know?," which became one of TIRnRR's all-time most-played tracks. Ray has appeared as a guest on TIRnRR twice, and I interviewed him for a feature in Yeah Yeah Yeah magazine. As a publicist, he continues to send great new stuff our way, from The Grip Weeds to Richard X. Heyman. His own 2016 release Whimsicality has been a consistent source of cool tunes for airplay on our little mutant radio show.

Until now, though, Ray has never appeared on a This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation. He wanted to, and we wanted him to, but the timing never worked out to make it happen. So when Dana and I were in the first, secret stages of assembling TIRnRR # 4, Ray was one of the first acts we approached.

And Ray had just the right song in mind.

It wasn't finished. It hadn't been recorded. He wouldn't even tell us the title at first. All he said was that it channeled Cheap Trick, and that it would be perfect for us. And man, was he ever right.

"I Need Your Love Tonight" is an irresistible explosion of primal, churning physical need, dressed in pretty pop clothing that it can't wait to strip out of. It's so good, and it revels in its own playfulness like a confident rockin' pop tune oughtta. While Ray was working on the track with Terry Draper of Klaatu, Terry asked Ray, "Are you sure you wanna give this song away...?!"

HA! It's ours now! But we're willing to share. While the track will, I'm sure, eventually appear on another new Ray Paul album someday, right now it's part of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4. And it's looking for some action, ladies. Love. I need a love. I want your love. I need a la-la-la-la-love. Take us all the way to everlasting love.

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