Tuesday, August 31, 2021

BOPPIN's Monthly Day Off

Once a month, Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) takes an all-too-brief break from its numbskull commitment to daily public posting, and distributes a special private post only for its beloved paid subscribers. This month's private post for patrons is the current draft of my liner notes to Flashcubes On Fire, the forthcoming live album by Syracuse's own power pop powerhouse the Flashcubes.

To review: it's me, writing about power pop, specifically about my personal connection to live music and to my all-time favorite power pop band. Wanna read it? It doesn't post to patrons until tomorrow, September 1st, so you've got just enough time to subscribe now. 

Regular daily public posting resumes tomorrow. You can become a patron of Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) for just $2 a month: Fund me, baby!

Monday, August 30, 2021

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1092: The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) [a finite look at the infinite]

An infinite number of songs can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. 

A few years back, I decided that notion would be a great premise for a series of essays. Yeah, The Greatest Record Ever Made! Some friends (including intrepid TIRnRR listener Dave Murray and invincible TIRnRR co-host Dana Bonn) urged me to start writing already, so the GREM! celebrations began on my blog with a spotlight on Badfinger's "Baby Blue," posted October 27th, 2016. Many more GREM! pieces would follow, part of an ongoing but finite glimpse at the infinite.

Seemed like a good idea for a book, too. I've written for magazines for decades, I've written for other people's books, but I've never had a book with my name on the front cover. In late 2018, I started putting together The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) as a book. In 2019, I secured an agent, wrote a formal book proposal, and things seemed to snapping into place for my GREM! book.

Until, y'know, they weren't snappin' anymore.

I went over some of the circumstances of the book's (perhaps permanent) pause here. Right now, I'm working on another book, which has an agreement with a publisher and a tentative publication date in late 2022. But I have not given up on my baby. I haven't given up on The Greatest Record Ever Made!

So here's a playlist built from songs given individual chapters in a long-threatened book called The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). Each set is designed as an excerpt from the book's planned Table of Contents, replicating six-song sequences from throughout the book. The two exceptions are the show's next-to-last set, which takes a break from the plan for a little bit of free play, offering songs from different parts of the book, and then also moving the Bay City Rollers' "Rock And Roll Love Letter" to the very end of the show, after the T-Bones' "No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)" and the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop" conclude the book.

Of course, the book contains many more songs than a three-hour radio show can spin before its witching hour. In addition to the stellar roll call of artists in the playlist seen below, The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) will also include the Isley Brothers, the Shangri-Las, the Rubinoos, James BrownMerle Haggard, the Spinners, the Bobby Fuller Four, Amy Rigby, Pink Floyd, the Beach BoysIke and Tina Turner, Suzi Quatro, Melanie with the Edwin Hawkins Singers, the New York Dolls, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Translator, the Bob Seger System, Freda Payne, Judy Collins, the Kingsmen, Little Richard, Patti Smith, the Temptations, the Ronettes, Rufus, Big Star, P. P. Arnold, the Smithereens, the Partridge Family, the O'Jays, the Pandoras, Paul Revere and the Raiders, the Shirelles, Lesley Gore, the Rolling StonesRick James (solo and with the Mynah Birds), the Pretenders, Millie Small, the Clash, the Jam, the Grateful Dead, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the Supremes, Ben E. King, Don Henley, Led Zeppelin, the BandwagonHolly Golightly, the Maytalsthe Cowsills, War, Petula Clark, Cheap Trick, the Jive Five, the Dave Clark Fivethe MC5, Heart, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Solomon Burke, Arthur Alexander, Alice Cooperthe MuffsEddie and the Hot Rods, T. Rex, Springsteen, Dylanthe Trammps, Linda Ronstadt, Grandmaster and Melle Mel, Judas Priest, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Bangles, the Four TopsGrand FunkSammy Ambrose, Van Halen, the Chambers BrothersBaron Daemon and the Vampires, and so much more. 

Each song is great. Each song is the greatest, in its own infinite turn. There oughtta be a book about that. Maybe there will be. This is what rock 'n' roll radio sounded like with The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) on a Sunday night in Syracuse this week.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read all about this show's long and weird history here: Boppin' The Whole Friggin' Planet (The History Of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO). TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS are always welcome.

The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:

Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

PS: SEND MONEY!!!! We need tech upgrades like Elvis needs boats. Spark Syracuse is supported by listeners like you. Tax-deductible donations are welcome at
http://sparksyracuse.org/support/

You can follow Carl's daily blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) at 
https://carlcafarelli.blogspot.com/

TIRnRR # 1092: 8/29/2021: The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) [a finite look at the infinite]

THE RAMONES: Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio? (Rhino, End Of The Century)
--
BADFINGER: Baby Blue (Apple, Straight Up)
CHUCK BERRY: Promised Land (MCA, The Anthology)
DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You (Mercury, The Very Best Of Dusty Springfield)
THE SEX PISTOLS: God Save The Queen (Virgin, Kiss This)
ELVIS PRESLEY: Heartbreak Hotel (RCA, The Top Ten Hits)
WILLIE MAE "BIG MAMA" THORNTON: Hound Dog (Sony, VA: Nowhere Boy OST)
--
THE RARE BREED: Beg, Borrow & Steal (Rhino, VA: Nuggets)
OTIS REDDING: (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (Rhino, Otis!)
ARETHA FRANKLIN: Respect (Atlantic, The Atlantic Singles 1967-1970)
THE MONKEES: Porpoise Song (Theme From Head) (Rhino, 50)
PRINCE: When You Were Mine (Warner Brothers, The Hits/The B-Sides)
THE 13th FLOOR ELEVATORS: You're Gonna Miss Me (Rhino, VA: Nuggets)
--
THE WHO: I Can't Explain (MCA, My Generation)
TODD RUNDGREN: Couldn't I Just Tell You (Rhino, Something/Anything?)
SHOES: Tomorrow Night (Big Beat, VA: Come On Let's Go!)
THE FLASHCUBES: No Promise (Northside, Bright Lights)
TELEVISION: Elevation (Elektra, Marquee Moon)
DONNA SUMMER: I Feel Love (Mercury, Summer: The Original Hits)
--
THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES: Shake Some Action (Ground Up Wrong, Between The Lines)
THE CARPENTERS: Only Yesterday (A & M, The Singles 1969-1981)
MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress (Mercury, Freak City Soundtrack)
THE 5TH DIMENSION: Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In (The Flesh Failures) (Arista, The Ultimate 5th Dimension)
THE JACKSON FIVE: I'll Be There (Motown, VA: Hitsville USA)
SLY & THE FAMILY STONE: Everybody Is A Star (Epic, Greatest Hits)
--
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: I'll Be Your Mirror (Polydor, Peel Slowly And See)
DEL SHANNON: Runaway (Rhino, Greatest Hits)
THE EVERLY BROTHERS: Gone, Gone, Gone (Warner Nrothers, Walk Right Back)
THE COCKTAIL SLIPPERS: St. Valentine's Day Massacre (Wicked Cool, Saint Valentine's Day Massacre)
FREDDIE & THE DREAMERS: Do The Freddie (EMI, The Best Of Freddie & the Dreamers)
SAM & DAVE: Soul Man (MCA, VA: The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968)
--
JOAN ARMATRADING: Me Myself I (A & M, Greatest Hits)
COTTON MATHER: The Book Of Too Late Changes (Star Apple Kingdom, Death Of The Cool)
THE SELECTER: On My Radio (EMI, Greatest Hits)
MANNIX: Highway Lines (Futureman, VA: This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 3)
TRACEY ULLMAN: They Don't Know (Rhino, You Broke My Heart In 17 Places)
THE DRIFTERS: On Broadway (Atlantic, All-Time Greatest Hits & More: 1959-1965)
--
THE KINKS: You Really Got Me (Essential, Kinks)
SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES: The Tears Of A Clown (Motown, VA: Hitsville USA)
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS: All For Swinging You Around (Matador, Electric Version)
THE SPONGETONES: (My Girl) Maryanne (Loaded Goat, Always Carry On)
KISS: Shout It Out Loud (Mercury, Destroyer)
THE COASTERS: Yakety Yak (Warner Platinum, Yakety Yak)
EDDIE COCHRAN: Somethin' Else (Razor & Tie, Somethin' Else)
LULU: To Sir, With Love [museum outings montage] (Retroactive, VA: To Sir, With Love OST)
NELSON RIDDLE [credited to NEAL HEFTI]: The Batman Theme (Watertower Music, VA: The Music Of DC Comics: Volume 2)
THE GO-GO'S: We Got The Beat (IRS, Beauty And The Beat)
THE RAMONES: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (Rhino, Rocket To Russia)
--
JOAN JETT: Bad Reputation (Blackheart, Bad Reputation)
STEVIE WONDER: I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) (Tamla, Talking Book)
MARYKATE O'NEIL: I'm Ready For My Luck To Turn Around (71, 1-800-Bankrupt)
EYTAN MIRSKY: This Year's Gonna Be Our Year (M-Squared, Year Of The Mouse)
THE JAYHAWKS: I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (Columbia, Smile)
THE BEATLES: Rain (Apple, Past Masters)
--
THE T-BONES: No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In) (BGO, No Matter What Shape [Your Stomach's In]/Sippin' 'N Chippin')
THE RAMONES: Blitzkrieg Bop (Rhino, Ramones)
THE BAY CITY ROLLERS: Rock And Roll Love Letter (Arista, The Definitive Collection)

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Tonight On THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO


THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1). We'll hear a few of the songs discussed in my long-threatened GREM! book, presented in six-song sequences, excerpts from the book's proposed Table of Contents. Power pop. Soul. Punk. Ska. British Invasion. R & B. Top 40. Indie. Motown. Nuggets. Rock 'n' roll. And more. An infinite number of songs can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Please join us for a finite glimpse of the infinite. Sunday night, 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FMhttp://sparksyracuse.org/

Saturday, August 28, 2021

POP-A-LOOZA: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! Badfinger, "Baby Blue"

Each week, the pop culture website Pop-A-Looza shares some posts from my vast 'n' captivating Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) archives. The latest shared post is a reprise of the very first piece in my long-running series The Greatest Record Ever Made!, a celebration of "Baby Blue" by Badfinger.

You know the mantra by now: an infinite number of songs can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. I've written a ton of GREM! pieces, about everyone from the Ramones to Chuck Berry to Dusty Springfield, plus Eytan Mirskythe Drifters, Mannixthe Rare Breed, the Kinks, Material Issue, the Who, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Flashcubes, Stevie Wonder, the Monkeesthe Beatles, and more. I still hope to turn this concept into a book. Some day. In the mean time, this week's edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio will devote its entire playlist to tracks given their own chapters in my long-threatened book, The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1).

That's the greatest. Wanna know the name of my all-time # 1 favorite track? It's a song I heard on the radio when I was in middle school, when a DJ promised me, "These guys sound like the Beatles!," and delivered on that promise. The greatest record ever made! "Baby Blue" by Badfinger is the subject of the latest Boppin' Pop-A-Looza.

TIP THE BLOGGER: CC's Tip Jar!

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

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:


Volume 1: download

Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.

Friday, August 27, 2021

My Top Ten Power Pop Acts

Jari Mäkeläinen asked me to contribute a sidebar piece to be used in Manifesti, a fanzine published in Finland. The challenge posed to sidebar contributors: name your all-time top ten power pop acts.

In the words of Micky Dolenz: okay, I will.

MY TOP TEN POWER POP ACTS

by Carl Cafarelli

For me, the challenge of naming my all-time top ten power pop acts is in deciding what parameters of power pop I wanna play within. While many view power pop as strictly a post-Beatles phenomenon, I agree with the view expressed by writers Greg Shaw and Gary Sperrazza! in Bomp! magazine's epic 1978 power pop issue: power pop began in the '60s. Greg 'n' Gary traced power pop back to the early Who, while I go a little bit further back to the Beatles' "Please Please Me" in 1963. I've begun to entertain the notion that power pop predates even that; I don't think the music of Buddy Holly, the Beach Boys, or the Everly Brothers is quite power pop, but it's difficult to dismiss the power pop gravitas of some of Eddie Cochran's singles, especially "Somethin' Else" and "Nervous Breakdown."

But I wouldn't list the Beatles or the Kinks among my all-time Fave Rave power pop acts, if only because so much of their work falls outside my idea of power pop. The Who were 100 % power pop until Tommy, and really not power pop after that. 

So my power pop Top Ten doesn't go back to the '60s. By default, and for different reasons, I wind up agreeing with those who won't move power pop's Ground Zero to any date before John, Paul, George, and Ringo settled on separate and individual long and winding roads. I've also come to accept the idea that power pop isn't so much a genre as it an approach, which means relatively few acts are strictly power pop all of the time. With all that said, this list offers ten dynamic rock 'n' roll combos I'm comfortable referring to as power pop acts.

THE WHO

Yeah, I was lying. Upon further review, you can't talk about power pop without talking about the early Who, "I Can't Explain" through The Who Sell Out. It's not just because Pete Townshend coined the phrase; it's because he and his band embodied it. Everything the Who did before Tommy is at least peripheral to power pop, and much of it is the power pop Gospel.

THE FLASHCUBES

My hometown heroes, my favorite power pop act, Syracuse's own power pop powerhouse. An incendiary 1979 live show is currently willing itself into imminent release under the title Flashcubes On Fire, and that is pop with power incarnate. In the mean time, Bright Lights collects the '70s stuff plus four then-new '90s tracks, and Flashcubes Forever anthologizes the 'Cubes in the 21st century.

(NOTE: for those power pop fans looking for an excuse to become one of this blog's $2-a-month paid supporters, my liner notes for Flashcubes On Fire will be September's private post for patrons on Wednesday, September 1st: Fund me, baby!)

THE RASPBERRIES

Power pop on the radio, where it belongs. The horny singles--"Go All The Way," "I Wanna Be With You," "Tonight," and "Ecstasy"--plus the dreamy "Let's Pretend" (also covered by the Bay City Rollers) and album track "Play On" combine for a compact summary of the Raspberries' power pop c.v.

THE RAMONES

A consistently controversial choice for a power pop list, but I side with the Bomp! writers who considered the Ramones an essential part of the power pop story. The first four albums tell the tale: Ramones, Leave Home, Rocket To Russia, and Road To Ruin, with a little extra oomph provided by the irresistible in-concert document It's Alive!

BADFINGER

This gets back to the idea that some (many, most) power pop bands aren't power pop all of the time. Badfinger certainly wasn't, but then I've also gotta get back to that idea of power pop on the radio, where it belongs. "Baby Blue" may be my all-time # 1 favorite track by anybody.

THE ROMANTICS

On the other hand, the Romantics are generally power pop regardless of their intent. It's their DNA. They tried to make a hard rock album, Strictly Personal, but it came out as hard-rockin' power pop, and I mean that as a compliment. If you do just one Romantics album, you've gotta go with the eponymous debut, which includes "What I Like About You" and "When I Look In Your Eyes." Their early indie singles are likewise essential, especially "Little White Lies"/"I Can't Tell You Anything."

THE GO-GO'S

I continuously waffle on the question of whether or not the Go-Go's can be considered a power pop act. Their debut album Beauty And The Beat comes close at the very least, and its power remains undiminished forty years on. It's not just that album's great singles "We Got The Beat" and "Our Lips Are Sealed," but also album tracks like "Can't Stop The World" and "This Town" that make the case on behalf of the Go-Go's. Add in subsequent tracks from "Vacation" to "Head Over Heels" to "The Whole World Lost Its Head" to "La La Land," and it's difficult to deny the truth that this is pop with power.

THE NERVES

Cheating, but I don't care. The Nerves' eponymous 1976 EP inspired Blondie with "Hanging On The Telephone" (written by the Nerves' Jack Lee), but Lee's fellow Nerves Paul Collins and Peter Case went on to have significant and prevailing impact on power pop with their post-Nerves work in Paul Collins' Beat and the Plimsouls, respectively.

BIG STAR

Big Star's story also sprawls, spills, and bleeds beyond power pop territory, and I'm sympathetic to those who claim the group's records didn't have the pure power one would expect from power pop. Nonetheless: "Back Of A Car" delivers, and "September Gurls" transcends our silly little labels to assume the description a rock journalist bestowed upon it decades ago: "Innocent, but deadly." First two albums, # 1 Record and Radio City. Third, however, is most definitely not power pop.

THE SPONGETONES

North Carolina's phenomenal pop combo the Spongetones have always taken their love of rock and pop and Beatles and British Invasion and channeled it into something unerringly Fab. You know that can't be bad.

With a limit of ten acts in this exercise, I can't go on to tell you about the Rubinoos, Pezband, Holly and the Italians, the Flamin' Groovies, the Records, Shoes, the Buzzcocks, Generation X, Dirty Looks, the Shivvers, the Scruffs, Sorrows, Artful Dodger, Blue Ash, the Knack, and dozens more, then and now. Good thing that, in real life, we're not limited to just ten favorite power pop acts, right? Play on.


TIP THE BLOGGER: CC's Tip Jar!

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

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:


Volume 1: download

Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

10 SONGS: 8/26/2021 The Tenth Annual DANA'S FUNKY SOUL PIT

10 Songs is a weekly list of ten songs that happen to be on my mind at the moment. Given my intention to usually write these on Mondays, the lists are often dominated by songs played on the previous night's edition of This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. The idea was inspired by Don Valentine of the essential blog I Don't Hear A Single.

This week's edition of 10 Songs draws exclusively from the playlist for This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1091: The Tenth Annual DANA'S FUNKY SOUL PIT.

THE MAIN INGREDIENT: Summer Breeze

A familiar act with a familiar song, albeit not a song we're used to hearing performed by this act. The Main Ingredient are best-remembered for "Everybody Plays The Fool," a # 3 hit on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1972. I don't remember whether or not I've ever heard anything else the Main Ingredient ever did, but I can say I heard their take on the Seals and Crofts hit "Summer Breeze" for the first time this week, when Dana included it in this year's Soul Pit

And it's a cool version in its own right. I think it's time I did a deeper dive into the Main Ingredient's c.v., mindful of the truth that any record you ain't heard is a new record. And we're always looking for new records.

(I think it's a safe bet that many of our regular listeners expected to hear "Summer Breeze" in the Soul Pit, just not as performed by the Main Ingredient. The version they expected closes this year's Soul Pit [as seen below], providing "Summer Breeze" bookends. That makes us feel fine.

THE 5TH DIMENSION: Up Up And Away

Have you seen Summer Of Soul yet? You must. Filmed at the Harlem Cultural Festival over a six-week period in 1969, assembled and annotated by Questlove as a 2021 feature film, Summer Of Soul is just a phenomenal work. Yeah, I know I'm prone to hyperbole, but I do believe Summer Of Soul is (at the very least) one of the finest pop music documentaries ever produced, one of the greatest concert films ever made, and quite possibly the all-time # 1 in both of those categories. 

Among the film's many, many highlights is an incandescent live performance by the 5th Dimension. Many have thought of this group as too establishment, too mainstream pop, but godDAMN they deliver here. If you ever dismissed the transcendent splendor of the 5th Dimension, it's well past time to reconsider them.

An embrace of the 5th Dimension should go beyond their live performance in Summer Of Soul. The records in the group's cavalcade o' hits are stunning: well-produced, well-performed, irresistible. Dana chose two 5th Dimension gems for this year's Soul Pit, "Age Of Aquarius" and "Up Up And Way." It just so happens we'll hear the 5th Dimension again in next week's show.

PEABO BRYSON: Minute By Minute

Playing Peabo Bryson's cover of the Doobie Brothers' "Minute By Minute" enabled me to deliver TIRnRR's (presumably) first-ever reference to TV's What's Happening!!: "Which Doobie you be?" (I could have saved it for the final set's spin of "Takin' It To The Streets" by Quincy Jones, but you know me; mine is the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, but the patience of Johnny Ramone.) 

HONEY CONE: Want Ads

Bubblesoul. Honey Cone's 1971 # 1 smash "Want Ads" is one of the definitive examples of that late '60s/early '70s hybrid of pure, bouncy AM radio sugar performed by black artists. Think early Jackson Five and Freda Payne's "Band Of Gold," or the shoulda-been-hit-singles by Josie and the Pussycats (with the incredible Patrice Holloway on lead vocals) as reference points. "Bubblesoul." Nothing else describes it better, except maybe "YEAH!"

QUINCY JONES: Takin' It To The Streets

Yeah, as promised, another Doobie Brothers cover. Have we ever played the Doobie Brothers on TIRnRR? I suspect not, given my prevailing and pervasive dislike of most of that group's material, but it's possible. We're large. We contain multitudes.

I sang a Doobie Brothers song once, warbling "China Grove" when I failed the audition to join a country rock group in college in 1977. That's likely the only Doobietune I ever liked at all. I actively loathed "Black Water" when it was an inescapable hit during my high school years, and I cringed in '79 when Rolling Stone's Dave Marsh referred to "What A Fool Believes" as "the closest thing we had to an anthem this year." An anthem, Dave? It is to blurgh....

Upon further review, I might concede that "Takin' It To The Streets" is at least as palatable as "China Grove," perhaps more so. The Doobies' original version sports a less-objectionable-than-usual (and actually pretty decent) lead vocal by the song's author Michael McDonald. Quincy Jones' 1978 cover enlists Luther Vandross and Gwen Guthrie for the vocals, and we're all winners. That's what this fool believes.

THE ROBINS: Riot In Cell Block No. 9

They fought the law and the law won. For now.

It would be a stretch to call the Robins' 1954 R & B classic "Riot On Cell Black No. 9" as a musical precursor to '70s blaxploitation flicks, but its lyrical tale of prison insurrection is closer in spirit to Shaft and Superfly than it is to the great 'n' goofy novelty hits of the Coasters, the subsequent vocal group that included ex-Robins Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner. Yakety yak? Don't talk back...if ya know what's good for you.

HUEY "PIANO" SMITH AND THE CLOWNS: Sea Cruise

"Sea Cruise" was written by N'awlins boogie-woogie ivory-tinkler Huey "Piano" Smith, and a 1959 hit by Frankie Ford. The version played this week on TIRnRR is the Forgotten Original, but it was originally unreleased, leaving Ford's take as the first "Sea Cruise" to set sail. Both versions use the identical backing track by Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns, with the hit version replacing Smith's lead vocals with white guy Ford. The racist implication of the record company's decision was purely coincidental, I'm sure. Ooo-wee, baby. 

IKE AND TINA TURNER: Gonna Find Me A Substitute



"Gonna Find Me A Substitute" was an LP track on 1961's The Soul Of Ike & Tina Turner, the first album by this incredible duo, whose unfortunate (to say the least) off-stage combustibility  overshadows the immense oomph of their accomplishment on wax. Ike Turner was close to an R & B rock 'n' roll genius, and he'd be rightly and widely celebrated if he hadn't been such a lousy human being. Instead, he's deplored. As he should be.

The title of this song serves as unintentional commentary on Ike and Tina's relationship. Tina was still Anna Mae Bullock, billed as Little Ann, when she began performing and recording with Ike Turner's band in the late '50s. When their recording of "Fool In Love" attracted record label attention in 1960, Ike realized he needed (or thought he needed) to maintain control of his singer. He changed her billing to Tina Turner, and then trademarked the name, so she could only use it under his aegis; if Little Ann left Ike, well, he could just get a substitute to be the new Tina Turner.

Bastard.

Tina Turner survived all of that. She even took her name with her. Nothing could stop the voice--and the soul--of Tina Turner.  

SARAH VAUGHAN: Smooth Operator

No, it's not the Sade song. Sarah Vaughan is one of the legendary singers of American jazz, but her 1959 single "Smooth Operator" flirts with pop, R & B, rock 'n' roll, and even a hint of what would come to be known as the girl group sound. Jazz? Sure. Why not? All of your labels are belong to us. Pretty smooth.

THE ISLEY BROTHERS: Summer Breeze

The Greatest Record Ever Made! An infinite number of songs can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. The Isley Brothers' incredible take on "Summer Breeze" earns its own chapter in my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). We'll hear a few other candidates for GREM! on next week's show. 

That is, in fact, ALL we'll hear on next week's show, as TIRnRR presents a finite glimpse of the infinite: The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1). Hope you can join us.

TIP THE BLOGGER: CC's Tip Jar!

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

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

The many fine This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin' pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:


Volume 1: download

Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset--Benefit For This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio:  CD or download

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.