Friday, July 5, 2024


 10 Songs is a weekly list of ten songs that happen to be on my mind at the moment. The lists are usually dominated by songs played on the previous Sunday 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 will really be 40 Songs, presented in four parts. The selections draw from the playlist for This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio # 1240, presenting a few of the tracks featured in my new book THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (VOLUME 1).

We played 48 tracks on this week's show; for ten of those, I read on-air excerpts from the book's chapter about that track. This four-part collection of 10 Songs columns will offer snippets on behalf of the other 38 tracks, with two bonus tracks at the end.

You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.


I'm gonna show you, baby, that a woman can be tough.

There was this girl who sang the blues.

In the 1975 film That's the Way Of the World (starring Harvey Keitel and Earth, Wind and Fire), actress Cynthia Bostick plays Velour Page, an ambitious and amoral singer with a squeaky-clean public image. In one scene, Velour mentions Janis Joplin. "I saw her once," Velour says between swigs from her bottle. "God, what an ugly bitch. You know, on the outside. Inside she was beautiful. She was me turned inside out."

Of course, Velour Page was fictional. Maybe we can forgive her for having her head up her ass....


...By the spring of 1979, a friend who shared my fondness of punk and new wave allowed me to borrow his copy of an import sampler LP called New Wave. This New Wave compilation had tracks by the New York Dolls, the Damned, the Dead Boys, the Ramones, the Runaways, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Talking Heads…and a Flamin' Groovies song.

"Shake Some Action."

I’m the sort of wide-eyed pop fan that can fall in love with a song or a band instantly. It's like a communion with an ethereal, ultimate radio station beamin' directly to me. It's magic, and there's no other word that applies. It was magic when I first heard "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" by the Ramones. It was magic when I first saw the Flashcubes live. And it was magic when I discovered "Shake Some Action."

The song was just...hypnotic. There were so many little elements combining and clashing within that track, bits of the Byrds and Phil Spector, a brooding, booming bass, guitars that seemed to snarl and jangle at the same time, punk swagger, pop yearning, and an insistent instrumental hook that whispered silkily in my ear, You're with us now, son. It was a recipe for cacophony, a surefire roadmap to a sonic mess...except that it wasn't. It was precise. It was perfect. 

I wanted this record....

MATERIAL ISSUE: Kim The Waitress

...Material Issue's version of "Kim the Waitress" was made for radio, a brooding, simmering cautionary tale, teeming with melancholy, delivered with peerless pop panache. It turned out to be a cover of a song written by Jeff Kelly, originally recorded by Kelly's group the Green Pajamas. Fans of the Green Pajamas have routinely referred to "Kim the Waitress" as "that song Material Issue ruined." As if. To my ears, Material Issue took a quirky left-of-the-dial ditty and transformed it into a potential hit single, perhaps even a pop classic.

Maybe things would have gone differently if it had been the hit it deserved to be. Maybe not. Hit records didn't save Kurt Cobain. No one can save us. Material Issue frontman Jim Ellison killed himself on June 20th, 1996. Because commercial success had eluded Material Issue? Because he'd broken up with his girlfriend? Some other reason entirely? We'll never have any real clue. We only know one thing, again and again: 

No one can save us....

THE SPONGETONES: (My Girl) Maryanne

The early Beatles reborn, or an incredible simulation?

Taking inspiration from the Fab Four, Charlotte, North Carolina's phenomenal pop combo the Spongetones have delighted discerning pop fans with avowedly Beatlesque hooks and harmonies. The group's earliest efforts are engaging pastiches of Beatles '65--much like the Rutles played straight--with each tune a familiar-sounding rummage through the British Invasion songbook. The appeal transcends mere mimicry; its magic lies not in where the group nicked its initial tricks, but in the self-assured manner in which such thefts became irresistible new pop confections. The greatness of the Spongetones has always been their ability to make all of this their own....

THE TRAAMPS: Disco Inferno

...Later on, as the know-nothing Disco Sucks movement built its flammable foundation upon a bedrock of racism and homophobia, I began to realize I'd chosen the wrong side. The loudest parties chortling at the notion of smashing mirrored disco balls and stoking a bonfire of Saturday Night Fever soundtrack LPs were often just chuckleheads, the advance guard of reactionaries commencing the implementation of mourning in America. 

Me? I was a power-poppin' punk, and the Disco Sucks fascists hated me, too. Fuck them. I'd rather hear "Disco Inferno" than "Cat Scratch Fever" any freakin' day of the week. Burn those records instead. I heard somebody say, "Burn baby burn!" Yeah, I'd rather hear the Trammps....


...Is this a disco record? Don't know, don't care. It's got that beat, plus genuine passion, real soul, bred in both the clubs and the church, drawing upon Gospel and dance mix alike. It's the sexual pursuit that played out so often beneath flashing disco lights, yet it seems sincere, earnest. Only your good lovin' can set me free. I look back on those few times I did set foot in discos, only to hightail it outta there at my first opportunity. Maybe I should have stayed and talked to some of those disco girls after all. 

THE KINKS: Waterloo Sunset

It's one of the most beautiful depictions of burgeoning romance ever committed to song. And it's told, not from the perspective of the young lovers themselves, but from the viewpoint of a benevolent onlooker, wishing them well as they cross over the river, where they feel safe and sound. Dirty old river, must you keep rolling, flowing into the night?....


..."Holly Golightly" may seem as if it must be a stage name, and I guess you could say it is, but no more so than that of Paul Revere of the Raiders. Unconsciously following in the synchronized footsteps of the former Paul Revere Dick, British-born singer and guitarist Holly Golightly Smith likewise shed her surname to settle on a shorter and snazzier DBA. Dream-maker, you heartbreaker....


A family band. 

The ongoing reference to the Cowsills as the real-life inspiration for TV's fictional Partridge Family is tiresome but unavoidable. The true story is so much more than what was fabricated for prime time.

Because the Cowsills were a real band, initially a band of brothers who--like so many others in the '60s--wanted to be the Beatles....

LULU: To Sir, With Love [museum outings montage]

Here, we must make an important distinction. Lulu's familiar hit single of "To Sir, With Love" is fabulous and unforgettable. This different version, the "Museum Outings Montage" from the soundtrack of the film To Sir, With Love, is even better.

"To Sir, With Love" is one of my wife's favorite songs, perhaps even her all-time # 1. Brenda was surprised to discover some years back that I also love it, and more surprised to learn that my This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio co-host Dana loves it, too. I dunno, maybe she thought we thought we were too cool for the song.

As if anyone could possibly be too cool for Lulu....


If you like what you see here on Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider a visit to CC's Tip Jar

My new book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) is now available for order; you can see details here. My 2023 book Gabba Gabba Hey! A Conversation With The Ramones is also still available, courtesy of the good folks at Rare Bird Books

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, streaming at SPARK stream and on the Radio Garden app as WESTCOTT RADIO. Recent shows are archived at Westcott Radio. You can read about our history here.

I'm on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

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