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We can’t explain why its so fun to us, but we love it when a band has a song that is also their name. This edition of our on-going playlist highlights bands who have a song which is their name which is on the album which is also their name. Of course, the awesome-est example of this is “Bad Company” by Bad Company on Bad Company.

bad co

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“Bad Company””Bad Company” by Bad Company

But there’s also these guys, who have a single which is their name which is on the record label which is their name…

corvettes

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“Corvette” by the Corvettes (on Corvette Records!)

wilco

Wilco’s self-titled album was met with mixed opinions from fans, but we like it okay. It has a festive camel on the cover. Our favorite song was this one…

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“Wilco (the song)” by Wilco

jamul LP

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“Sunrise over Jamul” by Jamul

It’s a good thing these country rock fellas made a song with their name on their self-titled album, because otherwise a lot of people might have called them “Ja-mule” instead of “Ha-mule,” ya know.

natural life

Here at Hymie’s we love local jazz fusion band Natural Life (first featuring a song by them here), who made a few records in the 70s. Members of the band also appeared on other Sound 80 recordings, including Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks (although they remain un-credited for their work in that case). Their first album, Natural Life, opens with this great extended jam, “Natural Life.”

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“Natural Life” by Natural Life

More bands with a song which is also their name can be found here and here.

More Cowbell – Saturday Night Live from Dee Three on Vimeo.

“Don’t Feel the Reaper” was named ‘song of the year’ by Rolling Stone in 197something, but those of us born back then only knew it as one of those anonymous classic rock staples until it appeared in a Saturday Night Live sketch. Christopher Walken, always one of the show’s best guests, plays a record producer who is not Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden, and Will Ferrel plays an enthusiastic member of Blue Öyster Cult. He plays the hell out of that cowbell.

Exasperated when the band suggests he play more quietly, Ferrel’s character says, “The last time I checked we don’t have a lot of songs that feature the cowbell.” Membered of Blue Öyster Cult have said that until the television sketch they didn’t think much about the cowbell, but now they have to be sure to have it on stage when they play “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

The earliest cowbells found by archaeologists are from the Iron Age, around the same era as the creation of the Indian Vedas and the earliest parts of the Hebrew Bible. There is no cowbell in the Bible, but we assume Assyrian rock bands played them. If only they made records back then.

We have no idea who holds the honor of clanging the first cowbell on record, but we’re big fans of Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q,” which was recorded at a radio station in Louisiana in 1957 with Ron Lewis playing the drums.

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“Susie Q” by Dale Hawkins

In the 70s it became a familiar hard rock gimmick, used by bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Mountain — leading to the instrument’s exalted status in heavy metal. There’s some pretty sweet cowbell on just about every classic Iron Maiden album, not to mention every other song on Appetite for Destruction. There is a cowbell in the first minute of Nightosaur’s Set Fire to the Mountain.

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“Mississippi Queen” by Mountain

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“The Wizard” by Black Sabbath

The cowbell is one of the most versatile instruments in the pop music oeuvre, fit as comfortably into country rock as into classic hip hop.

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“Stuck in the Middle with You” by Steeler’s Wheels

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“Honky Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones

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“Stone Free” by the Jimi Hendrix Experience

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“Rock the House” by Run DMC

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“Hey Ladies” by the Beastie Boys

The Electric Light Orchestra’s “Evil Woman” has one of the most popular cowbell parts of all time (you know you ‘air cowbell’ to this one whenever it comes on the radio) — in fact, the band has a history of cowbell jams going back to its earlier incarnation, the Move. Their original recording of “Do Ya” has a cowbell jam so prominent you’d think it was played by Ferrel himself.

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“Do Ya” by the Move

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“Evil Woman” by Electric Light Orchestra

will-ferrell

What is the future of the cowbell?

Do you feel like you’re getting enough cowbell?

It’s okay to tell a band, “Hey, your set was great but it needed more cowbell.” It’s okay to play your own cowbell. Really explore the studio space this time.

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“Low Rider” by War

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Don’t hire this guy.

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“Marriage is For Old Folks” by Nina Simone

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“I’m Not the Marrying Kind” by Elvis Presley

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“Separate Ways” by Elvis Presley

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“When Did I Stop Loving You, When Did You Stop Loving Me?” by Marvin Gaye

 

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welcome backThat’s the theme from Welcome Back Kotter, written by John Sebastian for the middle-70s television series. While with the Lovin’ Spoonful Sebastian had written seven top 10 hits, this TV theme was his only successful single as a solo artist.

Welcome Back Kotter was one of the first sitcoms to present a lighter version of the Norman Lear format established with All in the Family, and it ran successfully for four seasons on ABC. The show centers around Gabe Kotter, a teacher played by comedian Gabe Kaplan, who returns to his alma mater, James Buchanan High School in Brooklyn, to teach a group of outcasts known as the Sweathogs (because they have the hottest room in the building). While Kaplan was the star, the series is best remembered for having launched the career of John Travolta, who you might remember from such films as The Boy in the Plastic Bubble and Phenomenon.

Folks often have a laugh at the John Travolta’s tidily quaffed hair on LP jackets in the shop, assuming his musical career started with Saturday Night Fever or Grease – but in fact his first hit, “Let Her In,” was released when he was still starring on Welcome Back Kotter. His first ever appearance on an album was even earlier than that — he had a role in the 1974 Sherman Brothers musical Over Here! which also featured two of the Andrews Sisters.

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kaplan

Comedian Gabe Kaplan’s 1974 LP, Holes and Mello Roles, was the inspiration for the television series. It was first released by ABC Records with an image of popsicles crashing into the moon on the jacket. After the success of the series, the album was reissued with an image featuring Kaplan with the Sweathogs.

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“Holes and Mello Rolls”

fonzThe Sweathogs made an goofy appearance on this 1976 TV-marketed oldies compilation, Fonzie’s Favorites. The back of the album (which includes a die-cut stand so you can put the Fonz on your piano next to the kids’ school pictures) promises “the Fonz has not taken to singing on this album. Better!! He has chosen his favorite 50s records to share with you.”

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“The Fonzarelli Slide”

One side of this collection of familiar favorites by the likes of the Coasters, the Elegants and the Five Satins ends with a couple novelty songs — notably “The Fonzarelli Slide,” which inexplicably has the cast of Welcome Back Kotter meeting the Fonz, who would of course be older than Kotter by the middle seventies.

This wasn’t the only connection between the two hit sitcoms — when Pat Morita, who played Arnold, left Happy Days it was to star in a short-lived Welcome Back Kotter spin-off, Mr. T and Tina (which was, incidentally, the first sitcom to feature an Asian American as the lead). Sitcom spin-offs were all the rage and Happy Days itself produced six of them. Arnold’s replacement, Al, later married the mother of Fonzie’s cousin Chachi, who was played by Ellen Travolta, sister of actor John Travolta. Still with us? She first played Arnold Horshack’s mother on Welcome Back Kotter. And this concludes the least interesting paragraph ever posted on the Hymie’s blog.

lawrence hilton jacobs

Travolta’s albums were the most successful, but he was not the only of Kotter’s Sweathogs to make a record. Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, who played Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington not only sang back-up on Rick James’ Street Songs but made two albums of his own in the late 70s. A 1981 Halo single produced by Hilton-Jacobs is one of the rarest modern soul/boogie records you’ll never find (and is a pretty good party jam), selling for more than $1500 on any rare occasion when it appears online.

Hilton-Jacobs turned in a well-received performance as Joe Jackson in the 1992 TV movie based on Katherine Jackson’s autobiography, The Jacksons: An American Dream. He had a recurring role as a hard-nosed detective on the series based on Alien Nation, and has many screenwriting credits as well.

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“Time Machine”

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“Larry’s Theme”

None of the remaining Sweathogs made records, although Ron Pallilo, who played Arnold Horshack, once portrayed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart off Broadway.

Growing Up

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“Thirteen” by Big Star

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“Only Sixteen” by Sam Cooke

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“She Was Only Seventeen” by Marty Robbins

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“I’m Eighteen” by Alice Cooper

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“Nineteen” by the Old 97s

big star only seventeen

These past couple days we have been re-running some favorite music about winter weather. Here is the title song from a disc by Caitlin Robertson that we always enjoy around this time of year.

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“If It Takes All Winter”

A couple years ago Caitlin introduced us to another songwriter from up north named Barbara Jean, and we absolutely loved her debut disc, The Great Escape. There was a lot of Minnesota flavor to that album, including in this snowy tune.

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“Snowfalls”

barbara jean cdBarbara Jean has a new album out next week called Darker Than Blue, which features collaborations with an impressive list of favorite Minnesota musicians. It was produced by Erik Koskinen at his RealPhonic Studio — his solo album, American Theater, is one of our favorite records of 2014 (we first posted it here). From what we can hear in the promotional video below, we expect we’re going to enjoy Darker Than Blue as much as we have her first album.

The release show is a week from this Saturday at the Icehouse. Details can be found here.

 

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“Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll” by Tony Joe White

hymies halloweenCome by the record shop this week for a copy of our first ever Halloween mix CD. Twenty-five spooky tracks featuring trolls, skeletons, witches, ghosts and zombies — interspersed throughout are clips from our kids records featuring even more monsters, ghouls and other creatures of the night!

Free with purchase while they last!

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