Songs

You are currently browsing the archive for the Songs category.

The Internet Archive is an amazing website which promises “universal access to all knowledge.” In the past we have linked to the gigantic site mostly to share old radio programs with you, such as the great storyline from the 1940s Superman series in which the Man of Steel takes on the Ku Klux Klan (here).

An interesting project within the Internet Archive is the Wayback Machine, which contains zillions of snapshots of websites spanning years. How many altogether? Almost two petabytes of data. We had to look that up, too — a petabyte is s 1015 bytes of digital information. This means the Wayback Machine contains more text than any of the world’s largest libraries, including the Library of Congress. Using the Wayback Machine, you can explore primordial versions of your favorite websites, including this one (where you can also search past posts using the Archive tab on your right). You could also use the Wayback Machine to search the Big Cartoon Database and read rankings of the best episodes of Peabody’s Improbably History, creating a Wayback Machine loop likely to disrupt the space-time continuum.

Also collected on the Internet Archive is an enormous amount of live music, which naturally includes no small amount of Grateful Dead recordings. In January 2013 one of Minnesota’s most beloved musicians, Charlie Parr, gave permission for live recordings of his performances to be uploaded to the site.

Some of the recordings sound great, others a little tinny. The same person who recorded Charlie and Ben Weaver here at Hymie’s last fall, Tommy the Beard, has captured a number of great shows at the Cedar Cultural Center. This first one below is a Black Twig Pickers show from 2013 that includes brief appearances by Charlie and one of our favorite guys in the world, Adam Kiesling.

This next one is the first set of Charlie’s two-night release show for Barnswallow in February 2013. We were there spinning blues and gospel records that night, and Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers played an awesome opening set, which is directly below.

If you’re a fan of Jack Klatt (we certainly are), you’ll enjoy the other recordings of him folks have uploaded to the Internet Archive. You can download these recordings and add them to your iPod or phone. Why, you could be listening to Jack Klatt while driving down the road or cooking in your kitchen.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Hello, Goodbye” by Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers — recorded live at the 331 Club May 14, 2013

Here, for those on their way back to school this week, is a story from Rudyard Kipling about the rewards that await the bold and curious. The music is composed and performed by Bobby McFerrin, and the story is narrated by actor Jack Nicholson.

elephant

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Back to School

It’s back to school day here in Minneapolis — used to be our least favorite day of the year, but oh boy do things change when you become a parent! We’re hoping to get things around the record shop a little more caught up now that our two favorite people are back to learning their ABCs.

Anyway, here’s one of our favorite Ricky Nelson songs.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Waiting in School” by Ricky Nelson

ricky nelson

The other day we posted several recordings from the University of North Texas’ legendary One O’clock Lab Band (here), which has made a new album each year since 1966. Lab 68 featured performances by Lou Marini and Tom “Bones” Malone, familiar to many for their performance in The Blues Brothers. Another member of the Blues Brothers band was Matt “Guitar” Murphy, who you may recall was working at the Soul Food Diner with his “old lady” played by Aretha Franklin in one of the film’s funniest scenes.

Murphy has one of the most impressive resumes in the industry, having joined Howlin’ Wolf’s band at nineteen in 1948. Now in his mid-80s, Murphy performs less but he certainly earned some rest. Over the years he has played guitar for Bobby Bland, Ike Turner, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Etta James, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, Chuck Berry and Joe Louis Walker!

His brother Floyd was a pretty hot blues guitarist too, performing on two Sun sides by Junior Parker and the Blue Flames (“Feelin’ Good” and “Mystery Train”) in 1953. Matt “Guitar” Murphy wrote a few tunes along the way, including “Matt’s Guitar Boogie” and a rapid fire “Boogie Thing” for the James Cotton Band.

Remarkably, it was not until 1990 that he released his own album. Antone’s, the Texas label which released Way Down South, also put together reunion session for the James Cotton Band and Memphis Slim’s Houserockers. Here is the title song from his long delayed debut LP:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

little red 1little red 2A remarkable relic from China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, Songs of the Little Red Guards is a 10″ album from the late 60s with a similar package to the Ella Jenkins and Pete Seeger records American children were putting on their Fisher Price players at the time.

Although sung by a children’s choir, the songs reflect the turmoil of the times, in particular the re-establishment of Mao-ist orthodoxy. Titles such as “Let’s Help Pick Up the Rice Left in the Fields” and “Growing Vegetables for the Armymen’s Families” hint at the legacy of the famine which followed Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Foward while others enforce the Communist Party’s doctrine.

One of the most interesting songs is a tribute to Lei Feng, a relatively unknown soldier whose memoirs were published after his death in 1962 as Lei Feng’s Diary. The book expresses his admiration for Chairman Mao Zedong and the sacrifices he has made for the revolution in the form of selfless acts. The soldier was the subject of a propaganda campaign, and his story became part of the compulsory curriculum in schools.

220px-LeiFeng.poster

An iconic poster of Lei Feng

The Red Guard was a student movement which began in 1966 in the middle school attached to Beijing’s Tsinghua University. After receiving recognition from the CCP the group quickly established itself in nearly every school in China. With the Chairman’s personal endorsement at a rally that summer, the group became an essential part of his Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Party leadership in Beijing struggled to control the Red Guard, which became increasingly divided into factions as it grew, potentially out of control. The campaign against Capitalist or bourgeoisie remnants became violent in places, where assaults on Chinese cultural relics quickly became assaults on individuals. The People’s Liberation Army began suppressing the Red Guard’s most radical elements in 1967, and it was entirely eliminated, often with brutal force, by the summer of 1968. The Chairman, whose enormous personality cult was greatly enhanced by the Red Guard, was alleged to have a tear in his eye when he last spoke to Red Guard leaders.

e15-562

A Red Guard poster featuring the watchful Chairman

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“The Golden Sun Never Sets”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Study Hard for the Revolution”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“I’ll Take Up the Gun Too, When I Grow Up”

If you’d like to learn more about the Red Guard or start such an organization in your own school, you will likely enjoy Carma Hinton’s 2003 documentary about the Cultural Revolution, Morning Sun. If you still think it’s a good idea, we have a little red book for you.

Today Laura is going to compete in a triathlon for the fifth time, and everyone’s really proud of her. We don’t want to embarrass Laura so that’s all we’re going to say about it. The rest of this post will be in the form of super songs:

“The Swimming Song” by Loudon Wainwright III

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Bike Cop” by the Taxpayers

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“It Keeps You Running” by the Doobie Brothers

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

That was too much fun! How about a victory lap for Laura?

Okay!

“Swimming” by Breathe Owl Breathe

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The 7-Up guy we posted on National Bike to Work Day

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Running, Jumping, Standing Still” by Spider John Koerner and Willie Murphy

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

T for Texas

It’s been a while since we checked in with our favorite correspondent, Tom T. Hall.  I heard he settled down in Texas – let’s see how that’s going.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(“Texas Never Fell in Love with Me”)

Poor guy.

Texas Governor Rick Perry ordering Tom T. Hall to pack up and leave the Lone Star state. Maybe they could share a ride.

Angie Oase from Pennyroyal introduced us to this great band from her hometown, Minot, earlier this summer. We fell instantly in love with Wild Hands, whose debut album Oh, River is in this player. They’ll be releasing in on LP in September, and in the meantime they’ll be back here at Hymie’s tomorrow evening at 5pm. We hope you’ll come and give ‘em a warm welcome.

Oh, River is filled with bright, imaginative arrangements, from the lazy shuffle of “Colorado” to a jaunty strut in “Dirty Kids.” The album invokes the open prairies of North Dakota, it seems like it would be almost sublime to listen to it while driving an old American car across the Peace Garden State. Windows down, wind whipping papers on the dashboard. Wild Hands balance “No Depression”-style Americana with a little bluegrass and a little old fashioned rock and roll. Oh, River is one of those discs we’ve grown to love so much it’s hard to believe we only just met these folks earlier this summer.

Our own Hymie was from Minot — in fact he ran a bar in his hometown before he moved to the Twin Cities to open a record store with his friend Kent Hazen in 1986. It was called Hymie’s Downtowner. We have asked every person we’ve ever met from Minot if they have any pictures of it, because that would be a really fun thing to have on the wall next to his portrait, but no one has found one yet.

Anyway, if there is music as good as Wild Hands in Minot, and beer as absolutely delicious as the black IPA from Souris River Brewing that we had earlier this summer, maybe we need to have Trevor run the record shop for a weekend so we can go to Minot. Why not?

 

manwoman

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Man” by Rosemary Clooney

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Woman” by Jose Ferrer

This 1953 single presents a pair of duets by Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer, newlyweds at the time. Within a decade they’d divorce and remarry, only to divorce again.

 

Peter Buck’s brief liner notes to REM’s album Dead Letter Office are better anything else you could find in decades of mainstream rock journalism. The scale of Buck’s record collection is famous and he is a well-known supporter of independent shops. We couldn’t get a good shot of the liner notes so we have added the test here:

I’ve always liked singles much more than albums. A single has to be short, concise and catchy, all values that seem to go out the window as far as albums are concerned. But the thing that I like best about singles is their ultimate shoddiness. No matter how lavish that packaging, no matter what attention to detail, a ’45 is still essentially a piece of crap usually purchased by teenagers. This is why musicians feel free to put just about anything on the b-side; nobody will listen to it anyway, so why not have some fun. You can clear the closed of failed experiments, badly written songs, drunken jokes, and occasionally, a worthwhile song that doesn’t fit the feel of an album.

In spite of Buck’s self-depreciation and the reasonable assumption that it was released for reasons related to the group’s transition from IRS records to Warner Brothers, Dead Letter Office has achieved a lofty status. REM fans love it for the very reasons described in Buck’s liner notes – Here is a variety of “failed songs” and “worthwhile songs” that offer a unique perspective of the group. The first track below is “Ages of You” from Dead Letter Office. The second is “Bandwagon”.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A lot of sixties records are nothing more than a clumsy, poorly sequenced selection of singles, as Beatles fans know. The compilation of B-Sides is unique in that it contains previously released material. This warning is prominent on one of the earliest such records, Elvis Costello’s Taking Liberties.

Like Dead Letter Office, the Elvis Costello collection covers a short period and includes a handful of new tracks not issued on singles at all. Each is essential to fans but probably only vaguely interesting to the casual listener. Here are a couple favorites from Taking Liberties – Costello’s earliest country music effort, “Radio Sweetheart” and an alternate version of “Black and White World” from the Get Happy!!! album:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Taking Liberties may be the earliest such album, but we can’t say for sure (Hymie’s regulars: Surly one of you knows who made the first collection of B-Sides – Let us know). The Clash put out Black Market Clash the same year (It was a 9 track, 10″ album as opposed to Costello’s 20 track epic). The Clash record is possibly the earliest recording to set a certain standard for B-Side compilations which stood for decades. Look at the tracklisting: It contains all the essential types of B-Sides. There’s the under-appreciated track that never fit on an LP (“City of the Dead”), the cover songs (“Pressure Drop” and “Time is Tight”) and the band-jammin’ instrumental (Again, “Time is Tight”). Black Market Clash also has a couple of good extended mixes of album tracks. Included here is “Justice Tonight / Kick it Out” and “Time is Tight”:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The formula becomes pretty well established, although other groups do some aspects of it better. REM’s Dead Letter Office contains six covers, including three Velvet Underground songs and a rockin’ “Toys in the Attic”. Taking Liberties also includes several covers but from more varied sources (the best being Betty Everett’s “Getting Mighty Crowded”). The best singles collection of the 90s – J Church’s Camels, Spilled Corona and the Sound of Mariachi Bands, has a great cover of REM’s “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” which suggests a certain sort of continuity to it all.

Camels, Spilled Corona and the Sound of Mariachi Bands is actually a singles collection which compiles both A- and B-Sides. Unlike nearly every other collection of singles, B-Sides, EPs or compilation tracks, the tracks are well sequenced so as to feel like an album. Its such a great album we have been forced into an exemption from our personal ban on picture discs (Making this the only one in our collection). J Church was notorious for frequently releasing singles and EPs that quickly disappeared, making their second singles collection, Nostalgic for Nothing, also a keeper.

“Bomb/Sacrifice”, heard below, was the first side of the first J Church single, and probably a lot less crazy in the pre-9/11 era. We love these songs and never really thought about the lyrics, let alone the extent to which Lance Hahn is out of key.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A lot of mid-90s independent groups put together great collections like this. Superchunk’s first release on their own Merge Records was a singles collection called Tossing Seeds, but it was their second singles collection, Incidental Music, that really rocked. It has all the essential features of a B-Sides compilation: Cover songs (“I’ll be your Sister” by Motorhead!), alternate versions (An acoustic “Throwing Things”, heard below) and totally underrated gems that deserved wider release (“Home at Dawn” which originally came out on a flexi-disc. A flexi-disc!).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Morphine’s B-Sides and Otherwise is actually some of their best stuff, but doesn’t include a cover song. What kind of B-Sides compilation doesn’t have a cover song by your favorite band’s favorite band? Lambchop’s Tools in the Dryer has a great cover of “Love TKO” and some bizarre remixes. Tools in the Dryer also gives us a couple tracks from their early demo tapes as the Poster Children – What a deal!

One more artist deserves mention, and then I think we’ve looked at B-Side compilations for far, far too long, and that’s Bruce Springsteen. His 1998 collection Tracks compiles four discs of studio outtakes and demos – Including the albums worth of good material the Boss has dropped on the backside going back as far as “Hungry Heart” (Which carried the rapid-fire “Held Up Without a Gun” as its flip).

Born in the USA alone produced nearly an album worth of great B-Sides, including the classic “Pink Cadillac”, the long-shelved River outtake “Roulette” and this track originally written for Nebraska. Here’s Springsteen singing “Shut Out the Light”.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

« Older entries

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.