Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bruce Springsteen - "She's the One" (non-stones)

Sorry for the light posting over the last couple of days. I was away for work and had to stay longer than planned – my scheduled posts ran out before I did.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
"She's the One" (live)

I was in Houston and got a chance to see Bruce Springsteen at the Toyota Center on Monday, April 14th. This is the fourth time I've seen him on this tour, and this is the best show I've seen so far. The sound at the arena was great, I had awesome seats, the crowd was enthusiastic, and let's face it: Springsteen is incapable of putting on a bad show. He has a few songs that are surefire crowd destroyers, songs that will knock the audience down flat with a single blow. I saw him perform one of these songs, "She's the One" that night, and really, even if that was the only song I saw I would have left a happy man.

"She's the One" is off Springsteen's Born to Run album, a Bo Diddley update with great lyrics and an interesting bridge before the killer sax solo. It's a pretty good recording, but it's one of those songs that sounds a million times better live, when you get to hear it without the studio precision and Wall of Sound production on the album recording. The best live version I've heard is from the show at London's Hammersmith Odeon in November 1975.

Doesn't get much better than that.

This post is in memory of Danny Federici, the E Street Band's long time organist, who died on April 17th.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

As Tears Go By

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 2, Track 3
"As Tears Go By" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards/Andrew Loog Oldham) – 2:45

Can you believe the same guy that wrote

Well, when you're sitting back in your rose pink Cadillac
Making bets on Kentucky Derby Day,
I'll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon
And another girl to take my pain away.
also wrote
My riches can't buy everything
I want to hear the children sing
All I hear is the sound
Of rain falling on the ground
I sit and watch
As tears go by
Me neither. I refuse to believe the whole "As Tears Go By" thing was anything other than the work of a criminal gang employed by Brian Epstein, who captured the Rolling Stones and held them hostage while a group of impostors worked to discredit the band's unruly bad boy image by releasing a series of pussy ballads. Fortunately, their nefarious scheme was foiled just after "Lady Jane" was released, but the damage was done – the band would not regain their street credibility until "Jumping Jack Flash" (only to lose it all again with "Angie", but that's another story).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm Free

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 2, Track 2
"I'm Free" – (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) 2:23

Man, who didn't want to be the Beatles? And really, there are worse things you could want to be. But to my ears there's nothing weirder than hearing the Stones trying to do this love and peace stuff – there's lots of unconvincing material that the band tried out over the years, but the hippie songs are the least convincing, especially in comparison with their more cynical ("Satisfaction", "Get Off My Cloud") and menacing material ("Midnight Rambler", "Jumping Jack Flash").

Get off of My Cloud

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 2, Track 1
"Get off of My Cloud" – 2:55

Bears the same relationship to "Satisfaction" as the Beatle's "Money (That's What I Want)" does to "Twist and Shout" – the older, tougher brother, maybe not as smart or good looking, but won't fuck your girlfriend behind your back.

"Get Off My Cloud" is one of those songs that's just perfect in every way. The lyrics are great, the singing is fantastic, the drum riff kicks ass. It's funny – my whole life I've listened to the song, I never heard that Brian Jones guitar lick that plays throughout the verse. (Here's a quick MIDI file that shows the lick I'm talking about.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Route 66 (live)

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 1, Track 6
"Route 66" (live) (Bobby Troup) – 2:39

"Live" version of the song they did on England's Newest Hitmakerslive in quotes because there's some doubt that this track (and the others that ended up on Got Live If You Want It!) were actually recorded in front of an audience. What is not in dispute is the quality – where the sound on the previous studio release was tentative and uninterested, here it's raw and vital. Keith's intro is enough to alert the listener that you can't just be a passenger here, you've got to run as fast as you can just to keep up. The band maintains the frenetic energy through a great Keith solo right until the end. Rated ten for sheer awesomeness.

The Singer Not the Song

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 1, Track 5
"The Singer Not the Song" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) – 2:22

Oh, it's the song all right.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Look What You've Done

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 1, Track 4
"Look What You've Done" (McKinley Morganfield) – 2:16

Another Muddy Waters tune. Brian Jones's harmonica is even more annoying than usual. This recording dates back to 1964, when the Stones first entered Chess Studios in Chicago – it was the same session that yielded "It's All Over Now". It is curious to me how the band could not get a good-sounding blues harmonica track at Chess Studios of all places.

You Better Move On

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 1, Track 3
"You Better Move On" (Arthur Alexander) – 2:39

Arthur Alexander is known to readers of this blog, if he is known at all, primarily as the composer of "Anna (Go To Him)", a song the Beatles covered. Alexander seems to have had a real knack with these soul ballads: "You Better Move On" is a clever little piece of songwriting.

Unfortunately, the Stones lack a singer who could really do justice to this kind of material – while John Lennon's amateurish earnestness made "Anna" a charming homage, Jagger's jaded posture that make him so good on cynical songs like "Satisfaction" just make him sound condescending here.

Talkin' about You

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 1, Track 2
"Talkin' About You" (Chuck Berry) – 2:31

The late-period Chuck Berry tune (1961), with the tempo slowed a lot. Keith appears to be the only guitar on the track – I think that's Brian Jones on the organ. Given their facility with other Chuck Berry numbers, "Talkin' About You" is curiously limp, especially the Keith's solo, which seems to end two bars too early. Even more odd is the fact that Keith avoids Berry-style double stops on a Chuck Berry song. Weird.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

She Said Yeah

December's Children (And Everybody's)
Side 1, Track 1
"She Said Yeah" (Sonny Christy/Roddy Jackson) – 1:34

How is it that I've never heard this song before? Ninety seconds of manic Little Richard-style rock and roll energy, the kind the Stones would later use on "Rip This Joint" and "Neighbours" and not much else.

It's funny, we think of the Stones as kind of the iconic straight ahead rock and roll band, but they didn't much go for this type of stuff – their best rock and roll music, songs like "Jumping Jack Flash" and "Get Off My Cloud", was built a more solid bedrock, namely a steady rhythm section (including Keith on guitar) that could just pound you into the ground. "She Said Yeah" is all cymbals and crazy guitars and general sloppiness – things that the Kinks and the Who used to create their most memorable early singles. But it just goes to show that the Stones could beat those guys at their own game when they wanted to. It's too bad they didn't want to all that often, because this song just fucking rocks.


I'm gonna be out of town during the next week, but I don't want to disappoint my passionate readers (who are legion), so I've schedule a number of posts – in fact, if you didn't read this post you might not even notice that I am not, in fact, here.

Next up is probably the best collection of songs I've blogged so far, December's Children (And Everybody's), so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here's a pitcture of a lonely goth.

The Rolling Stones, Now! Roundup

The Rolling Stones, Now! Roundup

Side 1
1. "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" (Solomon Burke/Bert Russell/Jerry Wexler) – 2:58
2. "Down Home Girl" (Jerry Leiber/Arthur Butler) – 4:12
3. "You Can't Catch Me" (Chuck Berry) – 3:39
4. "Heart of Stone" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) – 2:49
5. "What A Shame" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) – 3:05
6. "Mona (I Need You Baby)" (Ellas McDaniel) – 3:35

Side 2
1. "Down The Road Apiece" (Don Raye) – 2:55
2. "Off the Hook" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) – 2:34
3. "Pain In My Heart" (Naomi Neville) – 2:12
4. "Oh Baby (We Got A Good Thing Goin')" (Barbara Lynn Ozen) – 2:08
5. "Little Red Rooster" (Willie Dixon) – 3:05
6. "Surprise, Surprise" (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) – 2:31

Wikipedia sez:
The Rolling Stones, Now! is the third US album by The Rolling Stones and was released in the 1965 by their initial American distributor, London Records.

The album contained seven tracks from their second UK album The Rolling Stones No. 2 and some songs which would appear on the UK edition of the Stones' next album, Out of Our Heads later in 1965. "Little Red Rooster" was a recent UK #1 hit single and "Surprise, Surprise," would not appear on a UK Rolling Stones album until 1989. Four of the songs on The Rolling Stones, Now! were penned by the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (who dropped the "s" from his surname until 1978).

The Rolling Stones, Now! is generally considered a very strong album and a highlight of their early American releases. Upon its February issuing, The Rolling Stones, Now! reached #5 in the US and became another gold seller for The Rolling Stones.In 2003, the album was ranked number 181 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[1]

In August 2002 The Rolling Stones, Now! was reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records.