Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It's Halloween!

What's behind the mask?

My girlfriend is a witch

The night is still

Some people go to graveyards

I was a teenage zombie

It's Halloween

The horror of party beach

Cry of the werewolf

She's my witch

I got nothin'

Rockin' in the graveyard

Monday, October 29, 2007

Once upon a midnight dreary

Just in time for Halloween, I’m posting Basil Rathbone reading Edgar Allen Poe. Rathbone recorded 3 LPs of Poe’s writings in the early 60s.

First, here's Poe’s poem "Annabel Lee", next is a great reading of "The Raven". Last up is Rathbone reading the complete “The Masque Of The Red Death”.

Get all three and listen with the lights out! Check back on Wednesday for more treats!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Get behind me devil

go devil go

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rock 'n' roll teenage zombies From Alabamalama

I’ve been playing the new singles (and the old ones) by Thomas Function a lot lately. I also dug out all of the records by Travis & John’s old band.

The first time I heard the Panic Buttons was about 7 years ago. Three 16 year old guys from Brownsboro, Alabama playing Sonics and Mummies songs in the middle of the dining room at Big Ed’s Pizza. They were really great and a lot of fun. A few months after that, the band released a 7” on their own Teen-Fink Records. I believe it was recorded in a garage or bedroom, the guys obviously didn’t waste beer money on studio time. Some of the songs would not be out of place on a volume of Back From The Grave.

Teen-Fink also released a split single with a side each by the Panic Buttons and the 3-Ds, another Huntsville garage band. Huntsville had a lot of great garage bands at the time. There was also a compilation 7” released on Zodiac Records out of Brooklyn. The Panic Buttons do a swell cover of “Trash”.

Also from this time, there was a mysterious tape by a band called Los Muy Guapos, who seem to have been a Panic Buttons alter-ego but nobody's ever admitted to it.

In 2002, The Panic Buttons actually went into a studio and recorded an album. Then they broke up. The LP was released around a year later on Ken Rock Records. The studio was good to the band, they sound terrific. Sometimes the sound gets close to punk but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Recording in a studio allowed the band to play with the sound a little. They even let piano and synthesizer on a few songs on side two. These additions give a little hint of what Josh & Travis would sound like when they started playing as Thomas Function.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I'm a hog for you, baby

I'm a hog for you baby, can't get enough of your love
I'm a hog for you baby, can't get enough of your love
When I go to sleep at night that's the only thing I'm thinking of

One little piggie ate a pizza (yeah)
One piggie ate potato chips (yeah)
But here's a little piggie comin' over your house
Gonna nibble on your sweet lips

'Cause I'm a hog for you baby, can't get enough of your love
When I go to sleep at night that's the only thing I'm thinking of

One little piggie went to London (yeah)
One piggie went to Hong Kong (yeah)
This little piggie's comin' over your house
He's gonna rock you all night long

'Cause I'm a hog for you baby, can't get enough of your love
When I go to sleep at night that's the only thing I'm thinking of
When I go to sleep at night that's the only thing I'm thinking of

Monday, October 22, 2007


Paul Fox

The guitarist was 59.

Pre-VU Lou

For a limited time only, you can download all of the
Pre-VU Lou Reed songs from a couple weeks ago.

It's a big file - 53Mb - so I will be taking this down when I need room to post new stuff.

Get it while you can!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

When we call it a day

we're lying right to your face

This may be the last time

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Say what I mean

It’s been a while since I posted anything by a Huntsville band so here is the second single by the Shandells. It’s the better of the two records that the band released.

The songs were recorded at Quinn Ivy’s Studio in Sheffield, Alabama and released on Woodrich Records in 1967. Inspired by Sounds Incorporated, the band had added ‘Inc.’ to their name for the second record. And they had picked up a fuzz box too.

The Shandells were quite popular around Huntsville for a while, playing steadily at the Redstone Arsenal and Aquatic Center Teen Clubs. Probably the peak of the band’s popularity came in 1967, when the band headlined at the Madison County Fair for a week. Also appearing that week were the Harmonicats.

You can read more about the band here. They came close to signing to London Records but the deal fell through. Too bad, I'd like to hear more of the Shandells, Inc.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Where you

gonna run to?

Saturday, October 13, 2007


The last Lou related song I'm gonna is not a Lou Reed song.

The Carol Lou Trio released a 7" EP of 3 jazz piano instrumentals in 1970. The B-side of the record is a song called "Afterhours". According to the label, the song was written by Lou Reed and published by Virpi Music. That's the Velvet Underground's publishing company. So this song has been showing up on Velvet's bootlegs for years.

But the song is not Lou Reed's "Afterhours" and everybody in the band has always denied any involvment. In 2006, somebody finally got around to asking Carol Lou about the song. She says that she has never heard of The Velvet Underground or Lou Reed. I believe her.

Friday, October 12, 2007

You're driving me insane

Finally, here are the Pickwick era songs that are definitely Lou Reed.

The first two are from an LP called Soundsville. This album is built around the sounds coming from music hotspots around the world as played by New York session musicians. This is what England sounds like. Motorcycles & hot rods aren’t cities but they both got a song anyway.

In 1967, the motorcycle song showed up on a pretty good album called OUT OF SIGHT on the Design label. Other acts on the LP include Lou Rawls, Paul Revere & The Raiders and Joe Tex.

Somebody at Pickwick Records actually decided that “Do The Ostrich” had potential to be a hit record and released the song as a single. The label told Reed to hire a backing band and play to promo dates. One of the guys that showed up was a bass player named John Cale. Reed and Cale would go on to make a few other records together.

The best of this bunch though is this song that Lou Reed wrote but never recorded. “Why Don’t You Smile Now?” was recorded by some guys that Reed met while he was in school at Syracuse. The band included future Holy Modal Rounder Peter Stampfel and Mike Esposito, soon to join the Blues Magoos. A copy of the All-Night Workers record found its way to England where the mighty Downliners Sect recorded a version of the song in 1966.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I just couldn't take it

After The Jades single failed to him a teen star, Lou Reed finished high school and went to college at Syracuse University. After graduating in 1963, Lou Reed moved back to Long Island and spent the next year working as a staff songwriter for Pickwick Records, a label that specialized in bargain bin budget LPs. According to Reed, the writers were locked in an office and told to write “10 car songs, 10 California songs” – whatever trend Pickwick was tying to cash in on - the songwriters had to fill up the LP as quickly as possible.

There are some LPs that Reed is rumored to have been involved with. Pickwick did not usually give writers or musicians credits. I imagine that some of the writers may appreciate that. Some of the records are not very good.

But some are. Here’s a few songs from a Beatles cash-in by the Beats (I posted another one last Sunday). Beatlemaniacs hate this record and it’s understandable that they do - it’s not the Beatles. I would’ve been mad if I got this instead of MEET THE BEATLES too. But it’s not that bad if you listen to it as a British Invasion cash-in and not a Beatles rip-off record. I don’t know what Lou Reed does on here but I’m guessing that if he’s doing anything he’s playing guitar.

This twist LP was released at least twice, credited to different acts each time. Both records have the same songs in the same order. I don't know if Lou is on this at all. Maybe that's him singing in the doo-wop chorus.

When Jan & Dean became big stars, Pickwick released an LP based around the two Jan & Dean singles the label owned the rights to. Just guessing again but it’s possible that Lou is playing guitar on this LP too. There are several lines in this song that sound like something Lou Reed could've written.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

And the walls

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Roadrunner roadrunner

I know that these last three groups I’ve picked for the Hall have zero chance of getting past the gate keepers. It’d be great if they could get the recognition.

CBGB’s was the starting point for Hall o’Famers Patti Smith, Blondie, Talking Heads and The Ramones. It’d be nice if the band that literally built the stage that they all played on could get in too.

Richard Hell was Television’s first bass player. His discography is way too small, only two LPs and a few singles. Malcolm McLaren was a fan though and when he couldn’t convince Hell to move to London, he convinced some local punks that hung out in his clothing store to start a band.

And finally, one group that I want in not just because of their influence on rock & roll but mostly because it would be fun to see Jonathon Richman lead the music industry muckety-mucks at the Waldorf-Astoria in a singalong.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

20th century boy

It's a real headscratcher that none of the acts I've got today are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This is the most influential and creative set of musicians I've posted yet.

I just figured that T. Rex would be in already. Nope. I don’t understand how a band as important as T. Rex could not be in the Hall of Fame. The band was a huge influence on punk, new wave, heavy metal – just about any trend that came along in rock (esp in England) after 1980 owes something to Marc Bolan. Put T.Rex in now. Don’t even wait for a vote on it. Have a special induction ceremony as soon as a banquet hall can be rented and a caterer hired.

It's the same story for Kraftwerk. Inspiring more followers than I can list and they ain’t in the Hall of Fame. Just listen to this again and you’ll agree. Africa Bambaataa was nominated this year. Where did his hit “Planet Rock” come from? Put the source in first!

If I was in charge of a Rock Hall of Fame, both Can and Neu! would be in there but they don’t stand a chance of getting into the one up in Cleveland.

Just about anything new that has happened in music in last 35 years, Brain Eno did first. And usually better. Glam, punk, ambient, world music - Eno did all of those and more in the seventies and he's stayed busy since then. Slightly less influential but still worthy of any respectable Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is Roxy Music. Put ‘em both in the hall before all the acts that copied them get in!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ooh la la

Two more acts for the nominating committee to think about:

The Shangri-Las were the most rocking and toughest of any of the girl groups. The group had a great string of singles from 1964 to 1966, some of which were actual smash hits. Cashbox magazine picked the Shangri-Las as the top new R&B group of 1964. When they toured with James Brown, he was surprised to find out they were white.

The group was an influence on The New York Dolls, Blondie, and Aerosmith as well as the first wave of punk bands. The Shangri-Las were influenced by punk (and a hit 1976 re-issue of “Leader of The Pack”) too. In 91977 the Shangri-Las reunited for some recording and a show at CBGB’s. The group wanted to sound like Patti Smith. Sadly, the sessions were never completed and have never been available.

Mary Weiss has a terrific new LP out on Norton Records.

Faces were one of the best rock & roll of the early seventies. All four of their LPs are worth owning. The Sex Pistols, The Replacements, The Black Crowes, The Georgia Satellites and many other bands took a lot from these guys. The band collapsed when Ron Wood started playing with the Rolling Stones. Faces’ singer Rod Stewart got in as a solo act years ago. So why hasn’t the band that played on some of his best records been voted in?

Monday, October 01, 2007

The train kept a-rollin'

Here's a couple more rockers that haven't made it past the Hall of Fame's quality control committee:

Wanda Jackson is the greatest female rockabilly singer ever. Of course she’s not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She’s not in the Country Music Hall of Fame either but I’m not worried about their lack of respect or taste. Jackson’s not overlooked completely though, she is in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, The Gospel Hall of Fame and the German Country Music Hall of Fame. Germany has a Country Music Hall of Fame?

Jackson started singing professionally for Hank Thompson while she was still in high school. She was dating Elvis Presley and he convinced her to start singing Rock and Roll. In 1961, Jackson switched back to country. In 1971, she became a Christian and switched to gospel. After Rosie Flores invited Jackson to sing on an LP in 1995, she decided to return to rockabilly and has recorded several fine LPs. In addition to Flores, Jackson has recorded with Elvis Costello, The Cramps and Dave Alvin. She’s still out playing shows, go see her!

Johnny & Dorsey Burnette grew up Memphis’ Lauderdale Courts where one of their neighbors was Wanda Jackson’s future boyfriend, Elvis Presley. Both Dorsey’s were amateur boxers and Golden Gloves champions but a broken nose and a small paycheck convinced Johnny that rock & roll might be a better line of work. The brothers formed The Rock & Roll Trio with a third boxer named Paul Burlison on drums.

After a move to New York City and several winning appearances on the Ted Mack Amateur hour, The Rock & Roll Trio signed to Coral Records. Three singles were released but none were hits. The band toured constantly, this led to internal squabbles and the end of the group in 1957. The Rock & Roll Trio was years ahead of their time. Never mind the Yardbirds and Blue Cheer, heavy metal started here.
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