Monthly Archives: February 2011

The Replacements, “Can’t Hardly Wait (demo)”

…from the sessions for Tim (Sire, 1985). This kick-ass version still features Bob Stinson on guitar. The song was later re-recorded without Bob, more gently, with horns and strings, for Pleased to Meet Me (1987). How I wish all the drumming on Tim sounded this good.

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I know I’m living in the past.

But sometimes the past is just so excellent.

KMD, “Who Me?” from Mr. Hood (Elektra, 1991)

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Doin’ Our Thing

Booker T. & the M.G.’s, “Never My Love,” from Doin’ Our Thing (Stax/Atlantic, 1968)

The Association song gets Memphisized.

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Kui Lee, “I’ll Remember You”

Kui Lee, “I’ll Remember You,” from The Extraordinary Kui Lee (Columbia, 1966)

This later became a hit for Elvis as well as “Ambassador of Aloha” Don Ho (whose over-the-top version starts playing, whether you like it or not, if you go to donho.com…you have been warned). But it’s Kui Lee’s sparse, plaintive, gorgeous original that’s considered the standard in Hawaii. The bittersweetness is only compounded by the fact that Lee died from cancer, just 34 years old, later the same year that “I’ll Remember You” was released.

 

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Talk Talk, “I Believe in You” (1988)

Ian put me on to this. Remember that night last December when there was a lunar eclipse at 3:30 a.m. and people went out to the park and up to the rooftops to see the moon turn orange and then, bit by bit, disappear completely? Amazingly, I saw it from my roof, albeit in a daze. It had become a slightly less-blue than the sky, and I stared at it by myself for a while, but I was also conscious of being alone and cold. I came down the ladder to my apartment and put on this song, then played it again and again. It was now past four in the morning and everything felt laid bare.

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The Breeders, “Safari” (1992)

When Tanya Donelly was still in the band. Oh, time. Time time time time time…

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Richard Ashcroft, “Paradise”

Richard Ashcroft, “Paradise,” from Human Conditions (Hut, 2002)

I was looking for an excuse to put up a Richard Ashcroft song, not that I really needed one, but it turns out his birthday isn’t anytime soon. (It’s actually September 11, fittingly enough, for a man of his caliber of omnirelevance.) Everybody hated/still hates Human Conditions, by the way, except for me and Chris, but they’re all fools (except for me and Chris).

In 2003, when asked about the reception to Human Conditions, Ashcroft responded: “If I had put on fifteen stone and Kate had left me and I’d almost [overdosed] on smack, then this record would have been received very well.”

Actually, now that I think about it, I hereby declare September 11 Richard Ashcroft Day. I mean, talk about healing the wounds of a nation. We get together, we listen to his solo albums one after the other, we straighten it all out. Nature Is the Law.

 

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’70s Baseball Players Digging Music, pt. 1: Tommy Hutton

Recently I separated out a pile of ’70s Topps cards on which guys were called out as music lovers: generally little cartoons of a baseball player wearing headphones, with a bubbly caption to the effect of “Bob enjoys listening to records.” Then, with some help from Jack Smalling’s essential book of ballplayer addresses, I wrote to these players, and included a survey that asked them some questions about their musical pasts.

I was happy to get a few responses. (Then I moved like three times, and the letters went missing for a little while, but now they’re found.) Let’s start with Tommy Hutton.

Tom Hutton
1B/OF: Dodgers, Phillies, Blue Jays, Expos, 1966-1981

What styles of music did you most enjoy during your playing career?

Most Rock & Roll. Continue reading

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The Perfectionists: A Play in One Act

I “wrote” this on the subway sometime in the winter of 1996-1997, then decided three years later to include it in my MFA thesis as one of 35 short stories/miniatures. Although the thesis was generally well received, this one part was specifically called out by the committee as drivel. Obviously they had no idea how hard it actually is to get to bizz-buzz.

Setting: A rectangular table with four chairs—two facing the audience, and one at each end. There is a halogen lamp, lit low, in the corner and a plastic pitcher of cheap, very pale yellow beer on the table. Bob, Dottie, Larry, and Frank enter from four different directions and take their seats. They could be anywhere from twenty to forty years old, at least that is the age of the actors who have played the parts so far. Older or younger actors would probably work fine as well. (Casting enquiries may be directed to the Director, 52 Webster Ave., Apt. 39, New Rochelle, NY 10801.) Similarly, while the actors to this point have generally worn the gray pocket t-shirts, tan work shirts, blue sweaters and jeans typical to the Commie-youth look, it would not be inappropriate to give them a jazzy scarf, or a fireman’s helmet, or what have you, because they’re not really Commies, necessarily. After a moment’s silence, the actors speak matter-of-factly and rhythmically with nary a pause between their words.

Bob: One.

Dottie: Two.

Larry: Three. Continue reading

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Greg Jennings crosses the plane.

Congratulations to the Pack: They did it for Madden.

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