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Don's Latest

By Don Jacobson

Since I embrace the ethos that no bootlegs shall pass, and because I'm poor, I don't actually come into possession of a lot of major label music anymore. Only occasionally will I charge up the credit card for an MP3 track of a "big" band these days, and even then it's usually when I'm reminded of some exceeding great music from years past - from the days when the majors were taking chances with real artists.

So, after many months of making these rare purchases off of iTunes, I found that 15 of them had accumulated on the hard drive - enough for a decent mix CD. After burning it, I looked it over and thought this was actually a dang-ol' cool collection (and really, don't we all think that, even when we put in those Styx tracks?) And because my mind's a blank, I call it The Latest (with a please-don't-sue-me nod to Cheap Trick).

1. Cheap Trick, "California Man." Blurt's review of Cheap Trick's latest The Latest says they reference "California Man" on it:

"A few songs later they catapult headlong into 'California Girl' which, though revved up, can't disguise the fiftiesish, rockabilly-flavored undercurrent, right down to Zander's Jerry Lee Lewis-type whoops and vocal flourishes. And yes, it's an answer song to the Move classic 'California Man,' and as anybody reading this probably already knows, Cheap Trick famously covered that neo-rockabilly outing on 1978's Heaven Tonight."

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2. Crow, "Evil Woman Don't Play Your Games With Me." I'm biased because this is a Twin Cities band from the late '60s and this tune got a lot play here. And it was more influential than I thought. This is from Crow's Web site:

"Crow had a truly unique sound which included aggressive musical interpretations combined with a distinctive blues rock sound. 'Evil Woman Don't Play Your Games With Me' charted nationally and hit the top ten of the national Billboard 500 during the winter of 1969. So diversely influential in the music world this release from the band was that Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath covered the hit on their very first release in 1970, an album which was not at the time released in the United States, but has since been released in the United States on the 2004 Black Sabbath Greatest Hits compilation CD.

"Also, Ike and Tina Turner covered 'Evil Woman Don't Play Your Games With Me' on their album Come Together."

Here's a nice stereo of version of "Evil Woman" hosted by Music Mike.

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3. The Golden Dogs, "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five." An awesome cover of the Wings classic from the Toronto indie rockers off their 2007 album Big Eye Little Eye. From the YepRock Records Web site:

"The cover of 'Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,' the B-side to Paul McCartney & Wings' nonsensical epic 'Band on the Run,' slithered onto Big Eye Little Eye through the band's passion for performing it live.

"'It has become a real favorite for us to perform live,'" said Golden Dogs songwriter Dave Azzolini. 'We usually do it in the middle of our set and it serves as an amazing apex for the show. Crowds have come to expect us to really rock that out and we love to make them happy by losing ourselves in it.'"

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4. J.J. Jackson, "But It's Alright." My all-time favorite '60s soul song. It still pops into my head out of nowhere 42 years after it came out. I couldn't agree more with "Jamie" who posted a comment on Sam Juliano's "Wonders In the Dark" movie blog:

"My favorite one-hit wonder right now? 'But It's Alright' by J.J. Jackson, which is from a sub-sub-genre I love (Northern Soul), and I think right now it's the greatest dance song I've ever heard."

Right on, Jamie.

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5. The Jayhawks, "Save It For a Rainy Day." Sometimes things just get so damn beautiful I have to cry. Something about this song just makes me bawl like a baby. From 2003's Rainy Day Music, I had a similar experience as Jimmy "Hambone" Hamilton from the Regular Joe blog, which is about all things St. Joseph, Mo.:

"One day a couple years ago, I found myself singing the chorus of a song, as I drove down the highway. I didn't know many words, something about 'save it for a rainy day,' and realized I didn't know the song or the artist, or for that matter even where I had heard it. I scanned my admittedly damaged short term memory, but couldn't come up with it.

"A week or so later I was half snoozing on the couch with the sound turned low and caught myself humming along with the tune again. I excitedly sat up to see who it was. Hmm, the Jayhawks, I'd heard of them, alt-country guys. Been around a while, but never hit it too big. I filed it away on my mental hard drive, such as it is. Over the next few weeks, I heard the song several more times, liking it more each time, until I had to make a run to my favorite music retailer."

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6. The Replacements, "Unsatisfied." Of course, nary a day goes by that I don't reference some kind of Placemats song in my mind. But two things made me think of it recently: First, I saw the movie Adventureland, in which "Unsatisifed" plays a key role in a great dramedy about sexual angst, sleazy theme parks and limp corn dogs. (Also on the soundtrack, produced by Yo La Tengo, is "Bastards of Young.")

Also, a sad moment has passed in the Twin Towns, much similar to Lounge Ax closing in Chicago. The Uptown Bar, where the Stinson brothers' mom was a bartender for years and was one of the fulcrums of everything had happened here musically in the '80s and '90s, shut its doors this weekend.

She was still pouring Leinies.

The Replacements - Unsatisfied
Found at skreemr.com

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7. UFO, "Cherry." Gotta keep givin' all my love to Cherry. It all came back to me when I was watching an episode of Prison Break where it was playing on a radio when the recovering alcoholic girlfriend wanders into a bar and is tempted to fall off the wagon. Then some nasty assassin tries to strangle her.

Chicago rock 'n' roller Darren Robbins of the Time Bomb Symphony says on his He's a Whore blog of the 1978 UFO album Obsession:

"Thankfully, the band quickly returns to more righteous fare in 'Cherry,' which alternates esoteric, stripped down verses with anthemic choruses and does the impossible by working both as a lilting love ballad and all-out arena rocker."

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8. XTC, "Dear God." The all-time greatest song about atheism. Andy Partridge is a genius pop poet. Its notoriety as a plea against intolerance, religious violence and poverty kind of overshadows its haunting musical construction and some of Partridge's best singing.

Right on is this assessment by Emilio from Uruguay on his blog Musicko:

"Instrumentally, the song is a masterpiece: violins sweep all over it in a sort of prolonged swoon, whereas a child sings the intro and outro to noticeable effect. And the band is impeccable as usual. The song is also an excellent exponent of what is found within Skylarking on the whole: clever music that is superbly arranged and performed. XTC never sounded so true to themselves and so accessible at the same time."

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9. Boston, "More Than a Feeling." Did Nirvana rip off Boston's riff for "Smells Like Teen Spirit?" The debate continues. On Nirvana's new Live at Reading 1992 CD/DVD, released last month, they segue right from a playful cover of the dinosaur into their smash grunge hit. An homage? An admission?

"It's 1992 and the wonder of the mid-80's Los Angeles hair metal scene has been hung out to dry by a bunch of herberts in ripped jeans, stupid hats and check flannel shirts who all seem to be wallowing in a world of self pity, drug habits and stolen riffs from 1970's AOR bands," opines a blogger from the London creative agency Clinic, who says he or she was at the Reading concert.

"I remember my mate Jeff saying to me as the opening riff to 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' reverberated through the rising steam of bodies, 'Sounds just like "More Than a Feeling" by Boston that, doesn't it?' Yes it does!! And you, Cobain me old son, you have been found out!"

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12. Elvis Costello. "Party Girl." I think this song is the ultimate consequence of Elvis' bittersweet young soul. Like David N. of the We Can Rebuild Him blog, I count "Party Girl" among his Somewhat Neglected songs. Turns out he wrote it for a girl who was victim of the tabloid press because she fell into Elvis' paparazzi-filled orbit.

"For years, the general consensus among Elvis fans was that it was about Bebe Buell, famed former super-groupie, lover of Steven Tyler and Todd Rundgren, mother of Liv Tyler, ex of Elvis. But he claimed it was instead a defence of a student he met on tour in the US who tabloid journalists caught him with in a car, proceeding to smear her reputation to some extent."

Of course, along with thrilling wordplay, David N. nails the real reason I like this song: Its unabashed power-popism.

"The emotional intensity he is aiming for is evident in the song's instrumental choices. For this is basically a power ballad, with big guitar chords and cascading piano and lots of high hat and very melodramatic rising and falling passages . . . Every song (on Armed Forces) sounds perfectly played and honed to perfection, and this one is no exception."

Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Party Girl
Found at skreemr.com

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13. Jo Jo Gunne, "Run Run Run." Oh my God. I could not believe it when I heard this on WMBR (Cambridge, Mass.) Feeling its early-'70s boogying self coming out the speakers sent me into spasms of joy as I flashed immediately on GTOs and 8-tracks.

Oh, and as San Diego writer Gordon Hauptfleisch of BlogCritcs says, "Run Run Run" (with future Heart guitar wizard Mark Andres doing the coolest, weirdest slide run ever) "soon becomes one of those songs that will be run, run, running through your head indefinitely, carried along by a slide guitar and background vocals stuck on stupid: 'Doo doo doo / Doo doo doo doo / Run run run / Run run run . . . ' Repeat and rinse, and add in, sparingly, lead vocalist Jay Ferguson to interject, say, a carpe diem freak-out greeting: 'Welcome to the party / we're all just papers in the wind,' and you have yourself a Top 40 American hit."

14. The Troggs, "With a Girl Like You." Cool, cool (somewhat) overlooked mid-60s garage ballad. What I didn't know until now is that singer Reg Presley and the rest of The Troggs are from rural Hampshire, England, and not that that is so special, but I see Presley is in fact a "Hampshire Hero," according to the Hampshire County Council's Culture, Communities and Rural Affairs Department blog.

"Reg Presley, a real 'Hampshire Hero,' is certainly someone who anyone who remembers the 1960s will know. For those of you who did not experience, at first hand, one of the finest decades to be alive in the 20th century, Reg Presley was the lead singer with the Troggs . . . and the Troggs came from Andover! It was rare for pop groups not to be metropolitan, and coming from deepest Hampshire was unusual...

"Anyone who rhymes waitin' with hesitatin' gets my vote as a hero, although his funding and interest of the study of crop circles may slightly diminish his heroic status."

Ummm, what's all this about Reg Presley and crop circles? Quick, call the Daily Mail!


THE TROGGS - With a girl like you
Uploaded by peter95000. - Explore more music videos.

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15. Bo Diddley. "You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover." Since he died recently I realized how appallingly bad my Diddley collection was so I started off by buying 1962's "Cover" (written by Willie Dixon). The absolute greatest thing about this song is the way he demands that you turn up the radio. That had to be the first time anyone said that on a song.

So impressed with it was Mick and Keef, they performed this song at the Stones' first-ever recording session that same year. According to the Collecting Vinyl Records blog, Oct. 27 is the anniversary of "the Rolling Stones making their first recordings at Curly Clayton Studios. The band, which currently consists of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, pianist Ian Stewart, and drummer Tony Chapman, cut Muddy Waters' 'Soon Forgotten,' Jimmy Reed's 'Close Together,' and Bo Diddley's 'You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover.'"


Bo Diddley - You Can't Judge A Book...
Uploaded by fredozydeco. - Arts and animation videos.

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From the Beachwood jukebox to Obama Radio, we have the playlists you need to be a better citizen of the Rock and Roll Nation.



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Posted on November 2, 2009


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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