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The Barry Stoller Jukebox – conclusion

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Continued from this post .

1. ‘A Foggy Day’ – Dave Brubeck Quartet – Fantasy 518X – 1949. That’s right, this baby came out in 1949, a year before the ‘official’ debut year of the 45RPM format (1950). Not only is this one of the first 7 inches of all time, it’s Brubeck’s first 45. Red vinyl, too. Ah, that’s just for starters: this is one killer track, perfection itself. You won’t find the famed ‘time signature’ quartet here, it’s the earlier one with the unobtrusive rhythm section – all the better to study the breezy genius of Brubeck and his partner, the most under-rated sax player of all time, Paul Desmond. Some 45s can be played 20 times in a row and still retain their freshness; this one can go 50 or more. Don’t you wish you were the dude who spotted it for 5 bucks in some Rhode Island hole-in-the-wall record joint in 1984?

2. ‘Surfer Joe’ – The Surfaris – Dot 144 – 1963. Sure, we all know the A-side, ‘Wipeout’ (intended to be the filler B-side) – and it’s awesome rawk (even today) but the real twisted shit is the flip (a minor, albeit forgotten, hit) which describes the brilliant career of Surfer Joe cut short by a stint in the US Marines. Seems like they cut off his long blond locks… and sent him over to Vietnam. That the composer, vocalist and drummer Ron Wilson quavers with all the untutored honesty of Jad Fair only adds to the postmodern sensibility of this disquieting tune.

3. ‘Patty Hearst’ – Half Japanese – 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Watts 13110 – 1988. Hey, speaking of Jad Fair and disquieting: sometimes rock ‘n roll needs to be abused a little in order to be saved at all – and here’s the band that’s devoted over 20 years to the thankless chore. Hipsters will argue ’til doomsday which scintillating Fair utterance shouted over a barrage of untuned feedback is the coolest… and here’s my personal favorite: ‘I know, Tanya, that you still carry that gun in your dreams.’ What nerve! There’s a reason Nirvana brought Half Japanese on their ’93 tour: they knew who really invented grunge.

4. ‘Giving To You’ – Traffic – United Artists 50195 – 1967. After the Green Tambourine atmospherics of the A-side (‘Paper Sun’) wear thin, the B-side demonstrates how groovy met heavy. Chris Wood holds this woobly little jam together with his felicitous flute riff, while Mason and Winwood attack their instruments with a passion (and distortion) that would be gone within a year. Far out, man!

5. ‘DOA’ – Bloodrock – Capitol 3009 – 1970. The notorious ‘novelty’ tune by Fort Worth’s finest rock machine was a big, loud bummer – and that’s the point. Here is the most emotionally direct anti-war song of the entire Vietnam era: no preaching, no appeals to morality – just a stark reminder that dying violently, pointlessly and anonymously is the worst possible trip on heaven, hell or earth.

6. ‘I’m The Slime’ – The Mothers – Discreet 1180 – 1973. I’ve got my issues with FZ and if I had to go with either/or, I’d say I can’t stand him; not because he was a right wing moron, a pompous ass or an overgrown 11-year-old, but because all these negative traits overshadowed his undeniable excellence as a composer and player. On this final 45 credited to his ‘band,’ The Mothers of Invention, Zappa takes aim at an easy target (television) but displays his best tendencies: frenzied guitar, wacky rhythms, witty lyrics and a subconscious instinct for a pop hook. Tina Turner guests on vocals to good effect.

7. ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ – Bob Dylan – Columbia 43477 – 1966. Here’s the blazing star of the Sixties captured at his finest moment. This is the B-side to the terminally contrived ‘Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window,’ demonstrating the big difference between inspiration and amphetamine. Everyone knows this classic so there’s no need to describe it… except I’ll offer my opinion that, when all is said and done, this is the one track from the LP that truly combines garage rock with beat poetry, giving 100% of each.

8. ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ – The Beatles – Capitol 5112 – 1964. Not bad… for the guy who ended up killing rock n’ roll! His first, his best and (probably) his last rockin’ moment.

9. ‘(I Can’t Get Me No) Satisfaction’ – Devo -Booji Boy 1 – 1977. Although I dig a lot of the (prime) Stones, I always hated this song. Although I hate Devo, there’s something delightful about this stompin’ deconstruction. This version is the ‘regional’ release, prior to the Eno production and the Warners’ signing; the arrangement is the same, but the sound is louder.

10. ‘They Don’t Know’ – Tracey Ullman – MCA/Stiff 52347 – 1983. And you thought most people only remembered Cyndi Lauper. Here’s the sound of ’83 – a big, fat retro nothing to compliment the greed decade. If new wave was essentially the early 60s done by machines, then this is a prime candidate for posterity. Every beat is a whopping Phil Spector bell and the backing harmonies are helium unreal. Utterly synthetic, undeniably annoying and – with the right amount of [insert altered state here] – entirely charming.

11. ‘1963’ – New Order – Quest 28271 – 1987. I can’t say this stuff holds up all that well after the far more adventurous paths blazed by techno, but once upon a time all the cool people in the world eagerly awaited the latest New Order single and the A-side of this US breakthrough ‘True Faith’ delivered the goods. This was also the one where all the uncool people finally finally caught up, thus spelling the ultimate demise for the (once) mighty masters of Manchester. Rarely did they sing a line worth listening to, but on this tune there’s a weird little message trying to break out – and it’s pretty scary.

12. ‘Checkin’ In / Moonlight In Vermont’ [EP on 45] – Les Brown & His Band of Renown – Capitol 746 – 1954. Here is the sound of Saturday night in America, smack dab in the middle of the 20th century – and if you can’t dig it, you’re probably some kinda communist. It’s not gone, it’s not out – but it’s no snoozer, either: it’s the salubrious Eisenhower swing that was heavy on trombones and clarinets (and Gin Rickeys). Smooth! The Les Brown formula was simple – and effective: a fast one to get ’em on the floor, then a slow one to nuzzle your date. This 4-song platter is the best example of this style I’ve ever heard; the compilation (below) features 3 out of 4 (leaving off the best one[!!]).

OK, I’m done for a while. There’s others – zillions others! – and I might own ’em all someday … but part of the reductionist pleasure here is the short stack that can take the repetition. And… what about the Beach Boys? My hangup with them is my all-time favorite – ‘Catch A Wave’ – was inexplicably never released on a 45 … and I’m just bidding my time to bootleg the goddamn thing, complete with Capitol swirl, and insert it right in that spot Paul McCartney presently occupies.

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About DAyTripper

  • Eric Olsen

    Mostly great list – what I have a very difficult time with is discerning a pattern in what is cool or not cool other than what you happen to like or not like: you clearly like the Beach Boys but not the Beatles. I find their stylistic paths very similar. If you’re vilifying the Beatles for killing rock ‘n’ roll, why not the Beach Boys, who certainly didn’t rock any harder than the Beatles after their early Chuck Berry-copped hits.

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    This certainly takes us to our core disagreement – hegemony. Yes, Brian Wilson almost single-handedly invented (and definitely legitimized) studio session rock (i.e. adult contemporary), so he certainly casts a dark shadow over the development of pop & rock music. Yet I give him much higher marks than the Fabs, owing to (1) his singular position (not requiring a George Martin to guide his arranging skills); (2) his inventiveness with arranging (consider how the exotic instruments on ‘Catch A Wave’ and ‘Good Vibrations’ illustrate the lyrics whereas the exotic instruments on most of Pepper are indiscriminately, even excessively, placed); and (3), owing to the Smile debacle and the present-day under-appreciation for Wilson, his underdog status (a factor guaranteed to warm my heart).

    Thanks for checking in, Eric. BTW, I forgot 2 of my favorite discs – and one is by The Who, can you believe it?

  • JR

    Did you just call Frank Zappa a “right wing moron”?

    By the way, thank you for this line: …new wave was essentially the early 60s done by machines…

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    Did you just call Frank Zappa a “right wing moron”?

    Yup, based on the infantile political comments in ‘The Real Frank Zappa Book.’ (Love his wah-wah tone and speed nevertheless.)

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    wow, zappa was as far from right-wing as you could get. (well, not as far as i am from right wing, but that’s another story)

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    According to his book, capitalism was the true reflection of ‘human nature.’ That’s a reductionist argument a la Ayn Rand. Zappa’s primary objection to the politicians at the time of the ‘censorship’ issue was simply that some of them were thinking of regulating market activity – that’s a ‘free speech’ stance under the guise of a free business stance. Where I come from that’s right wing – and moronic.

  • Eric Olsen

    I thought he was more libertarian/iconoclast than anything. And he was also an incredible hypocrite: attacking drinkers and drug users as morons, fools, weak, etc., while he smoked himself to death before he turned 53.

  • JR

    I wonder what his position on state-funded music education was.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    is this the quote:

    Americans like to talk about (or be told about) Democracy but, when put to the test, usually find it to be an ‘inconconvenience.’ We have opted instead for an authoritarian system disguised as a Democracy. We pay through the nose for an enormous joke-of-a-government, let it push us around, and then wonder how all those assholes got in there.

    Communism doesn’t work because it is out of phase with human nature. Are we gonig to wake up one day to find this statement equally true when applied to the concept of Western Democracy?

    in the page previous to this zappa dumps on communism being againts human nature because “people want to own stuff”.

  • JR

    In fairness, I think Zappa’s objection to drug use was the behavioral effects. Cigarettes aren’t quite as effective at turning a person into an instant asshole as, say, cocaine is.

    Having said that, I don’t think I could stand to be around a chain-smoker.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    Barry, RCA records debuted the 45 RPM
    disc back in February of 1949.
    Just fer the record!(Bad pun intended).

  • Eric Olsen

    My point is that Zappa was dependent upon a drug and it killed him. This sort of leaves his thoughts on the subject a bit tainted.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    i thought zappa died of prostate cancer.

  • Eric Olsen

    smoking affects all organs of the body

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    Hey thanks, HW Saxton Jr, for the info. Maybe I’m thinking of the 33RPM? Anyway, the Brubeck is ’49.

    About Zappa, yes a phoney. And, continuing with the right wing charge, he did an anti-union tune in ’83.

  • JR

    Yeah, but the musicians’ union is a joke. And he also did anti-Republican tunes. Remember “Dickie’s Such an Asshole”?

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    so zappa was a right-winger because he criticized unions?

    gees, then i guess michael moore is a right-winger too.

    dang, life’s complicated.

  • JR

    Either that or it’s real simple.

  • http://www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    Zappa, again. As I recall, he starts his book with the admission that he’s unread – then proceeds to rap like he knows it all. I have no criticism with his anti-communist stance, only that’s it’s laughably ignorant; there’s a big difference between consumer products and the means of production and either he was conflating the two for the sake of swaying those more ignorant than he, or he didn’t know himself, thus he had no business pontificating about communism in the first place. I recall his famous spat about the LSO union, that’s not what I meant; he wrote some anti-union tune directed against roadies and proceeded to play this little ditty from the stage, attempting to humiliate his own grunt workers from the safety of his self-appointed throne. Add Zappa’s life-long homophobia and sexism and a FULL, rather unpleasant, right-wing portrait appears. (Forget the Michael Moore point, which merely generalizes the particular. And…don’t be distracted by Zappa’s ridicule of Republicans; it’s possible to stand to the RIGHT of Republicans – just ask Mark Farner, who Zappa rather liked.) Like I said above, Zappa’s political stance – and immaturity – was a real distraction from his musical talent, which was immense. (‘Apostrophe,’ with Jack Bruce and Jim Gordon, should be on the robot radio 24/7.)

  • http://www.clifs.com Clif Daniel

    I watched you put this one together . I had expected something a bit closer to home for 1965 or 1966 . But , that’s cool …

    As I’ve said before, I admire your ability to present your opinions of a song or artist in the same manner as one might describe a fine wine. Some of your opinions are out there, however.

    1. ‘It’s Been A Long, Long Time’ – Les Paul & Mary Ford
    I also have a few Les Paul & Mary Ford items .. Les Paul is more than deserving of number one position on your list, the godfather of electric guitar

    5. ‘Quiet Village’ – Martin Denny
    If cover art sells albums , it’s easy to see whay hers were good sellers, I have only one of her albums, every track is unique and has something to offer.

    8. ‘Midsummer New York’ – Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band
    haha … ughhh , I played this once and only once. Was down on my family’s farm in Mississippi years ago … my grandpas bloodhound took to full stride howling in agony , we tracked him down the levy and across across Rosedale ( yes , that Rosedale ) and finally he was spotted down near 61 & 49 hiways ( yes , the crossroads ). We did mange to get him home , but he was never quite right again.

    10. ‘Soul Experience’ – Iron Butterfly
    a great piece of vinyl to find, I’ve got this one also

    5. ‘DOA’ – Bloodrock – Capitol 3009 – 1970
    anybody that knows me , knows that I have way to much to say about Bloodrock. You may not have had what I expected for the 1965 or 1966 slots, but this’ll do, glad that you included it in your list.

    7. ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ – Bob Dylan – Columbia 43477
    I don’t have to say anything about Bob Dylan, I’m jealous. I’de love to have a 7″ version of this myself”

    8. ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ – The Beatles – Capitol 5112
    a nice piece of vinyl and a great song. the man that killed rock and roll ? … wtf , shit Barry …. never mind !! … ”

    Enjoyed the thread …

    FYI
    Beach Boys , Catch A Wave 7″
    Capitol Label 1973 Original Issue
    45 W/ GERMAN-ONLY PS & “WENDY” ON THE B SIDE. 1973 ORIGINAL ISSUE AS THIS WAS NEVER A SINGLE IN THE 60’S. M-/M
    Nice cover art also .. a wave of couse.
    New old stock – one in stock – they are 16.00 proud of this one.

  • http:www.utopia2000.org Barry Stoller

    I was rather tempted to add a Crowd +1 45 to the list (I’ve got both Capitol issues) but decided that would be a bit too … partisan. Thanks for looking over the list.