Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dancing with the Hoods

If the Dancing Hoods are remembered at all, it is as a footnote to the career of Mark Linkous, a/k/a Sparklehorse. Linkous played lead guitar for this Long Island power pop band. If you like early Cheap Trick or the Gin Blossoms, you would enjoy the Dancing Hoods.

Their first release was a four song EP produced by Glen Morrow of the Individuals. Linkous was credited as “Freddie Linkous” on this EP, and as “Freddie Mark Linkous” on its followup, 1985's 12 Jealous Roses. I first got into the Dancing Hoods when 120 Minutes played the video for their song “Pleasure”. The song had a great guitar riff, and do you remember the chorus? “I danced on ledges a hundred flights up, drank dirty water from a jagged cup”... I think I later saw the Hoods on MTV playing live with Johnette Napolitano, but I can’t be sure.

1988's Hallelujah Anyway was supposed to be their breakthrough album, but the band broke up after its release. Some of the songs were obvious grabs for airplay. The bargain bins are filled with copies of this CD. So why do I carry a torch for the Dancing Hoods? Take a listen to these tracks. Lead singer Bob Bortnick quotes Dylan Thomas at length on “Crooked Angel” (which has a great riff by Linkous). And the band reimagines Leonard Cohen’s turgid “Diamonds in the Mine” as a balls-out rocker. So they were smarter than the average bear (they also covered the Left Banke on their first LP). Linkous exchanged his Johnny Thunders influences for Tom Waits, and I think Bob Bortnick went to work in A & R. I was surprised the other day to see that Uncut magazine's CD this month has an uptempo country-flavored cover of "Diamonds in the Mine" by the Broken Family Band. You can hear it at the blog Kofi's Hat.

Dancing Hoods: Crooked Angel

Dancing Hoods: Diamonds in the Mine



At 2/22/2006 6:09 PM , Anonymous tama drums said...

Just blogging for a while, my site is also about tama drums, so just saying hi.


At 2/22/2006 11:20 PM , Blogger 2fs said...

Who knew that this site is about drums? Do they still make Janitor in a Drum? Shouldn't some punk band have made a dumb tasteless joke on that name and used it for their own name? My favorite unused punk-rock name for a drummer: Curtis Interruptus (they'd have to be from Brooklyn).

At 2/23/2006 4:34 PM , Anonymous Paula said...

"....And I smashed my own BONES just to hear 'em CRACK/You think this is pain? Honey this is Plea-zhah!!!"

Oh....thank you for that.

At 2/23/2006 8:47 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Maybe Curtis Interruptus could be the drummer for my imaginary band, Britney Spearchucker!

At 2/27/2006 11:04 AM , Anonymous piehammer said...

I notice how you left out the part where we covered Pleasure on your Fostex 4 track in the basement.

As I recall, we rocked.

At 2/27/2006 6:19 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

I'm glad you remember it that way. As I recall, my guitar solo sucked.

At 3/09/2006 12:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 7/20/2009 11:28 PM , Blogger Russ Wayt said...

I wish I could find the clip of the MTV show where Concrete Blonde played first, and then The Dancing Hoods, and Johnette did join them for at least one number, wearing blacka and white striped leggings. Also on the same show, but not live were Cindy Lee Berryhill and Tom Waits. There were probably others, though I can't recall. It may have been 120 Minutes, but again I can't remember. Wonderful performances by both groups.

At 8/06/2009 8:59 AM , Blogger jonderneathica said...

OK, so I didn't imagine it! I think you're right, it was 120 Minutes.


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