Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Feeling's Right

When Elliott Smith was alive, I used to wish that he would do a version of this Moon Martin song. In the late 1970's, Moon Martin was marketed as an American answer to Elvis Costello (the same thing the record companies did to John Hiatt). Check the bespectacled stalker look on the cover of his album Escape from Domination. A Rolling Stone writer called Moon Martin "a Woody Allen version of Warren Zevon". Moon's lyrics weren't as densely packed with wordplay as Elvis Costello's, but he shared Costello's air of nerdy menace.

John "Moon" Martin started his musical career in an Oklahoma rockabilly band. He moved to LA and was rumored to have been in an early lineup of the band that became the Eagles, but he wisely escaped that fate. His 1978 debut album, Shots from a Cold Nightmare, included the original version of "Bad Case of Loving You", which became a Top 10 hit for Robert Palmer. Moon himself had a Top 30 hit with "Rolene" in 1979.

If you can get past the double-tracked guitars and other 70's signifiers on "The Feeling's Right", you will find the heart of darkness in this song. The sound may smack of laid-back California country rock, but a sense of unease taints the sweetness of this forlorn ballad. The feeling clearly is NOT right, despite Moon's pleas for reassurance to the object of his affection (obsession?) I could easily imagine Elliott Smith's voice on lines like "How much do I pay to make it go away?"

Moon Martin: The Feeling's Right


At 6/29/2006 9:55 AM , Blogger fred said...

'escape from domination!' well, let's not mince words, eh?

first thought : creedence, if they actually sounded like they were from california. then the vocals came in and i thought, a less creaky cat stevens.

the ease of the vocals really disguises the strain it takes him to sing such words. good stuff.

At 6/29/2006 11:56 AM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

I'll take Creedence for $500, Fred.

Finally found a picture of the album cover (French version):

At 7/01/2006 6:12 PM , Anonymous Paula said...

Moon Martin was definitely part of my new wave awakening....I never liked him as much as Elvis, but def. as much as the Jags!

At 7/02/2006 7:31 AM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Ooh yeah, I loved the Jags! I was enough of a Moon Martin fan to join his fan club, and I have a signed 8 x 10 glossy around somewhere. But I lost interest after his album "Street Fever". He's still making records, according to


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