Monday, June 25, 2007

Me and Mr. Smith

The Fall: Ludd Gang
Barbara Manning: Mark E. Smith and Brix
The Kiss Offs: Broken Fingers for Talented Singers

I awoke this morning from a dream about Mark E. Smith. He and I were sitting on swings in a playground. He offered me a drink from a bottle of clear liquor. It was either vodka or tequila. I said no, because I was already drunk and I didn't want to get sick, especially since we were on the swings. Mark laughed and called me a lightweight. I considered asking him about the words to one of his songs, but I decided that he wouldn't like being asked to explain what it meant.

Earlier in the dream, we were in an airport with a bunch of singers from other bands, and they were all singing songs that Mark had written. He liked that. Mark had a toy remote control airplane. Airport workers kept trying to take it away from him, but Mark would make the plane fly away every time they got close to it. He said, "I like to be on bad behavior." All the singers from other bands were singing a Fall song that I didn't know. It was called "Boats and Planes".

What's it mean? What's it mean?

No doubt you read all the blogs on my link list (stage right). Just in case you haven't checked on them lately, may I recommend Eric's latest podcast at Something I Learned Today, which includes cover versions of songs originally by Wire, Joy Division, Husker Du, the Dicks, and the Saints. Also, JeFf's series of thoughtful posts about the lesser-known musical output of David Bowie is well worth reading. The series starts here at The Architectural Dance Society.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Kiss of Ring of Fire of Love

Wanda Jackson: Funnel of Love
Cobra Verde: Fire of Love
Geraldine Fibbers: Kiss of Fire

When my wife and I were first dating, she had a trove of thrift shop 45's. (A girl with an eclectic record collection? It was love right then.) Therein we discovered Wanda Jackson's "Funnel of Love". My wife also had a single of "Trust in Me" by Etta James, which immediately became our song, and which still seems to me a wedding song equally worthy to "At Last". When we renew our vows, I want to hear "Trust in Me" and kd lang's "Simple".

"Funnel of Love" bears a strong lyrical resemblance to "Ring of Fire", but with a sinuous melody that provides a workout for a singer with pipes like Wanda Jackson. "Funnel" was written in the 1950's by a Nashville session musician named Charlie McCoy, and the song has been performed by Mike Ness, Rosie Flores, SCOTS, and others. Here's a version by the late great Atlanta band the Jody Grind.

I first heard "Fire of Love" on the Gun Club's second LP, Miami (read John Darnielle's excellent review of Miami here). Another song from the 1950's, written by Jody Reynolds, who was most famous for his song "Endless Sleep". The MC5 used to perform "Fire of Love" in their live sets. Tav Falco's Panther Burns have covered all of today's songs, plus "Endless Sleep"!

"Kiss of Fire" was written by a jazz cat named Lester Allen, and has been performed by Louis Armstrong and Tito Puente. I first heard it when I found an odd-sized EP by the Geraldine Fibbers that had an old-fashioned library card sticking out of the sleeve (the EP was later included in What Part of 'Get Thee Gone' Don't You Understand?) "Kiss of Fire" is the oldest composition here, but shares the lyrical theme of "Fire of Love", "Funnel of Love", and "Ring of Fire": passion leads inexorably to self-immolation.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Here Comes the Summer

The Undertones: Here Comes the Summer

How many of these can you attribute to an artist without looking them up? Most of them came off the top of my head, y'all. Write your answers on a 3x5 index card and send them in an SASE with three box tops. Employees of Underneathica, LLC and their family members are ineligible to participate.

Here Comes Another One
Here Comes the Bums
Here Come Cowboys
Here Comes the Hotstepper
Here Comes My Baby
Here Comes My Girl
Here Comes the Nice
Here Comes the Night
Here Comes the Rain Again
Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling
Here Comes a Regular
Here Come the Rome Plows
Here Comes Santa Claus
Here Comes the Savior
Here Comes Success
Here Comes the Sun
Here Come those Tears
Here Comes Terry
Here Come the Warm Jets
Here Comes Your Man

Lightning Bonus Round (aging prog fans only!):
Here Comes the Gear, Lads
Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist