My Cover of Badfinger’s “Midnight Caller”

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MidnightCaller

Hoping to get a piece of the sweet Badfinger coin — courtesy of the Breaking Bad finale — I immediately jumped into action and recorded one of my favorite songs of theirs, “Midnight Caller.”

Written by Pete Ham, “Midnight Caller” is the story of a lonely call girl too proud to tell her friends about her secret occupation. The inspiration for this song came from a good friend of the band, Sue Wing, who, unbeknownst to the members of the group, was secretly employed at a high-class escort service (her clients were diplomats, heads of state, etc.). Despite this, the group remained good friends with her until her death from a drug overdose in late 1973.

Bummed out yet? Wait ’til you hear my cover of the song!

Click below to hear it.

“(I’m Gonna) Tap Dance On Your Head”

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maureenjohnsonbooks:

The other day, I asked my friend Gene to write me a theme song to celebrate my move away from my very special neighbor in apartment 8A. He delivered.

You can sing along:

(I’m Gonna) Tap Dance On Your Head
My neighbor lives in apartment 8A
She send me threatening notes nearly everyday
With a cease and desist, she’s still has plenty to say
But I’ll have the last laugh the day I move away
The other day when I went to the store
Shopping for shoes, bur I found something more
Black and shiny, cool to the core
And now I’m ready to settle the score
I’m gonna TAP DANCE ON YER HEAD NOW
I’m gonna TAP DANCE ON YER HEAD NOW
I’m gonna TAP DANCE ON YER HEAD NOW
I’m gonna TAP DANCE ON YER HEAD NOW
And when you’re downstairs, listening to me dance
you’ll reconsider your circumstance.
You’re gonna wish you never saw my face
When I finish tying my shoelace
I’m gonna TAP DANCE ON YER HEAD, NOW
I’m gonna TAP DANCE ON YER HEAD, NOW
I’m gonna TAP DANCE ON YER HEAD, NOW
I’m gonna TAP DANCE ON YER HEAD, NOW

Gene Cawley - '(I'm Gonna) Tap Dance On Your Head'

The Ventures: Outer Space and Beyond

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The Ventures may not mean much to the average music fan of today, but very little rock music of the last quarter of the 20th century would have sounded quite the same without them. Guitarists Bob Bogle and Don Wilson, drummer Mel Taylor and bass player Nokie Edwards had a sound that was almost two decades ahead of its time. Does this make them the fabled “first-ever punk band”? Probably not, but if you can find a more aggressive, in-your-face guitar sound circa 1960, please let me know.

The vastness of The Ventures’ influence included their choice of guitar, the Mosrite, a guitar that The Ventures had an exclusive on in the early 1960s. Other “proto-punk” Mosrite users include John Entwistle, Fred “Sonic” Smith (of the MC5), Dave Alexander (of The Stooges), Johnny Ramone, Kurt Cobain, and, of course, Glen Campbell.

There’s a legendary story where, in 1979, Dan Ackroyd plays John Belushi a tape of an old instrumental titled “The 2000-Year-Old Bee.” Belushi loves the song and demands to know which current punk band is on the tape. Ackroyd has to explain to him that this song had been recorded in 1961 by a group called The Ventures. Belushi adored the song so much (as it indirectly reflected back to his time on SNL when he was forced to dress up as a bee), he made Ackroyd promise to play the song at his funeral. Acrkroyd not only agreed, but kept that promise. Sure enough, right after the eulogy, Ackroyd whips out a portable cassette player and out comes “The 2000 Year Old Bee.”

Now if he’d only play it at MY funeral.

The Ventures - "The 2000 Year Old Bee, Part 1" The Ventures - "The 2000 Year Old Bee, Part 2"

Peter, Paul and Mary: The Missing Years

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Okay, let’s say you’re folksingers Peter, Paul and Mary. You’ve just had a mostly-accidental smash hit in the form of John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane” in late 1969. What do you do? Obviously, you’d capitalize on the unexpected success in some way, most likely by making a spectacularly solid album for the ages, right? If you said “Yes, that’s EXACTLY what I’d do,” then you’re obviously NOT Peter, Paul and Mary.

Just how delusional were the actual Peter, Paul and Mary at the dawn of the 1970s? At least delusional enough to take a break from each other (much needed, if you’ve ever had the misfortune to listen to the godawful Peter, Paul and Mommy album) and release a set of solo albums in 1971 and 1972.

Utilizing the famous Milton Glaser font on all three of the albums’ covers, it at least appeared to be a deliberate attempt to market the three albums as a set (something that Kiss would try with varying success almost ten years later).

So which of the three was more successful? Mary’s album Mary only went as high as #71 on the Billboard album charts in 1971 despite having a version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” that predated Roberta Flack’s by nearly a year. Noel Stookey’s album Paul and, despite having the unforgivably bad (albeit, astronomically and inexplicably successful) “The Wedding Song (There Is Love)” as a single, only peaked at #42. Peter Yarrow’s Paul fared the worst, only reaching #163.

Who on God’s earth thought this might be a good idea? Were these solo sets the harbinger of more egotistical outings to come? Did it signal the true beginning of the “Me Decade”? Had they been a more significant group, this might have portended the official end of the 1960s.

Despite their disastrous solo outings, Peter, Paul and Mary would not make another album together until 1978′s Reunion, at which point, nobody cared.

 

The Village Fugs – “Swinburne Stomp”

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A few years ago, I grabbed an original copy of The Fugs’ First Album, originally titled The Village Fugs Sing Ballads of Contemporary Protest, Point of Views, and General Dissatisfaction. I got it at a very reasonable price from a Milwaukee record store (who were honest enough to admit the record was barely playable, at best). It was worth it anyway.

I was recently hipped to the fact that the original mono mixes of the album (about the first two or three LP pressings) have a different take of “Swinburne Stomp” on it.

Here it is:

"The Fugs - "Swinburne Stomp"

Also, as a bonus, here’s the info and lyric sheet of The Fugs that came with my copy of the album. Pretty amusing stuff.

The Fugs Info and Lyric Sheet

 

The Baked Ziti Stocking Stuffer – 2011

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Another year, another attempt by me to throw together random audio clips while trying to pass it off as a Christmas message.

Click below to listen.

The Baked Ziti Stocking Stuffer - 2011

 

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Easily The Greatest Doors Song Ever!

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Though I’m far from the biggest Jimmy Fallon fan on the block, I gotta really hand it to him with this one. Not only does he perfectly approximate Jim Morrison’s voice, as well as the inconceivably corny backdrop from The Doors’ 1967 Ed Sullivan appearance, he exposes the total idiocy that apparently passed for lyrics back in the late 1960′s. Kudos to the band as well. I’m sure they’re professional musicians (if it actually is them playing; it’s a little hard to tell), so it must have been extremely difficult for them to play THAT poorly. The drummer does an absolutely perfect impression of a typical John Densmore drum seizure at about 1:56. My only (very minor) complaint is that, as with so many things parodic, “Weird Al” Yankovic was there first with the brilliant “Craigslist.” As far as the impression goes, I have to give Fallon the nod.