It’s cold and rainy in Portland, and I think everyone’s a little pissed off. Today looks like any day in February, and we cherish the sun oh-so-much because we really only have a few months of it. There has to be some summer left! Damn you, climate change.
So for the past couple summers, every time the sun starts peeking out I find myself listening to a lot of 60s-70s Jamaican pop- mostly ska, rocksteady and dancehall. This song was one of my “Come On, Summer!” jams this past spring. When the weather was nice enough, I would bring my work laptop on the front porch, open the windows and blast my Ethiopians record. This is by far my favorite song of theirs, and I equate it to (hot) sunshine perhaps more than any song. Even though it’s about a train, it’s really more about the “glory.”
Okay, let me get this out of the way first: Ike Turner was a tyrannical, violent, abusive piece of shit who also happened to be an American music pioneer. There’s no “but” in that sentence. Both things are true.
Somehow I just recently discovered the amazingness of Ike & Tina, having just seen video footage of their iconic performance of “Proud Mary.” I was hooked, and acquired as much of their music as I could.
It’s always hard for me to separate an artist’s biography from his or her music, try as I might. Not that Tina has exactly been silent about Ike’s abuse, but listening to this era of Ike & Tina when they were on Kent (1964-67) really highlights their tumultuous relationship in a way that’s almost unsettling. Even though they were accomplished pop musicians, you can’t help but hear just a tad of autobiography when Tina sings songs like “You Can’t Miss Nothing You Never Had,” “Hurt is All You Gave Me” and “Don’t Blame it On Me.”
This song highlights Ike & Tina’s brilliant mix of pop R&B that made them such an enduring act.
P.S. If you want a good cringe, read about Phil Spector’s defense of Ike (and slamming of Tina) at Ike’s funeral. Turns out musically brilliant, abusive pieces of shit stick up for each other.
A few summers ago Nick and I went out to Athens, OH for a little camping excursion with about a hundred other youths, all strangers to us. At that time, we were just getting into a compilation by Kogar called “Lux and Ivy’s Favorites” (his 10+ volume tribute to everything Lux and Ivy of The Cramps ever touched or listened to). And on this comp was this downright ZANY song called the Martian Hop, which all the other nearby tents that night got to hear our incessant 10 second improvisational renditions of (followed by giggling). There were a lot of “SHUT THE FUCK UP”s coming from all around us on that night, and, well, rightly so I suppose.
So you’re probably thinking, “Oh! The Ran-Dells? Yeah yeah…I think I’ve heard of those guys before.” Because they sound familiar! They sound like a doo-wop or girl-group band with dozens of hits in the early 60s, right? Well, almost. In 1963 these fellas (all first cousins) did make #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with this tune, but that’s about it.
This song honestly doesn’t get much play because it annoys the shit out of most people. In fact, this track kinda reminds me of how fun this site is going to be on April Fools day…I would totally nominate this track as Fool’s Sauce-worthy.
There’s a weird story behind today’s post, but it’s a weird track, so hopefully it’ll work.
I went camping with some friends last weekend and we were getting up early Saturday morning to go rafting. Before I went to bed, I did the drunken one-eye-open alarm clock programming, meaning to set the alarm for 8. Instead, I accidentally set it to 6. This song is what I used as the alarm clock. I picked it because it’s kind of pleasant, but oddly jarring enough to wake me up.
I woke up to my friend Erika unzipping my tent to tap me, asking if I could turn off the alarm. Apparently the song had been playing on a loop for an hour, and had woke up two tents next to me, but not me, even though the phone was less than 2 feet from my head. One friend said he thought I was getting stoned and watching the same cartoon over and over again.
British sound artist Vicki Bennett uses the handle People Like Us, and has an impressive catalog of oddball sound collages, mixing and matching a wide range of samples from the 20th century pop culture landscape. Her stuff often makes me laugh out loud, which is great because it’s not even supposed to be “funny” music per say. Almost all of her work is hosted for free at UbuWeb. I particularly recommend “Hate People Like You,” “Abridged Too Far” and the tracks from “DIY or DIE” on WFMU.
Hope you can at least appreciate the concept of waking up to this song after a night of heavy drinking, having no idea what it is or where it’s coming from.
Ok, a little late here at 11PM, but I think it’s appropriate for the mood today’s sauce is gonna throw you in. This’ll be the first ‘American primitive’ (a term we like for pre-war blues, ‘country’, gospel, soul-ish…etc.) post on here, and we both think it’s a kicker! God damb, if this ain’t good for what ails you on a rainy day in (insert your city here) then I don’t know what is.
Robert Wilkins (1896-1987!) was born in a town near Memphis around when all those crazy-cool jug bands were startin up. So Robert, predominantly a solo act, decided to try that for a while. Long story short, it didn’t work out but this track (and a FEW others) is the cream of the carp from his solo shit, and this song specifically inspired The Rolling Stones’ “Prodigal Son.”
ANYWAYS, this is one of those songs I want to make on a mix for mom that I would be too mortified to actually give her, if you know what I mean (Carter Family would be all up in that piece). It’s one of those straight moanin wailers of a blues track that is just basically like, “HEY! I’m a decent fella and the world is eatin me up out here!”. I heard this track first on a Shanachi Records (one of my favorite labels for primitive tunes next to Yazoo) compilation called Roots of Rock. Enjoy, ye moanerrzzzzz!
Here’s another discovery from the wonderful Mississippi Records. I live in Portland, OR, and the label and store are one of my favorite institutions in the city. I could go on and on about how amazing they are, but one thing that’s particularly attractive about them is their modesty. For instance, they don’t have a website and they only take cash or checks at their store.
So, this song comes from the “Mata La Pena,” a compilation that focuses on “mellow dramatic music from around the world. Everything from Calypso to Flamenco to Thai ballads to Indonesian instrumentals to American country to Hawaiian music.”
Mary Jane and Caroline Dezurik were early radio stars, and were the first women to become famous on the Grand Ole Opry and the National Barn Dance shows. They had a unique yodeling style, which Caroline said they figured out by listening to birds and trying to sing like them.
I’ve always been kind of baffled by how many people dislike yodeling in music. It’s one of those musical elements that people think they hate (see also: opera, banjos, accordions) but if pressed, you’d find out they aren’t too familiar with it.
This song, my friends, is a very special brand of adorable.
This song is just perfect. The “fozzy bear of the Bahamas” (as Nick calls him) Joseph Spence and his lovely wife Louise sing in this beautiful little Christian humdinger. This was released on a compilation put out by Mississippi Records of Portland, OR.
Quick word on Mississippi Records - they are the shit. They are folks who press recordings of old bee-yewts on to vinyl and make themed compilations out of them. They also pressed/released a collection of Joseph Spence’s solo tunes which are amazing.
This blawg has been seriously lacking in funk and soul thus far. But we’ve only been up for a week, so it ain’t no thang.
In early 2007 I lived in New Orleans for a couple months doing post-Katrina relief work. I carried around a digital recorder, both to document the insanity all around me and to leave notes for myself. One such note, which I heard recently, was the following: “New Orleans funk is better than other funk…because it just has more sauce!” I’m not totally sure, but I think this might be the beginning of my use of the word in that context.
Nawlins legend Lee Dorsey (born in Portland, OR!) has long been one of my favorite soul singers, and his best recordings involved Allen Toussaint, a crucial figure in the American soul landscape.
As will be made apparent, I am very interested in “in-between” periods of American music. To me, this song represents a perfect middle ground between funk and soul. And backing up Mr. Dorsey on this track are none other than The Meters! Just listen to how tight them drums are!
I present perhaps the most convincing defense of monogamy ever pressed to vinyl.
This song is dedicated to my new haircut for some reason.
BECAUSE MY FUCKING SHIT EATING WORTHLESS SOUL-DEPRIVED FUCKWIT BRAINLESS ASS HAT SEXIST MORBIDLY OBESE HIPPO-CRITE AUTHORITATIVE UNDERQUALIFIED FUCK OF A BOSS JUST ANNOUNCED THAT SHE’S FUCKING QUITTING!!!!!!!!
SO. Today’s song doesn’t really fucking matter, it may as well be the sound of super-balls bouncing off an aluminum pan, because today my ears are on ecstasy. That said, here’s a little celebratory jammer for you turkeys from 1973. WHENEVER you need to celebrate, you have permission/orders from your sauce overloarwds to BUMP THIS SHIT, DRINK, AND MOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, I’m kind of floored by that last post and I don’t know how to follow it. I listened to it all day while working, giggling to myself and wearing the smile equivalent of a raging boner. I hope that isn’t creepy since we’re talking about a child’s song, but I can’t think of a better comparison now.
So, keeping up with my country kick, this is a song from a compilation called “You All Come! East Texas Honky Tonk.” I can’t find much biographical information about Blackie Crawford, but like many of the songs we’ll post, the identity of the musicians matters a lot less than the particular zeitgeist they represent. And the sauce it drips from its pores.
I am dedicating this to my friend Lola who just moved to Texas. Hope you enjoy it.
So the first time I heard this song I completely lost my shit. I was at work, and Bom Bom Lulu of my FAVORITE FUCKING PODCAST EVER comes out a’swingin with this killer. My face turned into a clenched boxer’s mitt and I tried to stifle tears of joy and shock at what I was hearing…some fucking tot singing one of the saddest country songs ever written!
There is something that strikes some fundamental-kill-switch-hilarity-bone in me whenever I hear kids singing songs that are less than appropriate for their age. I’m not talking about teaching toddlers to recite dirty songs - I mean like hearing a kid really being into the piece they are singing, copying the original song tone for tone, but not having a clue what the words imply at all. The only other example I think of that rivals this track would be Michael Baez’s rendition of Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right”.
I have not one clue as to when this was recorded, or what the fuck the deal is.
I’ve always been kind of fascinated by Shane MacGowan. It’s not just his incredible lyrics or his drunken sneer or the state of his teeth, although all these things factor into the wonder. Part of it is the same reason I’m fascinated by Keith Richards: How the fuck is he still alive, let alone walking around being semi-coherent?!
Somewhat embarrassingly, I used to be really into Flogging Molly. I grew up in a heavily Irish Catholic neighborhood in Ohio where Celtic-themed music (and tacky Irish shit) is everywhere. I’m generally not the kind of person who is ashamed about past musical loves. The embarrassment is caused solely by the fact that I didn’t hear The Pogues first. But then, they didn’t play Warped Tour when I was in high school.
So this is my song today simply because I’ve been obsessively listening to it. I’m a total sucker for any Irish-accented sneer of “fuck,” and there are plenty to be had in this song. Additionally, on “If I Should Fall…” it comes right before my all-time favorite Christmas song, “Fairytale of New York.”
Would anyone be interested in a gambling mix? I’ve amassed quite a few killer tunes.
Here’s a fuckin JAMMER that Nick showed me when I visited him in Portland, OR last October. He had just downloaded one of the many great compilations by Kogar, a fella we found on Soulseek who has a daunting collection of rare stompers and bizarre grooves with a penchant for churnin’ out NASTY ASS comps. The name of it was “Kogar’s Knuckle-Dragging Head-Scratchers”.
ANYWAYS, little is known about Les Blousons Noirs (The Black Jackets) other than they were from Bordeaux in the early 60’s and were pretty clearly defining punk before it “officially” starting popping off.
This is another one Eddie introduced me to. It comes from Volume 2 of the wonderful “Songs in the Key of Z” compilation of so-called “outsider” musicians.
Retired New York city post office employee Murray Wachs read his strange poetry at the famous Bowery Poetry Club every Monday night for many years. His work was known as being odd and perverse, singing about putting a baby in J-Lo’s belly, and performing charming numbers like “I Love You So Fucking Much I Can’t Shit.” (Why that phrase hasn’t yet become an international meme is beyond me.)
So WFMU released an album of Wachs, performing as Bingo Gazingo, with musical accompaniment. This song, backed up by producer My Robot Friend, is sheer madness. The aggressive electronic beats really bring out the dementia of the lyrics. It sounds like an old man yelling at you in the street. And there’s something about the intersection of the elderly and technology that’s inherently funny to me.
Bingo Gazingo died on New Years Day of this year after being hit by a cab on the way to Bowery. He was 85.
Here’s one I wish we had access to back in college, because it would have been blasting out of of the windows during those shirts vs. skins brazed beef knuckle-off barebones balloon shavin’ pigskin tossers that the auld frats used to pop off with.
I mean this one’s a reaaaaaaal spirit razor! I came across an Ace Records compilation the other day called Destroy That Boy, which is packed with ladies taking shit into their own hands to either catch or kill their masculine prey. Overall it’s pretty good, with some sort of jarring ones about dames threatening to stab their man to death if he talks about his ex, but this one took the football shaped cake. This particular group only has one track, and I can’t really find much about them. Not sure if they are Australian, English or just having fun.
Wouldn’t be surprised if they named every fraternity. Also, was gonna wait to post this song till i mixed it up with this but, you know how it is.
A couple months ago I had a song from Disney’s “Robin Hood” inexplicably stuck in my head. I tracked it down on YouTube and realized that I actually really liked most of the songs that that rooster character sang. Turns out it was country legend Roger Miller who wrote and performed three songs for the movie, so naturally I tracked down some of his stuff.
When I heard this song, I suddenly remembered that Eddie had played it for me in college. I could practically taste whiskey on my lips and I felt the ambiance of his old dorm room where many a song was shared.
Recorded in 1964, “Dang Me” was one of Miller’s many hit songs. I’ve been listening to a lot of classic country lately, and as a result I’ve come to really appreciate a certain level of Nashville corniness. Specifically, that kind of “gee shucks” good-ol’-boyism that Miller has in both the lyrics and the lighthearted delivery of this tune. Now obviously this character can be abused (see: George W. Bush, Larry the Cable Guy) but Miller could pull it off.
Legend has it he wrote it in 4 minutes, and whether or not it’s true, it has the simplicity necessary to make a good radio-friendly country song.
“Roses are red and violets are purple
Sugar’s sweet and so is maple syruple”
If that doesn’t make you smile, you’re beyond hope.
As an aside, my love for songs like these make me want to skip over being a parent and go straight to grandpa-hood.
WHATEVER, ELVIS!! In its early days, rockabilly was sort of up for grabs for who would be its poster child (like any new genre). And as the Rolling Stones ended up wearing the British Psych/Garage pants instead of The Kinks or The Creation, Elvis beat the greats like Charlie Feathers and Marvin Rainwater to the rockabilly pie. But who’s this dude?
Wayne is definitely one of the more obscure rockabilly heroes of the time, but this song kills it. What’s more badass than being all badassedly regretful for being a jerk? The bass line here really reminds me of Charlie Feathers, and while his vocal style may be a little less flashy (no sexy hiccup sounds) his voice has that purely country sound you can’t not learn from no booklearnin’.
Following the “underappreciated lady” theme, I submit a sweet rockabilly jam from the Scottish-born Australian Betty McQuade.
Perhaps best-known for her 1961 song “Midnight Bus,” which is an incredible pop song in its own right and considered an Australian classic, McQuade is not very well known to American audiences.
“Tongue Tied” was the B-Side to “Midnight Bus” and was originally recorded by rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson in 1960. McQuade is clearing paying tribute to Ms. Jackson’s vocal stylings, as pop stars tend to do. But it’s a little faster, a little less polished and more energetic.
P.S. I’m TOTALLY PSYCHED FOR THIS BLAWG! AREN’T YOU?!
Well sure, we all know and love early 60s girl groups like The Ronettes and The Crystals and rely on their often creepy dude-producers for those sensational staple girlgroup sounds!! And Phil Spector - aside from being A FUCKING MURDERER - really knew how to throw together some of those nasty tunes, and is undeniably responsible for a whole sub-genre of ‘mono-girlgroup-poptasm’. BUT…have you heard about The Rev-Lons?
Straight from Bakersfield, California - Rachel Hernandez De La Rosa, Lupe Hernandez Gaona, and Frances Hernandez Crane were the unsung heroines of girlgroup lore. They were produced in the mid-60s by a guy named Gary S. Paxton (the bizarro Phil Spector, who was allegedly inspired by Gary to start his own label!!) who had a not-so-famous label named Garpax. And like the other innumerable tiny labels of the time, shit was gettin recorded faster than listeners could access it, and not many ears heard these cats. Until of course, that beautiful movement in the 80s when all these (and many, MANY other) unheard acetates and tapes came flying outta the vaults for the first time in decades. And you know the shitty thing with stories about artists like this is that usually their rarity is their only novelty, not their talent. Groups went into the recording studio, laid down their tracks and were immediately frozen in carbonite. Then the next thing they know they’re blasting from some pasty music collectors’ hard-drive! This shit moves it the way any Billboard Top of the time did. Stay saucey kids, and enjoy this one and be sure to download the compilation ‘Boy Trouble’ and hear ALL of the Garpax girls!