One of the first posts here at Rock Remnants was Mike Salfino’s brilliant imagining of the album the Beatles might have made if they hadn’t broken up, based on the best songs from their initial solo albums. You can read that here.
Today I stumbled across a blogpost about a show Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe did for the BBC, playing acoustic covers of (mostly) Everly Brothers tunes as the Beverly Brothers. It’s excellent.
Paul, the creator, created scores of elpees out of material that is thematically related but was never released. The blog ended with a third album of Tom Jones duets taken from his TV show, some of which we’ve posted here through the years.
Right now I’m listening to an album of Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello demos.
The albums exist, archived on a Fileshare site called Zippyshare, which seems to be alright. At least my virus software didn’t pick anything up. It’s well worth being careful, but also well worth checking out this ambitious and accomplished project’s website.
I’m not sure I’ll ever play it again. I’m pretty sure I never heard it before tonight.
It’s from 2008. It hit No. 17 on the US Billboard charts, but even though I had a nine year old in the house it didn’t make an impression on me. But what’s striking is the speed (fast), the strings (aggressive), and the guitars (really aggressive).
Couple it with some plain talking lyrics and an oddly effective chorus and I’m not sure why it didn’t make it to No. 3. Maybe because it’s from Australia.
In any case, this post isn’t a recommendation exactly, but a nod to the idea that the pieces of great songs and great ideas can also end up in pieces of commercial product that might actually have some personality to it.
I found a story about the photoshoot that led to the album cover and a bunch of other shots. The story irritated me. It claimed that the topless photos the Slits generated out of the shoot were subverting the male gaze because of their intentions, which may well have been pure, but based on the quotes everyone involved knew that topless images, even those slathered in mud, are going to read as more sexualized than clothed pictures. To claim otherwise doesn’t pass the smell test. That story was a dead end.
But the site, Proxy Music, is apparently about the intersection of visuals and music and I quickly found this excellent story about William Eggleston’s photos being used for album covers. I have to say that I knew some of these covers, didn’t know many, and didn’t connect those I knew to Eggleston, one of the masters of photography in the second half of the 20th century.
Robbie Fulks is a songwriter I had heard about a lot more than I’d heard until a few years ago he made an album with the Mekons. A good album.
Fulks is a good songwriter and player, the opposite of a star, but a lifer with a lot to offer if you dig in. I haven’t yet dug in far enough, but this unbelievably long and detailed analysis of Gordon Lightfoot’s life and performance and songwriting is a marvel of storytelling, aesthetic analysis and covering the whole of a subject.
For instance, Fulks listened to every Gordon Lightfoot song at least once. Except maybe not all of that last 2004 album, but many others more than once.
He relates the story of Cathy Smith, a groupie with amazing breadth who went to jail for administering John Belushi’s final fatal dose, with aplomb, because it is Lightfoot’s story too at a few points.
My point is this is well worth a read even though it is way long, and if you start to lose interest skim ahead a few grafs and you’ll be onto another Lightfootian topic that will amuse and astound, ending with an in depth analysis of Lightfoot’s writing, which is exacting and sharp and a lesson in poetry and lyrics.
The first one is I’m a King Bee, so there are some surprises. This isn’t the usual countdown, these are faves, with a surprising number from Their Satanic Majesties Request. I mean, an appropriate number. Enjoy.
A few days ago Rolling Stone published a story about a song that appeared on the internet some years back and no one can figure out who recorded it, wrote it, or where it came from. It’s not a very good song, but it is kind of catchy, and suitably mysterious.
It was apparently recorded off a German radio show in the early 1980s.
It seems like there must be other music out there that is similarly unknown. Why did this one break out?