Frank Gutch Jr: Reprise Is Not a Label… Plus Notes
Before we get into the meat of this column, let’s talk Winterpills. I have been a fan since hearing their 2010 EP Tuxedo of Ashes and have followed them since. Their one album of covers, Echolalia, was good enough to make me toss aside my disdain of this current trend, their arrangements making up for the usual lack of creativity on most bands parts. No such problem here. Love Songs is an all-original triumph, Philip Price writing his best songs since Tuxedo, and the band is in A-1 shape.
There is a majesty in songs like Wanderer White, The Swimmers and the Drowned, and Bringing Down the Body Count I have heard all too seldom. You will have a chance to hear it come mid-March. In the meantime, here is a teaser, a bit of Celia Johnson which sounds to me very White Album-influenced..
Back to the matter at hand…..
Actually, Reprise was a label and they may still exist but only under the umbrella of a mega-corporation which has little understanding of what the original label was. No, this time reprise is a sidestep— a conglomeration of fakery consisting of bells and whistles and those screens Brian Brown used in those cool F/X movies I see on TV now and again. Because I am in a slump. I am batting about .090 the past few weeks and have struggled to come up with any ideas of worth, relying upon ideas from the past. I am, in a word, flummoxed. Up against the brick wall. My white sheet is blank, or at least my ability to color on it, and I need lots of naps and beer and naps. To recover, you understand, so that I can then go into recovery. Now, I’m not one to blow my own horn (I rely upon friends and relatives for that— the honks you hear in the background are courtesy of Aunt Flo and Uncle Ferd who rarely show a sense of decorum, for which I am thankful), but there have been a few pieces I have written which have not sent me into fits of depression. So I am going to piece together a column consisting of pieces of old columns from a lo-o-ong time ago. These were stories I needed to tell and which you may have missed. Call it a highlights reel. Next week, if I have not been committed (or committed myself), we shall return to the present. For now, though, let me explain that I was not always a party-pooper. Heartsfield didn’t think so. Because I was invited to their showcase at The Troubadour back around 1975— to
The Party That Wasn’t…..
It wasn’t “What if they threw a party and nobody came” but it was as close as I’ve ever seen it. I could have the story all wrong because there were only a few record label people I listened to in those days and they were not always in the know themselves (a standard paradigm for major labels worldwide, I do believe), but through a series of happenstances I actually got invited to a party (probably by mistake) and went.
It was ’75 and this band out of Chicago (okay, it wasn’t exactly Chicago, but it was close and you can’t expect huge corporations to get everything right—- they even go out of their way to not do that, I think)—Heartsfield, by name— was booked into the Troubadour in L.A. for a showcase. They had a new album, Foolish Pleasures, and evidently a new location (they had reportedly just relocated to San Francisco) and they were ready to blow the sand off the beaches of SoCal and NoCal and any other Cals they could find and become you damn betcha superstars, by God. This was a night to introduce them to retail people as well as record company employees, most of whom had heard of the band but had never heard them, which seemed to be in the job description of most major label employees. You have to understand that if you worked for a label back then, there were pop quizzes but they always gave you plenty of time to memorize the answers and didn’t much care if you passed or not. I mean, they cared if you knew “your stuff”. God forbid if you could not name the songs off of an Elton John album in correct order or list the albums of The Eagles in order of release (if they were on your label), but there were so many releases outside of the hits that the labels thought it unreasonable to ask their people to know much beneath the top ten selling albums of the moment. That was how I saw it. And that was the attitude I dragged into the restaurant where this Heartsfield party was to happen.
I can’t remember where it was because I was from Oregon and every damn street in L.A. looked like Hollywood or Sunset Boulevard to me, but it was in a nice area and the restaurant itself was as upscale a place as I’ve ever been to. When I entered the restaurant, I noticed low ceilings hovering over a main room of tables and chairs with plenty of room between. Potted plants and ferns and small palm trees in big pots were pretty much the norm back then and this place had its share. A counter had been plopped along the back wall, a huge mirror reflecting the various bottles of liquor from which the place made its profit. To the right were “the facilities” and to the left an entrance to a dark cavern which opened up into a huge room of more tables and chairs, these a bit smaller and less plush. Another counter graced the back wall of the cavern and the drinks were already being poured by the time we arrived, not early but not late either. The room was peppered with typical Los Angeles types— women favoring nice dresses or blouses with skirts and the men in slacks and shirts if not suits. Peppered throughout the room were a handful of long-hairs looking as if they’d accidentally taken a wrong turn and now found themselves at an awards banquet of some kind where the food was free and the booze was flowing, a magic combination for the many who worked the mines on the retail side. Free food and booze? They had to survive somehow. As it was, they barely had enough to cover rent and weed. This was a windfall!
In the main room, someone had placed a person with a clipboard by the door and if you weren’t on the list or knew somebody you didn’t get in which gave people a sense of importance whether they liked it or not. Al Kooper must have been on that list because it wasn’t long before this cherry red limo pulled up out front and out stepped Al with two gorgeous ladies decked out in gowns which would have made the Academy Awards red carpet easily and him in this zoot suit outfit, red from his slinky hat to his shiny red boots. He strutted— hell, if I’d had two women like that on my arms, I would have strutted too— and the cameras popped and the lights flashed. Until then, no one had even noticed the photographers, but there were plenty and even I with my negative attitude could understand the reaction. He slowly moved his way to the cavern, nodding and talking with people he recognized, and was soon buried in the bowels to never be seen again by these eyes. While there were no other entrances like that, people continued to filter in until the room was fairly well packed and the chatter and clinking of glasses began making voices rise in order to be heard.
The Runaways were there so Kim Fowley must have been there too, but I didn’t care. Fowley left a bad taste in my mouth thanks to street buzz which surrounded not only The Runaways but a handful of other artists and bands which he was obviously trying to exploit. Years later, I would talk about Fowley with a good friend of mine, Tom McMeekan, guitarist with the legendary Pac NW band Notary Sojac, and he would set me straight. The buzz was bullshit, he told me. Fowley was a good guy and was trying to do the right thing in spite of obstacles put in his way. Tom is the kind of guy you trust in all situations and I did a one-eighty and wished I could take back all of the negative things I ever said about Fowley.
That night, it was mostly about The Runaways. Each of the girls had been placed at tables far separated from one another and the writers who had been invited took part in a speed dating concept of interviewing each in a musical chairs kind of setting. We had taken a table in front of Joan Jett (who no one really knew at that point) and listened to her answer questions most writers of the time asked— influences, favorite bands, why music— all of the things Tiger Beat used to ask her male counterparts. She was small, thin and look overwhelmed and she spoke haltingly with a lot of um’s and uh’s, basically a deer in headlights. When one writer finished, another rotated in and it started all over again and she answered the same lame questions in the same halting fashion. Fowley or someone must have prepared the girls for this, but watching the process was painful. Their album would not be out for a number of months and the machine was already grinding. Most of the writers were fawning. The ones who weren’t look bored. Welcome to the music biz, girls.
There were a few other music celebrities there, I suppose, but I didn’t catch the names. I was waiting for Heartsfield because this was their party, was it not? And now I wonder. Was I invited to the party to meet the band or was I invited to a party with an invite to see the band at The Troubadour later? The reason I wonder is that during the entire party, only one person mentioned the band at all. Phonogram Records’ Bill Follett, the guy who made sure I was on the list, stopped by to make sure we could make our way to The Troubadour. From him, I found out that the band would not be there, that they were at that very moment doing a sound check at the club. At that point, the party ended for me. A Heartsfield party without Heartsfield? No comprendo and no thanks. I finished my drink (I’m sure it was beer) and left. The sun was out and it was a good day and even though I did not get a chance to meet the band, in a few hours I would be hearing them. That was enough.
… and the party that was…
If you’ve never been to The Troubadour, you might have the misconception that it is a first-class venue— and it is, but only because of the booking. The club itself is much like other clubs, a glorified tavern with booths dressed in easy-to-clean fabrics and simple wood. The stage, while not overly large, can house a number of musicians and this night would test that—- six guys, five with amps and one with a full set of drums and, of all things, six microphones! Today, most people wouldn’t blink, but in those days if bands had two or three voices, it was noted. Six? Unheard of.
When the music started, it was not Heartsfield on the stage and while I’ve been busting my brain trying to think who it was, I cannot be sure (too many dead brain cells). Perhaps it was The Sutherland Brothers, but they may have been the opening act for Barclay James Harvest, who I also saw at The Troubadour at a different time. Maybe they didn’t have an opening band (which was entirely possible because I seem to remember them playing two sets and usually on a normal night a band only gets one). Oh, the fog which obscures even remarkable moments over the years.
I guess it doesn’t matter much. This is about Heartsfield and if I remember nothing else I remember the sets presented by those Chicago boys (whether it was two sets or one incredibly lo-o-ng one didn’t much matter because those guys definitely gave you your money’s worth). When they stumbled onto the stage, I was in a booth directly in front and had already had a couple of beers and have to tell you that two was close to my limit back then. It was all I would get, in fact. While the beer continued flowing, I didn’t drink much because my jaw was mostly on the floor. Those six guys planted me against the back of the booth and I felt like the Maxell man, hair blown back by the pure vibrations of the music. It was, surprisingly, not too loud and perfectly balanced. I could hear every note and I remember laughing a lot because when they turned on a dime, they all turned on a dime! Six musicians, six instruments, one sound. But what really cinched it was the six voices! There have been some downright incredible vocal groups over the years who might have equaled them on that night, but none could have topped them. They were on! And they were happy.
Not as happy as we were, though. I had gone with Gary Gersh, years later a high mucky-muck at Capitol Records, and when the band got going, Gersh decided that clapping and yelling wasn’t enough so he took off his shoe and pounded the heel against the wall of the booth at the end of each song. I pounded the table. Everyone surrounding us had their ways of making noise. It was New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July tucked into the tiny Troubadour. It was a party!
Play? Those guys played their asses off! One of the best shows I have ever seen. From hillbilly jackass to pounding rock ‘n’ roll, those guys could play anything. By the end of the set, they were soaked, especially Perry Jordan (rest his soul) who was a river of sweat. And they loved it! They finished and came back for an encore and sang an a capella song and for awhile everything became harmonic choir. It sent chills up my spine.
We were asked to come backstage and we did, our little entourage. We weren’t the only ones. The label (Mercury Records) had invited people from various places and took them into this little back room one group at a time to have pictures taken with the band and they later sent copies to each of us. I still have mine. You’re seeing one here, in fact.
While the other was a party, this was the Heartsfield party. Every time they picked up their instruments it was a party. It had to be. They didn’t know how not to do it.
Rolling Stones? No thanks. I’ve seen shows which I am sure would have equaled or bettered them. This was one of them. And I will never forget it.
The truth is that I have always lived on the edge when it came to music. When you grow up with a limited number of records and they are as varied as The Six Fat Dutchmen and Homer & Jethro and Teresa Brewer and Mario Lanza and then discover rock ‘n’ roll, it is bound to have an influence. So back in 2011, in the way of an explanation, I wrote a column titled…..
In My Own Little Bizzaro World…..
One of my favorite movie scenes is the one in Diner where this maniac vinyl junkie scares the hell out of his wife by going nuclear on her with his musical knowledge. Know why? Because I could have been that guy. Like him, I would have had to have married straight out of high school because if you give girls a chance, they eventually soak up enough knowledge to steer clear of psychotic idiots like myself (and him) and make better choices, regardless how bad. Was I that bad, you ask? Sad to say, I must have been. I always thought my life was normal and that I was actually a pretty average guy (though handsome as the dickens and with a sense of humor which could disable a battlefield with wit), but I may have been wrong, the key words here being “may have been”.
A key indicator may have been when I gave Joni Mitchell’s For the Roses to a good friend on the proviso that he never play it when I was in the house. Well, he must have thought I was kidding because he played it. And I took it back.
Another could have been the reader board Daryl made me wear when I worked at Licorice Pizza in Los Angeles in the mid-70s. Rolling Stone had published an article about Dylan’s new album and, of course, every idiot in L.A. headed to the store to pick it up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t scheduled for release for a few weeks and explaining that to people who had obviously bought stock in Rolling Stone thinking they practiced solid journalism was damn near impossible, so I began starting every conversation with potential customers with, “No, the new Dylan isn’t out yet and won’t be for a few weeks, so don’t ask”, usually before they opened their mouths Daryl, our manager, decided it would be best to curtail my cynicism by making a reader board and asking me to wear it. It said something like “No, the new Dylan album isn’t out yet and won’t be for a few weeks, so don’t ask”. More than one customer approached me, started to say something and just said, “Oh” and walked away. At times, Daryl was amazingly clairvoyant.
Another indicator should have been the amount of times I didn’t get laid. I was always smelling my armpits or checking my breath because, seriously, women avoided me like the plague. I knew I wasn’t that ugly (my Momma told me so) and I could sing, sort of, and was relatively intelligent (I could carry on for hours about bands no one had ever heard of or the relative merits of fuzztone guitar), so I figured it had to be my Pigpen appearance and body odors. Until one day Pigpen showed up smelling of sewage and I watched the last girl in the bar take him home.
That was okay, though. Walking home in a cool breeze with a slight buzz on was not that unpleasant and I knew that when I got there, I would be surrounded by the music I loved. That’s right. Music. For every girl who rejected me, there was a musician or group of musicians who didn’t. Sound nerdy? You don’t know the half of it. My world was a world devoid of Jimmy Page’s and Eric Clapton’s and Aerosmith’s and Beatles (Anyone know why we have to put apostrophes behind those names?). My world was a Bizarro World full of every musician and band who didn’t make it and who had that certain something that maybe other people didn’t get but I did. Some would gain a sort of fame later (Nick Drake, Big Star, et. al.) while others would be flushed into oblivion. This is my oblivion. This is My Own Little Bizzaro World…..
CARGOE….. I call Cargoe the flip side of Big Star because they were the first horses out of Ardent Records‘ gate. I picked up their self-titled album at The House of Records in Eugene, Oregon upon release, along with Big Star‘s #1 Record. I liked them both, but while laying down on the couch listening to the Cargoe LP late one summer night, I was jolted awake by the unique sound emanating from the speakers. They were unlike any band I had heard to that point. I was impressed enough to write my very first record review which was eventually published in an issue of Fusion magazine. Decades later, I would write my first rock history piece, a history of Cargoe, because I felt their story had to be told. While writing that story, Cargoe’s producer Terry Manning found tapes of a live broadcast the band had recorded while doing a live broadcast for WMC-FM-100, Memphis, and decided to release that through his own Lucky Seven Records label. A few years later, the band would re-form with three original members and an added fourth and release another album titled, once again, Cargoe. I swear to God, some bands are destined to exist no matter how the cards are stacked against them.
GYPSY….. I was in this little mall record store in a suburb of Denver in the summer of 1971 when I heard this song on the system which turned out to be Gypsy‘s Gypsy Queen Pt. 1. Bought the album on the spot. One time through the double album and I knew these guys were way beyond the vast majority of bands out there. For one thing, their songs were melodic and yet intricate, long yet hardly boring, full of everything you would want from a band— and musically intelligent. Brilliant, in fact. They would go on in their pretty much original form for four albums (the core of the band would remain throughout the four album run), but would never find the hit that would put them over the top. They used their hometown of Minneapolis and Los Angeles as bases of operation until they finally gave it up sometime in the mid-70s. James Walsh, the band’s keyboard man, would form a band around the ashes, calling it The James Walsh Gypsy Band and would record a couple of albums. Enrico Rosenbaum, one of the band’s writers and vocalists, ended up taking his own life. Of all tragedies related to music, this is the one which struck home the hardest. To this day, Gypsy gets regular airplay around my house. They are my Aerosmith, Journey, REO and Foreigner all wrapped up in one band.
ROBERT THOMAS VELLINE….. You might know him as Bobby Vee, but he put out one hellacious country rock album titled Nothin’ Like a Sunny Day back in ’72 that knocked my socks off. No Rubber Ball here, folks, but he did include a slowed down and completely different Take Good Care of My Baby that took the song in a completely different direction. Produced by Dallas Smith, United Artist Records‘ (previously Liberty Records) in-house producer, it featured sidemen Red Rhodes (First National Band, Michael Nesmith), Dean Parks (he played with just about everyone back then, folks) , and Canadian national treasure Les Emmerson (Five Man Electrical Band, among others). Velline fell into the country rock vein about the same time as Johnny Rivers, whose Home Grown album (which failed) included my favorite version of Jackson Browne’s Rock Me On the Water. As good as Nothin’ Like a Sunny Day is, it tanked (it was the way of the country rock world until The Eagles hit with their first album) and Velline was left to go it on his own.
APRIL WINE….. No, not that April Wine, and yet it is. Before April Wine made it as April Wine, they dabbled in a form of semi-psychedelia which they would later drop in favor of the more melodic and harder rock which would make them stars. There were three Henman’s then and, of course, one Goodwyn and the sound, sparse as it was, was more Paupers/Collectors and very early Guess Who than later April Wine, but man, they nailed it. This is what April Wine could have been if they had not been hell bent on becoming rock stars. Makes me want to light up a joint.
NICK HOLMES….. Show of hands. Who among you have ever heard of the band White Elephant? Yeah, I thought so. White Elephant was an experiment in music put together by jazzman Michael Mainieri around ’69 or ’70. He had access to this recording and rehearsal studio, see, and he thought, why not grab the best musicians he could find and see what happened? Being’s how it was New York, there were plenty and Mainieri grabbed the best of them. Around seventeen of them. They recorded in various combinations over a period of months and Mainieri spliced the songs together and released them under the moniker White Elephant and the rest is history. Deep history, evidently, because hardly anyone knows about them. Well, out of that pack came a vocalist/guitarist named Nick Holmes, whose songs highlighted that album. He would record a solo album a year or so later which would be praised by critics as a unique combination of rock, folk and jazz, Soulful Crooner. Holmes would soon thereafter fade from the scene, except that he didn’t. God knows how or why these things happen, but Nick kept on doing what he was doing— writing, playing and recording— and ran a recording studio in New York and then the Bahamas for years. He’s still at it. The thing is, I tried to track him down with no luck. Soulful Crooner was to me not only a good album, but a great album, one which I spent hours listening to in dark rooms. Nick should have been a star. He is, as far as I’m concerned. Oh, the rest of White Elephant? Guys like Hugh McCracken and Randy Brecker and Michael Brecker and Tony Levin and Ronny Cuber and Warren Bernhardt. I could go on, but if you recognize any of those names, you get the picture.
DADDY COOL….. Just when you thought all the good music was coming out of the US and the UK, along came Daddy Cool, one of the coolest, hippest and rockin’est bands to grace the early 70s. They were out of Australia (home of, oh yeah, The Bee Gees) but came at music from a completely different angle. These guys planted their feet solidly in the fifties and went from there. By 1972, they had a large following down under but had trouble gaining traction in the US. Their second album in the US, Teenage Heaven, should have given them a leg up but didn’t. In spite of excellent guitar rock and tongue-in-cheek humor which should have had them laughing all the way to the bank, they instead received short shrift in the States, getting little if any airplay— Please Please America (Hear My Plea) was a natural, too, with laugh out loud lyrics which implored America to give them wheelbarrows full of money. They continued on in Oz, changing band names and recording more mundane rock, but their time in the States had passed. Sadly. Still, they left us with two fine albums and an indication of what real roots music is.
CAPABILITY BROWN….. At a time when bands were lucky to have one decent vocalist, Capability Brown had six! I first happened upon them because of their cover version of Argent‘s Liar which had not only stellar harmony vocals but a bridge up there with the very best, the dual lead the British side of the Allmans. By the time they put out their second album, Voice, they had advanced beyond their Brit Rock roots enough to include not only a standout version of Steely Dan‘s Midnight Cruiser, but a smokin’ rocker by Brown member Dave Nevin titled Keep Death On the Road (Drive On the Pavement), a stone killer of a track. Side Two is a one-sided epic track titled Circumstances (In Love, Past, Present, Future Meet), for those who like their prog a bit on the light side. I would have killed to have seen these guys live. The closest I came was a couple of years later when I saw Heartsfield at The Troubadour. Six part harmonies rock, my friends!
MIKE HARRISON….. When I was young, I revered The Yardbirds above most other bands of the era. For Your Love caught my ear, Mister, You’re a Better Man Than I embedded them in my head and Shapes of Things, Over Under Sideways & Down and Happenings Ten Years Time Ago drove them into my genes. It would their Five Live Yardbirds album which would give me my ultimate Yardbirds thrill, Smokestack Lightning, a live tour de force of a song with Eric Clapton and not Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page plucking the strings. It is a song ready-made for a long jam, the bass line laying down a groove you fell into whether you liked it or not. Spooky Tooth‘s lead voice Michael Harrison evidently liked it as much as did I because when he headed down to Muscle Shoals to record his album in ’72, he recorded it and, in fact, named the album for it. He came out of the session with twelve and a half minutes of pure bliss, thanks to a lineup of Muscle Shoals sidemen which makes my head spin. I mean, Spooky Tooth will forever remain one of my all-time favorite bands, but Harrison’s Smokestack Lightning album… whew!
WILLIS ALAN RAMSEY….. Having someone record your song can be a double-edged sword, as it was when The Captain & Tennille recorded Willis Alan Ramsey‘s Muskrat Candlelight. Oh, they didn’t butcher it as much as they could have, I suppose, but they tried. A&M Records listed it as Muskrat Love, either because they didn’t know any better or they wanted to make sure the ignorant listening public didn’t get confused (I mean, Muskrat Candlelight? Muskrat Love? I’m pretty sure The Tea Party couldn’t have figured it out, but…..). Ramsey’s self-titled album was released in ’72 and the Captain & Tennille hit around ’76, so by the time Muskrat Love hit, Muskrat Candlelight was water under the bridge. Over the years, though, Ramsey has gained a huge following for that one album and deservedly so. If you had wanted Americana back then, this was as Americana as it got. It was also as good as it got. Ramsey never made it back into the studio to record another album, or if he did, he never told anyone. You may not believe it, but he has legions of fans waiting for that second album. They just won’t give up.
SPACE OPERA….. Here is another band whose story needed to be told, so I told it. Actually, David Bullock did, mostly. I mainly wrote it down. Born of an incredibly healthy 60s rock scene in Fort Worth, Space Opera rode a magic carpet to nowhere, which is why most people I know don’t know about them. They put out one album, I thought, until a friend pointed to a second album they had recorded and released on their own around 2000. All I could think at the time was, What the…? That friend, John Reagan by name, put me in touch with the members of the band, all but Brett Owen Wilson who, alas, had passed away just the year before, and the work began. It took three years. We did it all by email but for two short phone interviews with an ailing Phil White. Scott Fraser, the musical genius behind much of the band’s music, was ailing also and both have since left this mortal coil. The story and the music is too involved to go into here, but should you so want to take the time to read about the band and their music, you can log onto the first chapter at http://www.rockandreprise.net/spaceopera1.html and go on from there.
These are but ten important parts of my bizarro world. They have replaced the Led Zeppelin’s and The Rolling Stones and The Eagles and practically every hit which inhabits your world. In my head, they are stars and they are important. My friends ask me all the time, why are you that way about your music? Well, they used to until they got tired of the same answer all the time, which is I can hear those any time by clicking a switch in my head or standing in an elevator. I only hear “my” music when I play it. ‘Nuff said? Okay.
That’s enough of the old stuff. I have a number of vids worth checking out, so if you are of a mind, keep on reading because here are this weeks…..
Notes….. Our fearless leader, Bob Segarini, found this excellent rundown of San Francisco in the sixties put together by one of my favorite people of that period, Ralph J. Gleason. This almost makes me cry. After seeing a PBS doc similar to this and maybe even this one, I wrote to Gleason, bemoaning the fact that TV would probably not allow such excellence in the future, to which he sent me a note which I have to this day. It says, “I disagree. I think there will be more, not less” along with a thanks of sorts. Was Gleason a man before his time? Not really. I think he was just a man who appreciated what we had.
Mad Anthony is back, and with a vengeance. Did I ever tell you about the time I saw them at the Axe & Fiddle in Cottage Grove, Oregon? Ringo Jones was a cartoon character in action and the band was— well, mad! A totally entertaining and thrilling experience. If you ever get a chance to see them live, I recommend it, but go with an open mind. You never know what those guys are going to do.
Did someone say Monster Atlantic? New album on the way!
And if that’s not enough, dig this!!!
Friend Tom Mank knows what’s good. He sent me a link to Kyle Carey‘s video and it impressed me enough for me to check out her website. This is the kind of music I expect out of Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton, whose Declaration album easily made it into my picks for the best of 2015. Nashville can have their music. This is the kind of Country I grew up on.
The Throws have a new single out and a video to support it which uses Warren Miller footage. Ever see a guy ski on his head? You will have when you finish watching this. Oh, and the music ain’t bad, either.
Jeff Finlin is one of those songwriters you have to give credit to for lyrics above and beyond. He creates love scenes from a piece of tin and bubble gum, I swear, and can shred lies with the best of them. I found him a few years ago through his excellent The Tao of Motor Oil album. The title should be enough to tell you this guy has a real creative flair. Here he is singing I Killed Myself Last Night from another first-rate album, My Moby Dick. Other musicians love this guy. Hopefully the public will catch up.
It plain freaked me out how far down the list The Jon Stickley Trio was when No Depression had their “Best of 2015” competition. My only guess is that so few people have yet to pick up on them. They remind me a bit of a number of top flight artists and groups, not the least of which is the Dixie Dregs (but without that Southern guttural drive). Here is a video done courtesy of Folk Alley of the Stckley Bunch doing an homage to bluegrass and country great Tony Rice. This is beautiful stuff.
The Besnard Lakes. They’re huge, right? They have to be! I heard this track on the radio and had to pull off the road to listen. Damn! I hate it when I like stuff by already popular bands.
Another one I heard. Cuff the Duke. This damn thing is from 2010!!! Man, you guys never tell me anything.
This was evidently part of Saturday Night Live’s 1998 season, shown only one time back in 1998. If they had done more stuff like this, I might have watched them.
I haven’t quite figured out this video by Forty Below recording artist Bill Carter, but I like the song.
This is not at all what I expected a band called The Evangenitals to sound like but I like it anyway. I can only imagine what they could come up with a studio. Bookmark this and come back to it when you have an open mind. Very interesting.
Frank’s column appears every Tuesday
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“Frank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.”