Saturday, March 12, 2011


Huge work project, apartment renovation, crappy weather -- I've got a dozen reasons why the daily blogs just aren't happening.  But when all else fails, we've always got the shuffle!

1. Hot Potatoes / The Kinks
From Everybody's In Show-Biz (1972)
Though everybody thinks of Muswell Hillbillies as the Kinks' "country album," plenty of twang was still hanging around for their next album, Show-Biz. If there's a theme on this album, it's about the hassles of life on the road:  Here he longs for home cooking, specifically potatoes -- "boiled, french-fried, any old way that you want to decide."  And whatever else she's serving...

2. Yolanda Hayes / Fountains of Wayne
From Traffic and Weather (2007)
Did you know that Fountains of Wayne re-united after recording the Kinks "Better Things" for a tribute album? To me, these guys carry on the Kinks spirit in so many ways. Somewhere in New Jersey there probably really is a drivers' license bureau clerk named Yolanda Hayes. I wonder if she knows that Adam Schlesinger (or was it Chris Collingwood?) read her nametag and wrote this utterly charming song while waiting in line...

3. Fluorescent Adolescent / Arctic Monkeys
From Favourite Worst Nightmare (2007)
Is this band officially defunct?  I liked the whomp and jangle of their first two albums, and Alex Turner's guttural Sheffield vocals -- not that I ever thought they were the second coming, like some folks did. ("Bigger than the Beatles" . . . yeah, right.) 

4. Selfless Cold and Composed / Ben Folds Five
From Whatever and Ever Amen (1997)
Don't be deceived by the smooth jazz grooviness of this tune -- Ben is telling this bitch off, in a storm of piano arpeggios and riffs and a few of his trademark vulgarities.  Yes, the fine art of sarcasm is alive and well.

5. Twisted / Richard Thompson
From Henry the Human Fly (1972)
Jumping back in time -- same year as the Kinks' Show-Biz, as it happens -- another sarcastic kiss-off, this time dressed up like a robust English folk song.
6.  In A Space / The Kinks
From Low Budget (1979)
The Davies brothers again -- with the album that re-launched their American popularity (for the third time).  I've never quite gotten this song. It's like a mash-up of Dave's cosmic perspectives with Ray's neurotic desire to escape, cranked up like a punk anthem (listen to Ray's growled vocals).  Enter the arena rock years...

7. Sure Pinocchio / John Hiatt
From Little Head (1997)
Word in the Hiatt camp is, this is his worst album.  Doesn't mean it hasn't got some good songs on it, though, and I love this one, which was actually written by bassist Davey Faragher (now part of Elvis Costello's Imposters). Another spiteful kiss-off song.

8. Town Called Malice / The Jam
From The Gift (1982)
Paul Weller puts on his soul shoes, channeling his inner Supremes. Yeah, the satiric edge is still there, but the tunefulness of this track totally leaves punk behind.

9. Paper Sun / Traffic
From Mr. Fantasy (1967)
Ah, when psychedelia was young, and all that sitar and tabla and reverb seemed fresh and new. But if you want a hazy lush sound, turn loose Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi. Their first single, seemingly out of nowhere -- you could get a contact high from this one.

10. Didn't Want To Have To Do It / The Lovin' Spoonful
From Daydream (1966)
And only a year before, this was the sound of the moment: gentle jug-band music, filtered through a mellow Southern California high. (Different drugs.)  The opposite of a sarcastic kiss-off, John B. is sending that girl out the door so tenderly -- "I didn't want to have be the one to say 'the end' (the end, the end...)"


Betty C. said...

Your shuffles always make me want to buy a million CDs. (I'm not an MP3 person and am not sure I ever will be...)

Hot Potatoes! I haven't thought about that song in years. That's a Kinks album that is sitting in my parents' house in the USA (LP version) and which I don't have as a CD...

Kathy said...

8. Town Called Malice / The Jam

I've rediscovered my love for The Jam this year. I never thought about it until you mentioned Weller's "channeling his inner Supremes," but I can totally hear a little "Can't Hurry Love" in "Town Called Malice."

Anonymous said...

As when you first hear Winwood's later megahit "While You See A Chance," a first listening to "Paper Sun" makes one wonder why everything Stevie did didn't go pan-world. I know the term "genius" has been so overused these days, but in his case, maybe it was appropriate...maybe these fine treasures, in Mr Winwood's mind, are just dumbed down throw-aways not worthy of say, "Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys" or some other rock'n roll stew not so accessable to the masses.
...just sayin'


wwolfe said...

According to the band's web site, the Arctic Monkeys have a new album coming out June 11. One of the listed songs is called "Don't Sit Down 'Cause I've Moved Your Chair," which I find highly promising.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why you'd think The arctic Monkeys are defunct, their 4th album is coming out soon and Alex has been making his solo album as well as working with his other band The Last Shadow Puppets. They dont have much of a rep here stateside but in Europe theyre still huge.

Holly A Hughes said...

There are a lot of food songs on Show-Biz, Betty -- I find myself singing them often when I'm hungry!

I don't even like Can't Hurry Love, but I love what Weller steals from it -- go figure.

As for the Monkeys....hmmmm. Someone must have told me that they'd heard that the Arctic Monkeys had broken up, and I'd heard nothing to the contrary -- this new release has been getting zero promo over here. I am glad to know we'll be hearing more from them.

Anonymous said...

Holly, you MUST hear Alex from The Arctic Monkey's work with his other band The Last Shadow Puppets. It's him and Miles Kane, another young talent here in the UK making really 60s influenced pop. You'll love it

Holly A Hughes said...

I was very impressed with Last Shadow Puppets when they first came out -- maybe that was why I wondered if Alex had "moved on" to his new project (and solo stuff as well -- he is a busy chap, isn't he!). I can't help but remember the days when it was cataclysmic if any member of a major band even hinted at a solo project or a new band -- that would be it, finito, kaput for the original band.

But I am glad to hear that there's new Monkeys material coming out. Interesting, too, that so many folks jumped in here to defend them.