The Friday Shuffle
Big summer weekend coming up -- so here's a little music to get you started....
1. Black Lincoln Continental / Nick Lowe
From the sadly out-of-print Pinker and Prouder Than Previous (1988)
"There's only one way to the American dream . . ." Nick throws some rockabilly swing into this Graham Parker-penned gem -- whoohoo! I'm not sure who was backing him on this track, but I bet anything those organ riffs are Paul Carrack, doubled by Kim Wilson on harmonica, and Martin Belmont (who'd played with Graham himself in the Rumour) on guitar. YepRoc/Demon, please reissue this album!!!
2. Picture Book / Ray Davies & the Crouch End Choir
From The Kinks Choral Collection (2009)
I know some Kinks fans thought this album turned old Kinks material into Easy Listening Schmaltz, but I disagree. I think most of it worked beautifully, especially the stuff from the Village Green Preservation Society album. Give the link a listen and see what you think...
3. Blue as Blues Can Get / Chris Farlowe
From As Time Goes By (1995)
Overshadowed by Van Morrison and Eric Burdon, British white soul singer Chris Farlowe never got much exposure Stateside, which is a shame. He shows off his mellower side on this great Delbert McClinton cover -- tasty!
4. Leaving the City Behind / Georgie Fame
From Georgie Fame (date unknown -- I bought the vinyl LP in 1974...)
Couldn't find a sample for you to listen to -- so I made a video. Because you need this song to play as you drive out of the city for your July 4th celebration. Dig the back-up singers, and those coolcat brushed drums. Pop shading into jazz (portents of Georgie's future direction), and what a light touch Georgie had on the keyboards!
5. Don't Stand Too Close To Me / The Police
From Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
No trouble finding this monster MTV hit from the dawn of the 80s. Who could resist that predatory bassline, or the reckless smash of Stewart Copeland's drums. Sting, the former school teacher, writing about a schoolgirl stalking him -- or is it the other way around? "It's no use, he sees her / he starts to shake and cough / just like the old man in / that book by Nabokov" -- hee hee hee!
6. Sour Milk-Cow Blues / Elvis Costello
From Goodbye Cruel World (1984)
EC's slyly "updating" the old Sleepy John Estes blues song, covered by the Kinks in 1965, with Dave Davies on lead vocals, on The Kink Kontroversy (you can't tell me that Elvis wasn't thinking of that track). But Elvis's song is much meaner (whoa, big surprise) raking some girlfriend over the coals for who knows what imagined grievance. Gee, it was hard to love Elvis for awhile there.
7. Lost in a Dream / Shivaree
From Who's Got Trouble (2005)
Ah, the shivering vocals of Ambrosia Parsley (can that really be her name?) Deliciously woozy and spooky little track. Too bad this band broke up -- they had a great distinctive sound...
8. Take Off Your Uniform / John Hiatt
From Slug Line (1979)
I always imagine a diner waitress in a pink uniform, a la Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. JH is still in his Costello wannabe phase in this song, and he's probably satirizing something else -- women in the military? -- but I dig the image of him romancing that diner waitress when she gets home, and I'm sticking to it.
9. The Reason Why / Ron Sexsmith
From Long Player Late Bloomer (2011)
Philosophical Ron, still searching for the meaning of life. Or what if there is no meaning, he wonders in this song, "as I glance up to indifferent skies" (an obvious "Big sky" reference -- I know Ron is a huge Kinks fan). So why not just "let the path go hungry / And head at last to country / Or a small town away from here"? Another getaway tune for your weekend!
10. Angel / The Wood Brothers
From Loaded (2008)
Aw, I love these guys, and I love the way they transform this Hendrix song. What a great note to end on!