Buy this album.

Don’t be silly.

Just buy it.

It calls itself “Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath”.

I call that an album title.

Belle Plaine is an extraordinary songwriter.  Gifted and smart.  Not a wasted word.

As for pure emotive singing, she’s as good as it gets.

Everything about this record moves me and every song delivers some unexpected surprise.

“For All Those Who I Love” opens the album and it draws you in.  Such a graceful song.  Comforting, in an ironic way.

“Golden Ring” is all you’ll ever need to know about a marriage that’s done, dead and gone.  That golden ring…. all that’s left.

“Laila Sady Johnson Wasn’t Beaten By No Train” is a loving account of a strong woman who’d back down for no one.  Not even a train.

Entirely new, yet familiar.  A joyous celebration.

Blake Berglund’s “Taxes And Death And You” is a gem.

If that title doesn’t grab your attention, what will?

That last line is so right and so clever.

No, I’m not giving it away.

As for “Radio Dreams”, I wouldn’t know where to begin.  Either will you.

If you like twisted, delightfully twisted, you’ll love “Are We Good”.  Yeah, it’s good.

And listen for that first D minor in “Rock Bottom”.  What a clever chord sequence.

I wish I’d thought of that.  And those closing harmonies are absolutely delicious.

This music is substantial.  Thoughtful and thought-provoking.  A rare and beautiful thing.

Don’t miss it.

Enough said?


As for those Beatles and that remixed white album….

John and Paul and George Martin spent forty-eight hours mixing the original.  Apparently, they didn’t know what they were doing.

This remix is way too upfront.

It’s cool to hear it this way once, pretty nice drum sound, but I know I’ll always go back to the original.  It should sound imperfect.  That’s the whole point.  Same with Pepper.  I’ve heard nothing I didn’t notice before, it’s just more in your face, like the mystery is gone.

Fuckin’ audiophile arseholes.  They don’t have ears so they buy mountains of gear and remixed albums to compensate.  To this day, I’ve never heard “Long Tall Sally” sound as good as it does on that old British EP played on my $95 piece of shit record player.  One big, beautiful noise.

I digress.

I love what Rolling Stone said about “Piggies”:

“It remains the weakest track on any version of this album.”

I very much doubt that Paul or Ringo think so.

It’s become perceived wisdom, and no one even knows what idiot first said it.

For the record, I love “Piggies”.  George at his silliest.

What this album really needs is contracted version.  Fourteen songs, programmed by me, with really shitty sound quality.

“The Dwindle Edition”.

The Bigness

“I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, Okay?”

I never envisioned my favourite music quote of the month coming from the president (lower case) of The United States, but there you have it.  Blatant idiocy.  Embarrassing idiocy.  Immeasurable idiocy.  It isn’t even 25 percent okay.  It isn’t even very or very, very okay.  Or really or really, really okay.  Okay?  As the blonde buffoon with the big, big vocabulary said, “I really just see the bigness of it all”.  The bigness.  Although I admit to being a really really big big bigness fan, I must say this.  Really say this:  Dear American friends, what have you done?  Taylor should run against him in 2020.  If she did, I’d be rooting for her.  And believe me, really believe me, that would be 25% plus 25% plus 25% plus 25% okay.  Okay?  What does that tell you?

Take it, Frankie:

Thanks, Frankie.  And Frankie, why don’t you run too?  You already own the rights to the song.

Enough.  Okay?

I’m happy that Paul McCartney’s not dead.  I really am.  And I’m happy that he’s enjoying making new records.  He’s obviously a good guy.  His latest album is called “Egypt Station”.  We all want to like it.  But these lyrics are embarrassing.  Just plain lazy.  The second last line in “Back In Brazil” is “Ba ba ba ba ba”, and it’s the best line in the song.  And all this “trying to recreate” Beatles string parts…. The Beatles created.  They didn’t recreate.  “Warnings” is a “Band On The Run” rewrite.  If I’d written “Happy With You”, there’s no way I’d play it to anyone.  It’s that bad.  And “Come On To Me” is just stupid.  And I don’t mean good stupid.  I mean trying-to-be-cool-but-sounding-stupid stupid.  So everyone hops onto the “Paul’s got a new album” bandwagon.  Because we love him.  As we should.  But other than “Fuh You” (for the novelty value), I haven’t heard one song that I ever want to hear again.  But I love him.

“Glen Campbell Sings for the King” is on the way, billed as a “lost album”.  It’s actually a bunch of crappy demos of crappy songs intended for crappy Elvis movies that Glen used to sing to pick up some quick cash from the colonel’s crappy pool of crappy songwriters.  In other words, even crappier versions of crappy Elvis movie songs.  And of course it’ll also feature a “newly rendered” gospel duet with poor Elvis.  Just what we need.

Speaking of poor Elvis, I thought his daughter would have shown more respect for his work than to create a fake gospel duet with Daddy.  “Where No One Stands Alone” is horrible.  They’ve changed the tempo, the arrangement, even the chords, for absolutely no good reason.  I cannot comprehend how anyone could actually like this.

Then again, some nitwits seem to fancy The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra flailing away pointlessly behind Roy on “Oh, Pretty Woman”.

And that Beach Boys thing!  “Fun, Fun, Fun” with a string section?  I burst out laughing when I heard that one.  Really.  It’s awful.  But it’s not a bad comedy record.  I’m surprised that they missed “Barbara Ann”.  Maybe they’re saving that one for “The Royal Orchestral Beach Boys Philharmonic Party” LP.  I’ve never been to a philharmonic beach party.  To the best of my memory.

So they issue “An American Treasure”, a four disc set by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, featuring sixty mostly previously unreleased songs and performances.  Fine.

Now they’re releasing “The Best of Everything”, a two disc hits collection, and guess what?  It includes an alternate version of “Southern Accents” as well as another “unearthed” song called “For Real” that aren’t on “An American Treasure”.  That’s just wrong.  Petty was no money grabber.

Then we have John Lennon’s “Imagine: The Ultimate Collection”, a “Super Deluxe Boxed Set” of four CDs and two Blu-rays devoted to an album that wasn’t all that great to begin with.  But the good news is that each song gets an “Evolution” mix “that traces the history of the song from acoustic demo to rough band rehearsal to polished studio version”.  Who gives a fuck?  I always thought the best part of the album was George’s solo on “How Do You Sleep?”.

Do I sound jaded?  That’s because I am.

I very, very am.  Okay?

Elvis & The Q (Mama)

Have you read Peter Guralnick’s two books on Elvis?  They’re amazing.  I dare you to put them down.  Elvis’ story in two parts.  Depth beyond belief.  Research beyond reproach.  Guralnick spent years talking to everyone.  The first book, which ends in 1958, is called “Last Train To Memphis: The Rise Of Elvis Presley”.  The second, “Careless Love: The Unmaking Of Elvis Presley”, chronicles his tragic downward spiral.  They draw you in, my friends.  Guralnick treats Elvis as the artist he was, the young guy who was on fire, only to let that flame smother in a mire of yes-men, pills and depression.  What a sad, sad story.  And an exhilarating story too.  I just finished reading them again.  Twice.  Well…. mostly twice.

Elvis Presley was a musician, a remarkable creator, a great rhythm guitar player, who was surrounded by all the wrong people, which clearly led to his downfall.  A brilliant and fascinating man who destroyed himself.  A guy who had everything, only to hide in his bedroom, getting higher and higher, until he lost all perception of who he was.

Forget the jumpsuits, forget the stupid movies with their embarrassing songs, forget those tasteless, overblown 70s records, and give another listen to “That’s All Right”.

Speaking of….




Every time it’s mentioned on this damn European Sun CD, they call it “That’s All Right Mama”.

It is NOT called “That’s All Right Mama”!

It is called “That’s All Right”.

It was ALWAYS called “That’s All Right”.

Arthur Crudup’s original is called “That’s All Right”.

Even Marty Robbins’ lame 1955 cover is called “That’s All Right”.

No “Mama” for Arthur.

No “Mama” for Elvis.

No “Mama” for lame old Marty.

Scotty Moore wrote a book.  He calls it “That’s All Right Mama” over and over, throughout the book.

He was THERE.

Dumb hillbilly guitar players.

Dumb European bootleggers.

At least Rolling Stone (who are dumber than everyone) called it “It’s All Right”.

(I’m not making that up.  They said Elvis’ first record was “It’s All Right”.)

But, to their credit, they didn’t say “It’s All Right Mama”.

This irritates me to an unfathomable degree.

What shall we do about this?

Any suggestions?

Jimmy D?

You were wondering when I was going to mention NRBQ, weren’t you?  I discovered this live version of “Want You To Feel Good Too” from Jools Holland’s TV show.  Wow.  They’re having such a great time.  Whoever was mixing it kind of buried Big Al’s guitar for the third twelve bars of his solo but who cares?  You can still hear it.

Just pretend you’re at Bearly’s, dancing in the wrong spot.

This performance is absolutely LOCKED IN.  The bass & drums sound like one person.  And Dear Terry Adams, crazed piano man, what a performer.  You can tell they’re watching him, thinking “What in the hell is he gonna do now?”.  That guy remains a gift to rock & roll:

And if you don’t like it, no Q for You!

The (Bizarro) History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963

A friend recommended this book by Ed Ward.  He told me it’s “a really good read”.  Well, that depends on your sense of humour.

On the back cover, Lenny Kaye says it’s “deeply researched without being pedantic.  A definitive text”.  I wish it was pedantic.

Researched by whom?  Ward’s pet monkey?

This book is junk.  Inexcusable junk.

The scary part is how many people will read it and believe this nonsense.

I cannot find a bad review of it.  That’s even scarier.

Let’s start at the beginning….

The Carter Family.  A.P. Carter wasn’t “A.C. Carter” and his wife Sara wasn’t Maybelle’s sister.

Here’s Ward’s “Rocket 88” story:

“Leonard Chess happened to be in town (Memphis) and heard it.  Knowing that it was a hit, he bought it on the spot from Phillips.”

The truth is that Sam Phillips mailed to demo to Chess in Chicago, and the rest of Ward’s convoluted version of the story is just as wrong.

Don Everly wrote “Thou Shalt Not Steal” for Acuff-Rose publishing when The Everly Brothers first got to Nashville.  Kitty Wells recorded it.  Ward says that they sold it to Patsy Cline (no kidding).

He doesn’t know the difference between Kitty and Patsy?

Between selling and publishing?

“Leonard (I think he means Lester) Bihari (Meteor Records) told Elvis to go visit Sam Phillips”, after “Leonard” turned Elvis away.

That’s news to me.

And did you know that Elvis played the Grand Ole Opry, then recorded “Good Rockin’ Tonight”, then, after “Good Rockin’ Tonight”, but before the Opry, he played in Bethel Spring, Tennessee?

Got that?  Who’s on first?

“In mid-May, Muddy Waters told the Chess brothers about a guitar-and-piano duo he’d caught in a St. Louis club, the Cosmopolitan.  Chuck Berry and ‘Johnny’ Johnson.”

Absolute nonsense.  Chuck first met Muddy in Chicago.

Ward actually writes “Jerry Lee Lewis had been hanging around Sun wanting to make records, and he was a good enough piano player that Sam used him on a few country sessions, finally giving in and letting him make his first record”.

The truth is that Jerry Lee recorded “Crazy Arms”, his first record, on his first day in the Sun Studio.  And no, Ed, the flip side wasn’t called “End Of The World”.  That was Skeeter Davis.  (I know, they’re easily confused.)

And Ward’s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” story is even worse.  It’s so entirely wrong that I can’t even go there.

“Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran.  Ward says “nobody realized he’d multi tracked the whole thing, playing all the instruments himself”.  The truth is Connie Smith played bass and Earl Palmer played drums.

Ward also makes the same false claim about Cochran’s “Cut Across Shorty”, which features Sonny Curtis on guitar, Connie Smith on bass and Jerry Allison on drums.

Did you know Chubby Checker’s real name is Ernest Jenkins?

It isn’t.

Did you know Elvis made a movie called “Kid Creole”?

He didn’t.

Did you know Santo & Johnny were “two Italian Canadian kids”?

They were born & raised in Brooklyn, New York.

Paul Revere was The Raiders’ drummer?

He wasn’t.

Al Jardine is Brian Wilson’s cousin?

He isn’t.

Elvis sang “Trouble” in “Jailhouse Rock”?

Wrong again.

Prince La La wrote “I Know” for Barbara George?

Barbara wrote it.

Cliff Richard was on Decca?

He wasn’t.

The Rolling Stones got their name from Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy”?

Sorry, Ed.  The song’s called “Rollin’ Stone”.

Did you know the first line of “Stagger Lee” is “The night was cold, and the moon was yellow”?

That’s because it isn’t.

Don (Terry) & Dewey (Harris)?

Try reversing those.

“Imperial Records sold Fats Domino’s contract to ABC-Paramount.”

No, they didn’t.

“‘I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone’, a song written by a Memphis fan.”

No, it wasn’t.

And Elvis recorded “(I Want To Be) Your Teddy Bear”?

And “Little Deuce Coupe” wasn’t on the Capitol “Shut Down” LP, nor was it the A Side of the “Surfer Girl” 45.

More nonsense:

“Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was given a song, ‘I Put A Spell On You’, to record.”

Hawkins wrote the song.

Little Walter started recording for Checker in ’52.  Bo Diddley started recording for Checker in ’55.  Yet, somehow, in ’58, according to Ward, they both switched “from Chess to Checker”.

“The long-playing record, or LP, was also a great medium for collecting singles by popular artists, as Capitol soon realized by putting out Frank Sinatra albums.”

That’s ridiculous.  Sinatra’s Capitol LPs were concept albums, conceived by Sinatra, and recorded as such.  They were not collections of singles.

“Ray Charles was doing ‘Take These Chains From My Heart’ from the ever-dependable pen of Hank Williams.”

It was written by Fred Rose and Hy Heath.

And Ward raves about Ray’s version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, particularly his “agonized delivery of the second line, ‘It’s useless, I’ve tried’”.

I’m not making that up.

“Although Buddy Holly’s first record had come out on Decca, the rest of the Nashville sessions were given to a subsidiary, Brunswick, which just sat on them.”

I wouldn’t know where to begin.

“Musicor, a subsidiary label of United Artists, paired Phil Spector with Gene Pitney, and they had a minor hit with ‘I Wanna Love My Life Away’.”

Musicor was an independent label and Phil Spector had nothing to do with “(I Wanna) Love My Life Away”.

Roy Orbison:  “the guy they’d (The Everlys) enticed away from Sun Records put out his first song on Acuff-Rose’s new label, Monument.  Orbison was nearly blind, and his close-set eyes were jarring.  It would be hard to put him on television looking like that.  Then Fred Foster (suddenly the president of Monument) had an inspiration: ‘Give him sunglasses’.”

Where do I begin?

Orbison went from Sun to RCA.  After RCA, he was signed to Monument.  The Everlys had nothing to do with it.

Monument was owned by Fred Foster, not Acuff-Rose.

Roy wasn’t “nearly blind”.

He started wearing prescription sunglasses on stage because he’d forgotten his regular glasses at home.

“An Elvis Presley single, ‘One Broken Heart For Sale’, never went near the top ten.”

It reached number eleven.

And Ed’s “Blue Suede Shoes” story is an insult to Carl Perkins.  According to Ward, Carl walked into a music store in Jackson, Tennessee and asked for a copy.  When he was handed a 45, he said “No, sir, that ain’t my record.  See, my record’s a great big one with a little bitty hole in it.”

Ward then claims “He’d never seen a 45 before.”

You mean to tell us, Mister Ed, that Perkins had been recording for Sun for a year, this was his third record, and “He’d never seen a 45 before”?  That’s absurd.

I do love this one:  Solid body electric guitars “weren’t very versatile in a jazz combo or backing band context”.

What?  What does that even mean?

And this one about Dick Dale: “He really wanted to play guitar, despite being left-handed, which required him to play the instrument upside down.”

I’m not gonna go there….

And here, my friends, is my top favourite:

“Billy Fury And The Hurricanes’ drummer, Ringo Starr.”

That’s right folks.  The Beatles nicked Ringo from Billy Fury.

Every Beatles biography ever written must be amended.

So says “The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963”.

Is this intended as a joke on us?

This stuff may sound trivial but this is supposed to be a “history” so make it factual.

I could have written a far more accurate book from memory.

I do look forward to volume two.

I can’t wait to learn how Robert Johnson formed The Wu-Tang Clan.

It’s Time For…. Tom & Yoko & Gus?

AP Photo/Robert E. Klein

In 1977, I was starting my career with the Sam The Record Man chain.  A promo rep at Shelter/GRT Records in Toronto phoned me and rambled on & on & on about The Dwight Twilley Band and how they were going to be the next big “new wave” thing.  Actually, they were a good-but-not-great band with a couple of catchy singles.  He couldn’t utter enough superlatives about them.  After finally finishing his ten minute spiel, he said he’d send me a copy with some photos.  Then, just before he hung up, he said “Oh yeah, we have this other new band, Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers.  They’re pretty good too”.

Bob Dylan once said “Playing with that band is like playing with one person”.

“I Forgive It All” by Mudcrutch.  David Boyle once said “That’s not a young man’s song, and all the better for it”.  A perfect description.

Watch & Listen:

When Tom played in Halifax in 2012, one of his crew came into Taz Records to buy a $100 portable record player and some LPs, including “All Things Must Pass”, “Between The Buttons”, “Blonde On Blonde” and “I’m Jimmy Reed”, at Petty’s request.  They were heading to Europe and Tom wanted a record player for his hotel rooms.  That was pretty cool.  The guy who was working for Tom said he was as good as it gets.  Nice to know, but not surprising.

In 2011, Petty described George Harrison’s sense of spirituality as “the greatest gift he gave me.  He gave me a way of understanding a higher power without it being stupid, or having tons of rules and books to read.  But the best thing I can say to people that are curious about that is George was probably everything that you thought he was, and then some more.  Very funny man.  He could just kill me with his humour.”

Petty once said that “Unchained” by Johnny Cash And The Heartbreakers was the album he was proudest of.

Sea Of Heartbreak:

Tom on “G.I. Blues” by Elvis: “The first album I ever owned.”


Jacob Dylan inducted Tom And The Heartbreakers into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  He spoke about sitting at the side of the stage with Petty’s daughters, watching the band:

“I remember thinking ‘Jesus, your Dad is Tom Petty!’”

By the way, the photo is from the night I saw him in Mansfield, Massachusetts, 2005.  A family party.


So Yoko Ono is now “cool”.  I lived through her stuff.  I listened with open ears.  My conclusion: If she hadn’t married a Beatle, she never would have been allowed near a recording studio.  Other than piano lessons as a kid, she isn’t even a musician.  She has no “natural” feel for music.  It’s all “forced”.  As for this pretence of it being “art”, well, in that context, so is my green bin.

I like “experimental music”, but I don’t like fake experimental music, as in someone obviously trying to be free & experimental.  Her stuff has no natural flow.  How shall I try to explain myself?  I know!  Jimmy Reed.  No music is simpler and technically easier to play, but his feel is beyond belief.  His groove.  His flow.  His natural musicality.  Any barely competent guitar player could listen to Reed’s rhythm playing and duplicate it, but it would sound like incompetent shit, with no soul.  Like a tribute band.  I know! I finally figured it out!  Yoko is a Sun Ra tribute band!

Kevin Doucet:  “I remember taking ‘Double Fantasy’ and making a tape of it without her songs.  It was great!  Every second frigging song.  It’s like speed bumps or something keeping you from enjoying the album flow.”

I did the same thing with “Double Fantasy”.  That album felt like Lennon was force-feeding everyone.

John tried to stuff a square peg into a round hole.  Love is blind.


Speaking of Jug Bands formed in Memphis in 1927, have you ever heard “Younger Girl” by The Lovin’ Spoonful?

I wonder who Sebastian was listening to.

“Jug Band Music” indeed.

Gus Cannon made a banjo out of a frying pan and a raccoon skin.  Top that.

Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers, 1930:

Who Likes Cuban Rum? I Do!

Bob Dylan.  Enough of this “Great American Songbook” bullshit.

“Triplicate” is sublime.  Unapproachable.

A year or so ago, Bob said “Covers? These songs have been covered so often they’re buried. We’re uncovering them”.

When I heard “Stardust”, I understood.  Reinterpreted from the ground up.  It flows like virgin water.

If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.

There’s nothing more to say.

Speaking of Bob, he did an album in 1990 called “Under The Red Sky”.  I’ve always loved it for its sheer silliness, but the holier-than-thou critical “experts” panned it without mercy.  I say they missed the point.

The lyrics are full of fairytale references.  The album is dedicated to his then four-year-old daughter, Gabby Goo Goo.  Dylan had said in 1985 that he wanted to do an album of children’s songs, but that Columbia wouldn’t know how to market it.  So I say he snuck it out.  And it’s my favourite children’s album.

Listen again.

And speaking of Jeff Gay, which we weren’t, his new album is called “Cuban Rum” and it’s bloody wonderful.

It’s the best thing I’ve heard in a good while.

Smart writing and intuitive playing, which don’t happen often.

Good taste abounds on this one.

Gay knows about imagery.  He’s the real deal.

Authentic.  Without thinking about it.  He knows that as soon as you think about being authentic, you aren’t.

So buy it.

Give him an extra buck and he’ll probably autograph it too.

And Chuck Berry.  Bless him.  I love Chuck but I just felt embarrassed for him when I heard the new album.  No feel.  None.  The band doesn’t have a clue.  Every song smacks of “let’s recreate that one” and fails miserably.  Stick with the double “Chuck Berry Gold” Chess CD.  It’s almost got you covered.

As for that new Buckingham/McVie song… “dinky dinky ding, dinky dinky ding”, over & over & over until I wanna scream.  And don’t even get me started on the lyrics.

And dear old Sgt. Pepper.  Remixed.  Why?  Money.

The original mono mix is untouchable, even if your old album is hacked up.  I know, because mine is, and it sounds like magic.

And that “old” George Martin stereo mix is perfect.  Because it was done then, in the moment.  So what if it took him two hours?  I’d take two hours with Martin anytime.

So the deluxe version has extra takes that aren’t as good as the issued takes.  If they weren’t good enough for the album, what makes them “deluxe”?

Pizza Person:  “With our deluxe pizza package, you get a bonus pizza that doesn’t taste as good as the first one.”

Dumb Customer:  “Really?  Wow!  I’ll take it!”

Apple announced in ’95 that there was nothing left worth releasing after the anthologies came out.  I guess profit changes everything.

And “She’s Leaving Home” is now credited to “Paul McCartney”. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Good Morning Good Morning” and “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” are credited to “McCartney-Lennon”.

Apple should have a contest:

“Win a limited numbered edition ‘A Day In The Life’ alarm clock that Paul McCartney claims to have designed!”

That guy has a serious self-esteem problem.

Maybe he should hire Giles Martin to remix his brain.

And I can’t leave out The Rolling Stones.

I was talking with a self-proclaimed “audiophile” the other day.  He rambled on about all the wonderful “nuances” to be heard on the mono Stones boxed set.

Who in the fuck wants to hear “nuances” on “19th Nervous Breakdown”?

Not hearing the “nuances” was the whole point.

I remember first hearing that song on the little plastic radio in my parents’ kitchen.  I was stunned by the overall noise of it.

Perfect, muffled, scratchy, powerful, distorted noise.

And that was the magic.

It always seems that the suckers who buy this “remastered-into-sterility” stuff are the ones who know nothing about actual music, just “sound quality”.

I have never heard an “audiophile” talk about music.  Ever.

Have you?

Now… where did I put that old Stones 45?

Dave Davies – Hidden Treasures (Sanctuary)

Dave Davies. A hidden treasure indeed. Always in brother Ray’s shadow, enhancing every song, content to be “Dave Davies, Quality Control”.

A guitarist any band would covet with a voice to match. And those solos. If he’d done nothing after “You Really Got Me”, his place in rock & roll history would be assured.
But he accomplished much more than that. Listen again to the intro to “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion” and imagine the song without it. And picture “Lola” without his voice propelling it into the sky.
He even had his moment in the sun in ’67 when “Death Of A Clown” was a massive “solo” hit in the UK and Europe, and what a record it was. Listen closely to the intro where he taps that C-G-F bit on his acoustic. I swear I’m gonna steal that idea someday.
After a few more great singles, which were really Kinks records with Dave up front, plans were set for a solo album. It was pretty much done when Dave decided he was more comfortable as a Kink. And so it never came to be.
Some songs were buried on Kinks b-sides, some were placed on Kinks LPs, and some never appeared at all. Until this eye-opener of a collection.
The first thirteen songs are as close as we’ll come to the planned LP, with fourteen others that cover his solo singles and much more.
“Susannah’s Still Alive”, “This Man He Weeps Tonight”, “There’s No Life Without Love”… they should all be in heavy rotation on everyone’s favourite “oldies station”, alongside “All Day And All Of The Night” and “Sunny Afternoon”, for they’re every bit as good and memorable. So let’s listen and remember them.
From ’64 to ’93, Dave Davies lifted The Kinks, in every conceivable way. His modesty and his dedication to his brother’s more extensive muse speaks volumes.
“Hidden Treasures” is The Kinks with “the other guy” in the front. It sounds like a lost horizon finally found.


“You Really Got Me: The Story of the Kinks” by Nick Hasted is well worth reading. Plenty of input from all four Kinks. It’s interesting how the whole Ray/Dave thing stems from sibling rivalry as kids. Six older sisters, then when the youngest sister was six, along came baby Ray, the apple of their eyes. When Dave appeared three years later, that all changed. A dynamic that seems to still be there. When all is said and done, though, they clearly love each other. The fact that they could do “Hatred” for a good laugh speaks volumes. I love this performance. The ending is perfect:

Ray Davies: “I think Dave, as a guitarist, he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.”
Dave Davies: “Ray’s an arsehole.”


Ringo Starr:

“The way I’ve been working over the last several years is that I do sort of a rhythm-pattern synth track. And then I play drums and go ‘Oh, there’s a verse. Oh, that sounds like a chorus. And then I call writers in and say, ‘Let’s write something to that!’”
Umm… in other words, who writes the songs?
I love Ringo’s playing. He’s second to none, but do you know what disappoints me? On this “All-Star” footage I see, he’s rarely playing drums. And when he is, there’s always a second drummer playing with him.
Sorry, Ringo, but you’re a drummer.


I like this. Paul McCartney:

“I’ll put out my next album, but I won’t think I’m gonna sell a lot. I’m putting it out because I have songs that I like. And I will do my best job. The scene has changed, but it doesn’t disturb me, because I had the best of it.”


Chuck Berry, commenting on:

The Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen:
“What’s this guy so angry about anyway? Guitar work and progression is like mine. Good backbeat. Can’t understand most of the vocals. If you’re going to be mad at least let the people know what you’re mad about.”

The Ramones – Sheena is a Punk Rocker:
“A good little jump number. These guys remind me of myself when I first started. I only knew three chords too.”


And NOW… What you’ve all been waiting for…
It’s “Arthur Fields And Harmony Trio”. From another time and another world. Recorded in Boston, 1925, for a low budget label that pedalled its wares to discount stores. That wonderful slide guitar is probably played by someone named Andy Sannella but no one knows for sure. That only adds to the charm. This 78 is one of my prized possessions. Ridiculous? Maybe, by today’s standards. Silly? Definitely. But picture yourself in the parlour with your sweetheart, winding the Victrola, placing that steel spike of a needle on this brittle 10” shellac disc. You gaze into each other’s eyes. And you’re in… My Blue Heaven:


The Stones? I’ll take The Mandala

charlie-watts-thumbSo The Rolling Stones have a new “blues” album.


I know it’s great that they’re still around and, hopefully, still having a good time playing music.

They deserve that.

But this is just another in a long line of “new” albums by old codgers who lost the plot a long time back.

Remember that new Neil Young album?

That new Van Morrison album?

Or that new Keith Richards album?

Did you ever go back to any of them once the novelty wore off?

This record’s created a buzz because of who it is, rather than what it is, which is a mediocre blues album.

As a matter of fact, it’s not a blues album.

It’s a plodding, generic rock album.

In every case, I’d rather hear the original versions and I’d never say that about the early Stones.

Truth be told, this band lost their genuine feel for the blues when they lost Brian Jones and Mick Taylor.  Then Bill Wyman, their true anchor.  We’re talking decades ago.

Ronnie Wood’s chunky, rigid nonsense is about as far away from blues as you can get.

Jagger & Richards have become eternal posers.

And Charlie?  Well, Charlie’s as solid and swinging as ever.  He’s just got nothing to work with.

Ringo Starr:

“I love Charlie.  He’s the only one who leaves out more that I do.”

Wanna hear some old bugger who really can play the blues?

Check out “Tank Full Of Blues” by Dion.

That’s right, that Dion.

It can be done.


mandalaTop this:

The Mandala.


Toronto 1967.

If ever there was a “lost treasure” 45, this is it.

Domenic Troiano’s solo is perfect.  Over the top in the best of ways.

He’d arrived from Robbie Lane’s Disciples, so christened on Good Friday.  Actually, I made that up.

He later moved on to The Guess Who & The James Gang.

And George Olliver.  That bugger could SING.

If you haven’t heard it, I kind of envy you, getting to hear it for the first time.

“We came three thousand miles from Canada to L.A.,

to tell you exactly how it feels,

maybe, maybe it’s here we’ll get our Opportunity!”

Then…. BANG!

Why this record wasn’t huge still baffles me.

Even the fadeout is beyond belief.

And the fact that Troiano doesn’t return in the fade, playing all the over-the-top shit he could obviously stun us with, speaks volumes for his taste & humility as a musician.

It’s like he’s thinking “I’m really gonna mess with them.  They’ll crave my madness in the fadeout.  I know!  I won’t play anything.  Fuck them.”

Either that or the engineer forgot to turn him back up.

Solid soul with The Dells on backup vocals.

It’s right here.

Listen up:


I’m friggin’ sick & tired of no-name country songs masquerading as “roots” music.  Aren’t you?  Americana.  Canadiana.  Alt-Country.  And let’s not forget Tropicalia.  And Post-Electronic Tropicalia, Shoe Gaze, Post Art-Punk and (my favourite) Anarchistic Folk-Punk.  I kid you not.  Check All Music.

Aren’t things becoming a little too fragmented?  Can’t we just call it music?

I am rather intrigued by “Atmospheric Punk” though.  Punk is nothing if not atmospheric.  When I listen to The Ramones, I can always smell the pizza.

But the good news is that I just found out that I’m a “World Folk” artist.  Me!

I didn’t know that.

Della Rosa

della-rosaWhat do you want me to say?  That “Della Rosa” by Willie Stratton is as real as it gets?  Okay, “Della Rosa” is as real as it gets.  I first heard the song on a sunny summer morning.  Once.  I then took a half hour stroll downtown.  I did what I did.  Then I walked back home.  I sang it all the way.  Couldn’t get it out of my head.  I didn’t want to.  Beautiful story, striking imagery, elegant arrangement, perfect execution.  Taste personified.  It rests on a cloud.

It leads off a six song EP that’s a joy to hear.

I wish old Charlie Poole could hear Willie’s merciful take on “Moving Day”.  Who knows?  Maybe he has.  It’s the real deal.

When you make a record this good, the right band makes all the difference.

Anna Wedlock on fiddle, Jill Chambers on bass, Zach Crawford on steel and Kim Harris on vocals are the right band.

Strong and true from start to finish.

No weak link.

Willie Stratton isn’t someone who’s trying to be authentic.  He is authentic.  The difference is immeasurable.

Buy this EP.  It’ll have you dancing in the very best way.  And Willie could use the money.  It’s on vinyl, on CD and it’s right here:


Interesting thing about Elvis.

I was listening to “Trying To Get To You” by The Eagles (not those Eagles) from 1954.

It’s a cool record but Elvis’ version is WAY better.

Then I listened to “Baby Let’s Play House”.

Then “Mystery Train”, “Such A Night”, “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”, “Good Rockin’ Tonight”. Even “Hound Dog”.

I’d never thought of this before but, in every instance, Elvis’ take is better than the “black” original.

He only picked GREAT songs that weren’t very good records.

Smart guy.

And he waited until the originals had run their course before he recorded them.

Very fair of him, I think.

No wonder James Brown liked him.


Rolling Stone was once a damn good music magazine.

After all, Doug Sahm was on their cover.  Twice.

That says a lot.

Now they’re a damn good political magazine.

That also says a lot, in an entirely different way.

But what I like best about RS2016 is their hilarious story headers:

“Wynonna Judd Talks Surprise Acceptance by Americana Genre”

(Don’t get me started.)

“Three of Elvis’ most beloved movies – Blue Hawaii, Girls Girls Girls and Paradise, Hawaiian Style.”


“Elvis’ producer Tom Felton.”


“Weekend Rock Question: What Is the Best Star Trek Movie?

Cast your vote in our weekly poll”

(Mine is “Telstar”)


And hey, all you bored I-wish-I-had-a-life geeks:

Listen up.

Have you checked out the Come Undone Records Facebook page?

We’re posting cool, century-spanning music and art, solely for your aural and visual pleasure, on a (pretty much) daily basis.

Where else can you listen to Scott Walker and look at Edward Hopper?


Except here:

And besides, unlike other alleged pages, we actually love you.


Belle Plaine “The Unrequited Love”

belleplaineListening to “The Unrequited Love” is like discovering an enchanted treasure chest full of unexpected surprises.

It’s the kind of album that gets you through the hard times in a magically unexpected way. I’ve lived with it for a few months and, believe me, it’s inspirational.

And aspirational.

Great title too.

Smart writing, smart singing, smart playing.

Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis” sounds like it was written for Belle Plaine to interpret.  It’s hers now.  Stark and true.

“Good Heart” kills me.

Straight to the point.  “I’ve got a good heart”.  What a commanding lyric.

My friend Dave Careless:

“I feel like I can hear a train whistle about forty miles away!”

Dave also described this music as “humbling”.

Well said.

“Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” was written by Jimmy Cox in 1923.  It’s been sung so often that it’s almost become a cliche.  Not here.

Belle finds the ether of this song and she turns it into something new and relevant.

As for “Swamp Lullaby”, what a mysterious, beguiling groove.  It draws me in.  It has momentum.  Alchemy too.

It’s way off the beaten path.

And I do love to stroll off the beaten path.

It’s strong and convincing.  It speaks for itself.

It encourages me to use my imagination.

What a performance.  I actually heard this song first.

When it ended with applause, I was stunned.  I’d no idea it was live.

My friend Michael Coll said:

“It makes sense that she gave the album an actual title rather than just ‘Live at the ___’, as it sounds like an album.”

This IS an album and this artist is for real.

So do yourself a favour.

Don’t pass her by.


monkeesgoodtimesOn to The Monkees.

I received a message from a friend. He’s a really good guy so I won’t name names:

“Just spinning the new Monkees album.. What a great record!!”

I must react:

The Monkees were junk.

Entertaining junk at times, but junk nonetheless.

Okay, so the junk that was made in ’67 is way better than the junk that’s made now.

But it’s still junk!

They were only ever glossy facsimiles of The Troggs and Paul Revere And The Raiders.

Now they’re dull facsimiles of dead Troggs and dead Raiders. And everyone’s saying “What a great record!”. Why? Because they’re not dead.  Mostly.

This is a shitty record.

Patched together and awkward.

Way past its expiry date.

It’s one of those albums that you (not me) WANT to like.

And when you WANT to like a record, all common sense gets sucked down the drain.

Yes, “Me & Magdalena” is the exception.  Great song.

Nesmith nailed the vocal.

Then some idiot “producer” decided to dub Dolenz’ voice over the top of it.  Ruined it.  Made it artificial.


I’d love to hear the real thing.

e91169c5e72fbfc717904e73162a48dfAs for Mike Love, I’ve read his new book.

It’s not nearly as offensive as I thought it would be.

Now I’m gonna list some songs:

“California Girls”

“She Knows Me Too Well”

“Dance, Dance, Dance”

“In The Back Of My Mind”

“Let Him Run Wild”

“I Get Around”

“Help Me, Rhonda”

“You’re So Good To Me”

“Fun, Fun, Fun”

On the original records, these songs, among many others, were credited to “Brian Wilson”.

Mike Love wrote the lyrics for every one.

And if I was Mike Love, I’d want credit too.

Brian Wilson created a musical dream.

Mike Love made his cousin’s dream universal.

And accessible:

“Well, she got her Daddy’s car…. ”

“Well, since you put me down…. ”

“Well, East Coast girls are hip….”

“Well”.  What an opener.  Such a perfectly inviting word.


Let’s go surfin’ now.