14th February 12
Carol Douglas, “Doctor’s Order” (1974)
A Valentine’s Day special for you assorted party people, from the very bottom of my Anahata chakra. When people tell me their favorite love song is not a disco song, I silently scoff in pity and derision. No other musical genre comes closer to replicating the mindless, all-encompassing, and completely crazed feeling of being embroiled in a romance-type situation. Try to resist this, even if you think you know better. Especially if you know better. Doctor’s orders, you saps!
27th July 11
Dave “Baby” Cortez, “The Happy Organ.”
In those halcyon days before the Beatles, all you needed to have a hit record was two things:
- A neat idea for a melody that could serve as the basis for a two-minute song.
- A willingness to play three shows a night, three hundred nights a year, for a salary of $75 per week.
Detroit’s Dave “Baby” Cortez had both of these things, plus a truly great nickname. That makes him, in my book, one of the best. I hope that someday he goes to rock music heaven, where he can joyfully bang out this melody on a Katzenklavier made out of corrupt record executives and unscrupulous tour bookers.
Instead of cats, guys in purple suits nicknamed “Chin.”
3rd April 11
Maxine Nightingale, “Right Back to Where We Started From”
An appropriately propulsive, optimistic 1970s stomper for the first spring-like weekend of the year. This is what I imagine montages of the parts of my life where I am wearing white pants and boat shoes and biking down Park Avenue or staring out a bus window and smiling about something springtime-like that has just happened one scene earlier are set to. Maybe you are in the montage, too.
27th June 10
S. 12th Sunday Night Gospel Hour: “A Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” Cliff Gobler, 1976.
A sad, old, ancient folk song, given the full Curtis Mayfield/blaxploitation treatment.
21st June 10
“[Redacted],” The [Redacted]s, 19[Redacted].
A special dedication to my [Redacted] [Redacted], who has a [Redacted] with the [Redacted] on [Redacted]!
[Redacted] [Redacted] !
16th June 10
“Starry Eyes,” Veronica Falls, 2010.
Thank God that in the year 2010, there are still sad teenagers that sleep on used mattresses on dirty floors in the crumbling remains of the British Empire and wake up in the morning and say to each other in their sad little David Copperfield street urchin voices, “Guitarist, drummer, why don’t we cover a Roky Erickson song? It’s ever so pretty.” The singer can barely keep her shit together. It’s so perfect I could cry.
8th June 10
“Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon,” Phil Ochs, 1971.
Can you imagine the sort of song Phil Ochs, at the height of his abilities, would have been able to write about the Deepwater Horizon spill?
30th May 10
S. 12th Sunday Night Gospel Party: “How Sweet It Is,” Professor J. Earle Hines and the St. Paul Baptist Church Choir of Los Angeles.
29th May 10
Jonathan Richman, “Lover Please,” 1979.
If I was running a Friday overnight AM radio show, this would be the bumper music. What would we talk about if you called into the radio show in question at 1:58am EST? Off the top of my head, I’d say Watergate, Billy Martin’s 1969 season managing the Minnesota Twins, Linda Jenness’ 1972 run for president on the Socialist Workers’ Party ticket, Dave’s Popcorn Stand on 38th and Cedar in South Minneapolis, Roberto Bolaño’s Nazi Literature in the Americas, tapping trees for maple syrup, white pants dos and don’ts (all dos), “noodling” techniques for catching catfish, left-wing critiques of Sex and the City 2, drug phone camera photography secrets, and a special in-studio visit from Au Revoir Simone with guest Lou Reed on drums playing a set of Phil Ochs covers.
The usual shit we might talk about anyway, except at night, and on AM radio — nothing in stereo, in other words. I mean, I’d listen to it, but that’s the point.
20th May 10
* The way Shirley sings “feeeeels so good” is filthy. Plus they’re both from New Orleans, so you know they’re up to no good.
† Listen to how Sylvia says “C’mere, lover boy.” Also, Mickey was from Louisville!
‡ Though this is truly a classic for the “we have got to get married as soon as possible because we really, really want to do it” school of hormonal wistfulness, so let’s not get too down on Paul and Paula for being complete drips; you almost think Paula’s going to sing “together the whole night through,” but it comes out “day.”