Pitched as the introduction to the great decline, Everybody’s in Show Biz is actually a thoroughly enjoyable album, and as a bonus, and entire live record recording during the Muswell Hillbillies tour only adds to this album’s historical greatness! Face to Face through Muswell Hillbillies era Everybody’s in Show Biz is certainly not, but it’s still damn good Kinky ear candy.
I knew absolutely nothing about this album when I purchased it (for $0.33.3) on Black Friday, but with a promising cover and an illustrious title like, Reminiscing with the Moms and Dads, the unknown was something certainly well deserving of the nominal asking price. Still sealed, this 43-year-old virgin gets her first spin tonight. I’m both apprehensive, and completely terrified of the results…
In 1966, Tim Hardin released his first studio album, Tim Hardin 1, and on this radiant release was not a reason to wonder, but instead a Reason to Believe, that Tim Hardin was, in fact, a timeless (and ultimately reckless) force, begging to be messed with.
The album’s third track, Smugglin’ Man, paints a greasy, underhanded picture of a deceitful man, THE man, able and willing to supply illegal substances to, among others, the Indians, the Arabs, and the Jews. This man of opportunity is, of course, Tim himself, or “Timmie” as the song goes. Be it guns, whiskey, gin or blatantly put, “anything illegal,” Tim was your late night go-to guy. Yes, Smugglin’ Man is a hell-of-a rockin’ R&B ditty, sung by a demon with an angel’s voice.
Cut to 1970’s compilation album, Tim Hardin.
Capitalizing on Tim’s breakout success of the late 60s, Tim Hardin (the album, not the man) was yet another repackaged, “Best of,” whose 9 (of 10) tracks made up the bulk of his first two albums (Tim Hardin 1 and Tim Hardin 2, naturally). I’m a completist sucker, so I had to have Tim Hardin, even though I’d already owned these songs two, and some even three times over.
All of this is very well, nice and good, but the (long-winded) message at heart, here, is that there is a hilarious oversight printed on this comp’s front cover. Instead of a rum-runnin’ man with a deviant mind for smugglin’, is instead a jaunty fellow with the habit for snuggling. As it’s printed, Snuggling Man paints a much different, and more family friendly picture than the gin-smugglin’, whiskey-sellin’ scar on the pale face of morality.
So, if you’re familiar with the song, here’s a little gift, smuggled, and snuggled, from me, to you…
I’m an old time snugglin’ man and I know just what to do
I’m an old time snugglin’ man and I know just what to do
I sell guns to the Arabs,
I sell dynamite to the Jews
– Lyrics by Tim Hardin, snuggler extraordinaire.
Happy October 10th to all of you music lovers out there. Happy Friday night for those of us on the West Coast. Offered up this fine fall evening is a 24-track, 2-LP comp of Hank Williams’ great hits titled, The Great Hits of Hank Williams. As a member of both the Country Music and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame, Mr. Williams remains as influential a songwriter and musician as any other single titled artist. Cash is classic, Dylan is decent, but Williams will forever be without end.
RIP Hiram King Williams, Sr.
Native American for “crooked river,” the Cuyahoga spans 100 or so miles, twisting and bending through Ohio state shores, until it unloads into Lake Erie, the scariest of the Great Lakes. The river is famous for catching fire a reported 13 times since 1868, and is the subject of Randy Newman’s 1972 rolling, Baroque pop classic, Burn On.
Inspiration comes from many, varied mediums. Today’s post was influenced by last night’s movie of the week, the 1989 baseball classic Major League. Set in Cleveland, Ohio, the film’s opening features the serene, everyday life of the city’s residents set to the backdrop of Mr. Newman’s fiery piano rolls. Baseball, and therefore summer lingers in the air, as does the faint, distant smell of a glorious, polluted river engulfed in flames.
1972’s Country Winners of the ‘50s is probably my earliest mail-order album offered from the minor-music-loving-money-snatchers, Columbia House. I have a rather unsettling confession to make. Back in Junior High, I was a member of Columbia House (as were the majority of my friends). Sure, I got suckered into 10 CDs for a penny, and nearly wept at the terribly overpriced, mediocre albums I was forced to purchase in order to round out my membership obligation. I believe Aerosmith got heavy play in those days… it was a dark time for sure.
Country Winners of the ‘50s is, in my opinion, a great representation of the “true” country sound. People scoff at my unashamed pride when I admit that I rather enjoy country and western music. What I (nearly always) need to explain is that I don’t listen to anything from either genre past 1980 (save for the Rick Rubin helmed American Recordings releases).
I look at this album cover and fancy the idea of canoeing across the bright, blue lake with my SO, ingesting the open, crisp air and savoring the soft warbling of rural birds making their majestic flight from shore to muddy shore. I doubt I’ll ever leave Southern California, but I often long for the serenity of the simple, calming life I left behind.
We the jury find the accused, Phillip Harvey Spector, guilty on all counts… of spreading holiday cheer! What was originally dubbed as A Christmas Gift for You from Philles Records back in 1963, was re-released in 1972 on Apple Records with 1) a new title, Phil Spector’s Christmas Album, and 2) a new, Christmas-killing cover depicting the legendary producer dressed as a drunken Santa Claus. Personally, I feel Art Carney’s role as loaded Santa in the Twilight Zone episode, The Night of the Meek was a little more convincing, but ol’ gunslinger Phil does a decent job.
These 13 re-imagined Christmas classics by the likes of The Ronettes, The Crystals, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans are all produced by Phil Spector (obviously), and make for a fantastic, and well-rounded Christmas album. If you don’t already own it, or its 1963 original, seek it out. One can never have too many quality Christmas songs, even if their producer is a convicted murderer.
The joy of Joy isn’t that it’s influenced and inspired by J.S. Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (the 10th movement to Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147), instead, the pure glistening satisfaction can be found in the uplifting (almost to a fault) glow that surrounds these radiating 2 minutes and 44 seconds.
I’ll admit, because I’m lame, I’d not heard this track before watching, then purchasing both soundtracks to Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1997 magnum opus (see what I did there?) Boogie Nights. I felt the use of this track in that film was brilliant, so much so that I had to seek out the LP as to properly give it my due respect.
The rest of this classical-music-inspired album holds up fairly well considering it’s already 41 years young. Great background music for just about anything, it’s heartbreaking (though not really) to think Apollo 100 would disband only a year after this album was released. The joy, it seems, was not meant to last…
A day late and about a hundred grand short, I enter my plea of rock n’ roll remembrance. As shameful as it is to admit, this is the only Lou Reed album I currently, and I stress currently, own (on vinyl anyway). There is nothing new I can say about this cornerstone of quintessential rock, so I’m going to stay on the shore and respectfully watch as others sail their lamenting boats of historic homage. Thank you, Mr. Reed. I hardly knew you, but with all things worthy of keeping, your music will outlast the wild side in all of us. RIP Lou Reed.
As far as solo songwriters go, there are three that loom atop all others. Presented in no particular order, because honestly, how could you logically rank these three? First is Van Morrison, who is probably the most obvious of the three. Second is Paul Simon, who is perhaps the most critically acclaimed of the bunch due to his hugely successful duo before branching out and going solo, and last but certainly not least, is Jim Croce.
Croce kind of flies under the radar when grouped with the great Morrison and Simon. His gentle, free-spirited storytelling, his whimsical acoustic guitar work, his clever, heartfelt and often hilarious lyrics, and the fact that he accomplished his timeless arsenal of music by the time of his untimely death at the age of 30 sets him apart from the aforementioned pair. The fact that the bulk of his success happened, unfortunately, after he passed, doesn’t take away from the emotional weight of his music.
You Don’t Mess Around with Jim was Croce’s third and most successful album, spending 93 weeks on the charts. Due to the extraordinary single, Time in a Bottle, which peaked a year after his unfortunate plane crash, You Don’t Mess Around with Jim was the best selling album for five weeks in 1974. It’s sad ol’ Jim wasn’t around to see how many people admired his great work.
R.I.P. Mr. Croce. 1972 belongs to you.