Harry Nilsson’s 1974 collaboration with John Lennon falls a bit short from misguided expectations, but is still a necessary inclusion to any collection focusing on pop music history. Pussy Cats was hyped as having been recorded during Lennon’s 18-month “Lost Weekend,” a period he’d spend in the early 70’s apart from Yoko. Nilsson’s broken voice and (obviously) medicinally-influenced demeanor are something to note in this gluttonous series of 10 tracks. Buy it not expecting much, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. This 2018 RSD release on hardwood vinyl is limited to 1500 copies. Enjoy.
I was only kind of into A Perfect Circle because I kind of had to be into A Perfect Circle. I owned, then sold, their debut LP during a personal “cleansing”, but managed to somehow hang on to a few of their 7″ singles. One of them is this white vinyl cover of John Lennon’s Imagine. Released in 2004 as a single from their third full-length, Emotive, the Imagine 7″ is also home to the (somewhat) humorously titled, Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums. I can stand firmly behind Tool, but I stutter step when it comes to A Perfect Circle. To each their own, I suppose.
The road to 3000 has been a long and winding one, and the choice of the mighty 3000, being the featured white vinyl version of the Beatles 1968 self titled album, is nothing short of exaccurate (exactly accurate).
I’d been hunting this monster down for more than a few years. The hefty price tag ($100+ complete w/ all four headshots and poster) always deterred me from pulling the trigger. That is, until I found this beaut off ebay last week. Knowing the inevitable 3000 was rapidly approaching, my once torrid, vinyl-hording obsession turned into a frugal-minded halt, as I forwent the “casual” purchasing phase until the mighty 3000 came home. I certainly hope #4000 isn’t for quite some time, as space is really starting to become an issue… one that every collector knows all too well.
John Lennon is known for many things, and cloning himself and inhabiting two geographical locations at the same time is certainly one of them. Take for example the 1969 release by The Plastic Ono Band, Live Peace in Toronto 1969. Apart from being the first live album recorded by any member of the Beatles, solo or together, Live Peace in Toronto 1969 brought together the monumental talents of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Eric Clapton (Eric Clapton performs by courtesy of Atlantic Records).
Ok, all that is well and good… but what about this cloning nonsense you speak of? Take a look at the label. It’s an album of material that was recorded live in Toronto, Ontario, BUT, it was, apparently, also an album that was recorded in England.
Think about that for a moment. Performed in Canada… recorded in England.
Why didn’t they just record it in Canada? A fair and reasonable question. I’ll tell you why. It’s because John Lennon cloned himself and was performing live with Yoko and Mr. Slowhand while simultaneously sitting behind the boards at Apple Corps Ltd back in London. Quite an astounding feat, even for John Lennon, but anything is possible if you Imagine. See what I did there?
Ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the mighty boots of Sgt. Pepper? Well, you can’t, so stop dreaming for the impossible, and come back down to reality because presented here is (not at all) the next best thing.
Tucked deep inside my rather dilapidated copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is this lovely little “costume themed” Sgt. Pepper insert. Some assembly is needed, but with minimal work (scissors are required), you can amaze and confuse your family and friends by dressing up as the honorable Sgt. Pepper.
This cut-out kit includes:
1. Moustache (No Sgt. Pepper impersonator would be caught dead without one.)
2. Picture Card (To pass off as a valid and law-abiding photo identification card, presumably when questioned by authorities, or children with worried looks in their eyes.)
3. Stripes (To keep your Sergeant arms warm.)
4. Badges (Nothing says you’re serious about your appointed duties like a badge with a picture of yourself posted proudly upon your heroic chest.)
5. Stand Up (No Sergeant, ESPECIALLY Sgt. Pepper, would be caught parading around without a psychedelic, four-piece band. Here is a picture of that band.)
Halloween is several months away, but you can practice your army-commanding stature with this lovely, and surprisingly accurate, cut-out costume. (Mind-altering drugs and sitar sold separately.)
George Harrison is missing. He’s gone and, to be frank, I’m not sure he’s coming back. No note was left, not even a casual scribble on a matchbook. He may have left word with Paul, Ringo or John, but as you can see, the boys aren’t talking.
Well, what about the music, you ask? The music is safe and sound. And the sleeve? The sleeve is fine… for now. No, the only missing party to my copy of 1968’s The Beatles is George Harrison.
I can’t blame him for going rogue, what, with all the majestic wonders that await an eager traveler in their visceral quest towards discovery of the vast, colorful world that exists outside my music library. In perspective, I’m surprised this odyssey into the arousing unknown wasn’t made sooner.
George Harrison is gone. I must come to peace with this. George Harrison, is gone.
We miss you George. We wish you well, but most importantly, we all hope you remembered to pack a handkerchief for your bemoaning 6-string. The boys and I will be fine. Write when you can, and may your new home offer everything you couldn’t find here.
There was a fella named John. John was a talented chap, one who was capable of writing beautiful songs about love, aggression, politics and imagination. One day, John went to an art exhibit and met a like-minded and, I hesitate to say, equally talented woman, named Yoko. Yoko made John smile, and shortly thereafter, they fell in love.
Like lovers do, John and Yoko expressed their love through celebration, which brought to them, and the World, a baby boy. They named him Sean, and the love that was once two, became three. Sean would grow up to write beautiful songs just like his father, John. Unfortunately, John would never hear Sean’s wonderful music, because a very bad man shot lead into John’s body. Sean, his mother Yoko, and the World were deeply saddened by the loss of John, but nobody has ever, nor will they ever forget him.
Sean Lennon’s professional career launched with the release of his 1998 debut album, Into the Sun. With its 13 tracks of despondent fluidity, the beautifully imagined Into the Sun shows that the apple (records) doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Into the Sun was released while Sean was touring with his then girlfriend, Yuka Honda and her band, the eclectic Cibo Matto. Yuka makes appearances throughout Into the Sun, and Sean is quoted as claiming Yuka to be his inspiration for the album.
Now a classic staple in the Grand Royal catalogue, Into the Sun makes for the perfect soundtrack to a seemingly endless array of activities. When listening to this album, it’s difficult to ignore the weighted guilt that attaches itself to the privilege of listening to something Sean’s father never had the opportunity to enjoy. My guess… John would be glowing with pride from the emotionally talented works of his bright, shining son.
(I probably don’t need nine copies of this album, but really, you never know. I acquired them for very cheap off the temporary site created by the guys who purchased the short-lived Grand Royal Records after it went bankrupt. Like Grand Royal itself, that site is gravely missed.)
Squeeze snuck up on me. Hold on, let me start over. It’s imperative to mention how apropos that 1979’s post, the post representing the year in which I came into this world, contains the word, “Cats.” If you know me, you saw this one coming. If you don’t know me… I like cats.
Squeeze are like a sieve, an attention grabbing ear-whore in the best sense of the term. Not unlike The Kinks, Squeeze’s music is so damned good, so damned catchy, and so damned clever, that once you start listening to their music… THAT’S ALL YOU LISTEN TO! When I got into Squeeze, shamefully only a few years ago, I didn’t listen to anything else for nearly 3 months, and I’m not exaggerating. They’re that damned good!
With a hint of Punk’s aggression, and all the electronic qualities that make up good New Wave, Squeeze tickles your fancy in that slightly awkward, slightly dirty way, but leaves you begging for more… and more… you get the point.
The astute penning of Squeeze songs are attributed to Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook. According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine over at allmusic.com, “Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook were hailed as the heirs to Lennon and McCartney’s throne during their heyday in the early ‘80’s.” Are you starting to get an idea of how good this band is?
Slap & Tickle is a fun little romp referencing the British euphemism for sexy times.
Then while she turned to kiss him
And very nearly missed him
She put her hand on his leg
He felt her tongue in his head
Up the Junction is a very sad tale about the rise and inevitable fall of a doomed relationship. A child is involved and the once adored couple no longer speaks.
Alone here in the kitchen
I feel there’s something missing
I’d beg for some forgiveness
But begging’s not my business
I can’t tell if Goodbye Girl is about a woman drugging our protagonist and robbing him, or if it’s a story about the beginnings of a failed marriage. Either way, Goodbye Girl is a catchy little ditty, and in my opinion, Squeeze’s best.
Sunlight on the lino
Woke me with a shake
I looked around to find her but she’d gone
Cool for Cats showcases Squeeze at the height of their innovative career. It’s a crowning representation of the stunning song-writing talents of Difford and Tillbrook. If you’re serious about music, and you don’t already own Cool for Cats, drop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and find this album. You won’t be disappointed.