Congratulations to Sarah G! Our superfantastic coolgirl who named a honking 7 out of 10 including being the only one to correctly identify the elusive #8.
Read on for the big reveal!
Chet Baker. If you want to keep your kids off drugs, tell them the Chet Baker story. Heartbreaking.
Leonard Cohen is my everything. I had a front row ticket to his first concert in the United States in 15 years. It was the greatest live performance of anything I’ve ever seen. Opera, theater, rock, whatever. It was magical.
Jacques Brel. One of the few arguments Andre and I ever had was over whose version of Jacques Brel’s original “Ne Me Quitte Pas” was superior; his or Nina Simone’s. Of course, Marlene Dietrich did an excellent version in German called “Bitte geh nicht fort” but since it was German it didn’t count.
The Dave Brubeck Quartet. My unrepentant Yankee pseudo-godfather is among these fine gentlemen. If you don’t own Time Out –which turns 50 years old this month– stop everything and buy it. It’s one of the great albums of all time. Not great JAZZ albums or great albums to get people to think you’re cool and erudite so they’ll sleep with you (although it totally works for that too). It’s legend.
Lou Reed. You know he’s probably a total conceited jerk in real life, but hey, I’d be a jerk too. I’d just walk around to random people on the street. “Hi, how’s your day?” “Oh fine, I bought some yogurt.” “Really? Well I released three of the greatest rock albums of all time. Byee!” I’m sure you all already own The Velvet Underground and Nico, but may I suggest Loaded (Fully Loaded edition) and "New York". New York is very much of its time, but brillo all the same.
Essay Question: compare and contrast the Lou Reed/David Bowie relationship with that of Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Extra credit: Iggy Pop as Gertrude Stein?
Roky Erickson of the 13th Floor Elevators Pretty much invented the first wave of psychedelic rock before running into what we politely refer to as “a bit of trouble”. His mama is a hoot I’m just mad for his brother Sumner who took custodianship of Roky in 2001. Sumner is a living doll, a hugely talented classical musician, and a dear friend despite that time he wore white athletic socks with a suit.
Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, one of the great blue-eyed soul bands, were pretty much single-handedly destroyed by bad management, but not before releasing a ton of incredible singles (of which Little Latin Lupe Lu is my favorite. I can’t find the youtube for their version, but it’s worth checking out The Righteous Brothers’ hilarious original. Warning: white boys dancing.) Interestingly, Mitch Ryder recorded Lou Reed’s “Rock n’ Roll” with his so-called superband, Detroit. Lou says the Ryder version is better the original. I agree. If you don’t own Rev Up: The Best of the Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, you need it. Trust me.
The Sonics. Kurt who? For my money, The Sonics were the best band to come out of Seattle. Ever. They pretty much defined “garage”. Here Are the Sonics contains their best tracks, including “Psycho”, “Strychnine” and “Have Love Will Travel” which you’ve probably heard in a car commercial.
Pinetop Perkins. B.S.A.G, your guess as to who made that horrible comment was right! Blues legend and 95-year old pervert. He felt me up last spring. In church. I’m not even joking, he side-boobed me with his thumb. Ga-ross. He still plays one hell of a boogie woogie though. Interesting note: Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie was NOT named after Pinetop Perkins; it was written by Pinetop Smith. However, Perkins played it on the road with John Lee Hooker and became known as Pinetop because he played it so often.
Buster Crash from The Flametrick Subs. Reputedly they were our dearly departed Lux Interior’s favorite gigging band. This 2001 recording doesn’t give the complete Subs experience –featuring Satan’s Cheerleaders– but it is a reminder of the legendary Black Cat Lounge, one of the country’s great old punk clubs that sadly burned down later that year. I first heard them on college radio back in Virginia, but now we’ve been pals for nearly a decade. In fact Buster –no stranger to the tattoo gun– was the one who, after the love of my life dumped for a German amnesiac (I swear) talked me out of getting enormous flame tattoos crawling up my calves with heralds on my ankles reading “Road to Rouen”. I remain sans ink to this day. Undead at the Black Cat Lounge is my favorite, but their later studio release Something in Japanese is probably the most accessible.