Thursday, July 06, 2006

Beaver O'Lindy's 16 tons of Cut out Witches

Playing right now: Nothing, because I can't decide what I want to hear. And I'm hoping this'll just be a quickie entry so there's no time to pick out background music.

At breakfast, I pulled out one of the two Tennessee Ernie Ford albums I bought at a sale a few weeks ago. I decided I wanted to hear This Lusty Land. With "John Henry" kicking off side one, it seemed like it'd be fun. Turns out This Lusty Land was not the record in the sleeve. Said record was something Tn. E. F. FAvorites, and it was really beat up. But since "16 Tons" was the first song, I put it on. Didn't realize that Ern could get a little sappy. It wasn't the rugged country croonin' that I expected, but more like someone you might hear on Sing Along with Mitch and the Gang. And Billy May did the arrangements on some of the songs!

Last night I put on Sparks' A Woofer in Tweeter's Clothing. A fired synapse in my head got me thinking of their version of "Do Re Mi," which sounds more like the Who than Julie Andrews. And that started me thinking of that whole side of the record, how beautiful and surreal "The Louvre" is. A song about a painting taunting tourists to steal it! Has anyone ever written something so unique?

Anyway I had to get it out and play throw it on. That album is a real underground classic. I hope that somehwere there is a legion of record collecting geeks that have sung the praises of the Mael Brothers, and how those first two Sparks albums (this being the second) are unequalled pieces of weird pop. They have very few precedents, except for maybe the Kinks, but Ron Mael's take on his subject matter takes that British approach and filters it through a distinctly American upper middle class/come-of-age-in-the-'60s voice.

Over dinner last night I put on Guided By Voices' Under the Bushes Under the Stars, which was the last album done by the original lineup. (OK GBV, experts I know it wasn't the "original" original lineup, but it still had Tobin Sprout and the other Dayton dudes on it). I haven't played it in years and I was really taken with it again. "The Official Ironmen Rally Song" comes on the jukebox at Gooski's all the time, and I'm reminded of how catchy that is, but this album is full of simple hooks and slightly lo-fi guitars that serve to make the riffs grab onto you. I had it out because I lent it to a friend of mine and I'm glad it didn't just shelf it when I got it back.

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