30 June 2010

Emmylou Harris - "You Never Can Tell (C'est La Vie)"

Here the Acadian/country crossover possibilities of a 1964 Chuck Berry classic -- built from Louisiana culture in the first place -- are explored live by Emmylou Harris and one of her succession of red hot bands. So follow along on the 1950s journey of young lovers Pierre and the lovely "Mademoiselle." It's a good story.

22 June 2010

Robert Palmer: "Addicted to Love"

"... Whoa, you like to think that you’re immune to the stuff, oh Yeah
It’s closer to the truth to say you can’t get enough,
You know you’re gonna have to face it, you’re addicted to love...."

I started quoting that chorus to a friend the other day and she'd never heard it. That of course meant she'd never seen Addicted to Love's iconic 1986 video. In my head, I was sure I'd posted it here, but alas, no.

That oversight now stands corrected. Enjoy Robert and the ladies having a little fun with a damn great rock song.

16 June 2010

Rolling Stones: "Love is Strong"

I've always loved this opening track to 1994's Voodoo Lounge. It was the first single off an album that marked the end of a 5 year hiatus for the band while Jagger and Richards recorded a number of albums separately. It also marked the first album after bassist Bill Wyman's retirement and Darryl Jones took over as the Stones' regular bass player.

This track successfully reproduces the "archetypal 'Rolling Stones' sound". And the video is a perfect footnote to Martin Scorsese's remark in Shine a Light that the Stones are, in essence, 'a New York band'.

Voodoo Lounge is not a perfect album, but it's well worth exploring. Keith's track Thru and Thru, standing alone, is worth the price of the record. And very few Stones albums lead off as well as this one does with Love is Strong.

10 June 2010

Sonic Youth: "Superstar"

I first heard Superstar performed by Rita Coolidge on Mad Dogs and Englishmen (1970), followed by The Carpenters cover, and then Bette Midler's version on her debut album in 1972. Much to my surprise, all these years later, today I received an email from a well-informed friend with a link to Sonic Youth's cover above. Of all the versions I've heard, this is my new favorite.

It's the perfect requiem for Karen Carpenter. Listening to it makes me realize just how much I still miss her.

02 June 2010

Townes Van Zandt , "Dead Flowers" (Jagger/Richards)

I've always loved this song. I heard it first on The Stones' 1971 classic Sticky Fingers and learned it on guitar by playing along with the record. I loved the speeded-up version on 1995's Stripped. But then I spent a lot of time only hearing myself play it.

Cut to 2004. Out of nowhere, over a bowling game closing The Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski, I hear iconic songwriter Townes Van Zandt performing Dead Flowers to close the film's superb soundtrack. Though I love the Stones versions, Van Zandt brings a Texas soul authenticity and converts it from an almost-country song into a real one.

But great country songs don't get written by accident. It's a credit to Keith and Mick that Townes put his stamp of approval on this little number. As far as the sparse video above is concerned, just think of yourself listening to the song on a long road trip.