Friday, August 29, 2014

See The Light

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour were not the only 70's power poppers in Tulsa.  I was still in high school in Enid - 120 miles west of Tulsa - when Cargoe released their one and only studio LP on Ardent Records.  Yes, that same Memphis label that spawned Big Star.   And just like Big Star, the record company had immense distribution and financial issues before finally going down the tubes.   The Cargoe LP tanked as one might expect.  But their 1972 single Feel Alright went to #1 in Memphis and received considerable airplay in the South.

Cargoe was not so Beatles and Byrds obsessed as Big Star and their music shows a much broader range of influences.    The Wiki page for Cargoe states "Cargoe epitomized the funky Tulsa sound".   I could not agree more!  If you want to learn more there is a great write up on the band over at Bordel do Rock in which they are referred to as the "American Badfinger".  High praise indeed.

Feel Alright has so much going for it - powerful drumming, a killer jumpy jerking bass line, excellent CSN harmonies, and a complicated verse melody with hooks galore. 

Here is a smokin' live version:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Have You Seen Her Dressed In Blue?

Just because.   I am a marginal fan of the Rolling Stones, but I sure dig their Summer of Love output.  The LP Their Satanic Majesties Request and the single We Love You are quite my cup of tea.  Full flowered psychedelia with a pinch of foreboding.  Here is She's A Rainbow, with that eerie opening piano riff courtesy of Nicky Hopkins.

Ignore the year posted on the YouTube video - this was definitely from 1967.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Oh the Mysteries

In 2010 Dwight Twilley released his thirteenth (or possibly fourteenth) studio album, not counting a bunch of releases of lost recordings from throughout his career.   Green Blimp found him ratcheting up the Beatles vibe, and nowhere was that more apparent than on Me And Melanie.  The driving piano riff is punctuated by Revolver-era guitar interjections.  "We changed our style.  We've been changing for a long long while."  The chorus is infectious - "Me and Melanie, Oh the memories" - and is underpinned by some stellar production work with guitar and bass counterpoint.   Give a listen at 1:47 to the bending notes in the guitar solo - just amazing and beautiful.  Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what power pop is all about!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Six O'clock in the Morning I Finished Recording

After their 1975 hit single "I'm On Fire" the Dwight Twilley Band suffered through the collapse of their record company, the yanking of their follow-up single "Shark In the Dark" from distribution due to record company worries that it would be seen as cashing in on the new hit movie "Jaws", and the cancellation of the LP they had been recording in England while "Fire" was riding up the charts.

So in 1977, with Arista as the new distributor for Shelter Records they recorded their second LP Twilley Don't Mind.  Dwight and Phil Seymour along with their longtime guitarist Bill Pitcock IV enlisted some help from friend Tom Petty.   The resulting album was a template for what power pop could and should have been.  But Arista seemed to lose interest and radio stations ignored the LP and singles

The great and sadly departed Mr. Pitcock lays down some 12 string jangle of the highest order in That I Remember.  This video from what appears to be a children's TV show is unfortunately lip synced.  However it is great to see the band in their prime.  The chorus never fails to choke me up a bit. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Million Hours to Dream

Here is a little nugget of power pop heaven from 1979,  Dwight Twilley with Alone in My Room.  I tend to wax poetic when discussing my hometown rocker.  Back during his brief brush with fame in the mid-70s I would preach to the unwashed in an attempt to gain some converts.   With the benefit of hindsight I can see that his heartfelt marriage of Beatles, rockabilly, and glam was just too out of step with current trends.   However for me the joy continues, and I have discovered a fantastic back catalog of albums right up to the present day.  I hope to be posting some of those hidden gems soon.

This track kicks off with a tasty guitar riff fighting against the counterpoint of the bass line.  One of the great features of this song is the front-and-center guitar work.  But the chorus just kills me.   This should have been a GIANT hit!

Monday, August 18, 2014

A shameful display, sung in some impermanent place

Every few years a new band comes along that gets up my hopes that the next big thing may be in the works.   The last band to trip my trigger - Tame Impala from Perth Australia - produced a killer first LP.   All fuzzed out in modern day trance psych, I really though they were contenders.  But their second LP was a big letdown, full of retread ideas and a drop off in energy level.

Recently I latched on to Temples, a new UK band that formed in 2012.   Several listens to their first album Sun Structures has me convinced that they might be the one.   I am really trying hard not to go overboard just yet, but the musical evidence so far is mighty fine.   Their influences include early Pink Floyd and T-Rex, with Byrds and Beatles definitely in the mix.

Their late 2013 single Keep In the Dark is the subject of today's post.  It kicks off with a glam drum stomp, then builds until a sing along chorus is followed by a high voice and mellotron flute, taking the listener into Moody Blues territory.  Then at the 2:00 minute mark an unknown instrument (bass sax, fuzzed out bass?) takes the song to a whole new level of psychedelic fab-ness.

I just discovered that they will be in Seattle and Portland next month, so tickets must be purchased forthwith.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

And no, it is not dangerous to confuse children with angels

Annie Lennox soars into the heavens with There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart).  It is a lovely throwback to the late 60s Tamla/Motown vibe, but updated with typical 80s synthesizers.  The harmonica solos by Stevie Wonder just add to the bliss.

And unrelated, except for having "Angel" in the title, is the show stopper title song from the too bizarre to be real movie "Angel Angel Down We Go".  This 1969 flick starring Jennifer Jones is on my must see list, as soon as I can snag a DVD copy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Take It Tony

From Wing's much maligned first LP Wildlife, here is Little Richard Paul McCartney cranking up the volume and rocking out like nobody's business on Mumbo.  Frankly I always loved this album.  Granted a lot of folks - who also hated Ram - groused about the lack of studio finesse.  But for me this album has a bit of everything that Paul does so well.  Great melodies, interesting harmonies, and the ability to rock out.   Sure Mumbo has little to offer in the lyrics department, but Paul's bass and Denny Seiwell's drumming just tear it up.  And then there are those awesome organ interjections and the energy level just keeps pumping all the way through. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The cat in satin trousers said it's oily

In light of the recent announcement of the next two archive releases from Paul McCartney and Wings, here is the white hot live-in-the-studio version of Soily from the One Hand Clapping film.  I have never understood why a studio version of this song was never released.  A fine live version appeared on the Maybe I'm Amazed (live) 45 b-side, but this OHC version  just smokes it.  Apparently Paul intended it to be part of the planned two-record release of Red Rose Speedway but that was cut to a single LP before release.

Every time I watch and listen to this performance on the Band on the Run archive release DVD I contemplate what an album full of stompers like this might have done for Wing's image back in the day.  Along with Junior's Farm, this is as heavy as McCartney ever got outside of the Beatles.  Anyway, I just love this song to death.  Also dig Linda jigging about in the background, looking too cool for school.  Big time Linda fan here!