Category Archives: Music

The Best Song. Ever. – Arguably

Dirty old river, must you keep rolling, rolling into the night
People so busy, make me feel dizzy, taxi light shines so bright
But I don’t, need no friends
As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset, I am in paradise
Every day I look at the world from my window
Chilly chilly is the evening time, Waterloo sunset’s fine

And the answer is; Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks.  Released as a single in 1967, and featured on their album Something Else by the Kinks it hit #2 in the UK and top 10 throughout most of the rest of the world. It was composed and produced by Kinks frontman Ray Davies.
It tells the story of 2 lovers – Terry and Julie (thought to be Terrance Stamp and Julie Christie) be watched by the narrator/singer as they cross the river Thames

Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station, every Friday night
But I am so lazy, don’t want to wander, I stay at home at night
But I don’t, feel afraid
As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset, I am in paradise
Every day I look at the world from my window
Chilly chilly is the evening time, Waterloo sunset’s fine.

What makes it the best song. Ever. I have no idea. It’s simple. It’s beautifully sung and written. It’s perfect song. A London FM radio poll in 2004 named this the “Greatest Song About London”. It holds spot #42 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Musicians Paul Weller and Damon Albarn cite the song as their favourite of all time and music journalist Robert Christgau has called the song “the most beautiful song in the English language”.

Millions of people swarming like flies ’round Waterloo underground
Terry and Julie cross over the river where they feel safe and sound
And they don’t, need no friends
As long as they gaze on Waterloo Sunset, they are in paradise

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Terry and Julie

Terry and Julie

Waterloo Station

Waterloo Station

Waterloo Main Entrance

Waterloo Main Entrance

Waterloo Sunset

Waterloo Sunset

Music: Vintage Asian 45’s

Asia is a big place. China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, India, the Phillippines – even Iran and Iraq are considered as West Asia. These 45’s are from all over Asia. You can see the American influence on a number of these. The choice of songs, the style of dress (a lot of Beatles and Stones influence), even the names. Some sound like 50’s Do-Wop; The Melodians, The Emeralds, Some like 60 psyche – Clique Fantastique, or my favorite – The Polar Bear 5.

Evelyn w/ the Siglap 5

Evelyn w/ the Siglap 5

Sakura

Sakura

The Melodians

The Melodians

Johnny Tan

Johnny Tan

Naomi and The Boys

Naomi and The Boys

Julie and the Emeralds

Julie and the Emeralds

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Tony and The Polar Bear 5

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Clique Fantastique

Clique Fantastique

Rocky

Rocky

Hussien

Hussain Marican

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Maurice Patton and The Melodians

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Jeffridian and the Siglap 5

Jeffridian and the Siglap 5

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Oma Irama

Lam Leng and The Quests

Lam Leng and The Quests

Lolita with The Merry Lads

Lolita with The Merry Lads

M. Ishaw

M. Ishak and the Dengan Five 55

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Don’t Hate Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono (オノ・ヨーコ, also 小野 洋子 Ono Yōko, born February 18, 1933 in Tokyo Japan).
It’s time to stop hating poor Yoko. She’s 80 years old, she didn’t break up The Beatles (they hated each other long before Yoko showed up) she still records and performs, has made significant philanthropic contributions to arts, peace, Philippine disaster relief, AIDS and autism outreach programs and dammit, looks pretty good for 80.

Yoko’s history was incredibly interesting well before she came to the worlds attention with her marriage to John Lennon. Surviving the fire bombing of Tokyo in 1945, schooling with the future emperor of Japan, traveling to the US to become a respected Avant Garde artist in New York, performing along side John Cage and the Fluxus group. Recording music and experimental films, she had made quite a name for herself in the New York underground by the mid-sixties.

And then came the Beatles. If you’re over 40 you know all about her. The long haired dragon lady that tempted poor innocent John Lennon away from the Fabs, destroying the best band in the world. That’s the boring (and untrue) part of the story, so we’ll skip it.

Ono has carried on to perform and collaborate with a multitude of talented artists. Most recently she performed at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin Italy, the 2008 Liverpool Biennial, has recorded with Basement Jaxx, Sonic Youth, Lady Gaga and Eric Clapton. She also curated the London Meltdown fest in 2013 performing with a new lineup of her Plastic Ono Band (at the age of 80). She continues to be a a tireless peace activist and is currently traveling the world to warn of the dangers of fracking. Lets hope she keeps going strong for years to come – ‘cuz Yoko is cool.

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YOKO ONO LENNON PRESS CONFERENCE

With son, Sean

With son, Sean

Annie Liebovitz portrait

Annie Liebovitz portrait

Yoko at 3

Yoko at 3

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Yoko's book Grapefruit

Yoko’s book Grapefruit

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At Meltdown w/ the new Plastic Ono Band 2013

At Meltdown w/ the new Plastic Ono Band 2013

Design: The 50 Worst Popular Album Covers

This would be easy to fill up if you were to include every bad Heavy Metal LP or half-assed Christian DYI record but the chore here is to award those with a bit of fame who should have known better. Also not included are those that were cool in their time but haven’t aged that well – *see almost every New Wave LP with special attention to the Duran Duran Patrick Nagel Albums. Apologies as this will probably be  super cynical, bitchy and judgmental but there you are. Please send your nominations for this prestigious honor.

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1. Kevin Rowland – My Beauty  1999
Kevin’s solo effort between Dexy’s Midnight Runners LPs (Come On Eileen). What in Christ’s name was Kevin thinkin with this slice of ugly drag. The LP sunk like a stone, selling only 20,000 copies worlwide and KR’s been living it down ever sense.

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2. Rolling Stones – GRRRR! – 2013  When in doubt put out another greatest hits package, but a happy gorilla with Stone logo lips and fangs?
3. The Cranberries – Bury the Hatchet – 1999    Hey Cranberries Pink Floyd wants their album cover back.

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4. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon – 1973   A classic.  A boring over used shitty classic
5. Nirvana – Nevermind – 1991     I just can’t get behind this cover, no matter how hard I try. Great LP, bad cover art.

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6. Pearl Jam – 10 – 1991  Folds out to the awful “We’re in this together” pose. The ultimate high-five by a bunch of stand-up bros.
7. Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs – Mosquito – 2013  Ironic? Weird? Crazy? – Dumb!

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8. The Strokes – Angles – 2011 – The Strokes are a bit dancier now – which is fine but this 80’s throwback cover is not.
9. Michael Jackson – Hits – Whatever

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10. Black Sabbath – Paranoid – 1971
I guess Sabbath just couldn’t be bothered. The most evil band in the world uses a triple exposure of someone’s’ fat uncle with a toy sword and motorcycle helmet. Laughs instead of screams.

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11. Frank Black – The Cult of Ray – 1996  After the breakup of the Pixies, Frank Black aka Black Francis nee Charles Thompson recorded 2 great LPs w/ equally great covers then along came this. Terrible cover, terrible album.

12. Iggy Pop – Beat Em Up – 2001  C’mon Igg, what were you thinkin’?

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13. Joe Henry – Trampoline – 1996  Joe Henry is a great singer/song writer and producer. His LPs are all consistently good. I don’t know what this one sounds like because I refused to buy it because of this cover.

14. Neil Young – Fork in the Road – 2009  “Hey guys, just woke up from my nap, lets do an album.”

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15. Ron Sexsmith – Blue Boy – 2001   Another great singer/songwriter. Loved by many, championed by Elvis Costello. So why the naïf drawing and scrawled type?

16 Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggy Style – 1993  Jeez man, just look at this thing! Beware the Dogg!

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17. Starship – Knee Deep in the Hoopla – 1985   Starship was the remaining dregs of the 70’s band Jefferson Airplane who became Jefferson Starship and then simply Starship. Even though this was the design wasteland of the 80’s there is no excuse for this.

18. The Who – by Numbers – 1975  Oh look, it was drawn by the bassist – nice work John.

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19. Queen – The Miracle – 1989  Pretty good Photoshop V1 work.

20. Europe – The Final Countdown – 1986    They’re Swedish. ‘Nuff said.

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21. James Brown – Take a Look at Those Cakes – 1978   “Goodness sakes. Take a look at those cakes.” Thanks James, you look good on that couch.

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22. Body Count – Body Count – 1990  Ice T’s heavy metal outfit. The cover says Cop Killer which coincidentally is the song T caved in on and took off the LP at Time-Warners request.

23. CS&N – Live it Up – 1990  Hot dogs on the moon means…?

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24. Cat Stevens – Mona Bone Jakon – 1970    Ok first album design jitters.

25. Elton John – Capt. Fantastic & the Brown Dirt Cowboy – 1975   The title as well as the creepy drawing of Elton make this # 25

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26. Velvet Underground – 1969 Vol 2 – 1974  Not really offensive or bad, just kind of …unh?

27. Mike Watt – “Hyphenated-Man” – 2010   He of the Minuteman, respected session player and collector of unexplainable ‘art’. Oh and nice use of Comic Sans type face.

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28. The Roots – Rising Down – 2008   Really?  I mean really!?

29. Pantera – Metal Magic – 1983  Sweet pinkish panther thing with a wicked sword,  reflective hand drawn type and a stormy dark landscape. Beautiful.

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30. Millie Jackson – Back to the S@#t – 1989  Voted the worst album ever on many polls (I just made that up). Millie took a chance, not only w/ an LP full of swearing and dirty songs but an appropriate cover to match. There is no other way to think of Millie Jackson than her on this cover holding that one shoe and in pain(?).

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31. Scorpians – Lovedrive – 1979   The famous Gum-Boob cover.

32. Megapuss – 2011   Devendra Banhart and some other smelly hippy are Megapuss!

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33. T Rex – Futuristic Dragon – 1976  Marc Bolan and T Rex’s last LP, before he crashed into a tree and died. A great artist w/ a terrible swan song cover (the music however is Bolan back to form).

34. Ted Nugent – Love Grenade – 2007  Thanks Ted – You dick!

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35. Talking Heads – True Stories – 1986  Bored guys? Thanks for trying.

36. Spiritualized – Sweet Heart, Sweet Light – 2011  Ditto

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37. Marvin Gaye – In Our Lifetime – 1981  Heaven and Hell, blah, blah, blah. C’mon Marvin get back to the sexy stuff.

38. Joss Stone – Color Me Free – 2009    This is truly, truly bad. Is this a coloring book for serial killers?

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39. Gin Blossoms – No Chocolate Cake – 2010    Didn’t you guys have a couple hits back in the 90’s? Oh wait, it’s the Loverboy cover with cake.

40. James – Hey Ma – 2008   They are the band that had one US hit w/ a song called Laid – remember? Me neither.  This is their come back album.

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41. Rush – Hemispheres – 1978   God help us. Stupid Metal-Prog bullshit design that makes no sense. Did every Prog band in the 80’s see the same Dali painting or something.

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42. Rolling Stones – Dirty Work – 1986    Hey it’s The Stones again! Good to see you boys.

43. Prince – For You – 1978  It’s all about the hair – and the girly type face.

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44. Guns & Roses – The Spaghetti Incident – 1993   I really don’t understand the point of this cover. Is there a reference I’m missing or something? Plus it’s hard to read and the spaghetti looks awful

45. The Kinks – Low Budget – 1979  Low budget indeed. The once great Kinks take a taste break.

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46. Whitesnake – Lovehunter – 1979  Kind of a typical Hair-Metal album but extra bad.

47. The Black Keys – Brother – 2011   Bad type choice on a lazy cover.

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48. Hall & Oates – 1975  If you were to buy this LP because of the cover you’d expect a gay cabaret act – like Soft Cell or something. What you got was sweet boring MOR Philly soul.

49. Phish – Billy Breathes – 1996  Fuck these guys

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50. Kenny Loggins – Return to Pooh Corner – 1994  Ok, this is a kids LP but c’mon. A unicorn! And why isn’t the child-like reflection Kenny Loggins wearing a serape. And why … oh never mind.

R.I.P. – George Jones

George Glenn Jones (September 12, 1931 – April 26, 2013) George Jones, singer, songwriter, performer, drunk  and raconteur was considered by many to be the greatest living country singer – that is, up until this morning.

Throughout his long career, Jones made headlines often as much for tales of his drinking, stormy relationships with women, and violent rages as for his prolific career of making records and touring. His wild lifestyle led to Jones missing many performances, earning him the nickname “No Show Jones.” Jones had more than 150 hits during his career, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists.

Jones recalled a story where his 2nd wife Shirley hid his car keys so he couldn’t drive to the nearest liquor store 8 miles away. She didn’t however hide the lawn mower key – Says George,  “There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine, a key glistening in the ignition. I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.” In her 1979 autobiography, 3rd wife Tammy Wynette ( and recording partner) recalled waking at 1 AM to find her husband gone: “I got into the car and drove to the nearest bar 10 miles away. When I pulled into the parking lot there sat our rider-mower right by the entrance. He’d driven that mower right down a main highway. He looked up and saw me and said, `Well, fellas, here she is now. My little wife, I told you she’d come after me.’

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Big Fan: Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys

Big Sandy (nee Rusty Williams) and his Fly-Rite Boys. Formed in the late 80’s as part of the Southern CA Rockabilly Revival their sound has grown to encompasses folk, bluegrass, Western swing, Cajun, and mariachi influences. Sandy and the boys have recorded about a dozen albums of great roots sound. Start with the LP Jumpin’ from 6 to 6 and go from there. Each one’s a bit different but all have one foot stuck firmly in Rockabilly, country and western swing.

Big Sandy

Big Sandy

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys

Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys

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