Song of the day: Regurgitator – "Blubber Boy"

August 31, 2009

Here’s Regurgitator with their ode to love in the frozen wastes, “Blubber Boy” (1995):

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It’s probably my favourite rock song in 6/4 time.

The video for it is enjoyably odd – it features Eskimos (although no-one from Eskimo Joe), igloos, polar bears, and, er, blubber. Unfortunately, the person who posted the video decided to replace the original audio track with a live recording of the boys blubbering away:

Instead, if you’re in the mood to waste some bandwidth, here’s an alternative video using the original track. It’s someone called Matt eating a pineapple. Yes, really:

Incidentally, Regurgitator and “Blubber Boy” are both mentioned in my A History of Power Pop in Australia post.

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Song of the day: Pussyfoot – "The Way That You Do It"

August 30, 2009

Here’s the delectable Pussyfoot with the irresistible “The Way That You Do It” (1975):

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“Ooh-na-na, ooh-na-na-hi-ya, ooh-na-na-hi-ya-hi-ya…”

I agree completely.


Song of the day: Sarah Sarah – "Dawsons Creek"

August 29, 2009

Here’s Sarah Sarah with “Dawsons Creek” (2003):

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“Dawson’s Creek” contains some wonderful “ba-ba-ba”s. It originally appeared on Sarah Sarah’s EP, Sing Till It Hurts. As far as I can tell, that EP is the only thing that Sarah Sarah ever released.

When listening to the song, I wondered why the vocals sounded so familiar to me. I’ve found out that “Dawson’s Creek” is sung by a certain “Zac and Kate”. I’d hazard a guess that the Zac and Kate in Sarah Sarah are the very same Zac and Kate who are the main vocalists in The Wellingtons (it sure sounds like ’em). I haven’t been able to find out any more specific information, but it appears that Sarah Sarah was Zac and Kate’s band before The Wellingtons were formed.

Regardless, “Dawson’s Creek” is a lovely little slice of boy-girl harmonies. Enjoy!


Musical coincidences # 18

August 28, 2009

This musical coincidence involves a rock track and a classical piece. The coincidence also involves the rock track having a slightly complicated history. I’ll try to make it mercifully brief.

To get things going, I’ll start with the rock track. Here’s the main melody of “Make Your Stash” (1972) by Daddy Cool:

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If you’re a classical music fan, you’ll recognise that tune immediately. It’s one of the melodies in Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Here’s the melody:

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The performance here is by the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (that’s the Montreal Symphony Orchestra to you and me), conducted by Charles Dutoit in 1987. (Recording details.)

Right, now for a bit of back story on the rock track. This is going to get a little complicated…

“Make Your Stash” was written by Ross Wilson, an extremely well-known Australian musician who is best known depending on which musical decade you grew up in. If you grew up in the 70’s, then Ross Wilson is best known as the driving force behind the legendary Daddy Cool, a band that was one big tribute to 50’s doo-wop and rhythm-and-blues and played 50’s covers as well as original, doo-wop/rhythm-and-blues-inspired, songs by Ross (one of Ross’s Daddy Cool songs, “Hi Honey Ho,” was Song of the day a while ago). If you grew up in the 80’s, though, Ross Wilson is best known as the driving force behind the very-successful-but-not-quite-as-legendary Mondo Rock, a band that specialised in nothing in particular (it was a slick-but-generic 80’s rock band).

However, before all of that, Ross Wilson had a prog rock band in the late 60’s called Sons Of The Vegetal Mother which was heavily influenced by Frank Zappa.

During his time in the Sons, Ross wrote the aforementioned – and decidedly proggy – “Make Your Stash,” which actually is about what you think it’s about. The Sons of the Vegetal Mother never recorded “Make Your Stash” (they only ever recorded one EP, and “Make Your Stash” wasn’t on it).

But back to Daddy Cool. When it came time for Daddy Cool to record a follow-up to their amazingly successful debut long-player, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool, Ross was in the mood to stretch his musical legs and expand on the 50’s doo wop and rhythm-and-blues-inspired tunes they’d specialised in, so he decided to drag* “Make Your Stash” out of his old-song drawer and have the band record it for their second album, Sex, Dope, Rock’n’Roll: Teenage Heaven. In keeping with the “make it very different to the first album” ethos there was also an ambitious three-song suite, “Teen Love” / “Drive-In Movie” / “Love In An FJ”. (For non-Australians, an “FJ” is a make of car.)

(*No pun intended.)

Potentially uninteresting side note: The Sex, Dope, and Rock’n’Roll part of the title was dropped for the American market, so it was released as Teenage Heaven there. (No sex, dope or rock’n’roll for those Americans…)

Just when you thought that’s all you needed to know about “Make Your Stash” (i.e.: it was written in the late 60’s; it was performed by Sons of the Vegetal Mother but never recorded by them; it was recorded by Daddy Cool for their second album), things get even more complicated…

There’s an earlier version of “Make Your Stash” on record.

Now, before I get to that, I want to go back to the Sons of the Vegetal Mother (I’m trying very hard not to make this any more complicated than it already is)…

Along with the band’s founder, Ross Wilson, Sons of the Vegetal Mother also contained band member Mike Rudd who formed Spectrum, another prog rock band (there were plenty popping up in Australia in the early 70’s).

The reason I’m mentioning this is that Spectrum recorded “Make Your Stash” for their 1971 debut album Spectrum Part One.

Here’s the Spectrum version of “Make Your Stash” (1971):

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Thanks for persevering with all of the above.

And now, hopefuly, to the last word on the musical coincidence. (I have a feeling that I’ve made this all much more complicated than it needed to be…)
 
You may think that this instance of Ross Wilson using Gustav Holst’s tune is yet another unacknowledged rip-off of classical music by a rock musician – and there have been plenty of classical music tunes used in rock music – but that’s not the case here. Ross has always stated unequivocally that he used Holst’s tune. For example, this is from the Wikipedia entry on Sons of the Vegetal Mother:

One of the new songs incorporated into the set but never recorded by the band, according to its author, was ‘Make Your Stash’. “[It] was later recorded by both Spectrum and Daddy Cool and the source for inspiration for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band album that used Holst’s ‘Planets Suite’,” claims Wilson. “‘Make Your Stash’ used one of the themes from that suite with my lyrics and bridge which Mick appropriated for Manfred Mann using new lyrics.”

Finally, as a reward for staying the distance with this post (or even if you didn’t and just skipped to this bit), here are the full versions of both “Make Your Stash” and “Jupiter”:

Daddy Cool – “Make Your Stash” (1972)

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Gustav Holst (1874–1934): The Planets, Op. 32 – Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
(Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Charles Dutoit)

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Daddy Cool on MySpace


Song of the day: Ikey Mo – "Evil Knievel"

August 28, 2009

Here’s a song that gets my blood pumping every time I hear it:

(Note: It is heartily recommended that you turn your volume control to maximum. Thank you.)

Ikey Mo – “Evil Knievel” (2002)

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Song of the day: The Bootleg Family Band – "Your Mama Don’t Dance"

August 27, 2009

Here’s Brian Cadd‘s group of troubadors, The Bootleg Family Band, with “Your Mama Don’t Dance” (1973):

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It was originally written and recorded by Loggins and Messina for their self-titled second album (1972):

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Here’s Loggins and Messina’s live version from the album On Stage (1974):

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This is a bit of background on the Australian version of the song in case you’re interested (you may not be):

One of the first things Brian Cadd did when he set up his Bootleg label was to form a band to back other artists signed to the label and Cadd himself. Your Mama Don’t Dance was issued as a Bootleg Family Band single in 1973, even though, with Cadd on vocals and featuring his distinctive piano styling, it was almost indistinguishable from a Brian Cadd single. The song was a hit in the US and the UK for its writers, Loggins and Messina, but it was the homegrown version by The Bootleg Family Band that shot up the charts in Australia, peaking at No. 5.
– The Best Singles Of All Time, Volume 2

I grew up with The Bootleg Family Band’s version only, never hearing any other. No prizes for guessing which version I prefer.

Incidentally, there’s also a version by 80’s hair metal band, Poison, that they recorded or MTV Unplugged. For me, it’s by far the worst version, mainly because of the lead vocals of Bret Michaels (and the background vocals, too). It’s just not very good singing. Soon after the song starts, Bret asks the audience “C’mon, help me out now…”. I think he asks for help because he can’t sing the song properly on his own. And some of the vocal asides uttered by Brett are cringe-inducing. Enter at your own risk:

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And there was a version performed in a recent episode of Australian Idol. The less said about that version, the better.

Nope, it’s The Bootleg Family Band version for me all the way. Love that performance.


Song of the day: Johnny Devlin – "Koala Bear"

August 26, 2009

Do you like Elvis Presley‘s “Teddy Bear” but have always secretly wished for an Antipodean alternative? No problem:

Johnny Devlin – “Koala Bear” (1959)

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