Song of the day: Big Daddy – "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band"

January 31, 2011

As difficult as it is for me to do, I’m not going to say anything at all about these songs because I don’t want to influence your reaction to them in any way.

So, without any prompting from me, please choose Track 1 and press “play”*:

Big Daddy – “St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” etc (1992)


(*Just try saying the phrase “please press play” out loud with a mouthful of peas at a dinner party – you’ll find yourself thrown out of that party in no time.)

Musical coincidences # 71

January 30, 2011

Do you remember “Summer Breeze”, the 70’s AM soft-rock hit by Seals & Crofts which starts off with that tune played by a toy piano and something else*? You do? Excellent.

If you’ve forgotten that opening tune, or in the (extremely unlikely) event that you haven’t even heard it before, here’s a reminder:

Seals & Crofts – “Summer Breeze (1972) (the opening tune that everyone knows)


That was released in September 1972. (The date matters because of what’s coming up.)

Now, I reckon if you slow it down a little, change just a few notes around, you could have something that sounds like this:

The Hollies – “Touch” (1972) (opening tune)


Here’s where the date matters. That Hollies song appeared on their album Romany which was released three months later in November 1972. Yep, only three months.

By the way, you can hear the similarity to the “Summer Breeze” tune much more clearly in Carla Olson‘s version of “Touch”:

Carla Olson – “Touch” (1988) (the opening tune)


Full confession time: I noticed the similarity when I heard Carla Olson’s version of “Touch”, not the original by The Hollies. (I actually didn’t know about that Hollies song at all until I heard Carla’s version on the Hollies tribute album, Sing Hollies In Reverse).

Here the full versions:

Seals & Crofts – “Summer Breeze (1972)


The Hollies – “Touch” (1972)


Carla Olson – “Touch” (1988)


(*I don’t know what that something else is.)

Song of the day: 78 Saab – "Karma Package Deal"

January 30, 2011

Here’s 78 Saab with a song about… well… um…

You know, I really should pay attention to the lyrics of this song sometime:

78 Saab – “Karma Package Deal” (2000)


78 Saab official website
78 Saab on Facebook
78 Saab on MySpace

Song of the day: Billy Field – "Bad Habits"

January 29, 2011

For anyone outside of Australia reading this, you may find the facts surrounding this song hard to believe.

This song went to number four on the Australia charts in 1981. It was the title track of Billy’s album which, incomprehensibly, went to number one on the albums chart.

And here it is:

Billy Field – “Bad Habits” (1981)


I love that song, but I have no idea why it (and the album) went zooming up the charts – and stayed there – in 1981. I mean, this was the era of big synthesizers, even bigger hair, vocalists sounding like robots, grown men wearing Spandex in public etc etc.

I am extremely glad that the Australian music-buying public occasionally confounds expectations by putting a song like “Bad Habits” in the Top 10. (Please see this post for another example of the Australian music-buying public sending to the top of the charts a song you wouldn’t expect to go there.)

Frank’s Faves on Fridays

January 28, 2011

Mountain – “Never In My Life” (1970)

Excellent! I’ve heard about Mountain, but never actually heard any of their music until now. (They were one of those heavy rock bands from America that nobody bothered to play on Australian radio.) Now that I’m listening to it, I can say that I think this is the ultimate Hairy Rocker song. “Never In My Life” seems to be the perfect example as to why music of the early 70’s tends to be either loved or loathed, with no middle ground. I’m in the love-it camp. And I can see why someone would hate his song – it’s Big, Loud, and Dumb. But that’s exactly why I love it. There’s absolutely no pretension to it whatsoever. It just is what it is. (Big, Loud, and Dumb.) And as I was typing that last sentence, the song faded out. Nooooooooo! That finished way too soon. Time to play it again. But louder this time.

Procol Harum – “Whisky Train” (1970)

I’ve heard very little of Procol Harum (dribs and drabs here and there), but I like very much what I heard over the years. I just never got around to buying any of their stuff. So I guess I can call myself a Procol Harum fan with no Procol Harum albums. Now to “Whisky Train”. For a prog-rock band, Procol Harum sure aren’t sounding very proggy here. They’re sounding very bluesy-rocky. That’s probably because of the band’s guitarist Robin Trower and his “I love Jimi Hendrix, and I can sound just him!” inclinations. I’m listening to “Whisky Train” at the moment, and enjoying it, but I can’t quite figure out why the keyboardist (presumably Gary Brooker) gave his piano the ol’ thumbtacks-on-the-hammers treatment. But that didn’t stop me enjoying the song. Though not as much as the Mountain song above. (Love that Mountain song. Big! Loud! Dumb!)

Uninteresting sidenote: If you had suggested Procol Harum’s “Conquistador” instead of “Whisky Train”, this part of my comments today would have been a whole lot longer. I adore “Conquistador”, totally and unconditionally, ever since I heard it on a jukebox in a pub years and years ago. It blew my mind.

Shawn Colvin – “Polaroids” (1992)

I know next to nothing about Shawn Colvin. I haven’t played the song yet, so I don’t know what I’m letting myself in for. As far as I’m aware, he’s a sort of contemporary folk singer, isn’t he? At least I think he is. Well, there you go – I’ve just discovered that Shawn Colvin is a female. Oops. Sorry about that, Shawn. OK. Now to the song. Shawn’s voice (and the song) reminds me a lot of Deb Talan‘s in the folk-pop-folk duo The Weepies.

Another uninteresting sidenote: when I first heard The Weepies second album, Say I Am You (2006) I fell hopelessly in love with it. Here are the first three tracks from the album to give you an idea of why I fell hopelessly in love with Say I Am You:

[Non-Frank tracks]
The Weepies – Say I Am You (2006):
Track 1: “Take It From Me”

Track 2: “Gotta Have You”

Track 3: “World Spins Madly On”


But back to the song (again). I think “Polaroids” is a nice enough song. But I thought Shawn overused the main melody in the verse. However, I really like how the song was produced. There are some lovely little production touches throughout the track (little pedal steel guitar asides, and some sort of ship’s-horn-in-the-distance kind of sound near the end of the song). I think that’s what I like most about this song: how it sounds. The acoustic guitars, the bass guitar, the brushes on the drums etc, the discreet use of synthesizer – it all sounds great, and it’s all used sparingly and with wonderful taste. Now, that’s something you don’t how a lot of nowadays in records: taste. Overall, I’ve liked this song the more I listened to it. Nice. (But I’d much rather listen to The Weepies.)

Van Halen – “Secrets (1982)

I’m one of those people who has been a lifelong fan of Van Halen. No, that’s not strictly true. I’ve been a David-Lee-Roth-long fan of Van Halen. Interest in them tapered rather quickly when thingy joined. I’ve forgotten his name. That red-haired guy. Um. Ah. Hang on… Yes, that’s it: Sammy Hagar. (Thank you, Internet.) I started losing interest in Van Halen when Sammy joined the band – although I did like 5150 and, to a lesser extent, OU812. After that, though, I stopped listening to them completely. I must admit that I only ever got around to buying two Van Halen albums: Diver Down and 1984. (Diver Down is probably my favourite solely because of “Little Guitars“.) The others I borrowed and taped (hooray for cassettes!). But none of this is letting you know what I think of “Secrets”. It took me a moment to realise that “Secrets” is on Diver Down (as in: “Hmm, I think ‘Secrets’ is on Diver Down. I’ll just saunter on over to the CD collection and check… Yep, it’s on Diver Down. Good-o.”). Okey dokey. I like “Secrets”, although I’ve always been mildly puzzled by how mild it is (for a Van Halen track). Actually, I reckon if you had suggested any other song from Diver Down I would have gone “Yeah! Van Halen! Rockin’ out! Yeah!” – but you didn’t, so I won’t. I will say that although I like “Secrets”, it’s probably my least favourite track on Diver Down. Oh, and seeing as you’ve suggested a Van Halen track, I’d like to take this opportunity to vent my spleen on one aspect of Van Halen that I’ve always found absolutely horrendous: their drum sound. I think Van Halen’s drum sound is simply dreadful. Always has been – and probably always will be. (I think it’s one of those constants in the music universe.) And because I’ve just mentioned that I think Van Halen’s drum sound is dreadful, I’d also like to mention Queen‘s drum sound. I think that’s horrendous, too. But I’m pleased to say that Queen and Van Halen are the only two bands I know of that have monumentally awful drum sounds.

Bonus instrumental:

Apollo 100 – “Joy” (1972)

Splendid. (I wanted to say “excellent” but I’ve already used that word.) For me, this is the kind of pillaging-the-classics tune that’s on the right side of cheesy. (That is, on the fun side – not the “that’s horrible!” side). It helps that the artists involved pinched a great tune (which isn’t difficult to do, because classical music is full of great tunes – which reminds me to play you some sometime). I’m extremely familiar with Apollo 100’s “Joy”, as it’s on that mammoth Have A Nice Day: Super Hits Of The ’70s 25-disc set I rabbited on about a while ago. (In case you’re wondering, “Joy” is Disc 7, Track 9). I don’t know if I need to mention the classical tune that Apollo 100 nicked for their track (Johann Sebastian Bach‘s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring“), because you probably know that anyway. Regardless, I’m glad you suggested “Joy”. I think it’s a heap of musical fun. By the way, another rock musician filched Bach’s tune, and I mentioned it in a previous post on the blog.

Song of the day: Marykate O’Neil – "Get Down"

January 28, 2011

It’s been a while since I played you some pure, unadulterated Bubblegummy pop (well, not since December last year).

To correct this awfulness, here’s thoroughly modern musician Marykate O’Neil giving an old 70’s pop hit a new lick of musical paint:

Marykate O’Neil – “Get Down (2002)


The huge advantage of playing you that cover version is this: it gives me the perfect excuse to play you the original, which I adore more than you could possible know:

Gilbert O’Sullivan – “Get Down (1973)


Marykate O’Neil official website
Marykate O’Neil on Facebook
Marykate O’Neil on MySpace

Gilbert O’Sullivan official website
Gilbert O’Sullivan on Facebook
Gilbert O’Sullivan on MySpace

Song of the day: Squeeze – "Another Nail In My Heart"

January 27, 2011

One of the advantages of having a blog is that whenever I buy a CD I can tell people about it and a play a song or two from it.

One of the disadvantages of reading a blog is that you’ll occasionally be accosted by some nitwit who’s bought a CD and wants to tell you about it, thinking that you’d be even remotely interested in it.

By the way, I bought a CD recently…

Here’s a splendid, splendid song from my favourite Squeeze album, the recently remastered (i.e., it sounds better and has more songs on it) Deluxe Edition of Argy Bargy*:

Squeeze – “Another Nail In My Heart” (1980)


And here’s one of the bonus tracks:

Squeeze – “Funny How It Goes” (1980)


Kicking off the Deluxe Edition’s second disc is an enthusiastic radio ad for the album. The chap speaking is Squeeze’s super-enthusiastic pianist, Jools Holland:

Squeeze – “Argy Bargy – Radio Commercial” (1980)


Now, how could you resist buying the album after hearing that?

Squeeze official website
Squeeze on Myspace
Packet Of Three: Squeeze Archive

(*For all you pedantic Squeeze fans** out there, the real name of the album is Argy Bargy, not Argybargy. I’d always thought it was one word – i.e., Argybargy – because that’s what I see on the album cover, but Squeeze’s official website has it listed in its store as Argy Bargy, and throughout the booklet that came with my CD it says Argy Bargy. So, just in case anyone asks, the album is called Argy Bargy.)

(**I’m one of them.)

Musical coincidences # 70

January 26, 2011

Yesterday’s Song of the day was a 1959 blues song called “Just A Little Bit ” updated just a little bit for Australian youngsters by groovemeister Tony Worsley and his backing band of hipsters The Blue Jays. Their version was based on Rosco Gordon’s 1960 version of “Just A Little Bit”, and is built around this riff:

Tony Worsley With The Blue Jays – “Just A Little Bit” (1965) (excerpt)


Hmmm. I wonder if Paul McCartney ever heard that riff.

The Beatles – “Birthday (1968) (excerpt)



Here are the full versions:

Tony Worsley With The Blue Jays – “Just A Little Bit” (1965)


The Beatles – “Birthday (1968)


Because there’s a fairly slim chance that P.McC. heard Tony Worsley’s version, this is what Paul McCartney may or may not have heard somewhere around 1960:

Rosco Gordon – “Just A Little Bit” (1960)


Song of the day: The Prefects – "Wait Until Midnight"

January 26, 2011

I’ll try to make the (very dull) reasons for today’s post as short as possible:

  1. Australia has a national (i.e., government funded) free-to-air television station called ABC Television (like the BBC in Britain, or whatever the American equivalent is – if America has one).
  2. ABC Television has a weekly music video program called rage (lowercase “r” deliberate) that’s shown overnight every weekend (Friday night/Saturday morning, and Saturday night/Sunday morning).
  3. All this month rage has been showing old shows from its archives. The ABC does it every January, and calls it “rage goes retro“.
  4. One of the programs rage has been showing is Countdown, which was the Australian weekly TV music program for teens in the 70’s and 80’s. It played both Australian and overseas acts, and was instrumental (pun semi-intended) in launching the careers of plenty of artists (including ABBA – yay!).
  5. Last weekend rage played some of those old Countdown episodes. One of them was from December 20, 1981, and the episode was called “Australian Made in 1981”. It featured only Australian artists.
  6. One of the Australian acts on the episode was a band from Perth that I’d completely forgotten about (and you’ve probably never heard of).
  7. The band was The Prefects, and the song they played mimed to on the Countdown episode was called “Wait Until Midnight”.
  8. I saw (and heard) it and thought “Yeah, I reckon that’d go well on the blog. I think people will enjoy it as much as I did. I’ll see if I can rustle up an MP3 of it from somewhere.”
  9. I found an MP3 of it, but the sound quality was pretty awful. It sounded like a very low quality rip from that Countdown episode.
  10. Due to the awfulness of that MP3 I decided instead to whip out some video and audio programs, convert the broadcast into something you can see (and hear), and present it to you that way.

Boy, that was a lot of nonsense just to let you know that I found a song you might like.

Anyway, here are The Prefects with a song I saw and enjoyed last weekend:

The Prefects – “Wait Until Midnight” (1981)
[Update: The MP3 that was originally here came from the video, but thanks to fabulously helpful commenter “ososober” who has the song in his collection, that’s here instead. Woohoo! Thanks, ososober.]


Song of the day: Tony Worsley With The Blue Jays – "Just A Little Bit"

January 25, 2011

I enjoyed yesterday’s song from the Sixties so much that I’m in the mood for another one.

Here’s Australian artist Tony Worsley and his band The Blue Jays with a song that I find irresistible:

Tony Worsley With The Blue Jays – “Just A Little Bit” (1965)


Here’s the original version:

Tiny Topsy – “Just A Little Bit” (1959)


If you’re wondering why the remake sounds nothing like the original, it’s probably because Tony Worsley’s version was modelled on another remake of the song. It’s by the American blues shouter Rosco Gordon, recorded a year after the original:

Rosco Gordon – “Just A Little Bit” (1960)


I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again plenty more times: I love music trivia.