Frank’s Faves on Fridays

August 6, 2010

Gallery – “Nice To Be With You” (1972)

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When I saw the names of both the band and the song, I was convinced I’d never heard it before. I didn’t remember anything called “Nice To Be With You”, and I certainly didn’t remember any band called Gallery. But then the song started and I was instantly transported back to 1972 when, as an 11-year-old, the glorious tunes in “Nice To Be With You” seeped into my (developing) musical veins – and stayed there. Listening to it again I was struck by how much of it I had remembered. (All of it.) Great stuff. It’s one of my favourite soft rock songs. But what’s with the song lasting only 2:38? That’s way too short. As soon as it finished I played it again. Now, I wonder if Gallery recorded any other songs…

Smoking Popes – “My Lucky Day” (1995)

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I vaguely recall reading about a band called the Smoking Popes ages ago in a music magazine. I think. (There’s something rattling around in the back of my brain saying “Yes, I’ve heard of the Smoking Popes”.) Anyway, I played it and liked it. I found it a likeably loose power pop song – sort of like a bar band playing a power pop song, or maybe a power pop band playing a bar band song. Either way, I liked it. Incidentally, and this has nothing to do with anything, but the Genre tag in the song was listed as “Emo”. I don’t quite know why that was so, but it’s now tagged as “Power Pop”.

Bobby Fuller Four – “I Fought The Law” (1965)

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Now, this is a song I’ve heard plenty of times on the radio, but never actually listened to. You know, analytically. It’s time to dissect “I Fought The Law”…
By the way, this will be a running commentary:
1. 0:00 – Drums start in the left channel only, something I never noticed that before. And there’s something else I never noticed before, either: although the drums are in the left channel with a closed hi-hat playing eighth-notes, there’s an open hi-hat in the right channel on the off-beat (2 and 4). Well I never. Who would’ve known? (Er, the musicians recording it, I guess.)
2. 0:06-0:12 – That has to be the cleanest electric guitar sound I have ever heard. (It’s in the right channel.)
3. First verse (0:12) – Great background vocals. They’re just bubbling under the main vocals. Excellent.
4. Refrain (0:42) – I love that bass line.
5. Refrain (instrumental) (1:05) – I love the chord voicings on that clean, clean electric guitar in the right channel. Very nice.
6. The percussive triplets in the verse (1:22) – They’re fabulous. Very simple, but very effective.
No wonder people consider this song a classic. Now that I’ve listened to it properly (i.e., paying attention to it), I think it’s a great song.

Los Bravos – “Going Nowhere” (1966)

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Groovy. For me, it’s a psychedelic song with a dash of “It’s Not Unusual“. I’d never heard “Going Nowhere” before. That singer sounds familiar, but I can’t quite figure out who he sounds like to me. I’ve just heard the song a few more times and I like it more with each listen. And it still reminds me of “It’s Not Unusual”. Oh, I just found out courtesy of Wikipedia that Los Bravos’s biggest hit was “Black Is Black“. Now it occurs to me: that’s who the singer reminds me of. He reminds me of the guy who sings “Black is Black”.

Bonus instrumental:

Al Hirt – “Java” (1964)

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I thought I’d never heard “Java” before because the title wasn’t familiar, but as soon as it started I went “Aaah, yes.” That is one magnificent tune. This is precisely the kind of stuff I can’t get enough of. Now, if you’ll excuse me I think I’ll play “Java” again…