Month: June 2018

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

ARTIST: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah     Clap_Your_Hands_Say_Yeah_(Front_Cover)

TITLE:  Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

YEAR RELEASED: 2005

CHART ACTION: #16 US Indie, #26 UK

SINGLES: Is This Love (#74 UK), In This Home on Ice (#68 UK), The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth (#149 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe if you were tuned into indie or college stations.

LINEUP: Alex Ounsworth, Sean Greenhaigh, Robbie Guertin, Lee Sargent, Tyler Sargent..

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Indie rock sensations in 2005, in retrospect it’s a lot of whiny stuff.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: If you were a whiny skinny white boy, then 2005 was the year for you. In the UK, and over here, bands like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah got airplay and noticed.

Alex Ounsworth is the brains behind the band, and he has a good knack for melodies and arrangements, mostly. But my goodness, his voice. He’s got a natural whine, and not in a good way. It’s high pitched, pleading, and grating at times.

Mind you, there is some decent stuff on here, if you can forget the voice. I really can’t, but I’m keeping some anyway. Going forward, I’m forgetting their other records.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This record was self-released and sold by the band here in the US before it was released in the UK on a proper label.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. 

GRADE: C+: There’s some material that Ounsworth’s voice doesn’t take away from, but it’s a detriment on many, and I can’t deal. Those songs are exiled.

Jackie DeShannon – What the World Needs Now Is…Jackie DeShannon – The Definitive Collection

ARTIST: Jackie DeShannon                          220px-JDeShannon_Definitive

TITLE:  What the World Needs Now Is…Jackie DeShannon – The Definitive Collection

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Charting: Faded Love (#97), Needles & Pins (#84), When You Walk Into the Room (#99), What the World Needs Now Is Love (#7), A Lifetime of Loneliness (#66), Come and Get Me (#83), I Can Make It With You (#68), The Weight (#55), Put a Little Love in Your Heart (#4), Love Will Find a Way (#40)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really.

LINEUP: Jackie DeShannon and session musicians.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A singer and a songwriter, DeShannon was held in high acclaim by many in the 60’s but somehow only hit the charts a few times, which isn’t her fault.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Jackie DeShannon started out as an interpreter of songs under Jackie Lee or Jackie Shannon, but found success, at Liberty Records working with Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche as a songwriter and opened for the Beatles in the US. She also made friends with influential people and finally had some success on her own with a Burt Bacharach tune that became her signature.

DeShannon’s material covered the gamut of the 60’s style, and her songs were covered extensively. This collection may be lengthy (as it covers her work from 1960 to when she left Liberty / Imperial in 1969) but it’s worthwhile to hear her in full, except for a couple of supper-club type songs.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: She dated Elvis and Jimmy Page.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. There are some shorter collections but they give her the short shrift 

GRADE: B+: It may be too lengthy for some fans, but this is the overview she needs.

The Kinks – Percy

ARTIST: The Kinks                 220px-KinksPercySoundtrack

TITLE:  Percy

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: God’s Children

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: An instrumental of Lola

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, John Dalton, John Gosling, Mick Avory

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A soundtrack to a UK comedy film that was not released in the US. It shouldn’t have been.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This record was the soundtrack to an odd UK film called Percy that featured Elke Sommer, Britt Ekland, Denholm Elliott and Hywel Bennett. Like many true soundtracks, there are a lot of instrumental and mood pieces, and a few songs which relate to the movie.

“God’s Children”, the single, was one of Ray Davies’ best ‘hidden’ tracks, but many of the other songs are laden with strings, are meandering mood pieces for the film, or sound like leftovers from other projects.

Pick and choose, but since “God’s Children” is on The Kink Kronikles, you may want to pass altogether.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Willesden Green” is sung by bassist John Dalton, the only track not sung by a Davies brother.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. It was appended onto the Lola CD, but it just clogs that record up. 

GRADE: D+: I’m saving a few, but there’s really only one track here, and the rest is just not worth it for anyone but the Kinks zealots

Badfinger – Magic Christian Music

ARTIST: Badfinger                      220px-Magic_Christian_Music_(Badfinger_album_cover)

TITLE:  Magic Christian Music

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #55

SINGLES: Come and Get It (#7 US, #4 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not on this one

LINEUP: Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Ron Griffiths, Mike Gibbins. A little help from Nicky Hopkins and Paul McCartney.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Semi ‘soundtrack’ to The Magic Christian adds several other tracks, including some older ones from a pulled album, to the three recorded for the movie. It’s as disjointed as it sounds.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Iveys were one of the first bands singed to Apple, and they released a record in three countries before it was halted. In a few short months, they were commissioned for tracks for Ringo’s new movie, and changed their name to Badfinger. The single from the film, “Come and Get It”, written by Sir Paul McCartney, was a big hit.  Maybe_Tomorrow

Due to some legal shenanigans, the official soundtrack wasn’t readily available, so Apple dug out some Iveys tracks, and some other unreleased songs and, viola, an album was produced.

There’s some good tracks around, such as “Crimson Ship” and “Midnight Sun”. But some tracks are too derivative, or don’t really go anywhere. It does sound like the work of two or three sessions with different motives stuck together. Plus, the songs as the Iveys really are a step behind the others.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Original guitarist Ron Griffiths left after the sessions, but before this was released.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with a lot of the tracks from the original Iveys album. Nothing earth shaking but a couple tracks could have been swapped out with the official album tracks. 

GRADE: B: Not really a great introduction to the band, but there’s some good tracks here.

Kelly Hogan – Beneath the Country Underdog

ARTIST: Kelly Hogan                           R-1944615-1254127940.jpeg

TITLE:  Beneath the Country Underdog

YEAR RELEASED: 2000

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: She covers Whispering Pines

LINEUP: Kelly Hogan, Tom Ray, Steve Goulding, Andy Hopkins, John Forbes, Celine, Barcley McKay, Jon Langford, Neko Case, John Wesley Harding, and others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mostly known as one of Neko Case’s compatriots, Hogan’s first Bloodshot release interprets some country deep cuts in good form.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: She’s better known as Neko Case’s sidekick, a backing vocalist for the Decemberists, and a session singer, but Kelly Hogan has made a few records on her own. Her debut is long buried, but this was her first record for Bloodshot Records.

Using Jon Langford’s Pine Valley Cosmonauts as a backing band, Hogan rips through interpretations of deep cuts of some noted country writers, other alternative country artists, and a few originals. The backing is spot on and Hogan’s in good voice, and hits all of the right emotional notes as needed.

For those who like alternative country and Neko Case’s earlier work, this is a good record to have around. Hogan’s vocal ability deserves more than her backing vocalist stints (though that does pay the rent).

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Among the artists she covers are the Band, Johnny Paycheck, Willie Nelson, and Stephin Merritt from the Magnetic Fields.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B+: Perfectly fine alt-country.

 

The Avett Brothers – Mignonette

ARTIST: The Avett Brothers         220px-Mignonette_album

TITLE:  Mingonette

YEAR RELEASED: 2004

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Swept Away

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: There are three more ‘Pretty Girl’ songs

LINEUP: Seth Avett, Scott Avett, Bob Crawford, Bonnie Avett Rini

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Avett Brothers are solidly in a folk / bluegrass idiom with great harmonies and songwriting featuring sister Bonnie. But it’s LONG.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s great that a band has a lot of material – but in the CD era, it led to excesses. At 73 minutes, this record demonstrates that even with a lot of good to great material, it’s best to trim off the fat.

 

There are a couple of tracks that can go – silly goofs that add nothing to the proceedings, given that the band sounds like they are having fun with fun songs anyway. Those tracks just get in the way of everything and disturb the flow. Fortunately, those tracks are the minority.

 

As for the others – there’s great banjo and mandolin picking, great harmonies, and it sounds like a backyard party. Good times.

 

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The song “Signs” was written by their father Jim Avett, in the 70’s

 

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 

GRADE: A-: Trim it a bit, and it’s an “A”. Heck of a fun time.

King Curtis – Soul Twist: The Complete Enjoy Sessions

ARTIST: King Curtis                                                                    king curtis

TITLE:  Soul Twist: The Complete Enjoy Sessions

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Soul Twist (#17, #1 R&B), Wobble Twist

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Piping Hot

LINEUP: King Curtis, the Noble Knights

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jazz and session sax player moves to soul and R&B full time and hits it with the lead single.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After recording as a jazz sax player, and before he became the go-to in the Atlantic / Atco soul stable, King Curtis branched out and recorded a set of sides for the Enjoy label. One track, “Soul Twist”, made a big impression on the R&B and pop charts in 1962.

The rest of the tracks are in the same mode. Curtis’ sax wails but doesn’t overtake the sound of the Noble Knights, his backing band, especially on their version of “What’d I Say”. Curtis’ playing has a lot of jazz elements, of course, but stays within the soul / R&B idiom.

Curtis would later record for Capitol and then Atlantic / Atco before his unfortunate death in 1971. This was the introductory tracks to the pop market and it served well.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He moved away from jazz to make more money. His career choices were always about getting paid.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B: Great for those who love 60’s souls sax.

Fleshtones – Hexbreaker!

ARTIST: Fleshtones                   220px-Hexbreaker!

TITLE:  Hexbreaker!

YEAR RELEASED: 1983

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Right Side of a Good Thing

LINEUP: Peter Zaremba, Keith STreng, Bill Milhizer, Jan Marek Pakulski, Gordon Spaeth

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Party album by party band seems flat as it goes along.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When does a party get boring? When the same thing happens over and over again.

The 60’s loving party band with a great energy and spirit and fun live shows didn’t translate well to vinyl, even with the exuberance of the band. Sax, organ, driving rhythms, and garage guitar give the band their basic sound. Peter Zaremba tries his best to keep the party going, but the issue is the relative same-ness of the material.

“Right Side of a Good Thing” is one that you’ve heard. Maybe the title cut. Anyway, same thing really. Chanted backing vocals, fun atmosphere, but it gets flat a bit and old.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Their first EP and LP aren’t streaming, which may be an issue with IRS Records old rights, and neither is their compilation of the IRS years.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B-: Individual cuts are great for mixes. But the album as a whole gets a bit wearing.