Posted June 22nd, 2011 04:11 PM IPMan, all those super obvious Mary Hopkins voters are just jumping on here and voting, huh??
This one IS going to be tough to pick. Stand-outs right off the top are "Tighten Up," of course the Millennium, and the Driscoll/Auger thing...I don't know why I ever believed the Chipmunks had the lowdown on punk.
Posted June 22nd, 2011 04:21 PM IPInteresting list. A lot fewer overly familiar radio staples (and Time of the Season is really the only one that's still that ubiquitous around here; Tighten Up and Time Has Come Today get played noticeably less now than even five years ago). This should be fun listening.I'MCOMINGI'MCOMINGI'MCOMINGI'MCOMING
Posted June 22nd, 2011 05:41 PM IPTo me, it's between Linda Ronstadt and Curtis Mayfield.
Valleri - The Monkees -- all about the guitar lick. Seriously, all about it. I love this song, but does it deserve to win against this other stuff? Don't think so.
Upstairs Downstairs - Graham Gouldman -- dull. That kind of frippy-frappy British ruffled-collar-psych I used to love and now can't fucking abide. I'm sure it's a great song and important somehow and whatever but I had the same reaction to this that Chris D. had to the Stevie song yesterday: YAWN.
Up To My Neck In High Muddy Water - The Stone Poneys -- I love her. I love her. I love her. I love her. I love her. I love her. I love her. I love everything about her. And this is one hell of a song, too. Never heard it before. Really terrific performance, and man, did I mention I LOVE HER?
U.S. Male - Elvis Presley -- Good stuff, but not my bag Elvis-wise.
Two-Bit Manchild - Neil Diamond -- not as much of a one-two punch as some of Neil's stuff.
Travellin' Song - The Pentangle -- too earnest. Too something or other.
To Claudia On Thursday - The Millennium -- Christ knows I adore this one. Just a beautiful, beautiful song with a marvelous melody and harmony, one of my favorite songs from the 60s. Spooky, magnificent, almost perfect. It's certainly in my "maybe you should vote for this" pile.
Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me - Tiny Tim -- Tiny is peerless and unassailable and this is just great. Anybody who doesn't get it -- DOESN'T GET IT.
Time Will Come - Tol Puddle Martyrs -- psych-garage boogiefuck -- I like it, but I don't adore it.
Time Of The Season - The Zombies -- I'm the guy on the site that probably likes the Zombies the LEAST. I like a few things here and there but on a whole I can't get through an album. I'm like the Dave Beckner of the Zombies. This is a great great song that I love, but man, there's better. The Millennium song is better.
Time Has Come Today - The Chambers Brothers -- TIME! I've never been overly fond of this song. TIME! I think it's too long and has a rudimentary melody. TIME! And I can't stand the guy's talky-spingy voice. TIME!
Tighten Up - Archie Bell & The Drells -- YEAH. Proto-funk-proto-awesome dance instruction. Kills. Just kills.
Those Were The Days - Mary Hopkin -- Great song. Gorgeous. Her voice is the same kind of thing as Linda Ronstadt only British. I don't give a shit about the Beatles connection -- this is just fantastic.
This Wheel's On Fire - Julie Driscoll w-Brian Auger & The Trinity -- IMO, and this is insane talk, but IMO this is the definitive version. I love Driscoll/Auger A LOT LOT LOT LOT and this absolutely destroys me.
This Is My Country - The Impressions -- The genius of Curtis. My third "I might vote for this one."
I have to consider for a moment. Hang on.I don't know why I ever believed the Chipmunks had the lowdown on punk.
Posted June 22nd, 2011 07:00 PM IPListening through for a third time now, and I don't see anything trumping my personal favorite here, Tighten Up. Love the sweet horn break. I dig I Can't Stop Dancing from this year as well, a great double shot of funk from the boys from Houston."This one...is this one"
Posted June 22nd, 2011 07:23 PM IPlove the singing, love the production, love the bass line, love the organ solo, love the laid back vibe that would continue over on to the first Argent LP...Time Of The Season, what's not to love?History Is Made At Night
Posted June 23rd, 2011 04:54 AM IPValleri is cute, nice BB's style harmonies and strong hooks.
Upstairs, Downstairs - ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, thankyou Jon! It has a great cyclical feel (like it could go on forever), and some curious chords and melodies. Oh, and the story it tells is just plain wonderful.
Stone Poneys is strong, Linda certainly has a loud voice.
Elvis eh... notable for his fine voice (well, duh!) and what I'm assuming is Jerry Reeds fantastic guitar playing.
Two Bit Manchild is good but feels a tad all over the place.
Travelling Song - favourite so far, love that band, incredibly unique sound... jazz-folk-acoustic-pop... Huge hooks, gorgeous. Don't think this was ever on an album. Love, love, love it.
Millenium is of course amazing, but i like the Hope Chest cover more.
Tiny is THE FREAKIN' MAN - and I'm very tempted to ask for Bring Back Those Rockabye Baby Days and I'm A Lonesome Little Raindrop to be included for later in the year. They're TOO GOOD.
From the joyous love of Tiny to the depressed garage of Tol Puddle, time will come when death will pave the way... great tune, wonderful sounds.
Time of the Season is supoib. One of their best singles.
Chambers Brothers - never heard this, but it's alright. The last minute was the best bit.
OH MAN, Tighten Up is amazing - just a two chord major7th vamp as I found while playing along to all the tunes on the polls (F#maj7 and Bmaj7 if you're interested) but man do they keep things interesting. Unbelievable groove.
Those Were the Days - it's good, but I'd honestly rather hear it belted out in Russian - I don't have this problem with many other tunes adapted from other languages (My Prayer, If You Go Away, It's Now or Never, Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, etc) but this one bugs me - not enough energy.
Wheels on Fire IS the definitive version. Incredible, reminds me of Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders which is always a wonderful, sexy thing.
Impressions - more amazing Curtis.
This one comes down to Tiny, The Zombies, Pentangle or Archie Bell... couldn't imagine four more diverse artists if I tried."Nick is the Mode guy. Jon is the Duran guy."
Posted June 23rd, 2011 09:23 AM IPWent with Valleri. Not my favourite poll this one. Too many weird voices and bland songs. Though maybe that "blandness" is because most everything here is new to me and I'd need more time with them. But even the stuff I already knew I'm not massively keen on. Valleri kind of bugs me a little bit as well to be honest - like a weird broadway attempt at garage rock or something, but it at least it has a killer chorus.
Posted June 23rd, 2011 11:30 AM IPJust a few random thoughts . . .
High Muddy Water is a really neat song and deceptively catchy. I like it a lot; it almost got my vote. I like that Nesmith single off that same album too!
While listening to Two-Bit Manchild, in the back of my mind I kept waiting for the chorus of A Little Bit You/A Little Bit Me to come slicing through. Kinda ruined my objective angle.
I remember the first time I saw Tiny Tim - watching a rerun of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In with my dad when I was a kid. Tim pulled that uke out of a sack and started playing Tiptoe Through The Tulips. Funny how that memory lingers. As I got older I learned to appreciate his appreciation and knowledge of pop music history. He was a cool dude.
I remember riding around in the car with my mom listening to Mary Hopkins on the radio, as this song was still in fairly heavy rotation on am in the seventies. Those were the days! My second choice on this poll, too.
Almost single-handedly kept alive and vibrant decades of popular music with his dazzling interpretive skills. Who would remember Gold Diggers of Broadway or Nick Lucas today if it weren't for Tiny? Tiny painted the clouds with sunshine and he's my favourite here. I'll get to my complete Tiny thread one of these days.
Posted June 24th, 2011 07:07 AM IPListening to these in order, US Male was the first one to really make an impression. Valleri is a cool tune, but Upstairs Downstairs and Up To My Neck really passed me by. I've listened to them three times each but they sound pretty weak to me. When Elvis kicks in though, it's a joy. He sounds so authoritative and makes quite a silly song sort of threatening, albeit with a nudge and a wink.
The Neil Diamond track is cool stuff - haven't heard that for a while. The path he was travelling doesn't seem to have been attempted by anyone else - something very unique about that guy. There's a great sense of drama to his songs - love all the little crescendos he builds and the little breaks he sticks in (like when it all drops out apart from the little bass riff).
Brilliant to see Pentangle here! I forgot to even nominate them. What a classic - just a seamless blend of jazz, folk, blues, whatever else.. Renbourn and Jansch's guitars actually take a backseat on this one to Danny Thompson's bass and Terry Cox's drums, which really drive the thing. Jansch's voice is very underrated too
Check out this live vid of it to see the great band interplay
To Claudia DOES NOT sound right if it doesn't follow Prelude. It's lovely and spooky and i'd easily vote for it if Prelude was included in the single. I dunno if that's unfair or whatever. Sorry!
I'll hold off judegment on Timy Tim til i hear more of his stuff. I didn't love it, but it's got charm. It's not my "thing", but maybe it will be soon. Get yer thread going Joe!
The organ on that Tolpuddle Martyrs tune is great. Love the sound the guy gets on the guitar break too. This is a really interesting one, packed with a ton of great bits.
Time Of The Season is effortlessly brilliant. Loved it when i first heard it and it hasn't lost a single bit of its power since then.
The Chambers Brothers track took me by surprise! I started off hating it, then it won me over. No finesse here and i have to admire that.
Tighten Up is a stormer. I love songs like this where they introduce all the instruments (Memphis Soul Stew, Dance To The Music). I'd love to hear this come on in a club - that's what it's made for.
Those Were The Days is gorgeous. It always seems in danger of going a bit too OTT and risks being a but ridiculous but it's got the courage of its convictions. Killer! Very affecting.
Never heard this version of This Wheels On Fire before. Gives a nice, swinging groove to the song. Hmmm, drags on a bit. Next.
What a brilliant intro to the Impressions tune! The guy had such a light touch. Great, forthright lyrics, not annoyingly preachy. This is a knockout.
5. Those Were The Days
4. Tighten Up
3. This Is My Country
2. Travelling Song 1. Time Of The Season
"The other thing is that the quality of the mp3's I listen to varies especially as some of the music from the likes of Led Zeppelin is old, even with re-mastering still isnt up to the quality of the likes of Def Leppard."
Posted June 24th, 2011 08:29 AM IPI was a bit harsh on that Stone Poneys song. It doesn't stand out so much as a single, but it's a really good song. "The other thing is that the quality of the mp3's I listen to varies especially as some of the music from the likes of Led Zeppelin is old, even with re-mastering still isnt up to the quality of the likes of Def Leppard."
Posted June 24th, 2011 08:42 PM IPMy favorite song here is probably "Time of the Season", but having assumed (correctly it turns out) that it would dominate, I tossed a vote to the Millennium for the always excellent "Claudia". I guess that was the smart thing to do as now it too has an outside chance for the semis, but it pains me to see poor "Two-Bit Manchild" and "This Wheel's on Fire", two songs I absolutely love, sitting vote-less. Well, I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles!
Posted June 25th, 2011 02:51 AM IP Valleri - The Monkees
Really nice fuzz guitar. Compositionally, it reminds me a lot of an early Zombies track. It's got those kind of moody chord changes and shifting moods into the big, harmony-laden chorus. The horns are okay; they give it a kind of widescreen, epic feel. I like the song, but it's not like a huge favorite.
Upstairs Downstairs - Graham Gouldman
It's weird how 1965 this song sounds. I don't know anything about this track; was it recorded earlier and held back, a la "Jimmy Mack" or something? Either way, it sounds like reasonable mid-60s British Invasion pop, and is melodically recognizable as being from the pen of the same guy who brought you all those Hollies and Yardbirds songs. It's good but unadventurous, and it's striking to note how quickly a style could seem light years out of date back then. A difference of three years could seem massive in terms of 60s sonics, whereas if you were to play somebody two anonymous tracks, one from this year and one from 2008, they'd probably be hard-pressed to tell just based on sound/style. Another nice enough song which probably has nearly no chance of me voting for it.
Up To My Neck In High Muddy Water - The Stone Poneys
I have a mad crush on 60s/70s Linda Rondstadt. Above and beyond the fact that she's hot in a totally earthy, cute way, it's that she's got an incredible voice. It's somehow simultaneously innocent and sweet and raw and passionate. This is a really nice country-pop track with a memorable chorus image and some great acoustic slide guitar. Really, though, I probably wouldn't look a lot further beyond the surface if it featured a lesser singer.
U.S. Male - Elvis Presley
It's not my favorite of Elvis' comeback-era songs, but he's obviously having so much fun singing it that it's infectious. He's doing all sorts of entertaining inflections on his speak-sung verses (I really love the way he playfully spits out the phrase "the size of a stamp"). It may be a goofy song, but just remember the guy was singing Who Needs Money the year before. This might as well be the clouds parting compared to that. And what's wrong with a little goofiness now and then anyway? Elvis is having a blast, he sounds really engaged, and there's some great guitar playing. You can't dislike the thing.
Two-Bit Manchild - Neil Diamond
I really dig the way that circular 12-string guitar part holds the whole thing together and gives it a sort of semi-exotic flair that sets it apart from a lot of his early work. That's a great job of arranging. When it all straightens out in the chorus and starts getting semi-anthemic, it feels well-earned. I like Neil Diamond rather than love him most of the time, but I really like this track quite a bit.
Travellin' Song - The Pentangle
I love Pentangle. They were really unique in the 60s British folk scene as being both very non-traditional, but also by mostly using non-rock means to achieve that goal. Folk, jazz, blues, Indian, country...it was all fair game to blend in there, but they were not going to get mixed up with all this rock and roll hooliganry. And all of them could REALLY play; they were easily one of the most musically accomplished groups of that era. Of course, the downside to all this muso, anti-rock stance is that, naturally, they could get a little stuffy at times. I don't hear a lot of that here, though; this is mainly just a heartfelt song with a great pulse and some beautiful guitar playing. I don't mind Bert Jansch's voice that much as far as these things go. His singing is all warts and warble, but it's very endearing to me. That said, every time Jacqui McShee comes in on the harmonies, it's a breath of fresh air blowing into the room. What a singer.
To Claudia On Thursday - The Millennium
That guy does sound a bit like #1 Record-era Chilton on the high bits, doesn't he? What I really dig about this song is that it starts like a really boppy major-key pop song, and you start digging it on that level, but then the melodic twists start taking it somewhere else entirely on the chorus, and it takes on this much more ethereal turn, which in turn alters the way you hear the verses when they come back around. I love songs that are able to pull that trick. It's funny how the Millenium's stuff originally didn't appeal that much to me, but sounded exponentially better with each pass. They're one of the definitive 'grower' bands to my ears.
Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With Me - Tiny Tim
There's something strangely haunting about this song to me. Part of it is his voice, obviously; he sounded like a theremin or something when he sang, just a really pure, clear tone. I think his general public image as just a sideshow goofball who turned his voice into a comical squeak is unfair, even though I don't think it's something Tim particularly shied away from either. But you can tell that the guy could actually really sing; doing what he does here while keeping it in tune is a lot more difficult than people think. But there's also something I find kind of affectingly haunting about the melody of the song itself; this one little phrase on the part of the verses where he sings "willow tree" gets to me a bit.
Time Will Come - Tol Puddle Martyrs
I'd never even heard of this song (or this band) previously, but this is a stunner. I'm guessing this is one of Joe's requests from Down Under? It's really dark, bitter garage psych, like, I dunno, the C.A. Quintet or somebody, except that I like this better. I know I'm bringing up arranging an inordinate amount here, but this is another one that really benefits from it a ton. There's so much space in the instrumental arrangement that every time those icy strings pop up over that throbbing bass/drum groove, it has maximum impact. And the singer just kind of hisses his way through it, like his teeth are clenched, waiting for that guitar solo to give voice to his rage or something. This is a real contender for me.
Time Of The Season - The Zombies
This is one of those Time-Life "the 60s were a special time in all our lives" song now, but what I really love about it is the weird sleaze factor of it. Aside from the fact that the groove is punctuated by panting, the lyrics to me take the form of a kind of semi-creepy come-on. I don't think it's an accident that the "what's your name? Who's your daddy? Is he rich like me?" line is the one that begs for most attention with the back-and-forth vocal tradeoffs. It's like a soundtrack to a hippie flower child getting propositioned by a middle-aged guy wearing a paisley tie and trying to speak her language. The dark underbelly of free love. I can't think of another song which takes up the hippie vibe and makes it seem pervy in quite the same way as this one. Plus, it's just a fucking great performance from everybody. Love the drumming, the breathy vocal, the fleet-fingered organ solos, the bass riff. I probably won't end up voting for it in the end, but it deserves a look.
Time Has Come Today - The Chambers Brothers
That's a really underrated band, I think. They were one of the earliest predominantly black rock bands of the psych era (only their drummer was white), and alongside Sly, were early pioneers in fusing soul, rock, pop, and funk together. I've heard some of their stuff that comes across almost like a proto-Funkadelic. That said, I have really mixed feelings about this song. It starts out great; I love that cowbell/guitar riff intro. And some of the psychedelic cowbell effects (and how often can you use that phrase?) during the slowdown sections are very cool. As for the stuff in between? It's a pretty average-to-decent three-chord rock song without a whole lot going for it, and a singer who kind of overdoes it in an attempt to prop up the energy with his voice alone. And given that that's about all the song is comprised of, its running time feels way too long to me (to say nothing of the 11-minute album version). If this song were like three minutes or less, I'd like it a lot more, I think. Still, they were a cool band, and they're worth checking out beyond this song.
Tighten Up - Archie Bell & The Drells
That's my definition of music harnessed in the service of pure joy. There are so many things I love about this: the way it literally gives you a demonstration in the middle of the record of how to construct a perfect groove from its constituent parts. The way the most melodic element in there is the bubbling bassline, while the scrappy rhythm guitar holds the fort down. The sudden brief shifts in tone when the horns harmonize in those slow-motion descending breaks. The running narration/dance instruction itself, with Bell acting as a sort of ringmaster/swaggering bandleader ("we can dance just as good as we walk!"). The way every now and then, the whole band starts clapping rhythmically as part of the arrangement. There's just nothing about this song that doesn't make me happy. Gonna have to vote for this one.
Those Were The Days - Mary Hopkin
For some reason, I'm having a hard time figuring out what to make of this one. On one hand, part of my brain is telling me it's a little treacly, but then I remember it's still less treacly than some of the similar things Scott Walker did that I really love. Then I wonder if maybe that's just the old-timey McCartney-approved arrangement that makes a difference. Then I get caught up in it and start digging on the banjos and oompah band-style rhythms. And then I realize it doesn't really make much difference one way or another, since it's really about the way she delivers the song, which is really the point. She captures that kind of tender longing and regret way better than somebody that young has any right to. And I end up getting sucked into the thing. It's a little strange how big a hit it was in England; it doesn't seem to sound much like a chart-topping record, particularly given its length, but hell, maybe everybody then had the same reaction to it that I did.
This Wheel's On Fire - Julie Driscoll w-Brian Auger & The Trinity
This song seems to have a really high standard for cover versions. I've heard several covers of this, all quite different, and I have yet to hear a bad one. Hell, I even really like Leslie West's grungy hard rock version. The song seems to be a great vehicle for bringing out the most paranoid, apocalyptic tendencies in an artist. And this version is a stunner. It brings to mind Hendrix's "All Along the Watchtower" for me, in the sense of taking a song of stark tension and attempting to match the lyrics' dread with pure sonics. The level of phasing on here is fucking frightening, and I've rarely heard it used to better effect than it is here. And then there's the creepy "2000 Light Years From Home"-esque mellotron and the overall clear-as-mud vibe to the mix. That sort of huge sonic howl works so well with the urgent panic you can hear in her voice as she sings it. This is top-shelf stuff. This is literally the first thing I've ever heard from them. Anybody have any suggestions on what I should hear next?
This Is My Country - The Impressions
Good as the previous Impressions song was, this one is the real deal. Curtis had this amazing knack for talking about these hot-button, highly contentious issues in a way that sounds completely inclusive and actually makes you feel optimistic about them. Anybody who could remain unmoved by the points he's making here, and how he makes them, is a real asshole. And musically, it's just fucking gorgeous, balancing such sweetly melodic material with that amazingly understated but driving drum groove (love the really live drum sound here, too, but that's neither here nor there). What a fucking record. I might have to vote for this, if I don't end up voting for "This Wheel," "Tighten Up," "Time Will Come," or "Claudia." I'MCOMINGI'MCOMINGI'MCOMINGI'MCOMING
Posted June 25th, 2011 02:54 AM IPBy the way, it's hilarious how we keep getting Sarah Palin ads at the top of the screen on this page, presumably due to the use of the phrase 'this is our country.' Something tells me that's not what Curtis probably had in mind...I'MCOMINGI'MCOMINGI'MCOMINGI'MCOMING