So This Is Cool

Learned this past weekend on a trip visiting my 81-year-old aunt that my grandmother’s cousin was a songwriter in California. And that I’m named for him, by way of my dad. (Fucked up spelling and all.) Here’s one of his tunes that Bing Crosby recorded.

And here’s another that could be fun to work up as a rocker.

Shine A Light On Me

Did you bastards know there’s an official Midnight Special channel on YouTube releasing entire unedited episodes (as well as clips)? Holy shit, it’s a treasure trove!

Timestamped performances for this episode are here. I mostly just watched Sly and the Family Stone, obviously.

BONUS: Here’s another recently released episode with Mott the Hoople and The New York Dolls. Not sure who the guy is in the back playing the Thunderbird for the Dolls. Arthur Kane appears to be in a cast and is obviously miming …

What Are They Dancing To?

Here’s a Scopitone of Brook Benton lip-syncing Mother Nature, Father Time while bikini girls apparently dance to something else.

If you’re unfamiliar with Scopitones, they were music video jukeboxes typically placed in lounges and similar adult-oriented locations.  It seems that most Scopitones, like the later music-video format, were more about the girls than the songs. (I remember child-oriented ones, but their format and machines had a different name).  The videos often had the hubba-hubba vibe of 50’s-60’s softcore men’s magazines (like here and here).  Although Procol Harum did one, most rock acts snubbed Scopitones. I imagine they’d started looking dated, like something their dads watched for cheap thrills, down there with carnival peep-shows.  One novelty was a live Billy Lee Riley one, unusual in that it’s not lip-synced.

For you film nerds: I can’t verify this, but I know I read somewhere that French (who invented them) Scopitones used Pathecolor, a very early film tinting process that used stenciling.  Wikipedia claims that the last use of Pathecolor was the 1954 Mexican surrealist classic, Robinson Crusoe, but it’s often stated that it was used in that august cinematic masterpiece, Dr. Goldfoot & The Bikini Machine.

Seeds Documentary!

Not sure how a doc about some of my favorite proto-punks got past me.  This goes straight to the top of my list if it’s available anywhere.

This Song Is Full Of Spoilers

Mrs. Makerbot and I re-watched Don’t Look Now the other night and I was reminded of this Big Audio Dynamite song, a tribute to Nicolas Roeg and his films. Who would’ve ever guessed this would be Mick Jones’s new direction after departing The Clash? Even cranking out … whatever this is … (Alternative dance? Post-punk? Dance-punk? Avant-rock? Sampledelia?) Jones is still a hook machine.

Anyway, 1985’s This Is Big Audio Dynamite is a definite contender for our perfect first album list for me, probably because it takes me back to being 16. Nothing hurt and things were just getting good!

Bonus: The below video is worth a look just for the Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon (and John Lydon) cameos.


I’m a couple of weeks late on this one, but Jack Lee, front man and driving force behind The Nerves, has hopped the twig. Fucking cancer.

Lee grew up in Alaska but left home at 15, eventually hitchhiking to San Francisco a few years later. According to Pitchfork

[Lee] busked in the high-traffic Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, where he met fellow street musician Peter Case. The Nerves were born in 1974 with Lee on vocals and guitar, Case on bass, and additional recruit Paul Collins on drums. The trio played sharp and scrappy rock’n’roll with Beatlemania melodies. Their frenetic style signaled the ensuing punk movement, but chafed with the fading flower-power of early ’70s San Francisco.

Of course, Jack Lee is probably best known for “Hanging on the Telephone,” his song made famous when Blondie covered it on 1978’s Parallel Lines.

Lee, who heard about Harry’s interest from his friend, the Gun Club singer Jeffrey Lee Pierce, recalled that fateful day in a 2007 interview with Mojo. “I remember the day vividly,” he said. “It was a Friday. They were going to cut off our electricity at six o’clock, the phone too.” He added that the song was so catchy, few could resist if. “Even people who hated me—and there were plenty—had to admit it was great,” he said.

To honor Lee’s passing, Paul Collins just released another Nerves video on YouTube.