Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New from the Jews

Here's one from the forthcoming Silver Jews record.
Like all of David Berman's songs, it contains some winning lyrics.

Case in point:

Pain works on a sliding scale
So does pleasure in a candy jail

True love doesn't come around

anymore than fate allows

on a Monday in Ft. Lauderdale.


"Candy Jail" mp3
by Silver Jews, 2008.
available on Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea


not new:

"Inside The Golden Days of Missing You" mp3
by Silver Jews, 1996.
available on The Natural Bridge

"Honk If You're Lonely" mp3
by Silver Jews, 1998.
available on American Water

"Death of an Heir of Sorrows" mp3
by Silver Jews, 2001.
available on Bright Flight

"I'm Gonna Love The Hell Out of You" mp3
by Silver Jews, 2001.
available on Tennessee

"I'm Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You" mp3
by Silver Jews, 2005.
available on Tanglewood Numbers

photo: Hollywood, CA, 1987. © Ted Barron

Friday, April 25, 2008

Colors (Primarily)

I spent the other day at MOMA with the boy, who is on spring break, taking in a few shows including the fantastic Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today. If you're in NYC, go see it. Here's some colorful selections. We'll get back to the vinyl soon - when I have the time.

In the meantime, dig this...


"Blue Sky Day" mp3
by The Died Pretty, 1986.
available on Free Dirt

"Baby Blue" mp3
by Badfinger, 1971.
available on
Straight Up

"Oh Red (take 1)" mp3
by Howlin' Wolf, 1952.
available on Memphis Days: Definitive Edition, Vol. 1

"Red Cadillac & A Black Mustache" mp3
by Warren Smith, 1957.
available on Uranium Rock: The Best of Warren Smith

"Yellow Sarong" mp3
by Yo La Tengo, 1990.
available on Fakebook

"Yellow Coat" mp3
by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, 1957.
available on The OKeh Rhythm & Blues Story 1949-1957

"Green Mind" mp3
by Dinosaur Jr. 1989.
available on Green Mind

"Green Lights"
by NRBQ, 1978.
available on NRBQ at Yankee Stadium

all photos: © Ted Barron, 2008.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shopping Trolley

I love this song.
Melancholic, joyous, and triumphant
with thunderous drums to deliver you
from the pain into laughter.


"Shopping Trolley" mp3
by Beth Orton, 2006.
available on Comfort of Strangers

Photo: Tompkins Square Park, 1985. © Ted Barron

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two Chord Monte

This post is obvious, I'd be surprised if it hasn't been done already. Four songs: two chords each - Peter Laughner throws in a descending minor chord progression, but only to return to the stark two chord template laid out in Lou Reed's "Heroin." All of these songs follow that model and are indebted to the original as well as it's precursor. "Heroin" becomes "Amphetamine," which was coincidentally the drug of choice for both of these songwriters. Unfortunately, speed kills. Peter Laughner died at 24. He worshipped Lou Reed - as did his pal and running buddy Lester Bangs who followed him to the grave a few years later and whose best piece of writing may be his obituary for Laughner. Jeff Tweedy quotes "Amphetamine" directly in "Misunderstood," the cacophonous opener to Wilco's Being There.

Take the guitar player for a ride
'cause he ain't never been satisfied

He thinks he owes some kind of debt

Be years before he gets over it

Musically, it tips it's hat to "Heroin." It's not as sublime or shocking as John Cale's droning, and then screeching viola, or Mo Tucker's mathematical, cymballess drumming, but it was 1996 not 1966, and these things were already appropriated countless times and taken for granted in indie rock. It was a departure for Wilco, and alienated some of their fans, who were holding onto some weird and bogus ideal of alternative country purity. The Laughner reference is an inspired one. Josh Ritter's "Thin Blue Flame" is an apocalyptic vision of American society at war and turmoil. A lot of wordy images and the same two chords played on the guitar and then the piano and like on "Misunderstood," building to a noisy crescendo. It's the most sober of all these selections, but again there's a reference to illicit substances.

Bringing justice to the enemies not the other way round
They’re guilty when killed and they’re killed where they’re found

If what’s loosed on earth will be loosed up on high

It’s a Hell of a Heaven we must go to when we die

Where even Laurel begs Hardy for vengeance please

The fat man is crying on his hands and his knees

Back in the peacetime he caught roses on the stage

Now he twists indecision takes bourbon for rage

Lead pellets peppering aluminum

Halcyon, laudanum and Opium

This record knocked me out when I first heard it.
Actually, all of these records did and still do.


"Heroin" mp3
by The Velvet Underground, 1967.
available on The Velvet Underground & Nico

"Amphetamine" mp3
by Peter Laughner, 1975.
available on Take the Guitar Player for a Ride
out of print

"Misunderstood" mp3
by Wilco, 1996.
available on Being There

"Thin Blue Flame" mp3
by Josh Ritter, 2006.
available on Animal Years

Buy: Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs

top photo: © Ted Barron

This blog does not endorse drug abuse.

Monday, April 21, 2008

And on the accordian...

Danny Federici 1950-2008.


"Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street" mp3
By Bruce Springsteen, 1973.
WBCN Boston Radio Broadcast

"Bishop Danced" mp3
By Bruce Springsteen, 1973.
Live at Max's Kansas City
available on Tracks

"Fever" mp3
by Bruce Springsteen, 1974.
available on The Genuine Tracks

To make a donation to the Danny Federici Melanoma Fund click HERE

Read Bruce Springsteen's eulogy from the funeral HERE

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Record Store Day

Saturday is the 1st Annual National Record Store Day.

Now this is a holiday I can get behind 100%. Record stores, while rapidly diminishing are still a great source of pleasure for music lovers everywhere. They have a smell. Downloading is easy, but it's impersonal. Even though most of you are here to do just that, instead of plying you with a bunch of compressed mp3's, I instead urge you to go out and buy something today. Something that you can hold in your hands, with writing on the back and pictures or a booklet with all kinds of information and artwork to peruse while you listen to it. Go to a real record store, not Walmart or the Virgin Megastore if you can help it. Go somewhere and look around. Buy something on a whim. Buy something because you like the cover. Buy something because someone told you it's good or it has a funny title. Take a chance. Go buy one of the records you heard here or somewhere else. I can tell you where I bought most of the records in my collection, because record stores are fun and I've been going to them since I was about six. I remember the first record I ever bought. It was a 45 of "Sugar Daddy" by The Jackson Five. 77 cents. I still have it. What was yours?

Turn off the damn computer and go support your local record seller now.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An Essay on Influence

"I saw that photograph of the men standing around the pool table, and read that phrase, '2-Kool 2-Be 4-Gotten,' and the inspiration was obvious. Every time I sing that song I credit Birney Imes. Birney's work is, in photography, what a good blues song is to me-gritty, edgy in all its parallels."

-Lucinda Williams

This record is ten years old now. It sounds as good to me now as it did then. I remember how thrilled I was when I made the connection between the record I was listening to and the book of photographs that I had been looking at. I love it when work by artists in one medium cross reference work by artists working in another medium. It can also be a tiresome exercise when the point of the work is the reference itself. Such is not the case here. A lot of the lyrics from this song are taken directly from the words on the walls in the photographs from Birney Imes' book Juke Joint, but in the end what you get is a Lucinda Williams song. As a photographer, and one who has photographed musicians, it's rewarding and revelatory to find that we are often drinking from the same well. I know a lot of photographers and some my closest friends are photographers, but the most rewarding exchanges have often come from the musicians, painters, writers, filmmakers, and friends working in other mediums. Maybe there is less competition there, or that the discussion rarely strays to shop talk. But more than likely it's the recognition that we find a commonality through our ideas and our collection of cultural influences, and in that, it validates for us what we do and why it matters to us.


"2 Kool 2 Be 4-gotten" mp3
by Lucinda Williams, 1998.
available on Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

Photograph by Birney Imes
Freedom Village Juke
, Washington County 1985.
from the book Juke Joint, University of Mississippi Press. © 1990

Saturday, April 12, 2008

At The Crossroads

and now a word from Doug Sahm...


"Yesterday Got In The Way" mp3
by Sir Douglas Quintet, 1970.
available on 1+1+1=4: Return of Doug Saldana

"Poison Love" mp3
by Doug Sahm and Band, 1973.
available on Doug Sahm and Band

"At The Crossroads" (alt mix) mp3
by Sir Douglas Quintet, 1969.
available on Mendocino


"At The Crossroads"
by Mott The Hoople, 1969.
available on Mott the Hoople

photograph: Natchez Bus Station, 1988. © Ted Barron

Monday, April 7, 2008

Some Useless Information to Fire Your Imagination

The other day, in my current state of nagging frustration, I found myself drinking coffee pre-dawn in my kitchen listening to the ipod on shuffle and contemplating what lay ahead for another day. Just then, "No Satisfaction" by Black Mountain came up and reentered my consciousness after a lengthy absence. "Oh yeah, " I thought. "How is it that Steve Jobs always knows what I need to hear?"

No Satisfaction = Frustration.
Thanks for reminding me.

The ipod is insidious in it's ability to pull things out of the air - like a vague or general horoscope that's been programmed by you. Maybe I'm just impressionable, or find it hard to ignore coincidence. Satisfaction is the humblest and most realistic of aspirations. It is way below the spiritual quest for enlightenment, transcendence, serenity, bliss or whatever it is we try to strive for in our lives - or maybe it's all the same. In frustration, we find these states to be transitory or just out reach. Here's some songs that look at the notion of what satisfaction is or more often is not, and what that feeling is if we don't get what we want. So, with that said, "let's light up your town and get things happening"


"No Satisfaction" mp3
by Black Mountain, 2005.
available on Black Mountain

"Satisfaction" mp3
by Ken Boothe, 1968.
available on Freedom Street

"What I'll Do For Satisfaction" mp3
by Johnny Daye, 1967.
available on The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968

"I'll Be Satisfied" mp3
by Don Covay, 1965.
available on Mercy!/See-Saw

"Just To Satisfy You" mp3
by Waylon Jennings, 1969.
available on The Essential Waylon Jennings

"Dissatisfied" mp3
by Sonny Boy Williamson, 1957.
available on Down and Out Blues

"Unsatisfied" mp3
by The Replacements, 1984.
available on Let It Be

"I Can't Be Satisfied" mp3
by Muddy Waters, 1947.
available on The Definitive Collection

"Satisfied Mind" mp3
by Jonathan Richman, 1992.
available on Jonathan Goes Country

"Uptight / Satisfaction" mp3
by Stevie Wonder with The Rolling Stones, 1972.
available on Keep Your Motor Runnin'


"You Can't Always Get What You Want" mp3
by The Rolling Stones, 1968.
available on Could You Walk On Water
bootleg - different stereo mix

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Shine A Light

When I heard Martin Scorsese (one of my favorite directors) was making a documentary about The Rolling Stones (my favorite band) naturally I was interested. Neither of these artists have been particularly exciting to me for quite some time, but the signifigance of the work they made in their prime make them matter more than most nonetheless. When I found out Shine A Light is a documentary about a 2006 Rolling Stones concert, I pretty much lost interest.

Scorsese and The Stones are the director and subject of the two best concert films ever, The Last Waltz and Gimme Shelter. No competition there. This is, well, just another Stones concert movie, and there are lots of them: Ladies and Gentlemen, The Rolling Stones; Gimme Shelter; Let's Spend The Night Together; Robert Frank's excellent documentary of their '72 tour Cocksucker Blues (which will finally get a legitimate release this year from Steidl); and let's not forget The Tami Show.

The most interesting thing about this film is the title. "Shine A Light" is one of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite records. It's about Brian Jones, the first of many casualties of people close to the Stones. Gram Parsons died trying to emulate his pal Keith Richards; Danny Seymour, photographer and filmmaker who made Cocksucker Blues with Robert Frank disappeared shortly after making the film; Someone actually gets murdered in Gimme Shelter; and ironically, Ahmet Ertegun, while at the Beacon Theatre to attend the concert from which this film is made, fell and hit his head, eventually going into a coma and dying.

Here's an outtake version of "Shine A Light." Looser and funkier than the released version. I guarantee you this is better than the film. Also, a weird Brian Jones era Rolling Stones version of a Beach Boys classic.


"Get A Line On You (Shine A Light)" mp3
by The Rolling Stones, 1968(?)
with Leon Russell on piano

"I Get Around" mp3
by The Rolling Stones, 1965.


"Shine A Light" mp3
by The Rolling Stones, 1972.
available on Exile on Main St.