Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Post at Moistworks

A few weeks ago Alex Abramovich asked me to do an occasional post for Moistworks and offered to do the same here. I was excited and a little intimidated by the prospect, since it is like The Paris Review of mp3 blogs and they are all writers. However, I've taken the challenge, and while I don't consider myself a "writer," I do work in another descriptive medium that is not unlike writing. Besides, it's about the music. So, things are changing slightly here in Fluville. Don't be surprised to see other contributors here. Mike DeCapite (who is a writer) has posted a beautiful memorial to his friend Jim Jones, and there are other contributors on deck. I'll still be the primary voice here, but it may become a less singular one. Oh, and if you are wondering what that picture is about, go to Moistworks and check out my post, "Missed Communications."

and here's a track that didn't make the playlist.


"He'll Have to Go" mp3
by Ry Cooder, 1976.
available on Chicken Skin Music

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Listening Party

By Mike DeCapite

Jim Jones, who died last week in his lounge chair, at the helm of his unparalleled archive of music and videotape and movies and memorabilia, in his house on Lake Erie, played with three of the best bands that Cleveland produced (or that produced themselves in spite of Cleveland)—Pere Ubu, Easter Monkeys, and Home and Garden—and he influenced most of the rest of them. Whether by way of the music he made or by way of the music and sensibility he introduced people to as resident DJ and clerk/consultant at Record Rendezvous, or one-on-one, through mix tapes and listening sessions at his home, Jones opened people’s minds. He was a connection to the wider world. I called this “Listening Party” because Jones was always having people over and setting them up with chili and whatever they needed to drink and putting them in that chair—the one he died in—and playing them records and showing them clips from movies and the Three Stooges and Ghoulardi and the early Stones or whomever and opening up the world. And he did this at Record Rendezvous, too: He’d stand at the turntable and play you things for as long as you’d stand there and listen. The last time I saw him he gave me a stack of CDs he’d burned for me, including Max Richter, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky score, a Captain Beefheart radio show, and Erik Satie, and we hadn’t even really been in touch in years. A full description of his career (Mirrors, Electric Eels, Styrenes, Foreign Bodies, Easter Monkeys, Home and Garden, David Thomas & the Pedestrians, Wooden Birds, Pere Ubu, and solo work, but minus his work with Speaker/Cranker and King NXN) can be found in an interview posted at Ubu’s website. I’ve never felt a more immediate or unmediated connection to a musician’s work than to Jones’s. He was the first person I met whose work made me think, “Wow, I want to make something that good.” I realize that by writing about him, I’m setting myself up as a prime target for a pie from beyond the grave, so I’ll end this quick and then duck. Nothing I can say about his work can convey the hundredth part of what I feel when I hear the songs posted below, but I’ll just embarrass everyone, me and Jones included, by saying it’s something blazing and senseless and pretty close to love.


"Emerald Necklace" mp3
by Foreign Bodies, circa 1980.
CLE magazine 3A flexidisc
out of print
all instruments: Jim Jones

"Marco Polo: City of Kin-Sai" mp3
by Home and Garden, 1984.
available on History and Geography
guitar: Jim Jones

"Underpants" mp3
by Easter Monkeys, 1984.
Splendor of Sorrow
out of print
guitar: Jim Jones

"Nailed to the Cross" mp3
by Easter Monkeys, 1984.
Splendor of Sorrow outtake
previously unreleased
guitar: Jim Jones

"Heaven/.357" mp3
by Easter Monkeys, 1984.
Splendor of Sorrow
out of print
guitar: Jim Jones

"Miss You" mp3
by Pere Ubu, 1988.
available on The Tenement Year
guitar: Jim Jones

"Forever Lost (Nocturne)" mp3
by Jim Jones, circa 1990.
News from the Firelands
previously unreleased
all instruments: Jim Jones

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Where Are You Tonight?


"Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)" mp3
by Bob Dylan, 1978.
available on Street Legal

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sam Stone

Jerry Williams Jr. AKA Swamp Dogg is one of the great weirdos of American music. I'll get more into his records as an artist and producer in another post. In the meantime, here's his take on John Prine's composition "Sam Stone," the tale of a dope addicted Vietnam Vet. It's a great record, one that blurs the lines between Country/Folk and Soul music. It's about the song and the performance, both of which are perfect.


"Sam Stone" mp3
by Swamp Dogg, 1973.
available on Excellent Sides Of Swamp Dogg Vol.2

"Sam Stone" mp3
by John Prine, 1971
available on John Prine

"Sam Stone" mp3
by Laura Cantrell, 2004.
available on Future Soundtrack for America

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Post Valentine's Day Post

It's been a week now since Valentine's Day.

The flowers have all died and gone are the romantic delusions that have long since crumbled away like the icing on the cupcake that you maybe didn't get. What is this love shit? The evidence of its tortured nature is here below: Billie Holiday is saddened by the charade she is trying to keep up, Lonnie Johnson's poor heart is all confused, Dinah Washington is on the verge of tears, and The Cats And The Fiddle are pleading their case the only way they can - with a tipple and tenor guitar.


"I Can't Pretend" mp3
by Billie Holiday, 1936.
available on Billie Holiday

"Confused" mp3
by Lonnie Johnson, 1950.
available on 1949-1952

"Feel Like I Wanna Cry" mp3
by Dinah Washington, 1953.
available on The Complete Dinah Washington on Mercury, Vol. 3 (1952-1954)

"Please Don't Leave Me Now" mp3
by The Cats And The Fiddle, 1946.
available on Hep Cats Swing: Complete Recordings, Vol. 2 (1941-1946)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Presidents Day Special


"When Did I Stop Wanting To Be President?" mp3
by William S. Burroughs, 1975.
available on William Burroughs: From Giorno Poetry Systems

from UBUWEB Sound Archive

buy Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader
edited by James Grauerholz and Ira Silverberg
Grove Press © 1998

originally published in Roosevelt After Inauguration
City Lights Books © 1979.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

For Lovers Only

Happy Valentine's Day folks.

Here's some songs for you and your baby to dance to. It starts out rocking, builds to joyous crescendo, and then it gets nice and slow.

Use at your own discretion.


"Dedicated To The One I Love" mp3
by The "5" Royales, 1957.
available on The Very Best of the 5 Royales

"Tell All The World About You" mp3
by Ray Charles with the Raylettes, 1958.
available on The Birth Of Soul : The Complete Atlantic Rhythm & Blues Recordings, 1952-1959

"She's Sugar Sweet" mp3
by Eddie Hudson, 1958.
out of print

"That's Why (I Love You So)" mp3
by Jackie Wilson, 1959.
available on The Ultimate Jackie Wilson

"Whole Lotta Love" mp3
by B.B. "Blues Boy" King, 1958.
available on His RPM Hits 1951-1957

"Your True Love" mp3
by Carl Perkins, 1957.
available on The Essential Sun Collection

"My Funny Valentine" mp3
Gerry Mulligan Quartet, 1952.
available on My Funny Valentine

"My Funny Valentine" mp3
by Chet Baker, 1954.
available on Chet Baker Sings

"My Funny Valentine" mp3
Miles Davis Quintet, 1956.
available on Cookin' With the Miles Davis Quintet

"My Funny Valentine" mp3
Ben Webster and Teddy Wilson, 1954.
available on Ben Webster for Lovers

top photo: © Ted Barron, 1988.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Doc Pomus

"...I walked slow and straight and never swung my legs fast and awkwardly like the rest of the gimps who got around with braces and crutches. My main thing was to act and look cool - angry, and cool and sharp. I talked the hip talk of the jazzmen and dressed like Bed-Stuy and Harlem. I was gonna be the first heavy-weight boxing champion on crutches - a one punch knockout killer. Or maybe the first major league pitcher on crutches- firing endless, unhittable strikes."
Doc Pomus

"It was his favorite time of night. Mckibben Street was quiet. The stickball games had broken up; the stoop orators had gone inside. The old Jewish women in housecoats who spent afternoons watching the street from their windowsills had drawn their curtains. Only a few windows were lit. The night was teeming with street sounds: the whine of automobile engines, the creak of the pushcart men rolling their carts home after a long day on Moore Street, a lonely rumba wafting down the street from somebody's radio. Jerome flipped on the set and wiggled the dial until he picked up the remote from the Elk's Rendezvous in Harlem: Chris Columbus's band was playing "I Can't Get Started," a whole section of muted trumpets woozily carrying the melody. Jerome exhaled another lungful of smoke, rested his arm, closed his eyes, and listened. In those early morning hours he felt like he belonged to the world most acutely, protected by the darkness and the solitude of night. At those moments he had access to the entire storehouse of adult knowledge. But he was still fourteen, and tomorrow was a school day. In five hours, he'd be dressed and ready to go, his hair wet combed across his head, squinting into the morning sun from the passenger seat of his mother's black Plymouth."
-Alex Halberstadt
from Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus

I just finished reading Alex Halberstadt's biography of Doc Pomus, and have to say I was moved by this story that traces Pomus' life from his beginnings as young Jerome Felder, a half crippled victim of polio in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn to a teenager moonlighting as blues singer Doc Pomus in New York's honky-tonk chitlin circuit to tin-pan alley songwriter writing hits for Dion, Elvis, Ray Charles and others. It's not a happy story, but it's not exactly sad either. Pomus lived a charmed life despite the odds; a life lived in residential hotels where he would hold court in the lobby with characters that forever disappeared from New York with the last century, hosting card games in his room to pay the bills when the checks stopped coming. Pomus wrote hundreds of songs, the bulk of these with his "melody man" Mort Schuman. As a lyricist, his songs embody a greater emotional depth and dark pathos not heard in most of the work of Brill Building songwriters. He wrote plenty of fluff too: "Girl Happy" for Elvis and "Go, Jimmy, Go" which he peddled to teenny bopper Jimmy Clanton, after Bobby Rydell balked at the original "Go, Bobby, Go." He told Clanton he had written it just for him. You can hear it below, along with some much better records by a host of others including Ray Charles - Pomus' first hit- and Joe Turner - Pomus' hero. Also some tracks from his later career including collaborations with Willie DeVille and Mac Rebbenack, a posthumous tribute record, and B.B. King's Grammy winning "There Must Be A Better World Somewhere."

It's a big playlist, and I don't think I'll ever do one this big again, not unless I can get an intern or something. But like I said, I was moved. Moved enough to go and take a walk to find the Felder family home here in Brooklyn. It's not too far from where I live, and when I got there, I found the building gone and replaced by a project. The picture above will give you an idea what McKibben Street and Manhattan Avenue looked like when young Doc gazed out the window minus a few buildings and the street life. As I looked down the block, I noticed a record store across the street from where their building stood. I think Doc would have approved.


"Alley Alley Blues" mp3
by Doc Pomus, 1948.
available on Blues in the Red

"Don't You Cry" mp3
by Big Joe Turner, 1952.
available on All the Classic Hits 1938-1952

"Lonely Avenue" mp3
by Ray Charles, 1956.
available on Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection

"Young Blood" mp3
by The Coasters, 1958.
available on The Very Best of the Coasters

"You're Teasing Me" mp3
by Lavern Baker, 1958.
available on The Legend at Her Best

"It's Great To Be Young And In Love" (demo) mp3
by Doc Pomus and Mort Schuman, 1959.
available on It's Great to Be Young and in Love

" A Teenager In Love" mp3
by Dion and The Belmonts, 1959.
available on Best of Dion and the Belmonts

"Nobody But Me" mp3
by The Drifters, 1960.
available on The Very Best of the Drifters

"Go, Jimmy, Go" mp3
by Jimmy Clanton, 1960.
available on Time Life The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Teen Idols

"Little Sister" mp3
by Elvis Presley, 1961.
available on The Top Ten Hits

"Suspicion" mp3
by Elvis Presley, 1962.
available on From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60's Masters

"Hushabye" mp3
by The Beach Boys, 1964.
available on Little Deuce Coupe/ All Summer Long

"I'm Gonna Cry 'Til My Tears Run Dry"
by Irma Thomas, 1964.
available on Sweet Soul Queen of New Orleans: The Irma Thomas Collection

"City Lights" mp3
"Dance The Night Away With You" mp3
By Dr. John, 1978
live at The Bottom Line
also available on City Lights

"Save The Last Dance For Me" mp3
by Emmylou Harris, 1979.
available on Blue Kentucky Girl

"Just To Walk The Little Girl Home" mp3
by Mink DeVille, 1980.
available on Le Chat Bleu Expanded Edition

"There Must Be A Better World Somewhere" mp3
by B.B. King, 1983.
available on There Must Be a Better World Somewhere

"Still In Love" mp3
by Johnny Adams, 1991.
available on Johnny Adams Sings Doc Pomus: The Real Me

"Pictures And Paintings" mp3
by Charlie Rich, 1992.
available on Pictures and Paintings

"Boogie Woogie Country Girl" mp3
by Bob Dylan, 1995.
available on Till the Night is Gone: A Tribute to Doc Pomus

"I Count The Tears" mp3
by Roseanne Cash, 1995.
available on Till the Night is Gone: A Tribute to Doc Pomus

"This Magic Moment" mp3
by Lou Reed, 1995.
available on Till the Night is Gone: A Tribute to Doc Pomus

Buy: Lonely Avenue: The Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus
by Alex Halberstadt © 2007 Da Capo Press

photographs by Ted Barron © 2008