Put on your dancing shoes and crack out a can of something, it’s time for the weekly MBIP Sunday Record Party!
Sweet Soul Revue by Pizzicato Five (From the album, “Made In USA.”)
When I moved to New York back in 1993, my first night job was at Sarabande Press, which was a pre-press service bureau at the corner of Houston and Broadway. We did work for several New York record labels outputting film, matchprints and Iris prints for their CD covers and posters. One of the record labels was Matador Records and one of the perks we got from doing their work was that Mark Ohe, the art director fro Matador Records would bring us piles of CD’s every couple of weeks.
I heard and discovered a lot of bands I never would’ve come in contact via Mark Ohe’s semi-weekly dropoffs and one of them was the band, Pizzicato Five. This band formed in Tokyo in 1985 and helped to spark what would be come to be known as the “Shibuya-kei” musical and cultural movement in Tokyo. The music that Pizzicato Five created is a blend of jazz, American soul, pop and synthpop.
Nine years after Pizzicato formed and after many record releases in Tokyo, Matador records released this debut album in 1994 which was a compilation of songs that had been previously released in Japan. Listening to their music always takes me on a journey to when I first moved to New York. "A new stereophonic sound spectacular." Ha!
Different Drum by The Stone Poneys (From the album, “Evergreen Vol. 2”)
The Stone Poneys were a band that formed in 1965 and lasted three years and three albums into 1968. It was a trio consisting of Bobby Kimmel on rhythm guitar and vocals, Kenny Edwards on lead guitar and vocals, and Linda Ronstadt on vocals. Their only hit record was, “Different Drum,” which was written by Mike Nesmith before he joined The Monkees.
After the song was a hit, Linda Ronstadt got a solo deal and went on to huge success. Here’s a clip of Mike Nesmith singing a comical version of the song on an episode of The Monkees TV show.
Carrie Anne by The Hollies (From the album, “The Hollies' Greatest Hits.”)
The Hollies recorded and released the single, “Carrie Anne in that magical summer of 1967. It was written by Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks and Graham Nash. Graham Nash confessed in 1995 that the song was written about Marianne Faithfull, but he was too shy to admit it at the time, so they changed the name to “Carrie Anne.” Here’s an article about the song that I found online.
Killer Queen by Queen (From the album “Sheer Heart Attack.”)
I remember hearing “Killer Queen” on the car radio driving around with my brother Jim in the fall of 1974. About forty seconds into the song we both looked at each other and I’m pretty sure that one of us said, “Who the fuck is this?” When we found out we immediately went to the record store and bought the album, “Sheer Heart Attack.”
Queen really captured a new sound at the time. The multi-layered vocals, double and triple-tracked guitars and the unbelievable stage presence of Freddie Mercury made for quite a unique-sounding and looking rock and roll band.
Here’s Freddie Mercury talking about the song, “Killer Queen:”
“People are used to hard rock, energy music from Queen, yet with this single you almost expect Noel Coward to sing it. It's one of those bowler hat, black suspender belt numbers. It's about a high class call girl. I'm trying to say that classy people can be whores as well.”
The songs lyrics are some of my favorites, here’s the first verse:
She keeps Moet et Chandon,
In a pretty cabinet,
“Let them eat cake,” she says,
Just like Marie-Antoinette.
A built-in remedy,
For Khrushchev and Kennedy,
At anytime an invitation,
You can't decline.
Caviar and cigarettes,
Well versed in etiquette,
It made it to number 12 on the American charts and was the start of a long line of hits for Queen until Freddie Mercury died in 1991.
Oh Well by Haim (From the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge show.)
I first read about the band, Haim in Rolling Stone when they made the top ten lists of bands to see at 2013’s Bonnaroo festival. I went to YouTube and started watching some of their live videos and they can really tear it up on stage. I was excited about their debut album, “Days Are Gone,” but was a little disappointed when I got it. For me the album’s a little too over-produced and slick, hopefully on the next album they’ll come closer to capturing the way they sound live. This version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well,” just blew me away when I frist saw it and it still does after about 279 plays on YouTube!
Fun trivia fact here is that the drummer for Haim is Dash Hutton, son of Danny Hutton who was one of the lead singers of Three Dog Night.
Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill (From the album, “Pussy Whipped.”)
Bikini Kill started out as a fanzine and ended up as a band that single-handedly started the Riot Grrrl movement in the early nineties that fused punk rock with what was become to known as "Third Wave Feminism." Kathleen Hanna fronted the band and she also inspired Kurt Cobain by spray painting the words, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on his bedroom wall.
“Rebel Girl “ was produced by Joan Jett. who was an inspiration to the whole Riot Grrrl movement and culture. Bikini Kill disbanded in 1997 and Kathleen Hanna went on to form Le Tigre and The Julie Ruin.