Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday Random Ten

There's something truly disturbing about this album. It's not the nagging feeling that Ed recorded a cover of "Day-O!" where he substituted his trademark "Hey-O!", and it's not the likelihood that he busts out a stirring rendition of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" like Leonard Nimoy did on his albums.

Actually, I think it's the fact that the title and the leer on Ed's face that reminds me of Dan Ackroyd's old "Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute" routine from "Saturday Night Live." "No, no, no. Don't try to fight it. You're spending the night with ... Ed McMahon, Male Prostitute!"

We'll pause for a second to let that image slowly sink in.

Alright, you know what this means -- time for the Friday Random Ten. Get out whatever thingamajig you use to play those new-fangled electronic songs, set it on random, and give us the first ten songs that come forth from the spirit world. And, as always, if you're ready to run with the big kids, give us a Coolness Self-Audit as well.

Here's mine:

1. Woody Guthrie, "Hard Traveling" -- It's hard not to think of Woody Guthrie as the original bad-ass. This is a man who had the phrase "This Machine Kills Fascists" written on his guitar, and that was back when fascists weren't figures of speech for some late '70s punk to slag on, but were instead real terrors marching through Europe. That said, this isn't exactly his finest work. 6/10

2. Ike Turner & the Kings of Rhythm, "Tell Me Darling" -- This is a great bit of sultry '60s R&B, with Betty Everett belting out some powerful vocals. I think I'd like this song even more if I weren't afraid that the percussion noises were really Ike beating on Tina with an Italian loafer. 8/10

3. Sebadoh, "Bouquet for the Siren" -- What does indie rock sound like when you let three people sing the vocals together, and none of them can carry a tune? It sounds like pain. 2/10

4. De La Soul, "Let Let Me In" -- A fantastic tune from the often-overlooked De La Soul is Dead. With a driving guitar loop stolen from Lowell Fulsom and some relentless lyrics from the gents, this is a winner. 9/10

5. Minnie Ripperton, "Inside My Love" -- A little bit of '70s disco soul from the Stateside label out of Memphis. This sounds like it should've been playing during a love scene in Shaft's Big Score. And the dirty, dirty lyrics only help the score. 7/10

6. Belly, "Untogether" -- I've always had a soft spot for Tanya Donnelly, ever since I picked up my very first Throwing Muses cassette back in high school. She was overshadowed by Kristin Hersch there, then by Kim Deal in the Breeders, and finally came out on her own here. This may be my favorite from the Star album, a sweet country-folk number with a great slide guitar. Quite nice. 8/10

7. The Afghan Whigs, "Citi Soliel" -- Greg Dulli may be the coolest, drunkest motherfucker in rock and roll today. A friend of mine caught a Whigs show in Boston in the early '90s, and at one point, mid-song, Dulli just punched the bass player in the mouth. They went rolling off the stage, still fighting, only to roll back out and pick up where they left off. Oh, the music kicks ass too. 9/10

8. Bootsy Collins, "The Pinocchio Theory" -- Even though Bootsy bills this song as "the world's funkiest sing-along," I'm going to have to dare to disagree. Bootsy may well be the greatest bass player of all time, but this rambling trip is definitely not his finer work. Maybe you have to do a Scarface-sized hill of cocaine to see the glory of it, I'm not sure. 4/10

9. Self, "What a Fool Believes" -- Yes, a cover of the Doobie Brothers classic. I think my opinion might be warped from too many viewings of the outstanding "Yacht Rock" series, but this semi-electronic rendition always makes me smile. Still, we're talking about a Michael McDonald song. How cool can that be? 6/10

10. Muddy Waters, "Gypsy Woman" -- Some early Chess-era work from McKinley Morganfield. I pretty much love every single thing this man recorded, including an answering machine message set down shortly before his death in 1983. And this is certainly one of them. 8/10

Alright, that gives me a 6.7 on the coolness scale. This isn't the first time I've been in that range, but usually it's Pat Benatar and the Bee Gees dragging me down, and not Bootsy Collins and Sebadoh. What is this? Bizarro World?

Let's see what you've got. Drop your own random ten, with or without the coolness audit, in the comments below. Come on, people, let your freak flag fly! Ed McMahon would want it that way.


Mr Furious said...

Slightly more abbreviated than usual...

1. The Presidents of the United States "Peaches" -- "Peaches come in a can!..." Boy, I used to buy a lot of music back in the day... This song is as dumb as it gets, but undeniably catchy. 5/10

2. dada "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" -- I think we all know how I feel about this band. 7/10

3. Ralph's World "18 Wheels on the Big Rig" -- A kid's counting song that kicks some serious ass. Especially the Roman numerals "solo." Graded on a curve: 8/10

4. Nirvana "Serve the Servants" -- Never cared much for this one. 3/10

5. Prince "Diamonds and Pearls" -- I'd prefer "Kiss" 3/10

6. L.P. "Wasted" Solo female artist, she sung backup for Cracker. Great pipes. Album was a big disappointment, this track's okay. 5/10

7. Peter Gabriel "Lay Your Hands On Me" -- Later covered by Bon Jovi... From the first album with a title—Security. Great headphone song once the percussion really gets rolling. Though I loved "So" when it came out, this was really the last good Gabriel. 8/10

8. Chris Whitley "Dirt Floor" In the ten minutes of the Grammys I watched, I caught the "tribute" section honoring everybody who died this year. Whitley's was the last face they showed. I had no idea. A true talent, though at times inconsistent, he will be missed. This is the title track from a album he literally recorded in an old barn. His "Living With the Law" is easily one of the best ten albums I've ever heard. This song doesn't warrant it, but I'm awarding a Too-Short-Lifetime Achievement Award: 10/10

9. Monster Magnet "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" You got your Soundgarden in my White Zombie... 6/10

10. Minor Threat "Cashing In" -- Ian MacKaye's pre-Fugazi punk band. Listening to this stuff on a computer just feels wrong. Where's my turntable? 8/10

6.3 average. With waaay more stuff available on my computer than my iPod, the list was all over the place. And it wasn't even the kid's music dragging me down, it was two musical icons—Cobain and Prince...

Pooh said...


If you love Muddy, and I know you do, allow me to link whore my tuesday bluesblogging. As my tastes run to the Chess-centric, you might feel at home...

jt said...

here's mine, which has a jam band theme today:
1. Matisyahu "Heights" -- from a Paste Mag sampler, kinda raggae rap. Not awesome.
2. Grateful Dead "Truckin" -- those dudes could rock
3. Uncle Tupelo "Whiskey Bottle (live) -- those could rock, too. -- and I still think Jay Farrar kicks Jeff Tweedy's ass.
3. Endochine "Secret" -- more Paste sampler, more sucky music. Maybe I should stop ripping those in totem.
4. Ryan Adams "Cold Rose" -- good tune from a real good album. Not his best, but a solid effort.
5. Johnny Cash "As Long as the Grass Shall Grow" from Unearthed II. JC is the man.
6. James Taylor "Copperline" -- never loved JT, but I do like this song.
7. The Greencards "Marty's Kitchen" -- two Aussies and a Brit doing American bluegrass. This one's an instrumental and these three are pretty darn good. (they opened for the Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan tour this summer)
8. Gorillaz "El Manana" -- who knew cartoonz could rock out?
9. Widespread Panic "Big Wooly Mammoth (Live)" -- good, solid Panic tune. if you like them, you'd like this one. but not everyone is into jams that clock in over 14 minutes
10. more Panic "Pilgrims" -- see above comments, save this one's ONLY 8:35 long.

Otto Man said...

Furious, welcome to the club. I had cool folks dragging me down too. I feel so betrayed!

Pooh, excellent stuff. And yes, my kind of blues.

JT, I've always been a Farrar man myself. Nice to know I'm not alone.

Norbizness said...

I think that the word "classic" got a 100-yard-restraining-order to protect itself from the Doobie Brothers.

BTW, fuck Sebadoh, sideways. Throw in Pavement. You knew that already.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

1) In the City of Eggtimers - The Notes and Scratches. Not as bizarre as you'd expect from a band with this name. The guy sings in a loud whisper. I bet it works for some people. It doesn't work for me. 4/10

2) Plastic Sun - Sonic Youth. Noise by Thurston and Co. 5/10

3) So Much More - Beth Orton. Estrorock off Central Reservation. Allmusic swears this is an important album. I don't know about that, but this tune I like. For a girl. 6/10

4) Nihilism - Rancid. We believe in nothing! Watch your toes. 8/10

5) Betwixt or Between - The Rock A Teens. The best band to ever come out of Cabbagetown, Georgia, this sounds like something Fables-era REM would be jealous of. 8/10

6) Long Way Down - Michael Penn. Man, is this list full of acoustic music. What kind of lame Friday is this? I'll try not to let the mix influence my rating. 6/10

7) Gomni - Ry Cooder & Ali Farka Toure. Great tune off a great album. One of my younger, cooler brothers drug me to see Ali Farka Toure even though I had no idea who he was. Thanks, bro. 9/10

8) Friday Night - The Darkness. Finally we get to some Friday music. I love this band. They are all about fun, and so are Fridays. This is one of the less-good songs on Permission to Land and I'm still giving it an 8/10.

9) Djam Leelii - Baaba Maal & Mansour Seck. What's up with the African guitar gods showing up? Can't complain about this one, either. Delta blues by the way of Senegal. 10/10

10) Offer - Doug Martsch. I love Built to Spill an all its incarnations. More acoustic guitar; at least this one has a slide. I'm powerless to give this song less than 9/10.

Otto Man said...

You know, Norb, I actually paused after writing the oxymoron "Doobie Brothers classic" but it made me chuckle so I kept it in.

And, yeah, Sebadoh only works for me about 1% of the time. I think that means "Brand New Love" and nothing else, but I'll take it.

Thrillhous said...

Mr F, way to almost have some Bon Jovi on your list. You need to dump this Peter whoever character and load up some real music. On a steel horse I ride, baby

Tom Hilton said...

Savage Republic - Tabula Rasa (8/10 - their instrumentals are always their best stuff)
Portishead - Western Eyes (9/10 - a favorite song by a favorite band)
Shriekback - Lined Up (9/10 - from their brilliant first album, still my favorite (although I love their later stuff as well))
Crime and the City Solution - The Adversary (5/10 - I really like this song for about the first two minutes, then my finger starts twitching toward the skip button)
Blasters - Long White Cadillac (9/10 - great gloomy rock and roll)
Scenic - The Kelso Run (6/10 - not as intense as Savage Republic; good but not great)
Portishead - Undenied (7/10)
Stan Ridgway - The Overlords (7/10 - Stan's foray into dystopian science fiction)
William Onyeabor - Better Change Your Mind (9/10 - if it were 5 minutes long it would be a 10, but at 8 minutes I have to dock it a point)
Yulduz Usmanova - Tsche Mischod (6/10 - Uzbekistan's most popular singer; this straddles the line between gloomy and maudlin)

7.5 average. Not too bad.

Pooh said...

1. "Born With a Broken Heart" - Kenny Wayne Shephard. No manner how hard you wish it were so, you are no SRV, KWS. That being said, solid song with a deep, crunchy hook. 7/10.

2. "Let It Go" - Def Leppard. Perhaps the Jekyl and Hyde band of the 80's. From track to track, wild swings between kick-arse butt-rock and just plain ass are the norm. Sadly, this one falls into the second category, with bonus penalty points for trying to sound like AC/DC and failing miserably. 2/10

3. "Reunion in Heaven" - Carl Story and the Rambling Mountaineers. It's sad, but it's hard for me to hear early bluegrass without also hearing modern parody of early bluegrass. Damn you, Christopher Guest. 5/10.

4. "Kite (Live Elevation Tour in San Jose)" - U2. Somehow, I have managed to go through life without seeing these guys live. I'm a traveshamockery of a music fan sometimes. Berglefliggle. 9/10.

5. "White House Blues" - Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers. Heh. Sometimes the shuffle gets good to you. Unlike #3 aboce, I think this might actually be a parody even though it is legit bluegrass. Some mighty fine pickin' and a'singing... 6/10.

6. "Couldn't Get It Right" - Climax Blues Band. If this band was a little bit better known today, there might be a fever for this song, and the only cure might be more cowbell. Just saying. 8/10.

7. "Groove Holmes" - Beastie Boys. Remember when eveyone thought these guys were untalented jackasses (and if you read "Def Jam, Inc." there's more than a grain of truth to that, anyway)? Their anthology of instruments, "In Sound From Way Out" is one of my favorite albums. One way to Carnegie Hall folks, practice, practice, practice. 8/10

8. "At the Zoo" - Simon & Garfunkel. Never the biggest S&G fan, but if the gf was going to spend the night in your dorm room back in the day you needed something to put on repeat, right? And better S&G then the Cranberries or Verve Pipe or some mess like that. 4/10.

9. "Posters" - Jack Johnson. "Brushfire Fairytales" is another of my faves. 7/10.

10. "Darling Be Home Soon" - Joe Cocker. This song is kinda crap, actually, but it's Joe Freakin' Cocker singing, so it could be "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and it would be compelling. 7/10.

sideshow bob said...

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's my FRT!

1)Blind Melon- Dear Ol' Dad. From the album with the Bee Girl. All in all a pretty good album. (6/10)

2)Sleater-Kinney- Things you say. Ooo! This one's dripping with indie-credibility. I love the singers (Whose name I can't recall) voice. She's like Belinda Carlisle...with a soul! (7/10)

3)Beck- Seewater. This song is soooorelaxing. But not in a boring kind of way. (7/10)

4)Tori Amos- Waitress. Maybe my favorite Tori song. "I believe in peace...bitch!" (8/10)

5)Beck- Mutherfuker. Well, here he is again. This song is oddly reminesant of my father's advice as I left the nest. (8/10)

6)Candlebox- You. Meh. (4/10)

7)The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs- Y Control. In case you haven't figured it out by now, I love chicks that rock. (7/10)

8)No Doubt- Happy now? See #2, 4 and 7 above. (6/10)

9)Bjork- Oh So Quiet. See #2, 4, 7 and 8 above. I watched hours and hours of Olympic figure skating hoping to hear this song. No dice. (8/10)

10)Nirvana- Negative Creep. Better than "Serve the Servants". Actually, this is probably my favorite Nirvana song. (8/10)

6.9! But maybe I should get extra points for featuring so many women and minorities...well, women at any rate.