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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Time Machine week 48

Today we hit November 6th of 1976- and nothing happens today.  Ah, but tomorrow- tomorrow, nothing happens.  Yesterday, though, the Oakland A's became only the second team to trade a manager.  They sent manager Chuck Tanner, fresh off an 87-74 campaign, to the Pirates for $100,000 and Manny Sanguillen.  Two seasons later, Sanguillen would be back in Pittsburgh.  And in three years, Tanner would lead the "We are family" Pirates to a World Series championship.

"I was the best you could find?  Really?"
  Even a Tardis can't produce miracles!  Welcome to this week's Time Machine, and this week:  A commentary on what Laurie and I like and don't like in music;  who is Jim Burton- and not the retired NASCAR driver; a tight two-way battle for the panel's top spot; and the songs that hang around... and hang around.  Not to mention, the toughest-to-decide Martin Ten to date!  Batter up, let's go!


Our panel this week includes KCPX Salt Lake City, WHHO Hornell, NY (Dead south of Rochester), WYSL Buffalo (yeah I know, kinda close), WLS Chicago, KYNO Fresno, WDRC Hartford, CHUM Toronto, KEBQ Kansas City, KILT Houston (prolly a lot of bagpipes there), WINX Rockville MD (home of McGruff the Crime Dog), KTKT Tucson, and WRKO Boston.  The group gave us 21 different songs in their top 5s, including four #1s that didn't make the panel four:  Engelbert Humperdinck's After The Loving (Buffalo), Rick Dees' Disco Duck (Oh, nice job Chicago), ABBA's Fernando (Rockville), and the Bee Gees with Love So Right (Boston).  They did give us a 30-27 finish for their top spot, so let's get right to the panel four:

At #4 with 17 points and the number one of Toronto- the nation's #4, Chicago with If You Leave Me Now.

At #3, with 18 points and the #1s of Houston and Fresno, the nation's #14, if you can believe that, Rod Stewart's Tonight's The Night.

At #2- and I can feel Shady cringing already, and I'm sure he's not alone-  with 27 points and the #1s of Tucson and Kansas City, the national # 5... The Captain and Tennille's Muskrat Love.

And at #1... stay tuned.


Doing things a little different, I'm going to roll right to the six degrees where we ask:  If not the retired NASCAR guy, who IS Jim Burton?

Yep, if you heard Elvis live and heard the phrase, "Play it, James", he was talking about Jim Burton.  Longtime member of the TCB band that backed the King, He was also Rick Nelson's guitarist in the fifties.  A fellow fifties musician, Glen Hardin- a member of the Crickets- joined Burton in the mid seventies in Emmylou Harris's Hot Band (a record exec said he'd sign her if she put together a "hot band").  Emmylou later played herself in the semi-biographical Willie Nelson movie Honeysuckle Rose.  The theme- which Willie composed on a plane, written on a barf bag- was covered on a covers lp (cleverly titled Undercover) in 2001 by of all acts Big Country.  They covered a variety of acts, from Neil Young (Hey Hey My My), to Black Sabbath (Paranoid), to old Fleetwood Mac (Oh Well).  And they also covered the song that charted the highest nationally without any love from this week's panel- sitting at #7, Blue Oyster Cult and Don't Fear The Reaper.


Now let's take a fragment of the final verse of that song:

Love of two is one
Here but now they're gone

Came the last night of sadness
And it was clear she couldn't go on

Okay, so how many of you knew that's what was said there?  I won't raise my hand; I knew "blah blah blah they're gone/ blah blah blah and it was clear she couldn't go on."  Laurie and I were talking about why or why not she liked or not so much certain members and prospective members of the Martin Ten.  And one of those things she said was:

1- Clear, easy to understand lyrics.

In a test just now, with concentration she was able to guess fairly well what was said there, but didn't know for sure.  To be sure, this rule alone applied hard and fast would knock out half the M10 this week- along with the Elton John catalogue.  So it's not a hard and fast thing for her, obviously.  The thing is, Laurie is a lyrics important listener, where me, not so much.

So Laurie is going to like this one on the M10- the #8 debut last week from Leon Bridges:

before she likes, say Pearl Jam's Even Flow.

2- Vocals thus are important

The next thing we talked about was her statement:  "I don't like songs where the vocal is more like the background than the music."  This is definitely not a problem for me.  I can literally go years without knowing the words, as long as the singing plays in AS IF another instrument.  Thus, I am much bigger on REM than Laurie is.

And that brings us to a new to me act called Pure Bathing Culture.  They released a new lp last week of which I saved a song to the M10 pickin' list.  And she liked that new song better than an older one I also saved- which I looked into because the reviews said it "sounded like Fleetwood Mac."  Which, without the "in the background vocals", it does.  And though Laurie liked the new song because of the up-front vocals, this one makes the M10:

You'll find out where these two show up in the M10 in a bit.

And the third part of our story that got brought up last night:

3- Repetition of the wrong thing.

Last night, another of the candidates Laurie termed, "If you take the vocals out, it sounds like background noise for Halloween."  A thumping slow beat and eerie electronics. Those of you here from the start of the M10 remember me having a song at #10 for a couple weeks by a girl named Angel Deradoorian.  Her song had a lot of repeating layers in different arrangements.  Laurie didn't dislike it, but wasn't real thrilled.  There have been other examples (notably Beach House's Sparks) that she went on record against a certain melodic part that not only kept repeating, but was enough in the foreground to be annoying.   One of the last things added to Don't Fear The Reaper was a cowbell track, which at the right mix "pulled the song together".  A lot of you might not have even registered that's what that was.  And I, the guy who is constantly pulling out things like the bell in How Can You Mend A Broken Heart as something that "made the song", shot right past the cowbell.

I guess it depends on how you perceive the repeating entity.  One example is Laurie having just a slight problem with all the "I know"s in Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine, where I see it is the most powerful part of the song- and, of course, Bill only did it that way because he forgot his line and threw that in to be redubbed later, and the backing band talked him into keeping it.  Or another story- a different Deradoorian song has a chorus of one line repeated several times.  When I played it for KC, his response at this point was, "We get the fricking point!"  And yet, he will turn up the stereo and sing along with Local H's Born To Be Down....

So what are your opinions?  What are your dislikes in a song- and what'll make you compromise them?


Quickly, baby...

"Yeah, yeah, Bottom's Up, blah blah blah..."
This BU brings up an anomaly I wish to address afterwards, so let's hurry...

10- The Sylvers with Hot Line, 60 after 2 weeks.

9- Brick with Dazz, 61 in week #3.

8- Tavares with Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel sits at 63 after a whopping 23 weeks, and not only that but..

7- Lou Rawls' You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, at 67 after 24 weeks, and...

6- Peter Frampton's Baby I Love Your Way at 68 after 21 weeks.  More on this in a bit.

5- Eric Clapton's Hello Old Friend is at 71 in it's second week.

4- James Taylor Showers the People he loves with love, and they are right there at 72 after a fifteen week tour of duty,

3- Three debuts top the BU, and the first of them is Rose Royce's Car Wash at 94.

2- See if you remember this one- Daryl Hall and John Oates' Do What You Want, Be Who You Are is at 96.

And the top bottom?

Styx at #100 with the first week of Mademoiselle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The 3 twenty-plus weekers on the BU were not a rarity for this week.  In fact, they were joined by:

Hall and Oates with She's Gone at 27 weeks (though in it's second tour of duty)
Walter Murphy's A Fifth Of Beethoven, 25 weeks
Cliff Richards' Devil Woman, 20 weeks
Dr Hook's A Little Bit More, 21 weeks
Wild Cherry's Play That Funky Music, 22 weeks
England Dan and John Ford Coley's Really Love To See You Tonight, 22 weeks
 and the real surprise, Silver's Wham Bam Shang A Lang at 20 weeks

-for a total of ten tunes with twenty weeks on the chart.  The next week it was even more:  the first ten all stayed in, and they were joined by:

Boz Scaggs' Lowdown
Fleetwood Mac's Say You Love Me
Elton John and Kiki Dee's Don't Go Breaking My Heart
Annnd the Bee Gees' You Should Be Dancing.

A total of 14 twenty-genarians.  To contrast this, five years before- 1971- the hot hundred would have 0 zip nada 20-somethings, and five years later- 1981- there would be only five.

Contrast that to the current hot 100 on Billboard, where there are currently 15 JUST in the top forty, with one tune at 55 weeks and another pair at 50.  Music sure has changed.


 And now, the Martin Ten!

10- You heard (?) this one a bit ago- from 2013, Pure Bathing Culture with Pendulum, debuting on the M10.

9- World Party, who had the big hit in the 90's Ship Of Fools, had this one show up on my discover list.  It hit #5 alternative in 1993, and it debuts here at #9- it's called Is It Like Today?

Many years ago
Looked out through a glassless window
All that he could see
Was Babylon
Beautiful green fields
and dreams
and learned to measure the stars
but there was a worry in his heart

He said
How could it come to this?
We're really worried about living
How could it come to this?
Yeah we really wanna know about this

Is it like today?

Then there followed days of kings, empires and revolutions
Blood just looks the same
When you open the veins
And sometimes it was faith, power or reason as the cornerstone
but the furrowed brow has never left his face

He said
How could it come to this?
We're really living in a landslide
How could it come to this?
Yeah we really wanna know about this

Is it like today?

Then there came a day 
Man, packed up, flew off from the planet
He went to the moon, to the moon
To, to the moon, the moon
now he's out in space
Hey, fixing all the problems
He comes face to face with God

He say
How could it come to this
I'm really worried about my creation
How did it come to this
You're really killing me you know

It isn't just a day
Is it like today?
Is it like today?
Oh Bang!

Leon Bridges held at #8 for a second week with Coming Home.

The song that refuses to go quietly into any spot I try to put it in ends up moving up a pair to #7- DA Wallach and Time Machine.

Family Of The Year moves up one to #6 with Carry Me.

Surprising even to me, the Housemartins move up five spots to #5 with Happy Hour.

Cage The Elephant moves up a pair to #4 with Cigarette Daydreams.

And the Titanic Three:

Jana Kramer gets pushed out of the way to #3 with Boomerang.

Barging in to the runner up spot is WILSN's Unmeet You.

And our number ones this week? Survey says:

...the Steve Miller Band with Rock'n Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And on top of the M10...

...Beach House (big surprise there) with Traveller!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please, please let's have some input on the likes and dislikes thing, and tune in next week when we go to... 1968!


  1. Hi, Chris!

    You wrote:

    << Today we hit November 6th of 1976- and nothing happens today. >>

    False! I distinctly remember rearranging my sock drawer that day.

    Novelty numbers like Rick Dees' "Disco Duck" fueled the anti-Disco backlash and led to the downfall of Disco by decade's end. In the mid 2000s, I fell madly in love with Aggie Faltskog and her super group ABBA became one of my guiltiest pleasures. I own a large number of their recordings including Aggie's post-ABBA solo albums. I didn't like Chicago's softer rock slabs as much as their bolder, brassier rock recordings, but I give enthusiastic thumbs up to "If You Leave Me Now." The same is true of Rod Stewart. I preferred his more energetic rock workouts but also enjoyed some of his balladry including "Tonight's The Night" which features actress Britt Ekland.

    << and I can feel Shady cringing already, and I'm sure he's not alone- with 27 points and the #1s of Tucson and Kansas City, the national # 5... The Captain and Tennille's Muskrat Love. >>

    You got that right, good buddy! I'd rather hear Scrappy and Granny bark/sing that duet. :)

    It's nice to see Leon Bridges hanging in there. I appreciate his retro style. I read with great interest your discussion with Laurie. Generally speaking, based on my experience, women prefer recordings that allow them to clearly hear and understand the song lyrics. Generally speaking, based on my experience, men like the overall sound and impact of the production and do not care as much about learning the words to a song or hearing them clearly and understanding them. (See "Louie Louie.")

    Pure Bathing Culture is a new to me act as well and I dig them to the max. (Do you talk cool, too?) I saw the same Wiki article about PBC and their song "Pendulum" which stated << some critics likened in style to Fleetwood Mac. >> If I could hear the vocals more clearly perhaps I might get that similarity, but to me the millennial indie poppers sound more like a throwback to 80s New Wave pop groups.

    Very very interesting discussion continuing here about the elements to which various sets of ears respond favorably or negatively. I am a sucker for hooks and agree that the repetition of that ad lib in "Ain't No Sunshine" made it the great and memorable recording it is. Flaws and flubs left intact and released on recordings sometimes render them "perfectly imperfect" I ran a post about mistakes left on recordings a few years ago:

    Other faves that popped in this post include "Dazz Dazz - Disco Jazz" and Tavares with "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel," two examples of Disco that doesn't suck too much. I did not like "Car Wash," however. Back to faves from your post, I need to include "She's Gone," "Devil Woman," "Play That Funky Music," Fleetwood Mac's "Say You Love Me" and Steve Miller's "Rock'n Me." I wasn't as big a fan of Boz Scaggs as everybody else seemed to be at the time.

    This was a super post, Chris. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for your contribution to the discussion! I think you hit it spot in with "impact of the production", though I'll admit I wouldn't have thought it to be a gender related thing. Makes sense, though.

      Pendulum isn't so Fleetwood Mac-y in the vocals, but the melody is very reminiscent of songs like Seven Wonders, or even Gypsy. I am glad you liked it! The new- one- The Tower- isn't bad either, and holds out hope for an M10 appearance.

      The one song on your list I did know the f-up (though I didn't know for sure it was a f-up) was on I Saw Her Again. I had to play it for Laurie, which gave me a welcome opportunity to ogle Michelle Phillips. One I've always wondered on was on REMs The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight, whether when he stutters in I believe the third verse on "substantial" if that was meant to be there or Michael Stipe briefly turned into Daffy Duck.

      I'm one of them who's on the Boz train, loved Silk Degrees. Other than that ( and the lengths I would go to miss out on Toni Tennille singing to muskrats) we are in pretty close agreement.

  2. I am liking this song Pendulum. Never heard of them before. Thanks for that tidbit. Blue Oyster Cult was a big favorite of mine back in the day. And Steve Miller...oh yeah!! Great list!

    1. Wow, two votes for PBC! Maybe I am starting something! I figured I'd get you on BOC and Miller. I listened to the Big Country remakes- Reaper wasn't bad (but nothing original), but they had a cover of CCR Down On The Corner that I had to Turn. Off. NOW.

  3. November 6, 1976
    I had graduated from Navy boot camp the day before and was headed to Milwaukee for the day (why Milwaukee and not Chicago? The drinking age in Wisconsin was 18 and 21 in Illinois. Duh).
    In the Cheese City, I went to my first booby bar.
    Things haven't been the same since.

    1. I shoulda consulted my copy of Its Not Just A Job instead of Google, lol!

  4. Chris:
    This has got to be one of the MOST memorable TMs for me...very few that I either didn't like or never heard of (newbies included).
    The Jim Burton gig was really interesting.

    As to what I look for in a song that captures my attention?
    Well, when they used to have READABLE lyrics in the ALBUM JACKETS, I'd say just that - lyrics.
    (like when they tell a story to some degree).
    The music gas to have a good balance with the vocals,
    One cannot dominate the other where one gets lost.
    (and yes, that even applies to ROCK bands...I'e seen my share, too)

    It I WANT an instrumental, I'll LISTEN to
    And if I want something a Capella - well, there 'ya go then.
    (maybe that's why I like a LOT of CLASSICAL music...heh.
    BOC was one of my fave bands of that era (Tyranny and Mutation being the keeper LP then)
    Like the BU list, too...plenty of GOOD songs in that mix.
    Loved TAVARES, STYX, RAWLS and Rose Rovces's CAR

    That's thing I miss about today';s music...the ones in the 20+ weeker list.
    Well-written and well-performed..
    And those additional FOUR - icing on the musical cake.

    Good show w/. The Steve Miller Band (and one of my personal faves from the group)
    Nicely played.
    And a nice, smooth ride this week.

    Keep those hits coming up there, brother..

    1. Hmm... sounds like you buck the Shady theorem and lean towards Laurie. Glad you liked!

  5. I like to know most of the lyrics because I like the story they tell. So I like to be able to understand them. One of the reasons I like Eminem is because of the way he writes his lyrics. He uses a lot of synonyms. I also loved Dio because of his writing styles. Just amazing lyrics.

    1. Ah yes, Dio... tremendous thought put into lyrics, but many of his fans were too stoned to care what he was saying.

  6. I have a fever and the only prescription is more Cow Bell!!
    BOC has SNL to thank for introducing Fear the Reaper to many who may not be familiar with that band!
    I had the Toni Tenille haircut. I used to watch their TV show all the time but I never did care for Muskrat love. I was sad to hear they broke up a few years ago.

    1. YOU had the Toni T? That's a picture I'd like to see, lol!