PHASING OUT VOLUME ONE:
A Mix Made Entirely From Records Sitting Next To My Record Player
David Brown / Decemeber 2016
- Webley Edwards – “Fire Godess”
Webley Edwards was a white man from Oregon with an outstanding first name. He hosted a radio show about Hawaiian music, which is widely credited with introducing their musical traditions to the rest of the United States’ white people. Most of the Hawaii Calls LPs make me feel like I’m at a very stiff hotel-resort. Do you remember going to the circus as a child and feeling bad for every animal? Every clown? Like that. Not the Fire Goddess LP. This record is otherworldly, and oddly appropriate for a Midwestern winter.
- The Shirelles – “It’s Love That Really Counts”
I was doing the dishes the first time I ever heard this song.
- Françoise Hardy – “I Just Want To Be Alone”
It is a little strange when Françiose Hardy sings in English, like if a fish walks on its flipper. Still though, what if that fish walks very well? What if that fish walks better than most who walk every day?
- Annette Peacock – “Don’t Be Cruel”
Annette rips the torch from The King’s banana-and-peanut-butter-covered mitts and burns down the patriarchal rock-n-roll castle with the most sensual groove the 1970s has to offer. I’m not sure if Elvis would have liked it, but it doesn’t really matter what a dead man thinks, does it?
- Yoko Ono – “Yang Yang”
“Whether you like it or not, you’re part of the transition
and whether you dig it or not, we outnumber you in population
leave your private institution, get down to real communication
leave your scene of destruction, and join us in revolution.”
The grooviest track from Yoko’s best record, Approximately Infinite Universe. This recording was made from the B-Side of my 45 of “Death Of Samantha”.
- Steven John Kalinich – “Be Still”
Sublime words from a beautiful man. This kind of brilliant thought on the topic of love is, unfortunately, now basis for the vapid, sound byte-ridden notion that love, all on it’s own, can cure what ails our world. Reject what needs rejecting and accept what need accepting. Be still and listen.
(Brian Wilson on Organ!)
- The Beach Boys – “Little Bird”
I could listen to this song for hours but it’s only 2 minutes long. Further proof that Dennis might have been the best Beach Boy. This is the mono mix from the Capitol 45, not the Friends LP.
- Robert Drasnin and His Orchestra – “Voodoo”
I bought this record because of the insane amount of exclamation points on the cover. It’s one of the best exotica records I own. The liner notes say that Dransin cut his teeth in an orchestra directed by a guy called Skinney Enis. You can’t make this shit up.
- Sam and Dave – “I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down”
Sometimes I get stuck in a frighteningly trained, certainly obtuse, and altogether ridiculous mindset in which I only favor the labyrinthine and I forget about the power of the visceral. Lyricism, like many other things, is an open-ended question with loads of right answers. How is “I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down” any less profound or moving than the best moments from Dylan? Lorca? How is this lyric not the same line item addressed by Samuel Beckett? John Donne? Desi Arnaz?
“Simple as love is, yet it confused me
Why I’m not loved the way I should be
I live with heartache
I room with fear
I walk with despair
I wrestle with tears”
- The Skyliners – “The Loser”
Reminds me of Scott Walker, but sometimes everything reminds me of Scott Walker. Charlie Brown Sings Scott Walker. I purchased this 45 right after Hilary Clinton lost the election, so I will forever think of her when I hear this song. Sorry, Madam Secretary.
- Damon & Naomi – “In The Morning”
This is taken from a bootleg version of the ex-Galaxie 500 rhythm section’s album The Wondrous World of Damon & Naomi, which is supposedly from a tape the producer (Shimmy Disc Impresario / Noisy Rock n Roll 5-Star-General / cool hair-haver, Kramer) had sitting around on the shelf—his original vision of the record. Or something. I mean, who really cares? It sounds great. The vocal melody floats around slowly like I like, and the album also has an incredible version of The Band’s “Whispering Pines”.
- Mary Hopkin – “Goodbye”
Written and produced by Sir Paul, the one we all know. It’s better than the folky McC-penned tracks the Fabs were putting to tape at the time too. Less self-conscious, maybe. To paraphrase Long John, he could be a great lyricist when he wanted to be:
“Songs that lingered on my lips excite me now
And linger on my mind”
There’s a difference between clever expression and trying to be clever, and Paul was not always on the right side of that fence. He is here. Too bad the rest of Mary’s Postcard album isn’t this good.
- Jacques Perrey & Gershon Kingsley – “Cosmic Ballad”
Lab coat jams.
- Brigitte Fontaine – “J’ai vingt-six ans”
Oh man. What can be said?
- Marisa Anderson – “Red Sky”
Watching snowflakes float forever without touching the ground. Until they melt.
- Bert Jansch – “The Bright New Year”
A song like this is most powerful before it is played for anyone. I wonder how many times he played it before the time we hear on Birthday Blues. How much had its power diminished?
- Musicians from the Pura Paku Alaman, Jogyakarta – “Golden Rain”
An exit theme for a royal function, sometimes in my head as I wander the grocery store. Parsley, parsnips, green beans, rainbow chard.
- Sand – “May Rain”
Can, Kraftwerk, and Neu! are great, but there are other Komische geniuses. Here is a favorite of mine.
(ACHTUNG: Julian Cope’s amazing book, Krautrocksampler, is the best guide to your new favorite world and it can be downloaded in PDF form for free)
- Harry Nilsson – “Rainmaker”
I want to kiss this drummer on the mouth. My favorite version of this song is by Bobbie Gentry (on her Rick Hall-produced LP Fancy) but it is probably for arbitrary reasons. Or, more accurately, I have always had a serious crush on Bobbie Gentry. Her voice is cold sweet tea, but nobody sings like Harry. The pitch modulation in the final verse may be an old Perry Como kinda trick, but wait’ll you hear what one full step up does for his pipes!
- The Sundowners – “Sunny Day People”
An old man who I didn’t know at the time gave me this record. “I hate this,” he said. “I think you will love it.”
- The Newbeats – “Pink Dally Rue”
The B-Side of the single after “Bread and Butter”, which I cannot stand. “Pink Dally Rue” makes me want to destroy something but also reminds me of something that would be playing in the background at Big Al’s on Happy Days. Its inclusion here may be solely for myself.
- Michael Nesmith – “Calico Girlfriend”
My favorite Monkee as a child. My favorite Monkee as an adult. He may have been the one with the trust fund, but he was also the one with the talent.
- Kim Jung Mi – “Your Dream”
These guitars are so out of tune. I don’t think I would like the song as much as I do if they were in tune with each other. I feel like a rubber band is wrapped around my head. Tightly. Her voice is perfect. There are a few phrases here that make my skin feel a certain way every single time I hear them. Clammy or something. That may sound creepy, but it is true. Maybe I’m a creep, but I think this song might just be incredible.
- Randy Newman – “Last Night I Had A Dream”
I heard this song once in a dream. In color. That’s all I’m going to say.
- David McWilliams – “Days Of Pearly Spencer”
Never pass on a dollar bin LP with a guy who looks kind of like John C. Reilly, wearing a paisley shirt, and holding a guitar on the cover.
- Tommy Roe – “Moontalk”
King Square teams up with Curt Boettcher, architect of impossible sunshine pop and makes a 70% perfect record. Scope The Millennium’s Begin or Bobby Jameson’s Color Him In album for more great examples of Boettcher’s sound.
- Peter Grudzien – “Redemption and Prayer”
From The Unicorn, which is one of the best records I have ever heard. No question.
- Phil Ochs – “The Crucifixion”
I will be in the corner of any rising star whenever they thwart their own fame with material that one might call an “artistic overreach”. This is Phil’s best moment. Period. It is also arranger Joe Byrd’s best moment. Better than his contributions to United States of America and the Field Hippies. Join us in the corner!
- Public Image, LTD. – “The Flowers of Romance”
The most punk record that most punks hate.
- Jon Hassell – “Dream Theory”
Found in the basement of a little monster and purchased for 50 cents. Sometimes we measure great art monetarily.
- Laurie Anderson – “Sharkey’s Night” (Home Of The Brave Version)
I want to poke people in the eye when they call Laurie Anderson “Lou Reed’s wife.” The version of this song on her Mister Heartbreak LP features William S. Burroughs, but this live cut sounds like a glorious battle and, thus, wins out. Plus, Adrian Belew is making those crazy sounds with a guitar (for further proof of Mr. Belew being the absolute best without getting enough credit, reference the expanded version of The Name of This Band Is The Talking Heads).
- Stanly Black and His Orchestra – “Babalu”
We were talking about Desi Arnaz earlier, remember? He had a hit with this tune, but this version is something altogether different—the best track from a Phase 4 stereo demonstration record. The mix encourages the white, upper-middle-class housewife to follow the voices and percussion, like a puppy watching a ping-pong ball, from speaker to speaker, and explains the purpose of the exotic instruments (“the balsawood maraca”, etc., etc.) in perfectly condescending pseudo-academic tone. I’m glad that whole era is over, but this shit is a blast. Be that puppy. Follow those voices. “Babaluuuuu,” calls your soul. “Babaluuuuu,” you answer.
- Gene Autry – Ridin’ Down The Canyon”
What if we could all end each day with Gene Autry singing this to us while trotting leisurely down a winding mountain trail?