Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, October 27, 2004
STRANGE NOTES, 10/27/04......It's now 24-hours-old news, but British DJ JOHN PEEL unfortunately passed away this week. If you measure musical heroes by what they've added to the canon and by the number of lives they've positively affected, then Peel's got to be way up the hero charts. His Radio 1 program carried on since 1967 (!), and was uncompromising in presenting the worldwide sub-underground rock scene filtered through Peel's own exceptional and far-reaching musical taste. Everyone knows about Peel Sessions; these live-to-BBC recording sessions encompassed just about every great band that ever lived in or played in England, from the early PINK FLOYD to last month's HUNCHES session. By any measurement, he was definitely one of the good guys.....speaking of England, I heard a classic pure pop song last week by a decade-old UK band I'd never heard of called the WOULD-BE-GOODS. You might not like it, because you might not like sugary pop songs sung by disaffected, femme-y girls -- but if you do, I highly recommend the band's "Emmanuelle Beart" from last year. Ms. Beart is hands-down one of the five most beautiful women in the world, but not only that, she's the subject of this fine ditty. I dug deeper into the band's back catalog this week and was sadly let down; it's really, really twee and marginal, with a sort of swinging 50s pillbox-hat, cafe-culture Paris vibe. I am sooo over pillbox hat cafe culture Paris rock!!......Hey, what the hell is going on in the first two lines of The ROLLING STONES' classic "Salt Of the Earth"? Is that a real human singing, or is that Lancelot Link with a ball of construction paper paste in his mouth? Someone once told me it was Keith Richards. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.....A few months ago I reviewed a fantastic compilation called "SONGS THE CRAMPS TAUGHT US, VOL. 1" and pronounced it a must-own. I'm happy to report that Volumes 2 and 3 are just as necessary. Who knew The Cramps covered, swiped, or manipulated so many raw and rare and just plain wacked-out songs? These CDs one-up the "Born Bad" series and add 50s-60s R&B, rockabilly and trash rock songs that Lux and Ivy only thought about covering. Each edition has over 30 tracks, and belong on your shelves next to your "T-Bird Party" and "Loo-key Doo-key" comps. Yep, that good.....finally, take a gander at the latest Tony Rettman (brother of the real Don) column over at Blastitude. It's the only place on "the world wide web" that you'll see write-ups on back-in-the-day hardcore bands YDI and THE WORST sitting next to the single best photo of ZZ TOP I've ever seen. Tony, time to start your own "blog". Blogging is a real hit with the ladies, and brands you as a true visionary, along with the other bloggers creating blogs every 7.5 seconds (a stat I read yesterday). Pepper Tony with emails on this subject, as I'd like to see his rantings a little more regularly. That's all for now, keep your feet on the ground etc.!