Meme of Solace

I’m sure the title refers to a James Bond film; I’m swiping this from SamauraiFrog.

List 10 musical artists (or bands) you like, in no specific order (do this before reading the questions below). Really, don’t read the questions below until you pick your ten artists!!!

There is something to be said for following the instructions in this case.

1. The Beatles
2. The Beach Boys
3. David Bowie
4. The Rascals
5. The Rolling Stones
6. Linda Ronstadt
7. The Supremes
8. The Temptations
9. Talking Heads
10. The Police

What was the first song you ever heard by 6?

Something early, probably “Different Drum”.

What is your favorite song of 8?

“I Can’t Get Next To You”. From the rowdy opening to the Sly Stone-inspired shared vocals.

What kind of impact has 1 left on your life?

Massive. I have a ton of their albums, both as a group and as solo artists. I know arcane things about their album releases. People say to me, “What album is X song on?” and far more often than not, I’ll say “American or British album?” And then peg both of them. There’s a picture of Lennon in my office and a photo of the Imagine imagine from NYC in my house.

What is your favorite lyric of 5?

Probably the chorus of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. “But if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.” From Let It Bleed, probably my favorite Stones album. The organ noodling of this song during the early funeral sequence of The Big Chill cracked me up, while others in the audience wondered why.

How many times have you seen 4 live?

Never, though I’ve seen them live on TV once or twice.

What is your favorite song by 7?

“Love Is Like An Itchin’ In My Heart”. What an insistent bass line. there’s a version that’s about 30 seconds longer than the single I particularly enjoy.

Is there any song by 3 that makes you sad?

Ashes to Ashes
Time and again I tell myself
I’ll stay clean tonight
But the little green wheels are following me
Oh no, not again

What is your favorite song by 9?

“Making Flippy Floppy”, probably because I saw the Talking Heads during the Speaking in Tongues tour in 1983 or 1984 at SPAC in Saratoga.

When did you first get into 2?

It’s really odd, actually. I had a compilation album with I Get Around and Don’t Worry Baby in 1965, and the Pet Sounds album in 1966, both of which I liked. But I never considered myself a real Beach Boys fan until I got Surf’s Up, which was a mainstay of my freshman year in college, 1971-72. THEN I went back and got into the earlier music, and bought the retrospective albums that came out in the mid-1970s.

How did you get into 3?

I was in my dorm room in my freshman year and somehow won Hunky Dory from my college radio station, WNPC on a radio call-in contest. I liked almost all of it; my roommate Ron only liked Changes.

What is your favorite song by 4?

“It’s Love”, the last song on the Groovin’ album, featuring flute by Hubert Laws, plus a great bass line. When I got a new turntable in 1987, the track ran so close to the label that the album would reject before the song would end; drove me nuts. Actually bought the CD five years ago largely for this one song.

How many times have you seen 9 live?

Once, but it was one of the two greatest shows of my life, along with the Temptations in 1980 or 1981.

What is a good memory concerning 2?

A mixed memory actually. I had this friend named Donna George, and I bought her the Beach Boys box set. Before she died of brain cancer a few years ago, she assigned another friend of hers and me to divvy up her music. I took the Beach Boys box, and I always remember her when I play it.

Is there a song by 8 that makes you sad?

The Temptations with a Lot o’ Soul is full of melancholy songs, but I’ll pick No More Water in the Well.

What is your favorite song of 1?

A truly impossible question. Seriously. It’s dependent on mood, what I’ve listened to recently. I’ll say Got to Get You Into My Life, but reserve the right to change that.

How did you become a fan of 10?

Almost certainly listening to WQBK-FM, Q-104 in Albany, NY, a truly great station that also turned me onto the Talking Heads, the Clash and a lot of other music of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Norman Whitfield

Grapevine, War, Car Wash

Surely, my initial appreciation for songwriter Norman Whitfield came at that juncture in the career of Motown’s Temptations in 1968 when David Ruffin, the lead vocalist on “My Girl” and most of the hits up to that point, left the group and was replaced by Dennis Edwards.

At the same time, Whitfield became the exclusive producer for the group and implemented what he freely admitted that he stole from Sly Stone: the multi-lead singer motif, best exemplified by the hit “I Can’t Get Next To You,” number 31 on this list. Also, he, along with Barrett Strong (who incidentally sang the first Motown hit, Money), wrote virtually all of their hits: “Cloud Nine,” “Psychedelic Shack,” “Ball of Confusion,” “Just My Imagination,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” to name just a few of the “psychedelic soul” tunes.


But in fact, Norman wrote or co-wrote tunes for the early Temps (“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep”) and many others:

Bright Lights, Big City by Jimmy Reed

I Heard It Through The Grapevine. This is the Pips version, which went to #2 in 1967. Rumor has it that it was covered later to even greater effect.

He Was Really Saying Something – the Velvelettes

(I Know)I’m Losing You  – the Temptations

Too Many Fish In The Sea – the Marvelettes

Needle In A Haystack– the Velvelettes

Not to mention:

Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home) – Marvin Gaye

Too Busy Thinking About My Baby – Marvin Gaye

Smiling Faces Sometimes

War – Edwin Starr

Car Wash – Rose Royce

Norman Whitfield died Tuesday, September 16, at the age of 67. He suffered from complications of diabetes and had recently emerged from a coma, The Detroit Free Press reported.

Whitfield, with Barrett Strong, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004. They won the Grammy in 1972 for best R&B song for the Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Whitfield won another Grammy in 1976 for best original TV or motion picture score for the hit “Car Wash.”

Motown great Smokey Robinson called Whitfield “one of the most prolific songwriters and record producers of our time. He will live forever through his great music.”

Songs That Move Me, 40-31

40. Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart – the Supremes.
Much of Motown lived on the bottom, and this did too, but had lots of other elements, including a great vocal.

39. Got to Get You into My Life – the Beatles.
The Fabs get soulful. I’d play the (US) Revolver album once through this song, then, if my parents weren’t home, play the song again very loudly. This made Tomorrow Never Knows particularly noisy.
Feeling: hopeful.

38. Barabajagal – Donovan (With The Jeff Beck Group)
It’s jazzy, it rocks, it has those sexy female vocals.
Feeling: love IS hot.

37. Hurt-Johnny Cash
If I included my feelings about the video, this would be even higher, maybe even Top 10. Still that insistent keyboard is quite affecting.
Feeling: sadness.

36. Season Of Hollow Soul – k.d. lang.
Very sad, very autumnal song from her pop breakthrough album, Ingenue. Unfortunately, this anime video cuts off.
Feeling: hollow.

35. Church-Lyle Lovett.
I feel like I’ve BEEN to church after this. The second song from the CD named after the sixth, seventh, and eighth books of the Bible, Joshua Judges Ruth.
Feeling: righteous.

34. Maybe I’m Amazed-Paul McCartney.
A song on the first solo LP as good as anything his old group did. the bridge and the end are especially strong.
Feeling: joyful.

33. Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
Of course, there’s that quintessential opening hook. But it’s also the shared lead vocals, the oddly effective harmony, and the Blue Moon bridge.
Feeling: good.

32. ‘Til I Die – Beach Boys
While the verse and chorus structure is evocative, it’s the end part stating the title, and the vocals wrapped around it that is most moving.
Feeling: reflective.

31. Can’t Get Next to You – the Temptations
After David Ruffin left the group, it was the wisdom of producer Norman Whitfield to cop the shared vocals motif from Sly Stone, to great effect.
Feeling: mind-blowing.


Songs That Move Me, 100-91

100. As – Stevie Wonder.
This song is good until it gets to the “preach” segment; then it’s transcendent.
Feeling: as though I were at a revival meeting.

99. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor.
Based pretty much on the strength of the vocal alone. That octave leap on “Nothing”, e.g.
Feeling: longing.

98. No More Tear-Stained Makeup – Martha and the Vandellas.
I wish I could find the lyrics to this Smokey Robinson-penned tune on the Internet, because there’s a lyric couplet in the second verse has a line that’s really a mouthful. On the Watchout LP.
No More Tear-Stained Makeup -Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
Feeling: Like singing along.

97. I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow – Foggy Mountain Boys.
The hit from O Brother Where Art Thou. It’s the quality of Dan Tyminski’s vocal, along with the harmony vocals and the instruments, that work for me.
Feeling: what a hoot!

96. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen – Santana.
The first part wouldn’t have made the list, but that the second half seals the deal. I may have become aware of Santana from the Woodstock movie, which I sat through twice.
Feeling: transcendent.

95. Papa Was a Rolling Stone – the Temptations.
It is that lengthy, luscious introduction that Dennis Edwards acknowledges added a bit of an edge to his voice when he finally got to sing “It was the third of September.”
Feeling: that I can finally exhale when the vocal comes on.

94. Losing My Religion – R.E.M.
Such a musically delicate song for such moving lyrics.
Feeling: doubt.

93. Cannonball – the Breeders.
It was loud and infectious. But what made it is the modulation of key early on. On a 4-song CD.
Feeling: I’m alive.

92. Takin’ It To the Streets-the Doobie Brothers.
The first song I heard with the Michael McDonald vocal. It became a more predictable sound eventually, but when I first experienced it, it felt fresh. From the first greatest hits LP.
Feeling: as the title says.
Also, this version from No Nukes.

91. What’s That You’re Doin’- Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder.
It came out at a point in the early ‘80s that Stevie started getting squishy (I Just Called to Say I Love You), so this was more to form. Much better than the OTHER Wonder/Macca song on the Tug of War album, Ebony and Ivory.
Feeling: Stevie’s back!


Metablogging about Someone Else’s Metablogging

I read Thirteen Blog Clichés last month, and thought I’d discover how many sins I’m “guilty” of, and whether I care.

1. The Useless Calendar Widget – don’t have one. I do have a clock, mostly because I don’t trust my computer clock which tends to run faster and faster.

2. Random Images Arbitrarily Inserted In Text – never thought to do that, but hey, maybe I’ll start!

3. No Information on the Author – well, you got my name, my city, my hometown, my profession, and more. What else would you like to know?

4. Excess Flair – not likely to happen, not by my discipline, but from the fact that I’m too technologically deficient to add a lot of widgets.

5. The Giant Blogroll – Some of the author’s readers really fussed over this one. As someone else once recommended to me, my blog I do initially for me. I refer to those links. Some I read regularly, some I use as bookmarks (Major League Baseball, e.g.) Yes, I could RSS most of them, but then I’d miss that random nature of wanting to check out Lefty on Friday when he’s going to post his questions, e.g.

In fact, I added a couple new links yesterday, first-time bloggers, each of whom I’ve known for over a quarter century: Joe Fludd, an old FantaCo artist and customer, and CD, with whom I shared a boarding house, along with nine other people, in New Paltz in the mid 1970s.

Philosophically, it’s like how I sometimes would pull out my address book, leaf through it and realize I hadn’t checked in with someone for a while, and I would give him or her a call. (Some girlfriend of mine at the time complained about me doing that; she thought I should just know who I wanted to call, and call them. I thought her complaint was nonsensical.)

6. The Nebulous Tag Cloud – don’t even know HOW to do this. I’m/you’re safe.

7. Excessive Advertisements – I resisted having any ads at all. Think I’m OK. I’m utterly fascinated, BTW, what topic my ad (that I can’t mention) will read, based on the varied topics on my blog.

8. This Ain’t Your Diary – yes, it sorta is. But generally, I leave a lot out.

9. Sorry I Haven’t Written in a While – Well, since I haven’t missed a day yet, not applicable. But I agree with the general point.

10. Blogging About Blogging – the obvious irony of the author noting that one. Occasionally guilty. Like now.

And while I’m thinking about it, how does Technorati actually work? A story about a recent post that appeared in Journalista!, but not the initial referral that ADD made. Yet other ADD stories have shown up.

11. Mindless Link Propagation – never! Only MINDFUL Link Propagation. For instance, H.R. 811, expected to be voted on today, is bad legislation. There’s this link about kissing is a story from Australia quoting a UAlbany professor. How about a baseball league with only one team with a winning record? I hadn’t read about Turkey’s previous incursions into northern Iraq in the MSM. Someone asked me to pass along this Snopes story about a virus posing as a postcard.

12. Top (n) Lists – I like them. It’s one of my favorite features in Tosy’s page, e.g.

13. No Comments Allowed – I agree with this complaint, and I am open for comments. In fact, I would like to get more comments. More, MORE, MORE.
Blogging Success Study.
Oh, the “random picture” is of Ana Ivanovic, the tennis player who lost to Venus Williams at the U.S. Open this past weekend.
My latest poll asked:
Do you know the source of the line, “Vote for me and I’ll set you free”?
19 of you said, “Of course!”
9 pf you said, “It sounds familiar but I can’t place it.”
4 of you said, “I have no clue.”
the answer is the song Ball of Confusion, originally made famous by the Temptations in 1970, and covered by Edwin Starr (1971), Undisputed Truth (1971), Love & Rockets (1986), and Duran Duran (1995). I’ve also heard the Neville Brothers perform it live a couple years ago.


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