Monday, July 25, 2005

Wrong 'Em, Boyo!

So Bleak published the definitive Desert Island Discs list, at least for the attenuated "brainy" crowd. And, though it's a provocative and interesting compilation, only wrongheaded in a few particulars, it might be edifying to compare and contrast, as they say, his choices with those of a somewhat younger, wiser and humbler listener. I'm putting it here because I can, before my publishing privileges here are withdrawn; regular readers, be patient, and your pages will be returned to you, rumpled but mostly intact.

1. Cowabunga! The Surf Box; Various Artists. The songs I loved when I was falling off the tailgate of the family station-wagon in Westchester, California. Typically, the songs are all-American syncretism, mixing hot guitars, cool modal melodies, Mexican rhythms and blues chords. Almost no lame vocals.

2. Seconds of Pleasure; Rockpile. The epitome of the second British Invasion; smart-alecky takes on the rockabilly tradition, some nice Everly Brothers covers, and just enough Billy Bremner.

3. Musical Shapes/Blue Nun; Carlene Carter. The former album was a favorite of mine in 1980, and it is still the most notable offspring of Nick Lowe's marriage to Carl Smith's daughter. But, with the passage of time, the latter album, linked to it on a CD reissue, is the true gem. Great rock from the greatest living member of the first family of country music.

4. Flex; Lene Lovich. Farther out than her initial release, the mid-European synth-punk exoticism of Lene and Les hit its height. Her unknown follow-up album is represented on the CD issue with a few cuts.

5. Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus; Spirit. The family that plays together. I've listened to it way too much in the last thirty years, and in a way I'm tired of it, but it's better, over all, than Clear or Tent of Miracles. God bless you, Kapt. Kopter!

6. Terminal Tower; Pere Ubu. The monster and his oily reptile of a dissonant avant-rock band. Some may wax poetical of Clapton or Emerson; I'll take Ravenstine and Maimone.

7. Jerry Lee Lewis; Jerry Lee Lewis. The 1979 comeack album, produced by Bones Howe. All killer, no filler.

8. Rockabilly Filly; Rosie Flores. A better tribute to Buddy Holly than any number of gag-inducing Don MacLean songs. Rosie is a walking dream and one red-hot mama.

9. Keynsham; Bonzo Dog Trouser Experience. The original LP, for the sake of the Stanshall cover, the methodically maniacal sleeve notes, and the pretentious reference to Mallarme. Pretty good as rock, pretty funny as comedy, pretty scary as a road trip back to Cannabis Street.

10. Lord Upminster; Ian Dury. Short but sweet, the chief Blockhead hits a groove with Sly and Robbie. Anchored by the giddy, and still-offensive, punk pulsar, "Spasticus (Autisticus)". Reason to be cheerful, number 491.