Thursday playlist part 4


“Only one letter divides the comic from the cosmic.” – Vladimir Nabokov

Here is part 4 of the first night’s playlist done for my mom’s 80th birthday last year – Thursday part 4:

Thurday playlist part 3


“I wondered if memory is something you have or something you’ve lost.” – Woody Allen

Here is part 3 for the first night of the playlist made last year for my mom’s 80th birthday – Thursday part 3″

Thursday playlist part 2


“Music is always a commentary on society.” – Frank Zappa

the second part of the playlist for the first night made for my mom’s 80th birthday – Thursday part 2:

my mom turned 80 last spring




To know is not all; it is only half. To love is the other half. – John Burroughs

 in June of 2011, my mom turned 80 years old. For her birthday we rented 3 houses at York Beach for 4 days. My wife came up with the idea to create a different memento for each night. So one night we all gave her birthday cards, the next night we had bought a digital picture frame & filled it with pictures from everybody’s lives, past to present. The third night each family gave her a new framed family photo. But also (since I am a music geek) I made a playlist for each night modeled on what would have been playing on the radio during her life. So the first night would have been say from the mid-40’s to early 60’s, big band to crooners & early pop, the next night from the early 60’s to the early 70’s with surf & girl groups and for the last night, it was late 60’s to present, sort of, pop psych to off kilter electropop of today. Since there was so many of us between sons, daughters, cousins & grandkids, it was a bit noisy to be able to listen to these playlists. Each playlist was designed to last approximately 5-7 hours basically from 5, 6 or 7 pm to midnight or just beyond. I thought that I would post an hour or so of each of these playlists occasionally in order from the first night to the last night until they are all preserved here. So here is Thursday night part 1:


Sylvia Robinson has died


The only way to make love worthwhile is without caution. 

from wikipedia: Mickey & Sylvia was an American R & B duo, composed of Mickey “Guitar” Baker and Sylvia Robinson. They were the first big seller for Groove Records. Mickey was a music instructor and Sylvia one of his pupils. Baker was inspired to form the group by the success of Les Paul and Mary Ford. They had a Top 20 hit with “Love Is Strange” in 1957. The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The duo eventually bought their own nightclub, established a publishing company,  and formed their own record label.  Although Mickey & Sylvia disbanded by the end of the 1950s, they continued to record together on an infrequent basis until 1965, when Mickey quit the music industry in the United States. After that, Mickey had a successful reer as a session musician, moving to Paris. Sylvia had a hit record in 1973 with “Pillow Talk,” and  later assisted in the formation of the Sugar Hill rap label. She died on the morning of September 29, 2011, aged 75, at Meadowlands Hospital in Secaucus, New Jersey from congestive heart failure.

mickey & sylvia – love is strange

Lucky to live where I do


“Everything interesting happens on the boundaries.” – Robert Moss

            Living near Boston which has many, many colleges & college radio stations means I am almost never subjected to the repetitiveness of commercial radio.

            Don’t get me wrong, pop music in all its forms has produced some great popular, even very popular songs, but I typically enjoy more challenging fare.

           One of the great things I find among the college radio shows are bands or songs or dj’s working the boundaries where one or two or even three or four influences get mashed together so something new, greater or more interesting than the sum of the parts is created.

            Locally there are a number of these college radio shows where these types of things can often happen that I try to listen to every week during work from their archived shows.

            One great show was called House Therapy, a show on WMBR (Thursdays nights from 10-midnight EST,, unfortunately this show is no longer on the air). Awhile ago, the first hour of a show was a guest mix by a new UK transplant to the MIT community, Jake Marley Payne (DJ name is Marley-P).

             I pulled this off that show. This is a mash-up, re-edits of Fortune Teller, Cruel Summer & What Did They Say over a skankin’ dub beat, that was about 7-10 minutes in. This is just that part of the mix, about 7 minutes worth, very good:

fortune teller/cruel cruel summer/what did they say

Is this the best Boston rock 45?




All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it.” – James Baldwin

I graduated from a suburban high school near Boston in the early 70’s. Since the late 60’s the album oriented FM stations like WBCN & WCOZ had dominated the rock & roll airwaves in the area but a locally owned upstart low-powered AM station, WNTN, only on the air from  sunrise to sundown started playing new underground bands of that time like Aerosmith (hard to believe that they were once not considered  mainstream), the newly emerging prog rock & krautrock bands coming out of Europe (like Yes, Genesis, Hawkwind, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, etc.) & the gritty proto-punk bands of the American scene like the Stooges, NY Dolls and this band from Boston, the Modern Lovers.

Their first 45 actually cut in the late 60’s had gone largely unnoticed by radio in the Boston area until this upstart AM station picked up on it again.

Hearing this song coming from the tinny mono of AM like all the best Top 40 singles of the sixties was a revelation. My tastes were being challenged again, gravitating from the SF psych & country rock sound, the blues of old & the electric blues of UK rock to something much more primitive, driving, tribal. Of course, the lyrics mentioning places I actually knew, roads I had driven, were icing on the cake.

Modern Lovers – Roadrunner (original 45)

The Salvador Dali of Rock ‘N’ Roll Has Died


“The only difference between a madman & myself is that I am not mad.” – Salvador Dali

December 17, 2010 – Avant-garde rocker ‘Captain Beefheart’ dead at 69

(AFP) WASHINGTON — Don Van Vliet, an avant-garde rocker who performed under the name “Captain Beefheart” and whose artistic influence dwarfed his popular appeal, has died at the age of 69.

Van Vliet died early Friday in northern California following a long battle with multiple sclerosis, according to the Michael Werner Art Gallery, which exhibited his abstract paintings after he left music in the early 1980s.

As the gravel-voiced Captain Beefheart, Van Vliet adopted the wail of blues legend Howlin’ Wolf and melded jazz, blues and rock into a surreal mix that was never widely popular but inspired scores of later artists.

The most famous and influential of his 12 studio albums was 1969’s “Trout Mask Replica,” which was produced by Frank Zappa, who Van Vliet befriended in high school.

Rolling Stone magazine rated it number 58 in its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” and Van Vliet has been cited as an influence on Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Franz Ferdinand, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Talking Heads.

“He was like the scout on a wagon train,” Waits told the Los Angeles Times on Friday.

“He was the one who goes ahead and shows the way…. He drew in the air with a burnt stick. He described the indescribable. He’s an underground stream and a big yellow blimp.”

Van Vliet was a notoriously demanding bandleader, and several musicians circulated through Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band from the mid 1960s until the early 1980s.

For “Trout Mask Replica” he was said to have confined band members to a house for months on end and given them names like Zoot Horn Rollo and the Mascara Snake, in an atmosphere some of them later described as “cult-like.”

“If it had been produced by any professional, famous producer… there could have been a number of suicides involved,” Zappa said later, according to the BBC.

By the early 1980s Van Vliet had grown frustrated with the collaborative aspect of the music industry and left it to focus full-time on a successful career in abstract painting in which his works fetched high prices.

“Part of why I stopped doing music was because it was too hard to control the other people I needed to play the stuff, and I’d had enough animal training,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1990.

“When it comes to art, I have a real streak of fascism. I want it to be exactly the way I conceive it, and if one line is changed it’s like, ‘Hey, the hell with it, I don’t need it.'”

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

in memeoriam, a cut from one of his most underrated LP’s, recorded in November of 1967 but not released until 1971:

Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band – 25th Century Quaker

Is this the first rock & roll song?



“Dance First. Think later. It’s the natural order.” – Samuel Beckett

Jackie Breston & His Delta Cats featuring Ike Turner on guitar doing  “Rocket 88” recorded in 1951 is reputed to be the first rock & roll song. Not the first song to feature the words but the first example of what would become the dominant musical style of the coming decade. The honking sax, the rollicking piano but especially the scuzzy sound of that guitar, all became hallmarks of the best of early rock & roll and the song still kicks it today. The story goes that the band drove all night from Kansas City to Chess Records in Chicago for their studio recording début. Once there, it was discovered that a hole had been punched in the guitar amp from either the travel or getting it in or out of the trunk of the car the band rode in, hence the lo-fi rumble & fuzz sound of the guitar on this record.

Jackie Breston & His Delta Cats (ft. Ike Turner on guitar) – Rocket 88 (1951)

Is this the patient zero song?


“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you can see all sorts of things you can’t see from the center.” – Kurt Vonnegut

In 1966, a teenage garage band from NYC called the Groupies released a song on a 45  called “Primitive” that may be the epitome of the garage rock sound. Modeled after the Yardbirds version of “Smokestack Lightening” but listen closely and you can hear the future of all of rock & roll. The sneer of the vocals is pure punk, the words themselves are pure hippie idealism, the drums harken to the future of industrial music to come, the guitar and harmonica interplay with the echo effects portend the progressive & psychedelic genres of the next year or two and the overall lo-fi vibe reeks of the first hard rock that will rear its head soon after the psych & prog scene wear out their time in 4 years or so (hard rock giving way to heavy metal soon after).

Groupies – Primitive