Monday, December 04, 2006

New Words on Old Songs...

Love De-Luxe and Hawkshaw’s Discophonia

“Here Comes That Sound Again”

Warner Brothers

This is the first record I’ve bought from Salvation Army or any other like-minded charity shop in years. I guess I’m just sick of looking at Firestone Christmas LP’s. Piqued by the title, the same song title as a Dirtbombs tune on “If You Don’t Already Have a Look…” I call Mick up and ask him what he knows about Love De-Luxe and he says “They’re who I stole the title ‘Here Comes that Sound Again’ from.” I ask if anyone has ever asked him about it or noticed, he said, “No…until you.” So now I tell all thirty-six of you reading here. Mick claimed this song was sampled for the theme music of the TV show “Futurama” but I don’t hear it. Extremely well-executed disco in the style of Machine’s “There But For the Grace of God.” Mick is obscuro-disco expert supreme. Someone cover this soon, please. B-side blows.

Matt Gimmick

“Detroit Renaissance ‘79”

Earthbound Records

Finally got my grubby paws on this one. Lore says Gimmick was a former Stooges roadie and the songs “Rag” and “Ya Don’t Want My Name” were written and performed by the Stooges in 1970.

The title track is pure “Raw Power” excellence (pronounced x-cell-ahnce). Gimmick knew what he was doing with sweeping Williamson-esque solos tithing the grooves and his toothless Iggy yawp causing a double take.

“Rag” starts out…

“Hey hey, mama do you wanna screw?

I said girl, let me inside of you”

Damn. How do bands forget songs? I find stories like this intriguing to no end. Did they think it was a throwaway? Because it certainly doesn’t feel like one. “Rag” feels like a glimpse at…something. The Germans probably have a word for it. Like “mixed feeling of sadness and joy of receiving an inheritance.” Yeah, that’s how this feels. Glad exists, but wish it was under better circumstances.

There was a Greenhornes song they did live a few times, sung by Brian Olive, just called “Brian’s Song” or maybe “Brian’s Jam.” It was sick…the chorus groove was something like “DOOOOH-duh-DOOOOH-duh-DOOOOH-dun-DUN-NUH-NUH” with Jack Lawrence all slippery sliding all up and down his bass neck. Almost Zeppelin in its monstrosity. Then after a few runs everyone would stop and Brian would hit a high note melody and everyone would jump back in with a slick wraparound that’s not conducive to typing.

I know everyone except for Brian hated that song. Little Jack complained that it went nowhere. Brian had a solo recording he’d done of it but I had to ask him what happened to the wraparound hook. He looked puzzled, “Oh…I forgot about that part.”

“Ya Don’t Want My Name” reminds me of Judas Preist’s “Livin After Midnight.” I have dreams about the supposed lost Stooges songs…titles like “Nigger Man” and “Upper Egypt” and probably a few more too. My idea of heaven/afterlife is being able to hear these songs.

The Mynah Birds

“It’s My Time” b/w “Go On and Cry”

Scheduled as VIP 25034, April 1966

Confession time: I’ve been buying the Complete Motown Singles boxsets and not listening to them. I think I’m more enamored by the liner notes and pictures and the completeness of it all. And there’s really no way I could pass up owning a compilation of every single Motown and its subsidiary labels released from 1959 to 1972.

At the same time, I can hear “I Hear A Symphony” three times a day on Detroit radio without even trying. And these things are massive…six CD’s at a time, every couple of months. I keep hoping for some kind of extended period of incapacitation if only for the possibility to listen to all I’ve got backlogged in Hitsville.

But with the release of Volume 6 of the singles series I’ve perked up. What we find here are two never issued tracks by the Mynah Birds, a Toronto act that would’ve been forgotten had Neil Young and Rick James not been in the band.

Yes, that Neil Young. Yes, that Rick James. Gordy dropped them when word came up that James (calling himself Ricky Matthews) was MIA from the Navy. The sessions were scrapped.

In my mind this sounded like primo ’66 UK freakbeat, like the Eyes or Wimple Wench. It does not. “It’s My Time” is middle-of-the-road garage pop. Could be on the Nuggets boxset as it’s not terribly frantic or crude, but decidedly more polished. Matthews works a surprising Jagger impersonation. Young gets a quick 12-string solo. And then they all sing “Superfreak” mashed-up with “Cinnamon Girl” in perfect harmony.

The anticipation was much better than the act. “Go On and Cry” is syrup ballad bore that actually sounds like a Motown record. I want to (or want someone else to) bootleg these two songs on a 45. You could sell dozens.

As a whole, volume 6 is the most entertaining issue since the debut of volume 1. 1966 had other unissued sides by the Downbeats and wacky contest winner records like Francis Nero and Christine Schumacher. And don’t forget Loraine Alterman’s promo-only interview disc of Marvin Gaye on the Detroit Free Press label (the Come-On’s would use clips of this interview for the intro and outro of the song “Whatcha Got?” on their debut album). This is how history can be fun. Go visit your library or something.

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