Monday, April 30, 2007

3,000 MILES

3,000 MILES by Andrew Vladeck.

WOMAN I LOVE by J.J. Cale.

Andrew is a great friend of ours, and so this week we're going to feature a few of his songs. He certainly doesn't need our help getting exposure or recognition. He recently was awarded a very nice sounding International Songwriting Competition award, and is putting the wraps on a new album probably at this very moment.

But this is our blog, so I'm going to use Andrew to talk about us some more. :)

Just for some context, Amy and I met on Wednesday, March 8, 2000, at a bar near here called Von. Mayur had called me suggesting I stop by on the way home from school. Amy got a similar call to come over after she finished tutoring at the Bowery Mission. When I walked in Mayur and Janice were already there with Amy (For some reason I was carrying a telescope). Mayur has since told me that an early plan for that very night was to go to a concert to see our friend Tristan play a show, but we never made it that far. Instead we stayed at Von and then later Mayur, Amy, and I went to M&R Bar for food.

I've written before about how Amy got my Grandpa the Traces CD. That wasn't the only good impression Amy made with music during that period. She also took me to see Andrew Vladeck play a show. I'm pretty sure the first time was at Arlene Grocery. But pretty soon Andrew's shows were a handy pretext for dates with Amy. We saw him at Arlene Grocery, CB's Gallery, the Living Room, and Mercury Lounge, and plenty more places since. So it's no overstatement to say Andrew was very important in getting our relationship off the ground! Thanks Andrew!

I remember being impressed by 3,000 Miles. This recording is from much later than when I first saw him do it, but this arrangement is similar to how he was playing it then. He had this huge ensemble up on stage with him: two backup singers, three horns, organ, plus rhythm section and him.

Between those horns, Andrew's laconic delivery, the swampy milieu of songs like 3,000 Miles & You Can't Kill Time, plus the fact that I heard how easily he stripped them down, I became convinced quickly Andrew was on some J.J. Cale trip. Which was awesome. So I was excited I had found a closet J.J. Cale fan, and excited that Amy had such evident good taste.

I've uploaded a representative J.J. Cale song, Woman I Love, for your own pleasure and for purposes of comparison. (perhaps Andrew, if he reads this, will have a listen as well. I think he told me sometime later that I had been wrong, that he had never heard J.J. Cale!)

LISTEN to Andrew Vladeck.

LISTEN to J.J. Cale.

Photo: 1, 2, 3, 4.


Friday, April 27, 2007



Junior Murvin's Police and Thieves is the more well known version of this song (because it was covered by The Clash, of course), but I prefer Philistines for whatever reason. It's produced by Lee Perry, hence its stoned, otherworldly sound. We originally put this as the closing track of our Christmas CD of five years ago, Jah Monty. Enjoy your weekend!


Photo: Antumalal (4).


Wednesday, April 25, 2007


WHIP THEM JAH JAH by Dennis Brown.

Dennis Brown is known as the Crown Prince of Reggae. He occupies a place in the musical firmament that someone like Aretha, Rod Stewart, or maybe Al Green would occupy here (the choices are broad because I can only really speculate): a beloved, talented, interpreter (and as (mainly) an interpreter considered a bit conservative). A crowd pleaser.

Whip Them Jah Jah provides a really famous riddim that I'm most familiar with from the Earthquake Dub set. But I've never seen the original I'm sharing today apart from the copy we have. Which we got a few years ago from my sister in a Dirty Santa contest--four discs for ten dollars, IIRC. What a gift!


Photo: Antumalal (3).


Monday, April 23, 2007


DANGER IN YOUR EYES by The Paragons.

"Calling Studio One of the late 60s the 'Jamaican Motown' would probably be flattering Berry Gordy's company." This quote, or at least this sentiment, is well known among fans of Jamaican music. Danger in Your Eyes is a selection from The Paragons, who are a well known (or at least "seminal") rocksteady group who recorded for Coxsone Dodd. The Tide Is High, later covered by Blondie, is a Paragons song. In Jamaica, John Holt went solo and became famous in his own right, though Danger is actually written and lead by another member, Don Evans.

Danger In Your Eyes is quintessential soulful, beautifully sung, mid-tempo Studio One rocksteady. But there's something sinister about the horn hook that has made a popular choice for reworkings over the years.


Photo: Antumalal (2).


Friday, April 20, 2007


THIS IS LOVE by Sly and the Family Stone.

Last one of features from the new Sly box. This Is Love has been early vote as the biggest revelation. It's from the tail end of "Small Talk" which is either the last great or first (or even second) mediocre Sly album, depending on who you ask. It's an album I'd only ever heard singles from, so This Is Love was brand new.

It sounds more like Funkadelic's Can You Get To That than like vintage Sly, but admittedly they're all close relatives. And anyway that's not a bad thing. It's been on repeat here all week! Enjoy your weekend.


Photo: Gehry crane.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Take this badge off of me

I'm back from a productive, rewarding, but grueling trip to DC & Virginia. Amy had kindly recorded the Arsenal match (another win, here we come!), so I watched that for a bit, but this post is just an excuse to continue this week's crane blogging, this one from my office window.

Photo: Crane on F Street NW.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007


MY GORILLA IS MY BUTLER by Sly and the Family Stone.

This one is worth hearing because (a) you couldn't have heard it a week before (see Monday's post) and (b) it's called My Gorilla Is My Butler. What more do you want? In fairness, those are probably the best two things about it. The sound marks it as being from the "Riot" sessions, but there's very little of the energy, tension, or inventiveness of the stuff that made the final cut.


Photo: Cranes on the west side.


Monday, April 16, 2007


DYNAMITE! (SINGLE VERSION) by Sly and the Family Stone.

Last Thursday was a big, big day. Not because it was our anniversary (though it was, and that's important too, but for the other website, not this one), but because of the present from Amy I got for it: the long, long, long awaited Sly and the Family Stone box set. It's no exaggeration to say I've been waiting since the spring of 1994 for this, when I first got a copy of the truly awful CD release of "There's a Riot Goin' On." I remember one time going up to some awful bar/restaurant in the same venue that held The Record Plant and staring at the cover of "Riot" because it had the correct one, not the generic yellow-framed concert shot that passed for the CD release. I remember buying a copy of the UK-release in Heathrow airport in 2000 on the way back from India because I thought maybe it had been remastered. It hadn't been (but at least it had the right photo!)

So it's finally here, and it's super. The box set also includes the album "Life," which I had never seen before. And I think I had heard Dynamite! before, but I can't be sure. It's definitely worth hearing again. It's scorching. I don't think there's a more guitar-heavy song in the Sly catalogue. Happy days!


Photo: A Crane on Charlton Street.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

The wheels came off but they're finding their way back

There hasn't been a non-music post here in a week or two which is probably good. Went up to Maine, so I haven't seen the last few Arsenal matches, which is definitely good. Read a couple more books, but they're about Maine so we'll be using them at the other place--no need to blog them twice! And that's about that. I did see a somewhat disjointed and unswaggering (?) win over Bolton yesterday. Take the three points any way we can. Which is what Liverpool usually do, but not yesterday. Going down to DC again tomorrow for work, and also to visit Grandma and Mom, Mark, & the girls. Should be fun...

Photo: Crane gone bad in Waco.


Friday, April 13, 2007


POCO A POCO by Chetes.

Our last Spanish-language pop song is another Beatlesque offering, this one more in the slightly countrified Traveling Wilbury style. Poco a Poco is a sweet little tune that gets by on a friendly singalong chorus and an ascending vocal part leading into said chorus that I like a lot. Overall, I think the song is helped along by being in Spanish, because it adds a bit of differance to what would otherwise be a fairly straightforward (if not mundane) offering.

Wikipedia tells me Chetes is a big star in Mexico, very active, so keep an eye out for his next record.


Photo: Empire State sunset (3).


Wednesday, April 11, 2007



I am outsourcing this entry to Wikipedia except to ask what radio song from the early 70s this sounds exactly like right at "...Muchacha, corazon..."

I can't think of it. Anyway, Almendra:

Almendra was one of the most important rock and roll groups from Buenos Aires, Argentina in the late 1960s. Led by guitarist and lyricist Luis Alberto Spinetta, between 1968 and 1971 Almendra released a few singles and two albums that revolutionized the sound of Argentine rock for the remainder of the 20th century and almost single-handedly changed the way local rock music was respected by critics and audiences. Widely compared to The Beatles by their local contemporaries, Almendra did not survive the 1960s and the making of the difficult second album, though all individual members went on to form the backbone of Argentine rock in the 1970s.

Photo: Empire State sunset (2).


Monday, April 9, 2007



Ever since I heard this song a year or two ago, I've been desperately trying to track down this Peruvian group's two albums ("We All Together," and "We All Together 2." Original right?). But I can't find them for love or money.

This tune is really one of the best "Beatlesque" songs you're likely to hear. In true Beatlesque fashion, the song doesn't really sound like any of the Fab Four's records, more like Badfinger. Which is still pretty good!


Photo: Empire State sunset.


Friday, April 6, 2007


LONG, LONG, LONG by Elliott Smith.

This is simply one of my favorite artists covering one of my favorite songs. There's something I don't understand about Elliott Smith, in that his legacy and reputation don't seem adequate to his accomplishments. Which is strange to say, because he was certainly well regarded; but when he died, to me, it should have been a national day of mourning. It hit me hard enough at the time, but every once in a while, it even hits me hard again. I think this is just a function of listening to the music itself, which is so often so broken and desperate. I don't know. Of course, Smith loved the Beatles and here he's covering Long, Long, Long, wherein George wrote Miss Misery the prototypical Elliott Smith song, basically.

I'm off to join Amy up in Maine for some wedding planning. Enjoy your holidays!


Photo: Downeast Drilling.


Wednesday, April 4, 2007



This mid-week's cover comes from mid-period Beatles. If you've listened to Tomorrow Never Knows recently, you'll understand why so many people thought the Beatles had gone off the deep end--even now it's one of the strangest and most unsettling songs out there.

It's in that context you should listen to Junior Parker's cover. On the surface, nothing much happens here, but there's an undercurrent of the tension and energy of the original. An excellent cover.


Photo: Washington and Houston.


Monday, April 2, 2007



Amy got this off a recent compilation called "Beatlemaniacs," which has a lot of fun curios, but not much in the way of decent music. This one, though, like just about everything I've ever heard from Link Wray, is a killer. I'm not a hundred percent when it was recorded, but it's still as heavy as anything you're likely to hear on the radio, or internet radio, or whatever people listen to these days.


Photo: Trump Soho?