Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rank and File

Rank and File - "Amanda Ruth"

Rank and File - "I Don't Go Out Much Anymore"

Chip and Tony Kinman formed the cowboy punk outfit Rank and File in the early 80's and released one great album, Sundown, in 1982, and a couple of okay albums over the next five years before calling it quits.

I got to hang out with the band in '82 when I worked for a student-run production company that brought the band to my college for a free concert. They were nice guys, still trying to figure out if their sound would appeal to anyone. What a great year that was at my college campus... We had free noon-time concerts from X, The Knack, Berlin, and the Blasters. I skipped way too many classes to see those shows. The Kinmans are still around with Cowboy Nation.

BONUS Cover Version (1984):

The Everly Brothers - "Amanda Ruth"

Buy Everly Brothers CDs here!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Face My Mistake

Code Blue - "Face To Face"

The Kingbees - "My Mistake"

These songs will always be linked in my mind. Both bands debuted in 1980, and both were guitar-oriented, but they didn't sound anything alike. Code Blue was formed by singer-guitarist Dean Chamberlain after he left The Motels. The band was signed to a major label in the wake of The Knack's success, and the resulting self-titled LP is now considered a classic of the new wave era. And Chamberlain looks so very cool on the cover. I always wanted to have that "look" in high school.

The Kingbees were a throwback to the 50's rockabilly sound that was becoming increasingly popular, but they didn't have the chart success that bands like the Straycats and the Polecats would have a few years later.

So why are these songs, and these bands, forever linked in my memory? Because in 1980 I had a big crush on a surfer girl named Sherri, and she let me borrow Code Blue and The Kingbees, from which I made a cassette tape, so over the years I would always listen to those albums one right after another as I flipped the cassette over. I remember being overjoyed when I bought a stereo that had auto-reverse. Anyway, Sherri went on one date with me... some forgotten horror movie, and that was the end of that. But I still listen to those albums! Thanks Sherri!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Why Should I Care?

Oingo Boingo - "Nothing Bad Ever Happens To Me"

Every time I look around this place
I see them scream but I hear no sound
And the terrible things happen down the road
To somebody else that I don't even know

From 1983's Good For Your Soul album comes a song that I still feel guilty listening to today because, well, uh... like the songs says, nothing bad ever happens to me. Nothing really bad, mind you. There's been some small stuff, but why sweat the small stuff? For the large part my life has been pretty uneventful. Not dull, just not filled with chaos and tragedy.

1983 was the year of the second US Festival, which featured Oingo Boingo, The Clash, Wall of Voodoo, U2, David Bowie, Ozzy Osbourne, The English Beat, INXS, and so many others.

It was also the year of the Beirut embassy bombing, the Grenada invasion, and the Star Wars trilogy's conclusion (or so George Lucas said at the time).

I was finally in college and relishing the fact that I could wear the same clothes three days in a row and nobody cared.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Tracey Madness

Madness - "My Girl"

Why can't she see
She's lovely to me?
But I like to stay in
And watch TV on my own
Every now and then

Hey, here's something else from 1979... Madness debuted with their timeless One Step Beyond album. Twenty-six years later, it's still just as fun and jubilant as ever. I've listened to this on LP, cassette, and CD continuously for close to three decades. Definitely a desert-island disc.

I used to make mix tapes combining two or three artists. One of my favorites was a Madness/Monty Python mix. Well, I liked it anyway. Can't say if my friends did or not. They usually roll their eyes at me.

And what exactly did we used to "stay in and watch" on TV back then? WKRP in Cincinnati, M*A*S*H, Happy Days, That's Incredible... My dad watched The Rockford Files. My mom watched Lou Grant.

We didn't have 24-hour cable TV news back then. We didn't even have Nightline, which didn't start up until the Iranian Embassy Hostage situation. Seems like that part of the world has been a part of our world ever since.

BONUS MP3 (cover version from 1984):
Tracey Ullman - "My Guy"

Buy Tracey Ullman's Greatest Hits CD here!

The Name of This Blog Is...

Talking Heads - "Memories Can't Wait"

Everything is very quiet
Everyone has gone to sleep
I'm wide awake on memories
These memories can't wait.

- David Byrne

One of the first Talking Heads songs I ever heard, from 1979's Fear of Music album.

Completely changed my view of music.

1979 was my sophomore year of high school, and pretty much when I started looking forward to escaping to college three years later. But it was a great year for music... The Clash's London Calling, Fleetwood Mac's Tusk, The Knack's My Sharona, Squeeze's Cool For Cats...

And memorable movies... Apocalypse Now, Breaking Away, Manhattan, Hair, Being There...

We'll try not to remember the Ayatollah Khomeini, Cambodia, gas rationing, Three Mile Island, and Margaret Thatcher.

BONUS MP3 (from 1981):
Madness - "Memories"

Buy Madness CDs here

First post

First post, just to test it out.

Nothing conjures up distant memories quite like a song.

That's what I'm going to do here. I'll be posting tunes from my lifetime... 60's to present, but heavy emphasis on the 70's and 80's.

Maybe there will be a memory or two for you. Maybe you'll discover some great old music. And then buy it, so some aging artist can have another royalty check to buy Viagra and Ensure.

Hey, I have an MP3 blog now... I'm cool!