The Kinks, Rats

Posted in The Kinks on April 2nd, 2012 by Willie

I was wandering around New York City feeling depressed as hell last week when “Rats” by the Kinks popped on my iPod.  It was the kind of song just randomly on my music player without my knowledge, and without me ever hearing it before.  It immediately altered my mood from depressed and sad, to something rocking, vicious, and righteous.  In this digital world where our music collections have outgrown our capacity to possibly hear it all, its a beautiful feeling when a song strikes you like a bolt from the blue.  “Rats” was written by Ray’s overshadowed brother Dave, the lead guitarist of the Kinks, and its just an awesome paranoid rocker about being lost in a city and being bitten by human vermin.  The song has some destructive non-corny power chords, and a driving forceful melody of power.  It’s become one of my favorite new Kinks songs, and it gets my pick of rocking song of the month, a category I just invented.  There is no proper music video of the song, so I’ll just post the youtube still….I’ve gotten heavily into video editing, so perhaps I’ll make my own video for this overlooked gem soon…Look out for it.

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John Lennon, George Harrison, Oh My Love

Posted in George Harrison, John Lennon, Youtube Favs on September 18th, 2011 by Willie

When the Beatles split in 1970, it was mainly a split between John and Paul.  It’s odd because George, Paul, and Ringo would have kept the group going, but because John wanted to end it, George and Ringo became as enthusiastic as John about kiboshing the whole affair.  I suppose John had more good will with the “sidemen” then Paul did, and as a result, John collaborated much more frequently with his former mates than Paul did.  In this video, I have an intimate portrait of John and George rehearsing one of Lennon’s more tender ballads, “Oh, My Love,” from the Imagine album.  It’s a cool scene where you George fiddle around with a steel guitar, and John ruminate with Yoko on their philosophies about love and sex.  You also get to see George lay down those awesome electric licks that instill in the ballad its beautiful perfection.  This video also serves as a great preview for the upcoming Martin Scorsese HBO documentary on George Harrison’s life, “Living in the Material World,” which premieres in early October.  Enjoy.

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James Paul McCartney, The Wings TV Special

Posted in Paul McCartney, Youtube Favs on August 30th, 2011 by Willie

Paul McCartney fans, do I have a present for you.  Did you know that Paul’s real first name was James?  Did you know that Paul did a music special for ABC and the BBC in 1973 called “James Paul McCartney?”  Did you know the critics hated it?  Did you know critics are mostly idiots?  Well, now that you know, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce this 7 part Paul McCartney extravaganza.  What’s extra special about this post, is that this TV special WAS NEVER released on VHS or DVD, so this is the only place you’re gonna find it for now.  You get Paul and his newly formed group Wings, featuring wife Linda and guitarist Denny Laine, performing some solo Paul songs, some Beatles songs, and some Wings songs, all with aplomb.  It’s basically a glorified series of music videos stitched together that you’ll find heard to turn off.  My only problem with the videos are Paul’s unfortunate mullet, his worst hair style ever.  Oh well, it shouldn’t stop you for enjoying the music, and it shouldn’t stop you for voting me in as CBS’s Best Local NYC blogger, which you can do by clicking here!  Paul McCartney told me to tell everyone everyday, so if you gotta problem with voting for me, take it up with the old knight himself.  Cheers!

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RIP Nick Ashford and Jerry Leiber

Posted in Youtube Favs on August 24th, 2011 by Willie

Two songwriting icons passed away yesterday, and ironically, both were halves of legendary songwriting teams.  Nick Ashford, legendary Motown songwriter, who was paired with his wife Valerie Simpson, died at 70 in Manhattan.  Jerry Leiber, partnered with Mike Stoller, co-wrote some of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits, died at 78 in Los Angeles.  Among Ashford’s greatest hits were “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” displaying his mastery of the word “ain’t.”  Leiber and Stoller churned out “Hound Dog,” “Yakety Yak,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Stand By Me.” Both Ashford and Leiber were beloved geniuses of their craft and produced songs that are etched like concrete in the public’s minds.  It’s a sad day, but on the sunny side, the great  thing about dying a master songwriter is that your music truly lives on, leaving the perfect memorial.  My little memorial comes in the form of Ben E. King’s rendition of “Stand By Me,” and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s version of “Aint No Mountain High Enough.”  Oh, and just a reminder, click here and you can vote for me every day for CBS’s Most Valuable Blogger where I am a finalist!  Thanks!

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The Jackson 5, The Love You Save

Posted in Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, Youtube Favs on July 29th, 2011 by Willie

This was the third killer single (I Want You Back, ABC) from the Jackson 5 after they made their killer debut on Motown.  It’s a song with a crazy soaring melody and complex vocal arrangement that came from the hit making geniuses “The Corporation,” the Los Angeles wing of Motown’s machine.  This performance, from Ed Sullivan, is lip-synced, but who cares, the recorded version is so insanely good that its still thrilling to see the boys go all out performing it.  For my money, this is young Michael Jackson’s greatest vocal achievement.  It’s the most exciting and challenging lead vocal he ever did, and he absolutely owns it, breathlessly showcasing his unlimited talent and potential.  It’s spellbinding to see how relaxed and confident Michael is on that stage.  He just exudes cool, even at 11 years old. I really think it’s almost impossible how god-like young Michael was.  He is simply one of the greatest child prodigies in music history, and that includes the likes of Mozart.  Unreal.

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Bob Marley, Could You Be Loved (Rare Studio Take)

Posted in Bob Marley, Youtube Favs on June 13th, 2011 by Willie

Welcome to part 88 of my youtube countdown!  Today I have a beautifully rare studio take of Bob Marley singing his 1980 masterpiece, “Could You Be Loved,” from Uprising.  This is probably my favorite Bob Marley song for those keeping score at home.  It has everything I love in a Marley song; that driving irresistible reggae rhythm, philosophical lyrics about love and self worth, and a perfect-genius-catchy melody, (a P.G.C.M.)  This video cuts Marley signing a rough vocal crossed with shots of him and others playing some soccer in Jamaica, Bob’s other passion.  This is one of those clips where a video is worth a million words, so just watch.  P.S., I got a secret internet wish.  If someone has an extra pair of the headphones Bob is sporting in this vid, please don’t be shy, and mail me a pair.  Just email me.  ; )

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James Brown, Get Up Offa That Thing, Dancing Lessons

Posted in James Brown, Youtube Favs on June 10th, 2011 by Willie

Part 86 kicks your ass.  It’s soul week at, and I got the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, in two incredible clips.  The first is a dancing lesson not meant for beginners.  It’s James in full 70s flair, just announcing steps and performing them with utter mastery.  I don’t know who this tape is supposed to help, outside his own potential backup dancers who were never in his league anyway.  It’s both really funny and truly spellbinding to see the master of dance just strut his magic.  Clip two is another rare clip of James performing his classic “Get Up Offa That Thing.”  This is a hard stomping dance funk explosion of a song.  I really believe James was the Mozart of funk and soul.  An artist without peer, a true genius plugged directly into God’s inspiration.  There is just no other explanation for his dazzling gifts.  So get up offa that thing folks, and dance till you feel better, and happy Friday.

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Bob Marley, One Love/People Get Ready

Posted in Bob Marley, Youtube Favs on March 27th, 2011 by Willie

In part 24 of my youtube countdown, we’re going to look at Bob Marley’s wonderful posthumous music video, “One Love/People Get Ready.”  Why the slashed title?  Well, when Marley wrote the song in 1965, it was inspired from an old Curtis Mayfield Impressions song “People Get Ready.”  The original cut of the song from 65, was much more heavily reggaefied, but was reworked for his 1977 album Exodus into the poppier version we’re all familiar with today.  This video was cut after Marley’s tragic death and featured many pop stars including members of Bananarama, Musical Youth, and none other then Paul McCartney, providing his immortal stamp of approval as he sings and dances along.  It’s just beautiful.  One other famous guest star?  Future super model Naomi Campbell as a little girl dancing around with Bob.  I think this is one of the greatest pop anthems of all time, a simple and true tribute to love, beauty, and peace written by one of the world’s greatest heroes.  Enjoy.

PS- Why are there Spanish subtitles?  Because youtube, in its infinite wisdom, took down the original.  Oh well, its still perfectly great.



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