Impact (Part Deux)

I was really quite enthusiastic about the whole idea when Barry first tagged me on Facebook and proposed it. At first, it sounded all too simple, too easy.

The rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you’ve heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes.

Hmmmm. Fifteen albums that had a big impact on me in fifteen minutes.

A tall order considering how expansive my overall music collection. In order to fulfill Barry’s criteria, though, the albums I chose would have to have as much of an impact today as the first day I encountered them. The obvious popular choices did not make my list, nor did a long list of Zappa/Mothers titles, either. One could say that the one Mothers of Invention title on my list no doubt encompasses all of Zappa’s work. This was a list about the personal impact of fifteen particular albums, right off the top of my head [therefore, probably the most honest].

So, here’s my own personal annotated list, followed by an audio sample from each album (in no particular order of importance):

  • Uncle Meat – The Mothers of Invention
    Discovered this album this same year I bought my first Sony Walkman (1979) and spent the latter part of Grade 11 in High School rabidly consuming this album’s mixture of avant garde, classical, jazz, doo wop, blues and rock and roll while cutting class. Possesses early elements and techniques which every other Zappa album either benefits from, or owes a debt. The vinyl album sounds as fresh today as the date it was recorded.
  • Project X – Uncle Meat (1969)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Abbey Road – The Beatles
    I’ve never been an overwhelming fan of the Beatles, even when they released the ever-popular Sgt. Pepper’s and the White Album. Abbey Road, though, is their tightest effort by far – ironic since they were barely functioning as a band in 1969 and Abbey Road really should have been this band’s swan song. Let It Be, like most other Beatles albums, had great songs, but lacked the central unity of an Abbey Road which is why it’s just as cohesive as a whole album when I hear it now.
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – Abbey Road (1969)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • What Do You Want From Live – The Tubes
    One of the best live albums ever recorded. The early studio albums do not do justice to this band. Not until you have heard them live, or better yet, seen them live, can you appreciate this band’s insane musical brilliance. This album captures them at their height of musical mayhem at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on March 9th, 1975. I was immediately addicted.
  • I Was A Punk Before You Were A Punk – What Do You Want From Live (1978)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Black Oak Arkansas – Black Oak Arkansas
    This self-titled debut album by Southern Rock band Black Oak Arkansas, released in 1971, combines multiple guitar players with the raspy “Beefheartesque” voice of vocalist Jim “Dandy” Mangrum. Growing up on the Canadian prairie, I was immediately drawn to Black Oak’s mixture of rural sound, instrumentation, and ethos.
  • Uncle Elijah – Black Oak Arkansas (1971)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Stand In The Fire – Warren Zevon
    There’s something about L.A.’s Roxy theatre that brings the best out of who performs there. Zevon is no exception. I bought this live album in 1980, and from the first track to the supposed parts the dog ate (which by 2007 were miraculously rediscovered), I recognized all the unbridled energy that was captured in my flimsy vinyl copy of Zevon’s alcohol-fueled rock madness. I played it over and over again until the record was unlistenable, by which time, it had been allowed to go out of print. I would have to wait 25 years for a Japanese limited edition, LP replica sleeve on CD in 2006, and a remastered and expanded edition from Rhino the following year. I paid through the teeth for both. It was well worth the cost.
  • Poor Poor Pitiful Me – Stand in the Fire (1980/2007)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Fire Of Unknown Origin – Blue Oyster Cult
    Last album with original line-up. Has a tight and cohesive feel since many tracks were written for the soundtrack of the movie, Heavy Metal (although only “Veteran Of The Psychic Wars” was used). Along with 1977′s Spectres and 1980′s Cultösaurus Erectus – a thinking man’s heavy metal band.
  • Joan Crawford – Fire Of Unknown Origin (1981)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Inner City Front – Bruce Cockburn
    In 1981, I was seventeen years old living in a one bedroom basement suite and going to a vocational college during the day to get my matriculation so I could enter university. Those nights while I studied, I had but one tape: Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Inner City Front’. Perhaps it was those long hot muggy evenings of listening to one side, flip, another side, flip, and yet another side of this album – along with Cockburn’s 1980 album, ‘Humans’ – that made this album become virtually second nature to me. Some albums are funny that way.
  • All’s Quiet On The Inner City Front – Inner City Front (1981)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Catholic Boy – The Jim Carroll Band
    Author of the Basketball Diaries and Living at the Movies (poems), Carroll brought his considerable wit and voice and presence to The Jim Carroll Band’s 1980 debut, Catholic Boy. At once, his songs have a minimalist power about them without overpowering the listener, while combining an obvious literary ethos few popular songs possessed in 1980, or now.
  • City Drops into the Night – Catholic Boy (1980)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • The Turning Point – John Mayall
    A live album by John Mayall, featuring British blues music recorded at a concert at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East on July 12, 1969. The lack of a drummer gave this album a very distinctive style from all other Mayall albums. From my very first listen, I was completely enamoured. In 2001, a remastered CD including three additional tracks from the same performance was reissued.
  • The Laws Must Change – The Turning Point (1969/2001)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • New Skin For The Old Ceremony – Leonard Cohen
    As a Canadian, being a fan of Leonard Cohen is pretty much a given. He’s a national treasure that I was fortunate enough to meet and speak with at length once in the mid 1980s. If I had to choose a period of his career I like best, though, it would be his early career. One man, one guitar. No album better illustrates this period of his career, though, than ‘New Skin For The Old Ceremony’. Each track on it appears on every known ‘best of’ compilation. That says something about an album (besides his debut album, of course).
  • A Singer Must Die – New Skin For The Old Ceremony (1974)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
    Whether it’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Animals’ or ‘The Wall’ – the presence of Syd Barrett in one fashion or other is unavoidable. It all starts with ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, and in particular, “Brain Damage”.
  • Brain Damage – Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Crisis? What Crisis? – Supertramp
    One of Supertramp’s most underrated albums. Constantly found in record store half price bins. Why? That’s beyond me. To me, ‘Crisis? What Crisis?’ is just as good, just as progressive as ‘Crime Of The Century’, ‘Even In The Quietest Moments’, and ‘Breakfast In America’. Although the following track was only available as a bootleg at the time I first heard ‘Crisis? What Crisis?’, it’s presently been available since it’s release in 2001 from ‘Is Everybody Listening?’ – a live album taken from the 9 March 1975 recording during the Crime of the Century tour at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. Pick up both.
  • Another Man’s Woman – ‘Is Everybody Listening? (1975/2001)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones
    Part of that unique community of West Coast musicians and singer songwriters in and around southern California and Los Angeles in the late seventies moving with the likes of Lowell George, Tom Waits, and Chuck E. Weiss. Her eponymously titled debut album yielded 11 tight, jazz infused hipster songs that garnered her a well deserved Grammy. Every time I listen to this album I am reminded that sometimes good guys (and gals) do win sometimes, and deservedly so.
  • The Last Chance Texaco – Rickie Lee Jones (1979)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • At the Fillmore East – The Allman Brothers Band
    Double live album released in July 1971. Showcases the band’s mix of blues, Southern rock and jazz. Showcases the late Duane Allman’s slide guitar. What more needs to be said, except “Whipping Post”.
  • Whipping Post – At the Fillmore East (1971)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Greatest Stories Live – Harry Chapin
    I never cared much for Harry Chapin’s studio albums. Although he really could tell a story in song, his studio albums often came across as too trite to me, at least in a musical sense, as though something essential was missing from the Chapin recipe. Upon hearing ‘Greatest Stories Live’ I knew instantly what ingredient was missing – an audience. In every track, Chapin and his band come alive in the presence of an audience. I have heard enough Harry Chapin field recordings since to confirm this assumption. I have also seen him perform live (six months prior to his fatal accident) myself, so I can confirm at least that much personally. His greatest stories are, indeed, best heard live.
  • 30,000 Pounds of Bananas – Greatest Stories Live (1976)

    Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Read. Listen. Discuss.

36 Responses to “Impact (Part Deux)”

  1. Slap says:

    Excellent list. I especially appreciate your inclusion of BOC (though Secret Treaties made the biggest impression on me — Astronomy still floors me to this day), Black Oak (and I thought I was the only one who remembers how utterly FIERCE they were as a live entity — three guitars and Tommy Aldridge on drums, yowza) and that Tubes album. I was fortunate enough to see them on the US leg of that tour — in fact, it was virtually the same setlist, only no Mingo Lewis. I heartily concur — from a musical standpoint, that album is an extraordinary document of an extremely talented and well-rehearsed band that beats the hell out of their studio output.

  2. A.F. Harrold says:

    To add to everyone else’s here’s a randomly ordered 15 from me…

    1 FZ – BBYNHIYL
    2 FZ – Weasels Ripped My Flesh
    3 FZ – Roxy & Elsewhere
    4 Charles Mingus – Mingus Plays Piano
    5 Robyn Hitchcock – I Often Dream Of Trains
    6 Prince – Parade
    7 XTC – English Roundabout
    8 XTC – Apple Venus, Vol One
    9 Mike Keneally – Nonkertompf
    10 Leonard Cohen – New Skin For The Old Ceremony (I can’t disagree with Urban about this)
    11 Flanders & Swann – At The Drop Of A Hat
    12 Jethro Tull – Thick As A Brick
    13 Ian Dury & The Blockheads – New Boots & Panties
    14 John Betjeman – Banana Blush
    15 Misty’s Big Adventure – The Solar Hi-Fi System

    Everyone a winner. And, needless to say, fifteen isn’t enough…

  3. urbangraffito says:

    I don’t know what it is about southern rock groups – they are too often treated like rock and roll’s red headed stepchildren that nobody wants to actually admit they are any relation. Since I began posting at KUR I’ve made it no secret that I have a real soft spot for southern rock (and if you happen to listen to some of the FZ as DJ radio recordings, you’ll discover that FZ had a soft spot for them too) – particularly, Black Oak Arkansas, The Allman Brothers Band, The Outlaws, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Molly Hatchet. They certainly set the stage for today’s boogie and jam band’s The Black Crowes, Raging Slab, Drive By Truckers, Kings of Leon and Nashville Pussy.

    One thing that my list also illustrates is the importance of live music as part of a band’s overall recorded work. Each of the groups mentioned were, indeed, fiercely LIVE entities – especially in the prime – the 1970s.

  4. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    southern rock groups – …are too often treated like rock and roll’s red headed stepchildren that nobody wants to actually admit they are any relation.

    Really?! Considered that way by whom? Maybe in Canada, but here in the States, those groups were and are rock GODS (particulary Skynyrd and Allman bros. and Molly Hatchet). I will never forget moving my then-girlfriend into her dorm at Princeton University in the late 70s, and blaring from, I kid you not, FOUR different open windows was none other than ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. Princeton, New Jersey; Sweet Home Alabama. I remember us looking at each other with a ‘what the fuck?’ look on our faces…

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    if you happen to listen to some of the FZ as DJ radio recordings, you’ll discover that FZ had a soft spot for them too)

    He did? I didn’t know that. I gathered that he liked Duane, but what else? Not disputing you, just didn’t know.

  5. urbangraffito says:

    For those of us, like you and I, who viewed southern rock groups as the rock idols and GODS that they were (and, yes, particularly Skynyrd and Allman bros. and Molly Hatchet) I never could understand why during the 1980s (remember, the age of hair metal and neon colored leathered pants and hair) these bands were suddenly frowned upon. Even today, nothing really matches their unique sound. While FZ never came out and actually endorsed any particular group, one can garner from those he played while a bogus DJ on various stations that he certainly felt an affinity for some over others [http://onovoeovelho.blogspot.com/2007/08/frank-zappa-gws-project.html] – blues, doo wop, roots music, and southern rock.

  6. jonnybutter says:

    The 80s were skewed. It was the Reagan and Thatcher Cultural Revolution. An aberrant period, IMO.

    Hey, completely OT, but this is too funny, especially for fans of the One Size Fits All cover. It’s a periodic table of rejected elements:

    I think they stole the idea from OSFA, but it’s funny anyway.

  7. jonnybutter says:

    am I not allowed to put a link? I’ll try what UG did..

    [http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/99aug/9908elements.htm]

  8. Dark Clothes says:

    It’s funny how that guy in the audience yelling Whipping Post! sounds almost exactly like the guy asking for the same song at the Helsinki concert. But don’t you think Frank’s puzzled reaction in Helsinki, almost as if he doesn’t know the song at all, belies a special relationship with Southern rock? Perhaps he acquired a taste later, when rehearsing the Allmann Brothers song.

  9. Thinman says:

    A quote from Dark Clothes:

    … Perhaps he acquired a taste later, when rehearsing the Allmann Brothers song.

    To my knowledge lots of the cover songs were arranged and rehearsed by other people in the band (e.g Stairway To Heaven and the Beatles’ songs by Mike Keneally for the ’88 tour.

  10. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    For those of us, like you and I, who viewed southern rock groups as the rock idols and GODS

    *I* didn’t view them as rock gods vis a vis my own little pantheon, but they were certainly seen that way here in the States, and not only here. I’d say that the aura of Southern Rockness was coveted strenuously by british groups too for a while there, from the Stones to Rod Stewart/Faces. And then there was the whole west coast version – Pure Prairie League, Burrito Bros. etc.

  11. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    For those of us, like you and I, who viewed southern rock groups as the rock idols and GODS

    *I* didn’t view them as rock gods vis a vis my own little pantheon, but they were certainly seen that way here in the States, and not only here. I’d say that the aura of Southern Rockness was coveted strenuously by british groups too for a while there, from the Stones to Rod Stewart/Faces. And then there was the whole west coast version – Pure Prairie League, Burrito Bros. etc.

    Forgive me for putting words in your mouth, jonnybutter. I concur, they were certainly popular in the States and elsewhere during their heyday of mass popularity in the 70 and early 80s.

  12. jonnybutter says:

    Sorry if I seemed touchy UG. Didn’t mean to. I was never a fan of most of that stuff, but…different strokes.

    Black Oak AK definitely is the outlier. They had some popularity back in the day, but they didn’t endure quite like the others (as far as I know). Don’t know why. I don’t remember any of their stuff anymore, except one which I believe was called ‘Lord Have Mercy On My Soul’, which was about – naturally – the DEVIL taking over the singer’s soul. I used to think it was hilarious and preposterous at the time – blow it out yo ASS, motorcycle man! – but I was young and intolerant, so who knows?

  13. Dark Clothes says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    A quote from Dark Clothes:

    … Perhaps he acquired a taste later, when rehearsing the Allmann Brothers song.

    To my knowledge lots of the cover songs were arranged and rehearsed by other people in the band (e.g Stairway To Heaven and the Beatles’ songs by Mike Keneally for the ’88 tour.

    Of course, but Zappa selected the songs and had the most important ideas about the arrangements. My point is that he might have dug into the Allmann Brothers’ catalogue after the Helsinki request, rather than following them from the beginning.

    On the subject of Whipping Post, I have to say that as much as I like Zappa’s cover versions, none of them measure quite up to the greatness of the Allmann Brothers live version here.

    The Helsinki Whipping Floss Montana is almost as good, though!

  14. Slap says:

    Dropping two cents here….

    My own take on Southern rock: I never considered the Allmans to be in the same bunch — they’re a blues band, and a brilliant one. I kinda get why the bands were popular, but my real problem with many of them was the celebration of redneck-ness. Having spent quite a lot of time in Skynrd’s hometown, I can’t separate my distaste for the place from their music.

    Anybody who flies the confederate flag as though it’s harmless expression usually gets my scorn.

    And all that’s just my perceptions, I don’t look to convert or criticize anybody who loves these guys. There are enough acts that I personally love who cause the opposite reaction in others. (I mean, I deeply admire Henry Cow — but I realize they’re not everyone’s cuppa, and have heard the “THAT’s not music” line quite often….)

    I was a huge fan of Black Oak. I love the Allmans. I loved Wet Willie. (Jimmy Hall — what a voice!) I grew weary of the SoCal variety of sanitized country-rock pretty quickly — too bloodless for my taste.

    The newer wave that’s being called Americana has some interesting, quirky adherents — Wilco and Whiskeytown, for example. And there are plenty who are influenced by, and ride on the shoulders of, the southern rock types who went before.

    I’ll say this, though — I’m always delighted at how different our paths are, yet we all intersect here, with a love of FZ as the common denominator.

  15. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    my real problem with many of them was the celebration of redneck-ness. Having spent quite a lot of time in Skynrd’s hometown, I can’t separate my distaste for the place from their music.

    Anybody who flies the confederate flag as though it’s harmless expression usually gets my scorn.

    I’m with you there, Slap, about the redneckness and the Confederate flag. It’s understandable that people from other countries wouldn’t know what that flag means, but most Americans – most definitely including Southern Americans – also don’t know. It’s not about some benign ‘heritage’. Variations on the Confederate flag were adopted as State flags in southern US states in the *1950s* (that’s right, you read right), as a big ‘fuck you’ to the civil rights movement, in which context that flag means: segregation (Apartheid) now, segregation forever. It means: we rebelled against the US to maintain SLAVERY. They can pretend it meas something else, but it just doesn’t.

  16. urbangraffito says:

    Exactly how do Southern Rock bands such as Black Oak Arkansas, The Allman Brothers Band, The Outlaws, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, The Black Crowes, Raging Slab, Drive By Truckers, Kings of Leon and Nashville Pussy celebrate redneckness? It seems to me what these bands actually do celebrate, for the most part, are identifiable and enduring American motifs of economic, political, and religious corruption which date as far back as post civil-war reconstruction. One of the reasons why I have always been such a big fan of Southern Rock, generally, and southern roots music, specifically, is because of the authentic oral history which comes along with it. The music is as much a part of the fabric of the American south as is it’s literature, it’s satire, and yes, it’s dark racist history – as symbolized by the Confederate flag adopted as State flags in some Southern states in the 1950s. And very much like the music, itself, the history of the south is too convoluted, too complicated to provide any easy explanations. I find the history of the American South a lot more intriguing than much of US history gives them credit – in particular, the long oral history of the South.

  17. Slap says:

    Urban, I appreciate your perspective. Can’t speak to much about the new folks you mention, though I was unmoved by the live performances I’ve seen by both Slab and KOL. (Regarding KOL, I’m truly mystified at their current level of success — they just don’t catch my musical interest.)

    BOA, the Allmans and the Crowes are clearly Southern, but their celebration of southern-ness came much more from musical concerns, to my ear — and the scope of their work stretches far beyond their roots (there’s a reason Chris Robinson is on the short list to step in for Rod Stewart for the Faces’ reunion, and I frankly can’t see Jimmy Page having a sit-in with Skynyrd….) And BOA were just freaking odd, to begin with — a bunch of Arkansas hippies living in a commune, starting out as a psychedlic band….! In that, they share more with ZZ Top, another band that’s Southern whom I like.

    TO ME, Skynyrd are indefensible. And their recent descent into total reactionary jingoism has not improved my opinion, to put it mildly. I’ll go on record as liking Tuesday’s Gone, however.

    But I do not expect others to share my view, nor do I rationally expect to fully agree all the time with people whose opinions I respect; FWIW, you’re one of those.

  18. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    It seems to me what these bands actually do celebrate, for the most part, are identifiable and enduring American motifs of economic, political, and religious corruption which date as far back as post civil-war reconstruction.

    Did you mean to say that they *celebrate* corruption?

    Slap says what I was going to say – there is a difference between being Southern and being redneck (you don’t have to be either to be the other, BTW). Looks like we were both talking about Skynard – and I’d add the Skynard wannabes who have proliferated in Country these days.

    Also, although I was *very* late to the party, I now feel the same as Slap about ZZ Top. An album they did about 10 years ago called ‘Rhythmeen’ absolutely kicked my ass. The songs and playing are good, and the production is just stellar – the SOUNDS they got are just incredible. On the song from that album called ‘Loaded’, Gibbons’ guitar track was recorded and played over shortwave radio, which sound was then recorded off the air and flown back into the multitrack. It’s an unforgettable and unique phasey kind of sound, which works brilliantly with the song.

    ZZ puts the ‘power’ in ‘power trio’ – three guys sound as thick and gargantuan as a tank rolling down the street, especially in the studio.

  19. Bálint says:

    (It’s interesting to hear this about ZZ Top. I’ve listened to their album Fandango! a lot when I was a child, and since today I’m still surpised to hear their mechanical, drum-machine-like stuff from the 80s and on, with their radiofriendly disco-like tunes… But I’ll give them a try again, to see whether they’re still thick or not…)

  20. urbangraffito says:

    When it comes to Southern Rock bands like Black Oak Arkansas, The Allman Brothers Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd I’m pretty much a purist. Each band had their glory years in which they literally defined the southern rock music genre for decades to come. BOA’s 1971 self titled debut and their 1973 live album, Raunch ‘n Roll Live, captured the essence of the band. Just as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1973 (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-’nérd ‘Skin-’nérd) to their 1977 Street Survivors built upon their essential hard-driving, three-guitar mix behind Ronnie Van Zant. Much the same can be said about The Allman Brothers Band – known as the principal architects of Southern rock by many, especially with the release of their seminal 1971 live album, At Fillmore East. And upon the death of group leader Duane Allman, at very least the band was never the same. Much can be said about later incarnations of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Oak Arkansas, too. The southern elements were still there, yes, but a band can only truly catch fire in a bottle once. After their heyday, it was time for bands like Molly Hatchet. Dave Hlubek – Molly Hatchet founder and lead guitarist – stated that “the demise of Lynyrd Skynyrd – who were at the height of their success – opened the door for Molly Hatchet.”

    When speaking, though, of southern rock’s long celebration of corruption in their oral history, I direct you to southern rock band, Drive-By Truckers 2004 album ‘The Dirty South’ and tracks “Cottenseed” and “Puttin People on the Moon“.

  21. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    But I’ll give them a try again, to see whether they’re still thick or not…)

    I was totally uninterested in ZZ until I heard ‘Rhythmeen’. Their 80s schtick on MTV, etc. is boring, but the first few albums were (in retrospect, for me) good. ‘Rhythmeen’ is a sort of glossy throwback to those earlier days.

  22. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    When speaking, though, of southern rock’s long celebration of corruption in their oral history, I direct you to southern rock band, Drive-By Truckers

    I think they’re celebrating being ‘outlaws’ more than ‘corruption’. Corruption means ‘dishonest’, ‘putrid’, ‘decayed’, ‘lacking integrity’. I don’t think corruption is something many artists celebrate – except for Rimbaud and Verlaine, maybe. Although I have to admit, in ‘Cottonseed’, the singer is sort of celebrating how many people he’s killed and how preternaturally hard assed and evil he is; that kind of braggadocio is definitely in the Country (and Blues) tradition. So, maybe you’re right! I think there’s a difference between posing as a sort of Robin Hood/Underdog/Outlaw, on the one hand, versus posing as the Angel of Death, on the other. I think the former is more common, but, yeah, there is that part of the tradition in which the protag. actually brags about all the evil shit he’s done. I think Frank referred to it as ‘..people who are drunks and have been to prison and are *proud* of it’.

    I don’t think the US South’s true history of ignorance, violence, drunkenness/indolence is anything to be proud of, but that’s just me.

  23. Slap says:

    Oh, and for what it’s worth — Rhythmeen was actually ZZ’s FIRST recorded-live-in-the-studio album, no overdubs (save a couple of drum loops, IIRC). That fact blew me away.

    That album is full of CHEWY guitar tones. Yum! My fav ZZ LP, hands down.

  24. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    Rhythmeen was actually ZZ’s FIRST recorded-live-in-the-studio album, no overdubs (save a couple of drum loops, IIRC). That fact blew me away.

    Wow, I did not know that! That fact, then, highlights what can be done in a studio via mixing-only, because it’s really a very high-tech polished sound. It very well balanced, but still sounds as big as a house. It also shows what a great band they really are – the playing, pulse, etc. are rock solid.

    It’s my favorite album too, probably since I don’t have a sentimental attachment to earlier ones.

  25. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    I don’t think the US South’s true history of ignorance, violence, drunkenness/indolence is anything to be proud of, but that’s just me.

    You most definitely have a point. A lot of evil was done in the South. But worse still would be to brush the entire South with the same brush, yes? The US South has too complicated a history to be so easily sidestepped, particularly musically. Even it’s rancid history. Tales of corrupt politicians like Louisiana’s Huey Long, for instance. I suggest anyone interested read up on post Civil War reconstruction to fully understand the underlying conflicts in the South.

  26. SOFA - Philostopher/Chef says:

    I’m kinda sorry that I didn’t play along when Barry first did the FB thingy – but I’ve been busier than hell the last couple of weeks and the exercise seemed to not have the priority status… So, I’ll chip in now, as best I can:
    (In order of appearance – not importance)
    1) Ethyl Waters “His Eye is On the Sparrow” and other spirituals.
    2) Various Artists “Songs From the Children’s Bible Hour”
    (the above 2 were the first LP’s I was allowed to touch at age 5)
    3) The Turtles “Greatest Hits”
    4) The Beatles “Rubber Soul”
    5) Iggy & the Stooges “Raw Power”
    6) Black Sabbath “Black Sabbath”
    7) Iron Butterfly “Inna-Godda-Da-Vida”
    8 ) Grand Funk Railroad “On Time”
    9) Ten Years After “Undead”
    (the first album I ever purchased)
    10) The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s…”
    11) Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon”
    12) Dylan “Blood on the Tracks”
    13) Marshall Tucker Band “Searchin’ for a Rainbow”
    14) The Tubes “Young and Rich”
    15) The Mothers “1971 Live at the Fillmore”
    (I knew this would happen – 15 albums that influenced me before I left High School. I guess that’s the problem with thinking chronologically… There are many others that have had influence, but these got me started.)

  27. SOFA - Philostopher/Chef says:

    I did NOT put that ridiculous emoticon there! It should be number 8 end parenthesis…

  28. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from SOFA – Philostopher/Chef:

    I did NOT put that ridiculous emoticon there! It should be number 8 end parenthesis…

    Fixed that for ya 8)

  29. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    I suggest anyone interested read up on post Civil War reconstruction to fully understand the underlying conflicts in the South.

    Agree with you UG. Wasn’t suggesting that it was completely black and white (so to speak). Half my family is from the South (the Deep South, i.e. Mississippi, where I spent quite a bit of time as a kid) and I have little tolerance for a certain kind of Northern self-righteousness I came into contact with all the time growing up in the North. Probably the most segregated city in the US was, and still is…not Atlanta, but CHICAGO. And, yes the South was exploited, economically, by the North after the Civil War, among other indignities.

    But that doesn’t change the legacy of the South itself. It really was practically feudal before the war, and after – and more violent, more superstitious, more ignorant, more drunken, more backward, more rotten. The Slave economy and its aftermath was/is nothing to be proud of, however hypocritical or exploitative or unfair Northern attitudes are.

    My favorite book about all this is called ‘The Mind of the South’, by J.W. Cash. It’s an absolute classic, and worth reading more than once, IMO.

  30. jonnybutter says:

    One more thing:

    Slavery is often called the US’s ‘original sin’, and I think that’s apt. The US as a whole has been paying and paying for that sin for a couple of centuries, and we’re still paying today. And I’d say that other countries in the world have paid too, since the fallout from Slavery, civil war, etc. has abetted US military adventurism.

    And it’s because the South provides an endless and always-ready supply of ressentiment. It’s built right into our politics. Reactionary political forces never have to *construct* a base of racial or religious resentment or bigotry – it’s always right there, waiting to be tapped, in the South. Want to start a pointless war and kill 100k (or a million) Iraqis? There’s a built-in base of support all ready to go; want to make the US more feudal (i.e. Reagan, et. al)? You already have a whole region ready to vote for you. That doesn’t mean the rest of the country is innocent – it just means that reactionaries don’t have to start from Zero – they start from 20 or 30%. That’s a big deal.

    Every few years, some jackass politician in the South threatens to repeat the beginning of the civil war and secede from the United States. The governor of Texas did that last year. They never mean it – their states get more money from the Federal Gov. than they pay in (all those military bases). But I wish they *were* serious. The South is more trouble than it’s worth, and has always been.

  31. jonnybutter says:

    sorry I don’t time to make this shorter, but…just to wrap up:

    Imagine a post WW2 Germany in which a majority of Germans believed and taught their children that Hitler was simply ‘misunderstood’, that the Holocaust didn’t really happen, and that the military defeat of Germany was an undeserved, unprovoked aggression by other countries. And their children believed it and taught their children that. And a large plurality of Germans today believed all those things, and had a lingering resentment about it. And Germany was the strongest military power in the world and thought it was the ‘World Leader’. Scary, isn’t it?

    I believe that’s a perfectly good analogy to what’s actually happening in the American South. As mind-boggling as it is, to this very day, a large portion – probably a majority – of white southerners believe that the US Civil War was NOT about slavery, that the North was simply aggressive, and that the confederate flag is just about Southern Culture, etc. So the resentment never goes away. They never admit, no matter how obvious it is. If you don’t admit, you don’t move on.

    Now, the South has, in some ways, done better at racial problems than the rest of the country. But the problem there is not essentially about race – it’s about resentment. So, much as I love the South for some things, not least of which is the true Culture it has spawned – Rock, Blues, Jazz, fine, and even great Literature – I don’t think it’s worth the trouble, on balance. I wish they’d leave and start their own backward little version of Paraguay, instead of holding the rest of the country politically hostage, which the South has done since the 1700s.

  32. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    So, much as I love the South for some things, not least of which is the true Culture it has spawned – Rock, Blues, Jazz, fine, and even great Literature – I don’t think it’s worth the trouble, on balance.

    I disagree. The culture that the South spawned is an entirely and uniquely American experience (and an ongoing experience, at that). Why is the North, in music and literature, almost always viewed positively, while the South is viewed as corrupt, and in league with darkness and evil because of there prior association with slavery? The roots of southern resentment stems from when all titles of ownership are lost (upon reconstruction most pre civil war records were conveniently destroyed). In fact, the resentment of the South goes far beyond notions of slavery – many southerners were completely stripped of all their possessions.

    I still find it enlightening that the many times I have seen the Devil personified in movies, so very often he’s been a southerner.

    Have you ever seen American Gothic?

  33. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from SOFA – Philostopher/Chef:

    (I knew this would happen – 15 albums that influenced me before I left High School. I guess that’s the problem with thinking chronologically… There are many others that have had influence, but these got me started.)

    Not too surprising, SOFA. All the albums on my list also influenced me before I left High School – or at very least before I graduated. Is it surprising that I still listen to those very same albums now, 25 years later? I think not. They laid the foundation for what would be the soundtrack of my life.

  34. jonnybutter says:

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    The culture that the South spawned is an entirely and uniquely American experience (and an ongoing experience, at that).

    True, and true. I said the same thing. I just don’t think they’re worth it.

    A quote from jonnybutter:

    The roots of southern resentment stems from when all titles of ownership are lost (upon reconstruction most pre civil war records were conveniently destroyed).

    Balls, sir. Some wealthy people certainly lost a lot of property – mainly slaves (who were property, and worth a lot of money). Most Southerners either didn’t own any land of their own, or only little of it, and weren’t actually stripped of it. There definitely was some Northern skulduggery – the South was exploited for a while, no doubt, and I don’t defend it. But you can’t start a war – a rebellion – against your own country, which kills half a million+ people, and then wonder why, immediately afterwards, you’re not being treated like perfect-brother equal Americans. Reconstruction was flawed, but the South is and always was its own worse enemy.

    What do you think would happen in Canada if Quebec started a war with the rest of the country over their right to own slaves (or some other disgusting thing), in which tens of thousands of people were killed over several years? Do you think the rest of the country would just pretend that nothing happened?

    The south is poorer than the rest of the US because, a.) they started with an un-diversified, feudal, economy – they didn’t industrialize like the rest of the western world; it was basically slaves/cotton, and b.) they refused and still refuse, to have an honest reckoning with their past. They still believe in a sort of quasi-feudalism, and they pay the price for that. BTW, the rest of the country sends enormous amounts of money to the South, and has done for many decades. Southern states get MUCH more federal money than they pay in.

    As far as the stereotypes go – yes, that isn’t really fair. Southerners aren’t necessarily stupider or more ‘devilish’ than other Americans. But many stereotypes get started for good reasons. I suggest you take a little vacation to Alabama for a few months. Meet some people who think that reading books (other than the Good Book) is for sinners and yankees and fags; meet some people who think Jesus hates A-rabs and wants us to slaughter them; me some not-so-old folks who’s every other word is ‘nigger’ – and see if your romantic idea of the US South survives. Look, there are ignorant, resentful, hillbillies all over the US – they are all over any large country. But the South exemplifies those qualities – legitimizes them, in a political sense.

  35. jonnybutter says:

    [BTW, I didn't mean to be offensive when I wrote 'Balls, sir!'. I just thought it sounded stereotypically genteel Southern - just trying for a laugh]

  36. urbangraffito says:

    No offense taken. Much of what you said is very very true. Perhaps as a Canadian – completely removed from the central antagonisms – I can see the positive aspects of Southern culture: it’s humour, it’s style, it’s food, it’s music and it’s literature without solely focusing on the negative.

    Speaking of the Canadian experience, pretending that nothing happened is actually a very Canadian trait. Canada has it’s own terrible past, both in and out of Quebec. The American South isn’t the only bit of bad history on this continent, either. That American’s choose to recognize their past, and sometimes be proud of aspects of that past, makes me proud to be their neighbor (and somewhat easier to put up with the bovine rednecks in my own backyard).

Comments for this entry have been closed.