Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Don't Gimme Me No Lip Child" - Dave Berry > Sex Pistols

ROCK Sex quickies locks lips on the quick tip.


Here's some rough UK Northern Soul from Dave Berry for the Mod scene:

DAVE BERRY -"Don't Gimme Me No Lip Child" (1964)

(The song chugs on that classic Jimmy Reed rhythm, used in so many songs that I've made a Music Playlist of them.)

And absorbing a lot of classic garage singles from the jukebox at Malcolm McClaren's 'SEX' shoppe, here's our Punk bastards:

SEX PISTOLS -"Don't Gimme Me No Lip Child" (1976)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Sex: "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone" - Paul Revere > The Monkees > Sex Pistols

ROCK Sex finds the kinks in the chain links.


Who first recorded "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone"?

It was Sex Pistols, of course. No, wait, you say, it was The Monkees. Nope, they were covering it, too. The missing link in the song chain was Paul Revere And The Raiders.

PAUL REVERE & THE RAIDERS -"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (1966)

The song was written by hitmakers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who quickly thereafter recorded it with their bread-and-butter, The Monkees, whose television show was massive and was a forerunner of MTV and music videos:

THE MONKEES -"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (1966)

But here's the UK Garage Rock band THE FLIES doing a slower, heavier take on the standard that Black Sabbath might love:

THE FLIES -"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (1966)

Here's the all-female band The Pivots, who later became The Feminine Complex.

THE PIVOTS -"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (1966)

Then of course here's the miscreants, putting the boot in to kick some life back into everything:

SEX PISTOLS -"(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" (1976)

Now a standard, the song has been covered by countless artists including The Trashmen, Johnny Thunders, Minor Threat, The Untouchables, and Les Thugs (France).

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Monday, June 29, 2009

ROCK Sex quickie: 'Spaghetti Western' > Gnarls Barkley

ROCK Sex is quick on the finger flick.


Here's a great track from the soundtrack of the Italian Western, PREPARATI LA BARA! (a.k.a., Django, Prepare a Coffin), in the fine style of Ennio Morricone and the Italian Western sound:


And, here's Danger Mouse and CeeLo Green using the melody from that score as a basis for this monster hit:

GNARLS BARKLEY -"Crazy" (2006)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-How SPAGHETTI WESTERNS Revolutionized Rock Music! , with 3 Music Players

ROCK Sex: Don McLean > Lori Lieberman > Roberta Flack > The Fugees

ROCK Sex leads you through all the ins and outs.

Creativity is one person who sparks another person who sparks another. This has no boundaries and unites us. Here's a music relay chain that proves it using the classic "Killing Me Softly".


Folk singer Don McLean had a massive breakthrough in 1971 with his epic "American Pie". This song sold hugely because it chronicled the pop history and emotional arc of its generation.

On a microcosmic level, another song from that album would have the same effect more stealthily. Here's Don's confessional break-up song, "Empty Chairs", done in a reflective Renaissance folk style:

DON McLEAN -"Empty Chairs" (1971)

Folk compatriot Lori Lieberman was so personally moved by seeing him perform this that she wrote a song called "Killing Me Softly With His Blues". After she described how deeply the song had touched her to Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, they wrote the lyrics for what she first recorded in 1972:

LORI LIEBERMAN -"Killing Me Softly" (1972)

Soul singer Roberta Flack loved all forms of music; she had previously broken big with a cover of Ewan MacColl's folk song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", which she put a brilliant spin on. She brought similar magic to this song, such as in the angelic chorales, which became a classic standard forever associated with her:

ROBERTA FLACK -"Killing Me Softly" (1973)

The HipHop group The Fugees were a musical double-threat with multi-instrumentalist Wyclef Jean and vocalist Lauryn Hill. Lauryn's voice was often compared to the timber of Roberta's, and it should have been no surprise when the group blew up with their update:

THE FUGEES -"Killing Me Softly" (1996)

"Telling my whole life with his words/
Killing me softly with his song"

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Saturday, June 27, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Wordy Rappinghood" - Tom Tom Club > Chicks On Speed

ROCK Sex quickies are in one ear and then the other.


Here's TOM TOM CLUB giving us the lowdown on the downlow:

TOM TOM CLUB -"Wordy Rappinghood" (1981)

And here's CHICKS ON SPEED relaying the message:

CHICKS ON SPEED -"Wordy Rappinghood" (2004)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Orgy: "Genius of Love"

ROCK Sex Orgies are songs where everybody gets rewarded.


Here's another example of a song giving a giant shout-out to other musicians.

The rhythm section of Talking Heads, bassist Tina Weymouth and drummer Chris Frantz, had more to say with their side project, TOM TOM CLUB. "Genius Of Love", their celebration of funk, soul, reggae, and dance heroes became a surprise dance hit in 1981 with massive influence.

Listen for the call-outs to James Brown, Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, Hamilton Bohannon, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Sly and Robbie, and Kurtis Blow.

"Clinton's musicians such as Bootsy Collins/
Raise expectations to a new intention!"

Also beloved is the graffidelic video, based on the album art of James Rizzi.

TOM TOM CLUB -"Genius Of Love" (1981)


"We met (Grandmaster Flash) and he said to us, 'You know this is a very cool beat. You're going to be hearing a lot of this.' I said 'Oh really?' He said 'Oh definitely.'"
-Chris Franz

The song was a perfect synthesis of the early '80s New York scene, where Disco, Punk, HipHop, Dub, and noizey Jazz were intertwined in the dance clubs, vinyl stores, art galleries, and indie films. Naturally it had an immediate impact in HipHop where responses were swift.

Here's are the first two HipHop responses made:

DR. JECKYLL AND MR. HYDE -"Genius Rap" (1981)

GRANDMASTER FLASH & THE FURIOUS FIVE -"It's Nasty (Genius Of Love)" (1981)

From there it became one of the most sampled songs of all time, popping up in tracks by The X-Ecutioners, Redman, Cam'Ron, 2nd II None, Fresh Kid Ice, Tupac Shakur, Mark Morrison, Busta Rhymes, Ant Banks, P.M. Dawn, Annie, Menajahtwa, and Eric Sermon. It also dreamt up Mariah Carey's huge hit "Fantasy".

"Genius of Love" is a shout-out song that got plenty of amen corners itself!

"There's no beginning and there is no end/
Time isn't present in that dimension..."

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980–1983, by Tim Lawrence

Friday, June 26, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Mah Na Mah Na" - Piero Umiliani > The Muppets

ROCK Sex brings you another tryst in pop culture.

Did the famous Muppets song "Mah Na Mah Na" actually come from a porno movie? Let's find out...


In the pantheon of great Italian soundtrack composers of the '60s, Piero Umiliani was the hepcat who threw lots of Jazz and Soul and Electronics into his groovy scores.

In 1968 he did the music for SWEDEN, HEAVEN OR HELL ("Svezia, Inferno e Paradiso"). This was a tabloid-style documentary in the popular 'Mondo' genre, which titillated audiences with scandalous subjects using a journalistic lens and distinctly moralistic narration. The film toured the sexier sides of Sweden like wife-swapping, lesbian clubs, and adult films. These shockumentaries were built on 'sleaze and tease' while wearing the mantle of removed disapproval, a schizoid hypocrisy that sold tickets while evading legal censure. (Insert joke about the media or politics here.)

The memorable vocal for "Mah Na Mah Na" was sung by Alessandro Alessandroni and his wife Giulia. 'Sandro' is famous as the whistler and surf guitarist for Italian Westerns, like THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY and ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. He also led the choral group that sings all the manic chants in those films, and composed many great scores of his own.

When Sandro goes off on scat tangents, he's actually doing other melodic themes from the film score. He also "interpolates melodies from "Swedish Rhapsody"(Midsummer Vigil) by Hugo Alfvén, "Santa Lucia", "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", the jazz standard "Lullaby of Birdland" (Charlie Parker), and others." [quote: Wikipedia]

PIERO UMILIANI -"Mah Na Mah Na" (the original) (1968)

Piero also made less-famous variations of the theme...

PIERO UMILIANI -"Samba Mah Na" (1968)

PIERO UMILIANI -"Mah Na Cowboy" (1971)


Jim Henson must've discovered it pretty soon afterward because he did a Muppet skit on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1969 using the song. It popped up again on "Sesame Street" in 1969, and "The Muppet Show" in 1976. It became a Top 10 single in England in 1977 after they recorded it.

THE MUPPETS -"Mah Na Mah Na" (1976)

Here's a Disco cover, with a nice break beat at 1:33...

LIPSTIQUE -"Mah Na Mah Na" (1978)

Lately it has been covered by the group Cake for a cable kids show in this rollicking version:

CAKE -"Mah Na Mah Na"

So when you tell this story, and you will, be kind: "Mah Na Mah Na" doesn't come from a porno movie, just a shockumentary. Then point people to that ultrahip Piero Umiliani...

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-How SPAGHETTI WESTERNS Revolutionized Rock Music! , with 3 Music Players

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ROCK Orgy: "Shake, Rattle, and Roll" -Joe Turner > Bill Haley > The Platters > Louis Prima

ROCK Sex is all about spurring each other to action.

I've given many examples of how one act inspires another. One more variation of this is the Response Song or Answer Song, where a dialogue breaks out in the advent of a hit. Sometimes folks are covering the song, arguing with the song, riding its popularity, or poking fun at it. This one has all of those.


Big Joe Turner is a king of the late '40s/early '50s Jump Blues that helped set the stage for Rock'n'Roll. Besides being the originator of "Honey Hush" and "Corrina Corrina", he broke out this crucial killer:

BIG JOE TURNER -"Shake, Rattle, And Roll" (1954)

During the same period, a Western Boogie bandleader had integrated more and more Rhythm'n'Blues into his country swing. Bill Haley And The Comets helped set the stage for Rockabilly, and Bill paid tribute to Joe with this cover:

BILL HALEY & THE COMETS -"Shake, Rattle, And Roll" (1954)

(It should be noted that Joe's original version has a few raunchy sexual entendres that both he and Bill had to smooth over for public performance.)

The song has a decidedly macho tone, which begged for a woman's response. The Platters recorded a flipside where the great Zola Taylor stepped up and said her piece:

"You got nerve to tell me, 'Rattle those pots and pans'/
Get in the kitchen yourself and do the best with your own two hands!"

THE PLATTERS -"Bark, Battle, And Ball" (1955)

That bopping hipster Louis Prima, with help from Keely Smith and Sam Butera, mopped up the dance floor with this response. (This was later covered by Brian Setzer.):

LOUIS PRIMA -"Jump, Jive, And Wail" (1956)

With everybody getting in on it, Joe must've felt he had some more to say about it, hence this cool addition. (This was later covered by The Blues Brothers on their first album):

BIG JOE TURNER -"Flip, Flop, And Fly" (1955)

After all that shaking and wailing, it's time for a break. Here's Rockabilly swingers Sid King And The Five Strings trying to get a breath:

SID KING & THE FIVE STRINGS -"Sag, Drag, And Fall" (1955)


© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Monday, June 22, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Jumpin' Jack Flash" - The Rolling Stones > Ananda Shankar

ROCK Sex quickies give you a slippery hand-off.


Here's those devilish lads before someone calls the cops:

THE ROLLING STONES -"Jumpin' Jack Flash" (1968)

And here's Ravi Shankar's countercultural nephew, extending the bacchanalia to India:

ANANDA SHANKAR -"Jumpin' Jack Flash" (1970)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Orgy: "American Pie"

ROCK Sex posts are about how everybody has a part to offer to the whole.


Sometimes a song is a bit of an orgy of pop celebration. Meaning that it celebrates and refers to many other songs and artists in One Big Shout-Out!

Folk singer Don McLean's "American Pie" is a classic example. It's an emotional narrative spanning Rock'n'Roll from 1955 to 1970. Though the song was a full 8 minutes+, it was a huge hit because it chronicled the arc of the counterculture generation. It was also a lyrical mystery that pop fans loved to decipher.

The song's chronological narrative refers in symbolist terms to many great songs and events in the formation and arc of Rock'n'Roll:
  • Buddy Holly's "That'll Be the Day" and his sad death
  • TEX RITTER's "Rye Whiskey"
  • THE MONOTONES' "The Book of Love"
  • MARTY ROBBINS' "A White Sports Coat and a Pink Carnation"
  • BOB DYLAN (the Jester) and his later motorcycle crash
  • ELVIS (the King)
  • THE BEATLES' "Helter Skelter"
  • THE BYRDS' "Eight Miles High"
  • Woodstock
  • THE ROLLING STONES' "Jumpin' Jack Flash"
  • the stabbing death by the Hell's Angels at Altamont
  • and the Jesus Freaks (hippie Christians).

Being a broad narrative it's open to interpretation. McLean seems to be contrasting innocent beginnings with hedonistic endings, more partial to early Rock'n'Roll and Folk, but less so to Psychedelia and lifestyle excesses. Conservatives can fold it into that shopworn narrative of dismissing the '60s generation using Altamont as an arbitrary capstone. Progressives can revel in the anarchic currents that ebb and flow amongst its creative players. Music fans can dig it for its metatext, its melody, and its sheer celebration.

Slice your own interpretation...

DON McLEAN -"American Pie" (1971)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-Revolution 1950s: The Big Damn Bang of Rock'n'Roll! -Buddy Holly

Sunday, June 21, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Walk On By" - Dionne Warwick > Isaac Hayes > The Stranglers > Hooverphonic > Mono > Pete Rock

ROCK Sex dishes the dirt on the clandestine liaisons of music.

Some songs are so resonant that they reverberate beyond any time or style. "Walk On By" is one of those.


The original was the breakthrough hit for diva Dionne Warwick and her write-hand man Burt Bacharach:

DIONNE WARWICK -"Walk On By" (1964)

Covered immediately by everyone, it took a radical left turn when Isaac Hayes turned it into a 12-minute funk-rock masterpiece. It's my unhumble opinion that the epic build of strings and psychedelic guitar is one of the greatest intros in Pop history:

ISAAC HAYES -"Walk On By" (1969, long version)

Later it came full circle when Dionne and Isaac performed it together on their live album:

DIONNE WARWICK & ISAAC HAYES -"Walk On By" (1977, live)

The Punk band The Stranglers put some fuzzy edge back into it:

THE STRANGLERS -"Walk On By" (1978)

And El Michels Affair brought back the hot buttered Funk to it.

EL MICHELS AFFAIR -"Walk On By" (2006)

The fantastic beat of Isaac Hayes' version became a sampler's paradise, crossing the intersections of TripHop and HipHop.

Here's the Belgian alchemists Hooverphonic with their debut hit:

HOOVERPHONIC -"2 Wicky" (1996)

Taking a subtler tact, the British duo Mono played to the cinematic qualities of TripHop by synching it with the moody keys and guitar of Roy Budd's GET CARTER soundtrack, as seen this creepy David Lynch-ian video:

MONO -"Silicone" (1997)

The beat has figured in samples by Compton's Most Wanted (1991), Notorious B.I.G. (1994), Slick Rick, DJ Shadow (1996), MF Doom (1999), The Wu Tang Clan (2000), Ludacris (2003), J Dilla (2006, using The Undisputed Truth's version), and Pete Rock:

PETE ROCK -"Walk On By" (2001)

And Dionne's version has been homaged in songs by Ashanti(2002), Alisha Keys (2003), and Joss Stone (2007).

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Saturday, June 20, 2009

ROCK Sex: "Sweet Dreams" - Squeeze > Eurythmics

ROCK Sex quickies are all about tit for tat.


Pop wizards Squeeze recorded this synth-wave classic, featuring the chorus line "because dreams are made of this":

SQUEEZE -"Take Me, I'm Yours" (1978)

Whereupon Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart were sparked to brilliance uniquely their own:

EURYTHMICS -"Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This" (1983)

"Sweet Dreams" has been covered in various styles by Sylvie Vartan ("Déprime"), Marilyn Manson, Yo La Tengo, Nouvelle Vague, Ministry, and Tracy Bonham; and sampled by Blondie, De La Soul, Nas, Tricky, and Faith Evans.

It's become such a cultural touchpoint that Eurythmics referred to it themselves in their reunion song, "17 Again".

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Sex: Herbie Hancock > Mongo Santamaria > Herbie Hancock

ROCK Sex is all about scratching each other's back; 'you do me, I'll do you'.

Previously I gave examples of how one song can take on new life under different artists, and also how an artist inspires another artist who re-inspires the first artist. Well, today is an example of both.


Herbie Hanckock was a jolt of new life on the Jazz scene in the early '60s, and he scored an immediate hit from his 1962 debut album penning this hip-swaying classic:

HERBIE HANCOCK -"Watermelon Man" (1962)

Afro-Cuban percussionist MONGO SANTAMARIA was quick to pick up on the Latin Jazz tinge and expand it fully on his classic cover hit. It soon became a standard with great versions by Quincy Jones, Manfred Mann, Maynard Ferguson, and The J.B.'s to follow.

MONGO SANTAMARIA -"Watermelon Man" (1962)

Big Mama Thornton, famed for the original "Hound Dog", made this Blues stride out of it, complete with funny monologue:

BIG MAMA THORNTON -"Watermelon Man" (1970)

Herbie re-invented himself in the early '70s as an afro-futurist, blending tribal instruments with space-age electronics. In similar phoenix fashion he reforged his own classic:


You got my back, I got yours.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Friday, June 19, 2009

ROCK Sex: Bill Monroe > Elvis Presley > The Marcels

For you new folks, ROCK Sex is my euphemism for how culture is not static but fluid, not exclusive but inclusive of each person's new take.

An example of this progression is how a song takes on new life in different hands.

Today I'm using two songs with similar names to make the point...


Bluegrass artist BILL MONROE wrote and recorded the waltz "Blue Moon of Kentucky" in 1947...

BILL MONROE -"Blue Moon Of Kentucky" (1947)

His Mississippi acolyte put some new rocking zest in it on the flipside of his first single in 1954...

ELVIS PRESLEY -"Blue Moon Of Kentucky" (1954)

That phrase must have boded well for Elvis because he then did an interpretation of "Blue Moon", a 1930s Rogers & Hart standard that many people had covered, bringing a particularly eerie and intimate confessional quality to it:

ELVIS PRESLEY -"Blue Moon" (1956)

The Doo Wop group THE MARCELS had a hit with it all over again with their inspired and upbeat revamp. Many people don't even realize it's the same song!

THE MARCELS -"Blue Moon" (1961)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Thursday, June 18, 2009

ROCK Sex: Shocking Blue > Nirvana

Another ROCK Sex quickie, you know you want it...


Here's the original "Love Buzz" by the Netherlands' finest, SHOCKING BLUE...

SHOCKING BLUE -"Love Buzz" (1969)

And here's Kurt and the boys with more of that luv fuzz...

NIRVANA -"Love Buzz" (1988)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Sex: The Temptations > Love and Rockets

Another ROCK Sex quickie, get in, get out...


Here's The Tempatations in social protest mode, taking on the chronic problems, listing solutions, and giving a last shout-out to The Beatles...

THE TEMPTATIONS -"Ball Of Confusion" (1970)

And, following the break-up of goth-merchants Bauhaus, here's LOVE AND ROCKETS throwing their two cents in about the 'Reagonomics' era...

LOVE AND ROCKETS -"Ball Of Confusion" (1985)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Sex: Chuck Berry > Bob Dylan > Ultravox > Elvis Costello

ROCK Sex likes to explore all those secret hook-ups. Here's an example of a rhythm idea linking together different artists.


The idea came from jumping rope. Chuck Berry heard young girls chanting fast to the rhythm of rope-jumping and made this classic burner...

CHUCK BERRY -"Too Much Monkey Business" (1956)

The lyrics were delivered so fast, adults probably missed what a subversive protest song it is. But the kids didn't.

The song was covered by The Beatles, The Yardbirds, The Hollies, The Kinks twice, Elvis Presley, and countless Garage bands. (I love the version by The Trappers, who chanted it in native Swedish). But breaking up the boys club as is my wont, here's Liverpool's all-female hellions, THE LIVERBIRDS, putting some extra resonance into the lyrics...

THE LIVERBIRDS -"Too Much Monkey Business" (1965)

But then BOB DYLAN ramped up the lyrical fury with his own variant on the chant...

BOB DYLAN -"Subterranean Homesick Blues" (1965)

That opened it up for everyone to jump in...

ULTRAVOX -"Satday In The City Of The Dead" (1977)

Bringing back some of that Dylan scorn is the other Elvis...

ELVIS COSTELLO -"Pump It Up" (1978)

The riff kept skipping new ropes, such as THE ESCAPE CLUB's "Wild Wild West" (1988) and ROGUE TRADERS' "Voodoo Child" (2006).

"Runnin' to-and-fro, hard workin' at the mill/
Never fail, in the mail, here come a rotten bill!/
Don't want your botheration, get away, leave me!"

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-CHUCK BERRY: The Guitar God and His Disciples, with 2 Music Players

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

ROCK Sex: John Barry > Fatboy Slim

ROCK Sex cues you to how one song jumpstarts another.


John Barry scored his first film with the driving theme for BEAT GIRL. The signature surf guitar and dynamic horns earned him the job to do the theme of a movie spy called Bond the following year.

JOHN BARRY -"Beat Girl" (1961)

Here's the vocal cover version by The Damned...

THE DAMNED -"Beat Girl" (1985)

Big Beat DJ Fatboy Slim sampled the original riff as a crucial piece of his breakthrough hit...

FATBOY SLIM -"The Rockafeller Skank" (1998)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Sex: Beach Boys > Gary Numan

ROCK Sex cues you to how one song jumpstarts another.


Listen to the metallic echo beat that counts in this song by The Beach Boys...

THE BEACH BOYS -"Do It Again" (1968)

...and then listen to what New Wave pioneer Gary Numan did with it...

GARY NUMAN -"Metal" (1979)

Now listen to how that crunchy rhythm takes on new textures in these very different songs...

AIR -"Remember" (1998)

VERBENA -"Submissionary" (1999)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

ROCK Sex: Kraftwerk > Trouble Funk > Afrika Bambaataa > New Order

ROCK Sex is about how the liquid nature of culture involves everyone.

Today's example is how the relay baton of a musical idea moves easily between supposedly different music movements.

In the mid-'70s, the german progressive group Kraftwerk had the masterstroke idea of becoming robots, making robotic music for the future. As 'anti-Rock' as this seemed, it was one of the most influential strategies and unending sonic revolutions in Rock history. Countless doors were opened by this move...

KRAFTWERK -"Trans Europe Express" (1977)

The Washington D.C. scene in the early '80s was dominated by GoGo, a heavily percussive funk with horns and synths. The prime band Trouble Funk intersected with Kraftwerk on this anthemic cover...

TROUBLE FUNK -"Trouble Funk Express" (1981)

The New York music scene between 1975 and 1982 was a hotbed of colliding styles -including the original Punk, HipHop, NoWave, PunkFunk, Salsoul, World Dub, Disco, Mutant Disco, and Noize Jazz. One of the originators of HipHop, Afrika Bambaataa ushered in Electro (which he called Electro Funk) with his merging of Rap and Kraftwerk...

AFRIKA BAMBAATAA And The Soulsonic Force-"Planet Rock" (1982)

When the postpunk band Joy Division suffered the loss of their leader, the remaining members became New Order, trading Manchester, England's grey factories for the excitement of the New York scene. They worked with rising 12" remix producer Arthur Baker on this classic track which extends the palette of the fusion of Kraftwerk and Electro Funk ...

NEW ORDER -"Blue Monday" (1983)

There are tributaries from this linking to New Wave, Darkwave, Coldwave, Industrial, Synth Funk, GoGo Funk, Techno, Rave, Jungle, and Electronica. But water is water...bask in it all.

And all curents root to the source. The Mighty Mocambos channel that Dick Dale guitar with a horn fanfare of Kraftwerk in this modern instrumental sequel.

THE MIGHTY MOCAMBOS -"Transcendental Express" (2011)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980–1983, by Tim Lawrence

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ROCK Sex: The Shangri-Las > The Damned > Joe Jackson

ROCK Sex is about how culture cavorts and entangles.

Here's an example of how a single lyric can pull together unusual bedfellows.

THE SHANGRI-LAS recorded the biker love anthem "Leader of the Pack", which opened with the line "Is she really going out with him?"...

THE SHANGRI-LAS -"Leader Of The Pack" (1965)

Perversely, in the very first recorded British Punk single "New Rose", THE DAMNED opened with a quote of the same line...

THE DAMNED -"New Rose" (1976)

Shortly after, British tunesmith JOE JACKSON turned the phrase into a huge pop hit...

JOE JACKSON -"Is She Really Going Out With Him?" (1979)

"Is she really going out with him?/
"Well, there she is, Let's ask her."

© Tym Stevens

See Also:

-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-YOU DON'T OWN ME: The Uprising of the 1960s GIRL GROUPS, with Music Player
-SHE'S A REBEL: Decades Of Songs Influenced By The GIRL GROUPS, with Music Player

Monday, June 15, 2009

ROCK Sex: The Kinks > Sex Pistols > The Kinks

ROCK Sex is about the surprising trysts of culture and what comes from them. Today is an example of how a band inspires another band who re-inspires the first band.

THE KINKS are one of those British Invasion bands -like The Who, The Yardbirds, and The Animals- whose more aggressive riffs predicted the coming shift from pop rock to hard rock. They did it with tough hits like "You Really Got Me", "I Need You", and this one...

THE KINKS -"All Day and All of the Night" (1965)

THE SEX PISTOLS mutated the attitude of '60s Garage Rock into a whole other level with Punk music. You can still spot their influences, such as the reused Kinks riff in this grinder...

SEX PISTOLS -"Submission" (1977)

Inspired by the exhilarating/threatening energy of Punk and New Wave, The Kinks responded with this wry rewrite of their own song...

THE KINKS -"Destroyer" (1981)

Inspiration is cyclical and inclusive. Do as thou wilt, everything is permitted...

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Sunday, June 14, 2009

ROCK Sex: Rolling Stones > The Clash > Garbage

ROCK Sex is about how everyone's input in music expands it.

Yesterday I gave the example of how a single song, "The Train Kept A-Rollin" can be redefined by each person who relayed it on. But today is an example of how two different songs lead to a third song.

The Rolling Stones did "Stupid Girl" (I know, I know, don't shoot me for their message)...

The Rolling Stones -"Stupid Girl" (1966)

+ 2.
The Clash later made this song...

The Clash -"Train In Vain" (1979)

= 3.
And Garbage combined the sentiment of the Stones song with the sampled beat of the Clash song for something new in this big hit...

Garbage- "Stupid Girl" (1995)

There are some bands who are wizards at this kind of pop alchemy. Everyone synthesizes their influences, of course, but some take clear markers and make new paths right in front of you; like Garbage, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Portishead, Elastica, Beck, DJ Shadow, or Peaches.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Saturday, June 13, 2009

ROCK Sex: "TRAIN KEPT A-ROLLIN" - Tiny Bradshaw > Johnny Burnette Trio > The Yardbirds > T.Rex > Aerosmith

I'm going to throw in a new feature to the Blog today: ROCK Sex, about how everything intersects together in great and surprising ways.

Culture isn't a fixed tradition owned by a few. It's actually an intersection of ideas from everyone that is constantly fluid and opening up more possibilities. Someone tries something, someone else is inspired to add something, some third party adds both together into something else.

This relay race is actually how true creativity runs and always will.

Here's an example...

Rhythm'n'Blues band leader Tiny Bradshaw first did "The Train Kept A-Rollin" as a jump jive number in 1951:

TINY BRADSHAW -"The Train Kept A-Rollin'" (1951)

The Johnny Burnette Trio, fueled by the busted amp of guitarist Paul Burlison, redefined it entirely as a Rockabilly blaster in 1956...

THE JOHNNY BURNETTE TRIO -"The Train Kept A-Rollin'" (1956)

With the benefit of the British Invasion's popularity, The Yardbirds (featuring Jeff Beck on guitar) crystallized it into the Garage Rock anthem covered by everyone else...

THE YARDBIRDS -'The Train Kept A-Rollin'" (1966)

They then retooled as it as "Stroll On" performing in Antonioni's classic film BLOW UP (1966), with Jimmy Page and Jeff Page duelling on guitars.

Here's Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn rollin' on a similar track.

T.REX -'Jewel" (1971)

From there it "trucked on down that old fairlane" as a standard, covered by everyone from Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Motorhead, Guns'n'Roses, and Metallica, to the "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" video games.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cool Insane Rap: GETTOVETTS

"Rammell/ Shockdell/
from the depths of hell!"

GETTOVETTS are the craziest secret in hiphop history. Led by a certifiable lunatic/ genius (?), they made one glorious album in 1988 no one ever bought.

RAMMELLZEE was a pioneer in the original Rap explosion, known for such classic 12" rants as "Beat Bop" with K Rob (1983), which had a huge influence on The Beastie Boys. (See "B-Boys Makin' With the Freak Freak") Ram also had cameos in the quintessential hiphop documentary Style Wars (1983), and Jim Jarmusch's film Stranger Than Paradise (1984). He began wearing impossibly layered costumes that put George Clinton and Afrika Bambaataa to shame, and spewed denser lyrics more convoluted than a William Burroughs cut-up.

Bill Laswell produced the radical Gettovetts album, "Missionaries Moving" (1988), featuring Ram's deadly duets with rapper Shockdell. At the time the mass public was just getting used to spartan samples and rhyming, with Run-DMC and LL Cool J's success. The first inklings of Public Enemy and the Native Tongues groups were only just starting. So no one was prepared for the 'art rap' of Gettovetts! Graffiti, performance art, 'afrofuturist' costumes, galactic and conspiratorial rhymes, industrial rock and phat funky beats, 8 minute noize barrages.​.​.​these guys made everyone else look tepid. Bootsy Collins even plays magnificent fuzz bass on the epic "Death Command". They were the true heirs of P-Funk and nobody had a clue.


Here's an ultra-rare glimpse of Rammellzee's human face, performing (at 2:39) in the very first HipHop film, WILD STYLE (1982).

In the classic epic "Beat Box", K-Rob rolls in smooth and sharp for a minute, and then Rammellzee just takes it completely the hell OFF into another level, beyond anything that anyone would do for years.

K-Rob + Rammellzee -"Beat Bop" (​1983)​


But nothing prepared anyone for the sonic onslaught of the GETTOVETTS.

GETTOVETTS -"Gangster Lean" (1988)

GETTOVETTS -"Battle Call" (1988)

GETTOVETTS -"Lecture" (1988)


Material, w/ Rammellzee -"No Guts No Galaxy" (1999)

The Rammellzee -"I Be Ramm-Ell-Zee-Zee" (2003)


Beastie Boys -"B Boys Makin' With The Freak Freak"

"Putting Songs Together Ain't No Puzzle Like Yahtzee/
Sending This Out To K-Rob And Rammellzee..."

Besides The Beastie Boys, you can hear the fevered and fierce influence of Gettovetts on Kool Keith, Cypress Hill, Divine Styler, Deltron 3030, Anti-Pop Consortium, Nephlim Modulation Systems, The Gift Of Gab, Shabazz Palaces, and Flying Lotus.

Rammellzee passed from this plane of existence in 2010.

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Cool Lost Grunge: Nirvana + Hole = VERBENA

VERBENA's "Into the Pink" (1999) is the best album that Nirvana and Hole never made together.

And you're saying, "Who?" Verbena was a grungy punk trio who combined the best aspects of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love into something that had its own unique strength. Plus, it was produced by Dave Grohl himself!

Despite this rock solid album they fell through the cracks. A 2003 line-up changed the sound so much it sounds like another band. But I'm telling you right now...if you love Nirvana and Hole, go find this album...

Verbena -"My Baby Got Shot" (1999)

Here's a little Black Francis/ Kim Deal-style action in this haunting song...

Verbena -"Big Skies, Black Rainbows" (1999)

Verbena -"​Submissionary"​ (1999)


Frontman Scott Bondy now performs as A.A. Bondy, in an early Dylan travelling troubadour style. Here's an achingly beautiful song from the haunting "Believers" (2011) album.

A.A. Bondy -"​Highway/Fevers"​ (2011)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Cool Ethereal Folk: VASHTI BUNYAN

"Just Another Diamond Day" album (1970)

VASHTI BUNYAN is an english folk singer with an ethereal voice. She recorded quite a bit in the late '60s but without getting the fame she deserved.

Recently a collection of her ahaunting work brought new ears to her timeless classics, and she has reemerged in response to all the cult attention.

Listen to this first song and see if you aren't hooked...

Vashti Bunyan -"Train Song" (1966)

Vashti Bunyan -"Love Song" (1969)

And here she is now, still with us, showing us how it's done right.

Vashti Bunyan session -"Here Before" (2005)

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

-WOMEN OF ROCK: The 1960s, with 2 Music Players

Cool Funk Roots: PEREZ PRADO's Mambo

Cuban musicians had massive influence on Jazz-Bebop, Pop music, and early Rock in the early 1950s with Mambo music.
(See the film, The Mambo Kings.)

Chief among them was Damaso PEREZ PRADO, whose use of tight contrapunctual horns, dynamic rhythm, and sudden stops and starts are the prototype for James Brown and Funk music. As bandleader, he would get so excited he'd kick the air during a pause and shout, "Dilo!" ('Say it!') Audiences mistook his shout for "Ungh!', inspiring the song "Who Put the Ungh In the Mambo?" If that isn't JB, what is?

This kicked off a Latin throughline in Soul and Funk music that gave us Eddie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria, Santana, WAR, Malo, El Chicano, Azteca, Mandrill, Fania All-Stars, Jorge Ben, Sheila E, Gerardo, Lighter Shade of Brown, Ozomatli, and Los Mocosos.

His "Mambo No. 5" was remade as a big hit by Lou Bega in '99.

PEREZ PRADO -"Mambo No 5" - (1950s, from LP)

PEREZ PADO -"Muchachita"

The Black Eyed Peas sampled the Yma Sumac/ Perez Prado song "Bo Mambo" for their big hit "Hands Up". Here's another great:

Yma Sumac, w/ Perez Prado -"Bo Mambo!" (1955)

For the Love of the Mambo documentary

From Mambo to Hip-Hop: A South Bronx Tale documentary

After The Clash broke up, bassist Paul Simenon formed a Morricone-​esque Rockabilly group called Havana 3AM, named after the Perez Prado album.

HAVANA 3AM -"Hey Amigo" (1991)


© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Cool Rare Blues: J.B. LENOIR

Every time I hear J.B. LENOIR's voice, it makes me feel good. An earnest and sweet voice that lifts up any subject he sings.

J.B. was a great blues and boogie guitarist who was criminally overlooked in his lifetime. Ironically, he is more known from the beautiful tribute that british bluesman John Mayall recorded lamenting his death in 1967.

Looking back we now appreciate J.B. for his rollicking playing, crack melodies, pure voice, and his deeply courageous protest songs.

Do yourself a favor and check this guy out...

J.B. Lenoir -"I Feel So Good"

J.B. Lenoir -"Alabama Song"

JB Lenoir -"Vietnam Blues"


John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers -"The Death of J.B. Lénoir"

Shake your what your mama gave ya at:

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Cool Italian Western Rock Bands!

For all you KILL BILL and 'Spaghetti Western' fans out there, here are modern groups that perform Italian Western soundtrack music.

Ennio Morricone is familiar to hepcats as the radical who threw out syrupy strings and injected insanity into film scores with jaw harps, surf guitars, druidic chants, avant noise, and percussive typewriters.

Many rock bands emulate this sound, including Muse, Mars Volta, Calexico, and Queens of the Stone Age. Now other bands go right to the source...

Spaghetti Western Orchestra -"The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"

Thunderosa! -"El Guapos Theme"

Chingon -"Malaguena Salerosa"

3 Balls Of Fire -"The Ecstasy Of Gold"

Artists also do Ennio's psyche/lounge music...

(Mike Patton's) Mondo Cane -"Deep Down"

© Tym Stevens

See Also:

-How SPAGHETTI WESTERNS Revolutionized Rock Music! , with 3 Music Players

-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Cool Spanish Punk Grrrls: LAS FURIAS

Another "so cool you gotta love life" spotlight falls on LAS FURIAS, a garage punk quartet from Barcelona.

Everything great about The Sonics, The Runaways, early Slits, Motorhead, Black Flag, and Peaches in three minutes flat, in snarling spanish!

LAS FURIAS -"Cóctel de Modernidad"


And let's show some love to their compatriots, LAS PERRAS DEL INFIERNO, too!

Las Perras del Infierno - "Somos las Perras" (2006)

Thrash your head at:


© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Cool Superman Movie Expose: KEVIN SMITH

For all you Comix fans out there, here's Kevin Smith doing a hilarious and scathing critique of Hollywood foolishness regarding Superman movies.

The backstory is that in the 1990s Superman was a hot property because he had 'died' in the comics. Batman films producer Jon Peters wanted to milk this mania. Despite themselves, Warner Brothers lucked into getting Kevin as a scriptwriter, who's love and knowledge of comics is deep.

It was a disaster of creativity meeting the clueless. Kevin's rap about it at this convention appearance is a stand-up routine easily as funny and biting as his films.

Kevin Smith talks about "Superman Lives"

Part 1:

Part 2:

'​Ironic-​postscript,​ dept'.:

-Tim Burton came in, threw away the script, cast Nicolas Cage, and insisted the costume be all black (?!).
-WB ended up losing around 50 Million dollars paying various directors and stars who were never used, based on dumb contract deals.
-Bryan Singer finally came in and forced the vision back on track with the majesterial SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006).
-SUPERMAN RETURNS actually made more money than BATMAN BEGINS (2005), the other brilliant reboot. Since THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) was then propelled to insane profits by that launch, you would think WB would let Singer make them a lot more money.
-Current WB head Jeff Robinov misread the success of THE DARK KNIGHT as being a cue to make Superman 'darker'. Hence the disaster of MAN OF KILL (2013).

Note to Jeff: you don't make Superman darker, you make the villains tougher.

Like Kevin says, "In Hollywood you just kind of fail upwards."

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-Four COlor Films, THE Comics Movie Review Site!

Cool Betty Davis Tribute: THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK

Here's THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK, the working name of musician John Bigham. This catchy funker swaggers like Al Green in the mood to sing Parliament's "All Your Goodies Are Gone" or Funkadelic's "I Got a Thing".

This is reportedly a tribute to the ultimate Funk hellion, BETTY DAVIS, who deserves all the love she can get.



Here's Betty herself. Put your seatbelts on and hold on!

BETTY DAVIS- "He Was A Big Freak" (1974)

Bow down to the queen here:

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist

Cool Indie Band: BOYSKOUT


BOYSKOUT are an undersung indie band I really recommend. They have traces of Television, Devo, The Cure, Throwing Muses, Elastica, and Gossip in a blend that becomes uniquely theirs.

I especially love this song...

Boyskout -"Jesse James"

Boyskout -"You Act Strange"

Boyskout -"Fantastic"

Show them some love at:

© Tym Stevens

See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist