Saturday, July 30, 2011

'Oh Bondage, Up Yours!': X-Ray Spex> Chicks On Speed

"Some people say little girls should be seen and not heard
But I think

Punk meant to break down all barriers and restrictions- in sound, fashion, and outlook. Because of its physical energy and aggro stance, it could've trapped itself into becoming the macho crap it was trying to defeat. Luckily, POLY STYRENE changed that.

© Jerome Gaynor, Rocktober Magazine.

Poly and the X-RAY SPEX were the molotov cocktail that drove away the mob to save the party. She injected feminist parody and lacerating wit, creating a political stance with a bracing sense of humor. She made Punk fun and smarter. She opened the doors for THE SLITS, THE AU PAIRS, THE POISON GIRLS, BIKINI KILL, HOLE, L7, BABES IN TOYLAND, TRIBE 8, LESBIANS ON ECSTASY, and PEACHES.

Here she turns masochism into a metaphor for our slavery to consumerism, and tells where to put it.

X-RAY SPEX -"Oh Bondage Up Yours!" (1977)

In that fine tradition, here's CHICKS ON SPEED to alter the face of things.

CHICKS ON SPEED -"Plastic Surgery" (2006)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

LADIES FIRST: 'What A Man', Lyndell> Lee> Salt-n-Pepa

Linda Lyndell

Another classic song that 'she did first'.

The original "What A Man" is by Southern soul singer LINDA LYNDELL. It was released by the ever-wonderful Stax Records on their Volt label, and produced by ISAAC HAYES and David Porter, hot off of creating all the hits of SAM & DAVE.

LINDA LYNDELL -"What A Man" (1968)

It was first remade by Atlantic Records' soul great LAURA LEE, most known for "Dirty Man", "Women’s Love Rights", and "Crumbs Off The Table".

LAURA LEE -"What A Man" (1972)

The song reached its biggest fame when adapted by rap dynamos SALT-n-PEPA, backed up perfectly by EN VOGUE at their peak.

SALT-n-PEPA (with En Vogue) -"Whatta Man" (1994)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

LADIES FIRST: 'You're No Good', Warwick> Everett> Ronstadt> Finland!

Here's another classic song that 'she did first'.

We all love "You're No Good" in versions by Betty Everett and later Linda Rondstadt. But actually, it was done first by DEE DEE WARWICK as a B-Side in 1963. Check out the surprisingly tough guitar fuzz in the break (1:17), well ahead of Garage Rock. And Dee Dee sounds both pissed and swinging at the same time!

Beyond being the sister of Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee has gained much love in Soul circles for her own fine body of work.

DEE DEE WARWICK -"You're No Good" (1963)

Sometimes the cover becomes the definitive version, and here's BETTY EVERETT with her great hit take on the song.

BETTY EVERETT -"You're No Good" (1963)

The song went international as a hit for the U.K. band THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS during the British Invasion.

THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS -"You're No Good" (1964)

Which led to the first Finnish version by these amiable moptops.

EDDY & THE LIGHTNINGS* -"Olet Paha" (1964)

*(a.k.a., Eddy & The Boys)

And this terrific French version by PUSSY CAT. Great Garage-style attitude in this one!

Sigh. If only Rhino Records would do a NUGGETS box set of Garage Girls. I could give them a list of eight discs worth in no time flat.

PUSSY CAT -"Mais Pourquoi" (1966)

In America, this Michigan band gives it the full-on Psychedelic Soul treatment!

PHLEGETHON -"You're No Good" (1970)

Sometimes the cover of the cover becomes the new definitive version.

The reason is twofold: LINDA RONSTADT's voice and Andrew Gold's playing. Linda brought a no-nonsense swagger that made the song an anthem during the rise of Feminism. Gold played all of the instruments, bringing the edgy mood, the sultry keyboards, and one of the most letter-perfect George Harrison slide guitar homages ever recorded (1:31).

LINDA RONSTADT -"You're No Good" (1974)

Which reset the template for another Finnish response!

MARION -"Paha Ooot" (1975)

Here's some moody Rock from early VAN HALEN.

VAN HALEN -"You're No Good" (1979)

JILL JOHNSON, a Country Soul artist from Sweden, responds to the Linda Ronstadt template here.

JILL JOHNSON -"You're No Good" (2007)

And here's Punk Pop from the French band THE PLASTICINES that owes a debt to The Ramones. Love that "ah, ah-ahhh/ hey-ho-hey" chorus they throw in!

The band took their name from a lyric in "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds."

THE PLASTICINES -"You're No Good" (2010)

Every time I hear this timeless song, I thing, "You're so good, baby, you're so good!"