Shot Of Rhythm

[ Saturday, April 08, 2006 ]


New release round-up


Here's four from last week, each from a different, good record. The more I listen to the Sparxxx, the more I like it. Staton's a return to form. The Pink and Flaming Lips are spotty, but they're both smart enough to find their groove and stick with it.

Bubba Sparxxx - "Wonderful"

Flaming Lips - "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song"

Pink - "Stupid Girls"

Candi Staton - "When Will I"

On the box right now: Isley Brothers, ESSENTIAL.


Dove With Claws [10:19 PM]

[ Wednesday, April 05, 2006 ]


RIP Gene Pitney

Another good one gone today, as news has emerged that Gene Pitney died in England. Pitney remains one of the most underappreciated figures in rock-and-roll-era American pop music, both as a singer and a songwriter. I've tried to capture not only Pitney's talent - which was great - but also his range, with the songs I've chosen in tribute. The first four were all Pitney's own releases, from the Bacharach/David sophistication of "A Town Without Pity," through the smoldering melancholy of "I'm Gonna Be Strong," to the stomping mid-60s guitar rock of "It Hurts To Be In Love," one of my favorite pop singles of all time. I close that section with a cut from a great series of straight country duets Pitney did with George Jones.

Then, of course, there was Pitney the songwriter. Very few songwriters ever sounded as convincing writing both girl-group pop and sunny rockabilly, so The Crystals and Ricky Nelson (like Pitney, a most underappreciated and misunderstood figure) speak to Pitney's skills behind the mic, which certainly equalled his skills in front of it.

Pitney's legacy speaks to the still-maligned riches of 1960s pop music, a genre that often gets denigrated historically, but which - on further exploration - reveals a lot not only about the many varieties of the (joyous, painful) human experience, but also the multiple masks that we employ to either obscure or disguise them. No more celebrateed "singer-songwriter" (which Pitney was anyway) or "serious" rock band ever hit the complexities of love and life with any more acuity than "It Hurts To Be In Love," and no discussion of identity and isolation ever capped "A Town Without Pity." Besides which, I simply don't want to live in a world where I have to feel guilty about liking "Hello Mary Lou" or "He's A Rebel."

So here's to Gene Pitney...

Gene Pitney - "A Town Without Pity"

Gene Pitney - "It Hurts To Be In Love"

Gene Pitney - "I'm Gonna Be Strong"

George Jones and Gene Pitney - "Mockingbird Hill"

The Crystals - "He's A Rebel"

Ricky Nelson - "Hello Mary Lou"

On the box right now: Gene Pitney, ANTHOLOGY.


Dove With Claws [8:38 AM]

[ Sunday, April 02, 2006 ]


Blast from the past

When are we gonna have the "New Jack Swing" revival?

Bobby Brown - "My Perogative"

Montell Jordan - "This Is How We Do It"

Toni Tony Tone - "If I Had No Loot"

On the box right now: Public Enemy, POWER TO THE PEOPLE AND THE BEATS. I've also been spinning Flavor Flav's rare single "The Hot 1" repeatedly over the course of the day.


Dove With Claws [8:53 PM]