Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tuesday Tuneage
Rod Stewart - “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)”

Greil Marcus in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll: “Rarely has a singer had as full and unique a talent as Rod Stewart; rarely has anyone betrayed his talent so completely.”

Yeah, right, you’re thinking. Rod Stewart? I didn’t buy it either, that Rod Stewart was once a great artist. If the first time you heard him was in the era of “Hot Legs” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” like I did, you woudn’t believe that he was capable of the rock 'n' roll brilliance of Every Picture Tells A Story and Never A Dull Moment. Because that’s where I was a kid and into adulthood. People older than me swore by Stewart’s early work, but c’mon ... this was the guy who tortured me in high school with “Passion” and “Young Turks.” Nothing was going to change my mind.

But the conversion took place, sometime around all the press Stewart got over the release of his Storyteller box set. Maybe it when I was on the road to Damascus, or in this case I-394, when I heard his cover of the Temptations’ “I’m Losing You” on the radio. Or maybe it was when I read comparisions between Stewart and Paul Westerberg, both in their self-depracating humor and how the Replacements’ All Shook Down had that bass-drums-acoustic guitar music like in Stewarts’ early work. I know the deal was pretty much sealed when my buddy Turk loaned me his Every Picture Tells A Story LP. And you know how the story ends: I buy Stewarts’ first four albums and absolutely love them, because once the skeptic becomes the true believer there is no shaking his beliefs. And why do I love those albums?

Greil Marcus again: “A writer who offered profound lyricism and fabulous self-deprecating humor, teller of tall tales and honest heartbreaker, he had an unmatched eye for the tiny details around which lives turn, shatter and reform ... (Stewart had) an uncanny combination of the folksinger’s gentle touch, the rockers’s assault on all things holy and the soul man’s affirmation of the truth buried deep in every human heart.”

To further convince you of Rod Stewart’s brilliance in his early years, I give you a song he didn’t even deign to put on an album. While along with Ron Wood he was part of a fine songwriting team, Stewart also had an uncanny knack for finding just the right songs to cover. This one is “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)”, a big country hit for Jerry Lee Lewis in 1968. He put the tune on the B-side to his cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Angel” in a seeming attempt to bind the longhair/hardhat divide of forty years ago, ever the romantic was our guy Rod. Enjoy it with a nightcap.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Tuesday Tuneage
Lou Reed and Metallica - "Iced Honey"

Possible album titles instead of Lulu: Hide The Lightning. New Yakk.

My friend Steve: "Metallica sounds like as tight of a thrash unit as they've sounded since 1989, and Lou Reed just sounds like the dying old man in Magnolia."

Death Geriatic. I Wanna Be Black (Album.)

Canadian hard rocker Danko Jones: "It’s the Ishtar of rock 'n' roll. And if you don't get that, it's the Waterworld of rock 'n' roll. And if you don't get that, it's the Battlefield Earth of rock 'n' roll."

Metal Machine Mess. Kill ‘Em All And Start With These Guys.

Bill Tuomala: "There was a song I liked halfway through, kinda like day drinking with a hangover when there's that four minutes that you actually feel good."

Full Load. I Can't Stand It.

And yet you have to give Lou credit. At least he came up with the idea of recording a crappy album with Metallica before Neil Young did. Dave Mustaine, expect a call.